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Thread: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    This is just a think piece - ignore it or comment on it as you please.

    Those of you who have commented on my m43rds posts will know I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the format for nearly 4 years. Not only that but several of my (limited) commercial sales have actually been from m43rds stock demonstrating that for print and web it is more than sufficient.

    But here is my problem. I think time and technology have caught up with the format. When a new Panasonic GH-3 and OMD-E5 are close to the same price (or in the case of the GH-3 exactly the same price) as APS-C offerings from Nikon and Canon, I have to question the future of these cameras.

    My main enthusiasm for m43rds has been portability and lens quality. I have been willing to sacrifice some IQ in order to be able to lug the camera and three lenses in less room and with less weight than a single Nikon offering with one lens. But even there, weight is finally being addressed by both Nikon and Canon and the Fuji X-Pro is so light each time I pick one up my brain overcompensates and my arm nearly throws it over my shoulder.

    So, on price the format is not as cheap as it was. On weight the format is being encroached on by lower end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (don't even get me started on how much I love my DP2M), and in IQ I do not feel confident that high-iso noise control has ever, or will ever be addressed.

    Another concern is just how much further the sensors can be developed. There is (of course) a physical limit - just as with any other sensor - but as the size is already 'cut down' I do not believe they can improve IQ much further. I do wish Panasonic or Olympus would do us a favour and go back to a 10mpx sensor with larger photosites and better noise control.

    I face the problem that many users face when they build a system. My glass investment is actually about 4 times the price I paid for my GH-2. However, that shrinks with the pricing of the GH-3 and OMD-E5 to about half. Even if I can recover a couple of hundred UK pounds for the sale of my GH-2 I am still making a sizeable re-investment in the system.

    Alternatively, the residual value of all my m43rds kit gets me a long way with both Nikon (D7100) or Fuji (X-Pro 1) - sorry, but I have never got on with Canon but it's my problem and I'll have to deal with it.

    Decisions, decisions, eh? I want a decent enough digital kit to allow me to do the odd bit of event work and editorial work but I am concerned that if I buy into either the OMD-E5 or the GH-3 I am buying into a system with a very limited future.

    One consideration which is keeping me thinking of m43rds is the extent to which film will continue to be important in my life. I am having a ball using film with MF cameras and recently invested a tidy sum in the Fujifilm GF670w. Digital is only in my life for convenience (my nephew's engagement party is coming up and I'll almost certainly be called on to take some pictures - clearly this is not going to be on film!). Likewise, in my day job I contribute pictures to our monthly newsletter of various happenings where I work. So, I could stop fussing, just buy a GH-3 and forget about digital until such time as I tire of film (or it becomes too difficult to continue) and then invest in a state of the art digital system at that time.

    I am genuinely impressed with Panasonic as a company. They invented a whole new format, they have never compromised on lens quality (well, ok the 14/2.8 was a bit naff) and I keep hoping they will finally bring out a PanaLeica 17/2 to round out their offering. So, I do have quite a lot of loyalty to Panasonic but I'm not sure that is the best reason for sticking with a system.

    Your opinions will be gratefully received and as I said at the top of the post I am not trolling, just genuinely confused about where to go next (if at all) with m43rds.

    LouisB
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    My new book "Whitechapel in 50 BUildings", Flikr Stream, www.louisberk.com
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    On the contrary I see the format's future pretty positive at the moment. As sensor technology has advanced, the newest m43 sensors are now good enough for anything in my amateur use and I feel less and less desire to buy something big (I have APS-C Pentax gear but nothing with sensor bigger than that). And while the better m43 lenses aren't exactly small, a smaller sensor and shorter flange length will always allow a more compact camera size than the ones with older SLR mounts. Admittedly some newer MILCs with APS-C sensors are fairly compact, but I feel not one of them provides a broad system such as m43.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I hear you, Louis, and you have a point, but it goes both ways. On one side, m4/3 offers so much variety now that it can be used for almost anything. On the other side, I'm drawn towards larger formats. I shoot more and more film, and when I retire in 10 or 15 years, most of my digital cameras will retire too. I see no point in taking technically flawles photos other than satisfying the client. For my own needs, film is much more inspiring.

    So I use m4/3 for bread-and-butter stuff and Nikon for sports and special jobs. The GH1 and GH2 are doing a great job and when they die, I'll just buy another second hand one for a song. It's not as exciting as it was when m4/3 was new, but the results I get are good enough.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Louis, The m43rds is done, AFAIC. Only the camera sizes of the m43rds cams seem to go up as seen in the GH-3.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Louis,

    I shifted to a Nex 7 as soon as it became available.
    I was mainly using manual glass on my 4/3 that is now on the Nex and am waiting for the Booster and then the FF Nex.

    I think the future is in assembling diverse quality manual glass and not following the perpetual digital body update cycle. Different lenses, in themselves, offer unique shooting experiences as has been shown by photographers using the Leica MM.

    I am also re-considering film and still have my M's, R9, Contax etc.
    B&W 35mm film is still quite inexpensive and developing is reasonable. I also have a Minolta film scanner.
    Paul

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Louis, your post is full of existential doubt that could be laid to rest by burying all your cameras but one and logging off the internet. There is no requirement to constantly lust after the next great thing. I mean, how exactly is the E-M5 a worse camera today than six months ago?

    "I think time and technology have caught up with the format."

