Micro 4/3 Despite lust towards FF and DSLR dinosaurs, I'm just drifting towards m4/3...

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Yeah... the title has it.

The optical viewfinder appeals to me but when it comes to shop lenses for this new system I just can't seem to find anything that I'd like.
For example...

I'm visioning an older 70-200 mm lens to play around with Nikon. I'm imagining an old f/2.8 design won't be very costly and they'll be perhaps more lightweight than the current designs. Only their MFDs are bad. There are these "70-200 Macro" zooms from 3rd party manufacturers which sound cool in theory. Only their MFDs are still something like a meter or so. My Panasonic 35-100 can do 90 cm!

So maybe I can't get a good close up capability out of a 70-200 even though that would be my preference. So what are the dedicated macro options out there? The old and affordable SLR designs lack image stabilisation and I'm told it would be a big benefit. Besides, I'm not going to be a serious macro photographer any time soon so I would favor solutions that are easily hand-held and shot on the go.

To every SLR lens review there's also that constant discussion about focus inaccuracies and calibration, focus shift*, whatnot. Things that don't occur in MILC realm, not that much anyway.

The old SLR lens designs are soft anyway, compared to most M4/3 lenses and sensors. The big pixel benefit of FF shrinks away to some part.

I think I could get reasonably much fun out of a small investment of an Olympus 45mm, or Pana 42.5, throw in the Olympus 60mm macro.

Where FF and Nikon would kick ass is the ultrafast wide angle setup where you can play with DOF. But therein lies the problem that while there are cool f/1.4 lenses for 24 and 28 mms there's a whole bunch of pretty awesome Leica M lenses such as the $400 TTArtisan 21mm f/1.5 that just begs to be purchased. In another word, f.ex Nikon + M4/3 would probably work very well for me, but I have currently Leica + m4/3 so that doesn't "allow" such expansion that would make sense to me.

Besides, I can't just shrug off the fact that it's with M4/3 that I shot my best shots with. Can't ignore such a factor ;)

* There's probably only one site out there who mentions this shift in every Nikkor review I've read. We established in a separate thread here that it's not such a big issue anyway.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
I can't seem to stay away from m4/3 myself. I have sold all of my m4/3 gear a couple of times, only to buy or trade back in within 6 months or so.
Same here. For me it’s the best compromise between size/weight and quality. Also, m43 bodies go really well with all sorts of old lenses, which is always fun to try.
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
I'm glad I kept my :mu43: system; with the GX9 and the E-M5 III, I now own two cameras that both play to the strengths of the system, and the vast line-up of lenses (among them lots of best-of-breed units) makes the system the most versatile and complete on the market.

To give you one example: Sony and, to a somewhat lesser extend, Fujifilm, have struggled to give us zooms comparable in performance to the 12-40mm f/2.8, and even though both offerings are now out (and at least Sony's lens is a real stunner, whereas Fujifilm's pro zoom is "just" very good), they're both bigger, heavier and more expensive (on all fronts, 20-25% more ...). Add I.B.I.S. in a small body (the E-M5 III is about the same price as the X-T3 and A6400 - both have no I.B.I.S., and the lenses are all unstabilised), and you end up with a more compact, yet more versatile setup that delivers competitive image quality. And guess what? Its humble 12-45mm f/4 stable mate is even better optically, though of course it's only an f/4 zoom - but it's smaller still!

In terms of IQ, there's often surprisingly little between the different systems, at least as far as the 24MP APS-C crowd goes (Fuji's 26MP sensor has particular strengths, Sony's latest sensors have newer, much more efficient technology that brings additional advantages, and Canon outguns everyone else with 32MP resolution). For the record: I cap :mu43: and APS-C both at ISO 1600, though I go to ISO 3200 with a bit more confidence on APS-C; at base ISO, DR presents - at the most - one stop visible difference; so, nothing judicious pp can't settle (I don't overstretch my files - why should I?). For continued low light shooting, I reach for FF anyway ...

In short: If you cherish choice and versatility, nothing beats :mu43:! Some systems have their unique selling points - Sony's latest AF is magic, Fujifilm's JPEGs are wonderful, and you may, of course, prefer one handling paradigm over another, but frankly, the differences in reasonably adequate terms are minor.

