Why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”?

As a professional image-maker, I want to say that my objective is to deliver images to my clients that satisfy their needs and help to communicate the message that they want delivered. It may not be common knowledge, but client-guided, copy/headline writers more often than not drive what visuals will be created. Based on this, a lot of pre-planning (creative, stylistic and production) is done to capture the image(s) as quickly and competently as possible. While changes can and do occur on set, the objective is to deliver an image(s) that matches or exceeds a client’s imagination and expectation.

I also want to convey that I am not a gearhead, but a guy who uses gear professionally to create visual images. I have been a commercial shooter for over 44 years and shoot in manual focus more than 70% of the time. I want my gear to get out of my way so I can concentrate on the job at hand. If I am interrupted by my gear, I am distracted from the final image. I like seamless operation and stuff that just works. And though I like improvements in image quality as much as the next guy or gal, the quality of the pixels has been so good for so long, that discussions about “A” being better than “B” is time better spent improving creativity, craft and/or technique (all three, perhaps?).

With the above sentiments in mind, why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”? Simply stated, because it helps to facilitate (in a highly compact and light-weight form) image creation that satisfies the most demanding profession requirements….

Now to address the images I posted last week –

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the in studio set up was shot in high resolution capture on the Lumix G9 (using the Olympus 17mm f1.2 @5.6-7.1) and the outdoor shots were shot using the comparatively heavy Canon 5Ds and the Canon L135 f2 (@4.5-5.6). I have found over the last 10 months or so that the Lumix high resolution capture is equal to or higher quality than the Canon 5Ds in many situations. I think this is influenced by the fact that M43 auto focus lenses are corrected optically so there is no manual “clean up” on RAW import – also, the native lenses are very good, especially the Olympus Pro primes. As the 5Ds is what one might call a bit “grainy” because of the ultra small photo-sites – the G9 high res capture tends to deliver slightly less noise and equal to or better color than the 5Ds when compared at the same settings. Note, as well, that the Lumix file is 80MB and the Canon one is 50MB.

This first BTS photo is just for setting the scene, so to speak – shot on the G9 at 1/30 sec, f2.8 and ISO1250. (At this point in time, the stills in the studio are done and we are ready to record some video of the Polaris RZR UTV.)RZT_BTS_1045023Below is another image (a final client select) that I will use to examine the final results. It was shot on the Lumix G9 using an Olympus 17mm f1.2 Pro lens at f6.3 (1/6 sec; ISO400).POLARIS_RZR1000_Portrait_FL_1034967_WEBWhat follows are several 100% crops from the 80MB file (10368px w x 7072px h) using a 1000px w x 800px selection parameter to isolate the images displayed.Crop_ONECrop_THREECrop_TWOCrop_FOURYou may notice in a couple of the images that there appears to be some smudging of detail and some noise based banding, quite possibly a result of noise reduction or some other digital artifacting that occurred on capture or import. Based on over 20 years of experience, none of this will show up in any form of actual reproduction – especially since most of the images will be down-sampled by as much as 3 times (though final large format prints in the 5 foot range and up might require a bit of touch up to mask the problems. I know things like this cause much consternation online – discussions I generally don’t understand because it can and sometimes (often) does occur with every digital camera made.

 
Next is the Canon image from outdoors (50MB) and its 100% crop. Note that the ISO is 400, but the shutter speed is 1/500 at f4. Yes the noise is slightly less than the G9 in studio (where the lighting conditions are far more challenging), but the file is also substantially smaller.POLARIS_OUTSIDE_DRIVER_3-4_SIDE_VIEW__J7A0374_FPOOutdoors_100p_CropNow, please understand that I could have shot the studio shots on the Canon, but after testing, it did not perform as well as the Lumix G9 in those lighting conditions. I went with the tool I determined to be the best for the job. And outdoors (single capture) the Canon filled that requirement (remember, the G9 is only 20MB in single capture mode).

 

In conclusion – “Is M43 ready to rumble?” The answer is yes. While the format may have been started to attract consumers, it matured to a level where challenging professional work can be handled with seamless ease. Is M43 the perfect tool? No, but it is sometimes.

As there are no perfect tools, in general, but rather a range of tools available that can satisfy a wide range of shooting applications performed by an even more diverse group of individuals who think and see differently, M43 has capabilities not duplicated in other equipment offerings. Pick the tool that is right for you and don’t let internet chatter send you down the endless path of technical one-upmanship and false-equivalency.

 

Observations, questions and comments are most welcome!

All images ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.

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