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The Micro Four Thirds 'ethos'

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by nickthetasmaniac, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Hi people, I've been pondering the 'ethos' of Micro Four Thirds recently and thought I'd chuck it up there for debate.

    After 6 months of temptation, last night I finally ordered the Nokton 17.5/f0.95 to basically complete my general-use lens kit. This was after a great deal of umming and ahhing between the Nokton and the upcoming m.ZD 17/f1.8. It occured to me that as of now, the lenses that I actually use (and plan to use) are the Lumix 7-14mm, Nokton 17.5mm, Nokton 25mm and m.ZD 75mm. All lenses that are, well, big. Not as big as comparable APS or full-frame lenses mind you, but definitely a far, far call from 'pocketable'.

    The interesting thing is that I've also owned/own the very good Lumix 14mm, Lumix 20mm and m.ZD 45mm - all fairly tiny lenses firmly jammed down the 'compact' end of 'compact camera system', and all excellent representations of what MFT is (apparently) suppose to be about. However, over the last year I've sold both of the Lumix's and I'm planning to sell the 45mm in the near future.

    I find it a bit odd then, when I read endless comments on forums and so on about how such and such a release is 'too big', and thus defeats the purpose of Micro Four Thirds (think GH3, Nokton 17.5mm, Lumix 35-100mm, m.ZD 75mm etc...). You know the type - "If I wanted a dSLR size body/lens, I'd buy a dSLR; whats the point of Micro Four Thirds if it's not compact?"

    The thing is, this is a perfectly reasonable comment - I don't really know why I use Micro Four Thirds, when I have basically the largest kit possible within the system. But then, I've never had as much fun with photography as I'm having now...

    So what is it? What's the ethos? What's Micro Four Thirds about?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    "We" are not "them".
  3. CUB

    CUB Guest

    It is about the satisfaction of making great images with a system that many DSLR users wrongly believe is fundamentally inferior to theirs.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    I guess you'll be first in line for the new X-Spite camera...
  5. I feel that micro Four Thirds and subsequent mirrorless systems were the first truly "Digital" interchangable lens cameras. The question of whether that ideal came before the potential of creating smaller cameras and lenses is a chicken-and-egg argument.
  6. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    To me the Micro Four Thirds system is about:

    1) Being able to cram in 5-6 lenses in a bag that would normally barely fit a DSLR with 1 lens attached and say, another lens (likely a small prime).

    2) Not hurting my back by lugging heavy equipment (main reason why I stayed away from digital photography in the first place and this is the reason my wife switched from her Canon system).

    3) Being able to take night shots (with the Olympus IBIS system) and handheld photos with telezooms.

    • Like Like x 3
  7. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Is it not more about abandoning all the unnecessary pentaprism and mirror gubbins that was very useful in film days but just gets in the way now, and using a system that was designed from the ground up to take full advantage of the convenience and efficiency of digital photography? Compactness is only one aspect of that.
    • Like Like x 5
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Small system package that's also capable of (in the right hands) quality output.

    Nothing more....nothing less.....
    • Like Like x 3
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Defining m4/3 as a system based around only absolute size is only for those that don't use it. If small is essential you can get an EPL body with the top of the line sensor in it and tiny tiny lenses that are optically great. Then you have the choice of larger bodies and bigger lenses that meet different needs. When Olympus and Panasonic were making only interchangeable compacts and yet another kit zoom the system was limited for many users. Some left for Fujis and Sonys. But when OMD, with it's superb optional grip kit and more importantly the lenses to do it justice, like the new Panny zooms and the 75, arrived the system and its user base has exploded. Just look at how many "I got my OMD, now what?" threads popped up and how many new people came to this forum.

    Anyway, anyone who calls the 12-35 or upcoming 35-100 zooms "too big" may actually want to compare them to whats available in the larger formats. Compared to say the Canon 17-55 2.8 and Sigma 50-150 2.8 for APSC the Panny's are positively tiny. Size is relative, not absolute.

    My personal opinion is that m4/3 has the Apple iPad ethos. It does over 90% of the things you'll ever need it to in a smaller and easier to use package that you'll actually take with you.

    • Like Like x 5
  10. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Well said!
  11. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I don't use mine then :confused: 
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011

    Except that there are other systems with IBIS, and plenty of system with in lens IS built-in to telezooms, so this isn't really an advantage of m43.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    You're absolutely right.

    That last comment was just me singing praises for the OM-D's 5-axis IBIS. I thought the PEN system was already great but 5-axis rocks!!! You see, am anti-tripod -- I'm stubborn in that way.

    Forgive my ignorance but other than Olympus, which other camera company has IBIS?
  14. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    It is the size of the high quality lenses which is the key to me.

    If I had an APS DSLR I wouldnt have the same equivalent lenses because I couldnt be bothered to lug them around.

    And other mirrorless systems cannot match the quality and range of lenses that M43 has on offer.
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    For me, µ4/3 is about small size and high quality images.

    (All µ4/3 camera bodies and lenses are smaller than their FF/APS-C dSLR counterparts.)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    .... And that's pretty much the biggest body:lens combo on m43 side.
    • Like Like x 4
  17. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Sony Alpha and Pentax K dSLR's both use in-body stabilisation.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Focus accuracy is one big plus of the mirrorless camera varieties. I'm so glad that I don't have to fiddle around with AF fine-tune on a DSLR only to find out that I can't find a value that is OK for the whole zoom range of a lens. And with my Nikon D200 and D300s I often took more than 1 shot only to pick the sharpest one later; the variance in focus was just that little bit too high. I stopped doing that with the G1 and GH2, they focus spot-on, period.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Don't know if I see a micro four thirds ethos so much as a number of different, more personal use related, ethos (what the heck is the plural of ethos?)

    Yes, and that's a bit like what happened with 35m film cameras though it's probably occurred in a shorter time frame than it did with 35mm. First it was considered a bit of a toy, then a few people started using it professionally and it started getting more adherents, the range of equipment picked up, film stocks improved, and the system became more versatile and use exploded. Then people started using it for everything.

    If I had to pick some points for an ethos of some kind, I'd steal from 35mm film's book and say "smaller than the competition, good enough quality to stand up to the competition in a lot of areas reasonably well, and able to be used handheld conveniently". That's what put 35mm film cameras in a lot of hands, it's what I think is putting micro four thirds in a lot of hands, and it's starting to get used for all sorts of photography that no one thought a smaller sensor than the reigning paradigm could handle.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    It's about a goldilocks approach to size and quality. It's not the smallest, and it's not the best, but it's smaller than anything better, better than anything smaller, and in my view good enough for the discerning amateur 99% of the time.

    Even when I outfit my E-M5 with the (4/3) Olympus 12-60 which is not a small lens by any means, it's still drastically smaller than the comparable (in terms of range and IQ) Nikon APS-C or FX kit. And of course if you outfit it with a 14-42, the difference is even more pronounced.
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