Sustainability of µ4/3 long term....

emorgan451

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As I sit here 1.5 years after I made the decision to jump into µ4/3 (specifically with Olympus gear) I still have the same and perhaps biggest concern as I did before buying, how long can or will the mount survive and produce new product that is competitive and exciting with both Olympus and Panasonic losing money every year on it? I justified my purchases at first with the knowledge that since I was buying used if I didn't like it I could just sell and get something else, but I loved it and jumped on in and now having invested what is a significant amount of money for a hobby (in my mind at least) and can't help but worry about whether or not my chosen system will have future support in 5+ years. Am I the only person that has these concerns? I know the immediate future has cameras and lenses being developed and sold, but when I'm ready to buy my next camera in a couple of years will the future of the system/mount be worthy of a further investment?

I don't regret my decision one bit, but sometimes you just wonder. Even if the mount died today I would shoot the heck out of what I have and love it until it broke or didn't meet my needs. I wouldn't feel like to this point I invested poorly because I have gotten many shots that I wouldn't have with µ4/3 that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I would be interested in how the rest of you feel on this subject

-Eli
 
D

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I jumped around a little before landing on m43. Use it in conjunction with my Nikon gear. You take a chance with anything.

Something that takes great pictures today will still take great pictures 20 years from now. Shoot with what you like and enjoy the process of photography. Don't toil your mind with things you can't control, like the state of the compost that make your gear of choice.
 

pdk42

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I think the future of u43 is looking strong actually. At last it seems that mirrorless is growing at the expense of DSLRs and there is a good roadmap of cameras and lenses. I suspect the next round of sensors will improve in high ISO noise and with Oly rumoured to be working on a bunch of f1 primes I think the format will be as competitive as ever with others. If you want the best compromise of size and IQ today then u43 is there, plus some, and I can't see that changing.
 

Gary5

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I remember about 35 years ago, people were saying don't buy a Mazda, the company is going out of business. I bought one anyway because it was the car I liked best. I did the same thing when I bought my E-M1. I believe it was Warren Buffet who said invest in products you like and don't worry about what other people will do
 

gr6825

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I suspect the next round of sensors will improve in high ISO noise
Sorry to be a buzzkill, but what makes you think this will happen? Was there any significant sensor progress between the EM5 and the EM5 Mk II? That was 3 years, right?
 

Petrochemist

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I can't see the reason to worry about it. I don't see any reason to think the development of new micro 4/3 goodies will stop & even if it did my gear wouldn't suddenly stop working.
 

demiro

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I don't worry about the long term viability of the platform when I make purchase decisions, but I do wonder how sustainable it is beyond the enthusiast segment. For normal people (not most of us) m4/3s just doesn't make a ton of sense.

I think non-enthusiasts willing to spend some money and wanting better than phone-cam quality will generally prefer a fixed lens compact zoom option (like LX100 or Canon G7X) or superzoom (like FZ1000) if they want the reach. Other non-enthusiasts seem to want to shoot fast action/sports of their kids. DSLRs still rule that roost imo, and something like Nikon 1 system would be a better alternative than m4/3s.

From an enthusiast standpoint m4/3s is a great choice, with varied lens and body options covering a wide range of shooting needs. The question, to me, is can the enthusiast niche sustain the format? I have no idea. The next question is can more folks be lured in to the enthusiast segment? Doesn't seem likely given the photograpy trends at the moment, but who knows?
 

tonyturley

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I have cut back on my m43 inventory. I have a 4/3 ZD 14-54 Mk II & ZD 50-200 ED + MMF-3 to use with my E-M5. I was going to sell the 50-200, but decided to stand pat for now. I don't see myself buying any more m43 lenses. I much prefer the old style focus ring on my legacy glass over fly-by-wire.

Tony
 
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macro

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We are all different for sure. I'm a bit like Tony and prefer legacy lenses, have basic kit lenses for the Sony and m4/3 and they are not used. The only thing that matters personally and why the cameras were bought, is the sensors and ......... well that's it really. Just a box with a sensor in it with the basic settings. I can swap out boxes in an instant and still use the same lenses I do now. Both Sony and m4/3 don't have the lenses for what I want.

All the best and that's just another take on it.

Danny.
 

HarryS

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Obsolescence. Last year, I wanted to archive the remainder of my mini-DV videos, but both of my Canon camcorders (from 2004 and 2007) no longer worked. Found a repair shop and was willing to pay the $140 they quoted to repair one, but the parts they needed were no longer available. I found a working unit at Goodwill for $20. That's done. I also had 8mm video conversions that went better. Of three camcorders I owned, one still works. Also have a couple of reels of super-8 film. That's going have to go to outside for conversion.

Back to M43, three of the last four cameras I've owned since 2010 have broken. I've had two fixed, but am sure I'll require a new body in two years. These guys better stay in business.
 

pdk42

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Sorry to be a buzzkill, but what makes you think this will happen? Was there any significant sensor progress between the EM5 and the EM5 Mk II? That was 3 years, right?
I agree that sensor tech in u43 has not moved on since the 16Mp Sony sensors arrived with the E-M5. However, there are a number of new technologies around today that should significantly improve sensor performance. This includes BSI, light-trapping nano-structures based on Graphene, native HDR sensors with 100dB+ range and others. I would be surprised if these didn't find their way into u43 and it's the smaller sensors that will benefit the most from them.
 

metalmania

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After 3 years I still keep 2 E-M5 bodies and two nice lenses (12-40 and 75). I have other FF cameras but I am waiting for the next generation m43 sensor. Even if it is a dream, I don't mind to use my E-M5 bodies to the very end!
 

