Never had a DSLR... Am I missing anything?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by manju69, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    After years of compacts cameras I discovered micro four thirds and have not looked back, despite brief forays into NEX and Nikon 1. I love this system and it has served me well. My photography has improved hugely, (only some of this is due to better kit) I now have a website and held my first exhibition earlier this year. I have no aims to become professional as yet, but do want to keep mastering the art and technology. And yet, sometimes I wonder...

    Would that DSLR bring me something? Am I missing something? I have never had one and having never had one can add to this allure...

    Currently I have the Olympus e-m10 and 12-40 pro lens, the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 and 35-100 f2.8 and the Olympus 60mm macro. All great quality kit. And...

    I found myself last month contemplating switching what I have for a Pentax system... Yes it would be a bit bigger than what I have and heavier, but not as much as I thought, nor that much more expensive... My more serious photography friends all have DSLR's. I see them everywhere. Maybe I should buy an entry level Canon just to see? Or an older full frame DSLR. Am I missing something? Would it really bring me much more? Or is it just GAS and wanting to look more serious or something? I really don't know.

    There are many here who have moved from DSLR to MFT or have both systems, and a few like me who have only had MFT...

    What do you think? Thanks readers....
  2. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Nooo! I went from 35mm SLR to a compact superzoom, but missed an eye level viewfinder - hence m43. I didn't want to haul a massive pile of lenses around like FF would commit me to.
    I'd NEVER go back to an optical viewfinder. It's a last century technology that is hanging on because the big 2 manufacturers have such a pile of product and users out there that it will be a big problem for them to move into EVF equipment.
  3. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Not worth. If you want something different try a film camera, any old model with a built in exposimeter.
    DSLR advantages are battery life, continuous AF (on good models), OVF if you like it.

    Old DSLR FF have same performance as modern m43, recent one are expensive. And you need decent lenses to go with. You get less DoF and that can be fun to play with.
  4. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    You should go to a camera store and take some shots. There are lots of differences. Both M43 and DSLR (APS-C) are great cameras. Have you tried using an optical viewfinder? Give it a shot! By the way, the size difference is real particularly with some lenses. But I like a larger camera body, so I am partial to DSLR.
  5. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    I moved into m4/3 from point and shoot compacts. My first m4/3 was a Lumix G2 which I loved, but it wasn't the quickest of cameras. I then bought a Canon Rebel to fill in some holes in what the Lumix could do. The Canon is a very different experience and it took me a while to adapt to it, but now it feels a natural as any of my m4/3. I enjoy using both and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn't say that the Canon looks more professional because the Rebel has very little credibility in the photography world, even though its a solid workhorse. My E-M10 gets a lot more attention, I often notice people looking at it when I go out with it.

    The Canon is a simple camera, very few bells and whistles, and a lot of that is because some of the great things that mirrorless can do are not possible with an optical viewfinder or with a mirror sitting in front of the sensor. On the flip side, there is no viewfinder lag in lower light, no viewfinder blackout during burst mode (just a flicker between frames) and PDAF locks onto moving subjects quicker. Also consumer grade lenses are typically cheaper (with greater availability).

    Before you give up your m4/3 for a DSLR, I'd recommend that you 'roadtest' one, because you may lose features that are important to you. Once you know what it's like to use a DSLR, you'll know what they are and how much they matter. Of course, the best thing to do if you can afford it is to have both, because they can really compliment each other and it's great to have options.
  6. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I started out with :mu43: and so, like you, I had those persisting, nagging doubts. It stems from not knowing. For over a year I resisted buying one just for the sake of finding out, as truth be told I didn't want to have to learn another system. I'm not a fanboy, I just thought it would be confusing.

    However, after struggling to use :mu43: AF for BIF, and tiring of waiting for high-end :mu43: super-telephoto lenses, I bought a Canon 7D Mk II and a nice birding lens. I think it was an important step in that I didn't upgrade until I faced a technical limitation in my current kit that I couldn't overcome with technique. So, I'll throw that back at you: is there some essential limitation you are facing with your E-M10 that you think a DSLR might do better?

    Also, it gave me an answer to what the grass looked like on the other side. I was then able to set aside the doubts about my gear and focus on my own skills. In that sense, I think satisfying your curiosity is probably a healthy thing to do for your developmental arc in photography.

    My own takeaway was that they're not all-around better. Each has different strengths, or just plain differences. Much of the controversy of those differences come down to what you are used to. (For example, I don't like OVFs, while people who are used to them seem to not like EVFs.) IQ differences are minimal, at least with the newest Canon APSC and lens. There are, though, some functions that DSLRs still do better (if just because of their longer development cycle). The advantages of :mu43:, on the other hand, aren't often seen on a stat sheet, but if your experience is like mine, you will see when you try a DSLR that there are a number of little things :mu43: does that you will sorely miss. As a result, even though the Canon handles BIF like a dream, and I am sure is quite competent in other areas, I by far prefer :mu43:. I only use the Canon for wildlife and have not bought any other lenses for it. As Oly is closing the gap in that area, I could see myself at some point selling the Canon.

