High ISO performance of a camera has always been the overrated issue debated by virtually every online photography groups and forums, and it was as if the only thing that mattered in photography. I never overemphasized on the importance of high ISO noise control, but I do acknowledge the importance of being able to push that extra bit of sensor ISO numbers just to gather a bit more light. In the case of last night, I was shooting live performance at The Bee, Publika, a place known for showcasing local talents in a stage setup with rather poor lighting conditions. High ISO was necessary, so how did the now not so new OM-D E-M5 performed?
I had with me only two lenses: M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8, which I utilized mostly on the 45mm for the longer reach. The shooting of the live performance happened rather spontaneously as I bumped into a friend, Albert Ng (click to check out his awesome blog) who is an avid Sony fan, as well as a local gig frequenter. Should I have known about this event earlier, I would have brought along the amazing M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 for even better reach. Nevertheless being able to move closer to stage, I was able to utilize the 45mm f1.8 to achieve sufficient reach.
The OM-D performed very well, and I was pleased. The focusing was extremely fast and I nailed 99% of my shots in focus (can't say about composition, that is something rather unpredictable with the constant movements). The lighting was horrendous, casting a strong cool magenta cast on the performers, which I corrected via post-processing, an advantage I had by shooting everything RAW in the first place. I used mostly ISO3200-6400 for all shots in this entry, mainly to attain adequately fast shutter speed to freeze movements. It was a rather dynamic performance with the lead singer moving really fast, hence I needed shutter speed above 1/250sec. The images turned out still very clean (at least to my eyes) and retaining high level of usable detail. Coming from the 45mm F1.8 lens images were very sharp and I had some control over shallow depth of field, shooting wide open at F1.8.
If you have not checked out Paperplane Pursuit (click) and Darren Ashley (click), you can find out more about them at their Youtube Pages.