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Olympus with 5 axis - advantages over bigger sensor or not?

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Olympus with 5 axis - advantages over bigger sensor or not?

Greetings,

I'm thinking of getting a Micro 4/3 in the future because of its small size and potential for great IQ (high res mode is amazing for object photography!). Plus the Olympus Pen F is absolutely gorgeous.

My question is: with Olympus' 5 axis stabilizer, which claim to be able to add up to 5-stop to your shutter speed, handheld without shake, how does it compare to a bigger sensor without stabilizer if the subject is people? For low light and social event situation.

Compared to say a fullframe (easier for math) with a 50mm F0.95 VS Olympus Pen F with a 25mm F0.95. ISO on fullframe is about 2 stops better than MFT since it's 4 times the surface and that F-stop is twice bigger, so that's another stop. So in theory, fullframe has 3 stops advantage over MFT.
In this case, if I shoot at 1/50 of a sec on the fullframe, it'll be around 1/6 of a sec on the MFT to be equal in IQ, which is doable by what Olympus claims (up to 5 stop). It's all good and fine, but how high is the pourcentage of having blurry shots because the subject moved?

Does anyone has experiences with that situation? Like using a Olympus with 5 axis at an event shooting with really slow shutter speed. How much is your rate of sharp photos?
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Gin Martini wrote:
Sep 28th, 2017 6:09 pm
Greetings,

I'm thinking of getting a Micro 4/3 in the future because of its small size and potential for great IQ (high res mode is amazing for object photography!). Plus the Olympus Pen F is absolutely gorgeous.

My question is: with Olympus' 5 axis stabilizer, which claim to be able to add up to 5-stop to your shutter speed, handheld without shake, how does it compare to a bigger sensor without stabilizer if the subject is people? For low light and social event situation.

Compared to say a fullframe (easier for math) with a 50mm F0.95 VS Olympus Pen F with a 25mm F0.95. ISO on fullframe is about 2 stops better than MFT since it's 4 times the surface and that F-stop is twice bigger, so that's another stop. So in theory, fullframe has 3 stops advantage over MFT.
In this case, if I shoot at 1/50 of a sec on the fullframe, it'll be around 1/6 of a sec on the MFT to be equal in IQ, which is doable by what Olympus claims (up to 5 stop). It's all good and fine, but how high is the pourcentage of having blurry shots because the subject moved?

Does anyone has experiences with that situation? Like using a Olympus with 5 axis at an event shooting with really slow shutter speed. How much is your rate of sharp photos?
I'm not a wedding photographer but I do shoot people in casual settings without flash often

FF has an effective 2 stop advantage of MFT due to sensor size in noise control AND depth of field

take two cameras:
50 f/1.8 on FF and 25mm f/1.8 on MFT

because of IBIS, you can theoretically go with a shutter speed 1/32 as fast (5 stops) . So on the FF you probably don't want to lower than 1/50 seconds on the 50mm (1/focal length guideline), but the MFT can shoot at 1/2 second exposure and still have a steady enough shot. In reality it's probably less than a 5 stop advantage because IBIS can't fully correct all types of shake equally well.

in terms of capturing people, you probably don't really want to go below 1/30 of a second shooting people that aren't moving. 1/60 is what I usually choose as a minimum. So IBIS doesn't net its full advantage it can because you can't take advantage of ultra low shutter speeds . It's better to have a noisier shot than a blurry shot so resist the temptation to keep lowering shutter speed even though IBIS can theoretically give you a steady shot.

With the FF, you can also bump up the ISO 4 times more so that allow you to keep the shutter speed higher. On MFT, ISO1600 is the practical limit whereas on FF, you could be shooting at ISO6400 and have usable results.

MFT is a great system, but you are going to bump into its limits shooting available light at weddings.

So with MFT, you might be forced into shutter speeds that are two slow for shooting people in a wedding situation where you can't push the ISO higher.. IBIS may give you a sharp shot but with blurred people.

Sometimes you can go with a low shutter speed for posed shots where you want background movement blur AND the subjects are really trying to stay still. So you may be able to go with shutter speeds down to a second or two. But I wouldn't rely on IBIS to give me a sharp shot no matter what it claims. You want to be on a tripod for that.
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To be honest GM, it depends on the circumstances.

