1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Camera, sensor and lens dimensions

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dhazeghi, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Back in the 4/3 days, Olympus had the distinction of a few large cameras with comparatively small sensors. The E-3 for example was roughly the size and weight of a Canon 5D, despite having a sensor 1/4 the size. You could argue that the lens options made things less comparable, but it made the argument for high-end 4/3 hard (particularly that body and the SHG lenses).

    Having finally managed to get my hands (briefly) on a Sony A7r, I wonder if we're headed down the same path again. Don't get me wrong, there are some truly tiny m4/3 bodies and lenses that I don't think anything full-frame can compete with. But for a camera with high-quality zoom lenses that will be used heavily, there's a size beyond which downsizing starts harming ergonomics and force major compromises on lens quality. I guess everybody has their own threshold, but mine is the E-M1/E-M5. Nothing smaller really handles well with the 12-40/2.8, let alone the 50-200/2.8-3.5.

    Of course, the Sony full-frame mirrorless are basically the same size as the E-M1. Granted, the system is nowhere near as mature as m4/3 and at least for now there's a significant cost difference, but with some effort, one can put together a system that aside from longer telephotos is pretty competitive on size and quality. As time goes on, I expect the difference in cost will drop too.

    In short, I wonder if we're repeating the trajectory of high-end 4/3 with m4/3 - insufficient differentiation (size, weight) given the significant disadvantage of the smaller sensor size.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    And for the sake of comparison:

    Olympus E-M1 + Olympus 7-14/2.8 + Olympus 12-40/2.8 + Olympus 40-150/2.8 = 2300g
    Sony A7R II + Sony 16-35/4 + Sony 24-70/4 + Sony 70-200/4 = 2415g

    The Olympus goes wider (but can't take filters), they're comparable on reach if you crop the Sony by 1.5X (42.5MP / (1.5*1.5) = 19MP). The biggest difference is the cost of the bodies (you can get 3 E-M1s for the cost of the A7R II), but that's likely to change with time.
     
  3. Yong

    Yong Mu-43 Regular

    96
    Sep 25, 2014
    This is exactly opposite to my view. I think there are significant differences when it comes to size and weight of lenses, while marginal IQ disadvantage from smaller sensor size.
     
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I think we're about to see a size change among the major OEMs as well. Nikon's d5500 takes beautiful IQ pics with its 24mp sensor and is relatively small. The d750 is small for FF as is the Sony obviously.

    Nikon has shrunken telephoto with its new fresnel design and there will be more coming. Especially interesting if they start showing up for a Nikon/Samsung hybrid.

    It will be an interesting year for releases and announcements. I personally think MFT is in danger of becoming the "family outing" or street shooter's camera. Not because MFT can't compete, but because new offerings from the majors will start competing in size and cost. Then what?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  5. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    I did a little homework to convince myself that comparing f/2.8 Olympus lenses and f/4 Sony lenses made sense.

    blur.

    This compares background blur. The Sony at f/4 creates a blurrier background than the Olympus at f/2.8 for the same image size (41% greater blur diameter).

    c2.

    These images are from the DPReview image comparison tool. The A7R II appears to have roughly the same noise at ISO 3200 as the E-M1 at 800. So at f/4 the A7R II should still have one stop less noise than the E-M1 at f/2.8.

    It looks like a fair comparison considering background blur and image noise would be the E-M1 system with f/2.8 lenses vs the A7R II system with f/5.6 lenses. Dara says he used f/4 Sony lenses because their quality is roughly comparable to the f/2.8 Olympus lenses.

    Incidentally, I mistakenly compared the E-M5 II and the A7R II. The difference in noise was between 1 and 2 stops.

    Please speak up if you spot a mistake.

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  6. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee

    772
    May 3, 2013
    California
    If "high-end" means f/2.8 zooms, perhaps. Oympus's Pro lenses are all quite massive, relative to other lenses on the system.

    As I see other systems produce camera bodies similar in size to mid-sized M43 bodies -- A6000, Fuji XT-10, Sony A7 even -- I also see the size of the native lenses for the systems, and they (from my limited observation) appear to dwarf the primes available for Micro 4/3. Olympus has some history of making compact lenses (even OM lenses are quite small), but other manufacturers seem less concerned. I assume the smaller sensor also helps.

    Comparing 2x f-stops is useful for comparing depth of field, but I do think it puts too much emphasis on bokeh as the goal of a fast lens (and suggests that less depth of field = always preferred). For exposure, f/2.8 on Micro 4/3 is the same as f/2.8 on a Sony A7. (The ISO difference can make up some of that, but it's also a generational technology gap -- M43 sensors are old at this point -- that's not necessarily inherent to the size.)

