Questions about street candids with the E-M5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Sener, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Sener

    Sener Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2013

    I am a previous Nikon D700 user. I mainly shoot street candids and night scenes. You may check my portfolio here;

    Earlier this year I had to sell my gear in order to finance a vacation. I am now able to buy back my gear. Before when I had the FF setup I was thinking of complementing my it with a smaller camera, namely Nex-5N. But for some recent months I am aware of the m4/3 format. I think this format will suit me more in my street candids, due to smaller lenses, faster AF and quieter operation. I am contemplating to build a m4/3 setup before I will buy back my FF gear.

    You see getting street portraits with D700 and a huge-ish fast prime or tele mounted on it is nice, enjoyable, color depth, bokeh, FF and all that.. But big equipment lacks any stealth (which limits you in certain circumstances), and it starts getting cumbersome to carry everywhere, or after a certain time. And I also desire to try a new angle for my photography. I am not a pixel-peeper and "6400 ISO must be squeaky clean" guy, so differences in IQ will not matter, at least not to any serious degree. But I am fond of Olympus jpeg outputs.

    I am considering to build a set consisting of the e-m5 + Pan 14mm + Oly 45mm. I am desiring to use, especially the 45mm with the touch shutter. I think it can be very enjoyable to take candids while holding the machine at hipshooting position, tilting the rear screen up and touch-shuttering that silent shutter all day long without anyone noticing. And it could add to stealth since I won't be raising the camera to eye level. The fast AF may even allow shooting while walking.

    ... or am I imagining these?

    I wonder. Is the E-M5 feasible like this, and with these lenses? Or is it simply more comfortable to use with the viewfinder at eye level?

    I am into trying a new thing here, so I would appreciate all sorts of remarks and suggestions.

    Also if I cannot get the E-M5 at a reasonable price, I am also considering the E-PL5, so you may as well comment on that camera too.

    Thanks in advance, my regards.
  2. aydemiru

    aydemiru Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2012
    Real Name:
    no you are not imagining ┼×ener. M4/3 is all about being nobody using a p&s camera on the street:biggrin: Seriously, small bodies, very nice lenses ( pana 20mm in my case esp ), option to use touch screen to shoot (in my case e-p3's ), option to use a nice viewfinder ( vf-2 ), effortlesly usable jpgs, beautiful jpg colors, in short, being comfortable and having space to focus on right moments when i am out to streets like you in ─░stanbul are my reasons to use m4/3. I've used Nikon, Canon (5D, 40D, XS ), Pentax DSLRs, but ricoh gx100 and Oly bodies (e-pm1 and e-p3 ) were my real mates if i am out to get some candids.Oly 12mm, 17mm sisters ( 1.8 and 2.8 ), Pana 14, 20, 25 and many more lenses are there for you to choose. I can't comment on e-m5 specifically but it is like a e-pX body with a vf-2 molded to it (of course in a more fashionable way :rolleyes: ). e-pm1 is exactly joy to use, her sister e-pl3 and their inheritor e-pl5, all would do the trick for you imho (plus a vf-2,3,4 ).
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    nice shots.... you will struggle to get that degree of separation with m43 due to the wider DOF at a given f stop..... though to be honest they look to me over exaggerated even for FF without some PP manipulation.

    the 75/1.8 will probably get you closest to that look, or maybe some of the sub f/1 manual focus primes

    That said, m43 is great for street work

    don't have a definitive set on flickr for m43 street work

    but these sets might give some guidance as will a trawl through my whole flickr stream, where every almost everything from the last 18 months has been shot on E-M5 or E-m1


  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    I know that you like the Olympus, but have you considered the Ricoh GR instead of buying the 14mm? That and an E-PL5 or an E-M5 with the 45mm would be a very compact two-camera set-up for street photography. And, you could always pickup the 75mm to add to this kit.

  5. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    The ability to use a fold-out screen so that you can actually compose an image, select the correct focus point at the instant of capture by using the touchscreen, and with autofocus that is fast enough to work while both photographer and subject are moving and while using larger apertures all mean that a Micro 4/3 camera is better equipped to get good subject isolation than most others with wide to normal lenses. My favourite lens for this type of photography is the 25mm f1.4. The look is a lot different to the wide-angle, zone-focused, shoot-from-the-hip style that might otherwise be considered to be di rigueur for a street camera. Occasionally I've used the 45mm f1.8 but it isn't quite as sure and quick with focus and longer focal lengths just make everything feel a bit "remote" as though you're observing from a distance.

    OEM5-PC210771-PR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    OEM5-PC210766-PR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    OEM5-PC210769-PR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    OEM5-PC210759-PR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    OEP5-PB230141-PR Olympus Pen E-P5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    OEP5-PB230162-PR Olympus Pen E-P5 Brisbane Australia by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr

    Regarding the decision of an E-PL5 vs an E-M5, my reservation would be that the rear screen is smaller on the E-PL5 which will make focus point selection and framing less accurate and that the less effective stabilisation might not mask any potential camera movement as well.
  6. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Real Name:
    Marc Sitkin
    You'd probably do well with the EM5 and the 45mm f1.8 in better lighting conditions, and the 17mm 1.8 for less optimal conditions. I find focusing is very fast on the 17mm, and accurate. 45 seems to be a bit sharper when you nail it. The 75mm is a fabulous lens, but you need light to focus it.

    Some examples may be found among the images in this post:

    The greatest strength of the system is the ability to fly under the radar. You look like a tourist and won't get attention. Take a camera, two or three lenses, put them in a small canvas bag, and have fun.
  7. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you really want a SILENT (electronic) shutter a Panasonic body, like the GX7, is the way to go. I own an E-M5, and use the PL25/O45 for candids. The shutter makes a reasonably soft clap but is certainly not silent.
  8. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    Real Name:
    I used shoot street with my Nikon D7000 and even with a 70-200 attached at times, and other times a 30mm f1.4...Anyway, I didn't really get that close and into the action as such. I really like the Olympus PEN E-P5 for street, exactly as the OP imagines, shooting from the hip with the rear screen fold out, gives a great top level view finder like my Mamiya medium format cameras have....

    And as it is small and retro looking I tend to blend in more, and can get much more into the action. Focus is super fast so even when moving myself, and the subject moving it works great....I haven't got that much online yet but here are a few samples with the PEN 5.

    Walking along, just raising the camera on auto focus :)


    And one from the hip...


    You can click them for full size versions and a couple more...

    PS. Not sure why this board software seems to cut to crop the second image...
  9. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2013
    I followed your link and one shot of yours made me laugh, even almost ROFL. It's the one where a lady and gent are shooting with their mighty cannons. You should post that one here. I think that is hard evidence why eventually smaller camera platforms will win the game. I hope m43 and Olympus will be among those. Anyway, fever and fever people will be ready for that kind of commitment for photography what FF gear requires with huge lenses. And I'm not overlooking here some technical aspects FF still have over smaller platforms, I'm only thinking the easiness of smaller gear.
  10. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    Real Name:
    Thank you. I like to play tog a tog. I'll be putting a full series soon.