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New Member, Seeking Guidance

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by schmidty3634, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    Hello everyone. I am new here, though I have been lurking for quite some time. I have recently acquired an E-M10, and would be interested in some thoughts.

    I have recently begun trying to take photographs of my daughter's dance performances. These tend to take place in your typical theater setting, with typical theater lighting. Ideally, I would like to have either of the PRO zoom lenses for this, but having just purchased the body, both standard zooms, and the 25mm (which I absolutely love for backstage, pre/post show candids), I am light on funds. I have shot a couple events with the kit zooms, and was surprised at the results I got by pushing ISO as high as 6400 (especially with the 40-150), but know that I need something faster. I have about $400-$500 to spend on lenses right now, which won't get me the PRO zooms, so I am looking at the following:

    Oly 45mm f1.8
    Sigma 60mm 2.8

    I also own a Canon FD 50mm and 85mm that I could get an adapter for, but unsure if manual focus at a theater style dance event is even worth considering.

    Does anyone have any advice, or experience shooting in such a setting?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 Veteran

    291
    Mar 18, 2015
    I can really recommend the Sigma 60mm for these kinds of things if the budget doesn't afford the pro zooms. I have done all of my concert photos until recently with it and have been very happy. I did get the Panasonic 35-100 for more flexibility but for the money you can't beat the Sigma. I don't know how far away you will be from things so I could imagine that the Oly is a little too short, but if it isn't it will offer you a wider aperture which is always nice.

    However, before spending any money, get a cheap adapter for your canon FD lenses. They really don't cost much and might give you the best results in terms of light gathering if you can deal with the MF.
     
  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    851
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Welcome to the forums.

    Are you shooting from your seat or the back of the theatre? Based on my experience with my daughter's dance performances, I think that the 45mm will definitely be too short and even the 60mm may be too short for your typical dance theater once you go beyond the first few rows. At your price point, I would go for the 75/1.8 which can be found used in that range. I intend to do this ahead of my daughter's next show (or rent the 35-100/2.8). An adapter for your canon 85 sounds like it may be worth trying as well.

    You might want to search for @Speedliner@Speedliner's ballet images. I recall that he bought the four-thirds 150/2 for this purpose.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    Thanks for your input. I have read good things about the Sigma, and had decent success with the Canon lenses on an old Nex, though I never tried them (or manual focus) in such an environment. But for the cost of an adaper, totally worth a try!
     
  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    He did but that lens is outside the OPs budget and will not focus very well on their EM10. I don't recommend 4/3 lenses for anything but the EM1 and then I highly recommend them.
     
  6. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    Generally I shoot from my seat, or from the wings, within the first 10 rows or so. The last performance, I was 5 rows back, and the small kit lens, at max zoom, was just barely tight enough. The Sigma might give enough extra reach, which is why I am leaning toward it over the 45.
     
  7. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    851
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Indeed. I was careless in stating why: My recollection is that he wanted the extra stop because he did not like the ISO noise. Which is why I recommended the 75/1.8 over the 60/2.8.

    [Edit]
    Also, I think that his shots show what can be achieved with the PRO lenses.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    He was after the extra stop of light over the 40-150 Pro but also he really wanted that lens. The 75 is great if it has reach you need. I'm looking at picking it up for times my 150/2 is to much reach but I need the faster aperture. Problem is, for most things from the stands it is just to short.
     
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    The first thing I would do would be to pick up a cheap adapter. They're typically like $15-20, and assuming the 50mm you own is the f/1.4 version, you can stop it down a stop to f/2 to increase the sharpness and control the CA a bit better. The stage should be in the same focal plane for the most part, with only the edges of the stage being further away. Use both the 50 & 85 to get an idea for the FoV that you'll need.

    My first thought was the 75mm, and it can be had for $500-550 used. It's a stop faster than the Sigma, which is nice, but IDK if it may be too tight for you. The Sigma is a very sharp lens, but at f/2.8 it may be troublesome depending on the lighting.

    You said that with the kit zoom at max reach is was still a bit short. When shooting at that focal length (42mm I'm guessing), what were your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO values? And were the shots free of motion blur, or was there some blur in them from being shutter speed/ISO limited?

    The reason I ask is because say you were at 42mm, max aperture of f/5.6, with and ISO of 6400 and a SS of 1/60, and were getting motion blur in the some of the shots. Say you need to be at a SS of 1/250 to get sharp shots. Going to a Sigma will buy you two stops wide open (f/5.6 to f/2.8), which would bring your SS from 1/60 to 1/250. But, if you use an f/2 lens (the Olympus 45 or 75, the possibly the Canon FD glass), you can get that same shutter speed but lower the ISO to 3200. Hell, with the 50mm f/1.4 wide open, you could lower the ISO to 800.

