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07-26-2015, 09:43 AM   #1
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Micro 4/3 - some way to go?

I did some simple tests today and posted them here

IT / Website - DSLR v. Micro-4/3

I will be keeping the K3

The latest 4/3 cameras may be better but it looks like the whole scene is maybe 5-10 years behind DSLRs in raw performance, and usability suffers.

07-26-2015, 09:55 AM   #2
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Most pictures I have seen from 4/3 cameras look really good and life like. Especially from a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 . The problem comes in when you need to crop, or blow the image up.
07-26-2015, 12:41 PM   #3
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Sure, but you could then say a modern camera phone is as good as a DSLR. If you don't look at the image detail...
07-26-2015, 02:21 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterh337 Quote
I did some simple tests today and posted them here

IT / Website - DSLR v. Micro-4/3

I will be keeping the K3

The latest 4/3 cameras may be better but it looks like the whole scene is maybe 5-10 years behind DSLRs in raw performance, and usability suffers.
The u4/3rds bigots will get you Still there seems little reason to buy a u4/3rds based on weight or size. The Sony A7II is only about a 100grams heavier than the EM1 or EM5II (~130grams). Put the 12-40 in front of the u4/3rds and its another 382 grams. Put a 24-70 in front of the A7II and its 426 grams more. Or put the 28-70 in front of the A7II and its only 295grams + 599 against the Oly EM1 with the 12-40 (497+382)
And the A7II is full frame.
So where is the K3? In between. It heavier but a better performer (resolution, noise, DR, tonal response, low light/hi ISO) than the EM1 or EM5. K3II is 800 grams and the 20-40 is another 283 grams. So the whole package is about 1083 grams vs the A7II at 900 and the EM1 at aobut 900 as well. 200 grams is not a very great deal (particularly for a healthy adult). It is about the weight of a good dress watch. I'd trade the slight weight penalty for better performance. Hence I'll keep my K3 too. And the package costs less than either Oly and the A7II.

07-26-2015, 05:35 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I've shared this before...

I have one friend, a pro photographer that shoots Canon FF, that uses Micro Four-Thirds for many of his personal projects. He used to run a photo processing lab so he knows a thing or two about printing. I've seen 18" x 24" prints from his Panasonic GX-1 that made my jaw drop.

I have another friend, also a pro photographer, that shot his paying event/PJ work with Canon FF and personal projects with Hasselblad medium format. He's abandoned both for the Panasonic GH4. Take a look for yourself - Mike Peters ? Photographs

At this point in time the camera (even M43) is not the limiting factor.
07-26-2015, 07:23 PM - 1 Like   #6
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u4/3 systems can perform very well in 90%+ of the situations anyone would want. The last 10% are those with extreme highlights and shadows. Unfortunately, a u4/3 sensor cannot capture the same dynamic range as a larger sensor. It never will. Even if u4/3 sensor tech advances it will still trail behind the advancing APS and FF sensor tech. That's just physics.

Still, there's very little to knock about in the u4/3 ecosystem. With proper photographic technique, sharp lenses, and good post processing, images from a u4/3 can be amazing!
07-26-2015, 07:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
At this point in time the camera (even M43) is not the limiting factor.
+1. I have Pentax, a GH4, and a Sony A7 II. The GH4 holds its own and gives me outstanding images.
07-27-2015, 12:47 AM   #8
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" Unfortunately, a u4/3 sensor cannot capture the same dynamic range as a larger sensor. It never will."

That is the biggest issue with mobile phone cameras. No matter what the resolution, the dynamic range is rubbish.

07-27-2015, 05:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
u4/3 systems can perform very well in 90%+ of the situations anyone would want. The last 10% are those with extreme highlights and shadows. Unfortunately, a u4/3 sensor cannot capture the same dynamic range as a larger sensor.
Then the question becomes "how much larger?" The difference in size and performance between M4/3 and APS-C is really insignificant. They just aren't that different in size. If you jump from M4/3 to full-frame, then the improvement becomes. . . noticeable, at least if you know what to look for. For a dramatic improvement, you'd have to go medium format.
07-27-2015, 06:35 AM   #10
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I notice a difference between my K-3 and my M10 when I go shooting in the desert. The sun is really bright at high noon and it a lot of the bright, yellow brush is washed up while the shadowy rocks under a tree are nearly black. It's as if the contrast was cranked up to high. The same thing happens with my Q7. It's not impossible to fix some, if not most, of this through shadow and highlight recovery. However, the K-3 renders the scene more evenly with a lot less detail lost. Like I said before, this is an extreme and unique scenario. In street photography, portraits, and general shooting the smaller sensors will work wonders. My Q7 did really well during a recent trip the Netherlands ... but the Netherlands ain't the Nevada desert. This is another reason why I'm excited for the Pentax FF. I don't need resolution. The M10 and Q7 give me plenty. I need color sensitivity and DR.
07-27-2015, 07:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I

At this point in time the camera (even M43) is not the limiting factor.
That entirely depends on what you use the camera for. For my photography I would consider going from the K3 to any u4/3rds as moving down in capability. On the other hand I would consider going from the K3 to an A7II or A7RII as moving up (in terms of capability and what it would support me in my photography). If I was shooting sports I wouldn't consider the u4/3rds options but likely be using a 1DX or D4s.

