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Upgrading from compact to 4/3 or dslr - advice needed pls

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Hi,

 

I am fairly new to this forum so I'm not sure if my question is too vague but any advice would be appreciated. I currently have an old canon s95 with inon macro lens and a ys-01 strobe and have been taking macro photos for years with it. I have become quite proficient with it and have taken some beautiful shots but have found sometimes the detail quality is missing. So I am looking to upscale and use my old system as a back up.

 

My knowledge of slrs and mirrorless cameras is not the best, despite a lot of reading and it seems no camera suits everyone. I am primarily interested in underwater macro. But I have no idea what camera would be best. I would like say cost is irrelevant but it is a factor. That said I would happily spend £1500 on a camera and £2000 on housing plus new strobes and lens if it will last.

 

I have looked at the Sony A7r (not the ii) and with focus peaking and the Sony 90mm lens it looks like it could be good and without the bulk of a dslr. But I read issues about poor focusing ability which worries me. I also like the look of the Olympus om d e 1 but I am not sure whether this will give me super detailed macro shots. I shoot a lot of nudis and shrimps and I want the detail.

 

If anyone shoots a lot of macro and has a great setup to provide excellent shots, I would be keen to here any recommendations. It's a lot of money to spend and I don't want to make a mistake.

 

Thanks in advance

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FF ILC's like the A7 series are indeed smaller than the FF DSLR-s, but the lenses and ports (prepare to add a 9" superdome for WA) are the same size as you'd take with a DSLR. Costs are also stretching with full-frame...

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I'm really happy with my m4/3 system for macro - using an Olympus EM-5, Nauticam housing, 60mm macro lens, Subsee diopters, and Inon S2000 strobes. It is super compact, able to get into tight spots, and light for travel and produces good quality images limited more by my skill than by the equipment. The 2x crop factor gives a 120mm equivalent focal length which added to a diopter will give about 2:1 magnification.

 

Have a look at Phil Rudin's posts, also Girelle's posts. A recent result of mine (which could have been sharper if I'd stopped down more) is here:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=56682

 

If i was buying today I'd get the EM-1 and the Nauticam CMC, but stick with the same lens and strobes.

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I shoot with something close to troporobo. Olympus EM10, Oly 60mm Macro, Nauticam, D1, and the Nauticam CMC. I find it to be very capable. I have also shot with Canon APS-C in the past and the only real advantage I'd give that DSLR was a less noisy sensor at the lowest native ISO. But I just set NR to 20 in Lightroom and don't worry about it. It would be hard to argue that the D810 with 105 from Nikon isn't a more versatile macro solution - you have all those pixels to work with and a higher base sensor quality. But it's so gigantic and so expensive. Comparing with other macro shooters who use the 5DMKIII, 7DII, D810, I feel like the little m4/3 gets you 80% of the quality for half the cost and weight.

 

This is with the 60mm Macro + CMC. This nudi was literally smaller than a grain of rice: https://flic.kr/p/ALJKxa

And without the CMC, the effective 120mm can fill the frame with only part of a larger subject: https://flic.kr/p/AnQZ2p

Just my 2 cents. I've seen some incredible DLSR macro. To me, it comes down to - is that extra 20% of quality worth the massive investment. My answer is not yet. Maybe when I improve my skills or if I had opportunities to dive/shoot more.

If I was buying today, I'd probably opt for the Oly EM5-II body, or possibly wait for the EM1-II. I got the EM10 to save money and have the built-in flash.

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yes the Olympus o m de1 seems to have great reviews and the nauticam housing looks great with vacuum sensor and the housing is quite small. Should I be concerned about the lower pixel count - my old canon is 10MP and this one is 16MP? I liked the fact the A7R was 36MP, but not sure how much this applies with dealing with macro and supermacro, especially if I am not blowing photos up to huge sizes.

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I'm in exactly the same situation as you. I want to upgrade from my RX100 mk1 to either the OMD-E1 with 60mm lens or the A7R2 with 90mm lens.

 

I'm leaning towards the A7R2 option, mainly due to the better quality sensor (noise, DR and light sensitivity), and megapixel count 42 vs 16, (which leaves a lot of room for post shot cropping).

 

The only thing holding me back is the price which is almost double for the A7R2, and the real life difference in the quality/detail of the final pictures.

 

I won't be buying until I visit the US in April, so perhaps the OMD-E1-II will be out by then and that may influence my decision!

 

Below is a shot I took with my RX100 mk1 with +7 diopter, after more than three years with this camera it's about the best I can get regarding detail.

post-53307-0-59568700-1451670362_thumb.jpg

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I shoot with OMD EM1 and my wife uses an EM10 both in Nauticam housings with vacuum valves (must have upgrades). The macro lenses are small and sharp and give great results. I had some macro shots blown up to A3 and they look great too. I still have Canon 700D with 60mm macro in Nauticam and I can't see the difference in detail. The Olympus colourd are better and the whole set up lighter and easier to travel with.

