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Old 05-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #16
DriveShaft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
Your size spreadsheet is well thought out and demonstrates the differences in one area of the discussion basis a fairly tight set of uses and apertures.

I never carry cameras in my pockets, I have at a minimum a tank bag on the bike and a messenger/laptop bag on me around town. The viewfinder, external controls, lens selection, and wireless flash control make the DSLR a better system for me. You could make the m4/3 cameras the size of a credit card and they'd still be a second camera for me.

Point being, everyone's needs vary. The OP might not know what their needs are at this point, so it is good to discuss all facets of the choice, not only size.
I absolutely agree, it's important to figure in the big picture...and not everybody has the same criteria, or opinions. Four of my friends/siblings asked me to help buy cameras in the past year, and we ended up with four different models--one p&s, one dslr, and three mirrorless (both NEX system & m4/3). Everyone's needs/taste differs a bit.

Wrt the spreadsheet, I actually cranked out like 8 different views of the kit. That was for my own purchase, and I was just going through the math to figure out if it made a difference to me. In all cases, though, the size difference landed in the 4/3rds mirrorless camera's favor...even if you "handicapped" the mirrorless camera kit with relatively extreme rules, it was smaller by 21%. Comparing the high-end lens options...the DSLR kit was a whopping 68% bigger.

I don't mean to diminish the benefits of DSLRs either. DSLRs definitely have some distinct advantages over the current breed of mirrorless. I *have* a dslr specifically because much of what I shoot really emphasizes the weak points of mirrorless at the moment, so it's easier & more pleasant for me to just go dslr when I need to, & go mirrorless when I want to enjoy the freedom of movement. Referring to the OP's situation, I was saying that if he's coming off of a purely P&S perspective, w/ a budding curiosity in the more advanced aspects of photography, then the mirrorless options give you plenty of capability, & still offer a more consumer-friendly blend of traits than many dslrs.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:18 AM   #17
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Shouldn't the titel be 4/3rds vs FULL frame DSLR, since the 4/3rds DSLR's ARE DSLR's?
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #18
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My take, and what I've heard from a few other guys who seem to know a whole lot more about cameras than I do, is that you clearly cannot expect a camera like an Olympus E-P2 or similar m4/3 to match the image quality of a high-end professional DSLR with a $3,000 lens attached to it. But you definitely can compare it to a lower-end DSLR with its bundled lens kit. Given the choice between the E-P2 and the more entry-level DSLR, I would go for the E-P2 for convenience reasons. If on the other hand you're planning to build up a collection of top-quality lenses, then this camera is not a great candidate.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sniper X View Post
Shouldn't the titel be 4/3rds vs FULL frame DSLR, since the 4/3rds DSLR's ARE DSLR's?
No, the OP meant to say Micro 4/3. If you read his actual post it references a few mirrorless cameras.


If you really want to get nerdy about sensors, there are various sizes in point and shoots, then 4/3, APS-C, APS-H, 'full frame', Pentax 645D, then medium format.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
No, the OP meant to say Micro 4/3. If you read his actual post it references a few mirrorless cameras.


If you really want to get nerdy about sensors, there are various sizes in point and shoots, then 4/3, APS-C, APS-H, 'full frame', Pentax 645D, then medium format.
If you REALLY want to get nerdy 4/3 is technically full frame since it was a whole new standard not simply a crop of a 35mm system.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:39 PM   #21
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We picked up an Olympus E-PL1 this weekend and have started playing with it.

I think they should be called 3/4 cameras, about 3/4 the size, capacities and price of a DSLR. And choice of lenses.....

But for a step up from a point and shoot it's outstanding. Enough features to play with to learn, portable form factor so you won't mind carrying it around, a limited choice of lenses so you don't get completely lost looking for upgrades. I think we're going to be really happy with this one.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #22
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They work very well with adapters for old manual focus lenses. Old canon FD lenses are cheap and very good and even older 16mm (c-mount) cine camera lenses are really interesting. Don't forget m42 lenses... or MD, PK, Alpha...

You now have an unlimited range of cheap lenses to confuse you
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:27 PM   #23
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I don't think comparisons are valid.

DSLR's are DSLR's and micro 4/3 rangefinder types are micro 4/3 rangefinder types.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:24 PM   #24
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Both are AF so the practical differences are less than the dark ages of film.
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:44 PM   #25
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My take, and what I've heard from a few other guys who seem to know a whole lot more about cameras than I do, is that you clearly cannot expect a camera like an Olympus E-P2 or similar m4/3 to match the image quality of a high-end professional DSLR with a $3,000 lens attached to it. But you definitely can compare it to a lower-end DSLR with its bundled lens kit. Given the choice between the E-P2 and the more entry-level DSLR, I would go for the E-P2 for convenience reasons. If on the other hand you're planning to build up a collection of top-quality lenses, then this camera is not a great candidate.
"Image quality" is not the correct word for that statement. "Range" would be appropriate, as the smaller sensor is roughly one-stop more noisy than it's APS-C brethren and 2 stops more noisy than it's full-frame brethren--purely by the math of pixel density. So, whereas you've got a usable range up to ISO6400 on a full-frame body, you can count on a m4/3 body to show that same quality two-stops lower--ISO1600. And arguably, anything shot at ISO1600 or lower...the differences may be measurable, but not noticeable to the eye.

