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Are we expecting miracles with the format?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Djarum, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I do occasionly browse the dpreview forums, and there seems to be good bit of discontent with the format right now.

    People who've moved up from P&S cameras are learning the same thing I had to. With some of the smaller P&S cameras, the lenses were faster so there wasn't worry about having to go up in ISO. But when you did, many pictures were unacceptable. Now the argument seems to be, that with the faster fixed lens 3x or 4x zoom lenses, that there doesn't seem to be any sort of advantage with the mFT system. I've personally ran into this myself. What I learned was that it is OK to go up in ISO. The other dissapointment, especially with the OLY cameras, is that the focusing is slower than the higher end P&S. There are people who've said that their Canon G9/10/11 camera gives just as good of pictures.

    The crowd coming from the SLR world are wanting faster primes and faster focusing. People are dismissing the lenses such as the new OLY 14-150. Its too big, it misses the point of small and compact, its too slow. And then there are those wondering why Panny's new upcoming wide prime is only f2.5..not f1.7 like the 20mm.

    So, I'm starting to wonder if people are expecting miracles out of the format?

    I've never owned an SLR before, so I can't comment. I was slightly disappointed that when I had to go higher ISO with the PEN because of the slow lens, the images were not necessarily "cleaner" than a lower ISO image out of my P&S. I have found that in generall everyday good light shooting, the images from my PEN blow anything away I've taken with a P&S. This camera has also taught me many things about my own photography.

    But aside from that, I think all the naysayers are missing the point. And that is flexibility. So what the 14-150 makes the camera large and isn't for everyone, it might be a good choice for many people. Many people don't want to use primes, but many do.

    I will concede that Panny and Oly have been too slow for lens options to the format, but we should be celebrating what the format offers, and that is the flexibility and reduced size of the entire system, no matter whether primes are the lens of choice, or zooms are the lens of choice.
    • Like Like x 4
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    No camera will ever please everyone, some complain because they expect miracles, some because they don't know what they really want, some because they want everything, some just like complaining about anything and everything and DPR is a place where complaining has become a science.

    Mostly, it's because people don't apply themseves and learn about photography and their equipment, moving from one format to another because they think it's the gear that makes all the difference.


    • Like Like x 5
  3. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    I guess it depends on how picky you are for a miracle.

    The miracle that I get from this format is the small sensor-flange distance and the ability to use lenses from almost any system on it. Using my 1950s Nikkor lenses with the EP2 and its electronic view-finder is a pleasure.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    I've come from the opposite direction to the OP (4/3 dslr) and am happy with the tradeoffs. I have a smaller, lighter and less 'obtrusive' kit that is getting more use. HD video is a bonus.

    I miss the speed of my old system in both senses of the word. AF was better and the f range was faster overall. I also miss the reach I had (280mm vs 140mm) but have no intention of going back.

    For me the balance sheet is showing a profit.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    No, I don't expect miracles from mft. I do even look forward to the new Nikon camera with even smaller sensor than mft. Got to agree that we need lenses from other manufacturers like Sigma, Tokina, etc.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010

    Well personally, over the last year, I have undergone a minor miracle in the way that I work due to m4/3. A little over 12 months ago I was still using big heavy DSLR's and monster lenses, with the consequent discomfort and difficulty associated with large and heavy gear.

    Due to m4/3 and other small light formats I can now happily work all day knowing that I'm not going to end up swallowing pain-killers at the end of it!!

    I come from the opposite end of the spectrum from you - moving "down" rather than moving "up" and to me the savings in bulk are really significant, and I think all of us that have done that will have much more positive feelings about the benefits of that move.

