m 4/3 vs APS-C

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by mesmerized, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012

    I like my E-PL1. I do. I really do. I'm just an amateur... and sometimes it feels like I'm more into the whole technology factor rather than pics themselves. Anyway, I've been here in China for quite a while and I have noticed that people buy DSLRs a lot. But that's not exactly the point I wanna inquire about... I just want to hear your opinions on the system factor. There are so many cameras on the market and I'm thinking about getting myself something new...

    What makes you choose a m 4/3 rather than for example a NEX-5 with an APS-C sensor? Aren't the latter ones simply better when it comes to picture quality?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    The EM5 slightly beats out the NEX-5N for image quality (and all APS-C Canons too). The E-PL5/E-PM2 are rumored to be even better. I don't find a dramatic depth of field difference either. I don't find it's productive to get hung up on sensor sizes, because they simply don't provide much useful information about a camera.

    Plus, have you ever USED a NEX? It's a very... unique experience and a lot of us have a lot of difficulty adapting to their peculiar outlook on the world.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
    Real Name:
    I have both APS-C DSLR and micro 4/3 cameras, the DSLR is much better at tracking fast moving motor bikes across multiple shots but the form factor of the micro 4/3rds camera means I carry it a lot more and use it more.

    The difference in quality isn't the defining difference to me, it's firstly the weight and secondly the multi-shot tracking difference.
  4. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Thanks Geoff.

    Well, let's put DSL-Rs aside... There's plenty of light, mirrorless cameras on the market with an APS-C sensor (Samsung, Sony, now Canon) and I'm wondering whether m4/3 can stand a chance against them...
  5. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    If we were all just buying sensors, then yes, a larger one has theoretical advantages for performance with regards to noise, dynamic range, etc.

    But in front of a sensor is a lens, which is mounted to a camera body. Add those factors in, and you have to consider the whole experience of using such a tool rather than one aspect.
  6. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Thanks Promit. I haven't noticed your post. Sorry about that.

    No, I haven't used any cameras from the NEX series... but their price is pretty good. If I were to change my E-PL1 then I'd consider getting a NEX. Olly's flagship is expensive...
  7. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    M43 had a head start on the mirrorless market, but continue to have a healthy lead on the Asian market share. See link: Japan: Full Mirrorless market analysis | Mirrorless Rumors

    Who really knows where the tides will turn in the next 5 years - my guess is that it'll be M43 followed by NEX followed by Canon.
  8. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Real Name:
    Mike Aubrey
    The EPL5 and EPM2 aren't as expensive and they're as good, if not better, IQ-wise compared to the OM-D.

    The difference IQ-wise between APS-C and μ43 has never been big enough to interest me even slightly.

    Maybe if there was better RAW support for Fuji...then I'd think about it. But it would be secondary.
  9. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Real Name:
    The real question is if the other mirrorless systems can stand any chance against :43:.

    Sony: you can count good lenses using the fingers on one hand; and have fingers to spare. :biggrin:

    Canon: the EOS-M is the most arrogant attempt at mirrorless ever. It's "look, here is our half-hearted excuse for a mirrorless camera, but you know it will be good because we are Canon. By the way, we use the same 3 year old sensor and, no, there is no EVF available. But we are Canon". Ehmmm... thanks, but no thanks.

    Samsung: does Samsung make mirrorless? Somebody has to tell them about it. Honestly, Samsung makes mirrorless cameras the same way BMW makes bicycles (if you find the reference awkward, google "BMW bicycle"; I'm sure you'll agree with the connection :wink:)
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Exactly. The OP asked "Aren't the latter ones simply better when it comes to picture quality?" The answer to that is no. "Picture quality" depends on sensor image quality, lens quality, camera quality (eg AF, IBIS, etc) and photographer quality. The only one of these categories where some (Sony and Fuji) APS-C sensors come out slightly ahead is sensor image quality.
  11. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    What hasn't been stated by the OP is that we really don't know what the OP wants in a camera system.

    Until that is known, all responses are like shooting into the wind....
  12. Hoop99

    Hoop99 New to Mu-43

    Oct 31, 2012
    The first reason I went m43 is I value glass before cameras. With some absolutely gorgeous fast primes, m43 has a major advantage on quality lenses over the APS-C mirrorless platforms at the moment. Add in Panasonic's new fast zooms, and the gap widens.

    I never really considered the NEX because, as of yet, it doesn't seem to have lenses worthy of its rather impressive bodies.

    Samsung, on the other hand, does seem to have some decent glass, but the NX system is just not as established as m43.

    Fuji is in a similar position. What there is looks good, but there just isn't enough there, yet.

