Engadget asks if M43 Cameras have a future

robcee

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Engadget's Nick Summers has a compelling summary of the discussions that have come before, including Tony Northrup and David Thorpe's passionate opinions. And, I think the article makes a pretty strong case for the continued existence of the platform. I mean, we're all here because we love our cameras and find them to be excellent tools for photography, right?

Do Micro Four Thirds cameras have a future?

Have a read, drop some comments...
 

ijm5012

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I think they do, when configured appropriately.

While an E-M1 II and 25 PRO is basically the same size and weight as a Z6 and 50/1.8 S, I can never get a FF camera kit to equal the size of something like an E-M5 II and 25/1.8 (or Fuji X-T30 and 35/2 WR). The small size is an advantage that m43 manufacturers can exploit, giving them a leg-up on larger sensor systems for users that prioritize size but don't want to skimp on quality.

The same goes for telephoto reach. With the exception of the PF lenses from Nikon, I can't get something that offers the reach and optical quality of the 300/4 PRO in anything approaching that size/weight/cost. Telephoto optics are another area where m43 can have a significant leg-up on the larger sensor competitions.
 
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Honestly, I'm here for the community and the friendships. The thing that brings us together is photography an the fact that we may have commonality is gear use.

I find some of the arguments in the article valid, while others not and gathering "credibility" from relatively "click-bait" authors is not something that instills confidence in the reader. When coming up with articles like this, it is better to rely on first hand experience that riding on the backs of others that have dubious reputations at best.

I would not put Northrup and Thorpe on the same playing field...one is far superior to the other in credibility.

While I wish m43 all the best, I think that Pana-Leica is going to eventually either only going to have a GH line and that is it or they will eventually give up on m43 all together if the 135 sensor size line takes off.

Olympus doesn't want to seem to be interested in much outside the higher end cameras and they unnecessarily cripple the lower end cameras AF.

While m43 has a great product, it is just not evolving enough for new adopters to take it seriously at this time. Not with all the competition currently in the market (Fuji/Sony in APS-C) and soon to come in full frame (Canon and Nikon budget minded mirrorless).

Interesting times....just my thoughts on the whole thing...hope I'm wrong and m43 figures out a way to kill it.
 

D7k1

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I think as long as Oly does well in Japan and has a strong EM5 for the US people will see the lens size and selection as a user advantage. Panasonic will most
likely keep the GH as the video market is important to them. No one knows what will happen in the photographic market but the ride is and will be turbulent for all IMHO.
 
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With 20MP sensors, mu43 has significantly narrowed the gap with APS-C. The quality of the lenses and the size and weight of the camera and lenses in the system make for a compelling system.

My brother-in-law upgraded a few year ago from an APS-C to a FF Nikon. It is HUGE. So I chuckled when I saw that he recently purchased an EM10 II (or perhaps it was a III) for occasions when he doesn't want to lug his Nikon FF gear around. When he starts to compare the image quality of mu43 with his Nikon, he may see that his massive gear is not needed.
 

Mike Wingate

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When they stop selling film for my GX80, then maybe I will change. Small size, low weight, 20mp plus. Nice evf, 3 way tilt screen, joystick. Single card slot, some attempt at a grip. Please.
 

demiro

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I think they do, when configured appropriately.

While an E-M1 II and 25 PRO is basically the same size and weight as a Z6 and 50/1.8 S, I can never get a FF camera kit to equal the size of something like an E-M5 II and 25/1.8 (or Fuji X-T30 and 35/2 WR). The small size is an advantage that m43 manufacturers can exploit, giving them a leg-up on larger sensor systems for users that prioritize size but don't want to skimp on quality.

The same goes for telephoto reach. With the exception of the PF lenses from Nikon, I can't get something that offers the reach and optical quality of the 300/4 PRO in anything approaching that size/weight/cost. Telephoto optics are another area where m43 can have a significant leg-up on the larger sensor competitions.
I think this is right. I wonder why we don't see O and P refresh the smaller lenses and then push that angle. Or the idea of cheaper and smaller tele options. It seems like they are insistent on competing in every way with every other manufacturer, rather than accepting that some level of compromise is necessary while selling the heck out of the positives. I'm glad that we never get in to that rut. ;)
 

ijm5012

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I think this is right. I wonder why we don't see O and P refresh the smaller lenses and then push that angle. Or the idea of cheaper and smaller tele options. It seems like they are insistent on competing in every way with every other manufacturer, rather than accepting that some level of compromise is necessary while selling the heck out of the positives. I'm glad that we never get in to that rut. ;)
Yeah, I think a refreshed series of f/1.8 or f/2 primes from Olympus, where they all include the snap-back focus ring and weather sealing would be a big hit (especially with the supposed E-M5 III coming later this year, a small camera that is still weather sealed).

