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Archive 2012 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos
cputeq
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


For the record - I am in no way a wedding pro. I do this only because I'm known in the family as "the photographer" so apparently that means I can shoot anything (sigh) This wedding is my third.

For those with short attention spans -- Although I really like m43 using the OM-D and GX1, I would strongly caution anyone considering pro event work using such a setup, or at least get them to test out a setup at a wedding with various lighting conditions, etc.. Reasoning below.

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** If anyone has any insight as to what I could have done differently, by all means speak up This post is not meant to unequivocally condemn (or praise) the m43 system but to voice my particular snags and delights during this wedding and how I approached it.


First, the setup:

East-coast beach wedding at 4PM, bright sun with variable overcast (but mostly full-on sun). Shooting the bridge and maids getting ready day-of.
Equipment:

Gripped OMD with Olympus battery and 2x spare wasabi, 16GB SD card.
Panasonic GX1.
NEX-5N with 18-55 kit for 2nd backup.

Lenses:

Rental 75/1.8 (with 3x stop ND that I subsequently lost )
PL 25/1.4 (also with 3xND)
Oly 45 1.8 (also with 3xND)
12-50 kit
Rok 7.5mm FE
14mm/2.5
600R flash


General strategy:

During the indoor portion of the the wedding (pre-event), I used a lot of the 45/1.8, as that seemed about perfect for most of the shots.
Most of these are non-posed, off-the-cuff shots (which was challenging but fun). Performance wasn't really a problem in this scenario.


P1020157-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr

(posed)

P9230166-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr


Outdoors, amazingly, the setup performed much worse. The procession was slow (as I had told them to be - hey I'm family so I get to make orders!) and still the OMD mostly failed at the entire thing.

Rehearsal day, I had used the OMD with 75mm in AF-S, thinking it would snap focus and take the photo before they had moved out of the DOF. Wrong. Nearly every shot was off.

Wedding day, I had switched initially to AF-C with Face Priority and focus priority on. I eventually switched Face off and still the results were not that great. The PL did a little better on the few shots I used with the 45 or 25 I think.

I was using both cameras mostly wide open, so that I'd have a bit of shallow DOF.

(one of the only shots in focus of this girl during procession out of 6 shots)

P9230256-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr

In fact, on one particular maid, every shot was out of focus using the OMD and the 75/1.8. Not just slightly out of focus, but vastly out of focus using AF-C and focus priority. Nothing in the shots was in focus. I have no idea what the camera had focused on. I have no idea why the camera had such a hard time - I was focusing on the faces (or the camera was finding them when FACE was on) yet the results were abysmal.

Other, non-procession shots were great:


P9230432 by J L Smith, on Flickr


The 12-50 lens was useful for shot or two, the rings of course:


P9230024 by J L Smith, on Flickr


The PL 25/1.4 also was great when it hit : This photo shows great rendering (to me) and is almost SOOC RAW:


P1020216 by J L Smith, on Flickr



Indoors

The reception indoors had pretty tough lighting and it went from dark to darker

This was a shot I liked, with the 75 (which I barely used - the AF just wasn't up to par on the OMD -- and yes I made sure my 3x ND was off!)

P9230681-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr

Most of my shots were with the 25 1.4, because of the FOV and frankly I needed the speed.

The high ISO of the kit is pretty good, all things considered. A 12800 shot below:


Wedding at 12800 by J L Smith, on Flickr

And another one at 12800. The slightly OOF was my fault - I accidentally zoomed to 14x and had a brain-cramp, couldn't get out of the mode and just took the shot anyway - the camera failed to properly focus on the bride's face at 14x (too slow with the 25mm):


Bouquet toss - 12800 by J L Smith, on Flickr


Overall - Out of 1300 shots, I'll probably get 150 or so to keep (so far up to 100 keepers). Most of these 1300 shots are repeats of the same poses (blinks, smirks, etc) and a lot are of processions just trying to "get the shot" and so unsure of the outcome that I took multiples.


