Micro 4/3 Has m43 finally lived up to the promise?

wt21

Hall of Famer
Aug 15, 2010
I think it is, but I also don't think there's a ton compelling to APS-C. If I'm going to carry a DSLR, it will be FF. If Canikon release the (rumored) smaller/cheaper DSLRs (they can cripple the video if they like-- I don't care), then that'll be me buying back into DSLRs. But the APS-C format size doesn't make sense to me. It drives much larger lenses than m43, yet with not much more IQ benefit. Though I've never used the vaunted Pentax cameras, or the new Fuji X series, but I've worked with Canon, NEX and Nikon. They've each had their own issues. If Oly releases the OMD sensor in the new Pens, I'll be good for some time to come.
 

wolfie

Veteran
Sep 19, 2010
I was never interested in the m4/3 setup which I feel was a 'created' format-size right from it's film days. I didn't (and still don't) see the logic in the sensor size. To me it's a 'toy camera' for DSLR users who find lugging around their big cameras a bit of a chore. And everyone seems to be buying in to this marketing bullshit. It will always play catch up to the big DSLRs, and will always be second best when compared to a DSLRs in their current avatars.

To me (this is only my opinion) the only conversation that is worth having is on image quality. And mu43 is certainly not the answer now, nor will it ever be ... Sure, it might be "good enough" for most people. That's not much of a debate.
Sadly measurbator-centred diatribe about format prejudice. I couldnot wait to ditch my Pentax K-7 for the Olympus E-P3. Image quality is not AN ABSOLUTE - and APS and 35mm certainly don't own it, and never did even in film era, when 35mm was considered a toy camera format by many professionals, and still is, so who are you kidding? And there are already professionals who are swapping their bloated C & N DSLRs for the smaller format, heck some are even using Nikon1 format cameras for publications! Yep, my M43 is "good enough" to have produced plenty of pictures that have been published in high profile magazines in Australia and new Zealand. Why would I want to cripple myself financially and burden myself physically with a camera that weighs 200% more for no worthwhile advantage?

I have absolutely no regrets in going to M43 and still enjoying the convenience of having an easy to carry camera that produces high quaility images with me without being an obtrusive burden.
 

Country Parson

Top Veteran
Apr 5, 2011
North Carolina
Dan
Wolfe, I have to agree with you. My stock photo agency, one that has been in the business a long time, has accepted for their files pictures taken with smaller sensors than m4/3 including shots taken with the LX5, and even an older lumix camera. They know what the publication market might use, and so I trust their judgment, a judgment that reinforces what you just wrote.
 

wt21

Hall of Famer
Aug 15, 2010
I was never interested in the m4/3 setup which I feel was a 'created' format-size right from it's film days. I didn't (and still don't) see the logic in the sensor size.
What is an example of a 'naturally occuring' (I'm supposing that's the opposite of created??) format-size? Wasn't there some feedback that the 135 format was invalid and also 'created' vis a vis medium format?

I know there is a big, long white paper form Olympus out there on why the 43 format is the right format for balancing size and IQ. The research done by the white paper was completed prior to the launch of the 43 format (long before m43), and the reasons seemed quite valid to me, though at the end of the day, I care less about the reasoning and more about the practical implications, and find the IQ and size balance superior to the APS-C compact systems I've seen to date.
 

wolfie

Veteran
Sep 19, 2010
APS - Natural format?

The film size APS cameras were a dead end attempt by Kodak and some camera manufacturers in the 1990sto get away from 35mm, and add some electronic advantages, but failed to get mass market acceptance. Just like the 110 and disc formats.

As far as I know the only "natural" thing about APS format was that it was a *cost-saving* feature because FF digital sensors were (and continue to be) far too expensive for mass market. If it wasn't for sensor cost APS would not have a reason to exist at all.!:p

M43 delivers more than acceptable quality for most situations - for amateur and for a lot of professional situations- and does so with a considerable reduction in bulk & weight of the camera body and lenses. In fact when 35mm sensors do drop in price enough, APS for DSLRs will be redundant as a format.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
I've had the OM-D for a few weeks now, and so far it seems to be living up to the promise. Along with the Pana 14/2.5 and Sigma 19 and 30, I have a low-cost set of primes with very little compromise with their faster cousins. I've been shooting with it more than the M9 and GXR, although it's still early days. Admittedly, I am waiting for the Pana 12-35 to hit Australian shores, and then I will have a completely weatherproof camera that takes the place of most of my others. I love having manually-focused full HD video at the touch of a button, and very fast AF.