It seems to be working great for Fuji with their new WR prime lenses. It would be nice to see Olympus do the same.
 
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Honestly, I'm here for the community and the friendships. The thing that brings us together is photography an the fact that we may have commonality is gear use.

I find some of the arguments in the article valid, while others not and gathering "credibility" from relatively "click-bait" authors is not something that instills confidence in the reader. When coming up with articles like this, it is better to rely on first hand experience that riding on the backs of others that have dubious reputations at best.

I would not put Northrup and Thorpe on the same playing field...one is far superior to the other in credibility.

While I wish m43 all the best, I think that Pana-Leica is going to eventually either only going to have a GH line and that is it or they will eventually give up on m43 all together if the 135 sensor size line takes off.

Olympus doesn't want to seem to be interested in much outside the higher end cameras and they unnecessarily cripple the lower end cameras AF.

While m43 has a great product, it is just not evolving enough for new adopters to take it seriously at this time. Not with all the competition currently in the market (Fuji/Sony in APS-C) and soon to come in full frame (Canon and Nikon budget minded mirrorless).

Interesting times....just my thoughts on the whole thing...hope I'm wrong and m43 figures out a way to kill it.

I don't really see Panasonic giving up on the GH line. It is very well entrenched and they are THE system for filmmakers on a budget. Panasonic never had FF before and in an interview with one of the senior executives, they said that they were applying the lessons learned from mu43 to create their FF line. Someone commented that the S1 is basically a FF of the G9 or GH5. So the foray into FF is an experiment for Panasonic. With their knowledge of video, Panasonic may end up creating a higher end video market niche between the lower end GH gear and higher priced "professional" video equipment.

I think mu43 is evolving quite nicely. I have been in the system for 6 or 7 years now and the cameras have improved, the image quality has improved (bigger sensors, no AA filter, improved engines, dual IS, etc.), and the lens options have really opened up. The number of fast primes (f2.0, f1.8, f1.7), the ultra-fast primes (f1.4, f1.2), and zooms have blossomed. All this during a time that the camera market is shrinking and camera companies are struggling to make money.
 

griswoldo

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Yeah, I think a refreshed series of f/1.8 or f/2 primes from Olympus, where they all include the snap-back focus ring and weather sealing would be a big hit (especially with the supposed E-M5 III coming later this year, a small camera that is still weather sealed).
I'd love to see this. Would be nice if that's what this quote is referring to:
MFT users will benefit from new lenses too. "Smaller lenses, better quality," Murata said. "I cannot say more, but I'm pretty sure once those lenses are available, the existing MFT users will be attracted to own those lenses...."
 

ijm5012

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I'd love to see this. Would be nice if that's what this quote is referring to:
Yeah, while the 25/45/75 are optically fantastic, the 12 & 17 leave some room for improvement. It would be nice to see updates to those lens' optical formulae, while keeping the snap-back focus ring but introducing weather sealing. A weather sealed 9mm would be icing on the cake IMO.

An E-M5 III with a handful of pocket-size weather sealed primes would be fantastic, and get a number of people excited about the system (Fuji seems to have success with their similar lenses, although the weather-sealed X-T3 is a bit taller than the E-M5 II).

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Pluttis

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Yeah, while the 25/45/75 are optically fantastic, the 12 & 17 leave some room for improvement. It would be nice to see updates to those lens' optical formulae, while keeping the snap-back focus ring but introducing weather sealing. A weather sealed 9mm would be icing on the cake IMO.

An E-M5 III with a handful of pocket-size weather sealed primes would be fantastic, and get a number of people excited about the system (Fuji seems to have success with their similar lenses, although the weather-sealed X-T3 is a bit taller than the E-M5 II).

View attachment 738337
Agree, that would be a great update to existing f1.8 lens line up.

Would be nice if the made also updated the 25mm and 45mm with metal housing so the feel and finish where in same line as the 12mm, 17mm and 75mm.

In reality the X-T3 is quite a bit bigger than the E-M5 markII.
 

tkbslc

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M43 has a massive edge for weather sealed zooms, though. And honestly, when it is raining, I'm not going to be changing lenses or my sensor will get wet. I wouldn't mind a sealed compact 17mm or 25mm, as those are more general purpose FL. But a 45 or 75? I'm not very likely to go out in the rain all day with just a 75mm.

Since they offered the 12-60 and 45-200 II as kit lenses, they cost peanuts on on the used market. Can get the pair for $400 pretty easily. 100-300 II is a good value as well.

