The statement in the topic title is the first sentence of Klaus' review of the Panasonic 12-32 lens.
- Is that really true? For me, at least, Micro Four Thirds (MFT) is the perfect balance between image quality and portability. Yes, one can make pretty small mirrorless bodies with APS-C or even full frame sensors, as Fujifilm and Sony demonstrate. Still, the main point is that for basic physical reasons, the lenses that need to be attached to these bodies have to be pretty large in any case, especially if one wants to get to some considerable zoom. The resulting "tiny body / huge lens" solutions feel quite unbalanced to me, and are often fairly slow as well (in terms of autofocus for instance). So when I want to have a big sensor, I rather go to a compact style but very capable DSLR like the Pentax K-3, which has great balance and ergonomics. Speaking about image quality, having used all those systems, I think that with nowadays technology there is no really obvious difference in image quality between full frame and APS-C in more than 95% of the cases (maybe except for if you like to make wall-sized magnifications). Between MFT and APS-C, I would say that in about 75% of the cases, there is no perceivable image quality loss. If one goes down to the next step, and compares APS-C with 1 inch sensor solutions like the ones from Nikon and Sony, then the amount of images where one can clearly perceive a loss in image quality is much larger. (Note: The above numbers are no scientific result, but subjective impressions from viewing many images on a standard full HD computer screen.)
So Klaus, in summary I do not really understand why the MFT system would be "in a bit vulnerable position these days". I believe it is in a very good compromise position between image quality and size/weight (plus also price). With sensors becoming better all the time, that position actually should become even stronger in the future.
06-08-2014, 08:28 AM
(This post was last modified: 06-08-2014, 09:14 AM by Klaus.)
At the end of the day MFT is just a step up from digicams/phones whereas APS-C cameras are one step further.
And I'm sorry to say but the Fuji 16mp APS-C sensor is miles ahead of the MFT gang in my book - this is easily obvious during RAW processing.
Size-wise the Sony A6000 is as big/small as the Pana GX-7. And the Fuji X-T1 is actually smaller than the Olympus OM-D/Pana GH4.
As for the lenses - when comparing lenses of EQUIVALENT depth-of-field capabilities, there's no size difference across the board no matter whether you take a 1 Nikkor system or medium format (plus/minus a little). e.g. Take the Olympus 12-40/2.8 vs the Zeiss/Sony 16-70/4.
Don't misunderstand me - I really like MFT and I will also continue to use it for personally (beyond PZ) but regarding the competition especially from Fuji there'll be difficult times ahead. Or to phrase it differently - I either use the Pana GM1 or Fuji X-T1 whereas my GH3 is collecting dust (and IQ-wise the GH3 is on par with the OM-D/GX-7).
I knew that this sentence in the review would cause some uneasy feelings but just like over at Sony I will not do any sugarcoating.
Quote:At the end of the day MFT is just a step up from digicams/phones whereas APS-C cameras are one step further.
I think it also depends a little on which aspect ratio one prefers.
If one uses a 4:3 aspect ratio then the effective usable sensor size of APS-C is 144% of the sensor size of MFT (which results in a crop factor of about 1.2 from MFT to APS-C). So in this case, there should not be too much of a difference between MFT and APS-C as you're cropping away some of the advantage
The situation is of course reversed if one mainly uses a 3:2 aspect ratio. In this case the effective available sensor size of APS-C is 184% of MFT's available sensor size, which yields a crop factor of ~1.4. In this case, the step from MFT to APS-C is almost as big as the one from APS-C to FF.
And of course all of this only makes sense for cameras without a multi-aspect ratio sensor
Hi Klaus, thank you for your reply. Although I'm "newbie" in this forum, I read your reviews long enough in order not to expect any sugarcoating
- and that's of course ok.
However, your argument concerning lenses below is indeed only valid if you compare equivalent depth-of-field
. It is not valid if you just compare equivalent zoom capabilities
. Although I know that pros hate to hear this, let's face it: Not many non-pro photographers (and that's the vast majority) are hugely concerned about depth-of-field. For me personally, it's an important issue when shooting portraits. Ok, then I better use my Pentax K-3 with DA*55 f1.4, and at f1.4 the focal plain is so narrow that if you focus on the person's eyes the nose will be unsharp and vice versa.
