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Old 11-07-2013   #41
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I've shown this in another thread


ISO8750 on the M-E by areality4all, on Flickr
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Old 11-07-2013   #42
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Sony RX1. Unobtrusive. Leaf shutter (therefore silent). Full frame. f/2 Zeiss lens. Sees. In. The. Dark.

That is all.
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Old 11-07-2013   #43
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My current plan is, once the Sony A7 can be rented, to try my RF lenses on it. Focus speed isn't an issue, and its low light performance is supposedly quite strong.
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Old 11-07-2013   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black View Post
Sony RX1. Unobtrusive. Leaf shutter (therefore silent). Full frame. f/2 Zeiss lens. Sees. In. The. Dark.

That is all.
That is some damn good advice.
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Old 11-07-2013   #45
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Originally Posted by noimmunity View Post
I've shown this in another thread


ISO8750 on the M-E by areality4all, on Flickr
Jon, not to be pedantic and to make sure the OP can make a proper decision, if your flickr commentary is correct - iso640 + 2/3 stop, pushed 3.1 in post - and ignoring the use of shado/highlight sliders, this is more like iso3200 or 3500.

640 with +2/3 stop of light is equivalent to 400, plus 3 stops puch gives 3200. The scene also appears fairly low contrast, which helps as there's no need to lift noisy shadows.

I agree that the M9 is better than its reputation, but the only iso 8,000 plus shots I've kept are in noisy mono and include my kids

Great picture by the way. Really like it and the colours look just like the m9.

Mike
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Old 11-07-2013   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black View Post
Sony RX1. Unobtrusive. Leaf shutter (therefore silent). Full frame. f/2 Zeiss lens. Sees. In. The. Dark.

That is all.
More than double the price of the X100s, and no viewfinder unless you pay even more and stick it in the hot shoe.
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Old 11-07-2013   #47
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Noctilux with M9 on full manual should do the trick.
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Old 11-07-2013   #48
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Sony RX1. Unobtrusive. Leaf shutter (therefore silent). Full frame. f/2 Zeiss lens. Sees. In. The. Dark.

That is all.
True enough but you're limited to 35mm FOV. Get any dust in it your done.
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Old 11-07-2013   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonPJ View Post

So, I've been wondering whether there are any interesting alternatives to try that would work better - or at least, differently - in these low light social situations.

I know there are plenty of cameras that can do a bit - maybe quite a bit - better than the M9 in low light.

But I know also that lots of them have problems focusing in low light.

Cheers,

Simon
Interesting question, Simon, and lots of interesting answers so far. In my experience, you've pretty much answered your own question with your last statement. Autofocus is really trick... except when it can't autofocus. Which it can't do reliably in low light. And all of the current high-iso wonders all have autofocus, or require you to use focus peaking or some other techno-wizardry to get the thing to focus... and then it's often tough to get it to focus where YOU want it to in low light, which IS of course where the Ms shine.

And despite the claims to the contrary, none of the autofocus wonders are as consistent as you are at focusing your M, nor do they understand DOF the way you do. And remember that with your f/1.4, you're going to be about 3 stops faster than any other camera's kit lens zoom, a pretty significant jump in effective ISO.

You are comfortable using the M9 under the conditions which you shoot regularly, and it sounds to me like you've got it wired. Knowing your gear and how it responds in a given situation is better than a ton of new (and unknown-to-you) technology.
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Old 11-07-2013   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pablito View Post
More than double the price of the X100s, and no viewfinder unless you pay even more and stick it in the hot shoe.
But less than the price of the M9 and I'd wager that the support for it will be there long after Leica ditch support for the M9 like they did with the M8.

It also depends on whether you think the viewfinder is more important than the full frame sensor. I don't, as I believe the resultant image is the most important factor when choosing a camera. FF sensor effects this, a lack of viewfinder does not.

