Food for thought - FF vs M4/3's cost

Started Mar 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
papillon_65
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Re: Food for thought - FF vs M4/3's cost
In reply to Navegador, Mar 26, 2013

Navegador wrote:

papillon_65 wrote:

Anybody else getting tempted? (I'm not really interested if you think it's big and heavy and you've "been there done that",I get the point, I'm more interested if you are tempted over to the dark side by these kind of prices and value.)

35mm digital is on its way to become affordable for amateurs, and the prices you mention really are tempting.

Here's my personal experience: about six months into m4/3 ownership (bought an Olympus E-PL2 right after it was released, and a bunch a lenses to go with it) I saw a deeply discounted, brand new Sony A-850 and took the plunge into 35mm as well. The reason was low ISO dynamic range (the Sony offering was unbeatable even in 2011) and the fact that I could get great Minolta lenses for very, very cheap.

My m4/3 kit back then (EPL-2, 14-42 kit lens, 7-14, 20, FL-36R) ended up costing about as much as the Sony stuff (A850, Minolta 24-50 f/4, Sony 50mm f/4, Minolta 70-210 f/4; the dearest Minolta was $130, the 50mm was $300 or so). When I bought a flash for the 35mm kit (Sony's brilliant HVL-F43) it edged ahead, but not by THAT much.

Fast forward to 2012 and I'd added a Panasonic 12-35mm zoom, an Olympus E-PM2, earlier this year a Panasonic GX1 (impulse buy because of discounts; I'd no need for it really) and now a 35-100mm to my m4/3 bag; the 35mm stuff remained the same, and hadn't seen that much use because of well-known size/weight/attention-grabbing issues. I'd used it mostly for work (and I'm not a photographer, I was into government PR and this pro gear filled in for those moments when I couldn't get a professional to do the job for time or budgetary constraints).

Now, when it comes to printed image quality, there's no contest the 35mm images are better; there's a crispness to them that not even the E-PM2 can match (and that camera's got the E-M5's sensor). It's a very, very clear difference. Besides, I can play with the files and get much more "natural" (film-like?) results. What I'm trying to say is that compared to 35mm images, m4/3s' look, um, "digital". Is that because of clipped highlights? Is it my sloppy post-processing? I don't know. But they do.

And that's with 1980s Minolta glass versus state-of-the-art, $1000 Panasonic lenses.

So yes, 35mm is tempting, it does have its advantages but in the end I've been in three major trips since I've had both systems and it was always m4/3 gear doing the tours. Everyday photography? M4/3 in the backpack.

The temptation is there, "full-frame" is fun, the images are beautiful and I love the cheap little Minoltas mischievously keeping up with Canon "L" and Nikon "gold ring" $2000 lenses. But once you try m4/3, I gotta say, there's no way back.

PS.: haven't received it yet, but it'll be fun to see what the little 35-100 can do.

Thanks for the comments, I get the small light m4/3's thing, it's not that I've been unhappy with any of it, I just want to try FF and at the current prices I can afford to trade up and do it. I'm keeping some m4/3's stuff in reserve and I also use an X10 and X-S1 so I have lots of bases covered. Ultimately its my hobby but I do it a lot and FF is just a natural progression for me at this time.

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For the person who is good with a hammer, everything in life tends to look like a nail.....
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