Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pro Photographer Giulio Sciorio Writes About Professional Use of Micro 4/3 Equipment

Giulio Sciorio Writes About Pro Use of Micro 4/3
Image Source:
Professional photographer Giulio Sciorio has posted a piece on his blog about the barriers (both real and psychological) to other professionals adopting Micro 4/3 camera gear for their pro work. I will review his main points below.
(Click Here) to read Giulio's full post.
Giulio outlines the following five barriers to professional adoption of Micro 4/3 equipment:
  1. It's not "professional" gear.
  2. There aren't enough megapixels.
  3. The noise levels are too high.
  4. It's not full-frame!
  5. Worries about what your professional colleagues will think.
First, Giulio identifies the concern over your clients not being impressed by the appearance of your gear, because it's not big, heavy, and expensive looking, as a real concern. He explains how he did two things to overcome this. First, he shot a series of street portraits with his Olympus Pen, and showed them to others before explaining what equipment they were made with. Second, he carried his Pen with his "professional" Canon gear, and impressed clients with shots made with the Micro 4/3 gear. For me, this is not a concern. That's because I don't really have clients. If anyone is interested in my photographs, it's because of the photographs, not the equipment. I'm not hired to cover any specific events, in general. If I were, I may try Giulio's "bring it along with the Pro gear" approach. Second, "there aren't enough megapixels." Giulio explains that even large format magazines need only around 9 Mp for a full page image. As for me, I would argue that there are too many megapixels in some cases. More megapixels = more noise (see "Third..." below). And, since megapixels are the universal language of camera marketers, having too few will never be an issue. Third, noise. Giulio handles this one through the simple statement that while his Micro 4/3 images do have more noise than full 24x36mm sensor cameras, he has never had a complaint from a client. He considers it part of the rendering style of the gear. For me, the noise concern has some truth to it. Back to megapixels, if my Lumix DMC-G3 could achieve the same noise performance as my Nikon D700 24x36mm sensor camera, I'd happily give up any extra megapixels. From my point of view, the noise issue improves with every iteration of Micro 4/3 sensor design, and is now well under control for most print sizes, and certainly for images on the computer screen. Now that the technology has gotten to this point, I see this concern as the same one that photographers used to have to make regarding 35mm versus medium or large format film. The Micro 4/3 kit has become my 35mm film equivalent, and is every bit as capable, in my opinion, with lots of advantages. The Nikon D700 is my medium format equivalent. If I'm worried about making super large prints or approaching perfection, I can decide to carry the big, heavy Nikon.
The fourth concern is "it's not full-frame!" Giulio makes a great case on this one. Of course it's full-frame. Full-frame is all relative. If you really want to argue, 24x36mm (35mm "full-frame") is not full-frame to a medium format film photographer. It's the image quality that counts. I totally agree with Giulio on this point.
The fifth, final concern is "what will my colleagues think?" Giulio's point here is that it's not your colleagues' opinion that counts. It's your clients.
I have experienced this one, even though I'm not a pro. One of my good friends is an ardent Nikon DSLR user. He asked me
"What does Lumix give you that Nikon doesn't? What got you started with it?"
Well, I have to admit, this got me thinking. What really got me into Micro 4/3 was the ability to adapt legacy lenses. That's a minor advantage for me, now that there are great native Micro 4/3 primes. What really sold me was size, weight, reduction in back pain. What keeps me in Micro 4/3 is the awesome progress it has made recently. One final note on this. It is my belief that being a photographer who takes a different approach, one that is not initially accepted in the professional community, has a history of ultimate success. Just look at the Leica. Pros turned their noses up, with very similar concerns about the "small format" of 35mm film that we hear today about Micro 4/3. Then they saw the images that could be made with a small, flexible, fast camera. The rest is history.
Giulio's article was thought provoking and useful for me.
Sumo Crossing, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens
iso100, f5.6, 1/100 sec
One of the things I love about this image is that the sign on the store across the street, which sells sumo souvenirs and the like, has a sign that reads "Kingu Saizu" in Japanese ("King Size" in English).
Small, fast cameras are fun and productive.