Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Starred, Aug 17, 2011.
Or do I really need a Canon/Nikon dslr with fast lens?
No, you don't. Micro Four-Thirds bodies use just as fast lenses, including some much faster lenses (ie, f/0.95 aperture rangefinder lenses, f/1 aperture cine lenses, or how about f/2 constant aperture zoom lenses from 14mm to 100mm - WITH autofocus?). What Canon or Nikon DSLR would allow you to use that kind of fast glass?
I'd be curious to hear what m4/3 lenses people ARE actually using for wedding photography.
What lens is that?
Two lenses really. There's the Olympus ED 14-34mm f2 coupled with the ED 35-100mm f2, both of which are 4/3 system lenses and can be used "natively" on m43 with full autofocus with an adapter.
For $4.5k! Nice glass, though.
All taken with e-p1 and pl45 (except I used the 20 for the cake and groups)
I was a second photog, so I had the luxury of no pressure to deliver, but I came away very pleased with the performance of the pl45, I kept the focus limiter on and never really struggled with AF speed (although faster AF is always better, and an e-p3 would probably be much more competent in this regard). I have absolutely no complaints about the pl45 IQ wise, and would always recommend it.
EDIT: I would actually recommend one body with a short tele, and one body with a wide - because changing lenses is a PITA.
Brilliant photos, Kal! You use available light very well.
If you're going to use SHG lenses, at least use a body like the E-5 that will do them justice, and not struggle with those monsters on a tiny body that really can't focus them fast enough for wedding work..... or offer any kind of balance.
You can certainly use a PEN to take some wedding photographs, but please don't use a PEN to shoot a wedding.... I know we all love our m43 cameras (myself included), but sometimes you have to face reality.
Pro wedding photographers use high-end D-SLR's for a reason, and it's not because they left the PEN at home....
You can get lovely shots with the pens, but you have to know and trust your gear, at weddings there are no second chances. If you are the primary wedding photographer, then the onus is entirely on you, and it's stressful and hard work. I recently did a wedding and after talking with the b&g, opted to use the M8 & c-sonnar and a 35mm film camera, because that was the style they wanted, and being mostly outdoors high iso wasn't an issue.
Know the limits of your kit, use the right tools, and deliver the best work you can - they deserve it!
I don't. Not a "high-end" DSLR anywhere near my bag. I use GH series cameras and Leica rangefinders. The GH2 body and sensor are very capable wedding tools.
However I completely agree that the 4/3 f2 zooms are totally unsuitable for use on m4/3 bodies at weddings. Great lenses, but I have tested both and the AF is totally inadequate for the task. And until Olympus build a body that allows both a viewfinder and a hotshoe flash you're not going to exclusively use the Pens either. I've spent several hours(days) finding and testing full 4/3 lenses on my Pens and GH2 and only the PL 25 1.4 has made it to my bag. The rest just aren't usable in a wedding environment.
On the plus side the 7-14 (or 9-18) is great, as are the 12, 20 and 45 macro. The flash system works well although there's no off camera wireless for the Panasonic bodies. Plus the fact that you can adapt hundreds of wonderful lenses to work on the system is a big plus for me.
For my use, as a wedding pro, the lens range is not yet up to the task. As of today you can choose between a range of slow and unspectacular, but adequate zooms or an incomplete range of very good primes. As it stands I need to supplement my m4/3 kit with some longer manual focus adapted lenses. Now that's fine for me because I actually like to work with MF, but it isn't going to cut it for many. The 12, 20, 25 and 45 primes will help but they're not all here yet and any full time pro needs something longer than a 90mm equivalent.
M4/3 needs a couple of good pro level fast zooms and a 200 equivalent AF prime if it is ever to be considered a truly serious system. But Olympus just aren't going to do that because they're too pig headed about supporting full 4/3 at the expense of the micro system. It will be Panasonic that delivers, in the end.
Gordon, when you go to shoot a wedding, what do you bring and use?
I shoot Micro Four-Thirds bodies professionally every day, but I don't own one single Micro Four-Thirds lens (that I haven't gotten rid of, that is). You're not stuck with m43 lenses if you're using an m43 system. Nor do you have to use legacy glass with manual focus... the very best lenses I have are Four Thirds, and as much as I love legacy glass they can't even compare with the results I get out of my Zuiko Digital Four-Thirds glass out of the box (with enough post-production they can get closer results).
That's nothing compared with the cost of Canon L and good Nikkor glass. For $4.5k you could expect no more than two f/2.8 Canikon lenses in the quality range of the Zuiko High-Grade lenses, instead of two f/2 Top-Pro Zuiko lenses.
