u43 sensor, is it really too small?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by uscrx, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. uscrx

    uscrx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    Shasta Cascade
    That's the common perception. Many use u43 for the small size. Of course the downside is that the u43 sensor is a fraction of the size of FF. Bigger is better...right? Well...

    I don't know.

    What are we trying to achieve with a larger sensor? Better IQ when printing large?

    Just recently, I had my office decorated. The decorator interviewed me extensively... my interests, likes, hobbies etc. And I shared my flickr account with her. And she chose a bunch of pictures to frame. The frames you are seeing are pictures I took with E-P1 and 14-42mm I kit lens some years ago. And I'm not sure that a FF picture taken with an L lens would make much difference. How often do we print the pictures we take anyways?

    I think us photogs paralyze ourselves with technical specifications of our gear so much, we are more interested in buying new equipment to take better pictures that will just be filed away in an external HD instead of improving our photo skills. Am I right? :cautious:

    Oh... office picture taken with my outdated Samsung Note III.

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  2. pcovers

    pcovers Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2015
    To answer the question: no, it isn't too small at all.
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  3. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Nope, it's not too small. It facilitates the wonderfully small size of the camera which got many of us into m43 in the first place.

    M43 is not going to be Sony, the sensor size will always be smaller. If you want a bigger sensor and bigger setup including lenses, think you can produce better images and are happy to pay more, don't let that stop you going elsewhere. You're only going to enjoy m43 if you have fun using it and are not bothered by any perceived limitations.
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  4. Nathan King

    Nathan King Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    I routinely print to 11x14 and occasionally 16x20. I've never seen a deficiency in my prints that wasn't caused by me.
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  5. HalPAnderson

    HalPAnderson Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 27, 2014
    Real photographers use Pan-X in 8"x10" view cameras. Everything else is too small. ;)
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  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I think that m43 is kind of like the Honda of the camera world. Sure we all dream of driving a Porsche or a Hummer or a Bugatti, but those are just way too impractical for 99.9% of us, and we probably wouldn't even buy one if we if we got a big raise. So we drive these great Accords or Odysseys or CR-Vs. They aren't the kinds of things that you are going to brag about at parties, but they sure get the job done day in and day out. Gas mileage is great, they aren't hard to park, they fit the family and payments aren't so bad.
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  7. uscrx

    uscrx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    Shasta Cascade
    Hey now... We have an Odyssey.. and a 911. I brag about the Oddy all day long!!! :laugh1:
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  8. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Not too sure if I totally agree with your analogy. Cost is one reason why people might prefer m4/3, but there are other reasons why as well. Smaller size being one of them for myself.
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  9. Nathan King

    Nathan King Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    I own a Leica and Hasselblad kit but use Micro Four Thirds often. I might be in the minority here, but it's not a cost issue at all.
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  10. DWS

    DWS Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2014
    After lugging FF Nikons/attracted glass for wedding photography, MFT is "just right" for me now.
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  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    The analogy was not purely cost. It was meant as an analogy for practicality. If small size was the only factor, you'd use a phone. If cost was the only factor, you'd find a $100 compact. If performance was the only factor, you'd be shooting FF or even medium format. If you wanted an expensive street shooter you might get a Leica. M43 is the most practical combination of all of the above, kind of like a Honda might be considered a practical car choice.

    If that sounds like a belittlement of any brand or m4/3 it was not meant to be.
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  12. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I had a poster made of my oldest son back when he was a wee hockey player to hang in his room. I took it with my old 4MP Oly C-770UZ. Looks great.

    So when I see people arguing about if you can make good prints with modern cameras that are 8MP, 10MP, 12, 16, 20, etc. I just laugh. ***** ALL ***** modern digital camera have the potential to make nice prints, even larger ones. If someone thinks differently then they are simply nitpicking or like to look at your 16x20 print from 8 inches away and are trying to scrutinize the dots and don't really care about the subject of the print.
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  13. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Of course it all depends on your need/want.

    Cost is one consideration but size is just as important to me.

    I don't need a bigger sensor for IQ in general but I would like better high ISO performance...

    I don't want (to carry) bigger lenses/bodies but I'm still drooling at FF and MF stuff. I can't help it, it's the way I am. I don't think I'm alone. I like gadgets and I'm ok with that.

    Whenever I seriously* look at other systems I just have a look at what e.g. @Nam-in-Sonoma@Nam-in-Sonoma , @GRID@GRID, @dukenukem@dukenukem and MANY others here can accomplish to realise where the bottleneck is...