    I don't see it. The only advantage of MFT over larger cameras is that they are smaller. There are now, and have always been, better systems.

    The presence of new Nikon and Canon models changes nothing, unless you have forgotten Pentax? They have for many years been making compact highly ergonomic SLRs with more capabilities for the price than Canikon. Plus their glass is superior.
    Listen to my new album "The Drones" free on BandCamp. Visit my Flickr images, website, or blog. Cheers!
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by rparmar View Post
    Louis, your post is full of existential doubt that could be laid to rest by burying all your cameras but one and logging off the internet.
    I like that and I take that not just directed at Louis.
    It is applicable to a wider bunch, including myself.

    Great post!
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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    DOWN INNER GEEK, DOWN! Go shoot some more fabulous stuff with your GH2, PanaLeicas, etc.
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I don't equate camera size with cost. So, to me, it is sort of irrelevant if m4/3 cameras cost the same as APS-c cameras if they give the right functionality and utility to me.

    Even if Canon or others shrink the size of the dslr bodies they haven't addressed the issue of lenses. What do they have in a decent 24-70 or 70-200 that isn't huge.

    I went to Iceland with the OMD and 7-14, 12-35, 35-100 and that is all I needed. Add a few primes and you have a fabulous very fast kit that still blows away anything else in size.

    Think about what we've gotten in m4/3 land in not that many years

    12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 45, 60, 75 primes
    7-14, 12-35, 35-100 in pretty fast zooms
    a whole bunch of slower zooms

    There really isn't a complete, smaller than full frame, system out there with all the bases covered as well. I say that because to get the good dslr lenses you end up buying full sized full frame versions of lenses.
    terry
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Well I keep hearing that Micro 4/3rds is growing every day from friends and dealers. They have a lot of respect for their systems and they are truly tiny compared with Nikon, Sony and Canon offerings. There are quite a few forums dedicated to that format with quite a bit of enthusiasm. I've got a few I'm playing with at the moment and for a high quality pocket camera system, there is no equal for my needs. Now it's not replacing my Canon and Nikon systems for high end work yet, but when I don't want to lug around twenty pounds of gear- they are fantastic.

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Thanks for all the posts. Really useful information and ideas. I am the person who keeps on stating it is the photographer and not the camera that makes the shot! Maybe I ought to remember that from time to time :-)

    Robin, your post on my 'existential doubt' had me laughing out loud - very apt.

    I just want the best bang for my buck given that technology has improved a lot in the 2.5 years since I purchased the GH-2.

    Having said that, for someone who spends most of his evenings removing spots from negatives perhaps I ought to be less concerned about technology!

    Thanks again

    LouisB

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Hi Louis and others,

    I do understand your feelings. I also feel pretty dumb with the investment I have made in Micro 4/3 when I think that way. Of course, that's no reason to change my mind - regret over logic.

    I also understand the "shut off the internet" feeling. I recently carried my G3 through the desert in California, had a wonderful time, and got some shots that I love.

    I also love film, the M9, lots of other cameras. Hell, I even like toy cameras on the odd day out. So, I'm going to keep shooting. In fact, I just sold one of my G3s back to Amazon after a year (including unused kit lens) and got enough money back to buy a brand new GX1 body. That's right, GX1. It's simply a form factor variation on the G3. But, it keeps things lively, and was VERY cheap ($275 on Amazon). I will eventually spring for new Micro 4/3 sensor technology, but am in no hurry. Certainly no hurry to buy a LARGE Micro 4/3 body. That's not in the cards for me.

    I'm also more enthusiastic about what technology may do for this sensor size. That was a bet I made when I entered the system (compromise between system size and future of technology in small sensors). I don't think it's completely down to first-principle physics limitations yet.

    Reed
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    I don't equate camera size with cost. So, to me, it is sort of irrelevant if m4/3 cameras cost the same as APS-c cameras if they give the right functionality and utility to me.

    Even if Canon or others shrink the size of the dslr bodies they haven't addressed the issue of lenses. What do they have in a decent 24-70 or 70-200 that isn't huge.

    I went to Iceland with the OMD and 7-14, 12-35, 35-100 and that is all I needed. Add a few primes and you have a fabulous very fast kit that still blows away anything else in size.

    Think about what we've gotten in m4/3 land in not that many years

    12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 45, 60, 75 primes
    7-14, 12-35, 35-100 in pretty fast zooms
    a whole bunch of slower zooms

    There really isn't a complete, smaller than full frame, system out there with all the bases covered as well. I say that because to get the good dslr lenses you end up buying full sized full frame versions of lenses.
    Hi Terry

    To add to your list, Panasonic has 42.5mm f/1.2 and 150mm f/2.8 primes on the drawing board. I'm strictly amateur, but M4/3 delivers everything I need while being small and light. It really is all about the glass. When it comes to video, M4/3 even gets the professional's attention. Whats not to like?

    Paul

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I disagree as well. The OMD is a fantastic little camera. Just yesterday I was sifting through some photos and found some ISO 1600 and 3200 photos and was simply amazed at how far 4/3rds has come. I have had a E510, E30 and E5, and the improvement in noise is remarkable.

    Maybe the OMD doesnt handle noise as well as some others would like, but for me ISO 3200 is almost always more than I ever need.
    ~Billy

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I have a hacked GH-2 among my cameras, with the best of the Oly and Panny primes; it is what I take on the road when I need to shoot stills and video. It is the best compromise I have used wrt this dual set of needs, so far. I have an RX-100 too, but as I wrote somewhere else, I like the output, but the shooting experience leaves me cold; I want a decent EVF.