See, this is what I don't get Gordan... Why are people so reliant on AutoFocus that they consider anything that's not the best at AF to be "inadequate" and "unusable"? What did we do before AutoFocus? Hell, I never had an Autofocus camera until AFTER I switched to digital. I loved the all-manual 35mm film cameras best, with no battery except the mercury for the light meter.
Perhaps they shouldn't bother with all the space and expense of manufacturing manual focus rings on lenses, when the lenses are "useless" with them anyways?
I always thought AutoFocus was a bonus, not a necessity. I use it sometimes when I can't see too well due to external conditions, but otherwise Manual Focus is my preferred method and I generally find it to be faster than Auto. Pressing the Autofocus button (I use back-button auto focus) and waiting for a confirmation just frustrates me, when I could've just turned the ring and gotten there myself. My best lenses do AF on my PEN, but it doesn't make much difference to me if it does or doesn't.
Especially in low light... It used to bug me how much people complained about Four-Thirds bodies (prior to the E-5) being slow at low-light AF (Micro Four-Thirds bodies are better), when all DSLRs are slower using AF than manual focus in low light. If I were using the best Canon or Nikon body, I'd be using the manual focus ring when the light gets low just the same... and no DSLR (that I've encountered) offers a better optical viewfinder for that then the Olympus E-3 and E-5. Instead of complaining about low-light AF, try using the focus ring instead and you'll find that AF doesn't even matter anymore... since it's "inadequate" on any DSLR.
Don't get me wrong... I certainly agree that the range of fast zooms that's available in Four-Thirds should be made available to Micro Four-Thirds with CDAF optimization. This would be "nice", but I don't have a problem with waiting until that's a realistic possibility. The system is totally new (like, less than 3 years old!), and I don't think we should expect an entire collection of fast glass to just appear along with the birth of a system. Until then... I use my Four-Thirds fast zooms on my PEN and they work just as well as they did on my Olympus E-System DSLR bodies. They were great glass on the E-System bodies, and are still just as great on the PEN bodies. The glass is what I bought into the E-System for, and that hasn't changed.
Ok. Here's the list. Please keep in mind that I have, after 20 years of shooting Canon professionally, just done my conversion in the lasy three months, so things are likely to change.
1. Leica M9 with 35mm 1.4, CV Nokton 50mm 1.5 and a tele-elmarit (thin) 90mm 2.8. I also have an Olympus FL36R flash that I use on it when required in manual mode.
2. Micro 4/3 system. Panasonic GH-2, Panasonic 7-14, Panasonic 20mm 1.7, PL 25mm 1.4 (will upgrade to the m4/3 one soon), PL 45mm macro, CV Nokton 50mm f1.1, CV Helliar 75mm 1.8, Panasonic 45-200
3. Lighting. 2x Metz 58 AF2 for Olympus. 1x Olympus FL-36R. 2x LED video light panels.
4. Accessories: Hyperdrive (320GB HDD). 4 batteries for the Leica. 4 batteries for the GH2. 60GB SDHC memory cards. Gels for flash. Off camera TTL cords x 3, Pens, cards etc.
5. Backup Gear (in car). Panasonic G2. Panasonic 14-140. Olympus 4/3 70-300. Olympus EP2, Olympus EPL2. Extra memory cards.
**** Soon I'll be adding the fish, 45mm f 1.8 and I will be upgrading the 25mm to the newer m4/3 version. *If* Olympus ever makes the 12-60/14-35 and the 35-100 in a m4/3 mount I will will move the m4/3 system entirely over to these plus the macro.
Sorry, it's a long one........
You want great glass, buy a Leica.
Because, whether we like it or not, times have changed, especially in the wedding industry. You compete or you die. Simple. This isn't 1990 or even 2005 anymore. In the wedding industry your competitors are shooting with cameras that AF in the dark at ISO 32000 with tiny slim DOF. And there are very, very few people who can market a successful business against what the rest of the industry is doing. There are plenty of times when a good manual focus lens can be used but a lot of the time AF is faster, easier and more reliable. When the bride is walking down the aisle with her Dad I need a focus system that can track them so I'm not twiddling around and missing that special look that they usually give each other somewhere along the way. When the couple exchange rings their hands move a lot, relative to the camera position. AF is the only way to reliably get that shot, every time. Generally Af is fast, accurate and easy. Why go out of my way to make my working life more difficult?
Now AF systems aren't perfect. If they were (and if I hadn't been manually focusing a 50mm 1.2L for the last year) I'd still be shooting Canon. But you'll get more keepers using AF. Sure if you're delivering 100 shots from a wedding MF will be fine. But it won't work if you're delivering 6-800 shots. I doub't you'd even be able to shoot that many, let alone deliver them. With a modern DSLR and AF I can shoot thousands of images if I want (I don't, most do). And if I shoot 10 shots, one will surely be in focus. And I'll have shot those 10 before you've got your MF sorted.
in 2011 the clients want more, better, cheaper and faster.