And just to hammer the point home, you can bag a viewfinder (one the best EVFs and optional, third party OVFs) for the RX1 - you can't pick up a FF sensor for the X100S.
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Old 11-07-2013   #51
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5000iso and a big crop.
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Old 11-07-2013   #52
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Quote:
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True enough but you're limited to 35mm FOV. Get any dust in it your done.
Never had a camera with a fixed lens and had dust "get in".
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Old 11-08-2013   #53
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Originally Posted by SimonPJ View Post
This is the rangefinder's trump card. The fact that you don't totally lose eye contact, and your face isn't obscured.
Only if the user is right eye dominant. My wife and I, right and left handed respectively, are both left eye dominant and our faces would thus be obscured. In the poll here asking about which eye people use in the viewfinder currently 44.52% use the left eye.

As an aside, it also makes using the AF lock button on most cameras a real pain to operate. Kudos to the Fuji X-line on that one.
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Old 11-08-2013   #54
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Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
I'm curious - Why would the Sony A7 struggle in low light? I haven't seen any thorough reviews of that camera yet. Is there something about the Sony sensor that makes it struggle?
Reviews I have read indicates it doesn't focus well in low light. The image quality in low light will be probably as good as can be bought.
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Old 11-08-2013   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Pandorf View Post
You can push the Leica M9 two stops in LR shooting at ISO640. So I too use the 35 Lux at a half stop above f/1.4 as I have the pre-ASPH version so keep from getting lens flare. So far I'm happy with those results. See no need to have another kit.
But by the time you buy an M9 and three good lenses you will be set back a whole lot of money.
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Old 11-09-2013   #56
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Originally Posted by sojournerphoto View Post
Jon, not to be pedantic and to make sure the OP can make a proper decision, if your flickr commentary is correct - iso640 + 2/3 stop, pushed 3.1 in post - and ignoring the use of shado/highlight sliders, this is more like iso3200 or 3500.

640 with +2/3 stop of light is equivalent to 400, plus 3 stops puch gives 3200. The scene also appears fairly low contrast, which helps as there's no need to lift noisy shadows.

I agree that the M9 is better than its reputation, but the only iso 8,000 plus shots I've kept are in noisy mono and include my kids

Great picture by the way. Really like it and the colours look just like the m9.

Mike
Thanks, Mike. I've always been too optimistic! Jon
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Old 11-12-2013   #57
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Old 11-12-2013   #58
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Never had a camera with a fixed lens and had dust "get in".
I have... it's the RX1. It's not weather sealed. Just going to the beach one day I felt a piece of grain get under one of the buttons. I asked around on this and someone showed some pics (on another forum) of one that was very dirty.
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Old 11-13-2013   #59
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You've received many good recommendations in this thread, but I would add the Fuji X-Pro1 w/18/2 or the new 23/1.4 to the list. The low-light AF is not perfect, certainly not as snappy as a pro/am dSLR, & probably lags a bit behind the X100s (haven't tried 1 to compare), but certainly useable & an improvement in the high ISO department compared w/the M9. Not sure if you ever used the old Kyocera Contax G2, but the X100/X100s/X-Pro1 operate a bit like them (only w/much better viewfinders & extra digital functionality). Of course, you also have the option of switching to the EVF for a more SLR-like focusing/framing experience.

I think much depends on what you can get along with. I will always prefer a true optical RF, so have the M 240, but the X-Pro1 continues to serve as a worthy backup system when I don't want to schlep the D700 (&/or don't need all the whizz-bang dSLR features).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonPJ View Post
In the 25 plus years that I've been using Leicas one of my main uses for them has been documenting social or work events that I'm participating in - usually when I'm sitting amongst the people I'm photographing, and often in very poor light because it's indoors, or late in the day. I know this is a familiar situation for many on RFF.

Until the M8, for me this usually meant a film M loaded with 800 ISO colour neg film, and more often than not a 35 'Lux wide open, or nearly so, shot at 1/30 or even 1/15. This can work fine - as long as you're able to juggle shallow depth of field and shoot when your subjects aren't getting too animated and moving around too much!