All that better cameras do is allow us to push the envelope where someone with less of a camera would pack their bags and go home. In many ways the D90 provides the same noise, DR and resolution values as today's u4/3. The D90 is still a good camera as are today's u4/3's. It still can support a good stills photographer in many situations. But its not a K3, and its certainly not a A7II or A7IIR.

A creative professional doesn't need the latest gear. But he/she needs gear that can support what they wish/need to do. If some can use the u4/3rds cameras then great - choice is good. But it certainly doesn't mean its a system designed for everyone; and yes it has limits many would notice.
07-27-2015, 11:19 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fauxton Quote
That entirely depends on what you use the camera for. For my photography I would consider going from the K3 to any u4/3rds as moving down in capability. On the other hand I would consider going from the K3 to an A7II or A7RII as moving up (in terms of capability and what it would support me in my photography). If I was shooting sports I wouldn't consider the u4/3rds options but likely be using a 1DX or D4s.

All that better cameras do is allow us to push the envelope where someone with less of a camera would pack their bags and go home. In many ways the D90 provides the same noise, DR and resolution values as today's u4/3. The D90 is still a good camera as are today's u4/3's. It still can support a good stills photographer in many situations. But its not a K3, and its certainly not a A7II or A7IIR.

A creative professional doesn't need the latest gear. But he/she needs gear that can support what they wish/need to do. If some can use the u4/3rds cameras then great - choice is good. But it certainly doesn't mean its a system designed for everyone; and yes it has limits many would notice.
I never said that M43 is a system designed for everybody, but I'm pretty confident when I say that the platform has evolved to the point where working pros are choosing to use M43 and it's not affecting the quality of their work. We sometimes get lost in the weeds and forget that Image Quality ≠ A Quality Image.

It's so funny...we get upset when a stranger says to us, "That's a nice camera! It must take nice pictures!" Yet when we talk amongst ourselves it's 99% about the cameras' capabilities and 1% about our own.
07-27-2015, 02:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I never said that M43 is a system designed for everybody, but I'm pretty confident when I say that the platform has evolved to the point where working pros are choosing to use M43 and it's not affecting the quality of their work.
Just to step back for a moment and put this into a broader perspective. . .

When 35mm film SLRs became huge in the 1970s, it wasn't because of great image quality. They were compact and portable, compared with medium format cameras, and they were versatile because of the interchangeable lenses. Reporters, wildlife photographers and sports photographers adopted these small-format cameras in spite of their garbage IQ, because they made it easy to get into the right spot with the right lens and take the shot. Most other pros stuck with medium and large format. (In particular: medium format in the studio and large format for landscapes.)

DSLRs today are close to the image quality of medium format film cameras. Unfortunately, they've also grown close to the size and weight of medium format film cameras. They don't fill the role of a highly portable system that 35mm film SLRs did back in their heyday.

Mirrorless systems (such as my OM-D E-M5) are now close to the size of 35mm SLRs, and they give up very little performance.

If you want something that truly fills the same role today that SLRs used to, then the Pentax Q system is probably it. It's an ultra-portable system with a versatile lens set and compromised-but-serviceable IQ performance.
07-27-2015, 03:11 PM   #14
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I think the biggest savings with going with micro four thirds comes from the fact that it is mirrorless and has a shorter registration distance, not necessarily because it has a smaller sensor (although that does save a little bit in size when it comes to lens design).

Current generation sensors in micro four thirds cameras test at about the same level as the Kx did. I'm not sure if that sounds good or bad. I remember the Kx as being a really good camera for the price and working really well both with regard to dynamic range and high iso (for a crop camera). At the same time cameras like the K5 II and the D7200 have passed it up. And so it goes. Technology doesn't stay stagnant and as four thirds sensors improve, so do APS-C and full frame sensors as well.

That said, I think micro four thirds is "good enough" for most situations. I do think I would find myself bracketing more and doing HDR if I shot with such a camera, rather than bringing out the shadows. Even with the K3, it is a stretch sometimes to bring up shadows without getting too much noise.

This is a photo that really was pushing the dynamic range of the K3 to its max. Probably would have been easier with a K5, at iso 80, but I know if I had been shooting with a Kx or older sensor, I would have had to bracket and do an HDR. Which is probably fine, but adds an extra step to the process.

07-28-2015, 11:22 AM   #15
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"Unfortunately, they've also grown close to the size and weight of medium format film cameras. They don't fill the role of a highly portable system that 35mm film SLRs did back in their heyday."

That's exactly why I was looking at m4/3. Today's DSLRs are growing too big and heavy. My first DSLR was the IST-DL and that was a lot lighter, and a bit smaller, than the K3 I now have.

But the tests I posted show that the m4/3 is significantly worse in IQ than the K3. I don't carry a lot of lenses (the 17-70 stayed on the camera most of the time and now the 16-85 will, and that is significantly sharper than the 17-70 was - see my other post) and have to crop often, so resolution matters. Also I often shoot stuff in motion so need high speeds, so noise becomes an issue. I de-noise maybe 1/2 my shots in Lightroom.
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