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Old 10th June 2012
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To upgrade or not...

My friend has just asked me if I can take his wedding photos in Nov... while I'm happy with my E1 and E510 for personal use, I'm wondering if they're going to be up to the job... if they want to blow pictures up large the 5mp of the E1 could be an issue, while the E510s tenancy to blow highlights could be an issue with the dress.

The E5 and EM5 are too expensive at the moment, which leaves a few possibilities:
  • Upgrade to E620/E30
  • Upgrade to EP3
  • Upgrade to G3/GH2

I get the impression that the IQ from E620/E30 isn't that much better than my E510... is that a fair conclusion? I know the E510 struggles at 1600, are they usable at 1600 or 3200? Is the dynamic range any better?

If I switched to m43 it would have to be EP3, G3 or GH2, and while I know the G3/GH2 have the newer sensors the Panasonic cameras have never really inspired me...

Another thought is just hiring an E5/14-35 for the weekend.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated, I've been going back and forth over this in my head and not really coming to any conclusions!
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Old 10th June 2012
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Re: To upgrade or not...

First of all, do you wish to upgrade anyway, or is it just something you feel you should do for the wedding? If it's just for the wedding it could be expensive.

Check with your friend what size pictures he/she wants, is it just album prints plus a few modest enlargements or a 20 x 30 for the wall? My wedding photos are mainly 7 x 5 in an album with a couple of framed 10 x 8 on the sideboard - the E-1 would handle that with ease.

Will you need to take a lot of interior shots without flash? A later camera might give you about a stop extra of useable ISO but it won't be a game changer. Also, if you go Micro Four Thirds focus in low light might be an issue, especially if using your existing lenses with an adaptor rather than buying new native lenses.

For that dress, shoot raw and expose to the right so that the highlights don't quite clip the edge of the histogram and let the shadows look after themselves. At low ISO you should be able to lift the shadows in pp without problem and in low light you're less likely to have a dynamic range issue anyway.

If you buy or hire an unfamiliar camera you'll need ample time beforehand to familiarize yourself with it or you'll be more likely to make a mistake with the settings or miss a shot whilst fumbling the controls. The Panasonics in particular are great cameras but the handling and menus are very, very different.

I shouldn't worry too much because your friend must be impressed with your pictures to have asked you, but why not talk about your concerns with him/her?
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Old 10th June 2012
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Hire the kit.

While the 14-35 is exceptional, it may limit you in working at a wedding.

I would suggest getting an EC14 to extend the range for the portrait work, or getting the 35-100.

You could shoot the whole thing with a 12-60 but in Nov you can run out of light very quickly and may need those extra few stops.

However: Once you have used the E-5 with the 14-35, you will want one...
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Old 10th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Don't bother upgrading to the E620 for better use in low light- it will struggle beyond 800 normally.
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
First of all, do you wish to upgrade anyway, or is it just something you feel you should do for the wedding? If it's just for the wedding it could be expensive.
I've been playing the waiting game to see if Oly will come up with anything other than an Ex for existing 43 users... I know the chances are now getting slimmer by the day but that's another story. The EM5 is the only camera that seems to offer a significant IQ over my existing ones, yes E30/E610/EP3 are all better but are they enough to consider upgrading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Check with your friend what size pictures he/she wants, is it just album prints plus a few modest enlargements or a 20 x 30 for the wall? My wedding photos are mainly 7 x 5 in an album with a couple of framed 10 x 8 on the sideboard - the E-1 would handle that with ease.
Seeing what he says...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Will you need to take a lot of interior shots without flash? A later camera might give you about a stop extra of useable ISO but it won't be a game changer. Also, if you go Micro Four Thirds focus in low light might be an issue, especially if using your existing lenses with an adaptor rather than buying new native lenses.
As it's going to be mid-Nov I suspect lighting will be an issue... I look into getting an FL50 too as my FL36 is a bit slow sometimes. I do have a wire for off-camera flash which I've never really used, perhaps it's time to learn to use it properly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
For that dress, shoot raw and expose to the right so that the highlights don't quite clip the edge of the histogram and let the shadows look after themselves. At low ISO you should be able to lift the shadows in pp without problem and in low light you're less likely to have a dynamic range issue anyway.
I always shoot raw and process with Lightroom 4, good point about low-light vs. dynamic range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
If you buy or hire an unfamiliar camera you'll need ample time beforehand to familiarize yourself with it or you'll be more likely to make a mistake with the settings or miss a shot whilst fumbling the controls. The Panasonics in particular are great cameras but the handling and menus are very, very different.
At least the E5 should be fairly similar to operate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
I shouldn't worry too much because your friend must be impressed with your pictures to have asked you, but why not talk about your concerns with him/her?
I think I'm just having a bit of a panic attack! I've know him for 25 years and he's on a bit of a budget (which is probably why he's asked me! ) but I'd still like to do a 'professional' job for him!
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
Hire the kit.

