Best DSLR + lens combo for low light, indoor kid shots

Started Jan 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
peevee1 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,247
Re: OM-D

tedandtricia wrote:

peevee1 wrote:

Of course you might want to go all out and buy a Full Frame body and 24mm f/1.4 lens. At least $2000 for the body and $2000 for the lens. Of course $2000 FF body will have inadequate tiny AF system lifted out of an APS-C camera, covering only the very center of the frame. If you want better coverage, you are looking at $3000 body. So $5000, 2 kg, no articulated screen, no autofocus or working viewfinder in video... Those shots from kid heights are going to be tricky.

If AF on APS-C is "inadequate tiny AF system...covering only the very center of the frame", how would Oly's AF system stand up in that light

Not "AF on APS-C", but APS-C AF used on a FF camera with 120% bigger frame. Like using 39-point AF system from D7000 on Nikon D600. It is OK on APS-C, covering the center and some decent area around the center (not the corners or sides of course), but on FF is covers only the very center. 11-point system on Canon 6D is even smaller, with just a single cross-sensor.

? I'll have to check but I'm not sure the OM-D even uses PDAF, it might be a CDAF system. Subject tracking, continuous AF, facial recognition AF are all pretty standard on APS-C and up (though performance varies).

Oly's is fast CDAF, perfectly able to track at 4 fps, and using about 80% of frame width for that (unlike those "cheap" FF cams). It is not the same useless CDAF you will get on DSLRs, not at all (at least with Oly MSC lenses, like the 12/2 and the 17/1.8). Oly C-AF+TR is not always perfect, but neither are those cheap AF systems on cheap DSLRs. And wider DoF helps not to miss the focus. And to get 9 fps (which you get with focus locked on OM-D) on FF DSLR, you are looing at $6000 for body only.

I will have to look into how they perform on the OM-D compared to APS-C or FF. I think AF features and speed are critical for shooting kids.

Awful wide open except in the center.

Where did you pull these 3D graphs from? That seems like a great tool for visualizing how good a lens will be wide open. Is there a URL where you can look up any lens and get a graph like this?

slrgear.com. Only, when choosing the FF lenses, the default graphs are for APS-C cameras (i.e. central crop of the lenses). Switch to their full-frame test tab to see the performance on full-frame cameras, without so much of the sides and corners cropped out. Click on the graph, it will allow you to change aperture and see how sharpness changes across the frame. The same with their CA and distortion graphs - love it.

And DoF at 24/1.4 at close living room distances will be too shallow to fit companies of kids. For those two reasons, you might want to stop down the lenses, to at least f/2 or slower (they only become more or less sharp across the frame by f/4). Of course, if you need to stop down in low light and want to freeze running kids at the same time, you are looking at full Manual mode, with one dial setting your aperture and another setting your shutter speed. Of course you have no dials left for direct exposure compensation, so you might want to fuss around with buttons to set that, and take test shots to see what you get on the screen (no preview on OVF), and adjust, and take the shot again...

Great description of the work flow and ergonomics together. Though shooting indoors with both siblings playing near each other, I'd probably stop down the aperture and set it in advance on a APS-C or FF, if I didn't have enough dials, leaving a manual dial for exposure compensation, assuming the dials are all customizable.

How would you stop down the aperture in Shutter priority mode, where both shutter speed and exposure compensation are available on the dials (not even that on those entry-level DSLRs)?

Or you might become one smart cookie, and choose The DPR User's Best Camera of 2012 ($999, from $850 on ebay I think) plus $800 130g 12/2 lens (24 mm equivalent):

It is not to the scale of those lenses above, much smaller in real life, 130g vs 650g.

Sharp across the frame starting wide open.

Articulated screen, weather-sealed alloy body, great image stabilization for those slow moments (to keep ISO low), exposure preview, can shoot in Shutter priority mode without worrying about aperture - DoF and sharpness are adequate from wide open. One-button movie mode, with quiet and fast autofocus working across the frame, and EVF working in movie mode too. And focus scale on the lens, you can easily manually focus (especially useful in video) without AF or looking at the screen.

If you like a little tighter, you might replace Oly 12/2 with Oly 17/1.8, $500.

Yes, and AutoISO goes to 25,600 if you want, you need not to worry about setting ISO manually above that if you need fast shutter speed (with all that fussing around you are sure to miss THE moment). And high ISO performance somewhere in the middle of APS-C cameras - a little better than Canon DSLRs and EOS M and Sony DSLTs, a little worse than latest Nikon and Pentax DSLRs - not noticeable without instruments and pixel peeping in both cases.

So $1500-1800 with OM-D will get you better, easier to use package in practice than $5000 with FF.

Hard to believe how long and heavy those FF lenses are despite only being wide angle lenses! A picture is worth a thousand words.

You made a great case for the OM-D and a nice looking lens. I had briefly looked at m4/3 but some of the reviews on some of the systems (like Nikon 1, not Oly) seemed to give me the impression that high ISO was not really there, and the AF systems were not great in low light, so without researching every m4/3, I just sort of figured maybe I should look at APS-C and FF. Maybe I'll thrown OM-D into the mix though and see what I find.


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