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Why no M4/3 for shooting kids?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by shutterbgkaplan, May 9, 2011.

  1. shutterbgkaplan

    shutterbgkaplan Mu-43 Rookie

    May 8, 2011
    I have read many threads stating if you want to photograph kids, don't use m4/3 cameras because they are too slow-- use dslr instead. I have a baby due this summer and I was out with my 3 year old nephew and used my GF-1 and had no problems at all. What gives??
  2. ksn

    ksn Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 6, 2011
    I've read the opposite, actually. People switching from DSLR to M4/3 due to size having having to drag it around and handle their kids at the same time.
  3. jbuch84

    jbuch84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 9, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    It's really a combination of iso noise, slower lenses, and slower auto focus. If you are in a well lit area then much of the problems won't affect you except trying get a focus really quickly before the moment disappears. Kids move fast at times, so you need a quick shutter speed to catch them without motion blur. To do that in a lower lit area you need your lens to catch more light (higher aperture) or to bump up your ISO (leads to noise on our cameras). I must admit the 20mm 1.7 can do a great deal to help this as is expected with newer lenses coming like the 45mm 1.4. Also the GH2 preforms quite well at higher ISO. I've also read that the GH2 autofocus' a bit quicker than previous cameras too.

    I have no doubt that the GF1 can do a great job, just might be frustrating at times.. I know my GF2 can give me fits in low light!

    Edit: I agree with KSN on that too, you're a lot more mobile with the m43 cameras!
  4. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    To think of it, my father used to photograph his kids (i.e. me and my sister) with a manual focus film camera. He made a ton of high quality, sharp pictures that are very pleasant to look at. I think if you know how to photograph, you can use any camera to achieve the desired results. I think I have to ask my surviving older relatives how to photograph fast moving kids with a slow camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    It really depends on the situation you are shooting the kids. If you are running around with them at play. The m4/3 is not going to be the best tool. The AF on the GH2 is pretty good but still struggles to keep up especially in burst mode with the evf blackout. And you might not get that exact moment your want.

    If your kids are not moving to much, the they will have no issues taking those photos. So the whole thing comes down to what you are looking to shoot.
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    One thing about manual focus is that your hand doesn't have to 'hunt' unlike some autofocus systems...so in effect, manual focusing has the potential to be faster than autofocus in low light situations....
  7. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    I, for one, am a switchee (is there such a word?) from DSLR to m43, and I have two toddlers. I found the DSLR too bulky to lug around during our trips. The :43: gear delivers the perfect IQ:size ratio that I am looking for.

    Even with the DSLR (and some highly-reviewed fast lenses), I still found a number of blurry pictures. I think I even got the blurry picture ratio down with my :43: gear, because of the combination of fast lens + IBIS.
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    OK, maybe, but consider the ISO disadvantage of film and the corresponding longer shutter times ... or larger aperture (and therefore increased difficulty focusing) ... and digital has a huge advantage.

    I think people are missing out on the beauty of implied motion and a little blur in their photos, everyone wants gazillionth of a second shutter speeds to stop speeding bullets when a nice pan blur creates, IMHO, a much more "emotional" photo.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    With a dslr, if you can not use a external flash indoors. They al take good photos at 3200iso and match that with a 2.8 lens. You should be able to get decent shots.
  10. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2011
    some m43 are better than others for photographing children (moving).
    It is probably more down to technique, though, most people these days want everything doing for them.
    GF1 probably best of the bunch (not counting GH2).
    Try manual focus and use DOF and get as much light as you can.
  11. retnull

    retnull Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    Young kids are always a challenge to photograph -- especially while you are minding them!
    I think M4/3 is as good a format as any other, for this purpose.
    Small size, pocketability, fast start-up time, small fast lenses like the 20/1.7 all help.

    For me, the hardest part about photographing my own kids is having great shots ruined by unnoticed bits of food on their faces !
  12. willr

    willr New to Mu-43

    Mar 14, 2011
    fast-moving children

    The m4/3 system autofocus is not ideally-suited to subjects like restless, constantly-on the-move children. It is quick but not really quick enough to acquire the subject.

    Pick your moment when the subject is 'at rest' (concentrating on a toy or object is good if you can get them to look up!) or use manual focus (used to be the only option!) and take the shot as the child comes into your pre-focussed range. Alternatively, concede these cameras are not the best tool for the job (a pro or semi-professional SLR with virtually instantaneous phase-detection autofocus is).

    Most of the 'native' m4/3 lenses have quite modest maximum apertures; to get adequate shutter speeds - particularly in artificial light - you'll need to hike the ISO (sensitivity) which reduces quality. Flash can of course help but does change the quality of the light and the style of picture-taking.