Version 1 of 12-35mm and 35-100 f2.8 are under $500 each on the used market. Nothing else weather sealed really compares to those in terms of quality/speed/size/cost ratio - on any system.

We also have a cheap sealed super zoom (14-150 II) and another from Panasonic on the way. 12-200 is, too.

And of course, pretty much all of the high end zooms are sealed.
 

ijm5012

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Agree, that would be a great update to existing f1.8 lens line up.

Would be nice if the made also updated the 25mm and 45mm with metal housing so the feel and finish where in same line as the 12mm, 17mm and 75mm.

In reality the X-T3 is quite a bit bigger than the E-M5 markII.
Yes, updating the 25 & 45 to the "premium" line of lenses via the metal exterior housing would be nice.

Regarding the X-T3 though, "quite a bit bigger" may be a wee-bit of a stretch. The camera is 8mm taller and 9mm wider (hardly "quite a bit" IMO), yet only weighs 43g more (likely because it lacks Olympus' fantastic IBIS). Having said that, the X-T3 certainly has an edge when it comes to physical functionality. It has an AF joystick, as well as physical dials to select the drive/bracket mode as well as the metering mode.

I'm 4+ years since the E-M5 II has launched, Olympus has learned ways to improve the physical interface the user has with the camera. Hopefully we'll find out later this year.
 
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M43 has a massive edge for weather sealed zooms, though. And honestly, when it is raining, I'm not going to be changing lenses or my sensor will get wet. I wouldn't mind a sealed compact 17mm or 25mm, as those are more general purpose FL. But a 45 or 75? I'm not very likely to go out in the rain all day with just a 75mm.

Since they offered the 12-60 and 45-200 II as kit lenses, they cost peanuts on on the used market. Can get the pair for $400 pretty easily. 100-300 II is a good value as well.

Version 1 of 12-35mm and 35-100 f2.8 are under $500 each on the used market. Nothing else weather sealed really compares to those in terms of quality/speed/size/cost ratio - on any system.

We also have a cheap sealed super zoom (14-150 II) and another from Panasonic on the way. 12-200 is, too.

And of course, pretty much all of the high end zooms are sealed.
But some of us prefer primes. :(
 

ac12

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For me it does.
I had my D70 for 12 years, until it died, and I expect to have/use my m4/3 cameras for as long.

My DX camera + FX lens has become too heavy for day to day use or travel (as I have gotten older). It has been relegated to specialty use, where the m4/3 does not do well (fast sports).
I much prefer the lighter m4/3 kit. But even with m4/3, my travel kit is the lighter non-Pro lenses.

I expect the same progression for any aging photographer.
If you want to keep shooting, you have to lighten the kit.

What Ian said is also very true.
I was shooting a baseball game from outfield with the 75-300. With a FX/FF camera, I would need a huge 150-600 lens . . . ugh, the weight :(
 

pdk42

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If Mark Twain had a m43 camera he would surely have said "reports of the system's death have been greatly exaggerated"! Truth is that m43 still has a place when you want a system that delivers excellent (but not the best) IQ, small size, light weight, reasonable cost, massive lens range and excellent features (IBIS etc). Any of its component parts (esp the sensor) won't set the world alight, but as a whole it still is very relevant. As I posted in this thread, I've looked at FF many times but have kept with m43. I could afford FF but I stick with m43 because I like the size/cost/IQ balance - it suits what I do in photography and I don't find the IQ compromise affects me to the point where I want to forgo the wider system benefits.

However, I really do hope that Oly and Panasonic (Oly especially) don't lose sight of the niche that I've described above in their desire to go further and further upmarket with the resulting ballooning in size and cost. The E-M1x is already irrelevant to me and TBH the G9 is too - based on size alone. The Pro primes lenses tempted me somewhat but I've resisted the temptation and now I realise that they would do very little for me except empty my pocket and load up my camera bag.

For me (and I don't know if there are enough like me to influence the manufacturers' directions), I'd like to see:

- A really exceptional E-M5iii. New EVF, new sensor, HHHR, live ND, PDAF, more computation stuff. Price around $1200.
- A refresh of the f1.8/f2 primes - metal, consistent design, improved 12 & 17 IQ, WR
- A T&S lens - ideally around 9-12mm (yes, I know it will be expensive).

I hope that we're not seeing the sunset of m43. It would be a shame since I can't see anywhere else I'd go. I don't like the Fuji haptics or the files. Sony APSC bodies are soulless and the lens range is very poor. Nikon FF is nice, but the size and costs escalates quickly. The Leica CL is nice, but the lens range is again limited and also $$$ for what it is. Please Olympus - keep an aging man happy!! ;)
 
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