Suggestions for available light

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by snaimpally, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2012
    I took my G3 yesterday to shoot a concert in which a friend was performing. I was also inspired by the Street Photography thread and took pics of people in the audience. This was my first real test of the G3. I had with me the Panny 14-42mm power zoom, the Oly 40-150mm, and the Sigma 28mm f2.8 as my "fast" (!) lens.

    I enjoy available light photography - I prefer to use a flash only as a fill when shooting where there is lots of light. Back in the day, I used ASA 400 film and often pushed it to 800 or 1600 for shooting concerts.

    After a few shots I realized that something was going to have to give and so I started upping the ISO and ended up at 1600. I was generally pleased with the results but I realized that (a) I need faster lenses and (b) a longer reach. I realize using the unstabilized Oly with the Panny body did not exactly help.

    My purchase of the G3 was an impuslive decision driven largely by the $299 price point. The more I have read reviews and posts on this forum, the more I have realized that Oly IBIS is the way to go - many of the Panny lenses seem to have issues with the OIS, more lenses choices, IBIS supports manual focus lenses, etc.

    So now I am thinking about what lenses and bodies I should look at and start saving up for. The EM5 is of course at the top of the list for a body. Lenses? Oly 75mm f1.8, Panny 100-300mm or Oly 75-300mm.

    Any suggestions appreciated.
  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The OM-D IBIS, at times seems magical. I have the P35-100, O75 and the P100-300. I'd get the P35-100 over the O75mm. The flexibility of the zoom more than off-sets the f/1.8 and additional sharpness of the Oly.

    I don't have the O75-300, so I can't speak to that lens. The P100-300 does a fine job at concerts. I found it acceptably sharp at 300mm.

  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Fast telephotos is unfortunately a weak point in the lens lineup currently.

    For every complaint about Panny OIS, there is one about IBIS, and IMHO, Oly IBIS really only "caught up" with OIS in the EM5 (although, it might hold a slight lead currently).

    That said, any image stabilization is just a crutch for poor technique. If the venue allows, you would be much better off with a tripod than any form of IS ... And that is only good if the subject is still - if they are moving much at all, neither tripod nor image stabilization will help you - only shutter speed (through ISO and aperture settings) will.

    Lastly, what are your IQ expectations? 400 film pushed to 1600 would be pretty bad by today's standards - I am quite certain your current setup far exceeds that level.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The m.Zuiko 75mm/1.8 or the Lumix X 35-100mm/2.8. You're shooting with available light, shooting concerts, and already bumping up your ISO. Wouldn't it be silly to start looking at slow zooms like the 100-300mm or 75-300mm?

    Gary mentioned the convenience of the zoom (and I would also add the extra reach) offsetting the extra speed and sharpness of the prime. I agree with the sentiment but will also have to point out that there is a 1.5 stop difference between the two, which can be quite substantial. Just 1 stop difference can either halve your ISO or double your shutter speed. This may not make much difference at lower ISO, but can make a profound difference at higher ISOs. It all depends on your situation and your priorities. Either option is going to be much faster than what you have now.

    For longer than 100mm, I would get a legacy prime. They can offer you a compact package while still being faster than the native super-tele zooms, or you could go all out and get a larger and much faster prime... again, depending on your situation and priorities.
  5. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    There's a sweet looking Canon 135 f2 on the for sale site. Heli-mech is selling and totally underplays the condition of his lens. You'll need a monopod with the G3, though.
  6. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    You need high shutter speeds for concert photography , so Olympus IBIS won't help much with that. You need brighter lenses than f2.8 from Sigma. The brightest native m43 auto focus lens is the 25mm/1.4 Panasonic, but that can be too short, so you can also use old manual lenses with adapter. I use 57mm/1.4 and 85mm/1.8 manual lenses.
    I took these a few days ago, with GX1 which has practically the same sensor as your G3, and the 25mm/1.4. ISO 1600 set on all and let camera pick fastest shutter speed possible in A mode. ISO 3200 is not great on this camera but could be used if needed to gain more shutter speed.




    See more in this thread I started:
    • Like Like x 1
  7. iGonzoid

    iGonzoid Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 6, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    For the reach I love the P 100-300. The David Byrne [Talking Heads} shot was on an OM-D at 300mm, only horizontal cropping:


    For crowd shots I love my Nokton f1.1 50mm — this shot is wide open in very dim light:


    Get as close as you can and shoot with the longest/fastest lenses you can.

    All the best.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2012
    Thanks for all the suggestions! I just purchased the P 100-300mm lens from a fellow forum member. Tripod is a good suggestion - I should have packed my zipshot at the very least.

    Also, I had planned to take a Computar 75mm f1.4 c-mount lens, but accidently forgot it. That would have been useful! I also have an M42 135mm legacy lens (f2.8 or f3.5) - I'll be sure and take that along next time. I think I'll look for a legacy 200mm lens as well.

    Nice point about the OIS, but some Panny lenses seem to have various issues, though some have been fixed through software updates. I will likely end up with one Oly body and one Panny body anyway.