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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:24 pm 
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Hello all:

I am so stuck and in need of expert advice. I hope someone can help. Many thanks in advance.

I am a novice photographer and I can't decide between these 2 cameras: theSony Alpha 7 and the Olympus OMD EM1. They both offer portability, decent sensor size, and excellent photographs, and that brings me to my dilemma:

1. My subjects often involve low light settings, no flash, night and day photography: musicians on stage in small clubs, urbex and rurex--abandoned buildings, "industrial" wreckage, New Orleans street scenes, etc.

2. Given my subjects, I am guessing I'll need 2 lenses: a standard wide angle and a short zoom.

I'm aware of the price difference for the camera bodies but aside from that, the only differences that seem relevant to my needs are:
* Olympus has image stabilization in the camera body
* Olympus has more lenses to choose from
* Sony has a bigger sensor
* for the Sony, I would have to buy lenses that have image stabilization in them

So for my purposes:
1. how important is it to have the image stabilization on the body of the camera?
2. How important is the difference in the sensor sizes of those 2 cameras for what I am doing?
3. Do I need lots and lots of lenses to choose from? (I've been told that I could buy adapters, but that they take away from the effectiveness of the lens)

Whew. There it is. My dilemma which on a big scale isn't all that important but right now is completely occupying my mind. Can you offer any advice?

Many many thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:16 pm 
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Hi doublezd,

Welcome to the forum.

Image stabilisation can be very useful but bear in mind it only helps improve the steadiness of your hand and will do nothing to help with freezing motion so is not so useful in low light situations which include rapid movement. Larger sensors can help improve the dynamic range of an image (how much shadow detail there can be while still not blowing the highlights) but they can't defeat the laws of physics and a critical number is the area of the entrance pupil of the lens. As an example, suppose you chose the A7 together with the Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens and you needed to use that lens wide open in one of those clubs. For the E-M1 to get the same field of view you'd have to find a lens with a focal length of 27.5mm. The brightest near equivalent would be the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 Leica DG - at first glance you'd think that would be better as f/1.4 is brighter than f/1.8 but, if I've got my sums right, that Panasonic lens is actually letting about 1/3rd as much light from the scene onto the sensor as the Sony. That might not be an issue as you may have enough available light to get a clean image but it's worth bearing in mind.

You are about to make a significant investment. If you check out Gordon's Support Me page (here) you'll find a link to BorrowLenses. It might be a very good idea to get in touch with them and rent both the E-M1 and the A7 for a week or two together with one or two equivalent lenses for each camera and try the two systems out in the most demanding typical situations you expect to shoot in. That might solve your dilemma even though it does mean splashing the cash in the short term. And no, I have no vested interest in pointing you towards that link... :lol:

Good luck with your search.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:01 pm
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Thank you so much Bob Andersson.

I am grateful for your detailed message, and will "unpack" it slowly as I'm not yet savvy with the technicalities of cameras and lens.

And, I REALLY appreciate your heads up re: the rental link. I think that's a great idea, and I want to find out more.

best,
d


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:21 am 
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Bob Andersson wrote:
at first glance you'd think that would be better as f/1.4 is brighter than f/1.8 but, if I've got my sums right, that Panasonic lens is actually letting about 1/3rd as much light from the scene onto the sensor as the Sony.

Well, this should be interesting. I'm going to go out a limb and disagree with Bob. While I agree that Depth of Field will be doubled on an m4/3 sensor, I believe light gathering power stays the same. i.e. theoretically, if a scene is properly exposed on a full frame camera at, say, 1/60, f1.4, ISO200 it should also be properly exposed on an m4/3 camera with those same settings. Yes, the Field of View and Depth of Field will be different, but exposure shouldn't be. (Of course, in actuality, there would probably be a slight difference due to different light transmittance (unless you use T-stops instead of f-stops), different manufacturers' ISO ratings, etc.)

If my understanding is correct, then to the OP:

This is an advantage for m4/3 for concert photography because you can achieve proper exposure in lower light while still having usable Depth of Field (say, a foot or two). On the other hand, full frame sensors generally have less noise at higher ISOs. So on a full frame camera, you could stop down the lens and bump up the ISO, which could get you similar results.

And just to echo Bob other advice, for concert photography, you generally want to use a shutter speed of 1/120 or faster. So, assuming decent photographic technique, image stabilization (in either the body or the lens) is unnecessary for wide angle and normal field of view lenses.

Mark


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:52 am 
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Hi Mark,

What? Disagreeing with Bob!!! :lol:

Mark wrote:
... if a scene is properly exposed on a full frame camera at, say, 1/60, f1.4, ISO200 it should also be properly exposed on an m4/3 camera with those same settings.

Absolutely correct but (you knew there had to be a "but" didn't you :) ) the m4/3rds camera has to work its sensor harder because less photons get through that smaller entrance pupil diameter. That's why one usually associates smaller sensors with higher noise: to a first approximation (!) for the same field of view and the same f-number there's actually less light for each pixel to work with.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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