Real World Street Shootout! The Nikon D800 vs. The Olympus E-M10

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Jonathan F/2, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've posted many of these photos elsewhere, but I've decided to compile my thoughts on two different cameras both used in real world conditions on the mean streets of Los Angeles! Enter the full frame 36mp Nikon D800 DSLR versus the M43 16mp Olympus OM-D mirrorless!

    Just to get it out of the way...FF sensor quality with PDAF focusing is a combo that can't be matched in mirrorless. Saying that, size is a MAJOR issue and even with the D800 non-gripped and sporting a tiny 50mm 1.8 lens, the camera is huge! There is seriously no way to be discreet with such a setup, especially for my no-look pass/feint style of shooting. It attracts way too much attention and would make me a prime target for a mugging or beat down in shady neighborhoods.

    The E-M10 on the other hand is a born and bred street shooter! It's small, discreet, responsive and even in the silver two-tone, it just looks non-intimidating. :wink:

    The key differences between the two cameras is the D800 just produces beautiful files and has good focusing to back it up. On the flip side, the E-M10 allows me to get shots I wouldn't get otherwise in adverse conditions photographing subjects that more than likely do not want to be photographed. I also feel the E-M10 is priced just right for it's class.

    My final thoughts...really all these cameras are good, Just pick the right one for the job!

    D800 Pros:
    - Awesome files
    - Awesome cropping
    - Even in 1.5x crop mode I have approx. 16mp to play with
    - Better shallow DOF control
    - The Nikon 50mm 1.8 is dirt cheap
    - I don't have that annoying mirrorless issue of always hitting max shutter speed in bright light

    E-M10 Pros:
    - Less MP, but files are incredibly detailed
    - Olympus has better image processing and metering easily
    - Mirrorless CDAF focuses more precise wide open
    - Best IS system of any camera manufacturer
    - Perfect balance of size with both camera and lenses
    - In my opinion, Olympus gets modern retro just right

    --

    Photos shot with a D800 & 50mm 1.8 Lens -

    50 cents gets a prayer:
    wheel_chair_web.

    Elderly woman on her phone:
    old_lady_web.

    Go ahead punk, make my day:
    [​IMG]

    End of day light and shadow:
    light_shadow_web.

    The bus bench look:
    bench_guys_bw.

    --

    Photos shot with an E-M10 and 14/2.5 + 45/1.8 -

    Impecable style:
    la_street_01.

    Hysterical:
    dtla_12.

    Light one up:
    dtla_17.

    Hard Knock Life:
    [​IMG]

    Smokey:
    la_street_13.
     
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  2. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Excellent photos, I recognize most of the people in the E-M10 shot. I think the EM5 and EM1 have an even better IS system :tongue:

    Was b&w set in camera or done PP?
     
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  3. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Nice photos!

    While I appreciate the images, I would rather let the photos speak for themselves, than have such descriptive titles.
     
  4. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I'm not defending full frame or disparaging m43 in any way here... but there is a proper tool for every job, and D800 is not the proper tool for street photography. The D800 is is singularly made for super hi-res stills. Not only is it big and heavy, but you neutralize some of the advantage it does have (higher resolution) by shooting handheld. Not a fair competition, but great shots :smile:
     
  5. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Apr 2, 2013
    Singapore
    Leo
    Lovely photos!!

    My fav is the Bus Bench Look.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The D800 is definitely not the best street photography camera mainly because of the size. Though for daytime shooting it does have some advantages. With something like a simple 50mm, you have lots of leeway to crop and you can use the in-camera crop modes to help boost frame rates. You have good C-AF focus tracking making it easy to track moving subjects. Also I think it's a false assumption to think you can only shoot the D800 on a tripod. The D800 36mp sensor has a lesser pixel density compared to the M43 16mp sensors. On a decent stabilized lens it does alright. Ultimately though, I might prefer a Nikon Df or even the older D700 for street shooting if a DSLR was my only option.

    Saying that I like my E-M10 for this type of shooting environment, but I thought it'd be nice to compare these two cameras in these conditions. :smile:
     
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  7. BAXTING

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    806
    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    Bradley
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts J!

    I know you spend a good amount of time shooting both formats.

    B
     
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  8. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim
    Jonathon, Great series of B&W photos. This really shows what the street life is like in downtown LA.

    May I ask what B&W processing you use to achieve the excellent results?