As much as DPReview says the image quality is equal to aps-c cameras, I have to say that it's not quite in the same league of richness as the Fuji X100 or even the Ricoh GXR aps-c modules. But it beats both for speed, functions and versatility. It's the camera I imagined m43 would be when it was first announced, and I was juggling a Canon 30D and a few compacts in the same bag. These days I'm happy to walk out the door with the OM-D and a couple of primes and the Ricoh GRD III as the omnipresent backup.

If I use the 14/2.5 I take off both grips; I prefer using the grip for the Sigma lenses. I imagine that I will use at least the hand grip when the 12-35 arrives, possibly the vertical grip as well. With the first grip, it's light enough to go around my neck with the 14/2.5 and not bother me at all. Even the M9's weight kind of bites after a day of walking. I'm very happy with this camera so far!
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
Archiver, I also broke down and bought the E-M5 - silver with the 12-50mm lens. I rented the Panasonic 25/1.4 and 12-35/28 and I still have the 12 and 45mm lenses from my earlier days with the E-P3. I agree with your sentiments. Did some quick shots today with the E-M5/25mm and the GXR/A12 50mm and the GXR had better dynamic range, but in all other areas the E-M5 was better. Oddly, the GXR files seem to have a haze on them in comparison and focus was not always 100%. But I can see that the E-M5 still has some of the M43 DR limitations.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Andrew, that's an interesting comparison of the GXR 50 and 25mm on the OM-D. Are you processing the raws through Lightroom or comparing jpegs? I find that the OM-D files lack a kind of 'richness' (can't explain it well enough yet) compared with the GXR. And I also find a kind of murkiness in detailed shadow areas, like criss-crossing tree branches in the distance, that the GXR doesn't seem to have. I'm still comparing the files, and I'm in the process of upgrading the laptop to Windows 7 so I can use Lightroom 4, so I'll see how the comparisons go after that. Mind you, the OM-D at ISO 2000 looked like the GXR at 800!
 

Djarum

All-Pro
Jul 10, 2010
Huntsville, AL
Jason
The thing I don't get, is what was the promise? I think thats different for everyone.

For me personally, with the E-P1 and E-PL2, the two biggest issues are dynamic range and autofocus. Now, I know that the newer pens have faster AF. But even the E-PL2 does just fine with autofocus with static objects. Its pretty quick in all but poor light with the kit lens. The issue is moving objects. The EM5 maybe better, but I don't know yet. I can say that the Nikon 1 series is blazingly fast though, even with moving objects. I believe the dynamic range issue has been addressed with the GH2 and E-M5. Its sad with the Canon S100 has more RAW dyanamic range than a larger E-PL2 sensor. When these sensors start trickling into the non-premium mFT cameras, I think that some of that promise, at least for me, gets realized.

The last thing I'd like to touch on is the cameras themselves. I don't like where either company has gone with the latest iterations of its cameras, except the E-M5, which isn't for me either. I absolutely love the ergonomics of my E-PL2 aside from needing an extra dial. The latest crop of Pens, while great in their own right, are not for me. The GX1 is not for me. Its going to be hard for me to part with my money until ergonomically and feature to price wise the right camera comes along.

I also think that the pancake zoom by Panasonic really nails down the promise of small size, though, Panasonic messed that up IMHO with poor OIS problems and higher price.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
Andrew, that's an interesting comparison of the GXR 50 and 25mm on the OM-D. Are you processing the raws through Lightroom or comparing jpegs? I find that the OM-D files lack a kind of 'richness' (can't explain it well enough yet) compared with the GXR. And I also find a kind of murkiness in detailed shadow areas, like criss-crossing tree branches in the distance, that the GXR doesn't seem to have. I'm still comparing the files, and I'm in the process of upgrading the laptop to Windows 7 so I can use Lightroom 4, so I'll see how the comparisons go after that. Mind you, the OM-D at ISO 2000 looked like the GXR at 800!
Quick comparisons in RAW Developer. I'm also going to try Lightroom (which I have not done yet). The GXR does have better DR and I think that holds the details in the shadows better. In handling, the EM5 is like a puppy dog zipping around the old dog GXR. For much of what I do the GXR is fine, but in some cases the performance of the EM5 would be nice to have.

