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Micro Four Thirds has replaced...what?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Luckypenguin, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Just recently I've been thinking about how m4/3 cameras (and by extension similar large-sensor compact cameras) has changed photography for me. I've heard it said numerous times at mu-43 about how various members bought into m4/3 to replace their existing, heavy DSLR gear. Thinking back to the middle of last year when I first bought my E-P1 it was not for the reason of replacing my DSLR gear but for something a bit different and fun that would allow me to use the old film lenses that I had collected over time (I subsequently discovered that I could have used Olympus OM lenses on my Canons the whole time, but that's another story). I was never unhappy with my DSLR gear so the two systems co-existed happily. Fast-forward almost a year later to when I bought my GH1 and a few more native m4/3 lenses and I did start to question whether the DSLR was needed. As it turned out the answer was still yes. Not that I needed the DSLR gear, but that I still wanted to use it and that the experience of using it, including everything from operation to image output, was different and enjoyable enough to hold onto it.

    During this time however, I realised that where I had previously enjoyed using mid to high-end compacts (i.e. Canon G10, G11 etc), in all the time that I have been using m4/3 cameras I have barely picked up a compact camera. My Canon G10 was somewhat reluctantly sold not long before I first bought the E-P1 and before it dropped too much in value. My old Canon IXUS 960is sits in my work bag for the infrequent times that I might need it but never comes out for "recreational" purposes. My Ricoh CX1 that I damaged overseas in early 2010 has not been replaced. The Canon G11 I bought after the E-P1 was sold with no regrets. The Panasonic LX3/LX5 and Canon S90/95 that I once had my eye on have all but lost their appeal.

    So, while I have found that m4/3 has partially replaced DSLRs, for me it has almost totally replaced compact cameras. The irony is that m4/3 has actually increased my use of DSLRs simply because it has got me back into photography as an everyday hobby rather than just holidays and special occasions (as my rapidly diminishing hard drive space will attest!) The fact that a comprehensive, high quality, interchangeable-lens camera system now exists with a sensor size almost perfectly balanced for IQ, lens and body size, and depth-of-field, and with a size and weight barely larger than some other compact cameras, has changed the nature of photography for me. It may well be that I eventually stop using DSLRs as well, but right now I couldn't imagine NOT having a mirrorless (and for the foreseeable future, a m4/3) camera system.
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  2. stillshunter

    stillshunter Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 27, 2011
    Nic, mate our journeys sounds almost identical. With the exception that I sold the Pentax dSLR kit and have had zero regrets.

    I have cycled through a Nikon D70, Oly E1, GRD, LX5, S95, DP2s, K20D, K-r, X100...I know there's more but my mind fails me (though I'm sure some friends from SC might set me straight). But I find the little mu43 and lenses sees me clear to most of my photographic needs. Do I lust after a FF - well you better believe it!!! But for the stage I am at in my life-long photo journey the GF1 exceeds my capabilities. I can scoff at the limited tonal and dynamic range and postulated that with an M9 I could have done a far superior job...but honestly?....:blush:

    ....the mu43 platform has been a revelation for me, a relief for my ailing back and a catalyst for my developing eye.
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  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I never thought that µ4/3 would be a replacement for my dSLR's ... and it hasn't. I find the two formats work well together in a complimentary relationship. What is important to me is the final image ... if I need a large heavy camera with a large heavy lens to attain that image ... no complaints as long as I get the shot. If a smaller camera with a pancake lens fits the bill ... then that is what I'll use.

    I am so happy to be able to have a small camera which can compliment my dSLR's, expanding my photographic experience and enjoyment.

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  4. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I never really got comfortable with my DSLRs. I went through Olympus, Canon and NIkon DSLRs and they just never seemed to be what I was looking for. I was much more attached to my compact cameras (Fuji and Olympus). I came to m43 because of the fact that I could use legacy glass and haven't looked back. In fact I credit m43 with opening up photography to me and really get me to spend time and effort on the craft.
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  5. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Micro four thirds has for me, replaced $150 point and shoot cameras :blush:
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  6. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    There are apparently two types of consumers for the m43 system: the DSLR owner wanting a lighter, capable kit; the P&S upgrader wanting better responsiveness and IQ.

    Although I've always owned SLRs/DSLRs, I place myself in the latter category.

    After using a series of Canon digital compacts including a G7, G10, and S90, the m43 system was the answer to my prayers.

    It won't replace my DSLR kit, but the E-P3 has become the primary camera for social outings, candids, and travel.
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  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Micro Four-Thirds didn't replace any point-and-shoots for me, it actually opened up the entire possibility of a compact camera. I have tried carrying the compact point-and-shoot, and only discovered that it frustrated me to shoot because of its poor capabilities, and if I did take any photos with it I would never use it for anything due to its poor quality. It became pointless for me to carry one around as I would only lose good photo opportunites, so I ended up saddled with my DSLR for all occasions.

    So when the Olympus E-P1 PEN was originally announced, I was ecstatic. Finally, I could carry a compact camera that would meet my quality standards to produce photos I could actually use! Now I finally had something I could carry alongside my DSLR as both a compact as well as a backup body (since I was using the Four-Thirds DSLR system, my lenses are compatible). The capability of being used as a back-up system body justifies the cost for me. If I need a second body anyways, then spending $1000 on the PEN body and mount adapter is killing two birds with one stone (the compact plus the backup).

    Eventually, the PEN cameras phased out my use of the DSLRs as well.... :D  If one compact system can essentially do it all, then why not?
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  8. Egads! :eek: 
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The PEN never replaced my knife. How else would I fix the little things on all my camera gear?
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  10. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Why settle for either/or when you can have both? About 90% of my photography is now done with a Pen but I'm glad I've kept the DSLR for that other 10% when I feel I really need it.

