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Micro 4/3s and APS sensor cameras - is there much of difference?


21 May 2013 12:26PM
I wondered if micro 4/3 is really a revelation as compared to APS family sensors based cameras? These cameras are multiple and some of them come pretty close to 4/3s in size and weight (Sony NEX, EOS M and latest Canon EOS100D). As for sensors themselves, 4/3 is a 1.25 crop of APS-C. Is it really worth having a separate camera system with dedicated optics similar to APS cameras - while most of APS sensor cameras can successfully use long established and honed to perfection lens lines for full format cameras?

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franken e2
12 3.2k 4 Wales
21 May 2013 12:37PM
It's obviously worth having to the people who buy them and use them on a regular basis.

As they are becoming more and more popular the question is pointless.

Ken
21 May 2013 12:50PM

Quote:It's obviously worth having to the people who buy them and use them on a regular basis.


Let's clarify the question:
Is there much point to switch to 4/3 from APS-C? Sure, there is for the one "who bought it and uses in on a regular basis" ( please do not write it again), but what is the benefit?
franken e2
12 3.2k 4 Wales
21 May 2013 1:05PM
I own a few APS-C cameras and despite the reduction the size and weight of some of them are nowhere near as light and portable to use as 4/3rds and one can assume that is why they continue to rise in popularity.

I've recently been out lugging one of the smallest APS-C sized DSLR's around and I have to say that I felt the weight after a period of time.

My 4/3rds camera is wonderful in comparison and I intend to increase the system soon.

DSLR's are modified versions of what first came to light over fifty years ago.

I can remember a camera manufacturer stating that their only option was to carry on using the SLR system when the sensors became large enough as there was nothing else available.

Time has moved on now.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
21 May 2013 1:33PM

Quote:As for sensors themselves, 4/3 is a 1.25 crop of APS-C


Or to look at it another way: APS-C is 1.5 crop of 35mm. Is it worth having APS-C? Why not have 35mm and MFT?

APS-C v 35mm: no significant saving on bulk because you are using the same lenses which contribute most volume and weight. So all in all APS-C offer little advantage other than price.
MFT: significant savings in weight and bulk, especially as you can use significantly shorter focal lenses for equivalent FOV
If you want a relevant illustration you only need to look at the Sony Nex. Nice small body, but the APS-C sized lenses mean little saving on bulk and that is why IMO the NEX system seems to be stalling.

I am fairly sure that if people bought a camera appropriate for the way they view the images, then APS-C would be a dead format. The thing is that people are still stuck in two grooves: 'I will get the best quality I can even though I only look at my images on faecesbook' and 'if I want quality it has to be DSLR'. The only reason APS-C exists was the complexity at the time of creating 35mm sensors and that no longer applies.

The fact that some pros are won over by the quality of MFT is almost and accident - the market that the MFT are aimed at (entry level DSLR) are the very market who do not updgrade cameras very often so it is in the manufacturer's interests to keep the APS-C myth alive.
Steppenwolf 3 971
21 May 2013 2:26PM

Quote:I wondered if micro 4/3 is really a revelation as compared to APS family sensors based cameras? These cameras are multiple and some of them come pretty close to 4/3s in size and weight (Sony NEX, EOS M and latest Canon EOS100D).


You can build very small APS-C camera bodies but it's difficult to build small lenses for the larger sensor. Sony NEX has tiny camera bodies but the lenses are quite large. It's not that the NEX lenses are larger, focal length for focal length - it's that the M4/3 body uses a shorter focal length to get the same AoV. Focal length for focal length the lens sizes are the same (roughly). Take for example the Olympus 4/3 300mm f2.8 which is roughly the same size as a Canon FF 300mm f2.8. However, the Olympus 300mm f2.8 is effectively a 600mm f2.8 - and how big would an FF 600mm f2.8 be? That's why smaller sensor cameras are so popular.

