Why m4/3 will never replace DSLRs

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by foto2021, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    The DxO Mark results are now available for the production Nikon D800 with its full frame 36 MP sensor. They make interesting reading.

    When compared with the results for the 16 MP Nikon D7000, one of the best DSLRs with an APS-C sensor, they make even more interesting reading.

    A comparison of those two cameras with the current best of m4/3, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH2 shows the large gulf between the performance of m4/3 sensors and APS-C, and the slightly smaller but still significant gap in performance between APS-C and full frame.

    Unfortunately, the Laws of Physics dictate that the performance deficit of m4/3 compared with APS-C and full frame is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. That is not to criticise m4/3, a format I have really taken to after selling all my Nikon APS-C and full frame gear, but it does show why there will be a strong market for APS-C and full frame DSLRs for some time to come.

    DxOMark - Compare cameras side by side
  2. scarbrd

    scarbrd Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 1, 2011
    Houston, TX
    perceptible differences in the final output

    As sensor technology advances all sensor sizes will improve. FF will always resolve more than m4/3, just as medium format sensors will out perform FF sensors.

    The issue is, what is the perceptible difference in the final output? That gap continues to narrow. Once you print an image or optimize for web viewing, the differences are becoming minimal.

    Just one man's take on it. ;-)
  3. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks Colin but this topic has been discussed here numerous times . MFT is not replacing high end DSLR but its a great alternative to entry level DSLRs. We are just fortunate that we have so many cameras and formats available to suit our individual needs. DSLRs will exist but in high end range only . At entry level u have a wide choice to pick out of so many options . If DSLRs continue to sell then companies will continue to manufacture , If balance tilts in favour of mirror less cameras in future then it will be a different game . MFT were never designed to replace or challenge DSLR supremacy .I am more than happy with my MFT set up and this format has distinct advantages over DSLR and I need those advantages .
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  4. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I'm not sure mFT was ever going to replace DSLRs, especially the middle to high end dslrs. Right now though, mFT is not too far behind the NEX system in terms of image quality. Good on Nikon for making such a camera.
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  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    those are some punishing numbers. But when are they going to take the mirrors out of those things......and make them good looking ;)
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Nobody is really saying that m43 (or other mirrorless) will ever completely replace DSLRs - just that it will relegate relatively high end DSLRs to a niche market. Like DSLRs have done to medium format over the years.

    Physics is physics and you'll always be able to get better performance out of a larger sensor, but there's a point for almost everyone where a smaller sensor becomes good ENOUGH. And as smaller sensors get better and better along with larger sensors, more and more people will hit that point. Many of us are there already. Everyone has a different point where that happens. And some few will always insist on the absolute very best, damn the other tradeoffs, and there will always be a place in the DSLR market for them. But I suspect in another several years (I don't know whether this will be 5 or 10 or 20 years), there won't be much reason to go with a DSLR except for those few people who've gotta have the absolute best.

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  7. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord

    Nov 4, 2010
    Real Name:
    M43 was never meant to replace your DSLR... but rather compliment it
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  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I tend to agree... but you should probably specify more clearly by why you mean by "replace DSLRs".

    In the consumer market, I believe it is possible. Its already winning a good chunk of market share overseas. Consumer have needs that vary differently from other market segments. Much of the consumer base has been convinced (good marketing) that good photos can only be taken with a DSLR but at the expense of bulk. If panasonic and olympus can get the message out that one can provide the ability to take good quality photos that "fit in your lifestyle". That's a wonderful value proposition.

    For professional use, I am fairly skeptical that micro 4 3 will over take DSLRs. Photo stuff aside, there has to be a significant value proposition on the table to convince a business/professional to switch systems. Then we start getting into which type of professionals. We've all seen professional journalists using smaller pocketable cameras and being published. For me, the more interesting question is whether or not "mirror-less design" can over take DSLRs.

    Outside this forum, there is a misconception that micro 4 3 was intended to be the DSLR alternative. Heck, I've seen people who automatically assumed that micro 4 3 is a "cheaper" alternative to DSLRs only to be surprised that it isn't much cheaper than lower-end DSLRs. I am still wondering when Olympus and Panasonic will actually put effort into marketing the micro 4 3 system.... I rarely see any ads.
  9. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    I think mirrorless will completely replace DSLRs in the future. Cameras with a flipping mirror and bulky (and expensive!) pentaprism/pentamirror don't make much sense anymore, they were designed for film and now are evolutionary dead-end. There are too many lenses and other accessories for SLRs and too much is invested into this market for them to just disappear, and electronic viewfinders are still far worse than optical ones, but they'll evolve and DSLRs will eventually die out. At that point, though, m43 system might be dead as well, but mirrorless in general have good chances to succeed.
  10. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    In terms of resolution and low light ability, the latest 16 MP m4/3 sensors in the Panasonic GH2, G3, and GX1 have shown what can be achieved. I'm very happy that my G3 produces excellent results at ISO 1600 - far better than anything from any of the 12 MP m4/3 cameras at ISO 400, for example.