    The second reason is the form factor of the OM-D. I need a built in VF and a body that doesn't seem completely imbalanced by non-pancake lenses. As a long time SLR user, the OM-D just fits me better than any of the APS-C options, barring the NX10/NX20, and maybe Fuji's offerings.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Be careful when trying to compare cameras and sensors for image quality because

    a) The sensor is just one link in the chain,
    b) It's easy to compare sensors by test results but numbers by themselves don't make an image,
    c) You idea of image quality is likely different to someone else's, and
    d) The way that you shoot and process images might work better with one particular type of camera that isn't commonly considered to have better image quality
  14. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Real Name:
    I like the interface/controls of the NEX cameras just fine. However, I doubt you will find much difference in image quality between the 16mp Olympus/Sony sensors as compared to the Nex 5-N/R-Nex 6 or even a lot of difference with the Nex-7 in most cases.

    What you will notice is how little lens selection is with the NEX system compared to the selection of the NEX bodies and the m43 system lenses. It really depends what you want to do with your shooting and what you expect. If you're concerned about Image Quality because of the sensor size difference, unless you spend hours upon hours comparing files @ 3:1 in LR, you're just spinning around in circles. I've run thousands of files through both the NEX & m43 variants.
  15. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    APS-C has never held any fascination for me. It's size advantage is mostly on the long end of the 3:2 ratio, and I prefer a squarer format, so I'd often crop it. On the short side we're talking maybe 15%, which isn't enough to matter. So on size alone, I don't think APS-C sensors have that big an advantage, and on the technological aspects 4/3 sensors continue to hold their own. The E-M5 gives all that I need for the size prints I'm going to make, and a lot more than many APS-C cameras. It and the primes I use with it hold up well against the scanned negatives from my Hasselblad 500CM 6x6, a camera I love. If I were shooting for an advertising house that was going to make billboards of my files bigger would be necessary, but a lot bigger than APS-C. I don't do shooting that I need fast tracking for, so it's not an issue for me. I don't doubt it's a real issue for some people, but I'm not one of them. Really the only bigger sensor digital camera I long for is a Leica M9 -- and I'm never going to get one unless I hit the lottery. Maybe some day I'll get an outdated digital back for that Hasselblad.

    35mm was the small format of its time. No one complains -- at least not now -- that Cartier Bresson's stuff was not shot with a 4x5 press camera.
  16. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    Sold off my nex-5n and moved to OMD, and i've been VERY happy with the change. Better handling, faster responses (incuding AF), great IBiS and much better lenses. For me, the OMD completely trumped the Nex-5N.

    Recently i've picked up a fuji x pro 1... Now, if you want to talk about asp-c camera giving better result than m43, i think you should be talking about the Fujis. Then again, for the fujis, it may be more because of their Xtrans technology than the size of their sensor.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 18, 2012
    Well, it's hard to say. I guess I asked the question because I wanted to run into a bit of a theoretical discussion on the advantages and disadvanatges of mirrorless cameras...

    The thing is that I'm considering buying a new camera and the number of products on the market is overwhelming. Yet, I don't want this thread to be about what I should buy.

    I'd like to find some ultimate answers to some eternal questions concerning these two sensors (m4/3 and APS-C) in terms of their pros and cons (with the main focus on picture quality)
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If you are only talking about the sensors, that is a different question than you asked at the outset when you mentioned "picture quality" and "wondering whether m4/3 can stand a chance".

    Current APS-C sensors will have slightly less noise (overall) than current MFT sensors. In terms of dynamic range, current MFT sensors (E-M5, E-PM2, E-PL5, and presumably GH3) probably outperform both Canon and Samsung APS-C while lagging very slightly behind Sony APS-C. In terms of absolute resolution, some of the APS-C sensors offer higher megapixel counts than MFT sensors.
  19. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    rob collins
    Well if we are looking at the 'eternal question' between the two sensors we can say that as the APS-C sensor is bigger than the M43 sensor it should have some advantage over M43 in terms of quality and DOF. At the present time there is no significant difference in quality but APS might move ahead and M43 might have to catch up again.

    The reason that M43 users are not so worried about this is because a smaller sensor means that lenses can be built inherently smaller. So for instance, M43 already has a 35-100 2.8 while APS mirrorless does not and noone knows just how big it might be when it arrives, if it does.

    So the answer to the 'eternal question' is that APS in terms of mirrorless has a slight 'inherent' advantage when it comes to the sensors themselves but that leads to an 'inherent' disadvantage when it comes to making lenses that match the sensor and the size of mirrorless camera bodies.
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Too many answers to that question to list.

    No. On to the next question...