Scott Bourne calls the E-P3 his "new favorite portrait camera"

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by mgowin, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. mgowin

    mgowin Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 16, 2010
    Lincoln, IL
    Scott Bourne: The Olympus E-P3 + Oly 45/1.8 = My New Favorite Portrait Camera.

    I just picked up an E-P3 last week and am in the process of building a small body, fast prime kit with it. I have the Panny 20/1.7 and 14/2.5 lenses with the Oly 45/1.8 on the way. While I also own Nikon DSLRs and a stable of lenses and flashes for my wedding and portrait work, I've wanted to have a good system that I could easily carry anywhere. So far I'm finding that the E-P3 makes good images--in fact, startlingly good images, even when compared with files I get from my D700 and expensive Nikon glass. Plus the E-P3 is just plain fun to use.

    It's interesting to me to see a number of longtime veteran photographers like Scott Bourne, Kirk Tuck, Larry Price and others embracing the smaller formats like MFT. They wouldn't, obviously, if the image quality was poor. But maybe, like me, they're also getting older and just tired of carting a boatload of gear around.


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  2. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    Thanks for the link. That was an excellent read. As someone who has also recently sold a Leica M9 to use both m4/3 and NEX, I can readily identify with that.

    Having used these smaller systems for weddings, events and all sorts of commercial work, the advantages are numerous. I also believe that this notion of Big Camera = Pro is diminishing somewhat and that the people who get hung up on it are more likely to be the photographers rather than the clients. Since most of us get work and sell images on the quality of our work rather than because of the camera we use, its always been somewhat of a false argument anyway.

    Nice to see. Add two more to the club!!
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  3. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Same in UK

    I keep reading of well known UK photographers who are also using Mu43 cameras as their "Go to Fun cameras" and the list includes:

    David Bailey (Long time advocate of Olympus)
    Lee Frost (Currently uses GF1)
    Grant Scott (GF1 images published in Vogue magazine last year)
    Robert White (Uses GF1)

    There are numerous others starting to proclaim their use of this format so OlySonic must be doing something right.

    I know my GF1 is getting more use than my D700+M8.2 combined!!

    Onwards and upwards and lets hope Olympus get through their current turmoil intact.
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    But it has an outdated sensor!!!! :eek::eek:

    Why isn't he shooting a Pany???? Etc, etc, etc.

    Great read and great example. Thanks for posting that - I'd have never seen it otherwise. These cameras (Oly AND Pany) are both up for most jobs. OK, not serious long lens action shots like sports and wildlife, but most stuff it is MORE than good enough and the positive tradeoffs tend to more than compensate for the minor deficiencies. Nice to see someone talking about the upsides rather than obsessing over the minor deficiencies...

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  5. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2009
    I shot Nikons for over 30 years. I made a decent living as a photographer. But for my personal work, I usually used my small rangefinder cameras with prime lenses. I started downsizing a few years back and I now shoot m4/3 exclusively.

    Like many, the older I got, the more tired I became of lugging around all of that gear. I, too, own the 20 and 14 and plan on adding the 45 1.8 lens in the near future. That lineup will be almost identical to the lens lineup I used with my film rangefinder cameras.
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  6. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Real Name:
    Scott Bourne has a new favorite camera every other week. I listen to his podcast sometimes but half the things he says are half truth. Sure it's a step in the right direction for m4/3 to be embracing some of the faster lens concepts of DSLRs. I'm sure Bourne isn't going to sell off his Canons, Nikons ( plus super long telephotos for shooting birds) and Leicas too fast, yes he has them all.

    Another photographer that truly embraces the m4/3 system is David H. Wells
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  7. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for this, I feel exactly the same about his articles and podcasts. Even in this article, his comments about "less than $400" and "fast f/1.8 providing a depth of field" are both sort of true, sort of not.

    First, $399 is close enough that it's $400. It's like those infomercials that say things like "over 65 uses for our product!" when it's 66 uses. Just say the number, man. In fact, right now there is no place in stock with it at $400, so if you want to buy from an authorized seller like Amazon or Cameta, you pay $430-$450.

    Also, while f/1.8 does provide a decently small depth of field, let's do a quick comparison between an E-P3 with the 45mm, and a Canon 5D or Nikon D700 with an 85mm lens, which even gives the micro 4/3 camera a 5mm effective focal length advantage. The Olympus wide open, at f/1.8, has the same depth of field as the larger cameras at f/3.4 or so. With the E-P3 at f/2.2, you have the same depth of field as the larger cameras at f/4. So, while it does provide sufficient depth of field for portraits, if you really want those extra stops of light to create ultra-creamy backgrounds, you're out of luck. Give credit where credit is due.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually, you should read on further in the article. Scott Bourne makes it clear that he realizes the difficulties of working with paper-thin DOF and he does not sound like he wants it to be even shallower than it already is! He praises the Olympus CDAF system which picks up the more important contrasty area of a portrait (the eyes) rather than the closer area of the nose which the PDAF system of most DSLRs will go for first. As a commercial photographer, I completely understand where he's coming from. I am always struggling to achieve greater DOF not less, and the Four-Thirds system allows me to achieve that better without sacrificing precious lens speed. Sometimes I wish I had faster lens speed available, but the problem with that is that I'll have too little in focus or may be softening my image too much. I rarely ever think, "Gee, I wish I could get more of my image out of focus", or "Gee, I hate how my camera makes my images so sharp and defined". f/1.8 offers plenty shallow DOF for portrait work on a Four-Thirds sensor, and I don't see anywhere where Bourne is saying that the DOF of f/1.8 on a Four-Thirds system is as thin as f/1.8 on a Full Frame system. He only said that it's very thin - which applies to ANY system.

