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The amazing Olympus µ4/3 system

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Phocal, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I know a fair number of people on this forum complain every time a new lens or body comes out that is larger then previous µ4/3 gear. They say it is not in keeping with the spirit of µ4/3 and they should not make gear that is larger. Well I came over to µ4/3 because the gear is capable of doing what I want from my equipment and at a substantial weight and size savings. Granted, I made the switch because of the EM1 and it's ability to use the old 4/3 glass, as well as the release of the new Pro line of lenses (still waiting for that damn 300mm ƒ4.0 Pro lens). I am not one who complains about the larger lenses and bodies being produced, as a matter of fact I am happy because they will allow me to capture the photos I am after while still being smaller and lighter then my previous Canon gear.

    Here is an example of why I love this system. I have an EM5 and Oly 17mm ƒ2.8 that is my every day always with me camera. It is light, small and easy to throw into what ever bag I am carrying that day. I normally also throw in my Bower 7.5mm fisheye because it is also super small and a fun lens. Staying with the same system I can go large (in µ4/3 terms of large) when needed, I really love this versatility in the system. Below is an example of the versatility of the system when you go "Large" but still smaller then anything comparable.

    Anyways, I am going to a minor league baseball game tonight here in Houston (go Skeeters) and it will be my first time there. They are pretty easy about camera gear but have a bag size limit of 16x16x8, I had to dig out this old Crumpler messenger style bag that I had and used a few times before deciding that I hate this style of camera bag. But, it is my only bag that fits within this size limit that would be capable of bringing the gear I wanted to bring. They also have a fireworks display after all Friday night games. Having never been to the field I was unsure about what lens to bring, the 150/2 or the 50-200 SWD but I decided on the 150/2 for the extra light gathering and reach with the EC-20. If it was just the game I would have brought my monopod but because of the fireworks I decided on my MeFoto because during the game I can switch it to a monopod and back to a tripod for the fireworks. Bag size limited me to one or the other, ideally I would bring tripod and monopod. Here is the gear I am bringing:

    - Olympus EM1 and EM5
    - Olympus 150mm ƒ2.0
    - Olympus 17mm ƒ2.8
    - Bower 7.5mm Fisheye
    - EC-14
    - EC-20
    - MeFoto tripod (convertible to monopod for game)
    - Stack of batteries (just incase something goes wrong)
    - I may bring my Jobu Jr gimbal as it will fit in the flap that goes over the bag (it's one big pocket)

    The best part about this is there is no way I could accomplish the following in any other system in a bag of this size. I will have the following equivalent focal lengths at my disposal during the game.

    - Two camera bodies
    - 300mm ƒ2.0
    - 420mm ƒ2.8
    - 600mm ƒ4.0
    - 34mm ƒ2.8
    - 15mm ƒ3.5

    Yes............I love the versatility of the µ4/3 system

    A few photos of the gear and the bag that will accomplish this amazing feat

    20345735446_9085eac650_b. File Aug 07, 08 43 16 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    20185326229_1087c2a0d6_b. File Aug 07, 08 44 46 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    19751036143_d671d8554f_b. File Aug 07, 08 45 06 by Bohicat, on Flickr
     
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  2. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    I agree completely. I think the strength of the m43 system is not solely about being small and light but rather it's a very versatile system that is smaller and lighter than a typical DSLR outfit while providing relatively excellent IQ. The keywords being smaller and lighter instead of an absolute small and light.

    If you want small and tiny, it can be achieved with something like a GM1 and a pancake lens. On the other hand, you can also grab an E-M1 with an O40-150/2.8 and have a 80-300/2.8 equivalent focal length that's also weather resistant with pro build quality while still being much smaller and lighter than any DSLR with a similar lens.
     
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  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    The amazing part, at least for me, is the range of subjects that m4/3's handles well. Beyond street and travel photography, m4/3's does landscapes, portraits, astrophotography, video, filmmaking, BIF, wildlife, action and sports, drone, etc. True, there are other systems that may do somethings better but it is the breath of subjects and conditions that m4/3's does that makes it stand out from other systems.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's a great system, no doubt. Is there another system that lets you from tiny compact to full-on pro SLR performance within the same mount?
     
