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Thread: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

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    Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    This afternoon, I've been doing some file maintenance and copying files from an old drive to a new one. In the process, I came across some photographs I captured in December 2006 with my then-new DMC-L1 and I must say that I'm quite surprised by how good they look ... better, in some ways -- I think, anyway -- than those captured with the m4/3 cameras that replaced it starting back in April, 2009.

    I know the primary reason I switched formats was for the larger file size and newer processing engine, so I don't think I ever directly compared the IQ of the L1 with the G1 (and subsequently, the E-P1 and E-PL1), so I can't tell if these photos are the rule or the exception to the rule.

    Either way, I must say that I am indeed impressed with the results I achieved back then using such ancient and primitive technology. Who knew?

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    It might be the reason that the lenses you used on the 43 were better than the ones on the M43?

    Sensor wise and technology wise I could not see anything making M43 less good than 43.

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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    Agree with Peter...The L1 had probably the best kit lens that ever came on a dslr.

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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    It might be the reason that the lenses you used on the 43 were better than the ones on the M43?
    Nope, because I used the same 4/3 lenses on my m4/3 bodies via the Panasonic adapter. In fact, the only m4/3 lens I use is the Panasonic 20/f1.7, as I otherwise found them lacking by comparison to their 4/3 counterparts...

    Sensor wise and technology wise I could not see anything making M43 less good than 43.
    That's what I thought, until yesterday afternoon. I guess I should dig out my L1 and do some side-by-side comparisons?

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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Agree with Peter...The L1 had probably the best kit lens that ever came on a dslr.
    I agree as well. The L1's PanaLeica 14-50 is so good that I bought a second one to keep as a spare, as I wouldn't want to be without one as long as I am still using an m4/3 body...

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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    I'm quite surprised by how good they look ... better, in some ways -- I think, anyway -- than those captured with the m4/3 cameras that replaced it starting back in April, 2009.

    I know the primary reason I switched formats was for the larger file size and newer processing engine, so I don't think I ever directly compared the IQ of the L1 with the G1 (and subsequently, the E-P1 and E-PL1), so I can't tell if these photos are the rule or the exception to the rule.

    Either way, I must say that I am indeed impressed with the results I achieved back then using such ancient and primitive technology. Who knew?
    You know, I have to add a thought or two that won't make any headines. When you say they look as good or better, may reaction is that of course they do. But you don't specify what looks better. The color, the resolution, some other unquantifiable thing.
    My analogy come next, bear with me. Going through a lot of historical slides, I come across some slides I made with a Kodak Instamatic camera. By all logic they must not be as 'good' as those I made ten years later with a Canon F-1. Bu they do look good, and the 126 Instamatic cartridge was by theory impossible to give good slide results. No pressure plate, the pundits said at the time. Yet, with Kodachrome and Ektachrome I squeezed a lot out of this selenium meter camera. It only tells me that the variables defy most of our comparisons of this sort.
    I know that is not responsive to the comment, but it tells me that the L-1 and the micro 4/3 cameras are both in that tier of quality that differences are around the margins. One persons taste for contrasty color or density, that kind of STUFF.
    I am happy with regular 4/3 and micro 4/3. Praise be for that I add...
    aloha,
    gerry

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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    This afternoon, I've been doing some file maintenance and copying files from an old drive to a new one. In the process, I came across some photographs I captured in December 2006 with my then-new DMC-L1 and I must say that I'm quite surprised by how good they look ... better, in some ways -- I think, anyway -- than those captured with the m4/3 cameras that replaced it starting back in April, 2009.

    I know the primary reason I switched formats was for the larger file size and newer processing engine, so I don't think I ever directly compared the IQ of the L1 with the G1 (and subsequently, the E-P1 and E-PL1), so I can't tell if these photos are the rule or the exception to the rule.

    Either way, I must say that I am indeed impressed with the results I achieved back then using such ancient and primitive technology. Who knew?
    I shot with the G1 and L1 side by side, using the same lenses, on many an assignment from Dec 2008 until October 2010. Difference in pixel count notwithstanding, I see very little difference in image quality. Both do an outstanding job.

    One difference that might influence your perception is that the G1 ISO calibration is 'hot' and the metering also 'hot'. This means that the sensor is more sensitive than its rated setting (by about a half a stop) and the metering calibration is less protective of highlights (exposes more for a given scene). These two factors working together can make the G1 seem to have less dynamic range and blow highlights more easily than the L1 if you are not taking it into account. I think it is similar with the Pens, if not quite as radical a difference.

    The L1's kit lens is indeed as good as it gets for lenses in this focal length range and made many an assignment photo for me. However, as time went on, I used it less and less as I prefer to work in this focal length range with faster prime lenses.

    Finally, after upgrading to the E-5 and discontinuing use of both Panasonics, I decided to let the whole L1 kit go complete with the lens. I haven't missed it as I hardly used it in the past year.

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    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: Is 4/3-format IQ better than m4/3 format IQ?

    The reason they look better is the lower pixel count not stressing the lenses being used. Each successive increased megapixel sensor that gets released looks less sharp with the same lenses, for obvious reasons. This is where resolution and sharpness diverge. You can have higher resolution and an outwardly soft-looking image. Industrial CCD lenses (which are actually specked in lpmm and by the number of megapixels they support) are considered very good if they fully support 5-8 megapixels, never mind 12-16. They also cost many times what most micro 4/3rds lenses cost. Also, it is only recently AA filters started to become weaker as opposed to the strong ones they used in cameras like the E-420, E-520 and E-620.You need to stop down these lenses and make sure moderns cameras are shot rock steady to get sharp-looking images.

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