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my tortuous path to mu -43

Discussion in 'Welcomes and introductions' started by dko22, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    hello everyone -- I'm David from Edinburgh. I've been a photography enthusiast for around 30 years though it has come and gone in phases with membership of a few clubs along the way. Eventually I got frustrated with the lack of immediacy of feedback film and craved digital. The first system I bought into was Olympus. I was trying to find a system which would provide good quality but without too much size or weight and considered the new E400 but eventually got the E500 as it was much cheaper but more bulky --the first broken rule. I then collected a selection of increasingly heavy lenses including my first ever fisheye but after a year or so, despite a good deal of enjoyment with this camera, became frustrated with a couple of things, namely the lack of a true ultrawide and any kind of stabilisation on telephoto. The high ISO was far from inspiring as well. Was within an ace of getting the E3 but then thought to myself, you really cannot afford that --is there not a better deal around? So I switched to Nikon who had at the time a perhaps better lens range including the option to use old primes.

    Eventually, I'd collected enough old legacy odds and ends to want to see them with the correct focal length as well as still having some frustration with low light. Enter the D700 last autumn which I hadn't expected for another year or more but I was lucky with a local second hand one. Finally a camera with no weaknesses apart from its annoying tendency to show up every little defect of lenses! Some lens rearrangement required. But finally I was settled --I was quite sure the IQ would do me happily for another 5 years. Just one small issue (apart from dust which has driven me to distraction once or twice). It was difficult to decide what to take on short trips as the kit was neither light nor compact. And I had vague thoughts about a lighter second camera but can't stand anything with only an LCD and anything else was too bulky or expensive.

    Then purely by chance a few weeks ago I saw an ad for a clearance of the G1 at under £300 which is much less than I thought a mu-43 camera would cost. Read reviews and thought, well this could be a nice second camera. Now the problems really start as I like it so much that I'm wondering if i really need the full frame stuff. This, after all, was what I was really looking for when I first got the Olympus four thirds camera. I was already sure at that time that the days of the DSLR must be numbered but had no idea how long this hybrid system would last. Objectively, the low light/high ISO performance is similar to the Nikon D200 and clearly below the D700 but yet I'm finding in practice already that the G1 can cope far better than I'd expected with tricky lighting. Of course just now I only have the 14-45 but am seriously considering building a system out of this. But I can't have both, esp. if I get the wonderful sounding, 7-14 and if the D700 has to go, it will have to be before it is replaced so I can probably get back as much as I paid. So, big decisions to be made and I'll no doubt be pestering some of the FF v MFT threads. Ok, I admit I already started...

    David
     
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  2. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hello and welcome David, thanks for the interesting background. The G1 won't stop you getting fantastic photographs that's for sure! It's a terrific bargain right now.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi David

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    One thing that may help is to pause and think of either 'end' of your photography. By this, I mean that working with your camera to compose and take the shot is one end, processing is in the middle and the output is the other end.

    If the bulk of the photography you currently enjoy (and I choose that word deliberately) is simpler for you with a smaller, lighter set of gear, then this helps shape your choice. What do you enjoy shooting? Is high ISO ability important to you? leaving aside the processing, which is largely the same regardless of camera, then let's consider the output.

    Do you print some of your photographs? If so, to what size, and how seriously do you take the print?

    I have a M4/3 camera (GF1) and a FF camera (Canon 5D) and deeply enjoy both.

    Always remember that you managed to get a D700 at a good price and can do so again if you feel that you once again need a FF.

    I am keeping both for now. The 5D produces images with a particularly delicious quality, especially for landscapes, that i would sorely miss.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi Pelao, I was always originally just a landscape guy but since digital have tried to do a few street scenes and moody interiors. I would actually like to do more portraits or at any rate more pictures with people in them but often seem too shy.

    At the moment I print rather seldom and a while ago postponed a decision on an A3 printer though one day before long I will buy one and then certainly start to print more seriously. High ISO is fairly important as I enjoy rather low light woodland scenes for instance but am finding I can capture these quite easily with the G1 often using a lower ISO than previously because of the generally wider aperture used in 4/3rds and the inbuilt OIS meaning that shots of around 1/8 or even slower are normally sharp. Also the advent of Lightroom 3 has really made a significant difference to high ISO as colour noise is effectively eliminated now and outdoors at least luminance is not disturbing. I find that ISO 2500 in even lighting (which is actually around 3200 ISO according to DxO) is invisible at normal (1600 pixels) screen view or A4 print. Only 3200 (really over 4000) really oversteps the mark and is unusable for colour images. Indoors can be trickier but even here the results have exceeded my expectations.

