9.25.2015

Hey Dude! What cameras are you gonna use for that corporate show coming up? Will it be the D810?



I've photographed the upcoming conference a number of times in the past. Two years ago my schedule didn't match up and they had to use someone else but the client came right back last year. Over the five or six years I've been involved with this very private conference of bankers, federal regulators, finance experts, commercial and residential real estate investors and economists I've mostly documented the event with some form of four thirds or micro four thirds cameras and lenses. Last year I mostly used the Olympus EM-5s, with a smattering of Panasonic. When I first started working the event I was using the Olympus E-3 and E-30 cameras along with their fast f2.0 zoom lenses. (Still miss that 35-100mm f2.0, but what a weight monster...).

This year I thought to change the whole paradigm and use the full frame cameras but I just can't bring myself to hoist the bag of what feels like lead weights yet again. I'm remaining loyal to the small cameras for this one. I also dreaded massaging those enormous full frame raw files. Totally unnecessary for this kind of work.

And I'm packing as light as I can. How's this? Two EM5-2 bodies with grips attached. One Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 zoom and one Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 FT zoom (used with an adapter but originally made for the Olympus Four Thirds, mirrored cameras).  Add to this two of the tiny flashes that shipped with the Olympus cameras and one, bigger Panasonic flash. The final addition to the inventory? A nice monopod for that monster, long lens. Someone has to carry the weight, right?

We'll do social photography on Sunday night at a nice, downtown conference hotel and then begin the show in earnest on Monday morning. Early. Too early. We shot from sun up till sun down on Mon., Tues. and Weds. and we'll have another year's show in the can.

I'm selecting the diminutive system once again because it's small, light and delivers great results. Nearly 100% of the client's use of the images will be on the web and in electronic presentations. It's another area or niche where the absolute "best" can be a hinderance to productivity and workflow.

Also, I may want to switch into video and capture some movement. I'd love to be able to do that handheld. That's playing right into Olympus's strengths...

13 comments:

William Beebe said...

The way you work now reminds me of the way we both worked way back in the film days: medium format for special large printing and 35mm for photojournalism and run-and-gun type of documentary work. The Olympus OM-D cameras are now the equivalent to 35mm film, while the D750/D810 Nikons are the equivalent to medium format. And for generally the same reasons when it comes to still photography. The new frontier with all of this is video.

Danie Mouton said...

Interesting that you choose the FT 50-200 above the newer and blazingly fast focusing MFT 40-150. I still have the 50-200 SWD and use it extensively on my EM1 for wildlife, with a 1.4 TC. The 40-150 is too short for wildlife, but would probably work really well at a conference like this? I guess you need reach beyond 150mm?
Danie Mouton

Wolfgang Lonien said...

What Bill said - and yes, the 50-200mm lens is/was special. Never had one, but whenever I saw photos taken with one of them I was very impressed. Still love to use my old Four Thirds 50mm/2 macro on one of the smaller cameras, but since they don't have phase detection autofocus, it's slow. But it makes a hell of a portrait lens. As does the 50-200mm.

William Beebe said...

Going back to what the others have said about the 50-200mm: I heartily concur. I had it and the 12-60mm with an E-3. Then all three were stolen out of my car August 2012. I never replaced any of that gear, preferring to move on to micro four thirds. But I still have the TC 1.4 for it and the 50mm macro, as well as a four thirds 9-18mm and a number of adapters. If I were to buy anything in four thirds again it would be another 50-200mm, and probably an EM-5 Mk II.

Those two lenses made the E-3 with it's "limited" 10MP sensor a powerhouse camera system. I still go back to appreciate the photos I took with that combination.

amolitor said...

Roll in with a big wet plate system! Dare ya!

Cecelia Campochiaro said...

Thanks for this - I also have Nikon and Olympus and share your distaste of weight and weighty files much of the time. How will you use the on-camera flashes? Whenever I use them they are too centered and bright... How high will you let the ISO float on the Olympus cameras?

Max Rottersman said...

It's the weight of the camera, not the talent of the photographer that counts. D810? Real men shoot with D4S' ;)

Kirk Tuck said...

Cecelia, For event work I am happy to let the camera go all the way up to ISO 3200 but I'm relatively intolerant of noise in studio portrait files (and we have all the light we could ever want!) so I keep the ISO around 200. As to flash I'll make a little white bounce card for each out of note card stock and rubber band them to the flash. I shoot ISO 800 and near wide open so the flash doesn't have to carry all the weight. If I'm in a tungsten lit room I'll filter the flash to match. But most of the work at corporate seminar events is available light and the stages are nearly always well lit so we never use flash there. Also, would never, ever use flash for a speaker at a podium. Ever. Never.

If the flashes seem too centered it seems like a simple fix would be to use them off the camera at the end of a TTL cable. Most of the flashes I use I set to manual outputs. I know I can't do that with the dinky flashes that camera with the camera but I may toss them back into the bag and just do what I need to do "flash wise" with a fully manual Cactus flash. I may be getting older but I can still do math on the run. :-)

Kirk Tuck said...

Ah. I must not be a real man... Can't stand the D4s body. Like a souped up sports car with a dinky engine....

Fantasy men can shoot with anything...

amolitor said...

I think of the 'pro' lines of cameras as the ones that are issued by employers to employees. They have to be capable of being used as hammers, because, employees.

If you're buying your own gear they're not as obvious a choice!

Kirk Tuck said...

So, so true. I've already got 20,000 actuations on my Nikon D810 and it looks like it just came out of the box for the first time. I've seen some newspaper staffer cameras that look like they've been in a rock tumbler before being run over by cars. Is it that hard to take care of a camera?

William Beebe said...

>> Is it that hard to take care of a camera?

Depends on who paid for it. If you paid for it then it's a lot dearer than if someone other than you paid for it. At least for a lot of people it's that way. For you, me, and many others who visit here, I think we'd take care of camera gear no matter what.

Having said that, here's a link to a comparison of the Canon 5D Mk III and the Nikon D800 with Mike Drew and The Camera Store's Chris Niccolls (Canon 5D Mark III vs. Nikon D800 Part 2 with Mike Drew). Drew uses Canon and Niccolls uses Nikon. Needless to say Drew, in his line of work (see the video) uses his gear pretty hard.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W9EeDCaVFM

Best quote (around 8:20): "My cameras are tools, not museum pieces." Mike Drew

At 8:33 you'll see just how warn Drew's 5D Mk II is; brassed (or is that aluminumed?) edges all around and a cracked upper display.

Cecelia Campochiaro said...

Kirk, Thank you for the information about the ISO and flashes - most appreciated!