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Weddings with m4/3s

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by OzRay, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Someone mentioned here or somewhere else that m4/3s just isn't suitable for weddings; however, I think that it is and it works extremely well overall. I had to shoot my cousins wedding on Friday (I swore not to do weddings ever again and had passed on several this year, but I was forced into a corner with this one), so I decided to use nothing but the E-P1/E-P2/E-PL1, with the Olympus 17mm and 14-42mm, as well as my manual M mount lenses. In fact, I decided to not use flash, except if I had absolutely no other choice and I only used the built-in flash on the E-PL1 for a few shots, nothing else.

    How did it turn out? Well, quite frankly it even surprised me. Having given up doing weddings some time ago, I had to get on that old bike once again, but soon worked out how to stay upright and the equipment actually worked very well. Was it quite as functional as a DSLR? Not entirely, but I have to say that the m4/3s cameras did exceptionally well and, given further development and more lenses, these could easily replace just about any DSLR for this kind of work.

    I had three bodies with me and, combined, they probably weighed as much as one E3 body with battery grip. I was expecting the batteries to struggle because of the EVF being on all the time, but they held up quite well, not that I took thousands of shots. The other thing about these cameras was that they were completely unobtrusive because of the very quiet shutter. However, Olympus really needs to produce a m4/3s body with an integral EVF, so that you don’t need the expensive and potentially fragile removable EVF (I lost the carry bag and rubber cover that comes with the EVF somewhere along the line). Having a built in EVF will also allow for a flash or remote trigger to be attached to the hot shoe.

    The inability to use the EVF and have a flash was probably the most frustrating issue that I have with the E-P1 and E-P2, though I can use the wireless trigger to fire off the FL-50Rs with the E-PL1, or the FL-14 with the other bodies, but then no EVF. All Olympus need do is add one of those very tiny flash units as, used on P&S cameras, somewhere on the body to fire off remote flash and things would be fine. They also need to review the way the magnification setup works on the current bodies with manual lenses. While I found the manual lenses to be reasonably easy to focus, at times it wasn’t as good as I wanted and the current implementation of the magnification system was just too slow. It should work in exactly the same was as it does with Olympus m4/3s lenses (more or less). I reckon this would be easy to implement, if Olympus wanted to do so.

    There really is very little that the m4/3s cameras couldn't do, that a DSLR could. You could work surprisingly fast with the cameras and they didn't tire you out with all the weight that a DSLR involves. The M mount lenses gave me plenty of scope for shallow depth of field and with the in-built stabilisation; blurry shots were few and far between. All in all, if I had to do this again, I’d use the same gear without hesitation.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
    • Like Like x 4
  2. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    nice. did you have to deal w/ any low light situations? That is my biggest fear of using m43s in a wedding environment.

    also, have any samples to show off ? :)
     
  3. feppe

    feppe Mu-43 Regular

    I have the same question as well. Also, did you take photos meant for large prints?
     
  4. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    And there is the problem of using such a small camera and perception - people paying want to see the photographer using pro (read big) gear. Sometimes you have to put on a show to get the dough.

    If I shot weddings regularly I would not want anything less than a full frame 35mm and I would actually prefer an even larger sensor to get the greater dynamic range.

    I have shot over a dozen weddings in my lifetime (all 25+ years ago) and my camera of choice was the Mamiya C330f twin lens.
     
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I was shooting in pretty low light most of the day. I'd set the ISO to auto, but max to 1000. Some of the photos will be printed large and I have no fear of doing that. I can't really show more than the few I posted on the CV 75mm lens thread, as I haven't done much more than a quick and dirty slide show to let the bride and groom etc see the shots. Once they come back from their honeymoon, we''ll go through and see which ones they want printed.

    Yes, if one was to do this professionally, then you'd mostly be expected to use a DSLR, but that may change over time as these cameras start to take a foothold. There are a lot of advantages to the format compared to lugging around a large and heavy DSLR all day. Perceptions may change, especially if some well known photographers start to use them in their work.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  6. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    574
    Aug 16, 2010
    Australia
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. Optical Thrombosis

    Optical Thrombosis Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Apr 10, 2010
    I recently was asked at the last minute to pix a friends wedding - I won't bore you with the reason why a pro never turned up - and all I had with me was my E-P1 with 17mm and the FL-14 flash!