    I can see myself getting an A7 (or whatever full-frame mirrorless) in the future, but it'll be for adapted primes, not native lenses.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've been around the A7 vs OMD argument in my mind lots of times. These are the conclusions I've reached:

    - If you compare Oly "Pro" f2.8 zooms versus the Sony f4 zooms then there isn't much in it regarding size and weight of a comparable kit. However, the Sony (esp the A7R ii) will deliver at least an extra stop of noise and DR benefit compared to u43 and of course will give much more detail due to the increased resolution. Pretty much game over for u43 in that sense! Except perhaps for the price.

    - However, the Oly Pro zooms are all big. Do the same comparison with the Panasonic 7-14, 12-35 and 35-100 and the u43 kit is now looking a lot lighter and smaller. Price looks much better too.

    - Now do the comparison with primes and the differences in size really do hit home. All the Oly and Panasonic primes (with perhaps the exception of the Noc 42.5 f1.2) are significantly smaller than the Sony FE equivalents.

    - Now look at prices. Nearly all the Sony lenses (and esp the primes) are eye-wateringly expensive. Second-hand market is currently almost non-existent.

    Finally, add in the following factors:

    - Sony battery life is poor.
    - Sony not quite there yet on body features and ergonomics.
    - Sony lens coverage, esp long tele lenses, is patchy.
    - Sony A7rii is almost 3x the price of the E-M1.

    So, for the moment I'm sticking with u43, but I definitely think if Sony (or a 3rd party) could come up with some cheaper primes (and maybe a little more compact) then the game could change dramatically. I think also that u43 us living on borrowed time with the 16Mp sensors.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    As I understand it, you can cut two m43 sensors from the same silicon as one full frame. So the cost is (and will remain) half that of the larger sensor. As long as the sensor cost is a significant portion of the body cost - and currently there is no sign that that will change - m43 bodies will always have a cost advantage.
     
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I can't stop looking at the d750. Not leaving MFT, but for some reason that one tempts me.

    This time next year this discussion will be much more interesting with more options introduced or at least announced. I hope the e-m1m2 ends the discussion.
     
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    For the slower prime lenses, I largely agree, although that seems to be more a market they've left open by choice rather than technical necessity. For instance, the Sony 35/2.8 for is smaller and lighter than the Olympus 17/1.8. Certainly they'll never have the kind of pancakes that we do (14/2.5 or 20/1.7).

    But for faster primes ('higher-end') I don't see so much of a difference. Consider the PL 25/1.4 and Sony 55/1.8 or PL 42.5/1.2 and Sony 85/1.8. The Sony's are larger, yes, but by maybe 20% or so in each dimension. If Olympus comes out with a line of f/1.2 primes, I suspect that trend will continue.

    I don't think the point is that less DoF is always preferred - it's that you have options with full-frame at f/2.8 that you don't have with f/2.8 on m4/3 - so insisting on comparing lenses with the same f/stop isn't really apples-to-apples.

    Adapted lenses certainly have their own challenges (especially wide-angles), but the ability to use them without any crop factor is definitely a perk, especially now that autofocus and auto-aperture exist for Canon EF and Nikon F mount.
     
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    This is true, though the Sony now gives a lot a more effective reach (on the long end, thanks to cropping) and light (on the wide end thanks to the effective aperture).

    As I noted above, with the primes, it's a bit more favorable to m4/3, but I don't really see a significant difference where equivalents exist (i.e. the faster primes). The main issue today is Sony simply doesn't make a lot of those equivalent lenses, and may never.

    Agree on all of these. And given their past history, it'll likely be some time before any of these issues are addressed. I'm certainly not expecting to switch any time soon.
     
  12. Lodos

    Lodos Mu-43 Regular

    you can get almost 4 (3.8) m43 sensors from a full frame sensor size chip area. 2x crop factor is there for both x and y axes, converting to 4x area.
    and yes the cost advantage coming from the sensor size will remain there (at 4x). but the final price change is not fully correlated with the sensor size (although the impact is there)..
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Each of those apart from the 16-35 are noticeably (but not significantly I admit) bigger than their Olympus PRO equivalents, which aren't really equivalents though because the 12-40 goes to 80mm equivalent and does 0.3x magnification where as the 24-70 only does 0.2x. Similar story with the 40-150 which goes to 300mm equivalent and does 0.21x magnification versus 0.13x with the 70-200.

