/ Micro four thirds....is the hype really worth it?

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The Lemming - on 20 Nov 2016
Well, its not a dSLR and as we all know dSLR's are the benchmark. Or so I thought.

I've been using my Micro four thirds camera for a week now and it has blown my modest Nikon 5000 dSLR out of the water in every conceivable way that I can think of. Yes the sensor is smaller than my Nikon DX sensor, however the image quality is just jaw droppingly stunning and pin sharp.

I was never quite satisfied with the focusing of my dSLR trying to catch my lightning fast, tiny black dog. From the first test shot of trying to capture my pooch the Micro four thirds camera nailed that by producing stunning images of my dog at full speed playing around.

The landscape shots are also breath taking. And the Bokeh, I hear you cry?
Well its far better and more aesthetically pleasing that my dSLR and sigma 17-70mm 2.8 lens produced.

As quick or quicker than my dSLR at focusing?
Tick

Image sharpness as good as or better than my dSLR?
Tick

Bokeh as good as or better than my dSLR?
Tick

And more importantly, its a heck of a lot lighter around my neck. But, Would I have been happier with a full frame mirror-less camera?
Probably not for two reasons, the first of which I could not justify the cost and the second would be that I'd have to do some extreme pixel peeping to even notice the difference.

A big thank you to everybody who owns a Micro four thirds camera for recommending that I give them a try because they have most definitely come of age.

Neil Pratt - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to The Lemming:

Which model did you opt for out of interest?
The Lemming - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Neil Pratt:

a Panasonic GH4R.

Yes I know that the GH5 is round the corner, but I'm impatient.
Toerag - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to The Lemming:
> Yes the sensor is smaller than my Nikon DX sensor, however the image quality is just jaw droppingly stunning and pin sharp.

What lens did you have on it?

> The landscape shots are also breath taking. And the Bokeh, I hear you cry?
Bokeh as good as or better than my dSLR?

Lack of Bokeh is the thing people moan about - I guess it depends on how much you need shallow DoF to isolate your subjects.

> And more importantly, its a heck of a lot lighter around my neck. But, Would I have been happier with a full frame mirror-less camera? Probably not for two reasons, the first of which I could not justify the cost and the second would be that I'd have to do some extreme pixel peeping to even notice the difference. A big thank you to everybody who owns a Micro four thirds camera for recommending that I give them a try because they have most definitely come of age.

You're welcome. They still have their limitations. Although I've not ever used anything with a larger sensor I find the following issues with my E-M5. I class them as issues because they frustrate me - I might have the same issues with a larger sensor camera, but as I don't have one I can't tell.
1) tracking focus - if I try to shoot my toddler running around the garden the tracking box will randomly stop following her.
2) astro and low light - noise is an issue when the ISO is high enough (3200) to allow a fast enough shutter to prevent motion blur. Not a major issue with an f1.7 lens, but is with my f4-5.6 zoom. You will need the <f2.8 lenses to shoot things like weddings and parties without a flash.
I'm still generally happy with mine - the small size is great for taking everywhere. You said it blew you D5000 out the water - have you tried a more modern APS-C or FF camera to see what they do?

davidbeynon on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to The Lemming:
The 4/3 sensors have come on a long way in the last 5 years. I got an lx-100 compact which is built around one a few weeks ago, and am seriously considering ditching my old APS-C SLR.

Once I do I can start bitching about the lack of interchangeable lenses and go over to micro 4/3 or similar
Post edited at 12:57
garycrocker - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to The Lemming: I use my Olympus EPL 5 so much now and wheel the dslr (Canon 7d) out a lot less. IQ is amazing as is high ISO and focusing. It's not brilliant at action and not as quick as my Canon, or as weatherproof but it is an amazing camera. I use it exclusively with a 17mm f2:8 prime.

malk - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Toerag:
> What lens did you have on it?

the very expensive 12-35 2.8 panny- i'd expect top results at that price..
Post edited at 18:31
stp - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Toerag:
> Bokeh as good as or better than my dSLR?

> Lack of Bokeh is the thing people moan about - I guess it depends on how much you need shallow DoF to isolate your subjects.