I'm happy with the IQ of the setup - absolutely no complaints from me.

Performance of the setup - good, except if you count the AF. I just wasn't happy how it performed.

Unfortunately, I've already been asked to shoot another wedding for my cousin next year (they've all fallen in love with the photos I've been posting on FB to share).

I think I'll be renting the gear this time - a full-fledged DSLR setup with a 70-200 and 35/1.4 combo, maybe an 85 1.4 I think I could pull off the entire wedding using this and it be a bit more consistent.

Of course, it could have been my nerves at shooting my brother-in-law's wedding with the m43 setup

A few more shots to share for gee-whiz sake


P9230692-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr


P9230502-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr


P9230340-Edit by J L Smith, on Flickr


P9230127 by J L Smith, on Flickr


P1020175 by J L Smith, on Flickr



Sep 29, 2012 at 09:37 PM
LightShow
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


I hear you, missing focus at an event like this just plain sucks.
It's one reason my AF gear is not going anywhere.
Great shots btw, your eye seems well suited for this type of photography.



Sep 29, 2012 at 09:49 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Nice pics man.

Maybe for moving procession shots switching to manual focus would have yielded better results?

I don't think I've ever done shallow DoF shots of a moving object with MFT so I don't know how that performs.

Is it possible the 25/1.4 got more hits simply because it has more DoF to fudge?

Hopefully the NEX-6 with on sensor PDAF will alleviate this primary problem of mirrorless systems.



Sep 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


LightShow wrote:
I hear you, missing focus at an event like this just plain sucks.
It's one reason my AF gear is not going anywhere.
Great shots btw, your eye seems well suited for this type of photography.


Yeah there were a few shots that I almost nailed and I was so disappointed in missing them. One below, which I've still kept (and shared) because I love their expression:


P9230560 by J L Smith, on Flickr

I really, really wish I had nailed that (again this was the 75mm).

Granted, this particular shot they were moving erratically around the crown in horrible light, so not an easy shot, but I took lots of these (as the whole party was being announced) and this is one of the only keepers out of like 30 shots (AFS I think)


Thanks for the kudos. Unfortunately I really hate shooting weddings

Maybe if I pretend all the people are birds or insects and the posed shots are landscapes, it'll become more enjoyable haha




Sep 29, 2012 at 09:58 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


FlyPenFly wrote:
Nice pics man.

Maybe for moving procession shots switching to manual focus would have yielded better results?

I don't think I've ever done shallow DoF shots of a moving object with MFT so I don't know how that performs.

Is it possible the 25/1.4 got more hits simply because it has more DoF to fudge?

Hopefully the NEX-6 with on sensor PDAF will alleviate this primary problem of mirrorless systems.



Yeah I had considered using MF, but I didn't have any time to evaluate the AF-C with or without FACE to see how it would have performed and unfortunately I trusted it would do well (well, trusted that me taking lots of procession shots I could get the shots I wanted)

I thought, considering the great lighting and really easy setup, the procession would have been a cinch, but I guess I was wrong. Next time I'll probably go MF or just rent a damn DSLR. Then again, that's like "giving up" and would cost me more money, so I'll probably go MF.

And yeah, the 25 probably got more in focus merely because of the FOV and the DOF involved. I didn't use it for a lot of moving shots, though, so I'm not even sure I kept any using the 25mm of the ones that I actually took (blinks, wrong facial expressions, etc).




Sep 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM
corposant
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


cputeq wrote:
Yeah there were a few shots that I almost nailed and I was so disappointed in missing them. One below, which I've still kept (and shared) because I love their expression:

I really, really wish I had nailed that (again this was the 75mm).

Granted, this particular shot they were moving erratically around the crown in horrible light, so not an easy shot, but I took lots of these (as the whole party was being announced) and this is one of the only keepers out of like 30 shots (AFS I think)

Maybe if I pretend all the people are birds or insects
...Show more

If you had been using different gear, you probably wouldn't have had an issue here. Honestly, using an OM-D as a 2nd camera sounds interesting, but it's kind of crazy you went through it as you described and came away with some pretty good shots. You definitely have a good eye for moments, but yikes. I guess as long your "clients" are happy...!



