micro4/3rds as pro kit

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by jhob, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. jhob

    jhob Mu-43 Veteran

    I'm vaguely considering, when the time comes, of replacing my professional fuji kit that I use for weddings with a line up from the micro 4/3rds stable.

    I'm not ready to do that yet, for a start I would want a few more improvements in the bodies and lens line-up, but the reduced form factor (lighter, more discreet) is very appealing indeed.

    The main improvements to the camera line-up I would like are:
    * IQ good at ISO 6400 +
    * Greater dynamic range (I'm spoilt with my fujis!)
    * Good remote flash abilities (radio/pre-flash with diff flash groups a-la nikon cls)

    And for the lens line-up:
    * f2.8 standard zoom (14-35), preferably with stabilisation
    * f2.8 long zoom (35-100), again preferably with stabilisation

    My main problem with pro DSLRs is that they're too damn big, I end up with quite a back ache after 8+ hours of shooting!
  2. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    Pro Micro 4/3rds

    First of all, I am not a pro in the purist of senses, so any advice must be treated with skepticism. There are pros who have used the gear as backup on assignments, and there are pros who have been paid by Panasonic to field test the equipment. Might be worth talking with them.

    Studio work, and limited field work under agreeable conditions will help sway a decision to go with this format, as the bodies are still plastic and not dust nor waterproof. This limits their pro applications IMO. The lenses are also light weight construction, not metal, so this is also a consideration.

    Beyond that, the new GH2 series body boasts admirable film speed settings now, and with reported improvements to the sensor and EV system it has become much faster as a result. The whole idea of shooting in natural and low light settings becomes approachable with some of the faster 3rd party Noctons and this camera. I use an off camera flash system that doesn't marry to the electronics of Panasonic (it's not TTL), but gets me there. I can shoot three or four remote, wireless flashes from a unit mounted on top of the camera, and it works for me. I haven't used the system on Pro studio lighting so cannot comment.

    I like the quality of the Panasonic lenses, they form the core of my system. I have them all, even the big 50mm 4/3rds lens adapted in. I have Zeiss lenses from 35mm on up to 200mm and others for specialized work, where absolutely stunning crispness and time to focus allow for such. But I always return to the Panasonics. That 14-45 is very much underrated IMO, the 20 1.7 cannot be beat. The new 100-300 looks pretty darn good too.

    It's the form factor. And now, its the camera and lenses. I wish they WOULD do a pro body, as I tend to work in all kinds of weather, outdoors, where shooting forms a part of the daily grind.

  3. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    I think in a year or two we will see a semi-pro, or 'prosummer' (I hate that word :smile:) body.
    I think that Panasonic may have been slightly caught out by the popularity of mft and are probably now re-thinking their plans for future bodies.
    They are never going to compete with Canon/Nikon in the pro field, and I doubt they will even try to, but im sure the enthusiasts and semi pro will eventually be catered for.
  4. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill (really)
    I think that wedding photography, along with photojournalism, is the most demanding of endeavours. There's often no opportunity for a re-run.

    I love my GF1 and MFT, but if I was a wedding photographer I would use a full-frame DSLR for most things and a Leica M9 for the unobtrusive work. I would be aiming for a lot of pixels (for cropping), great low-light performance and plenty of dynamic range.
  5. kiynook

    kiynook Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 16, 2010
    I just got married and had a professional photographer (Vogue Collection Wedding Gallery) taking our wedding shots. No studio shots, all outdoors and on-site.

    He says he needed to use his FF cause there are always lots of post-processing and blow-up prints. As such, he needed biggest image files to work from (24+mp).

    I instead used my MFT to take shots of him in action..
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    Pretty much any non-studio photographic task provides little, if any, opportunity for a re-run. Wedding photography is part action and part studio, with much of the work more studio oriented (ie you stage the shots), even the ceremony could be considered staged.

    The only advantage that DSLRs currently have is faster AF (if that's needed), high frame rate (again if needed), options for a larger sensor (though a Leica is an alternative) and somewhat better high ISO (again, if needed). We've been covering every sort of photographic task for years with all manual gear and managed to survive.


  7. PeteMarshall

    PeteMarshall Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    As I pro, who doesn't do weddings, I have no problem switching from Canon 1 series bodies to m 4:3's GF-1 and GH-1. The iq difference is marginal and certainly not a factor for something like wedding photography.

    The advantage of pro bodies is mainly build quality. At the price of Lumix cameras they can be treated as disposable so just make sure you have a few bodies and shoot RAW. I have used a 5 D regullalry and the G series camera are built just as well, in fact the build quality of the GF-1 is better (although nowhere near 1 series build quality). Given that digital cameras only have a short life span paying several thousand pounds for 1 series build, when I can have 10 G series bodies for the same price is a bit of a no brainer. However for sports or wildlife the G series cameras don't really cut it, but for most everything else....

    For times requiring speedy AF I would return to a Canon 1 D and L series lens, otherwise the flexibility of the G series camera and particularly the ease of MF and vast lens choice (with older but high quality lenses) compared to dSLR's as well as their video capabilities makes them a good choice.