When I first started doing weddings (a loooooong time ago. I started very very young ;-)) we SHOT 300 images and delivered 250. Now we have to shoot 2000 and deliver 600+. And if you don't there are 10 good photographers around the corner who will (and for a lot less than I charge). Long gone are the days when a reception venue would turn up the lights when it came time to cut the cake, and while the m4/3 offers accurate focusing it also offers glacial focus speeds with slow zooms when the light levels drop. It's all about thin DOF and natural light. "Posed" photography is out and "candids" are in. plus even the soccer Mum, with her Canikon D5206754 and 17-4500mm lens get an acceptable range of keepers and her photos will probably be on Facebook before you get home from the wedding.
You mention that you prefer manual focus. So do I, I think?? Certainly for my personal work I do. And after so many years shooting I do need to do it in a way I enjoy. It's one of the reasons that I changed systems. The modern DSLR is woeful and painful to manually focus. The precision screens in modern DSLR's don't have split screens and are optimized for brightness, not accuracy, to compensate for the reduction in quality of the prisms used. In Canon cameras, for example, the minimum DOF you can see through the viewfinder is 2.8. If you want to accurately manually focus a 50mm f1.2L you need to insert a different screen, which while actually showing you accurate focus at 1.2 is two stops dimmer. Modern cameras are built to AF.
And the lenses. I too wonder why they bother with focus rings, sometimes. although they are getting smaller and less usable with every upgrade. Modern lenses are simply awful to manually focus. Huge focus throws (like two FULL revolutions of the barrel), lenses that focus past infinity (UGGH!!) and a total lack of feel and connection to the lens. Manual focusing "can" be more accurate, but not with almost all modern AF lenses, including your beloved Zuikos. Manual focus using AF lenses sucks. It just does. And don't get me started about focus by wire. There's exactly one good MF lens in the 4/3 and m4/3 range, for weddings and it's a 12mm (yes, I don't think the CV25mm 0.95 is a good mf lens for weddings. The focus throw is huge and just not suitable for wedding photography, although it is a great lens for casual use).
And while I might know what a decent MF looks and feels like, most "professionals" have never even used a manual focus camera. They've been raised on AF. I handed my M9 to a successful Pro a couple of weeks ago and they just couldn't work out how to use it. It's not part of the modern photographers DNA to worry about manual focus, nor is it in the camera manufacturers interests (except Leica, CV and Zeiss) to make MF lenses. I'm actually stunned (pleasantly) at how easy the m4/3 system makes it to AF. But it's still either too slow (push a button to magnify, focus, recompose shoot) or too inaccurate on an EVF (without zooming in) to be usable in the light levels I work in week after week.
I have what is, without doubt, the best digital camera in the world for manual focus. The M9 is built for manual focus with lenses that are ideal for it's intended use. Focusing is both accurate and a joy. And it has the brightest viewfinder of them all. "Most" of the time I can use the M9 and in time, it will be the camera I use most at weddings, but sometimes it just won't cut it. With an AF assist beam my AF cameras can focus in the dark. And when I reach into my bag to get my 200mm for the M9... oh, wait. There isn't one. That's OK I'll just get my DSLR with a split focus screen.... oh, wait. There isn't one. Not that i could see well enough to focus a 200mm 2.8 manually at most of my receptions any way.
During last weeks wedding the meter readings during the garter toss were ISO 3200 1/15 @ f2.8. I can't MF in that light but I also can't miss the garter toss. In fact I had to trust the AF as even the EVF in the GH2 was virtually unusable at those light levels. Even my shooting partner with his 1D mk4 had no idea whether we'd got the shot. By the way the AF worked. I don't know how you concluded that you can MF better in low light. With an Af assist light I can focus in NO light.
And you know, even if I could get every shot with manual focus, why would I want to if i can do it easier with AF. In fact, I think most pros don't care how they get the shot. the easier the better. I happen to like small cameras. While i don't mind MF on the M9, I do wonder if I would care if the M10 had an AF system if the end result was the same. Probably not. Although I like MF for my personal use I think I'd still use Af if I could get the lenses and small bodies I wanted.
Now I'm not saying that m4/3 can't be used for weddings or other pro work. I use it as my primary system. I'm also not saying that manual focus can't be used in pro work. I do that too. But I am saying that using manual focus with an AF system is slower, more difficult and has a lower yield of successful images than an AF system and that the AF zoom lenses for m4/3 are inadequate for most full time pros. I'm also saying that most pros won't choose to use m4/3 because the lens system is inadequate compared to what they can get in other brands. Can it be done with m4/3? Yes. Is it easier to do it with other systems? Yes.