    The future is bright, it can only get better. I'm waiting for the liquid lens revolution myself :biggrin:

    * not that have the money for it now, but for when I might...
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  14. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Sigh... Another Little Engine That Could thread.
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  15. uscrx

    uscrx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    Shasta Cascade
    Mmmm...more like Little Retired Engine that did... as my u43 pictures taken with E-P1 were used to print 12×18 to frame and they look great.
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  16. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    All technical aspects aside. They look look great pics up there.
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  17. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I don't have any other digital kit (just assorted film stuff) but I agree. I can afford whatever camera system I want. I'm aware of the strengths and weaknesses of different systems, and I choose m43.
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  18. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    of course this argument goes Waaaa aaaaa y back to 2003 when the Olympus 4/3 cameras (no not micro 43) were introduced. Back then Olympus stood by the smaller than APS size with what it perceived as advantages.

    I think all of those advantages remain exactly intact and m43 brings with it the EVF that allows the once hallowed "live view" as not so much a "special feature to use when seeking precision" but pretty much the daily driver.

    So this argument is quite boring for some of us....

    Something to read from the past:
    wrotniak.net: Olympus E-System Prototype

    The Four Thirds system is a new open standard for digital SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses that utilize a 4/3 inch image sensor. In addition to facilitating the development of camera lens systems specifically designed to maximize digital image sensor performance - without being bound by the design conventions imposed by 35mm film camera SLR systems - the Four Thirds system establishes a common standard for lens mounts, ensuring compatibility between lenses and bodies even if they are produced by different manufacturers. Furthermore, the Four Thirds system interchangeable lenses are much smaller and lighter than 35mm and APS SLR lens systems.

    Olympus is currently developing a line-up of Four Thirds system bodies, interchangeable lenses, and accessories that offer professional-quality ruggedness, performance and system expandability.

    The interchangeable lenses, developed and manufactured by Olympus, are exceptionally bright and compact, and deliver high quality images that only digital lenses can provide. The new Olympus lenses are (figures in parentheses indicate 35mm film camera equivalent):

    • 300 mm, f2.8 (600mm)
    • 14-54 mm, f2.8-f3.5 zoom (28-108mm)
    • 50 mm, f2.0 macro (100mm)
    • 50-200 mm, f2.8-f3.5 zoom (100-400mm)
    The camera prototype is sure to impress, with its design tailored to meet the demands of all professional photographers. Its magnesium alloy body provides the protection needed for use in the field and on other rugged assignments, while the power battery holder enables firm and secure holding even when shooting in portrait format. Flash connection is supported via a dedicated hot-shoe. As the professional would expect, manual and automatic adjustment of the aperture, shutter speed and focus is all possible. [...]

    Four Thirds system prototypes to be exhibited

    • Camera body
    • Four lenses
    • External flash unit
    • Power battery holder
    Development background of the new standard

    At present, there is no standard in the Digital SLR field. Manufacturers of these camera systems have until now adopted the lens mount used in their own respective 35mm or APS film SLR camera, so bodies and lenses from different manufacturers are incompatible with one another. Also, to use these lenses, manufacturers have increased the size of the image sensor. This means sensors do not reach their full potential.

    For example, unlike with film, the light needs to hit the sensor at a high angle of incidence. If not, the periphery of the chip may receive insufficient light, resulting in reduced color definition, particularly when shooting with wide-angle lenses. Furthermore, with such relatively large sensors, bigger and heavier lenses are required to achieve the resolutions required by the micron pitch of the chip's individual sensors.


    With the Four Thirds system no compromise has been made. It is solely dedicated to the needs of digital image capture and, as an open standard, it also paves the way to cross-manufacturer lens interchangeability. The use of a 4/3-type image sensor size has allowed the dimensions and weight of the lens to be reduced considerably, enhancing handling and mobility. The advantage is particularly clear to see in telephoto lenses. For example, a Four Thirds system 300mm telephoto lens will offer performance equivalent to a 600mm lens on a 35mm film SLR camera. And another benefit: it also impresses with great light gathering power.​
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  19. laser8

    laser8 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 29, 2013
    Mare nostrum, Istria
    Oh yes it is. Too small to need a trailer for the huge lenses bigger formats need, and too small for very specific needs(which do exist) . A lot of people are delusional about the need for ff or mf, but it's somebody's marketing that needs to approach that. I tried to explain it to some friends, but gave up quite some time ago. And they still do not print, and moan about the heavy kit they're not taking with them. But hey, you can't live with that tiny sensor, can you?
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  20. It is too small.

    My arms and back don't get quite the workout they used to. ;)
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