    Photographers at all levels seem to agree, as the sales of these m4/3, hybrid, e.v.i.l cameras, call them what you will, are increasing rapidly. The people who "complain" on Dpreview are after all a very very small % of the people who have actually gone out and bought a m4/3 camera and are using it. With the larger sensor and with both Panasonic & Olympus aspiring to produce lenses that can stand comparison with anything from the DSLR market, the format is necessarily going to be slightly bigger than a point and shoot compact. For many, the quality obtained from cameras such as Canon G9/10/11 is perfectly adequate, but for many of us the limitations of the small sensor and lack of interchangeable lenses severely restricts us, and we find much more of what we want in m4/3 and other hybrid formats.

    Both Panasonic and Olympus (finally) have come up with some decent, very useable zoom lenses, which are indeed compromises but in the case of the Lumix 14-45, Olympus 14-42, Lumix 14-140 very good compromises in my view, which offer us flexibility in a small light package. Olympus have just produced a 9-18mm zoom (18-36mm 35mm equivalent) that weighs 155 grms. For some of us that is approaching a miracle! The new 14-140 weighing in at 290g is hardly a monster either! Add in such lenses as the remarkable 20mm f1.7, the 7-14mm from Panasonic and the Leica designed 45mm f2.8 macro and you are starting to see a range of serious high quality lenses.

    With a forum as large as Dpreview you are bound to get people who are constantly looking for their own bespoke camera that ticks all their boxes, aren't we all? We have all also got really impatient. "We want the world and we want it now!" However I suspect that there is a high degree of satisfaction with what Panasonic and Olympus are giving us. Am I 100% satisfied? no of course not, but I am impressed by the system as a whole and excited by its potential.

    Finally I and my company are currently in the process of shooting a documentary with a pair of GH1's. When we view the footage on an HD TV we fall off our chairs! We are shooting with Leica, Zeiss and Nikon lenses but are also using Panasonic and Olympus lenses, including the kit zooms. To be able to shoot video with this kind of quality with cameras this small is indeed a miracle!
    • Like Like x 8
  7. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 13, 2010
    Everybody wants miracles and even when a miracle happens not everybody is going all-in. I have been stating here to wait for the GF2 with buildt-in EVF and hopefully better High ISO performance, as well as IBIS. But if all is not going to happen and instead Panasonic decides to also give away the EVF free with the 20 mm F1.7 GF1 kit, then I think I will become a M43 owner either way.
    For the premium prices especially Panasonic is asking over entree DSLR's (larger, but for rest same performance), customers have to my opinion the right to ask miracles to happen!!!
    - They will happen, the question is when...

    PS: M43 is not making people spend more money on camera's. People buy best camera within their budget already for years and hobby is only allowed to cost over X% of monthly income. I hope that Panasonic and Olympus also want to sell primes to P&S-style of customer, but then they will have to lower prices (and given lower costs of manufactoring of smaller lenses this should be feasible). Or AF on non-native m43 lenses?
    • Like Like x 2
  8. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    i've noticed several thread in the dpreview micro four thirds forum where the posters complain about blurry pics and it turns out they're using very shallow DOF, and the pic IS sharp... in one small area they didn't notice. in one, it turned out part of the poster's baby's foot was the in-focus sharp part of the pic, so he didn't notice ;) 

    then there are all the folks who manage to either have tons of motion blur in their pics or white balance issues. somehow it's all the camera's fault.

    always good for a laugh :D 
    • Like Like x 2
  9. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    I think you've nailed it regarding some folk. "My results are c**p therefore it must be the camera - it couldn't possibly be me." A high level of camera automation is a double edged sword, it can almost guarantee a good picture but not quite, a small but essential ingredient for success is still only found between a photographer's ears.

    Some of the disappointment experienced by moving "up" to :43: from a P&S is that the cameras do require more input from the operator. Most P&S cameras are optomized to provide a reasonable result with acceptable compromises in full auto, in most situations where the camera is likely to be used.

    :43:, although it has all the automation, works best when the photographer takes control, either manually or knowing when to intervene in an auto mode. To do this successfully you need to have a thorough understanding of the basics of photography and be able to anticipate what the camera is doing, then ask the question "is it doing what I want it to do?"