    I honestly think the future is in mirrorless. I may get a ff mirrorless (the Sony A7R looks amazing) one of these days to complement the :mu43: sensor, but I've satisfied my curiosity about DSLRs.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
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  7. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    My two bits. I had a Canon APS-C system, starting from a Rebel XT up to a 7D. Before that, it was Canon 35mm SLRs. The 7D was not full frame, but it was almost as big and heavy as a 5DIII. And, so were the lenses, even the EF-S lenses. Yes, the optical viewfinder was wonderful, but it didn't show as much information as the MFT viewfinder, especially with features like focus-peaking with the EM1. With my old eyes, that is extremely helpful for manual focus. I switched to an MFT system and haven't regretted it. Certainly, my neck, shoulders, and back are grateful for the switch. I'm taking more and better photos with my MFT kit than I did with my DSLRs. I don't plan to go back.

    DSLRs are still strong in sports and action photography, but mirrorless cameras are catching up. I agree with Lcrunyon - the future is in mirrorless.
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Given a VERY quick look at you site I would say no. While I have no intention of giving up my Nikon FX stuff for my event work I use m4/3 for everything else.
  9. I've kept my DSLR kit purely for motorcycle racing photography as I find I get more keepers with it than I do with my EM-1.

    Maybe that's down to my technique and maybe it's AF speed (more likely a combination of both) but either way for approaching very fast moving objects I just prefer my DSLR. For everything else i use one of my micro 4/3rds kits.
  10. Fundamentally the two different types of cameras do exactly the same things; they project light through an interchangeable lens onto a digital sensor. Where they diverge is the type of autofocus employed and all electronic viewfinders (Mirrorless) vs primary optical viewfinder with secondary electronic viewfinder (DSLR). The "seriousness" of either type of camera depends upon the loose nut behind the wheel.
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  11. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa

    I went from 35mm to being "supplimented" with digital to being 90% digital (prosumer) to having DSLR and prosumer.

    Then micro43 came out and after a month or so parallel testing I got rid of my EOS DSLR's and lenses and was fully m43

    If there was something that DSLR could do better then m43 is rapidly eating that up, and to be frank there is so much more than m43 does that DSLR could never do.

    I have a GF for compact and a GH for "EVF" and access to an enormous variety of lenses. As it happens I dabble in a wide range of photography and have legacy lenses for occasional birds and nature photography and some native lenses for their AF ability.

    I'm often refining and tuning my kit and to be honest it fills my needs better than DSLR ever did.

    I wrote this post in 2009 ... its only more gotten better and better as time moved on

    this may be useful rumination too:
  12. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    just go n buy a canon 5d mark 1 with ef 50 1.8 and see for ur self. its a cool feeling to have thay dof with a 50mm. and that set could be yours for around 350usd if you look around
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    The only thing I miss about the DSLR is the month-plus of battery life. I charged my three batteries and I was good for the quarter. No joke! It probably tracks better, too, but all in all I find AF more accurate on m4/3.
  14. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    If you go DSLR, go high res FF. Like a D800. At least there will be a clear and significant difference. APS-C is too close to m43 to make up for the drawbacks.
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  15. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I think the biggest benefit for FF is going very wide. It seems that all ultrawides on m43 have huge distortions which ultimately need correction - which does cause image degradation.

    As always, pro and cons...

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  16. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Oh, I don't know...the Panasonic 7-14 is an excellent lens (if you have a Panasonic body and/or don't mind blobbyness) and VERY wide indeed, and the new Oly 7-14 is a bit bulky but also very nice.

    I used to shoot a full canon 5DII system, L zooms and a few fast primes, and I'm fully committed to the mirrorless systems. For me, MFT is the 'mature', balanced system with a very nice selection of glass, but can't quite go head to head with my A7r when it comes to high resolution/better dynamic range and more malleable files. The only advantage I see to DSLR systems is the better tracking AF, and that's not a feature I'm prepared to sacrifice the advantages of mirrorless for, since I essentially never shoot sports and only incidentally shoot wildlife, where I'll take massive reach in a relatively small package over slightly less impressive AF performance any day.
  17. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I own FF, APS-C and mFT systems; to the OT: Your setup for mFT is fantastic, don't give it up, it'd be a shame. Honestly, it's more or less my dream setup - I have some bases covered in other ways, though, that's why I don't own all of it.

