M43 and the siren call of FF

NCV

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I have just finished turning one of my photo projects into a Blurb book and whilst uploading it a few questions about the final output and use of my photography came to mind. This led to a thought about the best format for my work.

I must admit I rarely print and I hardly ever print large. I like to create projects to work on which I first turn into an Epub to get the sequencing as I like it and then when I can get around to it into a print on demand book. Like everybody I also post lots of small JPEG’s on the Net.

I think like lots of us there is the siren call of the FF format always at the back of my mind especially as Pentax and Sony are adopting IBIS like stabilization in their cameras.

But then if I look at the Epubs I create with Book Creator ( a steal for a few Euro's Book Creator - create and publish ebooks to the iBooks Store or Google Play Store ) on my iPad where my JPEG’s are downsized to 2MB and still give a spectacular experience whilst flicking through them and then my Blurb books which are also downsized I come to another conclusion. The A4 and A3 prints I sometimes do are also prefect even at 1600.

My conclusion is that all I really need with the gear we have today is the smallest format that has a wide selection of lenses including fish eyes and good luminous lenses etcetera. For me M43 fits the bill perfectly and “upgrading” for me would be a waste of money as I would see no difference in the final output. If and only if I printed large then the answer would be different.

Any thoughts?

(PS. note I have written this post in the first person. I am I and you are you)
 

Austrokiwi

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I have published articles( with pictures in them, I was using full frame only and to be honest at times the pictures were too large for articles( I was reducing them substantively. I added a MFT camera to my tool box, and one thing I noticed immediately was the more "square" shape of the pictures , which I like. I think there is a place for both, each has its strengths and weaknesses.
 

oldracer

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The first thing you learn in six-sigma and other quality training is this: Quality is not some abstract thing where some is good and more is better. Quality is conformance with requirements.

For example, if I am machining a block of steel to use as a door stop, getting it sized to 1" +/- 0.0001" is no better than sizing it +/- 0.1" The latter is good enough. The former, holding a tolerance of a ten-thousands of an inch is actually worse because it is a total waste of time.

IMO the same thing applies to my camera equipment, and my use of it is similar to yours. [edit: referring to the OP] My M43 equipment is good enough. To invest the money in FF equipment and to suffer as a pack mule carrying it around is a total waste. The cost and hassle of dealing with FF equipment would not improve the quality of my work at all.
 
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When it comes to gear, I adhere to two principles: First, horse for courses, and second, to each his or her own. I love :mu43: for what it is - it's still the most compact system that offers a full set of all useful lenses and tools apart from very solid IQ. Furthermore, I like shooting cameras with EVFs - a lot! The ability to do what someone online has called "pre-chimping" is useful and fun.

But here's the thing: While I could take pictures of all subjects I photograph with that system and get good results, I absolutely couldn't get all images I currently do if I didn't shoot Nikon FF and APS-C DSLRs, too. I know it's not necessary at all - but it's fun and very rewarding. Depending on what I want to do, the different strengths of the respective systems are real assets - I don't say that one system's essentially better than the other (except for numbers - but they don't make the image), but they're different enough and provide sufficiently different sets of properties and results that I really appreciate having the choice.

A couple of cases in point:
  • If I wanted to do urban reportage with a strong focus on quick shooting on the go (catching "real life", e.g. for advertising purposes), I *could* do that with FF - but why would I want to? I can get images with great sharpness and detail from my :mu43: gear - and in operation (using S-AF), it's at least as fast and even more reliable than the big guns would be (the only exception being switch-on time). The E-M10 with the 12-40mm (including the additional grip!) is hardly heavier than a FF *body*, let alone the same body with a comparable lens attached (that'd push that combo to at least twice the weight). The greater depth of field combined with good light gathering capabilty is an added bonus in that case - it allows for some leeway when it comes to moving subjects, even when the lens is wide open. And because of the convenient weight and size of the complete setup, carrying it around all day is no problem at all.
  • If I travel, I take the :mu43: system - or rather, a suitable subset of it; it may have its limits, but the smaller size and weight make it ultimately more fun to carry while still covering lots of situations. And again, in most cases, IQ is at least sufficient - and more often, really good.
  • If I need maximum dynamic range and low light performance, however, the additional bulk of FF is well worth it - crop out a quarter of an image shot at ISO 6400 for print publication (something I did last month - out of necessity) from a :mu43: file? I don't think it'd work out - but I can avoid that kind of issue because if I have to shoot in a situation that may require that kind of approach, I use FF.
  • If I have to cover an event (like I've had to do a lot recently), I use FF, period. Why? Well, while it certainly is heavier and bulkier, I can slap on one of my f/4 zooms (they have O.I.S.) and more or less forget about the setup, almost up to the point when the lights go out, and still get fully workable images. That's just not doable with :mu43:, not even with the otherwise great f/2.8 zooms - and with APS-C, it would require very bright lenses that are so big and bulky that the reduction in size that comes with the smaller body is more or less negated.
  • APS-C enables me to use my FF lenses and gain reach without losing a lot in terms of basic IQ (I get basically the same resolution - even a bit more int terms of acuity, and maybe a stop less in terms of DR and low ISO performance). This way, I can avoid shelling out a considerable amount of money for a 135mm f/2.0D: I use my - simply fantastic - 85mm f/1.8G on an APS-C body for half the price and get a much smaller and lighter setup that can do the same thing; true, I lose a tiny bit of shallow DOF capability, but I save a lot of money and can still get great results without breaking the bank (and my back).
Do I mean to say that :mu43: is too limited? Certainly not - it's one of the most versatile systems on the market, and it's still my most used one overall because it does so many things so well. But it doesn't supercede FF for me, yet neither do I have to depreciate my other systems to justify using it. I should add that I had FF gear from my film days and an APS-C DSLR *before* I discovered :mu43: - so all I did was hold on to what I had when buying into :mu43:; it was only much later - after :mu43: had actually brought back my passion for photography - that I decided that I wanted to reuse my existing gear to its full potential - and have access to more creative and technical possibilities.