    The reason you are having the issue with 2nd item is that you are not following your own advice in #1. In following your work for many years on the N Cafe and here, you change equipment more than most people change magazines. :smile: Yet, for your latest choice of mirrorless, you have chosen the bottom of the OMD line. Why didn't you get a EM1? The OMD EM1 has the same camera stop range as the D800, assuming you shoot at ISO 100, 2 more then the EM10. The EM10, just like the E-M5 before it (and somewhat like the Nikon DF) is restricted in what it can do compared to the D800 and EM1. Shutter speeds is limited to 1/4000 vs. 1/8000 and ISO 200 vs 100, meaning 2 lost stops of camera latitude. (And although you may not use a lot of flash in you work, the flash sync for off camera flash is limited to 1/200 vs 1/320.)

    Following the old-time Sunny 16 rule, these 2 lost stops are absolutely critical in shooting in mid-day sun. The widest aperture you could choose with the EM10 and either the 14 or 45mm lenses is f/3.5 before bumping into the upper 1/4000 shutter speed limit on a normal sunny day. But with a EM1 set at ISO 100, just like your D800, you could put your f/1.8 primes at f/1.8 and never worry the about bumping into any shutter speed limitation, as the camera would choose 1/8000 on sunny bright days. The annoying issue of max shutter speed is gone.

    For my daytime photography my EM1 is always set at ISO 100. Only when the light is low, do I set it back to its base ISO 200 or higher. If you want to see some proof of how this works out, check out this short thread: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=64895

    Of course, a real easy solution to your max shutter speed problem with the OM10 is to buy a high quality 2 stop ND filter when shooting with the EM10 during the daylight hours. I use the B&W brand and have no issues in using 2 and 4 stop filters for shooting outside portraits with either my D800 or EM1.
     
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  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi Jim! I just use an old version of Photoshop and tweak my B&W photos manually. :biggrin: Awhile back my friend was bragging about how he bought Silver Efex Pro for his B&W conversions and I said to myself I can do that in PS! My F keys are triple layered macro'ed, so I'm a little crazy like that. :smile:

    I had the GX7 awhile back, and I still found I was hitting max shutter speed more often even with the 1/8000th shutter. Compared to my DSLRs, I rarely if ever hit 1/4000th let alone 1/8000th. I just find aperture is something you have to be constantly aware of in the mirrorless world. The reason I chose the E-M10 was mainly for size and price. Since Nikon DSLRs are still my main camera format, I still have to allot the bulk of my camera budget to my DSLRs! :wink:

    I have ND filters as well, but when moving through high contrast areas like downtown LA, it's another thing to keep in mind when shooting. I'd rather not think too much when shooting. :smile:

     
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  10. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Unfortunately, the PROS and CONS list is way too subjective to be of any use to anyone but the OP.

    I love the images and can appreciate your point of view, I just question its usefulness to the masses.
     
  11. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim
    Well you do a great job with PS Jonathan, I really like your processing. Your photos had a, whats the word, clean, subject in such a busy surrounding, this most likely has to be done manually. I purchased Silver Efex a few months ago at a pretty good price and like it, it is cool to be able to see the various starting points for the conversion. But I need to spend more time with the B&W processing.

    Understand about the ND filters and ever changing conditions, it is not so easy.

    If you haven't tried the EM1, I can sum it up by saying that it is a fantastic camera, and I shoot it along side, or even sometimes over, my D800 for portraits. If I don't need the 36 MP of the D800, the EMI is my choice, as the Oly 45 and 75 f/1.8 lenses are right up there with my 2 all-time Nikkor favorites, the 85 f/1.4 and 135 DC f/2.
     
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't think my observations would be too useful to the masses, but I think for those who already like hitting the streets, it'd probably make more sense to the street shooter community. :smile:
     
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  13. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've already tried the E-M1 and love it! If I had an endless budget I'd have a pair of E-M1 bodies right now! Saying that, I'm saving up for a Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art right now. :wink:

     
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  14. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I shoot street all the time and again, I don;t agree. I guess we can agree that we don't agree.
     
  15. stu-52

    stu-52 Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Feb 17, 2014
    Southern California, near L.A.
    Stuart Liddle
  16. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    What made you choose the E-M10 over the E-M5?
     
  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I like the size and handling of the E-M10 and the removable grip is just nifty! :wink:
     
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