The fact is that there is absolutely no reason why the size of a digital sensor should be the same as that of 35mm film. It doesn't need to be.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
21 May 2013 2:46PM
And I think the real breakthrough was Sony and Panasonic getting smaller sensors that had both a pixel density and a level of noise control that allowed them to match APS-C. Without it the 300mm would not be particularly useful as the MFT equivalent of 600mm on FF.
ChrisV 8 827 26 United Kingdom
21 May 2013 2:58PM
I've just bought one of the Panasonic m4/3 14-42x lenses. I say I bought the lens, it was actually 249 and came with the equally diminutive GF5 which I view as virtually a freebie. I'm not sure the camera isn't too small to be ergonomically all that great [I have a GX1 but that is not working at present].

Camera and zoom together will go into a large pocket. The only APSc combos that come close for weight/size are those newly emerged models with non-interchangeable lenses. Once you get to longer zooms the lens size difference is even more significant. There are vastly more dedicated lenses available for 4/3 as a mirrorless system [as opposed to those are designed for mirrored cameras that can be adapted].

If you accept in choosing smaller formats you are making quality compromises to some degree, for me personally the difference in quality between APSc and m4/3 is not so great that the size/weight advantage of the latter doesn't more than make up for it.

The downside is of course that any lenses/peripehrals cannot be shared between a 35mm format camera without adapters. I doubt however I'll ever purchase another APSc format camera.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
21 May 2013 3:50PM

Quote:Is there much point to switch to 4/3 from APS-C?


I did this a long while ago switching from Canon, a 300D and a 10D, to an Olympus E1.

For me the 4/3 system had advantages.

Then M4/3 came along and I could see its advantages both over APS-C and 4/3.


Quote:The fact is that there is absolutely no reason why the size of a digital sensor should be the same as that of 35mm film. It doesn't need to be


On the nail, sensors were matching the quality of 35mm film a fair while ago, today even the smallish sensors exceed 35mm film quality and if you were happy with 35mm film, you will be more than happy with M4/3.


Quote:I say I bought the lens, it was actually 249 and came with the equally diminutive GF5 which I view as virtually a freebie. I'm not sure the camera isn't too small to be ergonomically all that great [I have a GX1 but that is not working at present]


I did similar, but instead picked up a 14mm in a kit with the GF2, the combination was cheaper than buying the lens on its own @ 169, although the sensor is not in the same league as the OMD, its a fun little camera with more than adequate image quality 90% of the time.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
21 May 2013 5:32PM
Mike posted this link in another thread, but it makes much more sense being posted here.

A lot of people complain that there is too much dof using smaller sensors, this is the sensors major advantage.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/06/in-defense-of-depth.html
strawman 10 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
21 May 2013 5:35PM
Get a compact, even smaller & lighter , even more DoF. I just find myself thinking portable and take anywhere or luggable. The moment it needs a camera bag andcannot fit into trouser pocket it is luggable to me. But we are all different.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
21 May 2013 6:05PM

Quote:Get a compact, even smaller & lighter


Yes, I already have one, weather sealed, spot metering, great lens, its full frame, and fits into a tight jeans pocket Smile

dscf7120.jpg


I haven`t yet found its digital equivalent


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwOPHkgx_3M
21 May 2013 9:12PM

Quote:... to look at it another way: APS-C is 1.5 crop of 35mm. Is it worth having APS-C? Why not have 35mm and MFT?
...
The fact that some pros are won over by the quality of MFT is almost and accident - the market that the MFT are aimed at (entry level DSLR) are the very market who do not updgrade cameras very often so it is in the manufacturer's interests to keep the APS-C myth alive.


35mm and MFT - tempting... But expensive. I would have a camera (or two) of every type - but my hip pocket disagrees Smile I see manufacturers interest quite different though - the "new" factor have always been used in sales, esp. in oversaturated, extremely competitive markets. Nikon V is a definite success - as well as 5000 series.
21 May 2013 9:20PM

Quote:

A lot of people complain that there is too much dof using smaller sensors, this is the sensors major advantage.


I can bet my IXUS 115 will beat any 4/3 on DOF - and it is considerably more compact. My approach to DOF it is the same - I prefer flexibility and control. How 4/3s about it?
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
21 May 2013 9:33PM
There is bags of flexibility and control, I picked on this very early on.

But I do like compacts, especially the decent ones that have a whole lot more flash control than DSLR`s Smile

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