Wildlife and Macro Photography

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by buffy1270, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. buffy1270

    buffy1270 Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Apr 30, 2010
    Hi. I am looking at cameras to use for birding, wildlife and macro photography (in that order of importance). I am considering Panasonic G3 and Nikon D3100 and Sony A33 but I am open to other suggestions. I like the portability of the micro four thirds system but most people tell me I would do better with a DSLR for that type of photography and that I would ultimately be disappointed with anything else. I am sure I will use the camera occasionally for other types of things such as pet photos, family photos, landscapes, etc. but it would be primarily for wildlife and birding and macro. I owned an E-PL1 but ended up selling it because of its slow autofocus. It just didn't do well for me personally in the wildlife area but I did like the picture quality, etc. I know mu-43 has come along with autofocus, etc. so I was wondering if anyone could give me some recommendations on whether the mu-43 is a viable option for this type of photography or whether I need to stick with an entry-level DSLR. I would like to be able to make larger prints (8 x 10 and higher) if I get a really good shot - of course I am being optimistic here :). Any input would be appreciated.

    Karen
     
  2. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    If you are limiting yourself to only those 3 cameras, the G3 is the obvious and easy choice.

    Here are the pros of the G3, and m4/3 in general:

    Birding and wildlife - lenses of equivalent focal length have a longer reach on micro 4/3 cameras due to the slightly smaller sensor. The panasonic 100-300mm lens has a 35mm equivalent telephoto reach of 200-600mm. Lenses for the sony and nikon (at least at consumer level pricing) are typically 70-300mm lenses. Since the sony and nikon have only 1.5x crop factors, the 35mm equivalent range is only 105mm to 450mm. Even Panasonic's second longest zoom, the 45-200mm lens, which is quite reasonably priced (less than $300) is a 35mm equivalent of 90-400mm.

    another note on wildlife - unless you spend alot of money (thousands) for extremely fast glass (at least F4 lenses, preferably F2.8 versions), you'll need a camera that can counter-act this with reasonably good high ISO performance. The G3 beats both of the cameras you've mentioned by what looks to me to be several stops. That means that while iso800 may be usable with the d3100 for instance, the g3 still looks pretty good and usable at iso3200.

    Macro - while there is only currently one macro lens available for m4/3 in its' native mount, macro photography is really about precision and fine focus - this is usually achieved with manual focus. In that light, there are many many MANY old, great macro lenses which are easily adapted to m4/3 via inexpensive adapters found on ebay (you can pick up a good lens and adapter for around or under $100). you won't be able to adapt lenses to sony or nikon due to registration distance, and will only be able to use current, rather expensive lenses.

    (note: you can also use older manual focus adapted telephoto lenses on m4/3 if you are on a budget with great results).

    For some adapted lens samples take a look around in some of the sub-forums - there are many threads that will showcase just how great the old lenses can perform!

    Right off the bat, the A33 and d3100 are primarily differentiated as the lower models by use of an inferior sensor. If you check the samples at dpreview, you'll see very poor overall, and particularly poor high ISO performance. I am by no means saying Sony or Nikon do not make good cameras, but simply the models you've reference are their poorest products by a long shot. The D5K, or Sony A55 are the models you would want to consider at a minimum. BUT, you have to keep in mind the above points, especially if you'd like to stick to a budget.
     
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  3. buffy1270

    buffy1270 Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Apr 30, 2010
    Thanks for the information. One more question. Is the GH1 better for this purpose than the G2 or G3 or are they comparable? The GH2 is likely out of my price range.
     
  4. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    The G3 has a newer updated sensor. The only benefit to a GH1 would be if you want more control over video, and more specifically need to attach a microphone to the camera (as the G3 doesn't have a mic input). The G2 uses older sensor technology, so I would keep the G3 at the front of the pack. The only camera I'd choose over the G3 would be the GH2.
     
  5. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Get the Nikon D3100, for birding and wildlife many times you don't get a second chance at those hard to come by shots. You will get a higher number of keepers using a DSLR and Nikon has excellent lenses. Go to nikonians.org and look at the examples in the wildlife forum.
     
  6. buffy1270

    buffy1270 Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Apr 30, 2010
    Those are some really nice shots. Thanks for the link. I am worried about missing shots with the micro four thirds because, as I said, my Olympus had great image quality but was too slow for this type of photography but maybe that has changed?
     
  7. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    258
    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Rafael
    As it turns out, there are actually TWO macro lenses native to the m43 format if you're really interested in macro photography: the Panasonic 45 and the Olympus 60. Can only speak to the latter which is a very good lens, but they have both received praise in online reviews.
     
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You bet it has. The E-PL1 was one of the slowest AF cameras ever made in the lineup, and Olympus has made leaps and bounds since then. However, the G3 is only an incrememntal step as it is an old camera too.
     
  9. buffy1270

    buffy1270 Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Apr 30, 2010
    Hi all. I had almost forgotten about this thread until I received a notification someone replied. :) I ended up getting a G5 Panasonic a while back which I have now sold and I have now on order an Olympus EPM2. I will eventually buy the Olympus macro lens to go with it. I actually ended up getting a Canon SX50 superzoom as a birding camera as it was just easier and I am not looking to publish images or print large prints - my birding pictures end up being mostly for fun and to record sightings. My EPM2 will be my camera for general photography, macro and portraits, etc. Thanks for all of the input! :)