The Sony A7r/s2 are getting great reviews with the 90mm lens but being full frame only the body is smaller, lens are big and the smaller body means small battery which you only get 100-200 pics per charge. A full frames DSLR will give 800+ (using viewfinder). The Olympus get 250 to 300 pics per charge which on a dive holiday is 2.5 dives. The Sony means opening up the housing every dive to change batteries. As said before camera, lenses and housings are much more expensive. Today's prices in AUD$5200 for EM1, housing port and 60mm lens. The Sony A7r2 housing port and 90mm lens is AUD$11000. I'm sure the difference is about the same where you live.

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Other MTF cameras to consider are the Panasonic GH4 and new GX8 which gets 20M sensor, built in stabilization and 4K for about same cost as EM1.

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Or you can buy a second hand Panasonic GX7 (am selling it with Nauticam housing) or a second hand OM-D EM-5 or even EM-10 the difference in image quality is minimal although the newer camera have better handling and features you get camera and housing for £1,000 and can invest in strobes that by they way if you do macro are not necessarily too much cost

 

In terms of image quality nothing beats a full frame DSLR however the micro four third offer more magnification so if you shoot really small things an MFT with the Olympus 60mm is hard to beat

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Fully agreed on the strobes part, especially if WA has any importance. For pure macro though, 2xs2000's are perfectly fine for the job - here you will miss those sea fan, large anchor etc shots. 2xz240's or something even stronger would be ideal.

 

Larger sensors are also battling with corner sharpness issues. Even using the largest superdomes, a FF camera has to be stopped down to ~f11-f16 which takes away all the advantage (noise, even resolution because of the Rayleigh limit) the large sensor offers.

 

Or you can buy a second hand Panasonic GX7 (am selling it with Nauticam housing) or a second hand OM-D EM-5 or even EM-10 the difference in image quality is minimal although the newer camera have better handling and features you get camera and housing for £1,000 and can invest in strobes that by they way if you do macro are not necessarily too much cost

 

In terms of image quality nothing beats a full frame DSLR however the micro four third offer more magnification so if you shoot really small things an MFT with the Olympus 60mm is hard to beat

Edited by tamas970

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A full frame camera is always superior to smaller sensors because diffraction doesn't kick in so soon. With the Olympus 60mm you start loosing quality after f/8 with a Nikon d7100 at f/16 but with a Nikon D810 the same 105mm lens can be used all the way to f/32 and it's very sharp. The story of sharp corners and depth of field only applies at comparable apertures you can push a full frame much further. At wide angle a mft has the sweet spot around f/4 but really you shoot at least f/5.6 behind a dome a full frame does require f/8 and more but there are more than two stops dynamic range of difference so that's not really an issue either. For macro though I believe the a7 series lenses stop at f/22 and that may be too little. I would look at a canon or Nikon full frame that usually have more stops

Edited by Interceptor121

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Pixel size of the 36MP D810 is 4.9 micron which requires around f8 to fulfill the Rayleigh criteria ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh_criterion, calculated with 500nm light), f32 was considered diffraction limited even in the film days. Here comes the question: in reality, which macro contains more details (same magnification provided): olympus 60mm, f8 or the DOF equivalent f14 nikon/sony 105mm? The nikon seems 2stops beyond Rayleigh's limit, the olympus less than 1 stop.

 

Right, a sony a7s (8.4micron pixel size) stays fine until f16. In comparison, the 16MP m43 sensor uses 3.75micron pixels, requiring around f6, make it f5.6, just a single stop over most FF cameras.

Speaking of domes, here are some discussions: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=54681&page=5 and a thorough test: http://www.borutfurlan.com/articles/dxfx-en.html . Obviously, high quality correcting optics and nikonos type lenses are exceptions, unfortunately both are rarely used by the uw photo community (corrector lenses -other than the wwl-1 - are difficult to find, nikonos is cumbersome+risky to use). To me the only real advantage of FF remained is the high dynamic range/more room in post.