    I have a NEX 6 waiting for me on my return; I was really surprised when I did a camera size comparison with the LX-7, which I looked at in HK before buying the RX-100:

    Compare camera dimensions side by side

    And this is the comparison with the RX-100:

    Compare camera dimensions side by side

    and the NEX 6 has a decent EVF, and the foldout screen. Not as flexible as the GH-2 in that respect, but perhaps very useable.

    It will come with the PZ zoom—compact but SO slow, so I bought the Sigma 30/2.8 (and 45mm EFOV is my favourite focal length). I know the Sony video will be good, and I will be very interested in the stills output.

    Getting back to Louis's points, I find the GH-3 too large, and the OM-D's buttons were too small, for me. Now, some of this is nitpicking, to be sure, but now that I have retired from commercial work, the pleasure of shooting is a major focus for me.

    On the size aspect, I sold the X-E1 and the three lovely primes because although I loved the stills output, the video was very ordinary and in my present line of work, I have to have both. That, and the fact that with hoods on, the excellent lenses are not small at all. I might buy the X-100s; we will see.

    If the NEX 6 works, I will sell the RX-100, simply because of the EVF aspect.

    I am waiting to see if the next iteration of the OM-D feels better—I agree with many here, it is excellent, and I am not at all sure the format has reached EOL (end of life!). And even if I get out of µ4/3rds, I'll keep the lenses—so small, so inexpensive, and so good!
    Last edited by kit laughlin; 26th March 2013 at 04:33.
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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Most technologies eventually reach a stage where everything is good enough. At that point it becomes a matter of style, ergonomics and which model variation is best for a specific purpose. For most photography, we've hit that "good enough" point. So the fact that a DSLR will still get a higher DxO or DPReview score than a micro 4/3 camera is irrelevant to most people (unless one is chasing the numbers for personal fullfillment).

    I'm a long-time Leica shooter, with film and now with the supposedly obsolete M8. My old G1 was my "good enough when a rangefinder wouldn't do" camera. It was only just good enough, though. The OM-D is more than good enough, and for some things, it's better. I have a half stop less noise performance at an ISO I rarely use. The portability,versatility and lens quality of micro-4/3 is worth more to me.

    So Louis, I think your best bet is to ask yourself, will I truly help my photography by upgrading to something else? Or am I just having existential difficulties because some marketeer has put FUD* in my brain?

    --Peter

    * FUD= Fear, uncertainty and doubt, the cornerstones of all advertising.
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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Peter

    I understand what you are saying but I have always found my GH-2 to be sub-standard where I need to use iso3200 - in indoor environments. Before buying into the next generation of m43rds cameras, e.g. an OMD-E5 or the GH-3 I just really want to establish whether there have been any improvements at higher iso because mostly the GH-2 files take a lot of work on them to make them acceptable at that level.

    LouisB

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Ming Thein, perhaps not coincidentally, has an excellent blog on a similar subject; I am sure Guy and Jack will not mind if I add a link here:

    Film diaries: The importance of hapatics and tactility, part one

    Worth a look and some of the comments are remarkably similar to ours here. I think the day of the shooting experience being how we select our gear is nigh.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I don't worry about these things. The future of a system is not as important to me as what I can do with it.

    I bought a used Pen E-PL1 recently to use some of my oddball lenses with. It works very very well, and is producing satisfying results. It's inspiring me to explore some new avenues in picture making.

    Yeah, my Leica lenses are much better, the NEX 7 has more pixels, the E-M5 has way more features and sensitivity. But what's important are the photos any if these cameras make, not whether the camera is state of the art or the system is being expanded. There will always be a better camera, in some way, as time gropes onwards.

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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Louis: Look in this folder:
    OM-D test shots

    There are high ISO real-world tests of the OM-D in tungsten light. The file names should tell you what the photos show (OOC="Out of Camera," the rest are Capture One 6 NR--color NR only, half the default NR, or default NR). The photos labeled "scene" are the entire scene for reference. EXIF data will show if you click the camera icon above the picture, and the full-size 100% crop displays if you click the double rectangle.

    The piano shots show highlight and shadow in a small room lit by two shaded 60 watt incandescent bulbs. The bookcase is in my living room with fairly normal incandescent room lighting.

    Also see here for some ISO 1600 pictures:

    Some party shots:
    New Year's Eve 2013

    And some stage lighting shots:
    All sizes | Poulenc | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    All sizes | Jane | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    All sizes | Seth | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    All sizes | Laurie | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Hope this helps!
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I'm currently using 4 systems: MFT, NEX, Fuji, and Leica M

    MFT gives me a few things none of the others do:

    1) It still has the best AF system for my needs of any camera system I have ever owned, including Nikon D700/D600

    2) It can go smaller than the rest. My E-PM2 and Pana 14 or Rokinon fisheye or Olympus 45 are a good bit smaller than comparable combos in other interchangeable lens systems

    3) It's got a more versatile lens lineup than the others. The Olympus 75, for example, has no replacement in any of the small systems. Closest thing would be an APS-C camera with a 100mm prime, and none of those give the size/performance. Also no replacement for my Pana 100-300 in other smallish systems. Etc etc.

    4) Better stabilization - The OMD stabilizes primes (native and adapted) better than any other camera I have used.