M.
 

Biro

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To each his or her own and more power to 'em. Personally, I never had the desire to use full-frame cameras and lenses once I completed the switch from film to digital some 12 years ago. I meant it when I said I had no desire to carry all of that heavy gear around any longer. And now, despite owning a complete Pentax APS-C kit (including the K-3), it simply doesn't get as much use as my micro four-thirds gear and one-inch compacts.
 

dornblaser

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I like the form factor of m4/3's a lot. Going to FF would mean that I would have a camera with me a lot less often. More importantly, to duplicate my current still and video kit in FF it would have to be mind boggling better to justify the price and the added increase in form factor.
 
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MAubrey

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Well, I personally have no qualms with simply shooting multiple formats. The siren call for FF wouldn't be a call away from μ43. I'm not going to avoid FF because I shoot μ43 or avoid μ43 because I shoot FF.

Or avoid both because I still shoot film.

And you don't need equivalent kits for every format, duplicating every lens for both systems. You just complementary kits. For me that's telephoto for μ43 and normal range for FF.
 
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Jonathan F/2

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I like FF. I think FF has quite a few advantages in the realm of DR, DOF control and high ISO sensitivity. Saying that, I'd kill to see an Olympus/Panasonic body utilizing a FF sensor and all the tech they've put into M43. They could still use the 4:3 ratio and make FF lenses sized closer to APS-C lenses using that aspect ratio as well.

On the Sony end, they are releasing a $250 50mm 1.8 lens and they have a very solid 28mm f/2 at around $400 USD. These lenses aren't very big and are priced competitively to M43 equivalent lenses.
 

ruralvelo

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I'm a dinosaur. I shoot film or I shoot micro43. I haven't owned anything between those. I use my old Canon FD L lenses with an adapter on my EM10. I love it. It is horribly unbalanced, even with the grip extension. I love it anyway. If want to go minimalist, I have the micro43 lenses that fill the bill nicely. I can be as creative as I want with the EM10. However, it is very hard to beat the quality of film B&W. With a home darkroom, I can handle what I want with that. I'm excited about both.


Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
 

drd1135

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I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but Adorama had new A7 bodies for $398 and $698 with a kit lens. They disappeared almost instantly. I think some folks would try FF if it was cheaper. Low end FF is still a bit higher than high end mu43.
 

oldracer

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... Low end FF is still a bit higher [price] than high end mu43.
I think many of you are missing NCV's point: He is saying that for his photography needs, the increased cost of FF provides no value. " ... For me M43 fits the bill perfectly and 'upgrading' for me would be a waste of money as I would see no difference in the final output."

I am in the same boat. If FF cost half what M43 cost, I would still have no interest. I served my time hauling large and heavy equipment around. For example, this kind of stuff:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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I'm long since done with it.

MoonMind is essentially saying the same thing: "Horses for courses." He has a use case for which FF is beneficial. Others, like NCV and me do not.

(Edit: Sorry about that "attached files" thing below. I have no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it.)
 

Attachments

pellicle

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Hi

I have just finished turning one of my photo projects into a Blurb book and whilst uploading it a few questions about the final output and use of my photography came to mind. This led to a thought about the best format for my work.
...
Any thoughts?
for me its the call of 4x5 as I have no real call to what was once called miniature. My issue is that (and this will perhaps apply to you somewhat) I require a greater commitment to drag that bundle along and then get the sheets into the soup (or post them off) and then scan them. When I do do that I'm often rewarded with stuff that I could literally not have got any other way. For instance in this shot the control of DoF is exactly what I wanted:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


However few will note that the focus is foreground on the right side and background on the left. This can not be done in post as the fence behind the bronze lantern columns is soft and the path through that statue to the roof on the left hand side is the plane of focus. Probably with a LOT of bother you could selectively blur it.