DeeJayK

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...now having invested what is a significant amount of money for a hobby (in my mind at least) and can't help but worry about whether or not my chosen system will have future support in 5+ years. Am I the only person that has these concerns?
I don't think anyone can predict what this or any other technology-related market is going to look like in 5+ years time. To get a sense of how long of a timeframe that is, let's look 5 years back -- in spring of 2010 Panasonic announced the G2/G10 and Olympus came out with the E-PL1. Looking at how much change has occurred since those bodies were released gives you some perspective.

I'm with those who've said that the best approach is to choose the tool that works for you today and don't worry too much about what the "market" decides.
 

Ross the fiddler

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I would also say "Don't worry, just enjoy it now."

I have cut back on my m43 inventory. I have no native m43 lenses now - just a 4/3 ZD 14-54 Mk II + MMF-3 to use with my E-M5. I like the combination, but my preference is toward Sony & E-mount. I sold my ZD 50-200 ED after owning it just a couple of months. IQ was very good, but after carrying it for a few hikes, I concluded compactness was more important to me than being able to get a pic of some bird that "might" appear. I don't see myself buying any more m43 lenses, as I much prefer the old style focus ring on my legacy glass.

Tony
I use the 14-54 II lens on the E-M5 & E-M1 & have recently bought a (used) ZD50-200 SWD lens, but I also have the M.ZD75-300 lens which is light & compact (especially with the modified lens hood from the 40-150 lens) & it's quite sharp, just needs good enough light. So with that I have a choice on what I want to photograph & how much walking I'll be doing.
 

dhazeghi

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I jumped around a little before landing on m43. Use it in conjunction with my Nikon gear. You take a chance with anything.

Something that takes great pictures today will still take great pictures 20 years from now. Shoot with what you like and enjoy the process of photography. Don't toil your mind with things you can't control, like the state of the compost that make your gear of choice.
I appreciate the sentiment, but in all likelihood, I'd be surprised if more than a tiny fraction of today's cameras will take pictures at all in 20 years. Consumer electronics have made amazing things possible, but longevity is not really part of the equation.
 

dornblaser

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I would pick up a second system as soon as one came around that fits my needs better than m4/3s does. I view the camera system life to be longer than say, a Mac computer which I change every 2 - 3 years. While you change and replace bodies and lenses the system as a whole remains intact for a while. Olympus' recent comment(s) that they are working on higher megapixel bodies is encouraging. As is the new high res option on the new EM-5 ii. While I tend to be an early adopter, I value the products that stand the test of time. We still take our OM-1 and lenses out every so often.
 

tkbslc

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You have 2 major players in the lens mount. That gives better odds than some of the others. Even if one folds, the other will stick around and suddenly have more customers and less competition.

And if the system dies, well we only have to look at regular 4/3 for comfort. That mount is one that has all but died. And you can still buy a used E-1 body (circa 2003) from a reputable dealer. 4/3 lenses abound in the used market, too. So I'm sure there will be plenty of life in the leftover gear.

https://www.keh.com/240560/olympus-e-1-digital-camera-body-5-m-p
 

dornblaser

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Plus we are getting close to pushing the technological envelop. We currently producing pictures that look fabulous on 4K and 5K monitors. We are almost to point of pushing more detail than the eye can see. System choices now revolve around choices like the size of the gear, the subjects, e.g., BIF, street, landscapes, video, everyday, etc. I am not worried about m4/3 disappearing anytime soon.
 

Art

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I consider m43 as very niche, enthusiast camera system, similar to Fuji. It's obvious that Panasonic and Olympus don't have resources to promote their system. It is unfortunate that Fuji, Leica, Pentax and Sigma have all decided to create their own mounts rather than joining m43. I am seeing GoPro everywhere I travel. GoPro is extremely popular for both stills and video especially for travel. Sony has made significant leaps in the last couple of years by becoming the king of compact and bridge cameras (RX series), basically dethroning Canon while Nikon is not even trying to compete. Their Alpha/Nex cameras are widely available at major retailers. Nikon 1 seems to be widely available too but I don't see them in the wild as much as Sony. I suspect that Canon may eventually expand and widely roll out their M-mount to become the market leader in mirrorless. While I am pretty happy with m43, I am hesitant to recommend this system to friends because its cameras (and many lenses) lose value so quickly. I am cautiously observing the development of Sony FE mount and they are moving fast in the right direction: durable compact yet ergonomic bodies, IBIS, PDAF, excellent video codec. Touch screen is still missing and and a few lenses needed (maybe third-parties will release more). I've been with m43 for almost 5 years but I am not confident that I won't switch in the next two years. I'd hate to do it cause there's been such a learning curve with Oly menus and settings, etc.
 
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ttomino1980

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Unless m43 lenses i have will still be usable and perform well on new bodies with organic sensor or other techs i am fine

But you can see that for high mpx D800 nikon they recomend only new lenses to squeeze max out ofD800 ...so can happen to m43 too and you would be buyng new body+new lenes anyway

Companies must "promote" own sales
 

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