Fun Poll: What camera did I use to shoot this portrait?

Fun Poll: What camera did I use to shoot this portrait?

Hello and happy Sunday! Just for fun I decided to throw up this quick poll and since I usually do not post anything on Sundays I figured why not?. I just shot a portrait of my Nephew about 15 minutes ago. This was shot in my living room with lighting that is super dirt cheap. I currently have three cameras in my possession. The Leica M9 and a 50, the Nikon J1 and V1 with the zooms and the Olympus E-P3 with the 25 1.4 and 45 1.8. Which camera do you think took the shot below? This is just for fun as polls always seem to get everyone involved! You can click the image for a slightly larger version.

[polldaddy poll=5844912]

UPDATE – It’s only been a few hours but figured I would update this before heading to bed. Quite a few guesses in the poll and in the comments. The answer was fairly easy to get because as someone pointed out..almost any camera can do great with decent lighting. Which proves my point that just about any camera in the mirrorless segment today will give great results. 90% of the cameras in this segment are very slow or fail to AF in low light. Cameras like the NEX-5n can do very good when the lights get low  but getting it to AF is another story. The image above, and the ones below were shot with the…Nikon J1. Not the best sensor but plenty good enough AND it’s AF is a dream.

So most of you got it correct. I have to send it back tomorrow so I took it out today and shot with while out shopping with my Son and Nephew.

The image above and the one directly below was shot with a great little light setup I received from B&H Photo. It’s basically a stand, light and umbrella. It throws some soft light but I think I will pick up a 2nd one and keep them in my office for portraits. This is the setup I used, and it rocks for what it is. I am a fan of lighting vs strobes because what you see is what you get. When I shot the image above I used Matrix metering but during the RAW conversion converted to B&W and deepened the blacks. It was shot with the Nikon 10-30 at 30mm f/5.6 at ISO 250 and 1/60th.

Below is another I shot with the same settings but I left it in color. This again with the J1 and 10-30 Zoom. 

In case you missed it, the point I was making with this post is that just about ANY camera today will give you great results, and backs up my statement that even a J1 or V1 is good enough for 90% of our every day uses. The ones who still bash the J/V1 and attack it no matter what I say….open your mind. The 1 system is not perfect and Micro 4/3 outshines it in many areas, but the 1 system also outshines M4/3 in many areas so the best thing to do is decide what you desire the most in your photo equipment. It is after all YOU that is behind the camera and making the shot. What you want is a tool that gets out of the way the most and delivers quality results, which any mirrorless will do with ease today (give quality results).

A few others from today with the them for larger and better versions otherwise you will not be seeing them correctly.

ISO 800 – at the mall through a window – you can see some grain here but it is not offensive. Still, you will not get crystal clean ISO 800 here. 

ISO 400 – 10-30 at f/4.5 – 1/30s

10-30 zoom at 10mm – ISO 800 – f/3.5 – 1/30s

10-30 zoom – ISO 200 – f/3.5 – 1/100s

and one at ISO 400 with crop – same results as from the V1 due to the cameras sharing the same sensor/processing. Click image for 100% crop

So there you go. The Nikon J1 is a good camera though I prefer the V1 and I really hope NIkon follows through with some fast primes like they mentioned. If they do this, and I feel they must, the J1 and V1 will get even better because we will then be able to play with Depth of Field a little. As it is now they are speed demons with some grain at higher ISO but they still keep the color when the ISO goes up.

BTW, who heard about the new Olympus OM-D that was hitting the internet in the last 24 hours? Supposedly in February we will see “pro” Olympus – an OM digital. February should be an exciting month with the Fuji and supposedly the new Olympus. It never ends! As always, thanks foe reading and for participating in the poll!


  1. I still find all small sensor camera having very flat image. Not talking about contrast itself but more about 3D feeling.
    Your pictures all look nice but the one of the car for example I can’t tell whether it is a car drawing or a real car, I have the impression that both car and background are merged together.
    I do not know if it is depth of field issue or rather a pixel size issue.

    • +1
      Pretty flat picture, I had no doubt it had been taken with the Nikon…
      Not ready to trade my Lumix GX1 and my leica M9 for one of those tiny sensors…

  2. Ugh Steve, I’ve been craving some 1 series magic right before you started this posting spree, and now I really want it! In most shots I take there’s no need for small DoF, and a DSLR is just too bulky and heavy when you dwell down the streets, but when I do want small DoF (I.E portraiture) I can take out my DSLR, perfect! Shooting the V1 also just has the feel I want my mirrorless to have, fun; smooth and just blazingly fast. Maybe I’ll get the V1 (or it’s successor) with both zooms for a general snapshot thing, and invest in primes on any other system (what you say? X-pro1? Hmmm…!)

    • Well mighty, that’s actually a great idea. Think I’m gonna sell off my current DSLR gear and get /something/ that has great primes and a V1 zooming kit.

      The X-pro1/NEX-5n with Zeiss/Leica glass is tempting, but no FF might bother me at some point, as such Nikon D800 or something like that could be great as well. Eventually I’ll end up with a Leica M though I’m sure of it. Either way, the V1 is going to be my walkaround, snapshotty camera, and where needed the other system will work out it’s flaws.

  3. Who wan’t to be with the 90% anyway ??? if we are reading your blog is because we expect to be on the top 10% photographers, sooner or later. !! my biggest concern today is how bad is the charger of the Fuji, x-pro1 ?? i know where my money is going !


  4. This shot exemplifies what I was talking about. It’s almost like they decided to build a sensor to make creamy files..but the thing is, to me, it’s not a good creamy. It’s a low detail sensor with fine sharpening radius.