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  9. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    Yes, Olympus's face detection system is pretty nifty. Better than Panasonic's. It even allows you to select which eye (left or right) you want to be in focus. When shooting in auto mode, it automatically focuses on the eye that is larger and therefore presumably closer to the camera. Great stuff.
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  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've been shooting with Nikon DSLRs for a long time now, but Olympus m43 cameras offer a pretty neat package which negates any of the disadvantages. The jpegs are amazingly good; m43 prime lenses are eye bleeding sharp; RC flash control is awesome with a camera the size of my iPhone and IBIS really works. It's truly a near-complete micro system. I don't really care if doesn't do great low light, I have a D3 for that. People seem to argue high ISO while ignoring the real advantages to the system.
  11. mgowin

    mgowin Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 16, 2010
    Lincoln, IL
    Objections noted, but it's worth observing that Scott Bourne doesn't call the E-P3 his "new favorite camera;" he calls it his "new favorite portrait camera." He probably won't dump all his other gear in favor of the E-P3; horses for courses and all that. If he picks up a GX1 next month, that may become his new favorite portrait camera. The larger point he's making, I think, is that MFT (and, presumably, other smaller format sensors) is good enough for professional work. I'm not selling my Nikon gear--for the work I do and the images I want to create, it still has a place in my bag. I'm hoping the E-P3 and MFT lenses, as a new and somewhat different set of tools, will help me achieve my vision in new ways.

    I've been following Kirk Tuck for a few years, reading his blog regularly, seeing him on a few forums, own a couple of his books. For those seeking magic bullets--the best camera, the best lens, the best light, etc.--a word of advice: DO NOT FOLLOW KIRK TUCK. Kirk goes through gear like some folks go through shoes. He wrote a book on lighting with (mostly) Nikon speedlights then sold all his Nikon gear. He's a fan of the Olympus Pen cameras but just got a Nikon V1 and loves it. He shoots Canon DSLRs and film on a Hasselblad. Horses for courses.

    There's always something shinier and newer at some point but, in the end, they're all just tools to help us make pictures. And making pictures is what it's all about, no?

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  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    completely agree. My E-M1+Oly 45mm is all I need for portraits. MUCH easier than a DSLR due to great and quick face detect (with eye detect) on new Oly bodies. Not to mention that such setup still looks like a P&S camera so your subjects won't feel intimidated.
    Similar DSLR setup - e.g. Canon rebel + 50mm f1.4 is much bigger and heavier while I am not so sure that Canon 50mm f1.4 is as sharp and contrasty (w/creamy smooth bokeh) at f1.8 as Oly is wide open. Also, eq.90mm is still better than eq.80mm (on rebels) for portraits. Nifty fifty is out of the question, I wouldn't even touch that lens for portraits (bokeh looks like bubbles reminiscent of cheap cctv lenses).
  13. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Operative words are "older" and "tired."

    I did a wedding recently (as second shooter) using just two :43: bodies and two native lenses. I didn't miss the gear that the primary shooter was lugging around.
  14. Aniseedvan

    Aniseedvan Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 25, 2011
    I'm getting 45mm gas again...
    Just as I think I'm talking myself out of it, this is talking me back into it!

    I think the way I will justify it is, it's a cheaper way of getting an 85mm prime for my FF Nikon :biggrin:
  15. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Nice summary.

    What I take from all this is what I already know: for many photographers, and for many forms of final output, MFT has really opened some doors. I love my GF1, but also acknowledge it's limits for some of what I do. The newer sensors don't fix those limits - but that doesn't make MFT weak. It just means I will need any additional system for some things that re important to me.
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Nope, he didn't say he would dump all his other gear in favor of it... but he did say he would dump his Leica M9 and two Leica lenses in favor of the E-P3!!

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  17. David Tait

    David Tait Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 29, 2011
    Quite right too! It's horses for courses for many of us who kept an interest in DSLRs to cover the shortcomings of IQ etc found in some m/43 shooting situations.
  18. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thank you so much for posting this link and I am glad that my impression of Oly 45 mm 1.8 best portrait lens for MFT system gets confirmation from a well established photographer .Oly 45 mm 1.8 is the best glass in MFT lens line which money can buy .Scott summed up everything very nicely . MFT has very capable and interesting lens line up now .
  19. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for posting the link. The Olympus E-P3 + Oly 45/1.8 was my favourite :43: combination too. But I have to ask: Why do people in these forums have to keep reaffirming their decision to shoot with :43:? It's often touted as the right choice (vs. I assume the *wrong* choice). And it's always an example of someone famous (or infamous) also shooting with :43: gear.

    Why do you care what anyone else shoots with? :confused:

    It's like the guy who is currently shooting the Olympics with a Panasonic camera. And it makes the news! I mean, really??? :rolleyes: Why should I care what he shoots with? All I want to see are the pics, and I will either like them or not. It's that simple.

    It's like people (in real life, not online) who ask me whether I shoot with Nikon or Canon. Like it matters. :rofl:
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  20. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    It's also interesting to see Kirk Tuck return to shooting portraits on medium format film lately, with his Hasselblad. So he clearly does not believe that his Olympus cameras are the final answer. In fact, in a lot of his latest posts, he has moved away from his Olympus :43: gear to other systems, systems better suited to the job at hand (he has a new Sony DSLR, etc).

    I think what you will see is that a lot "of longtime veteran photographers" will shoot :43: alongside their other systems, in addition to what they already have. And they will usually pick the best tool for the job at hand.