So many options...

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Vicky, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Hello everyone!

    I've been reading about micro 4/3 cameras a while now, and I can't seem to choose. As a photography noob I find it difficult to decide which camera would suit me best.. Therefore I need your advice :smile:

    I have two very active dogs; a Border Collie and a Sheltie. I'd love to take razor sharp action shots of them. Also, they play 'agility'. It's a dog sport, kinda like horse jumping competitions. A dog is able to run 4-5 m/s in such a trial, so it is crucial that the camera will be able to take a picture with fast shutter speeds en relatively high ISO and process this. These trials/trainings happen outdoors, so the lighting is not always at its best.

    As experts; which camera would you advise me?

    Note; as a student, I don't have loads of money so anything below 460$ would be perfect! But, if it's THE perfect camera, I'm willing to save up a bit more and raise the budget to 700$ :smile:

    Thanks in advance!
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    In your budget, get the Panasonic G5 it has good ISO performance and fast focus and can be purchased at 299$. In order to get the best it is recommended to get a fast prime, the Panasonic 14mm can be bought for 160$ on Ebay.
  3. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Thanks for the reply!!

    Apparently, a G5 kit costs me about 730$ here in Belgium. :rolleyes:

    If it's the best choice, I'll just save up a bit longer, but I wanted to check if there's a less expensive camera that will fit my needs too :smile:
  4. Johnny_Alucard

    Johnny_Alucard Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 28, 2013
    I'd suggest an E-PM2 - same sensor as the OM-D but in a tiny body. Doesn't have many dials, but it's very easy to change settings via the screen. I'm guessing you can pick them up used quite cheap (new bodies on eBay are only £329), and coupled with the Panny 14mm you'll have a low cost kit that's extremely capable.
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Can you get it from Ebay it is approx 300$

    panasonic g5 in Digital Cameras | eBay

    The G3 not as good but still very nice
    Foto Booms | Panasonic DMC-G3 body (zwart) | Prijs € 179.00 | Productinformatie | Online Productreview

    Panasonic G3 Zwart + 14-42mm OP=OP

    Without EVF the GX1

    Foto Booms | Panasonic DMC-GX1 body (zilver) | Prijs € 329.00 | Productinformatie | Online Productreview
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Honestly? Considering you want razor sharp action shots of fast-moving dogs in dim lighting? You may be better off with a DSLR, although I'm not the right person to ask about which one for 700 bucks (plus lens). Higher FPS will come in handy, and it's tracking AF that you'll want, as any modern mirrorless or DSLR will handle fast shutter/high ISO given a 'bright' lens.

    Given your budget constraints, nikon's 1 series may even be worth a look, although the depth of field control is minimal and image quality not quite up to par with the larger sensor cameras.
  7. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Agreed!! I consider Tracking/actions shots as one of :43: major weakness. Of course it can be done but quite a lot harder than DSLR.
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    You will have a hard time tracking agility sports with ANY camera in your price range, including DSLRs.

    I don't care what you buy -- learn about pre-focusing.

    You will need:
    • A wide aperture lens as possible -- to let in light, to keep ISO down and shutter speed up
    • Shoot at a high shutter speed
    • A quality lens. If you want sharp, you need a quality lens.
    • A viewfinder. I think a viewfinder is more natural for this kind of shooting. Cut out the distractions
    • High burst rate
    • Low shutter lag (so when you push the shutter, you get the picture you wanted)
    • More megapixels. I would not zoom in entirely, because you are trying to get a moving subject in a pre-focused area, so go wider and drop the picture later.

    I don't remember the G5s burst rate, but that could be a camera to try. I believe it has a high burst rate, relatively low shutter lag, a nice grip, a viewfinder, and 16megapixels. A lens like the PL25 or Oly 45 would be good.

    Because you are shooting at high shutter speeds keep the IS off. IS can worsen a picture when you don't need it. Ignore anyone who tells you it's OK to keep on all the time. It's not.

    Set the shutter speed up around 1/300 or more, and keep the lenses open up around f/2.0 for best sharpness/most light trade off. If the action is happening in full daylight, you could get away with a smaller aperture, but there's not much reason to go past f/2.8. Pre-focus (half-press) on where you intend the dogs to cross, and make sure the framing is a bit wider than you'll intend (but not too wide). when you pre-focus, pre-focus on the floor or obstacle and NOT the background. If you pre-focus on the background, the dogs will not be in focus. Zoom with your feet if you have to. Keep the camera in high speed burst, and fire away (i.e. hold down the shutter) as the dog crosses the path. Do not move the camera, especially as a noob. Your natural instinct will be to follow the dog. This will take practice. I guess it's OK to try it, just realize you are introducing camera movement to the shot. A monopod wouldn't be bad here, either.

    A G5 + Oly 45/1.8 might be a good, relatively inexpensive set, if the 45 gets you close enough to the action.
  9. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Vicky, I'd consider the Nikon V1 that was previously mentioned. I haven't used it but it seems to get positive comments about the application you are considering. It is cheap in the US (ebay). Not sure what you can find in Belgium.

    The more obvious answer is a DSLR. Buying used in the US $700 would be enough of a budget. The Canon 40D is a very good action camera. Can be purchased for <$300. Not sure what focal length you'd need, but 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 options are maybe $300. If you wanted a zoom the Tamron 17-50/2.8 non VC is also around $300, though not as fast to AF as the primes.