The M8 wasn't too much of a step up from film M's in handling these situations - and though the M9 is better, it's still in the same ballpark when it comes to dealing with real low light. You're having to really keep on your toes to make shallow depth of field and low shutter speeds work.

So, I've been wondering whether there are any interesting alternatives to try that would work better - or at least, differently - in these low light social situations.

I know there are plenty of cameras that can do a bit - maybe quite a bit - better than the M9 in low light.

But I know also that lots of them have problems focusing in low light.

So, if I want to try something that might be an interesting alternative to the M9 for this kind of photography, what should I try?

It needs to have significantly better high ISO performance than the M9 to open up the possibility of smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds.

It needs to be able to focus reliably and quickly on people's faces -preferably their eyes - in challengingly low light (all M's do this exceptionally well).

It needs to allow a good view of the subject for quick and responsive composition.

And it needs to be unobtrusive, quiet and easy to hold and pack - to make it easy to keep participating in the social situation.

So, what would this be? Fuji x100s? Any DSLR's? It always seems to me that there isn't anything out there which really nails all of the above features to make it an alternative to the M9. But I'd love to hear that I'm wrong.

Cheers,

Simon
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Old 11-15-2013   #60
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+1 on the Xpro. With the focusing set to "C"ontinuous I find the 18mm & 35mm focus quite well in low light.
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Old 11-15-2013   #61
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What's intrusive is making a lot of lousy blown shots with any camera.

I would go with either a new iPhone 5s... or a real sports-journalism camera built for high ISO and superior low light AF like a Nikon D3s with a 50/1.4. There aren't any shortcuts and you have to man up. A Fuji X won't be any better than a Sony or m4/3, the cheap 6D or 5D3 or D610 aren't going to focus worth a fart in the wind... so trading sideways makes no sense.

Everything else is just a tweak over what you've already got. You need an extra four stops and progressional auto-focusing, not the slight gain of maybe 1.5 stops and passive AF. All of these new compact cameras are for built for sunny days and casual shooting so their cheap AF and stopping down create the illusion that they work. Notice how the esteemed camera reviewers gloss over the fact that the darn things can't focus worth a hoot until the next version of the camera comes out and then they admit the truth, that the prior version that they gushed all over didn't really get very many photos in focus.

It's really bizarre, all the megapixels in the world don't matter if they aren't in focus but the camera manufacturers love pushing higher pixel counts and other "features" while "forgetting" to do anything about focusing ability.
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Old 11-15-2013   #62
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I have the X100 exactly for this type of scenerios. Works great up till ISO3200. The only problems are slow auto focusing and unusable manual focusing.
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Old 11-15-2013   #63
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A7r with cv 21/1.8 35/1.2 55/1.1 is pretty spectacular.

Shutter is like 5D, which is not quiet

The cheaper A7 is also very good with the high speed M's noted above, and has a much quieter shutter, and is a bit better than R in iso.

Overall both have outstanding iso performance.
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Old 11-15-2013   #64
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X100 or X100s; or else an X10 or X20. All very low noise with excellent low light performance, small size, and easy handling.
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Old 11-16-2013   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
A7r with cv 21/1.8 35/1.2 55/1.1 is pretty spectacular.

Shutter is like 5D, which is not quiet

The cheaper A7 is also very good with the high speed M's noted above, and has a much quieter shutter, and is a bit better than R in iso.

Overall both have outstanding iso performance.
How would you know this other than from internet chatter? And how would the focus accuracy and speed compare to a real camera? One that actually has been used?
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Old 11-16-2013   #66
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I'd go with a Monochrom. Have heard wonderful things about its low light capabilities, and you already have all the lenses for it.

As long as you can live with Black & White.

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This is what I use for club and act work. My flickr account has examples, most shot at iso 5000. Astounding print quality, astounding price.


