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Newbie could use some guidance about what to buy

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Cecenk, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Cecenk

    Cecenk New to Mu-43

    Nov 25, 2012
    I currently have just a point and shoot. I would like to be able to take nicer photos of my son's lacrosse and football games. I would also like to start learning the ins and outs of a camera before a trip to Ireland next summer. On that trip I want to be able to take nice landscape photos as well as photos of people in the pubs at night (music tour) I have already spent hours reading posts on this forum but I'm still confused. Any input would be really helpful. Thanks!
  2. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    There is a lot to learn if you intended to take photography even semi-seriously. Getting the right hardware for your needs is just the first step of many in the process.

    A couple questions before giving real advice... What Point and Shoot are you using now, and what is your total budget for getting a new camera and lenses?
  3. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    More money vs. less money. Now is a good time to get a GH2 or one of the older Olympus Pens or Panasonic GX1.

    Questions: Do you want a P&S look alike? GX1 or one of the Olympuses. Do you want a EVF built in? GH2/3 or the Olympus with all the letters that end in the number 5.

    Lenses -- 20 or 25mm f/1.7 f/1.4 for the lower light situations; 45-200mm for a zoom unless you want to step up to the higher prices 2.8 zoom lenses (the Panasonic 14-45mm seems to be respected, newer f/2.8 lenses are even more respected and even more expensive, someone else can fill in about Olympus lenses).

    Money no object: latest top of the line model Olympus or Panasonic with the two f/2.8 zooms which cover from 12mm to 100mm (angle of view like 24mm to 200mm on full frame cameras), and one or two even faster primes. Total price: mumble mumble, over $3K, maybe closer to $4K US.

    Money somewhat an object: 14-45mm Panasonic zoom for the wide to short telephoto zoom, 20mm lens for the fast prime, and 45-200mm lens, or Olympus equivalents. This is my own kit, but with a GF1 (money was really an object). $400 for the GF1 and 14-45mm, $250 for the prime on sale, and $200 for the 45-200mm on sale. Circa $1000.

    Money is an object: You can start with a 14-4(something) in various price ranges, and add the fast prime later. Cheapest body now is the EPL-1 from Cameta, around $150. Total circa $250 to $350 for a basic body and kit lens depending. Or skip the kit lens and get one of the faster primes, maybe a longer one since most of what you're going to be shooting are sports.

    Available light shots -- the newer (more expensive) cameras will have less noise at higher ISOs. Try to get as fast a lens as you can afford, maybe two fast primes -- one telephoto, one normal. F1.8 or better for available light shots inside is the usual rule. I've used a older f/2.5 for available light shots (on a DSLR), so it's not an absolute rule, but the person wasn't moving.

    Sports shots -- A DSLR tends to do these better, but they can be done with micro43rds gear.
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Unfortunately, your request does NOT have an easy and short answer.

    Shooting action, is actually one of the extreme genres of photography requiring pretty specialized equipment (expensive) to attain consistent and exceptional images.

    Shooting action also requires significant experience and skill.

    Photography is not solely about equipment. What good equipment does provide in the hands of a skilled photographer is that it makes it easier and increases the consistency of getting the exceptional image.

    I know none of this is what you want to hear/read but you need to know the big picture. You could purchase a $7000.00 Nikon or Canon, a camera which is designed for action, slap on a $2500.00 zoom and still fail to produce an image as good as the skilled photographer sitting next to you with an entry level dSLR camera and lesser lens.

    But then you think hell, I'm not looking for professional results, just want images of my kids ...

    Now come the technical and sorta confusing part:

    Firstly, there are two primary schools of Autofocus in the digital camera world. The dSLR's use a Phase Detection autofocus system and most mirrorless cameras use a Contrast Detection autofocus system.

    The Contrast Detection is consistently more accurate than Phase Detection, but Phase Detection is vastly superior for shooting 'continuous action' sequences.

    While you can use a Contrast Detection camera for action shots, it is much harder with much less consistency than a camera setup for Phase Detection autofocus.

    1) If your primary purpose is action photography, you will be better served by a dSLR.

    2) If your primary concern is a good, all-around camera in a very small package, (knowing that action photograph will be harder with less consistency/frequency for capturing the exceptional image), then mirrorless will work for you.

    Action photography requires an Eye Level Viewfinder to maximize the photographer/camera ability to follow the action. So I recommend either the Olympus OM-D E-M5 or the Panasonic GH3.

    Both cameras are considered 'top-of-the-line' and both have the right stuff required for action/extreme photography. Both have Eye Level Viewfinders, both have high Frames Per Second capability (4FPS to 9FPS/OM-D), both deliver great imagery at elevated ISO's (in dim/dimming light one needs a higher ISO to bump up the shutter speed in order to stop action), both have battery grips for comfort, balance and extended battery life and both have long and fast lenses which extends the range of your photography but also enhances the look of the photograph (long & fast lenses will isolate the subject).

    The bottom line is that for action photography, dSLR is better, but the cameras are much larger and the cameras and lenses can be much more expensive.

    For most everything else, for general photography, you will not see a significant difference between mirrorless and dSLR.

    For clarification, Contrast Detection autofocus is lightening fast, faster than Phase Detection for stationary subjects and slower moving subjects. If the subject is moving, you'll, more-often-than-not, will get the first shot in focus, it is the follow-up, the sequencial images which suffer from the Contrast Detection.

    Remember, regardless of what system you choose, mirrorless and dSLR's are vastly superior, light years ahead, to a P&S for action.

    • Like Like x 5
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    If you are on a budget the G5, GH2 and G3 in that order can give you also very good results.
    They all have EVF and very good picture quality at lower price then the OMD and GH3.

    But again in order to help you we need to know the budget and preferences.
  6. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Gary, that's a really good response - it could be a "sticky" on the subject. :thumbup:


  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Just a possibility here. The Nikon 1 V1 is on sale at a good price here:
    Main Daily Deal, 1 Sale A Day
    or 399 with a longer zoom. The V1 is known for really fast AF for sports since it uses some hybrid Contrast/Phase detection AF. It also has an insane 60 fps rapid fire rate. Here's the DPR review:
    Review of Nikon 1 V1: Digital Photography Review

    For the price, it may be made to order for you. Just hurry, the sale goes away soon.
  8. maj13

    maj13 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    Gary; very nice summary of the subject. My sister has been asking me essentially the same question for a few weeks now, and I've just sent her your response. I think you've explained it better than I ever could.
  9. MarkyC

    MarkyC New to Mu-43

    Dec 13, 2012
    i was in the same boat as you, sat on the forum and read various reviews for hours. i ended up going with the e-pl6. waiting to receive in the mail still but i hope i made a good decision (no one recommended it to you in this threat?).

    good luck with your hunt
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