I think that's one of the biggest limitations of smaller sensor cameras. Though I don't think there's much difference between a M43 and a consumer dSLR since the sensor in the latter is only slightly bigger. If you want a shallow DoF you need to go up to a full frame camera which implies a lot more expense for both body and lenses plus more weight to carry. And sometimes you don't want such a shallow DoF anyway.

There are also some extremely fast M43 lenses around for shallow DoF though they're expensive and not likely to be as good as the full frame equivalents.


> 1) tracking focus -

Surely more to do with the camera body than the sensor size I'd have thought.

> 2) astro and low light -

Yeah a small sensor will never match a larger one all things being equal. Though sensor technology is improving all the time. And fast M43 lenses will be cheaper than for full frame.

The other issue I think is shutter lag from focusing. Contrast AF has improved a lot over the years but I didn't think it was quite up to the phase detect AF used by dSLRs.
Post edited at 20:15
The Lemming - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> I think that's one of the biggest limitations of smaller sensor cameras. Though I don't think there's much difference between a M43 and a consumer dSLR since the sensor in the latter is only slightly bigger. If you want a shallow DoF you need to go up to a full frame camera which implies a lot more expense for both body and lenses plus more weight to carry. And sometimes you don't want such a shallow DoF anyway.

That used to be the case. However from what I've read, you just need a converter to add to a full-frame lens. This converter will then position the full-frame lens the correct distance away from the sensor to create the exact same DoF as a full frame camera. Some converters have an extra lens which gives you an extra stop on top of the f-stop quoted on the full-frame lens.

You get a smaller lighter camera that can use just about any lens that you throw at it and you get, if you desire, the same Dof as a Full-Frame camera.

Its a bit of a win/win



> There are also some extremely fast M43 lenses around for shallow DoF though they're expensive and not likely to be as good as the full frame equivalents.

Hmm, isn't that subjective?



> Yeah a small sensor will never match a larger one all things being equal. Though sensor technology is improving all the time. And fast M43 lenses will be cheaper than for full frame.

Yep, don't disagree there.

> The other issue I think is shutter lag from focusing. Contrast AF has improved a lot over the years but I didn't think it was quite up to the phase detect AF used by dSLRs.

From what I've read recently, you have to put a micro four thirds camera up against a flagship dSLR for the dSLR to beat it, in certain focusing situations. I'm a punter and could never afford a flagship professional camera, and I am more than happy with the various focusing options available to me.



stp - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to The Lemming:

> However from what I've read, you just need a converter to add to a full-frame lens.

Yes you can put a FF lens on with a converter. But the problem is that because the sensor size is half the size of FF the effect will be like you've zoomed in. If you took a pic with a FF camera then imagine cropping it down to fit onto the M43 sensor - half the size - the effect would be a narrower field of view, or in other words that of a longer lens.

So if you use say a nice fast FF 35mm lens on an M43 camera although the DoF will be the same if both cameras it will be the equivalent of a 70mm on the M43 camera. Obviously longer focal lengths mean a shallower DoF. So then you'd need to compare this M43 setup with a 70mm lens on the FF. A true 70mm would be shallower still (assuming same f stop) so the M43 would lose again.

But I don't want to put you off your new camera. I've got a M43 and love it despite this limitation.


> Hmm, isn't that subjective?

Well yes some aspects of lens choice is subjective. But most things like sharpness or vignetting or distortion aren't and can be measured fairly precisely allowing a good comparison between lenses.
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The Lemming - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> Yes you can put a FF lens on with a converter. But the problem is that because the sensor size is half the size of FF the effect will be like you've zoomed in. If you took a pic with a FF camera then imagine cropping it down to fit onto the M43 sensor - half the size - the effect would be a narrower field of view, or in other words that of a longer lens.


If you use a metabones speed booster then yes you are correct, there is a 1.09 times crop. Personally I'd call that so insignificant as to be splitting hairs.

The speedbooster focuses all the light collected from a full frame lens and focuses it onto the m43 sensor. You also get the same DoF along with the bonus of an extra stop.


> But I don't want to put you off your new camera. I've got a M43 and love it despite this limitation.

I too am happy with its limitations, however I'm a glass half full person and see those limitations as advantages.

>

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