More speculation on the future of M43

DeeJayK

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From Andrew Smallman in his Camera Ergonomics blog:

Why the Micro Four Thirds system will fail 6 November 2021


He hangs his analysis primarily on the "equivalence" argument.

A few selected quotes:
1. No matter which way you evaluate it larger sensors can deliver better image quality than smaller ones. New technology will not help smaller sensors because larger sensors will simply utilise the same new tech.

2. In the early days of MFT the main selling point of the system was the small size of bodies and lenses relative to the DSLRs of the time.

But now we have full frame MILCs and that selling point has almost evaporated.

You can buy a Canon RF 50mm f1.8 lens for RF mount full frame cameras. It is compact, light, cheap and very sharp stopped down a notch or two. Retail price in Australia is around AUD 339.

The equivalent MFT lens would be 25mm f0.9. But no such thing exists and if it did it would be huge and cost a mint.

The nearest we have is the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f1.2. This is larger and heavier than the RF Canon and at AUD 1649 costs five times as much.

Disclaimer: my sharing this post does not imply my agreement with this blahger's arguments.

- K
 
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True as far camera body size, not too much difference. And larger sensors will definitely be better in some situations. I say this owning both a Z7 and an EM1.3.
But he's kind of cherry-picking in terms of use cases and lenses. For a wildlife photography scenario, the equivalent M4/3 setup will likely be both cheaper and smaller for equivalent quality than a FF setup.
 
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First, he should do a little research because a m4/3 25mm f/.95 lens does exist.

Second, as long as he keeps his talking to shorter focal lengths he can make a decent argument but it all goes out the window when you start talking about telephoto lenses.

He talks about sensor tech and how it’s immaterial because ff sensors will have the same tech. Which is true. But show me a FF camera that has all the capabilities of my EM1x like pro capture and live composite or the ability to shoot 60fps.
 

Brownie

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"I was an early adopter of the Micro Four Thirds system (MFT) in 2009 for two reasons."

OOOO!!!! Geeee! He tried it! He actually gave it a fair shake! His credibility just went way up with me! :shakehead:

I can't stand it when someone tries to improve their base argument by using this as a preliminary statement. If your argument stands, it needs to stand on its own.
 

doady

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It's sad for us that full frame will kill Micro Four Thirds, but at least we will get to see medium format kill full frame.
 

DeeJayK

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True as far camera body size, not too much difference.
Really the size of the bodies comes down to ergonomics. Obviously M43 bodies could be made smaller than "full frame" cameras (look at the GM1/GM5) but overall ergonomics suffers since the size of the average user's hands is fixed. Cameras like the E-M1/ GH series/ GX8/ G9 are certainly larger than they would need to be to accommodate the M43 sensor and other components, but they're the size they are because that's what is comfortable.

And larger sensors will definitely be better in some situations. I say this owning both a Z7 and an EM1.3.
This is undeniable. Larger sensors certainly offer better performance (all else being equal). But the number of situations where the differences equate to improvements in IQ of finished images are vanishingly small, IMHO.

- K
 

PakkyT

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Nothing like hypocrites who will use an argument against the thing they are complaining about but not apply the same argument to the thing they are championing.

"1. No matter which way you evaluate it larger sensors can deliver better image quality than smaller ones. New technology will not help smaller sensors because larger sensors will simply utilise the same new tech."

"But now we have full frame MILCs and that selling point has almost evaporated."

This is where if you were in front of the person and they told you these things, you simply pause for a second and then ask "So, which mirrorless medium format camera system are you using?" After all isn't he arguing that choice is out of our hands and we must use the biggest sensor mirrorless camera? I mean someone couldn't actually choose to use the smaller sensor system, could they?
 
