Is M43 on it's death bed?

Started Sep 1, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Rob Zwissler
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Is M43 on it's death bed?
Sep 1, 2010

...or a little less rhetorical, is it a transitional technology?

What are the advantages of 4/3 sensor cameras over APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras? I have a GH1 that I really like, but I have to say, the more I learn about cameras and the more I shoot with it, the more I wonder what the benefit of 4/3 over APS-C is. Until recently, m43 was the only game in town for an inexpensive interchangeable lens mirrorless compact system, but now of course Samsung and Sony are in the game and likely others will be following shortly.

I don't know what the other original posters intentions were, if he's a troll or not, but regardless, does he have a point?

As far as I can tell, the benefits of 4/3 over APS-C are (in theory):

1) Cost; a smaller sensor is cheaper. This doesn't seem to stand up to scrutiny, as volume alone would favor APS-C, and m4/3rds cameras really aren't cheaper than the competition, so if there is a theoretical cost advantage, it isn't a practical advantage.

2) Theoretically, the bodies can be smaller. With the NEX cameras introduction, that seems to be a moot point. Sony embarrassed m4/3rds with the size of their bodies, the only explanation I can think of is that Oly/Panny think going any smaller would be physically "too small" and uncomfortable, in which case the point is moot as a APS-C sensor obviously can fit in the same size body. The other possibilities are cost and engineering talent; if Sony's engineers are that much better then the game is already over (I don't think so ). If it's cost of the sensor or cost of the miniaturization technology, again Sony has shown that to be a moot point, have they not?

3) The lenses are physically smaller for the same effective focal length because of the crop factor. Well can't you just crop an APS-C shot? A cropped APS-C shot with the same lens would have the same field of view, and physical size of exposed sensor which, given the same sensor technology, would translate into the same light gathering ability.

4) The lenses are physically smaller because of the smaller "image circle". I have very little knowledge of lens optics, but as far as I can tell, this isn't accurate. Isn't lens element size a function of max aperture and focal length? The Nokton 35mm f1.4 is a tiny, tiny lens and works on full frame. The m4/3s standard can save a few millimeters on the flange back distance to maintain the same angle (compared to APS-C), but the sensor can be moved back to compensate. Again, my knowledge here is very limited so if I made any gross mistakes please correct me and not flame me!

Advantages of APS-C - everything else! Better light gathering given the same sensor technology, better bokeh, higher iso performance, everything that us m4/3 guys like to think of as advantages we have over the 1/1.6" folks

It's a discussion worth having, what are your thoughts? Is m4/3's just a transitional technology until a good EVIL APS-C system emerges?

Rob

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