How my m4/3s shooting experience differs from a DSLR (warning lengthy post)

Started Dec 7, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Trevor Carpenter
Trevor Carpenter Forum Pro • Posts: 15,316
How my m4/3s shooting experience differs from a DSLR (warning lengthy post)

There's been a few threads lately from people undecided on m4/3s re DSLR. The answers go into lots of technical details but often overlook the shooting experience. I belong to a number of online photography forums and in the field I am shooting alongside mainly DSLR users. I shoot 40% birds, 40% aviation and 20% travel and general photography so my views are slanted toward those areas. I shoot with a G80 (I now have 2) and a GX7. My main lens is my PL100-400 which is on for about 80% of my pictures and a Panny 14-140 which covers most of the rest. I also have an Oly 60mm which comes out mainly for insects. So based upon my in the field observations and online communications some thoughts on how I see my shooting experience being different to my many m4/3s acquaintances,

1. Stabilisation. Before I got Dual IS , I was sceptical about just how advantageous it would be but it is fantastic. Nearly every DSLR user I see shooting birds with long(ish) lenses is using a tripod and nervous about shooting without it. I never use a tripod other than for night shooting and at the lower end of my zoom abilities I am even shooting some night shots hand held. Interestingly a lot of aviation photographers seem to have learnt the art of long lens DSLR shooting to a level that bird people seem unable to manage.

2. Weight. The obvious difference but if you shoot long the difference is huge and don't forget the tripod that so many DSLR users favour. If you are shooting BIFs or air shows, believe me you really appreciate the benefit

3. Settings. Let's start with WB, mine is permanently on auto with caveat that I rarely shoot under artificial light. It never lets me down and I find it almost impossible to get any improvement in post processing. Many DSLR colleagues are very nervous about using auto and have many discussions on getting the WB correct. A common exchange between DSLR colleagues is what settings did you use. My personal feeling is that is a question that I never need to ask as an m4/3s user. My G80 is like a third hand. I am constantly changing settings in the same way that I react to events in my car. That is, my subconscious does most of it for me. I don't get the impression that a lot of DSLR users have quite that affinity with their cameras. If they did, they wouldn't be asking for other people's settings.

4. Focusing. Lots of differences here: I see lots of DSLR macros that are in plain speak out of focus but the users don't care as long as a small part of the picture is in focus; I see many comments of DSLR users that they are back focusing, or 5 mm out or the lens needs calibrating. As far as I can see none of this applies to me as an m4/3s user.

5. Functionality. There seems little doubt that my G80 has many functions that the average DSLR user doesn't know exists, some have been amazed by my 4K photo output which I don't actually think is very good.

5. Weatherproofing. I was out the other day with some DSLR users and it started to spit with rain. Mad panic ensued as cameras went into bags or covers and plastic bags were dragged out. I just carried on.

This is not a sales pitch for m4/3s cameras but just a few things you may want to think about as part of a buying decision. I don't pretend that m4/3s is better, I can think of many ways that DSLRS are better, not least that DSLR friends with modern kit think nothing of pushing ISOs way over where I am prepared to go and I certainly envy their ability to do that.

I'm sure many people will say I'm wrong but these are genuine observations from working alongside other photographers.

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Recent and not so recent pictures here

 Trevor Carpenter's gear list:Trevor Carpenter's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S +1 more
Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
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