I keep trying other systems but can't let go of u43

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pdk42, May 28, 2016.

  1. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Some of you might remember that I had a dally with the A7R and then the A7Rii recently. Whilst both delivered excellent IQ, neither convinced me overall that they could replace my E-M1 system. The main reasons were lenses (size, range & cost) and the relative lack of features of the Sony bodies (e.g. no live composite, no focus stacking, IBIS lagging a long way behind, generally slower and more clunky operation, very poor battery life, ...). I'm not rubbishing the Sony system though - just that its improved IQ isn't enough to offset the many other downsides as I see it.

    To satisfy my curiosity for the other obvious u43 rival I recently picked up a used Fuji X-E1 and a 35mm f1.4 at a good price. Now, I realise that the X-E1 is a pretty old body and the 35/1.4 is one of the early Fuji X lenses with a reputation for slow AF but I thought I'd go for it anyhow since it's the noise that I really wanted to evaluate (I see noise at higher ISO as the only serious challenge with u43). Whilst it's certainly true that images at ISO 3200 on the Fuji do seem smoother than E-M1 images, adding some NR to latter's files gets them pretty close without losing out on sharpness and detail.

    As with the Sony comparison, I'm seeing slightly better IQ but it's not night and day and I doubt either the Sony or the Fuji would make a shot that the E-M1 wouldn't. As a system though the Fuji does have some downsides. The lens range is certainly better than the Sony but most of the lenses are pretty expensive and they are slightly larger than u43 equivalents. Except for a few zooms, the lenses don't have IS and the lack of IBIS can't be underestimated in dealing with lower light. Then there's the slow AF and clunky handling (although I'm sure the Xt1 etc are much better).

    Anyhow - net, net... as nice as the Fuji is, it doesn't offer enough in improved IQ to beat the Oly u43 system. As an overall package it's very hard to beat u43 - great bodies, stunning IBIS, amazing lens range, more than enough IQ for most. What's not to like.

    Its one remaining achilles heel (at least for me) is noise at higher ISO. I'm optimistic that this will be fixed in time - maybe even with the E-M1ii and its hand-holdable Hi Res.
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  2. bahamot

    bahamot Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    Your post here and at my own thread just convinced me not to get the A7. Thanks :D
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  3. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I'm interested in drinking the a7 series cool aid one day, but atm have other priorities (namely our 3 month old daughter).
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  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    To sort of illustrate just how good technically u43 can be (no claims to artistic fame here!) - I took this yesterday with the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 on the E-M1. I made the mistake of not stopping down so this is shot wide open and yet it's very sharp with great "micro-contrast". What's more, I applied nearly 100 shadow uplift on the bottom part of the shot since it was in heavy shadow. There's very little noise to talk of. My nephew was with me using his Canon 6d and took almost exactly the same shot. There's almost nothing to choose between them. Click through to the Flickr page if you want and look at the hi-res version.

    Durham Cathedral II
    by Paul Kaye, on Flickr
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  5. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    :popcorm2: the same reason why A7 series is out of my radar.

    I find Fuji's High ISO is not natural. Too much noise reduction. Plus their lenses also big and don't have live composite, image stacking, focus bracketing, colour profile etc ;)

    and the dynamic range.
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Yeah, high ISO and long exposure noise, plus C-AF/tracking are the main limitations. DR is fine IMO, it's at least in the same ballpark as most other formats.

    It's a shame neither 7-14s take filters natively, we've only got the 9-18mm which isn't very sharp in the corners and the super expensive Kowa 8.5mm manual prime. Every other system has a decent UWA 16mm equivalent or wider that takes filters natively.
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Nice picture!

    But not a lot of strong highlights in that picture... I find start bumping into the DR issue when exposing for strong highlights and then pushing shadows in post. Wasn't one of the original reasons you wanted to try sony FF for better DR in these sorts of situations?
  8. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    I've not used the latest FF cameras to know how much better they handle noise in high contrast situations but there are at least two ways to deal with this using m43: bracketing and multiple average exposures.

    If I bracket, I tend to blend exposures together manually in photoshop - I'm not looking to create some technicolour hdr image.

    Shooting multiple shots of the same scene and then averaging in PS will reduce noise.

    Both of these techniques are, admittedly, only useful for static scenes, and I guess FF makes sense if you are shooting gigs etc - its the right tool for the job.