I've always said that the GXR/A12 has a certain "texture" to it - perhaps that is similar to the "richness" you mention.

Still early days...
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
Oh yeah, Andrew... heard a rumor that you may be using an A77 these days? What do you think?
Detective Kyle, Yes, I did rent one. My sister-in-law asked me to document their wedding weekend this past weekend. I was going to use my GXR system, but I panicked at the last moment and decided I should use something else. Good thing I did as the pictures turned out great and the camera was super fast in operation and having a 2.8 zoom lens really helped. I loved the EVF in the A77.

I took a few pictures with the GXR-Mount unit and my Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm and most were out of focus. In the spirit of the event I just could not keep up with the action with it.

I don't know if I'm in the market for another DSLR, but if so I'd give the Sonys serious consideration. I have the 12-50mm lens on the E-M5 and for the time being that'll suffice.
 

krugorg

All-Pro
Sep 26, 2011
Minnesota USA
Kyle Krug
Sorry for the thread hijack, Archiver!

Detective Kyle, Yes, I did rent one.
:biggrin: I have been loitering a bit in the SLT forums researching the upcoming A99, etc.

My sister-in-law asked me to document their wedding weekend this past weekend. I was going to use my GXR system, but I panicked at the last moment and decided I should use something else. Good thing I did as the pictures turned out great and the camera was super fast in operation and having a 2.8 zoom lens really helped. I loved the EVF in the A77.

I took a few pictures with the GXR-Mount unit and my Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm and most were out of focus. In the spirit of the event I just could not keep up with the action with it.

I don't know if I'm in the market for another DSLR, but if so I'd give the Sonys serious consideration. I have the 12-50mm lens on the E-M5 and for the time being that'll suffice.
Back on topic (kind of), I do feel like the E-M5 has narrowed the gap to APS-C a bit. I run across some images now that after PP, I am not sure (without looking at the exif) whether they come from the E-M5 or K-01. I don't remember this happening when I was the case when I was shooting the E-P3.

I think that gap is close enough, for me, that lenses matter more, and that is why I am happy with m4/3 as a system. I can definitely see myself picking up a new APS-C Ricoh GXR or Fuji X200 in the future, though. :biggrin:

The current state of m4/3 also has me thinking that a full frame would be the way to go, to see a significant increase in IQ. For at least 50% of the photography I like to do, it really doesn't matter how large the camera is... just as easy to pull a FF out of the back seat during a country road drive. Every time I go in to the camera shop, though, to check out the Canikon DSLRs, the thing that is weird for me is the OVF. I mean, I get why it is a good thing, but I just end up missing the histogram, real time view of exposure, etc.

That's why I ended up looking at Sony's system as my big gun... I have also considered the A77, especially with the $1199/1499 deal on Sonyrewards, as a baby step into the system.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
Back on topic (kind of), I do feel like the E-M5 has narrowed the gap to APS-C a bit... The current state of m4/3 also has me thinking that a full frame would be the way to go, to see a significant increase in IQ. For at least 50% of the photography I like to do, it really doesn't matter how large the camera is... just as easy to pull a FF out of the back seat during a country road drive.
I think that's right. Sensors have come a long way over the past year or two and for some needs to really step up from the current state of the current M43 sensors you have to go much bigger. That said, the GXR APS sensor still has more dynamic range. I still think that M43s is the best tradeoff in size and IQ (and currently lens selection).

Every time I go in to the camera shop, though, to check out the Canikon DSLRs, the thing that is weird for me is the OVF. I mean, I get why it is a good thing, but I just end up missing the histogram, real time view of exposure, etc.

That's why I ended up looking at Sony's system as my big gun... I have also considered the A77, especially with the $1199/1499 deal on Sonyrewards, as a baby step into the system.
The A77 EVF was so good that it basically feels like an enhanced OVF (it's clearly better than the E-M5 EVF). It can be slightly misleading, though, in that it reflects your settings (though of course for the most part that WYSIWYG is very nice to have). With the OVF you see things as they are. Not sure I'd go back to an OVF in a DSLR. If you read things, though, it seems there is a tradeoff in how Sony has implemented it, causing more noise. Indeed, the A77 was surprisingly noisy at higher ISOs, though it was not objectionable and it held detail.
 

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