    5) Touch autofocus and shutter release - MFT cameras still have the best implementation of this


    Eventually the other systems may catch up in all respects, but as long as we have the single sensor camera, the 4/3 sensor size will represent one compromise between size and capability, and it should continue to allow for smaller gear than a larger sensor would do.

    There is one as of yet unexplored way to continue to push the sensor technology forward, and that is to develop specialized low base ISO sensors for landscape photography. A MFT camera with a base ISO of 25 should be able to achieve the same dynamic and tonal range as a full frame sensor with a base ISO of 100. A great prime which is optimized for low f-stops, paired with a MFT camera with a base ISO of 25, could be a mean landscape pairing.
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    With digital, we have lost the option of choosing films for our cameras, limiting our options within one system. With my OM-1, I could choose among an endless variety of films. With m4/3, I'm limited to a few sensors that all aim for the same thing: technical perfection, particularly at high ISO. There's no Tri-X camera and no Tech Pan camera. It wouldn't be practical (although the MM is a step in the right direction).

    So, I use different systems for different creative expressions, and for an increasing part of my non-commercial photography: film. Sometimes, I feel that many digital cameras try to be Hybrid Ferrari SUV Minivans. But having limitations can be good sometimes. There's a reason why most Ferraris have only two seats.

    M4/3 cameras are the worst, of course. The GH1/2/3 are the real Swiss Army Knives of the camera world, doing anything from ultra wide angle architectural photography to HD video of eagles in flight a mile away, with viewfinder here and articulated LCD there and in a pinch, they can do action photography as well, almost replacing my D2Xs that can only do one thing: Great colour at low ISO very fast.

    Last Christmas Eve, I went with my father and some friends to one of our favourite restaurants to have our annual Christmas dinner. Since my father is rather old, every Christmas may be his last, so I always take a camera, hoping to get a photo of him that not least he himself can be happy with. I took the OM-2, a 50mm f/1.4 and Tri-X, no flash. I got my shot. He's happy with it and everybody else say: That's your father!

    Could I have taken the same shot with an OM-D? Yes, most probably. Would I have taken the same shot with the OM-D? No, most probably not. It would have been cleaner, have colour, less grain and I would have had 15 good photos to choose from. I know now that I prefer the single shot that I did get. In a way, the grainy b&w photo looks more real than any digital, clean high ISO interpretation of reality.

    Is m4/3 a technoligically dead end? Most probably, yes, but it isn't dead yet. Film has been dead for a long time of course, or is it just overmatured? But the challenge of wringing some life out each cannister of flimsy stuff keeps me alive, or at least more alive than if the only option was to trust Sony for a good portrait of my ageing father in a somewhat dimly lit restaurant.

    Has technology caught up with m4/3? No, not yet. I would rather say that it's the other way around. m4/3 is the state of technology right now. In a few years, there will be something even cooler, even more advanced that we cannot even dream about today. Hopefully, I'm retired by then, shooting water buffalos on Tri-X at some remote valley in Nakhon Nowhere.



    "It is a strange quirk of history that current reviewers of digital cameras give so much attention to an issue (ISO) that makes them in fact film emulsion testers and not camera testers."

    - Erwin Puts

    But don't get me wrong. I love my m4/3 cameras and lenses. They are very useful. They are just a bit too much sometimes
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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Peter, Amin and Jorgen, thanks for some more valuable input.

    Nice picture, Jorgen - great atmosphere - it is why most of my work is film at present.

    Peter, your examples are very compelling. Maybe my issue is a disappointment with the GH-3 which is a weird camera by my reckoning and my reticence at going from Panasonic to Olympus in order to gain some IQ improvements.

    That said the OMD is receiving some significant discounting at present (probably a new one on the horizon) and is very attractive for that reason.

    LouisB

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I like travelling. I like taking pictures. I'm not travelling with a ton of equipment anymore. So the OM-D and some lenses go where I go whenever I want versatility.

    If I need to do a job, FF Canon does it because of TS-E lenses and such. When suitable, I will usually prefer to take digital Leica equipment.

    The smallest DSLR may not be much larger than the OM-D, but the lenses sure are, and the results are not necessarily better. A couple of years ago, before going to Kenya I tested a Canon 7D with 100-400 against a Panasonic GH-2 and 100-300 to see which could actually provide me with better images and detail at the long end. Due as much to quality control and lens variability (I've had a number of Canon 100-400 lenses, and none were even across the field, the GH-2 produced consistently higher IQ. The downside of the m43 systems, to date, is that focus tracking is absent for all intents.

    I recently traveled to India, and the trip included portions which required long telephoto work. I too 2 OM-D bodies and 5 Panasonic lenses from 7mm to 300mm including the two fast zooms and the 25/1.4. The overall image quality, while not as good as I can get with the M240 and 50/1.4asph, is completely satisfying and I would do it again. Weather and dust sealed (important in India) with the most commonly used lenses, versatile and very good IQ up to 1600 ISO and outstanding stabilisation made for very good results in a size and form factor that was easily manageable.

    When I have a specific shot in mind, I can get out larger, heavier equipment and maybe a tripod and produce a better file, but I've also made a number of enlargements from OM-D files at 30" width that are better than I was ever able to produce from 645 film.