    If you consider a DSLR check out POTN. You should find some sellers from Europe (if you are OK buying used gear).

    I think the m4/3s options in this price range are a pretty big step down for shooting action. And I really wouldn't consider anything sans viewfinder, as that makes action shooting even tougher (for me at least).
  10. bluzcity

    bluzcity Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2012
    Memphis, TN
    I think you would benefit from considering a good used DSLR and lens. Something like a Canon (only DSLR's I know much about) T2I, T3I, 40D, or 50D, and begin with a 50 1.8 prime. You could add a general coverage or telephoto lens as you saved more money. Most of the pictures in this gallery of birds in flight (fast action) were taken with the 50D. Zenfolio | Padre Photography | Birds
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    As an expert I'd advise a Canon 1DMkIII or maybe a iDX, a Nikon D800 perhaps? A Canon 7D or Nikon D7000/7100 at a pinch.
    And a massive fast-aperture zoom such as is used by professional football photographers who deal with very similar subjects as you're aiming to take.
    The lens might be a bigger investment than the body.

    :biggrin: She said expert.

    Oh she also said m4/3rds so ... GH3 & mZuiko75mm or Lumix35-100F2.8

    Personally I'd take an e-pL5 and mZuiko 40-150 and keep mashing the shutter for S-AF bursts at auto-ISO ... but I'm cheap.
  12. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    How close will you actually be to your dogs when trying to take their pictures? A wide angle lens at any kind of distance will be the kind of picture that makes someone go "Yeah, there's a dog there." but not be able to tell much else.

    This is a case where I'd suggest a zoom instead of a prime.

    I'd recommend an E-PM2 with the kit 14-42 lens and then suggest that you add the Olympus 40-150 lens with it. These are not the fastest most cutting edge lenses in the system but they 1) will do what you need especially with the ISO performance of the new generation Oly sensor and 2) won't break the bank.

    Look for used or refurbished to hold down the costs and then, down the road when you can see what focal length you use most frequently, you can invest in faster prime lenses that support the type of photography you like.

    I hope these thoughts are of some help to you.
  13. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    Used Canon 50d and sigma 30 1.4
    If u could live with the dslr size
  14. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Whoaa, thanks for all the friendly replies!

    I'll figure out all the given options right away!

    To those of you suggesting a DSLR: there is one in this house... But most of the time when I'm about to go for a walk, the size and weight bothers me.

    I don't take it with me, because it's just too big and heavy for an occasional walk. In my experience, if i would buy one, it would only get dusty... That's why i was looking for something smaller: micro 4/3

    Even though I would love sharp shots, mind the fact that I'm only a beginner and chances are that what's perfect for me, is only average for a professional :biggrin:
  15. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    If you are based in Europe you could consider buying a Panasonic G3 from the UK. There are a few people selling them with the kit lens for under £240 WITH the dreaded VAT paid (~€210) and then depending on the distance you will be standing from the dogs perhaps add the Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens for action shots.

    This will give you a light easy to handle combination that is good for low light (and portraits) and the slightly larger distance away from the dogs will make it a bit easier to follow them.

    Try for the UK best price listings and then see if the listed suppliers will ship to you and because you will have paid the VAT there should be no issues with customs etc.
  16. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Or get it all from The Netherlands. Foto Booms (nice little store in Amsterdam, good website, good service) has very good pricing on the G3 body and good (standard for NL) pricing on the Oly 45/1.8 (black or silver)

    G3 body only (Eur 179)
    Foto Booms | Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm F/1.8 (zwart) | Prijs € 245.00 | Productinformatie | Online Productreview

    Olympus 45/1.8 (Eur 245)
    Foto Booms | Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm F/1.8 (zwart) | Prijs € 245.00 | Productinformatie | Online Productreview

    That's full warranty from an authorized retailer on everything but the kit lens for the same or less. I tend to find Dutch retailers to be cheaper than UK ones, overall, and shipping to Belgium should be lower. If you want a kit zoom, pick one up on eBay for another hundred or so (shipping included, can be found for less).
  17. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Having done some agility in dimly lit arenas with our Dobie and one of our Poodles I think you could manage with a m43 camera perfectly well. Dog agility is not like birds in flight, you know where they will be. Well you know where they are supposed to be :biggrin:. With this in mind the key to getting a decent number of keepers is not the focusing speed of the camera but the burst rate. The OM-D is really great at this, but since you want a cheaper choice I would go for the E-PM1. They can be had on eBay for $120 refurbished. The burst rate of the OM-D is around 10 frames per sec but the E-PM1 manages a respectable 5.5 FPS with the IS off (you will want a high enough shutter speed to freeze motion so IS won't matter). You want a fast lens with a bit of reach, so I would try for a Olympus 45 f1.8. You should be able to find one for $250.

    Total cost $370 or so.
  18. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    My vote would be the Oly 45/1.8 with a G3, G5 or OMD if you can stretch to it. EVF For action stuff is pretty essential IMHO.
  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The E-PM2 is fairly inexpensive, small, and has excellent image quality. AF is also pretty good. Not as many explicit controls, but that didn't seem a big priority of yours and the basic controls are sufficient for a beginner and even many enthusiasts.
  20. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    If one is following the action I agree. If you are focused on a particular location then the LCD is actually more useful. With agility it is usually pretty clear where the best shots are going to be, you need a high burst speed to get the frames you want. I shoot paddling this way and the speeds are almost identical - 4-5 M/s. It works well.
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