For routine shots where I invoke energy to get a natural expression and subjects are expected to stay still otherwise, or say they are just standing during a speech at a wedding, I don't like going slower than 1/125, 1/160 if they're a flailing drunk lol. At a dim reception, I MagMod remote flashes and it provides some dramatic shadows too. If instead I have 5AIS to slow down the SS, no flashes, the room is evenly brighter, unnatural looking like the first shot in this vid, and I'll capture simple motion blur, a hand gesture, head movement. Or if I expose for the room, my subjects won't be lit up anyway. Notice SS listed in the examples:



In a studio, I can go as slow as 1/80 if my subject is holding still for a headshot, or slower if I'm asking the couple to stay perfectly still while I get one of those cool shots as people move around them, or a streetcar blurs behind a locked dip pose. Those are unique situations because we don't typically tell people to freeze for a specified time before every shot. That said, I can see 5AIS helping to break the 1/focal rule for long lenses, and it can also be helpful with handheld video as a quick dirty fix if you don't have a gimbal/stabilizer.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, subject movement in stills is the limiting factor whether we have 5AIS or a 100% rock steady tripod, my safe spot is 1/125 for most candids. Mimes/professional statues could be an exception lol

You can however do incredible shots with things that don't move, and water where you want it blurred, provided you are also bracing yourself leaning against something:
https://petapixel.com/2016/11/07/olympu ... hand-held/
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Thanks for both of your replies, @warpdrive and @AncasterRFD, it helps me to confirm what I thought.

I don't do wedding neither and by social events, I meant parties, diners, festivals or bars. Places that I try to not use flash to avoid to attract attention. I do ask friends to pose, but I'll mostly blend into the crowds to take candid moments.
yeah, for videos, it'll be amazing! I mean just be able to reduce handshake is great. Unfortunately, I'm not doing any videos yet. I'm just afraid of all the cost related to that haha (upgrade my mac pro, buy tons of SD cards and hard drive, mics, gimbal and the list goes on)

@warpdrive I mentionned 3 stop because the body of the FF offers 2 and the lens add another stop, if both have the same aperture wide open, before any equivalence. Like If I said 50mm F1.8 for the FF, someone will object by saying that it is not an advantage because if you use a 25mm F0.95 on MFT, it'll give the same result, so by giving F0.95 for FF, it shuts the door for that kind of possibility because there's no lens that's 1 stop faster tant F0.95 for MFT on the market as of now.

In the end, I think I'll get a MFT one day for its small form factor and video and use it durant the day, but for low light situations, I'll stick with a full frame and a crazy fast lens.
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Gin Martini wrote:
Sep 29th, 2017 1:18 am
In the end, I think I'll get a MFT one day for its small form factor and video and use it durant the day, but for low light situations, I'll stick with a full frame and a crazy fast lens.
I always think of MFT as the ideal everyday camera system, or travel photo system. You can use it for weddings as a few pros have done, but only for certain types of pictures. In a casual setting in social situations in relatively low light, it'll work too and you'll love the stealth factor, but if you're shooting in very dark settings, you be glad to have all the leeway FF gives you.
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Replicate 5AIS's ability to slow down handheld shutter speed by using a tripod in your home in the evening, lowlight conditions. Use family members or stand in your kitchen with a drink, talk to your S.O. moving slightly as you would naturally, and take remote shots (if your camera can). Try 1/125 and gradually decrease to as slow as 1s. Maintain the ambiance of the room by lowering your ISO with each shot. Keep the same aperture accounting for the DoF of both of you and watch how you begin to see motion blur despite being sharp and in focus. More importantly, you'll also notice your faces don't have very good exposure unless you bump the ISO up, this results in the whole room looking unnaturally brighter.

It's very hard to be a fly without adding your own light in lowlight conditions. You either need to bounce flash, or if it's a high/dark ceiling, use a video light. If no modifiers, you can alternatively wait for people to step into an existing light in the room, but that will miss a lot of candid moments.

MFT 25mm is 50mm on FF, and longer on crop. You may find it's a little tight for event candids. I generally shoot 35mm to get more of an environmental look, so that's around MFT 17mm. Secondly, I cannot maintain a large aperture if the faces I want in focus are not in the same plane. Depending on how deep, a table shot is the worst because I have to use a small aperture to get everyone in focus from front to back. So while a f/0.95 is great, you get big 0.95 light coming in and a DoF look of f/1.9 on FF, you lose that advantage when you have to close down the aperture to get deeper DoF.