    As for compacts, why not have one of those as well? I haven't currently got a compact myself but if I could afford it I'd be taking a close look at the Fuji X10, not to replace either my Pen or DSLR but to compliment them. In photography these days you can have your cake and eat it!
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  11. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    m4/3 allowed me to replace BOTH my DSLR system and all my compact cameras. In a month I got rid of 20 years with of Canon gear and half a dozen compact cameras. It also allowed me to get the camera I really wanted (a Leica) because it could actually do all the things I needed an autofocus system to do.

    Having said that I'll be looking at both the NEX7 and GX1 early next year to see what the next chapter is.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I still want a Leica M7 ....but then again, most of my shooting these days has been with film. :smile:
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  13. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    My :43: gear didn't replace anything! Well, it sorta replaced my Canon S95 for those times when I don't mind having something larger and more capable with me, but it hasn't replaced it in the sense that I no longer use the S95. Much like it hasn't replaced my DSLR gear. My :43: has expanded my kit - it was an addition to my toolbox. I use my Olympus E-P3 at those times when it fits the bill, and use the others when they are more appropriate.

    I still use my Canon S95, and I still use my DSLRs. I also use my E-P3 a lot. I guess I'm just a camera whore... :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  14. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Replaced my Canon DSLRs. m43 still doesn't do everything I could do before, but it does 85-95% of it, and it's with me 85-95% more often.
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  15. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I wouldn't say that it was a matter of directly replacing anything, but rather a matter of filling a pretty big hole better than either previous types (DSLRs, compacts) could. They certainly can't replace true compacts when you have to be able to slide it in a thin pocket (the iPhone is replacing those), and it can't replace DSLRs for those shots that really require the best possible gear. However, there's a lot of shots in between where the other two just aren't the best; usable, but always a compromise. Compacts, with their small sensors and (often) shutter delays, just can't meet the level of performance that many consumers want. However, even the smaller DSLR systems are just too big for many situations. :43: (and, to varying degrees, other mirrorless systems such as the Nikon 1) fills that gap in a way not seen in the digital era (one could argue cameras like the old Pens and the Minolta/Leica CL/CLE did so in the film era.)

    It does so for several types of consumers as well. My sister-in-law knows little about photography (and doesn't care enough to learn), but never liked using compacts due to the poor results and the aforementioned shutter delay. Recently, they went to a week-long get together of a group of college friends, so they rented a Canon T3 with (on my recommendation) an 18-55mm f/2.8 lens (wanted to be able to shoot kids indoors and out). She loved the results, but just found the camera to be much too big. She is now looking at the Nikon 1, though I am trying to steer her toward :43:. Likewise, as is evident by this site, many knowledgeable photographers just can't be satisfied with the results from compacts, but need/want a more portable system. :43: is (one of) the best choice(s) for that need.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    While the PEN may not replace the knife ... I believe that the PEN is mightier than the knife.
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  17. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    My Micro 4/3 cameras completely replaced my DSLRs and almost made my compacts obsolete. But when I get a GF2 or GF3, my Samsung EX1 probably will be sold.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    When I bought my G1 it was with the objective to get a lighter and smaller camera bag for casual outings etc. However, soon enough my D300s saw little use: every time I had to decide what to take with me I favoured the G1 because it has no-fuss focussing. Nothing here like AF fine-tune that only works for one end of the zoom range, variability in focus point, manual focussing without a proper focussing aid etc. At the end of the day I sold off the D300s along with almost all its lenses; I only kept the MF Micro's 55/3.5 and 105/4.

    So far I don't regret giving up on DSLRs, I don't think I will ever buy one again although I recognize that to this day there are still photography domains where e.g. a FF DSLR reigns supreme. I did some casual concert photography the other day and ended up with only a few keepers that were marginal in terms of sharpness and noise; had I had a Nikon D3s and 70-200/2.8 VR zoom I think I'd have scored close to a 100 % technical keeper rate.

    An unexpected bonus appears to be the use of legacy lenses. At first I scoffed at using these: how on earth would anyone want to use a non-AF lens that's heavier and doesn't write anything in the EXIF data? Gradually I started using them more and more. Some of them produce images that I don't get from the native lenses, they're that good! At the end of the day I'm hauling almost the same amount and weight of gear that I used to earlier, only now I have a 300mm 35mm-equivalent focal length aboard and I'm able to use a light tripod successfully.

    Nothing ever is quite, or not at all, what you expect it to be in photography...
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  19. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    M43 is currently the most versatile camera system capable of replacing both P&S and DSLR for the vast majority of people. It did for me. I think the only reason it's still a niche system is because of abyssmal marketing and high prices (no good budget options). I believe Panasonic is bigger than Nikon so they have no excuse for their atrocious marketing efforts. We nedd sub $200 bright primes like Canikon
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  20. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    For me it replaced my "bridge" camera. I have a full Canon 40D setup for serious shooting and a Panasonic compact that I carried as an everyday camera. I also had a Fuji S9100 that I used for mission trips to Guatemala and other travel situations where I wanted something more versatile than the compact but less valuable than the Canon gear. It had full manual settings and a very nice zoom lens. I could use filters if I chose and it also worked off of four AA batteries - making it easy to purchase batteries if my rechargeable were dead and I had no way to charge them. However, the Fuji was simply too large for comfortable travel.
    Enter the m4/3 system. I sold the Fuji and bought an E-PL1. Not long after that I bought an E-P1 followed by a set of OM lenses and several native lenses. Now I never use the compact and rarely touch the Canon. If I could get a decent price I'd sell the Canon gear - the Olympus does everything I need from a camera system.
    • Like Like x 1
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