20131005-008-Web by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr
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Old 11-16-2013   #67
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How would you know this other than from internet chatter? And how would the focus accuracy and speed compare to a real camera? One that actually has been used?
"a real camera" ?

Somehow I think it's not worth the effort to source the statement for you Frank. What I said is true: believe or not, as you choose.

As to focus accuracy, it's well documented that MF with the Sony nex and A7s is excellent--best in industry-- if you know how to use it. Sure RF will be faster when you first use the sony--but it's not far off within a hour or so of practice.

For AF in low light with faster glass the sony is in a class by it self because of it's ability to "pick an eye".

You can look at Steve Huff's discussion of the camera and his work with the OTUS.
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Old 11-16-2013   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
"a real camera" ?

Somehow I think it's not worth the effort to source the statement for you Frank. What I said is true: believe or not, as you choose.

As to focus accuracy, it's well documented that MF with the Sony nex and A7s is excellent--best in industry-- if you know how to use it. Sure RF will be faster when you first use the sony--but it's not far off within a hour or so of practice.

For AF in low light with faster glass the sony is in a class by it self because of it's ability to "pick an eye".

You can look at Steve Huff's discussion of the camera and his work with the OTUS.
So you rather take the word of a blogger who makes his living from promoting/selling the cameras he is reviewing than speaking from real world experience with cameras that hardly anyone has yet?

I don't care about the latest and greatest but a quick search reveals that DP Review's "Shooting Review" has one its testers saying that he didn't think any of his Sony A7 shots were in focus. Perhaps the DP Review testers aren't experienced enough to grasp the greatness of the magical Sony?

Maybe the Sony A7 series will be great but it seems premature to make any assumptions, much less purchases based on press release hype. But based on actual experience with different auto-focus systems, I'd expect a D3s to run circles around a P&S compact.
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Old 11-16-2013   #69
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Let's let the camera do the talking:

A7r with the superb and very small 35/2.8 zeiss native prime

DSC00178 by hsfc, on Flickr

Check out this photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hsfc/

The camera is now out in Korea and japan.

If you go to flickr and search A7r, then sort by recent, you'll see new samples coming in nearly every minute.

Make up your own mind.

As to Huff: Gandy respects him. That's good enough for me.
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Old 11-16-2013   #70
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Is there a camera or lens that Steve Huff has ever panned? Just askin'. You want objectivity in a blogger who depends on manufacturer goodwill? About as easy as finding virtue in a massage parlor.

@uhoh - all due respect and not to take sides, but the OP is interested in event-type shooting. your subjects, well, aren't especially mobile, aren't tough to focus, don't present difficult lighting. what's the point of posting fixed subject A7r images at web-size in this regard?
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Old 11-16-2013   #71
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No doubt those quick moving, gesturing antiques were no match for the manual focusing ;-p

Just to ease off a bit, I'm not questioning any of these cameras' image quality and I am sure the Sony A7r is top-notch in that regard. But none of the things I have read have made much mention of speed or accuracy of focus and most of these "reviewers" tend to post pictures of simple, static subjects so you don't get an idea of how it is with spontaneous photography of active, living things. Seeing a web-sized jpg isn't going to ever be a good measure of quality.

My hunch is that a lot of the newer compact cameras will do an OK job with the low-light social photography but all things considered it may well be a wash compared to using a M9 skillfully (anticipating focus being the key). To get something clearly superior to the M9 requires a big jump... gaining one stop extra performance is nice but is it really worth the effort and cost? Gaining 3-4 stops gets significant, it actually changes the way you'd approach photography.

As for Huff, he works hard at blogging and seems like a nice guy. So does Ken Rockwell and the others. More power to them, glad they can do it. But I sure wouldn't rely on their advice given how exuberant they are about so many cameras... I think they love cameras a lot more than making photos. If you read between the lines and retain a measure of healthy skepticism then they can help you make an informed decision.