Actually, if image quality is the benchmark of measure...you'd be surprised what the m4/3 cameras like the e-pl2 can match. For anything shot at ISO1600 or lower, it absolutely can compete with the best of them, shot for shot, image quality-wise. What's more, you can take a Zuiko Digital ED 90-250mm F/2.8 and slap it on an e-p2, and start getting down to business. That's a $6000 lens known for having *way* better corner-to-corner sharpness than the canikon counterparts, and way better color saturation (partly due to the fact that it's designing to a smaller image circle, thus chromatic abberations are easier to control). Focusing would be slow as molasses bcs you've got huge lens elements built for PDAF, not CDAF, but it actually works. I've actually done exactly that with a 14-35mm f/2.0 zoom lens (a $2500 lens) on my e-p1. You would look completely retarded, lugging around a bazooka of a lens w/ what looks like an oversized lens cap on the end of it. But hey...those who lug around 8 pound lenses do not follow normal rational thought.

What these cameras lack is *not* image quality. There are several things they come up short against. But image quality is not one of them. That is the biggest selling point to enthusiasts who're looking for a better balance between their needs.

They (the m4/3rds options) come up one stop short on range, with respect to their APS-C counterparts. That applies to its ISO range ("usable range" up to iso3200 vs. iso6400 in a pinch, on the most recent bodies). That applies to the overall pixel count (12mp vs. 16 or so). That applies to the dynamic range--about 1EV difference at optimal ISO. But if you shoot within its performance range, you will not tell the difference. And if you buy a NEX system, you don't can't even say there's an image quality difference, because it IS an APS-C-sized sensor in that thing.

They come up short on other things, though. Like I said earlier, wrt image latency and lcd blackouts...*those* are areas in which they involve concessions. Also, the fact that they use CDAF vs. PDAF means that they are less capable at continuous auto-focus. (But on the other hand, PDAF is known for being too broad-grained to give you real consistent precise focus control, so really in some respects CDAF actually gives you more precision...only slower).

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Old 05-23-2011, 03:57 PM   #26
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I said 4/3 but I was referring to mirrorless cameras such as the Epl, Gh1, ect... I don't have the experience to have a need for a plethora of high end lenses, but I do expect a little versatility.
Items of importance for me:

Manual controls
Auto settings that actually work
2-3 lens choices, quality but not necessarily high end
Ability to control depth of field
Good low light performance
Ability to take action shots, we are on a motorcycle forum here guys
Size, not a deal breaker but definitely a consideration.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:04 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveShaft View Post
"Image quality" is not the correct word for that statement. "Range" would be appropriate, as the smaller sensor is roughly one-stop more noisy than it's APS-C brethren and 2 stops more noisy than it's full-frame brethren--purely by the math of pixel density. So, whereas you've got a usable range up to ISO6400 on a full-frame body, you can count on a m4/3 body to show that same quality two-stops lower--ISO1600. And arguably, anything shot at ISO1600 or lower...the differences may be measurable, but not noticeable to the eye.

Actually, if image quality is the benchmark of measure...you'd be surprised what the m4/3 cameras like the e-pl2 can match. For anything shot at ISO1600 or lower, it absolutely can compete with the best of them, shot for shot, image quality-wise. What's more, you can take a Zuiko Digital ED 90-250mm F/2.8 and slap it on an e-p2, and start getting down to business. That's a $6000 lens known for having *way* better corner-to-corner sharpness than the canikon counterparts, and way better color saturation (partly due to the fact that it's designing to a smaller image circle, thus chromatic abberations are easier to control). Focusing would be slow as molasses bcs you've got huge lens elements built for PDAF, not CDAF, but it actually works. I've actually done exactly that with a 14-35mm f/2.0 zoom lens (a $2500 lens) on my e-p1. You would look completely retarded, lugging around a bazooka of a lens w/ what looks like an oversized lens cap on the end of it. But hey...those who lug around 8 pound lenses do not follow normal rational thought.

What these cameras lack is *not* image quality. There are several things they come up short against. But image quality is not one of them. That is the biggest selling point to enthusiasts who're looking for a better balance between their needs.

They (the m4/3rds options) come up one stop short on range, with respect to their APS-C counterparts. That applies to its ISO range ("usable range" up to iso3200 vs. iso6400 in a pinch, on the most recent bodies). That applies to the overall pixel count (12mp vs. 16 or so). That applies to the dynamic range--about 1EV difference at optimal ISO. But if you shoot within its performance range, you will not tell the difference. And if you buy a NEX system, you don't can't even say there's an image quality difference, because it IS an APS-C-sized sensor in that thing.