While the 14-35 is exceptional, it may limit you in working at a wedding.

I would suggest getting an EC14 to extend the range for the portrait work, or getting the 35-100.

You could shoot the whole thing with a 12-60 but in Nov you can run out of light very quickly and may need those extra few stops.
I did think about the 12-60 but as you say, it's Nov and lighting could be a real issue (we might be lucky, you never know)... 14-35 and 35-100 might be the solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
However: Once you have used the E-5 with the 14-35, you will want one...
That's what I'm scared of!!
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinders View Post
Don't bother upgrading to the E620 for better use in low light- it will struggle beyond 800 normally.
Thanks Cinders, that's what I suspected...
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by timg View Post

I think I'm just having a bit of a panic attack! I've know him for 25 years and he's on a bit of a budget (which is probably why he's asked me! ) but I'd still like to do a 'professional' job for him!
I'm sure if he's budget restricted he won't expect professional wedding tog results and will be grateful for you helping out. In the past I've covered three weddings in similar circumstances and each time I've felt the pictures have been merely competent rather than beautiful, creative and inspirational. My two friends and my sister were delighted, however. I just made sure I got the traditional formal poses and anything else was a bonus. All were in the days before digital and I had a selection of films between 100 and 400 ISO to cover various lighting situations. I'm sure you will do a great job, because you care.
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Old 11th June 2012
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Get a cheap e-600 ASAP, because ;
Quote:
Originally Posted by timg View Post
...I get the impression that the IQ from E620/E30 isn't that much better than my E510... is that a fair conclusion? I know the E510 struggles at 1600, are they usable at 1600 or 3200? Is the dynamic range any better?...
The e-600 & 620 are not as sharp as your e-510 but they can resolve a smidgen more detail in my opinion. They don't blow highlights anything like the 410 & 510 so are a much safer bet regarding the dress, and you have a 14-54MkII so that'd be a great combination.
Prices are currently LOW so I say pick up a used e-600 quick and make use of the awesome bracketing functions, good speed & better highlights. (no better noise for higher ISOs, that comes with the Pens in my experience.)
For high ISO the only choices are the newer Lumixes or the e-M5 ...

If you want to throw more money at the wedding get a current Pen and the 45mmF1.8

Last edited by Ulfric M Douglas; 11th June 2012 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Edit:tested ISO noise, changed my mind.
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Re: To upgrade or not...

I've just looked at your gallery, Tim, and you are a more than competent photographer with good processing skills and excellent versatility, including interior and low light scenes. Try to visit the venue in advance if possible, maybe with a few friends to act as models so you can get an idea of the possibilities and challenges of the location. On the day, make sure you have a big umbrellor to hand to shelter the bride and groom for outdoor shots if it is raining. Also, try to have a plan B for where to take the group shots if the weather is really too foul. If you use a tripod you can get away with quite slow shutter speeds if everyone stands still and with digital it costs nothing to take plenty of shots as insurance.