    But where m4/3 still falls down is in its limited dynamic range. The best that m4/3 can achieve is between 10 and 11 stops. Meanwhile, the best APS-C and full frame DSLRs are approaching 14 stops.

    That 3 stop difference in dynamic range is a killer. When shooting m4/3, you have to decide which matters most, highlights or shadows, because you know you are going to lose one or the other - except when shooting very low contrast scenes.

    But when you shoot with a Nikon D7000 or Pentax K-5, you don't have to choose. The 14 stop dynamic range means that you can retain detail in both highlights and shadows. So a 3 stop difference in dynamic range is hugely significant, and the difference in the final output is not only perceptible, but huge.
  11. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would suggest u to read this please..
  12. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    Wasn't it? :smile: Before mirrorless cameras we've had 2 choices: either get a big heavy camera and high image quality or a small camera but low IQ. Olympus tried to break these "scales" and developed Four Thirds promising good quality and small size, but failed completely in this regard and just died.. to be reborn in m43, and this new standard seems to deliver: cameras and lenses are small and basically not far from entry-level DSLRs quality-wise, so they are a nice alternative to DSLRs.
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  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Replace DSLRs or 43 replace Full Frame sensors? There's a difference. Right now, FF sensors come in DSLRs or a range finder format. DSLRs also come with 43, APS-C, APS-H and FF sensors.

    But if you mean Oly and Panny won't replace the Nikons because of noise and other "IQ" characteristics, that's correct. But if you want to travel light, those Nikons can't replace m43.

    All needs in life cannot be satisfied by just one tool or one solution. There are usually tools for different needs (example -- it's hard to hammer a nail with a saw, though they are both carpenter's tools, or perhaps a better analogy is that I wouldn't want to nail a fine brad with a framing hammer with a waffle head).
    • Like Like x 3
  14. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    Anyone using a Walkman CD player rather than an MP3 player?

    Did anyone predict this a few years ago?

    I'd suggest that the DSLR death spiral has already begun - check back in 2017.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Really? Maybe you should check out these images showing a 6 stop shadow push with LR4 and a GH2. Not far off from the 6 stop push someone else posted for the D800.

    6 Stops shadow push gh2 + lr4: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Aside from that, when did we forget that shadows, real, honest to goodness dark shadows, are an important part of composition. Photography is about light and shadow, but people seem to have forgotten the shadow part. 35mm transparency film maxed out at about 5 stops of DR, and photographers produced some tremendous photographs by taking advantage of shadow as part of the composition. But now we're supposed to believe than anything less than 14 stops is inadequate? Give me a break.

    The only reason m43 hasn't replaced my DSLRs completely has nothing to do with IQ. My GH2 is more than capable of producing publication and gallery quality images (as long as you stay below about 20x30 print size) today. Where my m43 gear can't match my DSLR is in focus tracking and predictive AF and continuous shooting speed while in C-AF, and the availability of long, fast AF lenses.
    • Like Like x 3
  16. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Faulty Logic.

    Your conclusion that m4/3 will "never" replace DSLRs with larger sensors is not supported by your logic.

    It is true (always has been and always will be) that given the same sensor technology a larger sensor will perform better in terms of dynamic range and noise. It really becomes a question of how good is good enough, and what trade-offs you're willing to make. And that is a very individual question.

    But the sensor size difference between a GH2 and a D7000 does not account for the DxO-measured 3 stop difference in dynamic range. Most of this difference is due to sensor technology, which could easily shift in the months and years to come. Personally, I think a measured 3 stop difference down near the noise floor is not as useful as people make it out to be.

    I believe that m4/3 currently could function perfectly well as a substitution for a DSLR for at least 90% of users.
  17. NetizenSmith

    NetizenSmith Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    m4/3 has already replaced DSLRs for many. It's allowed high quality photos from a camera that fits in my pocket. Pros will always want better image quality and the ability to enlarge more but they also don't mind carting a load of gear about.
  18. bedojo

    bedojo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    It has replased my dslr kit.
    Basically griped 5d2 with 24-70 70-200 L and sigma 50mm. All about to be sold.
    Just simply wasn't a very strong market for my type of photography where I lived. The college girls only shot with the guys who would do tfp because they thought they were hot. And the normal residents, weren't my customers. I did try changing to baby's and the such, but... Just made me very unhappy. So mft is enough until next year when I graduate and move back to a real town.
    I will be going to Bangkok for a 6. Month stay for my international business program, where the em5 will come in hand as a tiny light camera.
    Would of loved to bring my strobes and 5d setup but I honestly won't have enough time to dedicate to shooting models, which is what I love shooting. Except for stuck up girls who think I should shoot them for free because they think they are a 10 when they really a 6 at best lol.

    Enough ranting,
    But I am planning on selling my beloved canon gear and getting all m4/3 gear. Currently have gf2 12mm 45mm em5 comming .
    In studio the gf2 12mm combo worked great and was on par with t2i and 24-70L.
    For the time being it replased my dslr setup.
  19. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011