They come up short on other things, though. Like I said earlier, wrt image latency and lcd blackouts...*those* are areas in which they involve concessions. Also, the fact that they use CDAF vs. PDAF means that they are less capable at continuous auto-focus. (But on the other hand, PDAF is known for being too broad-grained to give you real consistent precise focus control, so really in some respects CDAF actually gives you more precision...only slower).

i like how you frame the debate in terms of iso range.

but can't you also get back some of that range with low f lenses?

For example- stick a Nokton 25mm f0.95 lens on a GH2 and you get perfectly usable night shots.

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:57 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by 4power View Post
I said 4/3 but I was referring to mirrorless cameras such as the Epl, Gh1, ect... I don't have the experience to have a need for a plethora of high end lenses, but I do expect a little versatility.
Items of importance for me:

Manual controls
Auto settings that actually work
2-3 lens choices, quality but not necessarily high end
Ability to control depth of field
Good low light performance
Ability to take action shots, we are on a motorcycle forum here guys
Size, not a deal breaker but definitely a consideration.
I believe that the E-P1 and E-P2 would do all of the things you are looking for. I think that the fastest m4/3 lens available right now is the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 prime lens, but as has been mentioned, it's possible to use adaptors for other standard DSLR and even old SLR lenses, albeit manually.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:52 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4power View Post
I said 4/3 but I was referring to mirrorless cameras such as the Epl, Gh1, ect... I don't have the experience to have a need for a plethora of high end lenses, but I do expect a little versatility.
Items of importance for me:

[check!] Manual controls
[check!] Auto settings that actually work
[check!] 2-3 lens choices, quality but not necessarily high end
[check!] Ability to control depth of field
[check!] Good low light performance
[check...but...see the note] Ability to take action shots, we are on a motorcycle forum here guys
[check!] Size, not a deal breaker but definitely a consideration.
The short answer is yes, all the mirrorless bodies give you pretty good usefulness on all points, with a strong caveat wrt tracking erratic action shots.

If low light performance is appealing, I highly recommend checking out the 20mm f/1.7 prime. That's a grrreat little lens combo for the m4/3 bodies. For DoF control, while the 20mm is pretty impressive @ shallow DoF, I recommend checking out the any of the telephoto zooms too like the 40-150mm , because most people are not familiar with the kind of subject isolation you can get at a 200mm equivalent focal length....even at f/5.6. Generally speaking, you're fighting for as much depth of field as you can get.

Action...It's not impossible...In fact, if you've got a relatively smooth-panning action shot, it's quite easy. But when the action gets erratic (think kids & pets), your hit rate is more reliant on good old fashion technique like a range-focused spray n' pray versus the continuous-auto-focus spray 'n pray.

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Old 05-24-2011, 07:35 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by DriveShaft View Post
The short answer is yes, all the mirrorless bodies give you pretty good usefulness on all points, with a strong caveat wrt tracking erratic action shots.

If low light performance is appealing, I highly recommend checking out the 20mm f/1.7 prime. That's a grrreat little lens combo for the m4/3 bodies. For DoF control, while the 20mm is pretty impressive @ shallow DoF, I recommend checking out the any of the telephoto zooms too like the 40-150mm , because most people are not familiar with the kind of subject isolation you can get at a 200mm equivalent focal length....even at f/5.6. Generally speaking, you're fighting for as much depth of field as you can get.

Action...It's not impossible...In fact, if you've got a relatively smooth-panning action shot, it's quite easy. But when the action gets erratic (think kids & pets), your hit rate is more reliant on good old fashion technique like a range-focused spray n' pray versus the continuous-auto-focus spray 'n pray.
DriveShaft, I want to thank you for your posts here and for sharing your obvious and extensive expertise and experience. I'm pretty much a neophyte where it comes to photography although I was somewhat into it as a high-school/college nerdy kid back in the 1960s and early 70s and a little of that knowledge remains, just had a couple of cheap P&S cameras in the past 15 or 20 years, so finally decided to go a little better approx. 18 months ago, didn't want to go whole-hog but wanted something that was decent, but also not as bulky as a full-sized DSLR, and that's how I ended up with the E-P2.

Anyway, thanks also for your confirmation that the 20mm f/1.7 is a good lens.....I just ordered one a couple of days ago and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. My camera came with the 14-42 which is a decent and versatile lens, but I wanted something more compact and also better in low-light situations. Soon after acquiring the camera, I bought a fairly inexpensive Panasonic 45-200 lens which I find I don't use all that much, and a somewhat expensive Panasonic/Leica 45 macro lens which I really like and use a lot. I think I saw that there's a 100-300 tele out there for the m4/3 which I'm thinking would be a nice lens, but think I'm pretty well covered for my purposes for now. But I'm hoping that this format really catches on and lots more lenses become available over time. I also wish that they'd make a decent and versatile flash unit that was scaled down to be more compatible with the compact size of the m4/3.
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