What still draws me to APS-C? Very specific things: IQ-to-price ratio (Sony A6000), gestalt and results (Fujifilm X-E3), portability and IQ (Ricoh GR III), feature set and size (Canon G1 X III). Notice that nowhere, I mentioned "system". That's where :mu43: beats them all (well, that's obvious in case of the compacts ...) - and you can add size, results and feature set in each and every case as strengths as well, so ...

:mu43: opened up digital photography for me. And it still demonstrates that quality and usability don't have to mean heavy lifting ...

M.
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
The only thing to note when it comes to handheld macro - a big heavy DSLR macro lens can be an advantage there (less shake due to its inertia).
When I switched from Nikon with its 105mm VR lens to an Olympus EM5 with the featherlight Oly 60mm macro, I had a much harder time handholding it for macros/close-ups...
(That being said, the Nikon is hardly an "affordable" choice and it stayed home most of the time, because it was way to heavy to take along on walks for 'just in case I see something').

M43 is a wonderful all-round system. It offers a lot (a lot of good lenses and a lot of bargains).
Most of my favorite photos are taken with it too - it's just so versatile that you can tailor it to all sorts of different needs/wants.
 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Aug 7, 2011
Jersey Shore
Steve
Even though I own Fuji APS-C gear, I think full frame and micro four thirds complement each other very nicely. And that's why I own both of them as well. While I have no plans to sell off my u43 gear, I may have reached a point where I may no longer buy any more of it. The price of Oly's 100-400mm zoom put an end to that. And I really don't need anything else.
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Nov 15, 2011
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
While I have no plans to sell off my u43 gear, I may have reached a point where I may no longer buy any more of it. The price of Oly's 100-400mm zoom put an end to that. And I really don't need anything else.
Yup, very much with you on that one. Unless the release reveals an extreemely compelling reason I don't see myself spending that kind of money (2x as much as my most expensive lens so far). Was hoping it would be closer to the 75-300mm.

I'd rather buy an RX10mk4 at that price :)
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Aug 21, 2011
Los Angeles, USA
I'm partial to FF and current 1" sensors. I find 1" sensors get me the small form factor of M43, but with BSI sensor tech and OSPDAF. APS-C is too close to the size of FF and Samyang's small f/2.8 and f/1.8 AF primes are just as big if not smaller than the APS-C FL/DOF lens equivalents.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
What clicks with me most with M4/3 is the Panasonic offerings. The lenses render very "filmlike". They didn't sacrifice everything in pursuit of the highest MTF graphs UNLIKE some other brands I might know! ;)

I don't know exactly why but the AA-less 16-megapixel sensor of GX80 just produces epic quality. The body is also very well thought-of, and the software is just heavenly smart. I vividly remember how good the files were from the 20-MP PEN-F too. If nothing else, more headroom, very cool.

The trip to Lapland, I shot Leica and Panasonic side by side. Back at the computer I often confused Leica shots to Pana shots and vice versa!

Panasonic clips highlights like Leica does, very early, so one has to watch the exposure. But that doesn't matter much -- Panasonic has very good software designs, among them a very good highlight-protective metering and a histogram that doesn't distract the viewfinder.

There's the usual woe that I have with compromises and cameras. With Fujifilm it's the practicality of the X-T series and the soul of the X-Pro. In M4/3 world it's between Olympus hardware (including PDAF, best IBIS, the looks, the sensor) vs Olympus software, and Panasonic leaving rangefinder-style bodies to lesser attention.

I bought the GX80 in early March I believe and it didn't need much to grow into liking the camera with the tiny 12-32. It has often been a companion to my Leica M much like Olympus was company to my Leica Q.

Like everybody else, I'm hoping they'd bring a worthy successor to GX8.

And as a distant fantasy, maybe another Pana-Leica collaboration in the form of a M4/3 camera body? :D
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
I've tried a lot of platforms, including a couple of FF cameras, but my favorites have been m4/3 and Fuji. I'm not someone who can expound on technical specs, but I'm pleased with the output from the Pen F and X-E2 I'm using for our parallel challenges this month.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Fuji bodies do a lot of things right. They do so many things right I am probably going to give them a third chance some time.

