Is Full frame still the most versatile?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions
vzlnc
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 1, 2013

jonrobertp wrote:

DenWil wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

zenpmd wrote:

Yes, they are big cameras, but with the constant apeture pro zoom lens they are (probably) the only lenses you will ever need. The DOF equivalent on, say, the new Tamron 2.8 24-70 will never happen on m4/3, since it would require an aperture of 1.4 throughout the zoom range, thats never going to happen!

I suppose its just a shame there is no a 2.8 constant zoom lens that extends to around 85mm on FF that allows for good portraits. 70 is too short.

It depends.

If you don't consider size, weight, or cost, then FF is the most versatile, IMO.

Size,  weight  and cost has nothing to do with the versatility of the tool itself. ...

What ???   lol...they most certainly do...have a LOT to do with the tool. Do you carry a floor jack in the trunk of your car ?   Do you take an 18 cu.ft. fridge with you on an afternoon picnic ?   Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment. (except reflectors)    etc....

Clearly, there is not agreement here on this thread as to how the OP defined his term "versatile".

Wrong analogy. FF vs m4/3 or DX size difference is not as big as you make it out to be.

"Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment." --  Think sensor? Aperture? Monitor? LCD? Viewfinder? Ergonomics? Ruggedness? Only benefit of small is that it fits most bags, easy to carry. Downside is you lose too many features.

There are many lightweight FF DSLRs now and with a variable aperture zoom lens weight can be maintained to be less than 3 lbs and no m4/3 is gonna come near the image quality or speed or features you will get with the FF combination.

FF is indeed the most versatile platform in photography, not only in terms of image quality, speed or features, but its also a kind of defacto standard now for photography. As video performance get better, the one area where FF or DSLRs lagged will also get covered.

All other photography equipment like DX, APS-C, mirrorless etc is relevent as long as the size or weight difference with FF is SIGNIFICANT.

As soon as people start using external flash, Lens adapters or non-native lenses, external viewfinders, carry 3-4 different lenses, bag, tripod, extra batteries, the size and weight difference with FF becomes smaller and that advantage no longer exists. If I have to keep the size and weight down, I would for for a good point and shoot and not m4/3 or other mirrorless or system cameras.

Most versatile system camera - FF.

Most versatile on a budget - DX/APS-C

Most smallest, cheap, easy to use, easy to carry - Good point and shoot.

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zenpmd
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to vzlnc, Apr 1, 2013

plevyadophy - what do you mean by distortion at 12mm on m43?

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Martin.au
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to vzlnc, Apr 1, 2013

vzlnc wrote:

jonrobertp wrote:

DenWil wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

zenpmd wrote:

Yes, they are big cameras, but with the constant apeture pro zoom lens they are (probably) the only lenses you will ever need. The DOF equivalent on, say, the new Tamron 2.8 24-70 will never happen on m4/3, since it would require an aperture of 1.4 throughout the zoom range, thats never going to happen!

I suppose its just a shame there is no a 2.8 constant zoom lens that extends to around 85mm on FF that allows for good portraits. 70 is too short.

It depends.

If you don't consider size, weight, or cost, then FF is the most versatile, IMO.

Size,  weight  and cost has nothing to do with the versatility of the tool itself. ...

What ???   lol...they most certainly do...have a LOT to do with the tool. Do you carry a floor jack in the trunk of your car ?   Do you take an 18 cu.ft. fridge with you on an afternoon picnic ?   Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment. (except reflectors)    etc....

Clearly, there is not agreement here on this thread as to how the OP defined his term "versatile".

Wrong analogy. FF vs m4/3 or DX size difference is not as big as you make it out to be.

"Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment." --  Think sensor? Aperture? Monitor? LCD? Viewfinder? Ergonomics? Ruggedness? Only benefit of small is that it fits most bags, easy to carry. Downside is you lose too many features.

There are many lightweight FF DSLRs now and with a variable aperture zoom lens weight can be maintained to be less than 3 lbs and no m4/3 is gonna come near the image quality or speed or features you will get with the FF combination.

FF is indeed the most versatile platform in photography, not only in terms of image quality, speed or features, but its also a kind of defacto standard now for photography. As video performance get better, the one area where FF or DSLRs lagged will also get covered.

All other photography equipment like DX, APS-C, mirrorless etc is relevent as long as the size or weight difference with FF is SIGNIFICANT.

As soon as people start using external flash, Lens adapters or non-native lenses, external viewfinders, carry 3-4 different lenses, bag, tripod, extra batteries, the size and weight difference with FF becomes smaller and that advantage no longer exists. If I have to keep the size and weight down, I would for for a good point and shoot and not m4/3 or other mirrorless or system cameras.

Most versatile system camera - FF.

Most versatile on a budget - DX/APS-C

Most smallest, cheap, easy to use, easy to carry - Good point and shoot.

Not quite.

As soon as people start building a kit by adding lenses, etc, the size/weight difference between m4/3s and FF increases, not decreases.

Maybe that doesn't happen so much with APS-C due to the temptation of FF lenses.