    Suffice to say that it made me work harder for the shot! But resultant files were rich in detail and with typical beautiful Olympus colour. I was able to give the bride and groom a CDROM of JPEG photos of their big day and they professed themselves overwhelmed with the results (easily pleased!). The results were perhaps not up to my personal standard, but they were happy! Shooting with a 35mm POV seemed to sharpen me up, and the shots in the church were entirely without flash thanks to the excellent high ISO performance of the little Olympus.

    Having said all that if I hadn't been jumped on I would have chosen different gear to do it!

    [​IMG][/url][/IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 4
  8. EasyEd

    EasyEd Mu-43 Regular

    78
    Feb 16, 2010
    Hey All,

    Just the other day I was was talking to a camera department head nad salesman at Future shop who does shoot weddings and he was saying he really wants to go small as he finds the sight of him carrying - in his case - a 7D intimidating to too many people. They want out of the picture. He's thinking of serious experimenting with Panasonic to see if he can get suitable quality - if he can - it's bye bye to a lot of Canon gear. He did admit he would miss a couple of his lenses he paid over $2000 each for though.

    The point is you can't have it both ways. Do you:

    1) Need a big camera to look like and produce the results of a pro?

    or

    2) Can small gear provide better(?) more natural picture taking results?

    We are back to the bottom line - is the 12 megapixels provided by Panasonic enough and are they quality enough pixels to do Pro work?

    I see so many posts that say I use my micro4/3rds as a walkaround camera but for real photography I have my 5D/7D/D whatever in Nikon. Isn't that pretty disingenuous to micro4/3rds?

    -Ed-
     
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    All I can say is that m4/3s is just a whisker away from equalling most DSLRs in just about any task. If you have controlled lighting conditions, the results will be excellent, just like with any DSLR. The 12MP isn't a problem and with the Panasonic range of cameras, you don't have the flash/viewfinder issues that you currently have with the E-P1/E-P2, but then they don't deliver quite the same feeling of ease for those being photographed.

    Looking back at the wedding, I actually felt that everyone that I was taking photos of was significantly less self-conscious than anyone I've ever photographed for my news work with the E3 and my honking lenses. The 'Pens' allowed people to actually see most of my face and they didn't seem to be as intimidated, as the camera is more akin to what they use and are familiar with. The other thing that I think worked in my favour was that there was no flash or clunking shutter sounds. I was asked at one stage was I going to take a photo, and I replied 'Already done'.

    Some of that ease may have also come from the fact that I was part of the family, but I had never met any of the bride's family and friends (nor most of the groom's friends) until that day, so I was still somewhat of a stranger. I'm certain that because I didn't have the 'look' of the typical wedding photographer, people were much more relaxed as I went about my business. Mind you, I was also much more relaxed because I was working light, so that may have conveyed across to the subjects as well.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  10. DownUnderDog

    DownUnderDog Mu-43 Regular

    Hey Ozray,
    you said for weddings you need an inbuilt EVF in your Olympus m4/3 cameras. Perhaps all you need is a Panasonic G1, G2 or G10 body. They maybe not as retro as Olympus, but quality still abounds.
    Cheers
    DUD
     
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    No! I don't want a reduced size DSLR. I want what looks like a P&S with an EVF built in. The difference is significant. That's why I said that Panasonic have a solution, but only by providing more of the same. Also, there's no in-body IS with Panasonic, which reduces its capability significantly.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  12. jhob

    jhob Mu-43 Veteran

    For me micro4/3rds isn't there yet for pro wedding use but I hope and expect that it will in the future. When that day comes I may very well be jumping ship.
     
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I think it really depends on your clients and their expectations.
    I've done events and weddings for over 35+ years and most with Leica M's with, 35-50-90 lenses. 95% were/are in B&W.
    So I get away with m43 gear.
    I do minimal color work but my clients know what to expect from me so there is no fallen expectations or disappointments.
    If I had to do more "Traditional" type work, I would use the 5D, "L" lenses and m43 for candid stuff. I think the format can handle the work but the glass and body design isn't there YET. Someday but not yet.
     