Few ever comment on it, and unless its printed large (like 2 meters wide) it needs to be pointed out. BIG prints suck people closer and then they see things (hopefully your good work not your pushing your equipment past its point).

Which brings me to my point. The things you identify in "full frame" over m43 are perhaps only visible on 18inch wide prints and only then with close inspection. If that brings satisfaction to you as a photographer then that's excellent, but few of your viewers (or clients) will really tell the difference between (say) a 25mmf1.8 shot taken with a m43 vs a 50mmf1.4 shot taken with a full frame ... except they may notice that the full frame shot is soft on the edges unless you have a Zeiss lens.

Lastly there is a range of working distances with each lens (and its equivalent) where one format brings anything to the table or "shines" over the other. Outside of that they are almost indistinguishable.

Which camera took this shot?

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Bhupinder2002

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O totally agree with OP , MFT fits the Bill for majority of US . We are getting sucked into marketing hype and FF is the buzz word these days . One of my ultrarich young intern came to know that I am interested in photography and started to discuss gear and all started with FF . I said Okay, I will show you a shot and you can zoom in pixel peep and tell me the camera I used . I also lied that I have Leica SL with 24-90 , Sony A7RM2 with GM 24-70 mm 2.8 and Batis 85 1.8 and Olympus EM5M2 with couple of lenses . He sat there , pixel peeping ,looking at Bokeh and came to conclusion this was shot with Leica SL and 24-90 mm as colors are vibrant , supersharp and gorgeous BOKEH. I showed him data- camera used my humble EM5M2 with even more humble and perhaps the greatest and sharpest and the cheapest lens Sigma 60mm 2.8 .
I still have A7M2 and Zeiss 55 1.8 and even Sony Zeiss 16-35 mm F4 but I cant get over my MFT gear and always use it .
I used much hyped SONY A7RM2 for few weeks and I can tell you , its not not that awesome and didnt offer me anything different . For landscapes , nothing beats my Sigma DP merrills .
 

drd1135

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I think many of you are missing NCV's point: He is saying that for his photography needs, the increased cost of FF provides no value. " ... For me M43 fits the bill perfectly and 'upgrading' for me would be a waste of money as I would see no difference in the final output."

I am in the same boat. If FF cost half what M43 cost, I would still have no interest. I served my time hauling large and heavy equipment around. For example, this kind of stuff:
View attachment 121279 View attachment 121278 View attachment 121281
I'm long since done with it.

MoonMind is essentially saying the same thing: "Horses for courses." He has a use case for which FF is beneficial. Others, like NCV and me do not.

(Edit: Sorry about that "attached files" thing below. I have no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it.)
I agree that NCV pretty clearly stated his position, which was sensible. My comment was that I think that many would try FF if it were cheaper. For many, and that includes me, i prefer experience in addition to analysis as opposed to analysis alone. My own experience is that my analysis has been wrong enough times not to trust it exclusively. The problem is that experience costs money whereas analysis is free. If we're talking chips with a flavor I don't typically like, I may still spring for a bag just try it. (If only I could do this with a Porsche.). $400 for an A7 would be a price where I might consider the empirical approach.
 

agentlossing

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I think some folks would try FF if it was cheaper. Low end FF is still a bit higher than high end mu43.
I saw the Adorama a7 deal too (early enough in the morning that I might've had a chance at one if I'd spent the day watching the deal), but upon reading DPR's review, I realized that FF isn't everything, and high end m4/3 is in fact better than low end FF. The a7 is hobbled with a bunch of rookie mistakes. The GX85 I've been closely watching has so much polish, all of Panasonic's know-how and iterative fine tuning. I don't want to trade all of that for bokeh.
 

Listener

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Our major use is wildflower and insect closeups. The high pixel density of our m43 cameras with 16Mpixel sensors make them much better choices than any current FF camera. Small subjects are represented by more pixels at the same optical magnification.

Our other important use is wildlife photography where we often shoot hand held photos at 600mm eq. focal length. A ~2 lb. m43 camera plus lens setup is way better than an FF body with a 3+ or 4+ lb. lens.

Replacing our m43 gear with FF gear would be very stupid.
 

pdk42

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I bought an A7rii recently and decided to move it on for the simple reason that whilst its IQ is certainly better than my E-M1 the improvement didn't offer enough to overcome the disadvantages (cost, size of lenses, poorer battery life, poorer body features, poorer IBIS). For 99% of what I do, u43 is enough.
 

drd1135

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I bought an A7rii recently and decided to move it on for the simple reason that whilst its IQ is certainly better than my E-M1 the improvement didn't offer enough to overcome the disadvantages (cost, size of lenses, poorer battery life, poorer body features, poorer IBIS). For 99% of what I do, u43 is enough.
I notice how you first list "cost" but then list "poorer" three times. Maybe it was subliminal.:p
 
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