Sep 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


As much as I like MFT, the AF is not there for anything moving even some slow regular movement, that's why I keep my D700 + 7D and several key lenses. C-AF sometimes works sometimes not .


Sep 29, 2012 at 10:06 PM
juju1958
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


cputeq I love these shots . That was the one thing I found lacking and the only thing on the Om-D was the tracking. It is the one and only reason I can see the preference to use a good pro DSLR. Not for the lenses or anything else the Om-D would be enough if the tracking was improved.

Great images and thanks they are also very informative about the gear used.



Sep 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
LightShow
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


cputeq wrote:
Thanks for the kudos. Unfortunately I really hate shooting weddings

Maybe if I pretend all the people are birds or insects and the posed shots are landscapes, it'll become more enjoyable haha


I get a thrill when I nail a shot, doesn't matter what the subject is.
One thing that has stopped me from shooting an event like this is FEAR, fear I might miss 'THE' priceless moment, I know how I feel when I just miss a priceless moment with my nieces,
and I don't really want that feeling from a once in a lifetime moment.



Sep 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Thanks for all the comments. I'll share a few more with the gear.

One of the (not really) surprising lenses to use was the Rok 7.5mm FE. I didn't use it too many times for the actual wedding but beach shots with my kids (at the same beach as wedding) I really liked.

Also, I gotta give kudos again to the PL 25/1.4 The lens almost has a built-in "clarity" slider on some of the shots
An example here - I had to crop (so I lost the natural slight vignette and readded it). No clarity involved from my end


P1020016 by J L Smith, on Flickr

The 75/1.8 is no slouch either. Purely for IQ the lens is awesome, I really like it.

P9210077 by J L Smith, on Flickr


P9210097 by J L Smith, on Flickr


P9210117 by J L Smith, on Flickr


The FE is awesome for beach shots. Had I more time, I would have gotten some with the couple:


P1020092 by J L Smith, on Flickr


Lot of ocean by J L Smith, on Flickr




Sep 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM
 

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mco_970
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


The last shot is really cool! But they are all great. Good job!


Sep 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


I think these are very good, though IMO the PL25 beach shot of the kids is a bit on the magenta side. You can see the color shift in the shadows of white clothing.

Thanks for the equipment feedback. It certainly puts it into perspective and I think like you, I would have been pretty frustrated by the AF issues. In the end though, so long as you got enough of the main shots in focus, that's what counts. Back when I was primarily using the Canon 1DIII cameras, during weddings I over-shot by a ton because focus consistency was pretty scattered, especially with the really fast L primes. But in the end, I always had enough variety to please the clients. It's important to understand the equipment's limitations and find workarounds, which seems to be what you were able to do most of the time.

I'm curious how you found the working distance with the 75, since it would be a 150 FOV FF equivalent. Not too far away from the subjects during the posed shots to maintain easy communication with them?



Sep 29, 2012 at 10:32 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


rscheffler wrote:
I think these are very good, though IMO the PL25 beach shot of the kids is a bit on the magenta side. You can see the color shift in the shadows of white clothing....

...I'm curious how you found the working distance with the 75, since it would be a 150 FOV FF equivalent. Not too far away from the subjects during the posed shots to maintain easy communication with them?


Thanks for the comments. That shot you're referring to is slightly toned in post, which did lend to a slight magenta shift (but be aware the flower girl's dress acually is a pale purple).

As for the working distance with the 75 - great. You might have to raise your voice a bit with full body shots, but it's certainly manageable. For the tighter shoulders/head shots, it gives comfortable working room. The 45, by comparison, seemed like I was right in their face on the portrait shots

I'm sure that's why the 70-200 lenses are so popular for the non-sport uses, also - the longer end of the lens is great for portraits, which I found myself at all the time when I used that range.