    But I think you helped me realize more than anything specific, I just don’t like the rendering of the sensor on this camera. Thats probably the best way of putting it.


  5. Given your current enchantment with the Nikon 1s, the answer was clear to me even before I read the article or even saw the picture.
    The picture itself shows large DOF, the illusion of the background vanishing into obscurity is not achieved by low DOF but instead by selectively lighting only the face. I personally do not think it is a great portrait shot, but then that is only me.

    As much as I usually enjoy reading your articles, this 1-itis becomes a little tedious after some time.
    This going on about the AF of the Nex also is a little hard to understand for me. I shot hundreds of low-light picture in low-light parking garages and nightime in the cities and had maybe 1-2 missed shots and no problems with getting AF fast, even with the kit lens.

    • Hi Chris,
      What Steve wants to convey is that the V1/J1 is quite a capable camera and the advanced-amateur/pro community has been unduly harsh in its criticism. The sensor is discarded as too small while it is not all that small, particularly considering the leap in image quality the new-gen sensors have started demonstrating. The lenses are, though poor in shallow DOF, quite sharp. The software itself is amazing (usability as well as JPEG conversion). He sees that the V1/J1 is actually quite nice and is trying to drive the message home.

      Poor Steve doesn’t realize that “you can wake up a sleeping man, you cannot wake up a man who is pretending asleep”.

      Mo Han

      • Indeed… agree with you Mr. Han, especially your concluding line.

        And Steve, it *is* a nice portrait, but you already knew that without me having to state it.


      • I think the problem with the 1 system is the only real advantage any of us see is AF speed…and just as ChrisX stated, I also have absolutely no issues with the NEX AF system (and certainly not the current m4/3’s cameras either). So why would anyone want to choose the system with the smallest sensor, lowest resolution, and least DOF control if AF speed is the only advantage? The 1 system doesn’t even have a size advantage over m4/3’s…and that’s one area where they should easily win.

        Eventually AF speed will level out on all of these systems, but DOF control will never change on the Nikon 1 system. I would rather buy into one of the larger sensor systems now, then just upgrade the body eventually if AF speed becomes a problem.

        • Hi Eric,
          I think it is a good strategy that you use. I actually do the same. I have a set of fine lenses – 20/1.7 25/1.4 Contax G 45/2 & 90/2.8 with adapter. I upgrade the bodies. GF1->EP1->GH1. Would be happy with the NEX-7 though, particularly with the Contax G glass.

  6. Hey alright, we picked it! 🙂
    Good poll Steve, got us to really analyse the pic and think about it.
    That is pretty massive news to hear Olympus are splitting into two divisions. I’m guessing from the titling that one will be aimed at producing ‘pro’ highend gear and the other will be more focused on general consumer products…?

    • I really should have read what you said properly and done a google before commenting…silly me!

      It appears Olympus are releasing an OM styled digital, apparently they trade marked the name ‘Olympus OM-D’ on Jan 8th…. I think this will be an interesting development.
      Sorry again for my previous confusion.

  7. It’s not the 45 1.8 because there was a similar shot from your review of that lens and your nephew’s ear would be out of focus. You’ve been writing about the Nikon a lot lately so that seems too obvious. His eyes look to me to be focusing at a longer distance so I think you took it with the Leica 50 and cropped (re-sized) the photo. And the metering took in a larger area which explains the brightness on his face.

  8. The M-9? Hm, I guess it just doesn’t seem quite Leica quality. I would expect more definition in the highlight areas. The Olympus? Quite possibly. Never really used one, but it looks like it could be the result of an Olympus, some old fashioned film grain in the medium shadow. I think I’ll go with the most obvious answer and say the Nikon, simply because you wouldn’t pass up an opportunity make it look like a good camera!

  9. Depth of field, the way the highlights look and the lack of crispness all suggest the Nikon but you could make any of those combinations (or my iPhone!) produce that look. I won’t bet my house on it!

  10. The DOF gives it away. There is no doubt, with good lighting, the j1/v1 is a great camera. It is just that when it gets dark, or you need to crop that you get into trouble.

  11. It’s difficult with a B&W; however, it’s not the Leica. From the grain looks, I guess it’s a Nikon. The Olympus’s grain would be more film like.

  12. Both the PL25mm and the Oly 45mm are tack sharp and, while this photo is sharp, it’s not as sharp as I would expect from either of those lenses (imo). Ditto for the Leica kit. Also DOF with any of those lenses would be shallower. This leaves the Nikons with kit lenses, which I think is what I think you used.

  13. The nikon defenetly. You said click on the image for bit larger image. A bit larger – nikon is a 10 megapixel camera so the files shouldn’t be that large.

  14. I’ll say the Nikon, because of the DOF argument already stated above. And, because your still trying to demonstrate that the Nikon is better than many say it is!

    Nice portrait by-the-way.

  15. Judging by the level of suspense and the urge to surprise I’d say the Nikon. You’ve stated your preference many times before so it’s no surprise you’ll want to showcase its capabilities. It goes to show that tiny sensor cameras are no longer crippled, which beg the question: How much better can larger (m4/3 /aps-c/FF) sensor cameras really do ?

  16. A very handsome photograph of a very handsome nephew. Beautiful. (Frankly, I don’t care what camera was used.)

  17. We know you like to shoot wide open. The photo shows more DOF than a full-frame camera would give wide open. Therefore, it wasn’t taken with the Leica (unless you stopped down a bit.) I’m guessing you used the Nikon, but the Olympus is just as likely.

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  1. Pixelboliden und Kleinzeug…

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