    So when you start talking about indoor performances with questionable lighting, every bit of aperture speed helps. This is all without knowing what your actual settings were, mind you.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Welcome

    Maybe take a look at what focal lenght you shot the most when you used the 40-150mm. (you can down load a free piece of software that anaylises the focal legth) If around 50 mm then both options should do well, but if you are at 100+ then I would question whether you obtain the necesarry reach with the 2 options. (you should obviously still get one of them or both because you can ALWAYS use another lens and if you need an argument to buy then look no further than this forum :))

    Remember to post some of the shots and your decision.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you can find a good deal on the 75mm f1.8, that should be ideal. If not, the 60mm f2.8 is a very good second place. 45mm f1.8 is not even going to get you double the reach of your 25mm, so I don't know if it will help that much.

    Instead of getting an adapter, I would sell your old manual lenses on ebay to help buy a nicer AF lens. Depending on which version of the 85mm you have, it could be worth $200+. That might help augment your budget into used 35-100mm f2.8 territory.
     
  12. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    It would be nice to see a few images from the current setup. It might help in making recommendations toward another lens.
     
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    That's a good point, although I would still buy an adapter to figure out what FoV is really needed. A 50mm f/1.4 only goes for about $75, so after factoring in the fees and shipping, he's only looking at roughly $50. At that price, it's worth it to hold on to the lens because it's a fantastic lens for portraits (I own one and love it, very sharp and beautiful OOF rendering). The 85mm though, that's a different story. If it's the f/1.8 version, he could get about $100 after all the fees and shipping cost.

    With the extra $100, he should easily be able to afford a used 75mm, plus have the FD 50mm still as well, which would both be great in terms of sharpness and speed.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  14. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    851
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Yes, it can be an odd focal length for sports events. For ballet performances, if one is shooting from the middle of the theater, it is probably a good length. The faster aperture would be very useful to freeze motion at lower ISOs. Personally, we have tended to sit in the back half of the theater for most of my daughter's shows and my typical focal length in the past has been between 120-160mm (FF equivalent). This is why I was thinking that the 75/1.8 or the 35-100/2.8 would be suitable for me. The choice comes down to the zoom vs the aperture.

    I have the 45 and it would definitely be too short unless you were all the way in the front. I don't own the Sigma, but the sample images are really nice and it is very affordable. Also, I have seen the 35-100/2.8 on the Buy/Sell threads for around 650 which might be an option if you prefer zooms.

    [Edit]
    Also, meant to point out that you can rent the 35-100 for around $100 for 4 days from lensrentals.com which may be an option.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    Thanks for your response. To answer your questions, with the kit zoom, I was at 42mm, f5.6, 1/250-1/320, and ISO 6400, from 5 rows back. Exposure was good, reach was a bit too far, no motion blur that bothered me, noise/details/sharpness were what I would like to improve.
     
  16. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    That's a tough one, as for that particular performance I was further back in the venue than usual, my daughter was performing at event where I didn't care to have photos of the whole group/stage (so I zoomed on her individually), so all of my shots were between 100-150mm.
     
  17. schmidty3634

    schmidty3634 Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Apr 27, 2016
    I will post a couple examples as soon as I can get them. Anyone know how to upload from my phone? I used the wifi feature and loaded a few onto my phone, but not sure how to get them here.
     
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Right next to the "Post Reply" button there is an "Upload Photo" button.

    f2.8 will give the same shutter speed with f2.8 and ISO 1600. ISO 1600 is still pretty clean on an E-M10 so you'll notice a good improvement.

    60mm f2.8 will give you about 50% more reach than you have at 42mm. If you want flexibility on where you can sit, then what you really want is a 35-100mm f2.8. Those aren't that cheap, unfortunately.
     
  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    All the three lenses are very good, the 75 and the Sigma taking first places. Considering that you are going for a low light situation the f/1.8 aperture is obviously better, bit if you are good with ISO 1600 the Sigma 60 is one of the super bargain of the m43 system considering the IQ. The 75 (used or refurbished) would be ideal unless you are too close, in this case the 45 is better also considering that if the lens is a little too wide you can crop but you cannot "add" later.

    With the Sigma you gain two stops (ISO or shutter speed), with the Oly lenses are three and a half.

    About adapting the lenses. With the 50, wide open or at 2.8, you may have enough DoF to cover the a good portion of the stage (more or less depending on your distance) so it may work. With the 85 the DoF is much smaller, even assuming a bigger distance: you may use it but it's really hard, especially for fast moving subjects. Considering that with a $10 adapter you get two new lenses it may be worth getting it just to try.

    A different suggestion: set the "noise filter" on the camera (to low or off) or shoot RAW and use a good program for denoise with fine tuning (you may get even a stop of ISO difference).

    Also make sure not to overexpose too much, the dark background can trick the camera, so you avoid clipping and gain ISO.
     
  20. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    284
    Jan 5, 2016
    Andy
    Ditto on the recommendations by others for O75mm f/1.8. It is fast and sharp, and focuses reasonably quickly.

    I would also add that the P42.5mm f/1.7 has been a great indoor performer for me, and the IQ is good enough to stand up to aggressive cropping especially at lower ISOs and would leave some money in your wallet compared to the 75.