    One option worth looking at is to get hold of a standard 50mm lens from a 35mm film SLR and fit it via an adaptor to the m4/3 camera. Both these items are available for quite modest cost - check out Fotodiox for adapters -and a 50mm lens gives a short telephoto perspective and a fast maximum aperture (maybe F1.8 or better). These lenses don't seem to work well at maximum aperture but even stopped down a couple of clicks to F2.8 or F4 you'll get more light compared to the m4/3 zooms; i.e maybe the difference between 1/60 sec and 1/250 sec.

    The main limitation is only manual focus - although these lenses were designed to focus manually and have a nice wide focus ring - and rather limited depth of focus at the apertures we're talking about. But then, everybody wants to throw the background out of focus don't they?

    As mentioned above, my limited experience is that trying to autofocus on a moving subject with a m4/3 setup is fairly unsatisfactory, unless he or she is sitting still or moving predictably. I'd go so far as to suggest the success rate from chasing your subject with this autofocus system will not be much higher than understanding the depth of field at a particular aperture, manually pre-focussing and waiting for the subject to come into your field of focus. You can use visual reference points to define that 'zone' of focus...

    Either way, you'll want to take lots of images and pick the keepers. That's another reason why action photography experts use those 'machine gun' SLR's that capture at 8 or 10 frames per second....
  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    My primary reason for photography is to photograph my kids, and I have two sons, age 6 and 8, who are very fast and don't stay still very often. I've owned a ton of DSLRs, and I don't think any of them have been better suited to this task than my MFT cameras.

    One can easily come up with scenarios where a DSLR will be superior, such as shooting in burst mode, or tracking a child running straight at you. However, it comes down to how you like to work. I don't like burst mode, period. Didn't use it when I had a Nikon D700 and AFS 24-70/2.8, and I won't use it on my MFT cameras. I really don't like continuous AF either, so it makes little difference to me how effective that is.

    With every camera I've used, my technique for shooting the kids is a combination of 1) prefocus; 2) zone focus; 3) timing shots during moments that they stop moving. I have never had a system better suited than MFT to the way that I photograph my very active kids, and because it is smaller and lighter, I have this system with me more often and am getting more and better photos, including action photos, than ever before.

    It really depends on how you prefer to work.
    • Like Like x 3
  14. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I've actually been having a fun time learning to use my legacy lens to capture my four-year-old. Sure, I get a lot of shots that just go right into the trash, but it's a great way to build manual-focusing skills.
  15. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Personally I find a largeish aperture to be key to sucess : this allows brisk shutter speeds, and gives any autofocus a fighting chance to do its job doublequick and get the picture before the creature moves too far from the plane of focus.
    Beause of this I think a lot of failure is due to kit zoom lenses.
    Some of the benefit of certain DSLRs might be the availability of affordable f1.8-ish lenses too. I certainly found the Minolta50mmF1.7 on Sony DSLR to be absolutely great for photographing our fast toddler. Great, as in better than any of my 4/3rds and m4/3rds setups. I don't have such an autofocus lens for them though, and I'm sure that's the key.
    I shall try this here 17mmF2.8 on my G1 presently ...
  16. daimos

    daimos Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    with digital memory getting cheaper, i find video better for kids.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. I took a bunch of photos at Easter with my GH2 and got good results, espcially considering that I've only owned it a few weeks and I'm still working out the kinks of using it effectively. I have a web album posted at https://picasaweb.google.com/homershannon/20114Easter?authkey=Gv1sRgCPHV_JDB64Hw5gE# if you are interested in looking at the results. I used a Takumar 50mm indoors and outside in the early afternoon, then switched to the 14-140. The focus speed on the GH2 (and the G1, from a limited experience with it) are well up to the job. As for manual focusing with an adapted lens, that's up to you.:wink:

    I took a number of shots like this one using the fold out view finder for a very low angle. I like it and you wouldn't be able to do it with a lot of other cameras.

    View attachment 4189
  18. loglew42

    loglew42 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2011
    I have a E-PL2 and have no problem with photographing kids/kids playing sports and I and no pro, prosumer, or any other word with pro in it. I have had my camera for a little over a month and have experimented with it enough to make my selection either Aperture priority with the aperture wide open or Shutter priority set with a fast shutter depending on how much light is available...and I am still learning every time I pick up the camera. I will say continuous focus stinks, use single AF. I have not tried tracking.

    I was on the fence with buying :43: or a Canon T2i. I am very happy with my decision.

    I have shot my kids on the trampoline, playing tennis, baseball....It's all anticipation and being ready for the moment.

    All the shots don't turn out well, but I get enough to be satisfied.

    Have fun and capture the memories.
  19. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    shot the kinds on a overcast day, where he contrast is not great and 5.6 is not wide enough. you will see the m4/3 struggle, and have motion blur issues not even considering indoor play.

    and with sports waiting for that moment is fine, but with a faster burst and being able to track with a ovf greatly increase the chance of a even better shot.
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