    In terms of "seriousness", you don't lose anything with mFT. The E-M10 with the 12-40mm (and additional grip - I keep repeating this, but it's been a revelation I just feel I should share as often as possible) is my most used and, I feel, most versatile combo overall. It can do everything from simple casual shooting to travel to serious street and documentary work. Furthermore, the small and strong primes are also a lot of fun to shoot with. IQ is very, very good - sufficient in most cases, and it's more or less on par with everything up to 20MP on APS-C - especially if you work from RAW. Good APS-C cameras aren't a lot smaller (and not even that much cheaper) than FF cameras - if you go for the entry level models, you miss out on many of the convenient features the E-M10 offers in a very convincing package! I think you wouldn't gain that much even if you went for the top line models by Pentax - I don't say this to depreciate Pentax, I just found mFT to be that good!

    I only kept my (frugal) Nikon APS-C (D90) setup because I have lots of Nikon lenses and equipment I could use with it. Now, after the acquisition of a Nikon FF body (D750), I use it almost exclusively with a sufficiently versatile zoom as a walkaround kit; it might even turn into my bike travel setup because it's sturdy and has great battery life (plus you can fit a lot of those 12MP RAWs on 32GB SD card!). But for everything else, if I need a compact package, I pick an mFT body and lens. The E-PL7 with the 14-150mm zoom is half the weight and two thirds of the bulk of the D90 with 16-85mm zoom - even if I use the EVF on the PEN ...

    FF, on the other hand, is something you don't switch to - it's something you add in my opinion. It's a completely different animal to mFT, being big and heavy and optimised for ultimate IQ. The image quality is indeed vastly superior, again, especially when working from RAW, but for casual shooting, it's utter overkill, and simply to bulky to lug around (the D750 with my lightest Nikon lens, the 50mm f/1.8G, is as heavy as the E-M10 with 12-40mm - and bigger!). The same goes for a lot of the better APS-C equipment on the market in my experience; and you'd need that to supplant the mFT gear, if you go cheap(ish), you will be disappointed. I take my FF gear for event shooting and for dedicated photo walks when I can predispose myself to the bulk and weight - and at events, I usually make camp in a corner in order to lighten the load. The results are astounding if they turn out well - but not always more pleasing than what I get from my handy and competent mFT setup!

    There is a real place for FF (and probably APS-C), but if you don't intend to go the full monty and post process the large RAW files, it's simply not worth it; if you think of working with OOC JPEGs anyway, I'd say stick with mFT forever. FF is intriguing, but only worth it if you can convince yourself to care and put in the extra effort.

    If you want to get out of your comfort zone and get the maximum out of your shooting, FF might well be the way to go. But for fun and fantastic versatility, I'd still say mFT is unsurpassed.

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
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  18. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    I've been shooting DSLRs for 15 years, first starting out with APS-C and moved up to FF. Around two months ago, I sold my FF Canon body and for the first time in 15 years, am without a DSLR. Do I miss it? Absolutely, definitively no. I'm fine with the cameras I use which are listed in my sig.

    There are pros and cons to each system but for my needs and shooting preferences, a DSLR is not necessary. Unless you're printing extremely large prints or mainly doing a specialized type of photography such as BIF or fast action sports or need specialized lenses that aren't available for m43 like tilt shift lenses, there really isn't any compelling reason to carry larger camera bodies with larger lenses. The only area that is slightly lacking for me with m43 is high ISO performance but even there, I feel comfortable shooting up to ISO 1600 but will go up to 3200 if need be on m43 and on my Fuji ISO 3200 and up to ISO 6400 which is pretty much my the maximum I was shooting my FF Canon in very low light.

    My recommendation would be to rent a FF Canon or Nikon along with a 24-70/2.8 lens for a week or so and see how you feel about it at the end of the period. Also know that a 70-200/2.8 on a DSLR will be quite a bit larger and heavier than the 24-70/2.8. Flip flopping between systems out of curiosity is a great waste of time and money.

    There was a time when mirrorless cameras meant sacrificing a great deal of IQ in order to reap the benefits of the size and weight advantage compared to DSLRs. IMO, that time has come and gone and with today's cropped sensor mirrorless cameras, the IQ benefits are negligible if you're not printing much larger than 13x19 or thereabouts and shooting at reasonable ISO limits.

    Lastly, we as photographers at all levels, constantly fuss about gear but no matter what camera you shoot and how good your camera may be, it's the photographer's skill that comes out in the final image. A great camera will never cover up the flaws of the photographer but a great photographer will overcome the flaws of the camera.
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  19. Words of wisdom there. Only thing with renting that gear is that you could probably grab another lens..or something..with the cash outlay. But it's the best way to find out what camp you really want to be in.
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