Capturing Action with a Micro Four Thirds Camera

For many people, the main limitation of the micro 4/3 systems, while being more portable and fun, has been in capturing movement and action, owing to the contrast-detection AF system. And they would be entirely correct. While it is super fast for static subjects, the lack of effective phase detection AF, as found on DSLRs and other mirrorless systems, causes difficulty in tracking moving subjects.

Skater in Motion #1

Olympus EM-5, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 @ f/2.8, 1/320, ISO 320

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Micro Four Thirds vs DSLR Camera Considerations

Warm greetings to my fellow Photography Life readers! My name is Sharif and I am the photographer behind Alpha Whiskey Photography. I have been very kindly asked by Nasim to write an article for Photography Life, which has proved to be an excellent resource for photographers all over our planet. Nasim specifically invited me to write about my experience with my Olympus Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, the lenses I choose to use with it, and why I prefer it to my DSLR system, along with some examples of images I have produced with it.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 200 , Virtually the first image I shot with my EM-5

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 200, Virtually the first image I shot with my EM-5

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless camera that was released on September 10, 2013. Standing above all other Olympus mirrorless cameras, the E-M1 is a flagship model with the most impressive list of features. Built on the success of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (which we highly praised), the E-M1 reigns over the OM-D line on a number of features – from the design of the camera and its incredibly fast autofocus system to the advanced shutter mechanism, high-end electronic viewfinder, WiFi and amazing weather sealing options. In fact, the E-M1 is one of the very few freezeproof, splashproof and dustproof interchangeable lens cameras on the market today.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

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Camera System Comparison

One of our readers, Rudiger Wolf, has done some pretty extensive research to decide on what camera system he wanted to settle on. In this article, he wanted to share his findings with our readers and hopefully make it easier for others to select the system based on their particular needs. When Rudiger sent me an email earlier last week and asked if it would be helpful to share his findings, I responded to him that it would surely be beneficial. Photography Life is all about sharing knowledge and helping others to make healthy choices, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Enjoy!

Fuji X-T1 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review

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The Olympus OM-D E-M5 mirrorless camera was released on February 7, 2012 right before the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging show in Japan. Along with the camera, Olympus also released two lenses for the Micro Four Thirds mount – the 75mm f/1.8 and the 60mm f/2.8 Macro. The E-M5 generated a lot of buzz among the photography community when it was released, because of its impressive specifications, compact weather sealed body and a beautiful retro style design – all to satisfy the demanding needs of the enthusiast and professional crowd. Within a relatively short period of time, the camera became a huge success, thanks to raving reviews from respected photographers. I did not pay much attention to the E-M5 at the time, because I was too busy with the Nikon D800/D800E announcements and tests. However, I really wanted to check it out sometime later, after all the dust settles. Summer and Fall were very busy seasons for me professionally, so I had to postpone my plans even more. The camera finally arrived in mid November, along with a bunch of other mirrorless cameras from Sony, Nikon and Canon. It only took me a week with the E-M5 to realize that it was exactly the camera I had been longing for.

Olympus OM-D E-M5

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Battle of the Mirrorless – Part 1 (Dynamic Range)

As promised, I have performed some additional dynamic range tests on the mirrorless cameras I am testing (Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R, Sony NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5) and I have the data ready for your viewing pleasure. As expected, the Sony APS-C sensors performed the best, with the Sony NEX-5R and NEX-6 leading the game (although other NEX series are extremely close) followed by the Olympus OM-D EM-5, then Canon EOS M and then finally the Nikon 1 J2. Here is a comparison chart that shows performance of the various mirrorless cameras:

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Battle of the Mirrorless – Part 1 (Low Light Performance)

I have spent a considerable amount of time working with 7 different mirrorless cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I apologize for not being able to provide periodic updates on these cameras. I have come up with new ways to measure digital camera sensor performance, so it took me a long time to do it in a way that I believe will be more accurate and objective compared to my previous methods. Not only will you be seeing crops of sensor performance in a controlled environment, but I will also provide some numbers to quantify performance in colors and dynamic range. As I have already mentioned before, I will be measuring dynamic range myself going forward without having to rely on other websites for the data. It will be interesting to see how my data compares to other sites like DxOMark. I am not planning to do anything super intensive and I bet my measurements will not be without issues and errors, but I believe it is something worth trying. Hopefully it will give a different perspective to testing sensors.

Here is the first test that shows the low light performance of the following mirrorless cameras: Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R/NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5. Since these cameras all look excellent at ISO levels between 100 and 800, I decided to only show ISO performance at 1600 and above. Take a look!

Nikon 1 J2

Nikon 1 J2 ISO 1600 Nikon 1 J2 ISO 3200

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Panasonic GX1 Review

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Panasonic GX1. Although I have owned some compact cameras and occasionally have the chance to experiment with those of others, this is the first mirrorless camera I have used. As Nasim and others have indicated, mirrorless cameras will increasingly play a larger role in the digital camera market, due primarily to their smaller size, lighter weight, reduced mechanical complexity, and faster FPS ( frames per second speed). They provide an impressive range of features in extremely small packages. But mirrorless cameras such as the GX1 still represent a modest investment and thus do not offer any cost reduction relative to entry and midlevel DSLRs. In this Panasonic GX1 Review, I will provide detailed information about the camera, as well as image comparisons to other DSLR cameras.

Panasonic GX1

Some of my questions prior to receiving my GX1 included:

  1. How well would the GX1′s picture quality compare against that of my D7000?
  2. How well would the GX1′s pictures compare to my D800?
  3. Would I find the weight advantage of the GX1 meaningful?
  4. How would I adjust to the GX1′s controls?
  5. What would cause me to consider a GX1 over a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera?

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