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  5. rjl1246

    rjl1246 Mu-43 Veteran

    474
    Feb 18, 2013
    Ohio
    Robert Lietz
    Hello,
    Your comments echo and reinforce my experiences last year during a month-long, twenty state, 12 National Park circuit through the southwest, north along the coast, and return to Ohio by way of Yellowstone, the Tetons, Laramie, Rushmore and the Badlands. I was able to bring a number of bodies, lenses, and achieve a range from 12 to 400mm with the gear and return with several thousand images (to post-process...) This would not have been the case, at least as conveniently, with the Canon gear I owned in the past, as you all know, so I sing the praises of Micro Four-thirds to anyone who'll listen and have numerous prints to back up my enthusiasm. I guess this makes us evangelists, as they used to say about some Apple users, as opposed to the more pejorative "fanboys." I'm hoping for years of great experiences with Olympus and Panasonic gear and hope you guys experience the same!

    Robert
     
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  6. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    What a great trip! <jealous>
     
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  7. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    I totally back up your opinion OP, i wouldn't still be enjoying taking photos for two+ years now if i didn't feel the same, i frequently see other shooters lumbering lots of big bags etc and i wouldn't entertain that unless i didn't have a family or i was retired from work and focused on the extra burden of fulfilling my desires for full frame (the cons outweigh the pros for me) and even then i would probably have to be semi-pro or have bags of dosh.
     
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  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I use to have that same bag. For DSLRs it was great for a body + normal zoom in the center, 70-200 on one side and flash on the other. Fits a little larger selection of m4/3 stuff. ;)
     
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  9. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Exactly. The flexibility is the strength of the system.

    Z...
     
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  10. BLX

    BLX Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2012
    Denmark
    Morten
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  11. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Very well said by all. I've gone through entire overseas trips with just the E-M1, 12-40 Pro, a tripod and some filters. I've also gone birding locally with enough gear for a small platoon, and was able to carry it all.

    I probably shouldn't be admitting to this, but I recently geeked out and made tables of what gear I would take with me on different types of excursions, how it would all fit into which packs, how encumbering it would be (I made up my own units of encumbrance), what level of priority each item had for that particular kit, and how I would use it. I've forgotten items on trips before, so it's a handy checklist. It ensures that I use all my gear at appropriate times as opposed to just getting by with my most commonly used items. It also allowed me to see where there were some gaps in my gear list for specific uses, as well as what I didn't really need. I created light and heavy variations for each type of excursion. The versatility and portability of the m4/3 system really shone through when laid out like that, particularly when compared to my Canon.

    In addition to what has already been said, I think an under-appreciated strength of the system is all of the features and modes it has that my DSLR doesn't (or doesn't do as well). Aside from IBIS and live view, the art modes, live composite, hi-Rez, etc... I know some folks discount some of these as gimmicks, but I think they are incredibly useful and in some cases, allow for some rather unique photography. It's really a powerful tool.
     
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  12. jrsilva

    jrsilva Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 1, 2012
    Portugal
    Jaime
    I came to micro 4/3 more or less by chance, when I was crossing a difficult period in my life and wanted to return to my old hobby but didn't have the money to buy a new camera and lens.
    I still had my film DSLR and a pair of manual lenses stored for years in the back of a closet.
    I saw an advertise with a second hand Panasonic G1 and the guy told me that it was a good deal because it would allow me to use my manual lenses. Price was good and I thought that it would be a chance to spare some money on lenses (I only had to buy an adapter).
    So, I was not moved initially by gear size. But then I started to realize how lucky I was not to have to carry big and heavy gear and even so I'm able to get the same results as DRLR shooters.
    I like the small size of micro 4/3, but I'm not a fan of ultra miniaturized gear because it could be less ergonomic.
    The beauty of micro 4/3 is that you can have very small and portable bodies and lenses (like the GM5) or more DSLR like bodies (like the EM-1, GH4...).
    I've built my kit slowly during 4 years and I'm happy with my actual gear.
    Sometimes I get tempted by full frame more because of short DOF capabilities than anything else. I love to shoot portraits and I'm a big fan of very short DOF. If any time I choose to go FF it would be a small body like the Sony A7.
    But I bet I will keep with micro 4/3 for a long time, as I would spend a lot more money to build the same equivalent kit as I have now.
    Micro 4/3 lenses are fantastic and the FF counterparts would cost a fortune if I wanted lenses with the same IQ. Besides, m4/3 is good enough for my needs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  13. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I love the flexibility. My personal choice has shifted towards MFT for telephoto and a limited set of FE lenses and the Sony A7r for wider work and landscape at only a relatively small weight penalty. Best of both worlds for me.
     
