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Thread: What to use m4/3 for?

  1. #1
    Super Duper
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    What to use m4/3 for?

    I am wondering for what occasions/use m4/3 fits the bill?

    Do you guys use it
    a) to replace a DSLR because of size weight?
    b) as addition to DSLR as a lighter alternative size/weight? And if so-when do you bring the DSLR and when the m4/3?
    c) instead of a P&S to gain some IQ?

    I am also back into m4/3 with a G3 (as an addition to bigger and smaller cameras). Main idea was to bring the camera for bike-tours (when I dont want to stress my M9 and lenses too much with vibration) and when I am goin light....

    However I allready starting to bringing either a real small camera (XZ1) or, if I am willing to carry more, a bigger with larger sensor and OVF (or rangefinder) because I feel to have more flexibility regarding DOF etc.

    Is m4/3 just the right size or is it just in between, not really portable and not really flexible (regarding (shallow) DOF and post processing the images take)?

    I find a big "toy" factor when playing with m4/3 and its fun with all the feautures etc., how many here have been using m4/3 for a longer period and on a regular basis?

    Cheers,Tom

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    I am using M43 on a regular basis now since 18 months, my first m43 camera was the EP2, then added the GH2 and now the EP3.

    It kind of replaces my DSLR (well this is a E5 43 camera) but I thing the E5 is at least equivalent to a number of other DSLRs - especially the APSC cameras. So I occasionally wonder if I should keep the E5 as it gets less used and stays often at home, because I do not want to carry this. Became pretty lazy lately :-)

    I also have the XZ1 and I must admit for general purpose use this is the smallest and best camera I have had so far. It could replace M43.

    I very seldom carry MFD (Hasselblad) as I most times try to avoid this weight and bulk. But nothing comes close to the IQ from MFDB - we know that. When I carry MFD then I see the M43 as supplement for occasional shooting when I am on a set.

    I am still not back in M9 as I am not willing to pay that high entry price for the M9P but know that this system rocks. But as I mentioned I became pretty lazy and do not really want to fool around with focusing and lens changing even if the results are superior. If I am in for this I take my Hasselblad. And I must admit the S2 would even be a better fit for my "high demanding" type of photography.

    I recently started considering to get rid of the Hassi and the E5 and wait for one of the next generation FF DSLRs from any brand (Nikon, Canon, Sony) in order to go with only 2 systems in the future. FF DSLR as general purpose system and replacing my old H3D39 because I think IQ should become pretty close and then have M43 as small system.

    I think M43 is still better than the XZ1 and I have not invested so much money in either of them, so I just keep both.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    For me, m4/3 has mostly replaced DSLRs except when I need an optical viewfinder, like when shooting motor sports (pan shots). The body size isn't what makes the biggest difference for me, but the size of the lenses. At the moment I only use the 7-14 and Zuiko OM lenses, but as soon as I can afford the new trio 12/2.0, 25/1.4 and 45/1.8, that is probably what I'll use, plus an OM lens to cover the 100mm area.

    I haven't owned a p$s in five years, and it's a constant dilemma, but since I prefer to work with a viewfinder, the XZ-1 won't be so small anymore. I will probably buy a G3 or an E-PL3 to supplement the GH1 soon. I'll probably skip the GH2 and wait for a GH3 or something similar from Olympus.

    Because of this, I'm reducing my Nikon gear, but will probably buy whatever "smallish" FX format Nikon comes up with next, to use when extreme low light, shallow DOF and/or wide DR is needed. I'm also buying one or two 4/3 bodies (very cheap now) and a couple of lenses to complement m4/3 at the races.

    In addition to all this, I've started using film on a more permanent basis again, and have sent the OM-3 in for overhaul, in addition to an OM2 that I recently received.

    All in all, m4/3 saves me a lot of weight and space when I travel, and on trips up to 5 days, that is the difference between getting all my stuff in the carry-on bag or checking in clothes and stuff with extra costs and waiting time as a result.