    Henning
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    Thanks for all the posts. Really useful information and ideas. I am the person who keeps on stating it is the photographer and not the camera that makes the shot! Maybe I ought to remember that from time to time :-)

    LouisB
    Back in the early 70s I was doing quite a bit of darkroom work. I've only recently returned to photography as a semi-serious hobby. I really agree with the last part of the statement I quoted, it's the person behind the camera that counts the most. I think I take a lot of technically good but boring photographs. I'm really focusing on learning to see better. As for what the future holds for m43 who knows. Technology is changing so rapidly. But there are so many great cameras out there. I'm not saying we shouldn't look at what cameras and systems offer, but I do think we should be looking at them as tools that meet our own needs. And everyone has different needs. I know the reasons I have an E-M5. It's a better camera than I am a photographer. I'd love a FF system but I'd leave in the car or at home way too often. And I'll likely always have a good quality compact available to toss in a pocket when even the m43 cameras are too big.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Riley's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    mirrorless of any breed will always exceed SLRs for video
    m43rds has the largest lens choice of any platform
    m43rds has the best dedicated primes in existence in the crop camera field
    m43rds noise per DoF is no worse than anything else, better than D800

    cut across to DPRs GH3 review RAW studio samples
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pana...mix-dmc-gh3/19
    compare APSC current sweetheart D5200 in high range ISOs, it isnt better from that PoV
    indeed go to the extreme corner target and see what you can see

    I think its good to reflect on 'things to complain about' as it keeps manufacturers on their 'A' game
    Last edited by Riley; 16th April 2013 at 20:44. Reason: additions
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    There will always be a better camera
    This about sums it up.

    There is always something 'better.' Maybe faster, sharper, speedier, or whatever-er.

    Most of the time, 'better' comes with strings attached.

    Micro 4/3 is quite a success. It's matured very quickly. It wasn't that long ago that the G1 was all there was...and your choice of lenses was the 14-42...

    The bottom-line for me is shooting enjoyment, and enjoying the results.

    It's no longer about chasing technology. That's a treadmill that never stops...

    For the same reason, I drive a 15 year old car. The later models put it to shame technologically, but it works just as well for me today as when I bought it ten years ago. It also gets just as much attention as the new ones.

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    Senior Member RVB's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    This about sums it up.

    There is always something 'better.' Maybe faster, sharper, speedier, or whatever-er.

    Most of the time, 'better' comes with strings attached.

    Micro 4/3 is quite a success. It's matured very quickly. It wasn't that long ago that the G1 was all there was...and your choice of lenses was the 14-42...

    The bottom-line for me is shooting enjoyment, and enjoying the results.

    It's no longer about chasing technology. That's a treadmill that never stops...

    For the same reason, I drive a 15 year old car. The later models put it to shame technologically, but it works just as well for me today as when I bought it ten years ago. It also gets just as much attention as the new ones.

    The air cooled 993 still sounds the best...
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Yes, especially with the muffler bypass mod.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    The fundamental handicap of the m4/3 platform is the signal to noise ratio disadvantage due to the sensor area. Keeping perspective ( camera to subject distance) constant smaller sensors require larger apertures to record the same amount of signal (photons). The noise is not a function of sensor size so a larger sensor requires less lens surface area to achieve the same S/N. Because dynamic range is highly dependent on S/N, lens wide aperture is important here as well.

    The above is more completely and clearly discussed here.

    LumoLabs -- Camera Equivalence -- Whitepaper

    Of course reduced sensor area and the 4:3 aspect ratio reduces optical design challenges and minimizes manufacturing costs. At the same time the availability, cost, size and weight of fast (f 1.2 or faster) m4/3 lenses does not seem to reflect the sensor size and format advantages. To collect more light (signal) something has to be bigger.

    The good news is the advantages of m4/3 systems meet the needs of a large number of photographers. Many of us do not require the highest possible S/N to meet our goals. The m4/3 sensor area in combination with f 1.7 or slower lenses does have a positive impact on AF. The point can be made what good is S/N and dynamic range if the focus is off?

    The bad news is technologies and the creativity of competitors now provide a choice inbewteen large, heavy, loud DSLRs and more convenient m4/3 systems.

    For my work the sweet spot is an APS-C mirrorless camera. For others 24 x 36 sensor cameras are a better choice... and for others the m4/3 systems are best. The APS-C mirrorless systems will take market share from both traditional DSLRs and m4/3 cameras.

  31. #31
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    The review from Dpreview of the GH-3 is the equivalent of damning with faint praise. Conclusion seems to be, the best video camera you can buy, oh and it does decent still photographs.

    I am now partly moving on from m43rds. I've acquired a Sony RX-1 and in combination with my Sigma DP2M I have 35mm and 50mm focal lengths covered. I'm going to sell most of my m43rds lenses and keep just the GH-2 body, 20mm and 100-300mm - the latter for backyard birding shots.

    Thanks for all the advice and comments in this thread.

    LouisB

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    Senior Member Riley's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post

    The above is more completely and clearly discussed here.

    LumoLabs -- Camera Equivalence -- Whitepaper
    "So, this little exercise shows that camera's with increasing crop factor suffer in corner resolution too."

    Sorry but, this isnt my experience.
    More often than not performance of FF Ultra Wide Angle suffers in the corners, particularly at wide apertures.
    He may be able to find examples that prove contrary to that point, Im sure I can nominate a few too, but as data points they are fliers to this well known axiom.

