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Which Mft For Street?


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#1 JSetzer

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 10:01 AM

I got a few cool (and unexpected) street photography shots with my full frame DSLR during a recent trip to the left coast.  Now I'm thinking I want to add a small, pocket-able camera to my arsenal for capturing more of these moments.  MFT seems to be a great platform from all I've read so far.  I'm sort of leaning toward the Olympus E-M5-M2 and just a 50mm prime (or 35mm?)  equivalent.  I'm just starting my research, so any opinions on best setup for street photography would be great.  Oh, and anyone have good luck with the OM lens adaptor?  Thanks!



#2 Michael Tam

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 12:20 PM

I use a OMD E-M5 Mk. II with the 25mm (50mm EFL) F1.8 Olympus lens for casual shooting. It's relatively small and light compared to APS-C DSLRs, and provides very good performance, but it is by no means compact, or pocket-able, even in a big pocket.

 

For something truly pocket-able, you would need to get one of of the smaller MFT bodies and pancake lens combos. Unfortunately, you sacrifice some pretty significant things to do that, which pushed me to the EM-5 Mk. II as it is probably the better all-around choice if the size and weight are okay with you. Smaller and cheaper MFT cams I'd have to give up a faster mechanical shutter, which limits the use of fast lenses. Most don't have an integrated EVF, which is handy in bright light. And to keep the point of a smaller camera relevant, you would need to use a pancake lens, of which, there are few quality lenses to choose from. 

 

One thing to watch for is that battery life on mirrorless cameras in general is really poor compared to a DSLR. You may need an extra battery or two depending on how much you use the screen and viewfinder, and how you set the power settings for them.

 

Personally I really like my OMD E-M5 Mk. II with the 25mm or 45mm Olympus lenses set up for fun shooting random bits as I walk around. Both lenses are small, light, sharp, fairly bright, contrasty, and relatively inexpensive. I also often carry the 12mm to grab the occasional indoor or landscape shot. Sometimes if I want to do street portraits, I'll take the 75mm, but it's a finicky focal length, only good for outdoor head shots and such It is however, capable of producing some very dreamy, cinematic renderings that are an addictive challenge to keep producing. I also have the 17mm, but rarely use it. It's too... normal looking and tends not to produce interesting images unless you really work your composition hard.

 

I also have the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro Zoom among others, but it's kind of big and heavy. Although I would get more keepers with that lens, I don't like carrying it for casual use, and tend to have it only when I go out and take pictures with purposeful intent, like a trip or event dedicated for taking pictures.



#3 Aushiker

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 06:41 AM

Another option and one I am seriously considering even though I have have an OMD EM-1 is a Ricoh GR or Ricoh GR Digital III or IV.  The Ricoh has a very good reputation as a street photography camera, more so if you shoot in black and white. If you want to stay with Micro 4/3 I would consider a Panasonic GM1 or GM5 as nice small high performer.

 

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#4 RAH1861

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 07:34 AM

I recently bought an E-M10. They are on-sale right now for $500 with the kit lens (which is pretty good). This is the smallest OMD model, and what I would recommend based on your specs, roark.

 

You ask if anyone has experience with an OM adapter. If you mean a 4/3 to m4/3 adapter (to mount regular 4/3 lenses on a m4/3 camera), I have some experience. As a long-time Olympus DSLR user (E-520), I have a bunch of regular 4/3 lenses. When I got my E-M10, I also bought a Vello (B&H brand) 4/3-m4/3 adapter. The adapter is fine. The way lenses work depends on the design of the lens. For example, the 9-18 works very nicely, with pretty quick auto-focus. The 35mm macro works pretty well too. On the other hand, the 40-150 is really poor, taking about 4 seconds to AF. Surprisingly, the 14-54MKI works pretty well, AF-wise. (You can get the m4/3 40-150 for $120 right now, or get it even cheaper as part of a package with the E-M10, I think, so that would be a good thing to do).

 

If you mean an actual OM to m4/3 adapter, I have adapted old OM lenses to regular 4/3, to mount on my E-520. Works OK, but it is all-manual, of course.


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#5 Aushiker

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 07:46 AM

That would be be my luck. I just picked up a Zukio

 


I wonder if this an adapter issue or just the nature of the beast.  I have a Zuiko Digital ED 14-42 f/3.5-5.6 coming and have to decide on an adapter. The price of the Olympus ones are seriously out of proportion to what I paid for the lens and what other lens I may get so an after-market one appeals, but it needs to be usable.

 

Andrew

 


When I got my E-M10, I also bought a Vello (B&H brand) 4/3-m4/3 adapter. The adapter is fine. The way lenses work depends on the design of the lens. For example, the 9-18 works very nicely, with pretty quick auto-focus. The 35mm macro works pretty well too. On the other hand, the 40-150 is really poor, taking about 4 seconds to AF. Surprisingly, the 14-54MKI works pretty well, AF-wise. (You can get the m4/3 40-150 for $120 right now, or get it even cheaper as part of a package with the E-M10, I think, so that would be a good thing to do).

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#6 Michael Tam

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 08:57 AM

There's a couple issues I noted with the original Zuiko 4/3 lenses being adapted to MFT. First is that sometimes the MFT cameras can not supply enough power to the focusing element, especially with the larger Zuiko lenses which seem to have a heavier moving element. I'd get a failure to focus on some lens/body combos I tested. Second, is the phase detect based autofocus they are designed use, which can make the lenses sluggish as well--which is greatly helped with the use of the OMD E-M1 body. Unfortunately some of the lenses still remain slow for some reason or another.

 

Another gripe is the noisy focusing motors in the Zuiko lenses as opposed to the native M.Zuiko lenses with the MSC focus, which are nearly silent. That grindy sound of gears spinning can really ruin a street shot moment--never mind the slow focus on some which doesn't help either.

 

If you want fairly cheap good lenses, the sigma MFT stuff seems pretty good. Comes in 19mm, 30mm, and 60mm flavors all at f2.8.

 

Although the Olympus lenses are also frequently on sale, and often there is an even larger discount if you buy from getolympus.com with a body, which can stack with some of the current sale discounts. Father's day sale going on, which you may want to check prices with.



#7 RAH1861

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 08:46 PM

Aushiker, your lens is a 4/3 kit lens. It is very lightweight, so it shouldn't have any trouble weight-wise. I think that non-Olymps adapters are as good, from what I have read (and why I bought the Vello). I haven't tried my old 4/3 kit lens with the adapter (since I have the m4/3 kit lens).

As Michael says, the speed of AF depends on the type of motor the lens has, and the camera (the em-1 being better than the rest). I'll try the old kit lens tomorrow and report back...

 

Edit 6/20/15: I tried the old 4/3 14-42 kit lens with the Vello adapter plus the E-M10 camera. The autofocus was pretty quick and definitely usable; kind of like I see with the 9-18. So, in other words, the only 4/3 lens I had slooooow AF with was the old 40-150.

 

I should mention that none of these lenses is focusing as fast as a dedicated m4/3 lens, and not even close to as fast as a modern lens on a modern DSLR. This focusing is very much like I get when using my canon 60D in Live View mode - sluggish contrast detect. But for non-moving subjects it is fine, and very accurate.


Rich




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