It's entirely possible to shoot lowlight events with MFT but it helps to bring additional light and get your shots right in camera. Whereas on modern FF, you have more ability to recover shots. It's all about how muddy your skin tones look if you have to radial brighten people in post.
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I have tried my friend's Sony A7R with I think it was a 35 or 50mm at F1.8 at a party with really dim light and the result was very usable in social media, but not even close for prints bigger than 7x5. With 2 more stop using a F0.95, the quality will be quite good. But like you said Ancaster, it's not always as easy as in theory. There will always be group shots and not everyone will place their faces at the same level. Gotta crank up that DoF!

I recently used my Fuji X100T at an event and the 35mm equiv. was perfect! I used the 50mm as example because it's just easier for the math. I used to use 50mm 90% of the time, but I really started liking the 35mm more and more.
I also tested many shutter speed of which I'm confortable with over the years and I'm at, most of the time, 1/125 and never lower than 1/30 (when I had a Sony OIS lens) when taking picture of people. I usually just keep my shutter at 1/125 and lower it when my ISO reach near 3200-6400.

With better lighting equipment, I'm sure a 1 inch sensor compact camera will do a good job too.
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yes 35mm is a much more usable "stay on the camera" focal length for social situations. Maybe it's time to get a RX1R :)

The other thing I've resorted to is HDR type modes on phones or Sony's Superior Auto mode which snaps multiple pictures. You can get clean looking shots at ISO3200 in that mode in near darkness with a 1" sensor. I'd like to play with that mode with a RX1R II (!)
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i agree that 5 axis IS is an advantage when shooting still subjects but less so when shooting moving ones like people. i find anything below 1/60s with my 25mm m43 (50mm FF equivalent) hit or miss unless you specifically tell your subject to keep still. with kids, forgetaboutit.
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esoxhntr wrote:
Sep 29th, 2017 4:06 pm
i agree that 5 axis IS is an advantage when shooting still subjects but less so when shooting moving ones like people. i find anything below 1/60s with my 25mm m43 (50mm FF equivalent) hit or miss unless you specifically tell your subject to keep still. with kids, forgetaboutit.
Man, I'm a blabber poster lol, that's an excellent tdlr answer :)
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Sep 29th, 2017 5:42 pm
Man, I'm a blabber poster lol, that's an excellent tdlr answer :)
LOL thanks.

IBIS does a great job of fixing camera operator shake but does nothing to freeze the subject. You're at the mercy of how still it can be. if all else fails and ambient is low, flash does a great job of freezing subjects. That used to be a dirty word for me until I discovered bounce and off camera.

I do find that the 1 / focal length rule doesn't really apply with IBIS though. For instance I like to shoot head/half body shots with a legacy 85mm (170mm FF) and I can still shoot them at 1/60 because IBIS controls my shakiness, and 1/60 is fast enough to freeze the subject. Whereas if you followed the 1 / focal length rule for a non-IBIS cam you'd be at 1/160 or 1/200
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warpdrive wrote:
Sep 29th, 2017 3:45 pm
yes 35mm is a much more usable "stay on the camera" focal length for social situations. Maybe it's time to get a RX1R :)

The other thing I've resorted to is HDR type modes on phones or Sony's Superior Auto mode which snaps multiple pictures. You can get clean looking shots at ISO3200 in that mode in near darkness with a 1" sensor. I'd like to play with that mode with a RX1R II (!)
Funny you mentioned that. I was on the look out for it on ebay for a little while now, but every time, the missing EVF makes me hesitate to get one. I know there's an accessory for it but it's huge! The RX1R II is amazing and has that EVF but the price man... way above my budget.

@esoxhntr thanks for the tl:dr! Yeah, I have lot of kids in my family and even at 1/250, sometime I miss my shots.
@AncasterRFD Hope you keep blabbing buddy! I always enjoy your replies in this forum, learnt so much from your posts :)
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I tried high-resolution mode on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with a 60mm macro lens, and the results were excellent. However, it was extremely sensitive to vibration. I had to move my tripod and subject to a concrete floor because on a wood floor my heart pulse was enough to affect the image! (via the tripod)

For best results, the subject and camera have to be extremely stable during the time the camera is taking the multiple images that it will be merging.

But I also found that 'ordinary images' don't need such care (and don't need or benefit much from hi-res mode).

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