Watch a good wedding photographer. Maybe they'll shoot with a Leica or Fuji or something similar for well-lit daytime shots but once the lights go down, out come the big DSLRs and flashes.

And for that matter, the OP is at the threshold where you need to use flash to get the picture... or suffer a lot of misses, blurs, and bloopers.
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Old 11-16-2013   #72
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Facepalm.

I heard the a7(_) overwhelmed the coffee & camera thread too.

It apparently makes a mean cup o' joe.
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Old 11-16-2013   #73
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Here is a set with quite a few low light A7r shots with the incredible 35/2.8 zeiss sonnar:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hsfc/

Opinions on the camera are common as fleas and run the gamut.

Luckily it can now speak for itself.

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Old 11-16-2013   #74
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£1500 will get you a 5d classic and a new 50mm 1.2 the price of a secondhand 35mm Summicron.
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Old 11-16-2013   #75
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If you want to understand the ideas behind the A7r and how it works, this is by far the best presentation so far:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLAP-N8Ps4I
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Old 11-16-2013   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
Finally, watch a good wedding photographer. Maybe they'll shoot with a Leica or Fuji or something similar for well-lit daytime shots but once the lights go down, out come the big DSLRs and flashes.
Exactly - and pretty much the same for PJ's and some documentarians, I'd say.
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Old 11-17-2013   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post

Watch a good wedding photographer. Maybe they'll shoot with a Leica or Fuji or something similar for well-lit daytime shots but once the lights go down, out come the big DSLRs and flashes.

And for that matter, the OP is at the threshold where you need to use flash to get the picture... or suffer a lot of misses, blurs, and bloopers.
I noticed, Frank, that you qualified your statement here with "good" wedding photographer, but I shot weddings for years with the Olympus E1 and slow zooms... and yep, I used a flash. Nothing wrong with using a flash if you know how to make it look like natural light.

I shoot Leicas now primarily for the look I get with large aperture primes, and horror of horrors... sometimes I STILL use flash!!! A GOOD wedding photographer's sense of timing is still what gets the shots, not 10 frames/sec and spray and pray that I see so often with the new crop of folks who do weddings. I still do a wedding and reception with about 300 exposures. I still shoot the way I shot film... although that's still about twice as many as I'd shoot when I was shooting VPS.

But then again... maybe I'm not that good.
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Old 11-17-2013   #78
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I'm sure you're excellent! But my point was simply that for the OP, it was probably time to break out the flash as you and I have done.
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Old 11-18-2013   #79
Johnmcd
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Some friends came around with their new baby yesterday and after having afternoon coffee with them and taking a few shots of the baby, I started thinking of this thread. Shooting a baby inside with no flash? Out came the dedicated 'baby / puppy' set up, a 7D with the 50/1.8 @ 2500 iso and auto focus. I banged out a couple shots then changed to the OMD with 50/1.4 and manual focus @ 1600 iso. I like it's colour and pixel sharpness much more than the Canon. Manual focus is a challenge, though not impossible.

Lastly out came the M4. I was halfway through a roll of Delta 100 so that had to do with the vc 50/1.5 and of course, manual focussing. But the results as usual, impressed me way more than the high iso digital. Babies never stay still but focus can be anticipated with practice.

Most of the time I would rather take some Delta 400 (sometime pushed to 1600), the M4 and a fast 50. That is my 'low light social camera'. Especially when 'social' means enjoyment and for me and that's shooting film.

So perhaps in your case the M9 and a fast lens would be worth persevering with if you enjoy the RF experience?



OMD 1600 iso





M4 Delta 100
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Old 11-18-2013   #80
defconfunk
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The E-M1 with a fast prime (I'm using the Panasonic 25mm 1.4) is pretty incredible. I have yet to use a flash with it. Useable hand held images at an EV of 0 (ISO 3200, F1.4, 1/15).
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