If Olympus ever get around to making those f2 zooms in m4/3 and a Pen with a built in viewfinder they will change the "pro" market forever, even though they have too much DOF. But I think they're too pig headed about 4/3 to do it. Until then most pros will choose the Fuji X100 over the Pens to compliment their huge DSLRs.
You and I are the exception, not the rule.
Very good points, Gordon!
Personally though, I don't really think Olympus is holding out on fast zooms for Micro Four-Thirds because they don't feel there's a need for it. I think they're holding out because they're trying to complete the system step-by-step, starting with the "standard grade". Look at the latest two lenses they came out with... they're finally starting to break away from that "cheap, slow kit lens" arena they've been dabbling in... but I don't think the system could get a hold on the market without the cheap kit lenses to support it. That's what base-level consumers expect, and now they can grab a whole handful of cheap m43 lenses (well, what I consider cheap... lol) without really breaking the bank, and they feel like they have a "system" - offering complete focal range coverage.
I think they're working on some fast zooms, and my guess is the first fast zoom they produce for Micro Four-Thirds will probably be something along the lines of the Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Decent speed, standard range, compact size, nice sharpness. Then maybe something along the lines of the 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 which is so popular in Four-Thirds (as is the 70-200mm f/2.8 in other systems), but I doubt we'll be seeing top-pro f/2 aperture glass for... well, longer than I can wait anyways.
I'm not a pro, I have only done one wedding and one 50'th celebration as the photographer, as a favor for friends.. The wedding was with the E-1 and 14-42, that refused to auto focus in confused light. Fell back on old MF glass. Not happy. Said "NO MORE". But Aunt and uncle wanted a few pics. Used Pana G1 and Konica 50mm f1.4 with Olympus fl36 flash. Better pics, but I NEED AF for these events, or just don't do them. I much prefer MF for most of my outdoor and macro photography, but at events, I am just not able to get it done to my expections with MF.
Quite a timely discussion. I can't say I'd be able to go MF for an event. I'm amazed at how folks did it in the past. But then again, as Gordon pointed out, expectations these days are upwards of a thousand pics. Or at least, it seems that way. It's a conundrum because of those thousands, they usually just want a hundred to capture the mood of the day (or at least, that's generally how I shoot).
Back to the subject at hand, I find my dslr equipment quite bulky. I like to double body sometimes and two G3's is nicer than 5D+40D. And I only used it for events. My GF1 could really do everything else and I'd be happy (I'm just doing this on the side, so I'm not talking about commercial stuff). My only qualm were those random events. With the G3, my noise issues are seemingly reassured. And recently, the 12/2 on my GF1 at a wedding reception had my focus issues assured (with flash... it's a little funny to see a GF1 paired w/ a 550EX).
With how I shoot, I think I can get away with my 12/20/PL45 combo (probably will add oly 45 and PL25, 7-14 too waaay down the road). However, I'm a little uncomfortable w/o anythign longer. My only real choice is the 45-200, and I'm on the fence. The oly 35-100 is not a real choice for me, waay out of my lens budget. I'd rather have a 7D+50-135 (man, I miss that lens too, so so beautiful). Where oh where is my 135L equivalent panasonic or oly? Or a faster telephoto zoom! (yes, I will keep reiterating this in hopes someone makes it, heh)
I shoot with Nikon bodies at work and by far they have some of the best lowlight focusing and flash system for any camera brand. I'm more in the camp that would think using a DSLR/MFT system would be better. Lenses like the 7-14, 12, 14, 20, 25 and both 45 lenses can take the place of a heavier DSLR equivalent. Every working pro usually has 2 camera bodies minimum, but instead of having two DSLRs, you could lighten your load with 1 DSLR and 1 MFT camera. In fact I've been bumping into more working pros doing exactly that. I find my Nikon and Panasonic bodies compliment each other well. I can even use my Nikon flash on Panys (in manual) and both AF and MF Nikkors are easily swapped between the two brands. I'd say it's a better combination than Canon.
Well, they'll need to because Panasonic aren't stuck with a mostly failed legacy system and they will eventually produce those lenses.
It seems to me that the lenses are pretty much already developed and just need some guy with a computer to shrink them to the "micro" size. And they'll have to be f2. With the extra DOF that 4/3 gives f2 will be the minimum. Even then they'll have an f4 equivalent to Canikon's 2.8. However it would be pretty easy to market a f2 zoom on a m43 body to pros, including myself.
I think the reason that Olympus aren't doing anything is that they don't have a competitive sensor yet. They obviously can't get a hold of the superior panny sensors and DPreview just gave the kiss of death to the EP3 sensor. Until they get that sorted I suppose that even if they did make the lenses we'd just hook them up to Panasonic bodies and Olympus don't want that.
Funny that I was attracted to m4/3 because of the Olympus products and right now I don't use anything except panasonic for work. The Olys are gathering dust.
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