    It's sad that some folk seemingly spend their photographic lives nomadically wandering from one pasture to the next, which is always greener and just the other side of the hill. Sometimes it pays to become more familiar with your own territory before exploring further afield.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Those folks are spending their energy arguing and doing math. If they spent more time on the photography, they would realize as you do:

    But this is the bottom line:

    So many folks at DPR can't get their head around the fact that others' needs may vary from their own. For example, there is one engineer in the Canon forums who is always going on about how anything bigger than his pants pocket needs a bag, so it's all in the same size and weight class. He repetitively refers to Micro 4/3 as pointless every time someone brings it up because he is unable to grasp that his perceptions (eg, that a Canon 5D and 24-105mm zoom is more or less the same size/weight as a G1 and 14-45) may be different than someone else's.

    Making the same narrow-minded point over and over again and disparaging others with different views is trolling. If DPR got a few mods together and started banning those trolls, it would be a much nicer place to spend time.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    Absolutely. The notion that just because all the m4/3 advantages can't be crammed into something the size of a credit card, so therefore it's a flawed concept, has always struck me as completely ridiculous.

    That the system is so small and light is an achievement in itself. At the moment the technology doesn't exist that improves the size - quality equation to the levels some people would like.

    There are also a significant number of people, myself included, who wouldn't use a really tiny camera because of handling and stability issues. My E-P2 is pretty close to my perfect camera in terms of handling, size and weight. I also have no desire to hide, or pretend I don't have, a camera. I often wonder how serious people are about photography if all they want to do is put their camera into a small pocket. People don't seem to be shy about carrying their mobile phones in full view. Are these people somehow ashamed that they carry a camera?
    • Like Like x 1
  12. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    I hadn't thought about it like that before. Guess I'm just the opposite, I don't mind carrying a camera but if a phone won't slip almost unnoticed into a tiny pocket, forget it! :biggrin:
  13. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Plus there are factors on the manufacturers side that must be taken into account too. For instance, design-wise, Panasonic seems to value very much the ergonomics solutions of its industry partners (Leica and Olympus), even if they're building an identity of their own on top of those design clues, leaning a bit more on the electronic / technical design.

    Leica, there's no need really to explain : they found their niche in the 40's, and since then, size, controls and ergonomics have been religiously preserved.

    Olympus from the outlook is more 'wild', having launched themselves in varied endeavours since the 70's. But a bit of analysis brings you back to the same point over and over again : their star designer Maitani. He pretty much set by himself the design guides of all subsequent Olympus cameras, from the original Pen that lives now on in an electronic form, through the clamshell design he created with the XA we now find in the µ line, to the ergonomics of slrs (an e-450 being almost exactly the form factor of an OM body).

    And scratching the surface of Maitani views, we close the circle again : he always publicly acknowledged the handling of his own Leica III prior to joining Olympus was a paramount design clue to set the size of a useful yet powerful cameras.

    For the legendary focus on this story, I'd love to think the e-p1 was rushed out without EVF because Maitani was dying and Olympus wanted to release while he was still alive. I have of course no way to know if this is a figment of my imagination, but I hope someone brought him an e-pen before he passed away, so he knew his vision was living on.

    As conclusion, we see the 3 main actors of µ4:3 are all drinking at the same source, the design of the Leica III. So it's no wonder the body shape and volume remains close to that 'ideal' size that served so many so well throughout half a century of imaging.
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    To be fair, some of the one's wanting more primes over there have been on the forums for years and to some degree have contributed positively. The post I made was about legit compalints toward the system. If I was selling cameras, and a customer told me they were interested in the mFT but they just wanted to walk around with a kit lens, never expand their lens collections, and really were just after better dynamic range and higher ISO, I think there are high end P&S cameras that would satisfy. Looking at some of the results from the Samsugn TL500, I think this would be a good alternative.