    For a wedding I think I would want one Canon or Nikon body with a f2.8 24-70mm lens and flash for the vital pictures, but could use a GF-1 or GH-1 for everything else.
  8. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    My company has used m4/3 for weddings. (GH1's) for video, which has been fine, no problem at all and as secondary cameras for stills. We used Canon DSLR's for the main stills shooting. From the results we were very pleased with the GH1's for stills but never felt that we were able to use these as primary cameras. The reasons were - The Canons were faster, larger file size to allow cropping, better build quality, tried and tested reliability and customer perception.

    This doesn't mean that the results from the Canons were better than m4/3, they weren't particularly, and there are a high proportion of m4/3 shots ending up in our wedding story books.

    Its a difficult one. I agree with you totally about the back ache. One DSLR + battery grip + flashgun + heavy zoom lens plus backup camera + battery grip + lens over my shoulder for a full days non-stop shooting is a recipe for a wheelchair. However a wedding and the non-repeatable nature of what goes on means that you have to be 100% sure of getting the shots. Much as I love m4/3 I don't have that 100% faith in them for a wedding.

    The GH2 may do many of things required, fast AF, decent high ISO performance etc. but I'm not sure I'm totally convinced by the build quality of the cameras or the lenses for a pressured day shooting a wedding. Having said that, our GH1's have performed flawlessly for video, and are much more user friendly than our Canons for that.

    I've been wrestling with this dilemma for some time & you might be interested in these blog posts.

    Soundimageplus: G - Series wedding (part 1)

    Soundimageplus: G - Series wedding (part 2)

    Soundimageplus: Wedding with Panasonic G series and Canon 5D MkII

    Soundimageplus: Wedding

    Soundimageplus: Enough is Enough
    • Like Like x 4
  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Might I add depth-of-field control too : I know its a bit of a cliche but the wedding photographs I prefer are almost always shallow-DOF.

    I'd say m4/3rds would NOT be the natural way to go, even if the GH2 performs brilliantly.
    I've noticed that some manufacturers are making suitable cameras which while appearing large seem to be reducing in weight.
    Just as an impression, recent Sonys have felt 'hollow', which is a good thing for those who are feeling the weight of things.
  10. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    It's clear that many are looking forward to a pro mft camera.
    I'm one of them...
  11. DownUnderDog

    DownUnderDog Mu-43 Regular

    As an almost retired pro, I purchased a Panasonic G1 after reading Michael Reichmann's review on Luminous Landscape. It continues to impress me. Recently I performed an assignment for a real estate client using my G1.
    Not quite the quality of my 5D but so good i'd use it again. Coming up is a friend's wedding where I'll trot out the G1 again. You won't get the lenses you talk about (f2.8 zooms) but life is a compromise, and so are cameras. Somtimes I forget I'm carrying a camera it is so light.
  12. EasyEd

    EasyEd Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    Hey All,

    I just got back from taking my son down to his high school for Senior pictures. Two photographers taking pictures of the kids - one doing the cap gown type picture camera on a tripod the other doing more casual hand held images. Of course they had all the lights umbrella bounces the whole bit including synced flashes and all.They only use one kind of camera for their portrait photography - a Panasonic GH1 14-140 mm lens. It's their workhorse for the bulk of their work. They do lots of schools. They way prefer the Panasonic to their D300s and Mark 5s that they use for sports. They said the Panasonic is a camera you don't mind having in your hands all day. They had a D300 sitting their idle in case they needed it. I guess some Pros do use Panasonic - I've now seen it.

  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    I picked up my E3 with 14-35mm lens a little while ago to try out how my ringlight worked with the combination. Good Grief! I'd completely forgotten how large and heavy the whole kit was. Also, what was immediately obvious was the lack of info in the viewfinder, which I get with the E-P2/E-PL1 EVF. I haven't picked up the E3 for quite a while and I was at a complete loss as to how to select manual mode etc.

    I really, really hope that Olympus does bring out the rumoured hybrid camera, so that I can still use the fantastic 4/3s lenses (albeit somewhat large and heavy), with m4/3s bodies. Though, more and more, I'm wondering if I should sell the lot.


  14. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010

    Well after doing my blog post yesterday I spent the rest of the morning putting all my Canon DSLR gear onto ebay, so I understand your thoughts.
  15. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    soundimageplus, I see you and I are definitely on the same wavelength gear-wise. I've just added an M8, which should arrive next week. I plan to add an M9 next year.
  16. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    As much as I'd like to do that, and even if :43: bodies get good enough and fast enough for me to consider something like that (and they are not there yet, not by a long shot), I would still need another camera body (other than a :43: body). Why? For the DOF considerations that I have to allow for - some of my shots need to have very shallow DOF for effect! The smallest sensor that I can do this with is an APS-C sized sensor and reasonably affordable primes (or full frame camera and I can maybe get away with a fast f/2.8 zoom of long enough focal length). Anything smaller and I would have to purchase fast primes so expensive that it would defeat the purpose. :smile: