1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

OMD or Pen for timelapse: How tough is the shutter mechanism?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Kenny, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    Since I got a gopro hero2, Im kinda addicted to timelapse photography. However, the images produced by gopro are not as sharp as I wanted it to be. So my questions is, how long can the OMD or the new Pen will last if I use them for timelapse photography(let's say one a months).

    Im inspired by this guy's video [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGnrT0F-Igs]Speeding Around The World in Under 5 minutes Time Lapse - YouTube[/ame] who used a Panasonic Lumix GF-1, 20mm f/1.7 and 14-45mm f/3.5-4.5 and Im planning to do the same thing for my 2 weeks trip to the USA west coast this winter break.

    Currently I have the epl5, but will probably return it and get a used omd instead because of the 5 axis ibis for handheld video.

    Im really afraid that my camera will only last for a year or less because of the abusing of the shutter mechanism. Im a college student, and I've been saving for this. I also consider the gh3 because of it has electronic shutter, but it's still not yet available and my flight is next week on the 19th.
     
  2. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    The OM-D is rated for 100,000 actuations...most (if not all) PENs are rated for 30,000-50,000.

    Depending on how many pictures you plan on taking, you may want to consider a pro Canikon with a 300,000 actuation shutter.

    Of course a mechanical shutter can fail at any time.
     
  3. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    354
    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    G5 with kit lens for $499!
     
  4. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    Not gonna carry Canikon for 5 days hike. I dont know if I can make it. LOL
     
  5. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    It's tempting. I was thinking of buying a cheap but good old micro four thirds camera for timelapse only.
     
  6. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Looks like fun stuff to experiment with time-lapse photography. But when you take into account the amount of actuations required for a 'smooth' looking clip of perhaps 5 minutes like the example above...it's a heck of a lot of shots....even for the 100k rated EM5 shutter.

    I'm lead to believe that to achieve a smooth looking clip you need to playback at atleast 24fps...even 30fps. 5 minute clip is 300 seconds X 30fps = 9000 frames !! ...just for that 1 clip. That's a third of your EP3 or GX1 lifespan.

    Given that for such photography you don't need to shoot at max resolution or in RAW for that matter, you're probably best off doing this kind of stuff with a cheap second hand GF1 or early PEN, at the size you'll be shooting (small to medium sized JPEG) the image quality is way more than good enough. And when you frazzle the shutter you just pick up another cheap second hand body.
     
  7. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
  8. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Aug 6, 2012
    Even if it broke down, can't you service it? Being a prismless, mirrorless camera, isn't the mechanical shutter simpler and cheaper to replace?
     
  9. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    The GoPro is awesome, I used mine a lot last northern winter when I was snowboarding up in BC...you know the type of video I'm talking about..."jackass snowboarder GoPros himself doing epic face plant off 15 foot ledge" ;)

    I'm not sure where you're going exactly but I'd say go with a early model m43 camera...the image quality totally destroys what your gopro would do. A GF1 +P14 is a great little combo available for cheap, is portable and can still produce really amazing quality images outside of time lapse.
     
  10. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    Do you happen to know what is the cost of repairing the shutter mechanism of omd?
     
  11. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Jan 25, 2012
    Doesn't G5 have an electronic shutter option? If it can be used for time-lapse shooting then it's a way better camera than any other old mft body since you can use it for everything else as well.
     
  12. digitaldan1

    digitaldan1 Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Mar 22, 2010
    Before switching to Olympus I shot Canon and had to replace the shutter on several cameras (D30 - once, 20D- twice, IDmkIIn -once) and it usually cost about $200 (last time was a few years ago though).

    I have no idea what it costs to replace the shutter on an E-M5, but if it's in that range, it might still be cheaper to fix the camera unless you found a really good deal on a new "old" body GF1 or E-P2. I wouldn't go used simply because the body might already have a lot of wear and tear on it.
     
  13. addled

    addled Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Oct 1, 2011
    Marbella, Spain
    The GH2 has among its' various options that of firing 40 frames per second of 2 MP jpegs. Using a timer you can instead use this to create timelapses with the advantage that the jpegs are already practically the size of 1080P video frames and that it uses an electronic shutter, so little wear and tear.
     
  14. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    129
    Oct 18, 2012
    Colorado
    Chris
    I am a time lapse photographer, In the last year and a half I have put at least 100,000 actuations between my Nikon D7000, Canon 60D and OMD.

    I also develop motion control systems for timelapse photography. This is where I estimate 60,000 of those images went, just test footage, sample footage, trying to iron the kinks out of Chronos 2.0, experimenting with lens controllers, multiple axis, etc.

    The testing is what really ramps up the mileage, if i were doing motion showcase reels instead of test reels i would probably rack up maybe 30,000 a year.

    Think of it this way, 100,000 actuations (the shutter may last a lot longer but lets stick with this number) at 30fps would provide 3,333 seconds of timelapse, that is roughly 55 minutes of footage.

    My normal go-to routine for a timelapse (daytime) is 360 images, 5 second intervals, turned into a 12 second video. This takes roughly 1/2 hour to complete.

    For that routine i have to grab all my gear, load it all up, head out to the spot, hike to the exact locations, setup all the gear, run the timelapse, find another spot, etc. In the end i generally will do no more than 3-4 timelapse routines at a single spot, usually it is just 2, sometimes maybe 1.

    Lets go with heavy use, 4 routines, that is 2 hours of shooting plus setup/teardown/travel, easily comes out to 5-6 hours (dont forget processing time later)

    if i do that 3 times a week, which is quite a bit of work at this point, that is 4,320 images. add in some test shots and goof ups that comes to 5,000 shots per week.

    so with VERY heavy use, in about 5 months you might kill your shutter.


    If you are like me and do this for hobby i average about 2 timelapses per week. That adds up to about 37,000 images a year, which should give you close to a 3 year life span.



    So in the end, it really depends on how often you plan to get out there. Go for quality over quantity, 99.9% of the time your timelapses will be under 400 images each. Even 12 second clips seem a bit long sometimes.


    In the end, yes, timelapse puts extra wear on the shutter. The shutters can be replaced, and that should just be budgeted in. The good news is timelapse cameras are not constantly handled, they are normally on a tripod, or a rail, or a PT. Therefore almost ALL of the wear is on the shutter. The rest of the camera remains in excellent shape.

    Expect a shutter replacement to run between $200-$300 on average.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  15. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I agree with some of the other posters. Why not use the electronic instead of mechanical shutter. Then you don't have to worry about it.

    For timelapse, how about a Canon. They big advantage is that you can use CHDK to program up a sequence internally and not have to rely on an external trigger mechanism.
     
  16. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    129
    Oct 18, 2012
    Colorado
    Chris
    The fun thing about using an external trigger mechanism is you get to do a lot more cool things, especially with motion. Plus, i believe it is the small P&S cameras that can run the CHDK. If you step up to the DSLR you get much better quality plus you can use Magic Lantern Firmware which is a lot of fun. See more below.


    Why do people think that because it is timelapse you should just get a cheap camera with a 2nd or 3rd rate sensor and shoot low rez Jpeg?

    If you just want to do this once or twice as a novelty then sure, go cheap, but if you want to put out high quality images you still need high quality optics. The big names in timelapse almost exclusively shoot with 5Dmk3's with nothing short of L series wide angle lenses. Nikon D800 is starting to show up more and more often, but in the end when it comes to equipment demands this is no different than professional landscape photography.

    Right now there are only a couple of cameras in the 43'rds arsenal i would even consider, and that is the OMD, the E-PL5, and the Panasonic GH-3.

    Just because you generally scale it down to 1080p does not mean you should not be concerned with dynamic range, tonal accuracy, sharpness, DOF, etc. Many Timelapse photographers shoot for 4K video to make sure thier timelapses will look the best in the future.

    IMO you always want to shoot raw and get as much image info as possible, You deal with very dynamic landscapes with constantly changing scenes. if you shoot low rez jpegs you will get all that wonderful banding in the sky that you dont want, the highlights and shadows will all suffer, and you can forget a quality day to night transition, or even a decent astro-lapse.

    CAN you do a time lapse with an old pen or P&S? yes. Of course. And it will look like you did so.

    But with as much time and energy it takes to do such a thing, it seems like sort of a waste to use lower end optics.


    As for the OMD, so far i have really enjoyed it for timelapse. The OLED screen on the back is great especially when using ramping motion control systems like the ones I build. The weather sealing means you can shoot through a rain storm, and if you shut off IBIS and AF, you can get over 1,000 shots in a single battery. It is easy to sync up with a trigger, and the image quality is fantastic. Not to mention the fact it is very small and lightweight, it makes it much more enjoyable to lug all that gear up a 3 mile hike.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    yes it's. But im planning to invest on gh3 in the future. So i might skip this. I have a few oly primes, so no ibis for handheld video is a turn off.

    This video really inspires me, all handheld :smile: So there's no need for me to make my friends wait while Im setting up my tripod. https://vimeo.com/48272069
     
  18. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    You should let me watch your video :smile: link perhaps?

    Im not really a fan of dslr because of it's system size. So what do you think of gh3 and electronic shutter? Is electronic shutter the new timelapse function without killing your shutter mechanism? Will you sell your nikon and canon and buy this?
     
  19. Kenny

    Kenny Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 9, 2012
    KL Malaysia
    Tell me more about raw and size of the image for timelapse? Im a bit new about this. I used to shot gopro timelapse and set it at 11mp. Eat a lot of my memory. I plan to display in on laptop, 32in tv, and the largest would be lecture hall(approx 500-1k students) using projector. Tell me more about this, Im really interested.
     
  20. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    129
    Oct 18, 2012
    Colorado
    Chris

    here is my vimeo channel, most of the stuff in there is just test footage i have collected while developing Chronos 2.0
    https://vimeo.com/channels/279374

    I already sold my Canon for the OMD, I am selling my Nikon for the Fuji XE-1. The reason for this is i like to take my equipment hiking. My timelapse rail weighs in at 15lbs when you include the tripod head. Add in a pair of DSLR's and lenses and the whole system weighs in at 30lbs.

    The new rail "Chronos Lite" offers the same usability as my current rail but weighs 4.5lbs. The OMD + lens and fuji + lens are also about 5lbs. That is a 20lb weight savings :)

    As for the electronic shutter, I'm not really that worried about it. My main concern is small cameras with excellent optics. If i am putting 20,000 actuations each year on each camera, i should be good for 5-6 years worth of timelapse shooting.

    Odds are ill have retired the cameras long before the shutters have given up. If one of the shutters dies out, ill just have it fixed.
     
    • Like Like x 1