  14. jhob

    jhob Mu-43 Veteran

    It's the marginal conditions - poor weather, low light, harsh environments - where pro kit really comes into its own, and it's just those conditions where m43 kit would likely be shown up to be wanting.
     
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    As with any project, and a wedding is simply another project, all parties need to agree and accept the Statement of Work and the Target Performance Measures from the outset. Any camera, even a camera phone can conceivably cover a wedding (and one day I expect to see this proven on the web), so m4/3s has significantly greater potential.

    I'll have the newly weds coming around this weekend (now that they're back from their honeymoon in Bali) to sit with me and work out what they want from the wedding shots. They really like the B&W style, so we'll see how things work out. Once all of that's sorted out, there's a good chance I can show somewhat more of what m4/3s is capable of doing. However, bottom lime, it's capable doing just about anything a DSLR can do, as long as you know what you're doing.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  16. jhob

    jhob Mu-43 Veteran

    My bottom line is that I know I couldn't get shots, or the quality of shots, consistently, in the situations that I would typically shoot with my GF1 that I know I can with my fuji s5pro. I have taken the GF1 along to a couple of weddings and proved that to myself. There are many situations when the GF1 is the equal of the S5pro quality wise and preferable to it for being more discreet.

    Yes, you could conceivably cover a wedding with any camera you choose, but why you would choose to is another matter. I could cover a wedding using my phone tomorrow but the quality of the output would be much diminished and I wouldn't be able shoot in the way that I like to shoot. I'd be an unhappy photographer and my clients would not be getting what they expect from me as a professional so it would be a bad choice.

    For similar, although not as extreme reasons, the m43 format would be a bad choice for me to shoot weddings with at the moment. Depending on your own style you may find the m43 format acceptable as it is now, but it's not for me right now.
     
  17. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's most certainly an individual choice as to what type of camera suits one best. When I started photography, I used to shoot weddings and the only acceptable gear was medium format. No one would use 35mm, but that eventually changed. You only used a couple of lenses and everything was manual, so using m4/3s in the same way wasn't all that different, it just requires a change in mindset, after using auto everything. As I said, m4/3s isn't quite there yet for ease of use, but I'd say that will change in a very short period of time.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  18. DownUnderDog

    DownUnderDog Mu-43 Regular

    Well I must ask how we faired in past years. Why is image stability so important. We got by for decades with only 400 ASA film. Now we have much greater ISO range, and you seem pedantic about IS. On your avatar you are seen with a monster lens. Could you have used it with film? or did it stay home through lack of IS
    Looks don't matter really at weddings, no one worries after the event what camera you used, it's about what pictures you got!
    H'mmmm
    DUD
     
  19. NetizenSmith

    NetizenSmith Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Oct 28, 2010
    UK
    Thanks for posting this Ray. Very interesting read.

    The guy that did our wedding used a MF, manual focus Mamiya and every shot was amazing. No image stabilisation in sight. A decent photographer will make anything work of course and will understand the best kit to help them do that job.
     
  20. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    You haven't correctly interpreted what I said or intended. I don't consider IS hugely important, but it does have its uses, especially with manual lenses on m4/3s, moreso than with 4/3s (because of the weight difference). Also, sports photographers have always wanted higher ASA (ISO) film and finer grain, and every step forward excited everyone.

    That monster lens is an Olympus 90-250mm f2.8 that has been my bread and butter sports lens (coupled with a 1.4x extender) for many years. Sports photographers have been using long focus lenses forever in the film days; the 90-250mm is one of the best sports lenses ever and if it were available in the same size (and respective focal length) for the likes of Nikon/Canon, they couldn't make enough of them.

    And getting back to my earlier comment, it's the form factor that I like about the Olympus bodies and what I want in m4/3s. A built-in EVF will allow me to use the hot shoe for flash and whatever else. If Panasonic bring out a body with a built in EVF, I'll have no aversion to buying one.

    Cheers

    Ray