Good luck with your planning.
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
Get a cheap e-600 ASAP, because ;

The e-600 & 620 are not as sharp as your e-510 but they can resolve a smidgen more detail in my opinion. They don't blow highlights anything like the 410 & 510 so are a much safer bet regarding the dress, and you have a 14-54MkII so that'd be a great combination.
Prices are currently LOW so I say pick up a used e-600 quick and make use of the awesome bracketing functions, good speed & better highlights.
There's one on fleabay at the moment... I'll keep an eye on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
(no better noise for higher ISOs, that comes with the Pens in my experience.)
I thought the Pens used the same sensor as the E600/E30... or is it just a bit of a refinement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
For high ISO the only choices are the newer Lumixes or the e-M5 ... If you want to throw more money at the wedding get a current Pen and the 45mmF1.8
This could be the excuse I need to get a Pen... though I'd still look on that as a secondary system, I'd need to confer with my accountant!
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
I've just looked at your gallery, Tim, and you are a more than competent photographer with good processing skills and excellent versatility, including interior and low light scenes. Try to visit the venue in advance if possible, maybe with a few friends to act as models so you can get an idea of the possibilities and challenges of the location. On the day, make sure you have a big umbrellor to hand to shelter the bride and groom for outdoor shots if it is raining. Also, try to have a plan B for where to take the group shots if the weather is really too foul. If you use a tripod you can get away with quite slow shutter speeds if everyone stands still and with digital it costs nothing to take plenty of shots as insurance.

Good luck with your planning.
Thanks for the kind words John! I think the difference is between just being there and taking a few snaps and being in control of everything. People shots aren't really my thing so I need to look up some poses...

It's true that we sometimes we get so caught up in the camera itself you forget some of the other practicalities. I went to a wedding a couple of years ago and the tog was a very nice chap who produced some of the best wedding shots I've seen recently... his favourite piece of equipment was a step ladder!

A site visit is definitely in order... especially as everything is taking place in one location, it would be good to get a bit of variety. I'm trying to get them to write down the list of shots they'd like, then I can add a few 'arty' shots in there too.

I do use a tripod and was thinking a monopod might be useful too.
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Old 11th June 2012
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: To upgrade or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by timg View Post
...I thought the Pens used the same sensor as the E600/E30... or is it just a bit of a refinement?
Bit of refinement worked for old Porsche ...

I was surprised (when I first used one) at how well the e-P1 dealt with higher ISOs and noise compared to our e-600, and it has the "same" sensor.
The e-pL1 seems to have about the same noise as my e-P1 and it has a thinner AA-filter over the same sensor.
My e-pM1 renders colours differently and deals with sharpness and noise-reduction more ... savagely, to my eye the sensor or the colour processing has been changed and it lost ISO100 in the process.

(I would love to have my e-410's sensor with the speed and processing of the newer cameras ... not going to happen.)
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Old 11th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

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Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
Bit of refinement worked for old Porsche ...

I was surprised (when I first used one) at how well the e-P1 dealt with higher ISOs and noise compared to our e-600, and it has the "same" sensor.
The e-pL1 seems to have about the same noise as my e-P1 and it has a thinner AA-filter over the same sensor.
My e-pM1 renders colours differently and deals with sharpness and noise-reduction more ... savagely, to my eye the sensor or the colour processing has been changed and it lost ISO100 in the process.
Are you comparing jpgs or raw? If it's jpg that could just be them reacting to current anti-any-kind-of-noise-at-all-costs tastes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
(I would love to have my e-410's sensor with the speed and processing of the newer cameras ... not going to happen.)
I'm quite surprised to hear you say that! Is that a preference for the colours?
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Old 12th June 2012
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Re: To upgrade or not...

When a sensor&processing combination is left behind by progress we lose the special qualities that we find in some pictures taken with them. Often the successor is nowhere near as good at certain things that we might like, but the surrounding upgrades render the old stuff less attractive to use. That's how I feel, the E-1 (never had it!) being a case in point.
I like the relaxed sharpness of my e-410 and the way it does woodland colour.
I like the way our e-600/e-P1/e-pL1 do skies both blue and cloudy, which the newer Pens don't quite match (in my Jpeg tests).
(I like the way my old G1 does B&W too.)
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