Exploring Low Light Photography

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

It always surprises me what I learn when trying out a new camera or lens.

Low light photography has always been a challenge with Micro Four-thirds (MFT) cameras because one of the benefits to camera with a larger sensor is that images shot at higher ISO’s typically have less noise. The compact size of MFT cameras has always won out over low light image quality for me but I’ve always envied full frame cameras low light shooting.

In the past few months Panasonic and Olympus released new cameras that have raised the bar on low light shooting with MFT cameras. I first noticed this improvement with the Panasonic Lumix GX85. I took the camera to a Los Angeles car museum and pushed the ISO to 3200. Then along came the Lumix G85 and Olympus OMD EM-1 Mark II and the Panasonic Lumix GH5 just in time for the darkest part of the year.

I typically pair the Lumix GH5 with the Lumix G Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, set the camera to aperture priority at f/1.7. Then I set the ISO to Auto so I can just shoot when I see something that catches my eye. The five-axis in-body stabilization in the Panasonic (and Olympus) cameras also allows me to shoot at much lower shutter speeds even with non-stabilized lenses.

It’s opened a whole new world of photography after dark for me.

light.book Mirrrorless Photo Tips contributors Barry Staver and Joe Farace are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s curreently out-of-print but new copies are available at collector (high) prices or used copies for giveaway prices—less than five bucks—from Amazon.