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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    For me, it's a bit of (a) and (b) -- my DSLR is a Contax 645 with a P30+ back, so it's anything but compact and lightweight! -- but mostly (c), as I used to hate it when I captured a great photo but then couldn't print it any larger than 7.5x10 or so because of IQ issues. With my m4/3 photos, I can almost always make decent 12x16 prints and sometimes even 15x20 prints, which is about as large as I ever want to print anything these days.

    I use my m4/3 outfit as my "carry camera" -- i.e., I take it with me pretty much everywhere I go -- and also as my travel camera, because I usually travel on business and rarely have the room to take with me anything larger or heavier. I was an early adopter of the m4/3 approach (I came to it from the 4/3 format, so I already had a couple of lenses, which was no doubt another factor) and although I've been tempted to buy a Leica M8 (and now M9) for their improved IQ, I've never made the jump because the m4/3 system offers too much "bang for the buck" and I can't justify the considerable dditional cash outlay that would be required given that I also have a medium-format digital outfit for when I need better IQ than m4/3 can offer. This is especially true now that Olympus has released its 12mm/f2 lens, as this is just about the perfect focal length for my day-to-day needs.

  5. #5
    Member kwalsh's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    It replaces a DSLR for me. I shoot landscapes, almost all tripod mounted. The articulating LCD and excellent live view implementation of the G/GH series make them wonderful to work with on a tripod at awkward heights. The 7-14/14-45 are an excellent pair for landscape shooting where wide apertures aren't required. My copy of the 45-200 is very serviceable as well though I would welcome a higher quality but still compact lens. At base ISO the system easily replaces all the Canon APS-C cameras I might use instead. The weight and bulk of the system (including factoring in a tripod) is significantly less than that of even the smallest APS-C DSLR systems. Low light focusing typical in twilight is far, far easier than any DSLR. The G/GH UI is wonderful and well thought out, superior to my Canon cameras in most regards.

    The m43 system has weak spots - no fast zooms, poor tracking AF, difficult burst shooting of action, slightly compromised high ISO - none of which are relevant for me. For my application the small size is actually only part of the benefit For tripod mounted landscape the system is far superior to any OVF based system as far as usability goes. So far the DSLR live view implementations are poor pasted on afterthoughts.

    I entered m43 a couple years ago as an experiment. Since the experiment began I haven't used my DSLR system once.

    Clearly whether the system can replace a DSLR depends a lot on what you shoot.

    Ken

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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    Its all relative to how many other options someone else can afford or wants to own.

    If you've got a XZ1, m4/3, m9 and a DSLR rig then yes, it probably is tough, but not everyone is going to want that many cameras.

    I actually got rid of all my compact cameras, going from my iPhone 4 to m4/3. I find that if I don't want to carry a camera, I don't want even my LX5 or G12, I'll just use my phone and it works fine.

    I also found that if I was willing to carry a G12, I was okay with carrying m4/3 as it certainly performs better and gives more options.

    For real shooting assignments such as for work, I'll stick with a full Nikon kit of course, and m4/3 isn't really up to the task, but for me at least, I find I've got a nice mix of capable gear and don't have too much of my money tied up.

    I had a m9 system for a while, but again, it wasn't something I used to earn a living like my Nikon gear.

    It was a very, very expensive kit for personal shooting fun and I just couldn't justify the expense for what was a "just for fun" system.

    So for me, when I feel like I may want to take some photos, more than just a quick iPhone shot or two, m4/3 fits perfectly. If its a serious photo outing or work, then its a DSLR, but for fun casual shooting, m4/3 feels just right

    With some good fast lenses like the 12mm f2.0 and 45mm f1.8 even the fun "toy" like m4/3 system is getting to where you can produce some really good looking files.

    Its not perfect, but for a little kit I can toss in a carry on bag its got some real bang for the buck and the lenses are affordable enough to be a no brainer. $400 for a nice little AF 90mm equiv, you bet I want one!

    When it was a 90mm Elmarit for 4-5 times the price, had to think about it, but with m4/3 I can pick up what I want with no guilt lol.