    I did not mind the size of the mFT system, I previously used a superzoom p&s, which doesn't fit into a pants pocket. But those sort of complaints were heard tirelessly when the PEN and GF1 came out.

    I've seen posts here about the need for fast primes and other lenses are useless otherwise. Yet, the Oly ultrawide zoom lens looks fantastic. Both the Panny and Oly superzoom lenses, while not as sharp as primes or two seperate "kit" lenses are not as sharp, still offers acceptable results as Brians posted photos show.

    I do agree that people should be using their equipment more instead of saying how bad it is. I've got my own quibbles about the system, but it sure as heck doesn't prevent me from taking photos.
  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I wouldn't suggest otherwise. In fact, I am one of those people :smile:.
  16. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    This gels with my observations. To many, it's about the gear, not the photography. Perhaps they are in love with the idea of photography. There seems to be a sense that the equipment alone is responsible for amazing photographs.

    There are wonderful images from camera phones, P&s, M4/3, DSLRs and 50 year old cameras.

    I am not expecting miracles, but I am expecting a continued evolution in terms of image quality (especially dynamic range) and in lenses.

    I have a DSLR that can, when the vegetable holding it gets his act together, produce amazing photographs. I have an M4/3 camera that can also produce amazing photographs. They have different strengths. I love both. Currently photographs with my DSLR are, for me, better than my M4/3. But that's because I am still learning the strengths and limitations of the latter.

    These are extraordinary photographic tools.

    The common factor is the photographer. A few miracles there would be deeply appreciated. :frown::rolleyes: 

    Since such miracles seem unlikely, I will just have to continue shooting, and when the photograph doesn't match what I had in mind, try to figure out why and move on.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    It depends what you want

    It really depends what you want. I looked at a lot of images from the Samsung TL500/EX1 as it sounded like a good idea. However I was pretty underwhelmed by what I saw. However if people want to be able to take decent quality photographs on a small camera for their own personal "life record" then yes it could be ideal.

    M4/3 is more than that though, and was always intended to be so from the statements that both Panasonic and Olympus have made. As mentioned above, Olympus have an appetite for camera history and style and it shows in their creations.

    M4/3 is one of those photographic innovations that can have across the board appeal. It can be useful for anybody from a "snapshooter" to a full-time working photographer. But then much of 35mm was seen as an amateur format by many photographers when it came out. Kodak intoduced Kodachrome as an "amateur" film making various Ektachrome emulsions for professionals. But what happened was that all the professionals used Kodachome. National Geographic published nothing else for years.

    There are issues with all camera systems. The Canon and Nikon forums are full of people complaining about the lack of this or that lens, and I'm sure that will always be so. We all have a choice and since its very rare that one manufacturer comes out with something that suits everyone, we can all decide what to use, usually based on the notion that we will use the system that gives us the closest to 100% of what we want.

    There is a difference between photographic equipment forums and the customer base for photographic equipment. I suspect that the vast majority of people who own and use cameras go nowhere near these forums and they can give a misleading impression of whats important and whats not. If camera manufacturers made their decisions on the basis of these forums then they might be drawn into all sorts of blind alleys.

    People are usually most concerned about "bang for their bucks" and tend to think in terms of getting the best they can to fit their budget. So-called "enthusiast" photographers have a different agenda, though still taking note of the prices of the equipment they desire.

    This agenda can result in some strange, football supporter like behaviour, which usually stems from a desire to be seen to be making the right choice. Often fairly trivial issues get blown up out of all proportion to justify the choices people make. There are things that I would like to see m4/3 have and as I said before it's not 100% of what I want, but it offers me enough for me to have made a substantial investment in the system. I see no reason at present to change that.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Mosca

    Mosca Mu-43 Regular

    May 27, 2010
    It's all about which set of compromises pleases you, the user, the most. I started on this journey with point and shoots, and was unhappy with the image quality compromise that I got by accepting the small size. I then went to the DSLRs, and I was unhappy with the size compromise I made with them. I am now happy with the middle ground, giving up some in image quality, and getting back a lot (but not all) in smaller size and weight.