 

A full frame camera is always superior to smaller sensors because diffraction doesn't kick in so soon. With the Olympus 60mm you start loosing quality after f/8 with a Nikon d7100 at f/16 but with a Nikon D810 the same 105mm lens can be used all the way to f/32 and it's very sharp. The story of sharp corners and depth of field only applies at comparable apertures you can push a full frame much further. At wide angle a mft has the sweet spot around f/4 but really you shoot at least f/5.6 behind a dome a full frame does require f/8 and more but there are more than two stops dynamic range of difference so that's not really an issue either. For macro though I believe the a7 series lenses stop at f/22 and that may be too little. I would look at a canon or Nikon full frame that usually have more stops

Edited by tamas970

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I think you need to look at the performance of a lens on a camera to judge you can't extrapolate only based on sensor. Once you put a good lens the full frame cameras kill any other set up in all possible combinations otherwise why do you think Dr Mustard shoots one? Yes you can be unhappy with dome optics but flat ports at long focal length its anther story. The nikkor 105 at f/14 will resolve more than 3000 lines the Olympus doesn't resolve 3000 even at the best aperture and at f/8 resolves less than 2500 around 20% less. At f/22 the resolution of the 105 on a d810 is still better than the Olympus at f/8 and even at f/32 still resolves around 1700 lines. There simply is no comparison. However the magnification of a mft camera is always superior without add on lens. When I look at sample images taken with nikkor 105 and nauticam smc and compare those to the best mft i know which one is better for sure

Edited by Interceptor121

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Once you put a good lens the full frame cameras kill any other set up in all possible combinations otherwise why do you think Dr Mustard shoots one?

 

He also shoots that FF setup with a zeiss wet corrector lens, designed for medium format cameras, rainbow unicorn category in the used market. Also seen some extralarge domes in his publications. My other favorite "advanced FF shooter" (although not photo but video with RED cameras) is Pawel Achtel: he is comitted to nikonos optics - for good reason.

 

Yes you can be unhappy with dome optics but flat ports at long focal length its anther story. The nikkor 105 at f/14 will resolve more than 3000 lines the Olympus doesn't resolve 3000 even at the best aperture and at f/8 resolves less than 2500 around 20% less. At f/22 the resolution of the 105 on a d810 is still better than the Olympus at f/8 and even at f/32 still resolves around 1700 lines. There simply is no comparison. However the magnification of a mft camera is always superior without add on lens. When I look at sample images taken with nikkor 105 and nauticam smc and compare those to the best mft i know which one is better for sure

Thanks for the values, saved me quite a bit of research. Thumbnail size images (especially on wetpixel...) don't help much here, one has to find 100% crops or resolution tests at e.g DXO. 20% advantage in resolution doesn't sound too much, it means you get 20% larger prints from the better camera. Game changer might be the new MP monster a7rII with the very-very good sony FE 90mm macro (however it might ask for a diopter, influencing quality).

 

Anyway I think we got a bit carried away from the op, the question is, what is the goal (shooting targets, print/publication sizes) and what gear complexity/weight/cost does the photographer feels confortable with.

Edited by tamas970

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At wide angle a mft has the sweet spot around f/4 but really you shoot at least f/5.6 behind a dome

 

So useless to upgradde from a Panasonic 7-14 f/4 to an Olympus 7-14 f/2.8 lens then...

Edited by EspenB

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I'm really happy with my m4/3 system for macro - using an Olympus EM-5, Nauticam housing, 60mm macro lens, Subsee diopters, and Inon S2000 strobes.

 

If i was buying today I'd get the EM-1 and the Nauticam CMC, but stick with the same lens and strobes.

 

Well, the CMC is almost pointless to use with the Olympus 60 mm macro for several reasons; The working distance is only a few cm (less than an inch) and the need to stop down the aperture to get som depth of field brings you literally into land of difraction. It might be better - and cheaper - to just crop in post - resolution will probably not be worse!

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So useless to upgradde from a Panasonic 7-14 f/4 to an Olympus 7-14 f/2.8 lens then...

That's correct. In addition the Olympus lens has an issue of field of curvature or distortion. It's very sharp in the centre but bent on the edges more than the Panasonic

But that's another story

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That's correct. In addition the Olympus lens has an issue of field of curvature or distortion. It's very sharp in the centre but bent on the edges more than the Panasonic

But that's another story

 

Well, for HD video the resolution is no problem and for most part I don't care about the edges. Hopefully the f/2.8 will bring som light advantages compared to the min f/4.0 lens.

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So useless to upgradde from a Panasonic 7-14 f/4 to an Olympus 7-14 f/2.8 lens then...

 

Well, unless you also use your camera on land! The images I've seen on non-UW reviews have me convinced that the Oly is superior for landscapes

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Well, unless you also use your camera on land! The images I've seen on non-UW reviews have me convinced that the Oly is superior for landscapes

 

Well, I allready bought the Oly 7-14 at the black friday sales. Waiting for the necessary Nauticam bits to take it underwater. ;-)

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Well, unless you also use your camera on land! The images I've seen on non-UW reviews have me convinced that the Oly is superior for landscapes

Hi what sites did you see that report on?

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