Why Thom is wrong...

Started Sep 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 650
The wonder of the 70D

paulkienitz wrote:

MarkJH wrote:

I'm missing the evidence for your CaNikon confidence, here. It's true that both companies are clearly putting r&d into better on-sensor focus systems, but neither is yet coming away with a clear victory. The Canon 70D's "dual-pixel" phase sensor, as a case in point, really does dramatically improve live-view performance, but it's still not as fast or as confident as Olympus's contast-detection for stills. And, in time Canon took to develop it, Olympus cooked some improvements into their system such that the new EM-1 now offers true phase-detect continuous performance.

I don't think there's any doubt that Canon's sensor is ahead of Olympus's at phase-detecting. I'd bet Oly's advantage is mostly in the lens motors being faster.

Have you ever photographed anything or anyone with an EM-5, Paulkeinitz?

Full disclosure: I haven't shot an Olympus EM-1 yet, so I can't really talk from experience, there.

However, I have shot both the Canon 70D and the Olympus EM-5, side-by-side.   (My studio partner got a 70D three weeks ago as a backup for her 5DIII, and we've explored some possibilities with it here-and-there when she's assisting me with my clients.)  My experience is with studio and location fashion / editorial / commercial photography, not with weddings, events, or sports.

So: in that context, I'll be the first to point out how *incredible* the 70D's new "dual-pixel" system is.  It's everything Canon promises in their marketing material, which is a truly rare occurrence.  It's both *much* faster than Canon's previous live-view systems (it totally smokes my shooting partner's primary 5DIII), and, more importantly, it's single-loop confident: there's little-to-no of the back-forth hunting that characterized previous CaNikon contrast-detection Live View systems.

It works quite well with tracking continuous motion, too, though not nearly so well as the through-the-viewfinder phase-detect system.  It's just not as quick.  Of course, I can only test this kind of thing with tracking a single subject (a model jumping, for example), so it'd be interesting to hear what dedicated sports shooters think.

I guess what I'm getting at, here, is that the "dual-pixel" development is impressive, but it's also very clearly a "first gen" product.  Live View with the 70D is a big leap over, say, Live View with the 5DIII; and for subjects in motion, it may have an advantage over Olympus or Panasonic (I say "may" because, again, I'm not a sports shooter; it isn't more effective with models).

However, it's still not nearly so quick or so confident as the 2012-vintage EM-5 for single-shot stills.  It's not really close.  And it's not just an issue of lens motor speed: there's a confidence in the way the EM-5 locks that no DSLR I've ever shot has.  It's amazing, and though the 70D is great, shooting the EM-5 reminds you how far Canon still has to go.

If you haven't done a gig with an EM-5 (or one of the GH cameras), you really need to before you make judgments about how mirrorless performs comparatively.   My studio partner dislikes the EM-5 because she feels that seeing exposure, white balance, and tone curve response live encourages her to "post process" while she's shooting, pulling her from the most connected possible moment with the client.  OK.  But then whenever I use it, she's always jealous of my 100% focus hit rate regardless of focus point, composition, or aperture, my perfect out-of-camera exposure, and publication-ready tone.

That's why threads that posit DSLR architecture or CaNikon dominance arouse my suspicion.  The question of whether they're always the best for a given kind of photography just isn't cut-and-dry the way it was five years ago, and CaNikon have a long way to go if they want to close the crack-in-the-door Olympus, Panasonic, Sony have opened.

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