    And anyone who doesn't think they are making a compromise on even something like image quality with a Canon 1D Mk 4, I ask that person; why no Hasselblad?

    They are all compromises.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 13, 2010
    Customers expecting miracles is heaven for m43 companies like Panasonic and Olympus:
    - The typical result of such market situation is premium prices for every minor improvement, despite still not meeting all obvious requirements (continous sales)

    But in the end the market segment of people spending more then 500 Euro's per year on camera and lenses is to my understanding rather limited (life time of a camera being somewhere between 1 and 3-4 years). And for most of the potential customers it is near to impossible to compare performance of multiple cameras into sufficient the details to distinguish an affordable DSLR from m43 (nor know what perfect camera should look like).
    At dPreview forum you mainly see the early adopters and hobby / professional with too much money, that is just a small part of the market, but the impact of such reviews should not be underestimated (many people surf on internet, but hardly post). Still this will not make "normal" people buy a full frame DSLR, just because it is better (much more expensive than m43 and probably well above their budget).

    When I see Panasonic giving away the EVF icw GF1 kit with zoom lens, I read this move as follows: gaining market share only by being compact is already starting to become difficult at premium prices levels. For sure this is a result of Sony and Samsung entering the same segment as well as m43 not being new any more.
    To become /stay a leader in the entry system camera's, I expect that next to compactness the price of semi-complete kit will again become (/stay) most important. And a dummy (or the less smart guy/lady in the shop trying to convince you to go for the more expensive camera) knows about an EVF being very nice to have as well as value of IS or IBIS. Also a decent lens selection is needed (otherwise the shops will advice DSLR for this reason only), but again most customers won't be willing to pay a big premium for compactness only.

    Therefore I think Panasonic priority is currently at introducing GF2 with tiltable build-in EVF (exactly what I want, so maybe I am blind to see the real truth). Why is this most important for Panasonic? To reduce the cost to manufacture a complete & compact camera, to enable them to better compete on price with other companies in this market.

    I am curious if Panasonice will also address out of camera JPG performance as well as High ISO performance of sensor, but for the one shot we can always do some RAW-based post-processing...

    Myself, I also ike the idea of more, better (faster) native m43 primes. But when I am fair, the amount of lenses I am going to buy is more dependent on price than on performance (preferably the best of cheap :wink:). Compactness of these additional lenses for specific applications (party portraits iso walk around) is actually also not that important. If the non-m43 50 mm primes with F < 2 would have autofocus and IS then I would have never ever even have thought about the 45 mm F2.8 (although the later one might even be a better lens, but how do I know???).
    More afordable m43 lenses (with AF and IS) will support sales of m43 bodies (as well as kit lenses) over DSLR.

    Best regards,


    PS: Korea just scored 1-1 against Uruguay!!!
  20. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    Not all photographers are "serious" some of us just want to casually take photos so we just want a camera we can carry around with us anywhere and everywhere. P&S's fit most of the needs except image quality.

    That's not entirely true either. There's definitely the crowd who owns iphones or previously blackberries who purposely make everyone around them know they have "that phone", but there's also people who walk around much more discretely and who's ring tones aren't loud and obnoxious.

    Yes. Part of it comes from the attitude that a lot of "SLR" folks have. (Not all, but enough that it's a stereotype.) It's not even just owners but the elitist attitude even happens in stores. It's embarrassing enough and snobby enough that when I had my e410 I felt really really bad about being in public with the camera because I didn't want to be grouped in with "those guys". In the end, I think I took my e410 out of the house less than 10 times in a year.

    I'm not saying all SLR owners are like this but I'm sure you've met SLR owners who think they're better than everyone else and thumbs their nose at you because of your gear etc...
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