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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    m4/3s is replacing my DSLR. I had already sold the E30 off a few months ago and was planning on just using my E510. I don't think I've touched it once this year so I'm starting to sell off the lenses now and recently sold the 50-200. Beautiful lenses, but they are heavier and larger than I want to carry around. Nikon and to some extent Canon's trend of moving to large expensive primes isn't what I want combined with a large camera to being with.

    I've also been shooting mostly (95%) film on a OM4T and 50mm lens. The only digital I'm using is a GF1 and 20mm lens which I'm happy with. I know the new 12mm Oly lens is nice, but I think I'll pick up the 14mm because it will fit in my bag better. I've recently been a little curious about the Pentax Q for something that really fits in my pocket, but realistically many other compact cameras make more sense. I'm not a bokeh lover and the new 45mm 1.8 lens would probably suit my needs just fine when I'd need it for a price I wouldn't mind paying.

    I'm still kind of watching the DSLR world, but the E-5 doesn't bring a lot over the newest pens. My photography doesn't really require a OVF. The M9 is too expensive for me. I wouldn't mind a FF DSLR, but I don't see it happening with the direction the bodies and lenses are moving in.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    For me it's B and C. I have a Canon FF (5D) with some great lenses, and 4/3 E-PL2. This is what I do:

    1) E-PL2 alone for skiing, walks in the neighborhood and things like that.

    2) 5D for dedicated photo trips/walks.

    3) Both when image quality is important and carrying the full DSLR kit is too much. Then I take 5D + the focal length I expect to be using the most (usually 35 or 50mm), and E-PL2 with one or two lens(es) of matching focal length.
    The Olympus with lens is actually lighter than many of my Canon lenses, I don't have to switch lenses and I have a back-up camera.

    For such trips I plan to bring:
    5D + 35/1.4 and E-PL2 + 12/2 + 45/1.8.

    This will give me the equiv. of 24, 35 and 90mm, which I think will be very useful. Also, even if one of the cameras would break I'd still have a useful kit. I could get by with either just 35mm or 24+90mm.

    (Just to clarify: I have used E-PL2 with 20/1.7 on trips in the past, so I know what image quality to expect. It's just that that focal length doesn't work well together with 5D, since my favorite Canon lenses are 35 and 50mm.)

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I am wondering for what occasions/use m4/3 fits the bill?

    Do you guys use it
    a) to replace a DSLR because of size weight?
    b) as addition to DSLR as a lighter alternative size/weight? And if so-when do you bring the DSLR and when the m4/3?
    c) instead of a P&S to gain some IQ?
    for me mostly a)

    when its b) its to have cross over. I use wider focal lengths on the full frame and telephoto on the GH1, my personal cross over point is 50mm.

    21mm looks great on full frame (better than my 9-18mm)
    50mm looks better on full frame than 24mm on 4/3 unless I want great DoF
    prefer 50mm on 4/3 but may prefer 100mm f2.8 on the full frame instead

    so at most I carry:
    -21mm
    -50mm
    -100mm
    -200 f2.8 or 300mm f4
    and full frame + 4/3 body + 14-45 kit

  10. #10
    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    I got into m43rds on a bit of a whim. I thought it would be great to have a second body capable of using m-bayonet lenses. In practise I found that there was little if any advantage, especially given the 2x crop factor and the fact that anything below 50mm lead to unacceptable softening around a large part of the edge of the frame.

    However, I was so impressed by the 20/1.7 that I decided to add the PanaLeica 45/2.8 and then began the slippery slope to a 7-14 and finally a 100-300 plus a change from the GF-1 to a GH-2.

    All the while I was thinking about getting a DSLR but in fact I have found it possible to create compelling and commercial images with my m43rds kit that I can't see using another system anytime soon.

    LouisB

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    Senior Member hot's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    What to use a car for?
    I use my Maserati, Lamborghini and RollsRoyce to annoy my envious neighbors.

    What to use m4/3 for?
    I use m4/3 to have fun.

  12. #12
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: What to use m4/3 for?

    Quote Originally Posted by hot View Post
    What to use a car for?
    I use my Maserati, Lamborghini and RollsRoyce to annoy my envious neighbors.
    bastard!

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