Thoughts on the E-M1 as a professional tool...

Started Jan 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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daddyo Forum Pro • Posts: 12,670
Thoughts on the E-M1 as a professional tool...

First let me qualify these comments by stating that professionally, I shoot corporate events, Very small (and very occasional) weddings, and portraits.

With that said, let me say that I cannot see any compelling reason for me to need a full 35mm frame camera, nor a DSLR system. Micro Four Third is totally adequate to provide the output my clients need. It doesn't mean that there are no compromises, but any compromises are greatly outweighed by size, weight, and portability advantages of Micro Four Thirds (plus other advantages such as WYSIWYG EVF, great live view experience and info overlay, etc.).

Last night I shot a small coporate event for local resort (I'm a contract photographer for this resort). I did not get very detailed info up front about exactly what the client wanted, and what I did get proved to be somewhat off the mark. Forturnately, I've done enough of this kind of work to anticipate the unexpected in terms of the needed gear.

Initially, I was told that there were 40 people and that they wanted reception/dinner candids and some small group photos of sales teams -- simple enough. When I arrived and met my contact, I was told that they actually wanted individual head and shoulder portraits of each person, followed by a group portrait of all 40 people. Then they wanted reception/dinner candids and shots of some of the guys outside playing a team challenge on a make shift putt-putt golf course set up on the nearby large practice green (at night, in very poor lighting).

In my camera bag I had two E-M1's w/grips, Oly 12-40mm, Pany 12-35mm, Pany 35-100mm, Oly 9-18mm, and Bower 7.5mm Fisheye. For lighting I had one FL-600R and one FL-50 (not the R model), plus a Custom Brackets Folding-S flash bracket.

For the head and shoulders portraits, I used the E-M1/Pany 35-100mm, CB flash bracket with FL-600R and a Vivitar DF-Pro diffuser, tripod mounted. The event was located in a large, mostly glassed-in pavilion so I decided to seat people on the hearth in front of the fireplace to use the fire as a warm backdrop. I used face detection, and must say that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread! The lighting inside the pavilion was rediculously low and I had zero focus problems -- I did two shots of each person, so 80 exposures with none misfocused.

For the large group shot I took everyone out to a large deck off the back ot the pavilion and switched out my FL-600R with my FL-50 with a Stoffen Omni-bounce diffuser. I arranged people in four staggered rows, and shot from atop a step stool I had brought (thank goodness). I was able to shoot at f/4 using the 12-40mm and still get everyone in focus. The FL-50 and Stoffen lit everyone very evenly.

I can not praise the Pany 35-100mm enough -- I ended up shooting more with it than my 12-40mm, as I was able to ramp up my ISO and get a lot of nice non-flash candids without getting right on top of people.

The only criticisms I have about my Olympus gear is that I feel like the implementation of the manual focus ring on the 12-40mm is problematic for professional use. Last night I went to grab a quick shot only to find that I had inadvertantly slid the ring back and put the lens in manual focus mode -- not good. Fortunately, it was not a 'must have' shot, but I could see this happening at an award presentation for example, or at an important moment at a wedding and causing some real grief. I think it's a good feature, but it seems way to easy to change the ring position.

As far as the E-M1 -- no complaints so far, other than my slow progress in adapting to the interface. Several times I went to change the aperture only to change the ISO, because I had failed to flip the 2X switch back to the top position -- duh! And I still find it a challenge to remember where I have pigeon-holed some of the custom button assignments.

Oh, and the client insisted that they needed a DVD of processed files by noon today -- which is yet another reason why I shoot Jpegs at these events. I handed them the DVD at 12:15PM

Below are a few of the existing light shots I did using the Bower Fisheye and the Pany 35-100mm and ISO 4000. Did I mentions that I love that lens?

God Bless,


 daddyo's gear list:daddyo's gear list
Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
Nikon Df Olympus E-M1
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