Also not quite sure you're up to date with current mirrorless. They certainly aren't suffering a shortage of features in comparison with DSLRs.

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jonrobertp
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to qianp2k, Apr 1, 2013

FF is the LAST camera I'd want if I could only own one.   Like having a 1970 Buick and taking that everywhere...to a party, to a performance, on a hiking trip, on  a jet, to a ball game,  etc etc.

They have their use.  But it's quite limiting.

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plevyadophy
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 1, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

plevyadophy - what do you mean by distortion at 12mm on m43?

It's not distortion at 12mm on mFT per se, rather it's 12mm distortion (no matter what format). At that extreme focal length barrel distortion is common (mFT hides it by automatically doing distortion correction, at the risk of some image quality loss in the corners, on JPEG output). To get rid of it optically, means a more expensive and complex lens.

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Martin.au
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to 69chevy, Apr 2, 2013

69chevy wrote:

microFT has pretty much everything Nikon and Canon have except the ability to do focus tracking across the frame effectively.

Don't forget the ability to accurately focus instantly, shoot in incredibly low light with less noise, produce stunning enlargements at 20"x30", achieve much shallower DOF for the same FOV, and shoot wider angles.

Arguing over DOF advantage is expected, but don't forget sports shooters who rely on it. Not for artsy fartsy creativity, but for isolation.

Add this to the better IQ (some may argue) of a FF DSLR, and it becomes clear which camera can do more (versatility).

I'll give you the two benefits gained from a larger sensor - low light with less noise and shallower DoF, but the rest of your post is bollocks.

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Martin.au
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to plevyadophy, Apr 2, 2013

plevyadophy wrote:

zenpmd wrote:

plevyadophy - what do you mean by distortion at 12mm on m43?

It's not distortion at 12mm on mFT per se, rather it's 12mm distortion (no matter what format). At that extreme focal length barrel distortion is common (mFT hides it by automatically doing distortion correction, at the risk of some image quality loss in the corners, on JPEG output). To get rid of it optically, means a more expensive and complex lens.

This is wrong. You can deduce that this is wrong through the use of reductio ad absurdem. If it were the case, then compacts and phones with tiny lenses would have insane distortion. They don't.

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69chevy
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to Martin.au, Apr 2, 2013

Mjankor wrote:

69chevy wrote:

microFT has pretty much everything Nikon and Canon have except the ability to do focus tracking across the frame effectively.

Don't forget the ability to accurately focus instantly, shoot in incredibly low light with less noise, produce stunning enlargements at 20"x30", achieve much shallower DOF for the same FOV, and shoot wider angles.

Arguing over DOF advantage is expected, but don't forget sports shooters who rely on it. Not for artsy fartsy creativity, but for isolation.

Add this to the better IQ (some may argue) of a FF DSLR, and it becomes clear which camera can do more (versatility).

I'll give you the two benefits gained from a larger sensor - low light with less noise and shallower DoF, but the rest of your post is bollocks.

Really? So you think a sensor needing a 17x enlargement of it's pixels to produce a 20"x 30" print will be on par with pixels needing a 4.5x enlargement? Did you forget the sensor is nearly 4x smaller?

Do you really think a M 4/3 camera can out focus a 5d3 with an f2.8 lens on it?

These are the only two points you "didn't give me".

I would love to see a 20" x 30" print from a M 4/3 of any moving object shot at 300mm. I am sure it would be lovely.

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69chevy
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to plevyadophy, Apr 2, 2013

plevyadophy wrote:

69chevy wrote:

microFT has pretty much everything Nikon and Canon have except the ability to do focus tracking across the frame effectively.

Don't forget the ability to accurately focus instantly, shoot in incredibly low light with less noise, produce stunning enlargements at 20"x30", achieve much shallower DOF for the same FOV, and shoot wider angles.

Arguing over DOF advantage is expected, but don't forget sports shooters who rely on it. Not for artsy fartsy creativity, but for isolation.

Add this to the better IQ (some may argue) of a FF DSLR, and it becomes clear which camera can do more (versatility).

Firstly, you have conveniently, or inconvienently, left out the part of my statement where I specifically said that these benefits of mFT would exist if one is pretty happy with the image quality of the mFT system.

Better IQ means the FF camera is more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

Addressing your points one by one:

Focusing. I hope you are not suggesting that full frame can accurately focus instantly are you? First of all, with the new Oly OM-D and Panny GH3 the difference between mFT focus speed and a full frame camera IN PRACTICAL USE is ZERO. Yes, when measured in a camera review lab the FF cams like the Canon 1DX and Nikon D4 produce faster results but those speeds are so fast that we humans simply don't have the reflexes to discern the differences between that of an Olympus OM-D and a Canon 1D autofocus module.

If you can tell it or not, it is true. Maybe it saves a ball-on-bat shot, or a ball-on-raquet shot. These things happen faster than humans can detect. Like in the 1/1000th second range. This means the FF camera (1DX, 5D3) is more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

As for focus accuracy, FF cams are laughable in comparison to a camera using contrast-detect autofocus like mFT system cams; ff cams are nearly always causing the photographer to f*k about with focus fine-tuning (no such silly options exist in an mFT cam because it's not needed) or having to buy those focus products like FocusTune.