    Then theres an assumption about DR and sensor size.
    At the present moment despite quite large Mp sensors producing very large file sizes with consequences on editing speeds and capacities to transmit easily for little if any resolution gain over other optimised systems,
    the highest DR producing camera body is APSC

    Another is with viewfinders
    Perhaps 5D is a little old world now, but my E5 OVF is a much nicer OVF to use, neither are especially suitable for MF
    It seems my GH2 EVF, despite its ills and there are more than a few, is the best and quickest to use VF system for critical focus.

    Another field of endeavour the article doenst mention is video
    Most of you would be aware of the Super 16 Black Magic body presently in release
    At barely 2.1Mp, compare its output to 22Mp FF 5DIII
    http://vimeo.com/49875510
    http://vimeo.com/62948741

    I dont think there will ever be a particular camera or camera format that aces all the rest
    the field of photography as an art is just too widely dispersed, and its user base suffers many and varied field derived constraints
    IMO there are enough curveballs out there to keep it interesting
    Last edited by Riley; 19th April 2013 at 00:08.

  33. #33
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    As great as m43 is, it has its sure limitations in the small format.

    Today it turns out that APSC seems to be the best compromise - possible pixel density in combination with nice high ISO results, camera size (see Sony NEX and Fuji X) etc.

    So I think that m43 has reached its culmination WRT meaningful use of technology. Just think about how long we are already stuck with 16MP (4 years or so) while APSC shows already perfect results with 24MP.

    Question remaining is - what does an individual really need and want. For good quality with small size m43 is still leading.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    The review from Dpreview of the GH-3 is the equivalent of damning with faint praise. Conclusion seems to be, the best video camera you can buy, oh and it does decent still photographs.

    I am now partly moving on from m43rds. I've acquired a Sony RX-1 and in combination with my Sigma DP2M I have 35mm and 50mm focal lengths covered. I'm going to sell most of my m43rds lenses and keep just the GH-2 body, 20mm and 100-300mm - the latter for backyard birding shots.

    Thanks for all the advice and comments in this thread.

    LouisB
    We shall miss you from this board Louis, but wish you well with your new purchases. I had to grin a little when I read of your acquisition of a Sony RX1
    as I well remember your penchant for the true 35mm FOV. It is a great camera and I wish you joy with it.

    For my part I am delighted with my brace of OM-D's but still eagerly awaiting the next incarnation from Oly. I am advised that it may have hybrid phase and contrast detect AF, which should permit proper focus tracking which is for my useage, is it's only achilles heel at the moment.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    HI There all
    I'm late to this post (my OMD has been away having it's 'cracked plastic around the LCD' issue fixed - they only took 2 weeks, and replaced the whole LCD - free of course.

    It's an interesting discussion - my view is that as sensor technology improves µ43 will just get more and more compelling, it already has such a fine lineup of lenses, and now Olympus have started using Sony sensors things can only get better.

    Going out shooting yesterday with the OMD and the two Panny f2.8 zooms was a positive joy in every sense of the word.

    For me, the advantage of APSc was much more in the quality of the sensors than the size difference (after all, if you look at the sensor height difference it really isn't that much - as long as your happy with 3x4 rather than 2x3 ratio).

    But the package seems to be much smaller than APSc - if I want bigger, then I'll have full frame, which really is bigger.

    Until then the combination of the OMD and the Leica M suits me very well.

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I think m43 is here to stay for a while. The Nex system, Panasonic's offerings, they all lag far behind in quality lenses at a reasonable price. I actually think it's APS-C that may have run its course, at least in SLRs. m43 has the mini advantage and lenses that match...many APS-C SLRs and most lenses are not that much smaller than their full frame cousins. As full frame gets less expensive, it seems to me that APS-C is in the uncomfortable middle position. And the Nex and Panasonic systems that are APS-C, and the APS-C fixed-lens cameras coming out now...it all seems like these will eat away at that middle field. For the most compact system with great lenses, m43 still has it.

    I can't back this up with any sales data, etc, but it's just a musing based on watching m43 develop. 4/3 in general is a pretty remarkable story.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    First of all, I was wondering yesterday why APS-C is still around? Just the opposite of some of the thinking here. I think the size of M4/3 cameras and lenses are the perfect partner to my full size systems. Where as the APS cameras, including the Sony NEX are just too bulky when you take into consideration the size of the lenses. I always thought APS-C was just a temporary solution until manufactures finally got to full size 35mm sensors. In my experience with three Canon Rebels that I purchased over the years, is that they image quality was inferior to my 5D's, so I stopped using them. I feel for the size M4/3 offers equal or better image quality at half the bulk.

    But I have another observation I made last week while in NYC on a shoot. I went to the Aperture Foundation Gallery and looked at an exhibition of prints. All prints were from 11x14 to 16x20 and a few larger. I was amazed at the poor technical quality of the images. They were soft and grainy with very little shadow detail. I'll bet in most cases an iPhone would make a better print than the one's I looked at. BUT - it didn't matter -all that mattered was the images them selves which were fantastic. Standing a few feet back, you didn't see softness or grain, you just saw the power of the images themselves.

    I too get caught up in technical quality because some of my work requires large prints for architects or advertising clients. But for my personal work - M4/3rds is more than enough quality in an excellent package, that can be carried in my pocket.