    If you compare with their closer equivalents in magnification and field of view (Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100), the size and weight difference is quite significant. E-M1 + 12-35 + 35-100 + 7-14 PRO = 1696g
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    In general, I can see where you're going with this line of argument and I think you may be right. So far as IQ goes, there is no substitute for square millimeters and a bigger sensor will always perform better than a smaller one (given comparable sensor technology). It's essential therefore that the smaller sensor system should offer something that the bigger sensor doesn't. This is where the old 4/3 system ended up as a lame duck - smaller sensor but big bodies, big lenses and poorer IQ. For me, u43 should be about smaller lighter gear. In this sense I think (and always have BTW) that the Oly Pro lenses were the wrong turn to take. They're all too big IMHO and invite comparisons with FF lenses from the Sony camp.

    I personally think the u43 world needs to be concentrating on getting a new generation of sensor technology into their cameras (at least BSI - lower noise and better DR, perhaps with better resolution), backed up with top-class IBIS, sensor-shift hi-res modes etc. But still keeping the small, light and (relatively) affordable concept. That's the differentiator.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I too think FF probably makes more sense for professionals who demand greatest IQ, but how many professionals carry around their FF rig all day when not working?

    There's a more subtle issue that pure numbers on paper alone cannot really attest to. A big difference I find is the weight of a single camera/lens unit in my hand or hanging from a strap. Maybe I'm not buff enough, but I find the zone of tolerance for me to be a fairly sharp cut off as it approaches 1kg. A Sony FF rig with a 24-70 goes over 1kg, where as a m4/3 one with an E-M1 is about 200g under. I tried the 40-150 PRO in a store and it's simply too heavy for me to be carrying all day. Again, numbers don't cut it, that makes a big difference for my wrist / shoulder when I carry my camera practically all the time.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    You're right. Price may be almost uncorrelated with sensor size. Actually, the cost equation is quite complex. Semiconductor device cost is driven by a number of factors, not just device size:
    • Leverage - The number of devices that can be printed on the vendor's standard silicon wafer. Picture a grid of devices on the wafer and count them. That's leverage. Just due to the geometry of printing large rectangular devices on a round wafer, a 4:1 area will probably result in better than a 4:1 leverage advantage. It costs about the same to process a wafer regardless of device leverage.
    • Yield - At the end, what % of the devices on the wafer are good? The smaller the device, the higher the yield. Think about it this way: If you have four devices in the same silicon area as one bigger device, a dust particle (aka "defect") that kills the bigger device will probably only kill one of the smaller devices.
    • Volume - The more devices you run, the better you get at running them. Higher volumes lead to higher yields and reduced production costs.
    • Pricing - The market and the vendor's market strategy dictates pricing. Pricing may even be lower than cost if the vendor is trying to establish its position or to grow market share. It may also be wildly higher if the vendor hopes to establish itself as or is already the premium choice. (Not that this seems to be working for Hasselblad.) Pricing drives volume drives yields drives cost drives pricing.
    So, the larger and lower-volume Sony sensor undoubtedly costs significantly more than an M43 sensor, but that's about all you can say for sure.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'll wait a bit. FF will always have larger lenses due to larger surface area and aspect ratio. Mu43 satisfies my needs for now. Longer fast lenses will be large and their presence in the mu43 ecosystem is more for completeness than consistency with the size ethos. If they made a smaller 5.6 300mm the trolls would be out in force. The 2.8 normal zooms have sold well for Olympus and Panasonic. The system wouldn't be better off if they had never been made. They need newer sensors eventually, and I'm hopeful we'll see signs of this next year. Since I'm already invested in mu43, the cost of switching is high and there's no reason to hurry in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 3
  18. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Sony FE16-35, 24-70, 70-200 – the comparison
    Olympus 7-14, 12-40, 40-150 – 94% the cost, 98% the size, 94% the weight
    Panasonic 7-14, 12-35, 35-100 – 80% the cost, 60% the size, 54% the weight
    Olympus 7-14, Panasonic 12-35, 35-100 – 88% of the cost, 69% the size, 67% of the weight (Added for Brian)

    > As far as primes, Sony can't even begin to compare - have to see what happens this year, on their lens roadmap they were supposed to announce or release many fast primes in 2015.
    > On a system basis, Sony is not up to Nikon, Canon, or Micro Four Thirds.
    > Sony is neither at the professional level nor the doorway for beginning photographers.
    > However Sony is aggressive, maybe much more so then all other manufactures.

    As to @dhazeghi@dhazeghi statement "I wonder if we're headed down the same path again." Not yet. Wait for Nikon and Canon to start true competing mirrorless systems, see how aggressive Sony stays, and what does Fuji have cooking?

    2016 will be an interesting year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    For a comparable kit I think you should be using the Oly 7-14 as wjiang did, not the Panasonic, which is f/4.

    Brian
     
  20. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Added
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1