But the second chance yielded in these observations, 100% personal opinions:

Between PEN-F and XT-3 and GX80 (none of which I owned simultaneously so no direct A/B tests) my immediate feeling just is that due to X-Trans CFA, Fuji loses the sensor size advantage in "pixel sharpness" whatever little that may mean to non-pixel-peepers / rational folks.

Secondly, the Fujicrons (35/2 and 50/2 personally shot) don't click with me, optically. This builds up to having to make compromises choosing between slower-to-focus, non-WR-sealed, larger lenses such as 23/1.4, 35/1.4, and the faster, lighter 'crons. M4/3 lenses have many of the features of the Fujicrons (most importantly, size and AF speed) but with more attractive rendering. 😎

Finally, I went in to X-T3 open minded but the body is also very bland for whatever reason. It is practically flawless, I guess it makes it boring. I had the same reaction with X-T1 a few years back. But overall I think X-T3 is one of the smartest cameras out there, in any category.

Combining these learned wisdoms I think the next time around I'll be checking out X-Pro2 and the 1.4 lenses. And the 14/2.8. And the 60/2.4.

Fuji has their compromises on their bodies, same applies to any manufacturer and any system.

In Panasonic land G9 is a clear winner but we haven't had the tech trickle down to smaller bodies ... yet. Indeed, where's the GX10 we ask.

On the Mt Olympus I suppose everything is good at the moment, if you click with the software. EM5.3 (new) and EM1.2 (used) are both huge powerhouses, even E-P5 and PEN-F still work.

Oh and by the way,

The one lens that I was excited to get on Nikon, the 85/1.8 AF-D... It's wonderful alright. But even here the cheap-ass Olympus 45 or the Panasonic 42.5 absolutely beats the Nikkor in minimum focus distance, a thing I value dearly. Secondly they beat the Nikkor in S-AF focus speed and accuracy. Thirdly the absolutely beat the Nikkor in size and weight.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
I've tried a lot of platforms, including a couple of FF cameras, but my favorites have been m4/3 and Fuji. I'm not someone who can expound on technical specs, but I'm pleased with the output from the Pen F and X-E2 I'm using for our parallel challenges this month.
tech specs are a bit overrated IMHO. I left that thinking long ago. Now I care more about the shooting experience and otherfeatures. This is where Fuji shines for me.

I have a real affinity for the X100V and XPRO2. How they handle and the output just “does it for me”. It’s not quantifiable, but they make me want to pick them up and shoot with them.

m43 is similar in some of those aspects.

I’ve always seen my Nikon kits as work tools, where as the other systems were items that help me express art. Sounds lame, I know, but that’s just how it registers in my brain.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
I wonder the upcoming E-M10 iv will look like. I guess they'll go to the 20 MP sensor? It won't be WR, so I don't know what else they could change. It's been fun using my old Pens in the SiJy challenge this month. Except for critical focus being more difficult, these 10 year old beasties have worked as well for this challenge as the Fujis or the Sony. Of course, I've also stayed in good light. We're going to see the grandkids this weekend so, although I will take the EPL1 to get a challenge shot, I'll want one of the other cameras for some cropping room, faster AF and face/eye detect, and better low-light noise. As with many, taking shots of little kids indoors is the biggest challenge for my skill and equipment. How about this as kit: EPL1 with the 17 2.8, the X100V, and the A7R with the 35 2.8? 🤓
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
I'm partial to FF and current 1" sensors. I find 1" sensors get me the small form factor of M43, but with BSI sensor tech and OSPDAF. APS-C is too close to the size of FF and Samyang's small f/2.8 and f/1.8 AF primes are just as big if not smaller than the APS-C FL/DOF lens equivalents.
I think this way sometimes. An RX100# is a truly pants pocket-able camera. My only problem is that I remember once taking an RX10 to Disney and I just wasn't happy with the results. Too much low light noise. I always seem to find myself in low-light situations, either evening or indoors, and the 1" sensors just can't cut it.
 

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