    My two cents....
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterSteve View Post
    First of all, I was wondering yesterday why APS-C is still around? Just the opposite of some of the thinking here. I think the size of M4/3 cameras and lenses are the perfect partner to my full size systems. Where as the APS cameras, including the Sony NEX are just too bulky when you take into consideration the size of the lenses. I always thought APS-C was just a temporary solution until manufactures finally got to full size 35mm sensors. In my experience with three Canon Rebels that I purchased over the years, is that they image quality was inferior to my 5D's, so I stopped using them. I feel for the size M4/3 offers equal or better image quality at half the bulk.

    But I have another observation I made last week while in NYC on a shoot. I went to the Aperture Foundation Gallery and looked at an exhibition of prints. All prints were from 11x14 to 16x20 and a few larger. I was amazed at the poor technical quality of the images. They were soft and grainy with very little shadow detail. I'll bet in most cases an iPhone would make a better print than the one's I looked at. BUT - it didn't matter -all that mattered was the images them selves which were fantastic. Standing a few feet back, you didn't see softness or grain, you just saw the power of the images themselves.

    I too get caught up in technical quality because some of my work requires large prints for architects or advertising clients. But for my personal work - M4/3rds is more than enough quality in an excellent package, that can be carried in my pocket.

    My two cents....
    Hi Steve
    Great post - and can I add my two pennies.
    I shoot with FF Leica rangefinders . . . . and the OMD with various µ43 lenses. To my mind FF and µ43 makes a great combination.
    Whether we're right or not I'd agree that it ought to be APSc that's in the firing line.

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    To my mind FF and µ43 makes a great combination.
    +1 but... APS-C is still great for a few things, like sports photography (more reach than 35mm and with the still important OVF), and some of the cameras are rather compact. I'm on three digital formats at the moment, and I keep asking myself if a D5200 would be a more sensible option than m4/3, particularly after Sigma's latest announcement. It would certainly be cheaper for me. Having two systems is a real drain on the wallet, even if I try to convince myself that it's something that I can live with.

    If photography wasn't part of my job, m4/3 would probably be the only thing I needed, but it isn't really there yet for all professional assignments.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    >BUT - it didn't matter -all that mattered was the images them selves which were fantastic. Standing a few feet back, you didn't see softness or grain, you just saw the power of the images themselves.

    I had the same experience at the Carmel Weston Gallery (one of the top galleries in the US). It was the exhibition or Mexican scenes by a well known artist and printed with Cibachrome. None was critical sharp but all the images were wonderful in terms of colors and composition.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Have to agree about long lens work on APS cameras. That was quite a bonus. It's the same for cinema cameras where Super35 is about the same size as APS-C.

  42. #42
    Senior Member Riley's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterSteve View Post
    Have to agree about long lens work on APS cameras. That was quite a bonus. It's the same for cinema cameras where Super35 is about the same size as APS-C.
    The reason formats like Super 35 and Super 16 survive is because they have quality lenses to support them. Even today the entirety of films like the Hurt Locker were shot on Super 16 film. As it stands the most dedicated lens deprived format is APSC.

    The intent from the makers is to offer APSC as cheap, these are their high volume cheap cameras for entry level and starter kits. High End APSC has been replaces by Low End cheap FF. The problem with that is cheap FF will only be cheap if they continue to offer circa 3-5 fps and 1/4000 shutters, ie they are cheap because they are feature starved.

    The opportunity there for m43rds manufacturers has already been exercised with the EM5 and GH2/3 but they need to drive further and exploit this strategy from C&N to drive people to feature rich FF if they want to make the most of their hobby or need to cover a professional photographic aspect. C&N will continue to find ways of ensuring that gap will remain for the same reasons.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    I am quite happy with MFT. I think the size compromise is about right and certainly lenses designed specifically for MFT are quite compact compared even to APSC.

    What I would like to see are some fast, high quality zooms similar to those available for Four Thirds. Ones that don't need in-camera distortion fixing and CA removal to give good results.

    There is some stunning manual glass available, for example the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 and SLR Magic 12mm T1.6.

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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    With my experience much lacking, I'm mostly much lurking,
    but the issue/decision the OP raises is much my own, now,
    needing a decision in some direction.

    But here is my problem. I think time and technology have caught up with the format. When a new Panasonic GH-3 and OMD-E5 are close to the same price (or in the case of the GH-3 exactly the same price) as APS-C offerings from Nikon and Canon, I have to question the future of these cameras.
    This observation caught my eye as seeming at odds with what
    I now read over @DPReview's Nikon X00 forum where there is
    much expressed angst & doubt about the future --with Nikon,
    but also comparing to Canon-- of APS-C in at least something near
    "pro" levels : that Nikon is behind presumed schedule for some
    X00 ("D400") upgrade, and seems to be indicating an ending
    to such things by (a) not having any "pro" "DX" glass, and (b)
    pushing newly low-priced, small-sized full 35mm ("FX") body,
    viz. D600 (& in the light side, Canon 7D aging, 6D issued). !?

    Whereas, for M4/3, as Terry enumerates, there have been now
    many high-quality lenses issued, and Pany has weather-toughened
    --even <gasp> enlarging-- their GH body, and put out what seem
    to be standard pro-level f/2.8 zooms. That suggests to me that
    they might be finding the format serious enough in performance
    to be accepted by pros seeking to lighten their load. (I recall
    being impressed by some not-large female PJs lugging 2-body,
    multi-lenses kits of D3 + 70-200, 24-70, ... in demanding tasks!
    If a GH3 + E-M5 enables considerable reduction in size, I'd think
    this would be greatly welcomed.)