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It's sad for us that full frame will kill Micro Four Thirds, but at least we will get to see medium format kill full frame.
I'm sure MF'rs will tell you their sensor is the "real Full Frame!" Maybe it should be 4x5? :-O

I don't use the FF term. I'll say 35mm frame if I refer to cameras of that ilk. :)
 

DeeJayK

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I'm sure MF'rs will tell you their sensor is the "real Full Frame!" Maybe it should be 4x5? :-O

I don't use the FF term. I'll say 35mm frame if I refer to cameras of that ilk. :)
Yeah, the term "full frame" is definitely arbitrary. However, it's also a well understood term. I choose to put it in scare quotes whenever I use it to note my disparagement.

- K
 

John King

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He's also wrong about 135 format sensors having the same tech, etc.

In order to match the resolution of a FTs or mFTs camera with a 20 MPx sensor, that "FF" sensor needs to be at least 80 MPx. It doesn't exist (yet).

It also needs to have far better lenses - evaluated at MTF 60, not MTF 30 ...

Then there's tripod high resolution mode, and you (apparently) have to use a tripod to get decent shots from 40+ MPx "FF" cameras.

Etc, etc, etc.

My GM is better than your Ford type of argument ...

And I rather like my E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ ... ;) .

AND, I don't post at DPR anymore because of this sort of quasi-scientific trolling. It's akin to eugenics 'arguments'.

All modern cameras take superb photographs, what one prefers comes down to personal choice, and there are precious few wrong choices.
 
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And I rather like my E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ ...
I do too John. That is just an enjoyable combination to use for most things. For me though, the whole argument is choosing the right tool for the job which in most cases MFT does admirably (and my tiny E-PM2 even more so). If I need more firepower for a particular situation I will drag out the big stuff and set up if permitted. More still and I’ll use medium format. The only place I draw the line is after 4x5 but that is getting extreme these days and mostly unnecessary.

Bottom line is still the same as it has ever been so why argue unless you just enjoy it for the sake of the exercise? Besides, it remains less about the arrow and more about the Indian and always will.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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Unfortunately, many reviewers in tech fall for the same trap. They think it’s their job to argue for what they think is best, as opposed to what actually might work for different groups of people. Declaring any sensor size as the standard by which all others are measured is flawed journalism, IMO. It often results in reverse engineering an argument to support a pre-defined premise. If FF is dimensionally-based off 35mm film, well, we’re 2 significant camera evolutions beyond film. First we got digital sensors, and then we did away with the mirror. To not reevaluate what a camera should now be is missing the potential that those two major innovations brought the industry. I’m pretty sure our tired old M43 sensors are well past the abilities of film and the first few generations of FF sensors. Of course larger iterations of the same sensor will be better, but one has to stop somewhere before increasing the size becomes absurd, expensive, or at least of little value in return to the consumer that has to lug it around.

The way this often gets argued, it’s as though one must know the sensor size before being capable of evaluating the quality of the photo they are judging. If you can’t tell the difference, then it probably doesn’t matter that much, does it?
 

Juggernaut

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Olympus and Panasonic will probably pull themselves out of their camera (including FF) business, but m43 sensors will not disappear IMHO, unless the sensor manufacturers like SONY would end its manufacturing the sensors on this spec. At present a few of Chinese manufacturers such as DJI are looking for the opportunity of m43 sensor application. Lately DJI launched its drone equipped with a M43 censor.

Making a better image isn't just about the sensor size, many factors like autofocuing, camera body handling, lens performance and most importantly the camera user's ability will affect the results.

Having said that I am happly with the technology development, FF camera systems are struggling to achieve lighter, inexpensive, compact goals, if the goals become the reality, why would I have to stick to m43 cameras? The only thing I hate to see happening is there maybe less and less photo shares on this forum.
 

RichardC

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He’s overlooked the fact that if you want FF mirrorless with a similar feature set to an EM1 Mk2 then you are looking at 4-5x the cost. Then there are the lenses.

A Z9 would be lovely but I will never be able to afford to buy two of them and seven equivalent lenses.
 
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