Sep 30, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Burntridgefilm
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Manual focus...the only way to guarantee a sharp shot...Then grab the backup camera under your shoulder...have it set to auto if you want a few shots that way!


Sep 30, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Steve Beck
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


I like my OMD and lenses but it'll never do a wedding for me. My other gear is for that. It's my personal fun/play camera.


Sep 30, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Steve Beck wrote:
I like my OMD and lenses but it'll never do a wedding for me. My other gear is for that. It's my personal fun/play camera.



It wouldn't be honest of me not to agree. Looking at these kinda cinches that notion for me too. I know everyone is praising you cputeq - and you deserve it for your effort and some of the angles, timing, and being able to see the lighting as a camera would (all the signs of a good photographer)... but the IQ just isn't there. I see "small sensor" (or "cheap camera") in all but a few of these. My intuition tells me that had you been using a FF there would be no way I could make those remarks or see them in that way.

4/3 is good and getting better but it's not up to doing weddings (professionally) yet I see. I'll agree with your own sentiments and warning in this case: "I would strongly caution anyone considering pro event work using such a setup..."

All that said, about 10% or so are virtually indistinguishable from what I would expect to see from a pro rig - so that's quite something indeed!



Sep 30, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Steve Beck
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


I agree and never said his images are bad or it shouldn't be used period. It's just for me and shooting weddings. Over covers several social events for clients. I just personally am not quit comfortable with the system and auto focusing and low light yet compared to my other gear. Maybe the OMD-en6 or em5v2... It's a great system an will only get better.

Op nice shots! Kudos to you great job.



Sep 30, 2012 at 05:11 PM
najibs
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Nice. I'll try posting some of the wedding shots I took with my OM-D earlier this month. Some of them were great. The nice thing about m43 is that you can shoot all the primes wide open and not worry about soft images. The resolution was great, but still not up to par with say an old 5Dc even. Although the better low light performance is nice.

Your shots look good, but a tad blurry. Did you apply too much NR maybe? Did you shoot in RAW and convert to JPEG or were they SOOC JPEGs?

I wonder how the GH3 will perorm compared to the OMD!?



Sep 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
edl415
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


cputeq, you did a great job considering the challenges that faced you that day. With your eye, timing, and all the other skills required to be a great photographer that you display, I can't help but wonder what this thread would look like if you were using a FF setup with reliable autofocus. Reading this reminds me of the time I shot my friend's wedding with my Pentax K20D. I had to prefocus the lens, anticipate where they were moving, calculate exposure and flash (because Pentax TTL flash is non-existant), etc. I got some good shots, but I know I could have increased my keeper rate AND worked so much faster/better with my current setup because it doesn't get in the way.

On the other hand, I'm glad to have started in the digital era with Pentax since I got to re-learn and brush up a lot of skills I forgot from the film/darkroom days.

You definitely have talent, can't wait to see the pics from your cousin's wedding next year.




Sep 30, 2012 at 07:13 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Shot my first wedding with m43 - thoughts/photos


Bifurcator wrote:
It wouldn't be honest of me not to agree. Looking at these kinda cinches that notion for me too. I know everyone is praising you cputeq - and you deserve it for your effort and some of the angles, timing, and being able to see the lighting as a camera would (all the signs of a good photographer)... but the IQ just isn't there. I see "small sensor" (or "cheap camera") in all but a few of these. My intuition tells me that had you been using a FF there would be no way I could make those remarks or
...Show more

Thanks B and yeah I tend to agree somewhat. I really love the u43 setup, but I'll admit for serious event work, the big and heavy FF setup is the way to go IMO. u43 is fairly capable of course, but I think I would have felt more comfortable and gotten better results with my old Canon 5D2 setup.

I really wish I still had a FF and could have compared some shots but oh well, maybe next wedding



Sep 30, 2012 at 08:02 PM
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