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  14. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    I agree with nearly everything that's been said here. This is my favorite thread in a long time.

    I propose we start a new image thread, based on the premise of one system being able to go "big" or go small. Show a pic of your "ultra portable" kit, and one of your "I will not miss the bloody shot, everything but the kitchen sink", kit. Versatility is utility. I for one think m4/3 is the goldilocks of formats, and what a cool way to show it. Who better to do so?
     
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  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I'm kind of the odd duck when it comes to m43. It was not really the size that attracted me to it, but the system and AF performance. I had sustained a distal bicep rupture (disconnected my bicep muscle from my forearm) and was unable to hold anything at all in my right hand for a few months, and when I could hold stuff, it was limited to 2 lbs or less.

    I had already had my "love affair" with Fuji using an X-E1 and lenses. Sold it all for a Nikon Df. The Fuji gear while fun to use, got in my way. Took forever for it to power up or wake from sleep, and AF performance at the time was causing me to lose shots.

    After the injury, I had some jobs that I could not miss, so I was looking for a system that could accommodate me. I tested the Fuji X-T1 and Olympus OMD EM1/EM5. The Olympus blew the X-T1 out of the water in almost every category that mattered to me. AF performance is blazing fast ,system responsiveness was spot on. What clinched the deal was the rear touch screen. I was able to hold the camera in my left hand and just touch the rear screen to focus and trip the shutter. I needed this because my arm was in a brace and I could not bend it at all and it was locked at 90 degrees.

    Even after a full recovery, I still use and almost favor my m43 gear over Nikon. I still use the Nikon gear whenever I can, especially when shooting sports or I am in need of high ISO/low light.

    The smaller size was just an added benefit to me, not a major factor. Whatever your reason is for using m43, it fits in nicely with just about anything once you learn the system.
     
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  16. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    690
    Nov 18, 2013
    I got into m43 because my wife appropriated my PS and the EPl1 was on close out, and for less than $300 I got it, the original kit and the 40-150mm. Took it on a 10 day trip to the southwest and two years later got one of the first refurbished EP5's. As I age my Nikon kit will stay with me, but the m43 is about to be expanded with a Gx8 - and I can see the use of my Nikon cameras being greatly reduced. If I were 30 I be shooting an 810 and still using my Nikkors (just sold my 80-200 2r to get the OLY 75-300 II & the Tamron 70-300 for Nikon). I can say that for me the EP5 has been my best camera short of BIF - I love its design and feel. I think the combination of the Gx8/EP5 will keep me happy for a lot of years. m43 might not be the perfect kit for everyone but for me at my stage in life and the places I go with my gear, it is the perfect system for me at my age (old:)). Buying the Gx8 for a 10 day where 4k video is going to be a big deal - face it where else can you get 4k video that is great at m43 pricing (Gh4/G7/Gx8) with such a selection of lenses.
     
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  17. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    I'm more interested in "Smallish" than I am in "Small". For me, it is all about finding a balance between size, weight and image quality. My self identity isn't wrapped up in my gear or the brand of that gear. If I find a different system that will do what I want better than my m43s gear, you can bet I'll move to it as soon as I can.

    Olympus and Panasonic need to understand that to keep me as a customer, they don't need to offer the smallest cameras on the market, but they DO need to find the sweet spot between size and performance.
     
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  18. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Trust me as one who knows, by the time you get to retirement, unless you retire very early in life, you are NOT going to want to haul around bags full of camera equipment like a pack mule nor hang a camera around your neck that has all the weight of several bricks. If you chose to do so you better have your cardiologist on speed dial. You will want to go light and simplify and right now that is one of the serious benefits to using a 4/3 system. Your full frame, if you have any will be left at home. If not your outings will be severely restricted by short trips away from your vehicle of burden.
     
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  19. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    It's okay, you're among friends here. I'm a chaotic good ranger, so I would never take a cheap shot at you ;)
     
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  20. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Well, I did say I geeked out... :jedi:

    That took me back. I hadn't heard those words in several decades.
     
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