    Weight is the biggest single consideration but I also prefer the metering and DoF feedback through liveview that you can get, not to mention real manual focussing if needed. And that shutter is so much more civilised

    thanks for your feedback --David
     
  5. Chuck Pike

    Chuck Pike Mu-43 Veteran

    333
    Apr 3, 2010
    Charlotte, NC.
    Many of us have been where you find yourself.

    Funny that you are comparing the m 4/3 to the Nikon D200. That was the last Nikon that I owned, and just gave it to my youngest son. I have the
    GF1 and am shooting more than ever. The weight of the DSLR with several lens just didn't work for me any more. I just placed an order for the 45-200mm lens, and I think that fills in my kit. I already have the 20mm and 14-45mm lens both of which are great. This kit gives me as good a result as I ever got with the D200 with a pro lens on it. I wasn't sure that I was going to get rid of the DSLR equipment, but the longer I used the GF1 the more I realized that the DSLR was just sitting there.


    photosbypike
     
  6. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 14, 2010
    Toronto
    Welcome Auld Reekie!

    Do you have any 4/3rds lenses? They adapt well to our system.

    Some shots around town for us please! I miss the place.

    Bokeh Diem
     
  7. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I could probably run to the 20 and 45-200 and keep the D700. But I love the perspective of ultrawide and the 7-14 is a serious investment. The 9-18 is tempting as well, especially as it's so tiny and light and is not very different from my current 17-35. My instinct tells me that the Panny would be the most logical step though
     
  8. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi Bokeh --- I don't have my 4/3 lenses any more, shame really, but i think they were a bit heavy for this system. I'll try to get some G1 Edinburgh images up on Zenfolio and/or the gallery here before too long
     
  9. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I just want to add my welcome, David! I'm looking forward to seeing some of your photographs, soon.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Welcome.
    Big mistake!
    Did you keep your Oly e-500 and any lenses? -I'm asking because the e-user forum has a trip up a steeple possible in Edinburgh next weekend. I suppose you could ask to smuggle in your puny G1 instead ...

    Yesterday I found myself really impressed with the live DOF response using my G1 with an old Russki f-2-ish lens.
     
  11. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi Brian and thanks for the welcome. This forum has a nice friendly feel about it and it's almost like coming home after deserting four thirds for a couple of years. But the new micro version is really what I'd been hoping this format would be all along. Just a wee update to the sensor which will on doubt come with the third generation and I couldn't see any reason for shooting anything else. I remember that the Oly group were thinking of planning a safari to Edinburgh which you were organising but I guess that if it happened, it was while I was in Nikon banishment!
     
  12. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    A steeple! I don't have ahead for heights although I confess to recent climbing to the top of the world's highest one in Ulm --770 steps... Do you really think they would allow someone in with a toy camera? Am intrigued to hear more. To answer your question, I didn't keep anything in the end but sold the basic kit to a friend who still is happily using it.
     
  13. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I certainly would love to get an event going in Edinburgh... just getting organised right now but perhaps by this Autumn we'll have a go!

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  14. Bill H

    Bill H Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    May 6, 2010
    Santa Rosa, CA
    D700 vs G1

    David,

    I have a Nikon D200 and D700 and have had them since they came onto the market. I also have the GF1 with the 20mm. I have a full set of glass for my D700 and wouldn't give the camera up for anything. I did get an adapter to use some of my fixed focal length lenses with the GF1 and so far they have worked well except for the weight. What I have found is I carry the GF1 with me all the time and I shoot a lot more photos with it. When I am really serious about a subject and want that full frame shot or need the high ISO I will take the D700 with me. My next lens for the GF1 is the 14-140. I know as I get a little older the weight of the D700 backpack gets me down, whereas the small Domke bag I have for the GF1, lenses,phone, glasses case and so on is easy to carry. I would try and keep the D700 at least for a while and think about what you want to shoot and which camera will work for the shot.

    Bill Hewitt
     
  15. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the advice. At the moment I'm still undecided. A curious thing happened today at work. I work with the city council in IT and happened to be with one of their leading photographers. He has a D700 with all the gubbins -- 17-35, 80-200 and that fat thing on the bottom which makes it look like a D3. I said I'd fallen in love with m43, especially because of the weight. "Weight", he said, "what weight?" and then told me he had to carry this cam with the 80-200 solidly for two hours on assignment and was absolutely exhausted. He quite likely has a buyer for the Nikon stuff if I want to sell and rather fancies the 70-300 himself (this to me is an large and heavy lens but of course not a patch on the 80-200 f2.8). I need to continue my tests. If, in general, I like the images as much from the G1 then I have to consider what percentage of shots would require the D700 because of G1 limitations. So far, I doubt it's even 1% for my kind of shooting. Of course all cameras have limitations --DR is a fraction of what the human eye can (and greater light and shade is actually a lot of what makes a photo distinct though the craze for HDR might make you think otherwise). The eye doesn't see purple fringing, distortions and edge fuzziness. All these and more, many of which are primarily lens defects, make up the total package. I'd love to think I don't have GAS but I'd probably be fooling myself. But i do have a real desire to get on and spend more time trying to be creative than in the impossible hunt for the perfect camera --obviously a 200g pocketable 12-800 f1.0 zoom lens with eye quality IQ on a rangefinder cam with an EVF equal to an SLR but of course with a large 2x at least view would be a good start