    For myself, the smallness fad w/bodies has run overboard :
    my hands remain the same size, and at times favor having
    something to grip, not daintily hold. (I have an LX3, surviving
    the cycling crash that has sidelined my intro-camera, D40.)
    Now, smaller lenses, okay. (And cheaper would be nice! )



    -drofnad

  45. #45
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    No doubt I am swimming against the tide here. I have put my hacked ("no adverse affects" (sic)) GH2 and LX7 up on evilbay. I now use the first pair of cameras that I'm actually happy with in quite some time, and have sold the RX-100, and all the other compacts.

    After a great deal of experimenting, quite a bit of money, and a great deal of time and comparing like many of us here I have settled on a pair of NEX 6 bodies.

    I do not like the menu system (who could?), but now they are set up, I only need to go to the menu to format a card—nothing else.

    The combination of direct manual focus and focus peaking is extremely effective for any manual focus lens or even an autofocus lens when you're focusing manually. Shooting portraits of a reluctant mother in the garden last week I was able to focus on her eyeballs with 100% reliability.

    White balance is on the function button. WB can be warmed or cooled with a single soft key press: now that's flexibility. I use this all the time. Moving the focus square is on the bottom soft key (B) and this stays active if you do not press "OK"—great for moving portrait situations. Exposure compensation is on a rotary dial. ISO is on a point on the same dial.

    The lens lineup looks like this: CV 12/5.6 on adapter; works perfectly, unlike the NEX 7. The Sigma twins, truly excellent lenses, especially the 45mm EFOV 30/2.8. I will be posting an image or two if anyone's interested, over at the Fun with the NEX thread, probably later today.

    Finally, I have pre-ordered the CV 50/1.5 and will be buying an OM 50/3.5 macro for the tabletop work. And I can experiment with many of the legacy lenses we all like here.

    Why the NEX 6? Because its 1080p/24 video is superb, and its AF and follow focus works in video mode (essential for solo pieces to camera); its control of noise is excellent; the larger sensor (than µ4/3rds) is closer to the look I like (I shot MF and FF for many years, film and digital), and the excellent EVF. And this body is smaller in all dimensions than the OM-D, IIRC.

    So, in sum: all manual controls for what I need; tremendous flexibility re. lens choice (and don't forget the Sigma twins for $199!!!), the Sigma 50/2.8 preordered for those times when only AF will do, and excellent battery life. Four genuine batteries: they are reasonably priced.

    The only 'con' is that I can't see how to get 1/3 ƒ stops out of the ISO setting. I use M often, to get the shutter speed and aperture combo. I want, then use the ISO control for exposure—but would like a finer control over this.

    This rig can shoot excellent stills in low light; excellent video in any light; and both bodies fit in a tiny bag (the Crumpler "Mild Enthusiast" bag; passports in the back!).

    And I have owned all of the great µ4/3rds lenses (except the 75; I do not need this length) but I see no practical size advantage over the lineup I describe here compared to the µ4/3rds offerings. They are excellent, to be sure, but the real size advantage (the zooms, especially over FF) are not important for me (and I have the kit PZ zoom, tiny, slow, and compact for when that is absolutely necessary). The Sigmas are not as small as the Oly 12/2, but not far off, and they fit the body well.

    The NEX grip is better than all the µ4/3rd's ones, IMHO. And while not being in the same aesthetic ballpark as the OM-D, in the hand it works better, for me.

    My last point is that, using Aperture, I do find the Sony files allow better shadow and highlight recovery than the GH2 and OMD raw files.

    I meant to add: 'Display' (top of rotary dial) activates a Level display, and Histogram (both so useful for landscapes); and the LHS of the same dial is Drive mode, by default. And I forgot to mention the new (and much improved) Mode dial (so no menus needed for any of these) AND the dial underneath it (and concentric with it) has a truly lovely tactile feel: the best dial control in the digital world, for me so far. This controls aperture (in A mode) or shutter (S). It feels lovely.

    Personally, I feel the NEX 6 has been ignored in the plethora of new bodies released in the last year, but for me it is the best compromise.
    Last edited by kit laughlin; 2nd May 2013 at 16:28.

  46. #46
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Interesting, Kit. Thanks for the write-up.

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Just added another paragraph, on the control interface. And (to Jorgen): when I post this shot of my Mother from the other day, you will laugh, I think!

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Jorgen, posted a couple of images HERE.

    Cheers to all, kl

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    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Some very interesting thoughts, Kit, thanks for posting. One thing this thread points out, I think, is that many cameras now more than pass the "good enough" test for many kinds of work, including much pro work. It then becomes a matter of which camera is best suited to the kind of things the user shoots, and which one fits our eyes and hands. Add a healthy dose of personal preference, design aesthetics, maybe a pinch of brand loyalty, plus how we were feeling when we handled the camera for the first time.

    Me, I've been very happy with my OM-D, and that 45/1.8 I bought from you.

    --Peter
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Has time and technology caught up with m43rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Jorgen, posted a couple of images HERE.

    Cheers to all, kl
    Ha ha... cute

    You can be happy that I'm not Apple of course. In that case, I would have sued your mother for copyright infringement and unlicensed use of at least 37 different patents (shaping a circle with a finger, holding a circle shaped by a finger up to the eye, both hands with fingers shaped as circles up to the eyes making them look like glasses etc., etc., etc.)

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