But: If I do landscape shooting, or if I go with my children to the zoo to capture some animals, I couldn't care less about depth-of-field. For the zoo, I take my Olympus E-M5 with the Olympus 75-300 II, and get a pretty light and still reasonable small set with 600mm(!) full frame equivalent zoom, so that one can nicely capture every detail of that bear 200m away. In reasonable light, image quality is pretty good with this set. Ok, I could take the Pentax K-3 with Sigma 100-300, which gives "only" 450mm full frame equivalent zoom, and sure this gives better image quality, especially when it comes closer to sunset. But size and weight of the total set is something like a factor 3-4 larger. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Fuji doesn't even offer a lens for their X system in this zoom range.
So this is one example where MFT is very useful, in my opinion. And image quality is certainly far better than what a "pocket zoom" with 1/2.3'' sensor would give.
Quote from Klaus' post:
"As for the lenses - when comparing lenses of EQUIVALENT depth-of-field capabilities, there's no size difference across the board no matter whether you take a 1 Nikkor system or medium format (plus/minus a little). e.g. Take the Olympus 12-40/2.8 vs the Zeiss/Sony 16-70/4.
I knew that this sentence in the review would cause some uneasy feelings but just like over at Sony I will not do any sugarcoating."
P.S.: Some example photos with exactly the set I mentioned above (Olympus EM-5 + 75-300 II) here:
You think you would get anything close to that with a compact/phone?
The argument that you compare what's important to you, and ignore the rest, comes with the fundamental problem different people have different needs
I don't even think that the biggest threat to MFT is the technology, but more the financial state of Olympus and Panasonic.
BTW, for 95% of what I do, I don't need shallow depth of field either. I am surprised by what you can get out of a 5.6x crop factor compact superzoom under that condition. Even smaller than MFT, no need to change lenses.
<a class="bbc_url" href="http://snowporing.deviantart.com/">dA</a> Canon 7D2, 7D, 5D2, 600D, 450D, 300D IR modified, 1D, EF-S 10-18, 15-85, EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2, 70-300L, 100-400L, MP-E65, Zeiss 2/50, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300/2.8, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Olympus E-P1, Panasonic 20/1.7, Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
As mentioned above, different people have different needs... For me, the full frame makes difference with regard to dof, which might bring other issues as well. And you might say that there exist bigger sensors if one needs shallow dof, but nowadays these beasts are not even close to the comparable lower prices of full frames, but that's not even the topic, right
I never had one of those MFTs or other cropped mirrorless bodies but they're getting more attractive each day, and most probably because of Fuji (at least to me
). The design (of T1), the sensor IQ and increasing number of lenses... On the other hand, MFT looks like a clear winner with regard to available lens choices, body/lens balance (if one needs longer zooms) and video (Pana). So, it's good to have different products on the market with different specifications... People should look for, understand and then choose.
Quote:P.S.: Some example photos with exactly the set I mentioned above (Olympus EM-5 + 75-300 II) here:
You think you would get anything close to that with a compact/phone?
Did I suggest this ?
If you have read the first passage you will actually notice that I emphasized that the primary differentiator of the system is size and weight.
Just as a reminder - Olympus has released the 12-40/2.8 and will release a 7-14/2.8, 40-150/2.8 and 300/4. These lenses are all directly competing with APS-C counterparts - based on a sensor that it simply a bit weaker.
Quote:I don't even think that the biggest threat to MFT is the technology, but more the financial state of Olympus and Panasonic.
It almost looks as if Panasonic has thrown the towel as far as MFT is concerned - no follow up models for the GX7, G6, GF6 in sight... Specifically for the G6 poor sales figures were given as reason to postpone a replacement model - what did they expect when they released this cam featuring an already obsolete sensor? Clearly, to achieve better sales they would need to replace the G6 rather sooner than later. Bizzare management decisions are the biggest threat...
Anyhow, I´m in the process to sell most of my MFT gear, eventually I keep a few lenses for better days though. For me it´s all Sony now, very happy with my most recent NEX-6 bargain. IQ in particular with the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 is stunning, love it. And this gear is so cheap, a GX7 would have cost me twice as much.