I have never MFA'd a lens, I must be blessed... Maybe the Iphone like DOF of a 4/3 hides the focus blunders?

But it is true to say that the phase detect systems of most ff systems tend to work more readily on difficult subject matter.

Making the FF camera more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

Less Noise in Low Light: well, yep ff wins there hands down. Although, one could argue that mFT is good enough as it is, and that ff is just better; and it's no longer the case, as it once was, whereby Four Thirds sensors were useless in this regard and ff sensors were VASTLY better to the point of making Four Thirds not even worth bothering with.

Making the FF camera more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

Enlargements: you picked the wrong size my friend I don't think mFT sensors now have an issue printing up to 20 x 30 inches (but granted, under close scrutiny a ff sensor image will possibly look better)

Making the FF camera more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

DOF: Yep, the d.o.f. can be shallower on a ff cam for the same f.o.v............... if you actually want that.

Making the FF camera more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

Wide Angle: Yes, that is something I overlooked. mFT gets horrible pretty fast when going to wide angle; to get a 24mm-e (e =equivalent) field of view, you have to use a 12mm lens which at that focal length means having to deal with heaps of distortion or very little distortion at great expense.

Making the FF camera more versatile. (The whole point of the thread.)

Your conclusion: I don't think your conclusion holds true as obviously as you think. If this discussion was taking place four years ago, when I got my Panasonic G1, then I would agree with your conclusion wholeheartedly; it would have been a no-brainer. But now, things have moved on so much that I don't really believe that ff has this great advantage anymore, and certainly looking at all of the attributes of mFT I would argue that it is mFT that is more versatile and please note that by saying that, I am not saying it is BETTER. I suppose, one could regard mFT as a top quality MPV and ff as a limousine (although, I suspect medium format shooters would argue that it is they who are using the limo ). In that analogy no-one in their right mind would argue that the limo is the most versatile but equally if one is looking for something with a little more oomph, it would be the limo to which one would turn.

Name one thing a M 4/3 can do, that a modern FF DSLR cannot, besides fit in a fanny pack.

Regards,

plevyadophy

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ultimitsu
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 2, 2013

jonrobertp wrote:

Like having a 1970 Buick and taking that everywhere...

As oppose to a 1970 Datsun, right?

to a party,

They work great dont they? great colour and DR at iso 6400. They are quite the chick magnet too if you know how.

to a performance,

Even better arent they? fast low light AF tracking and good high iso IQ are pretty essential for these shots.

on a hiking trip,

Oh yeah, especially when it is a once a life time sunset shot that you hope to print 30x20.

on  a jet,

Isnt it great that you get 7 kg of carry on luggage that is store away for the entire flight?

to a ball game,

Exactly, for the subject isolation, and the AF tracking ability, and the high iso motion freeze, what else would anyone bring?

etc etc.

I hear you, pretty much everywhere. Unless you are 100 and cannot carry anything more than 3 pounds.

They have their use.  But it's quite limiting.

I saw you trying to open a bottle with one the other day, I was quite shocked too it didn't work.

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olliess
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to 69chevy, Apr 2, 2013

69chevy wrote:

Name one thing a M 4/3 can do, that a modern FF DSLR cannot, besides fit in a fanny pack.

Wear a Leica badge on the front of the lens?  (Sorry couldn't resist...   )

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jonrobertp
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to ultimitsu, Apr 2, 2013

ultimitsu wrote:

jonrobertp wrote:

Like having a 1970 Buick and taking that everywhere...

As oppose to a 1970 Datsun, right?

to a party,

They work great dont they? great colour and DR at iso 6400. They are quite the chick magnet too if you know how.

to a performance,

Even better arent they? fast low light AF tracking and good high iso IQ are pretty essential for these shots.

on a hiking trip,

Oh yeah, especially when it is a once a life time sunset shot that you hope to print 30x20.

on  a jet,

Isnt it great that you get 7 kg of carry on luggage that is store away for the entire flight?

to a ball game,

Exactly, for the subject isolation, and the AF tracking ability, and the high iso motion freeze, what else would anyone bring?

etc etc.

I hear you, pretty much everywhere. Unless you are 100 and cannot carry anything more than 3 pounds.

They have their use.  But it's quite limiting.

I saw you trying to open a bottle with one the other day, I was quite shocked too it didn't work.

lol...hope you had fun...and enjoy your big heavy units....haha...had a whole bunch of them for decades...

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olliess
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 2, 2013

jonrobertp wrote:

lol...hope you had fun...and enjoy your big heavy units....haha...had a whole bunch of them for decades...

Ironically, the OM-D is only marginally smaller than some of the small 35 mm film SLRs that many of us carried around for decades.

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Draek
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to 69chevy, Apr 2, 2013

69chevy wrote:

Really? So you think a sensor needing a 17x enlargement of it's pixels to produce a 20"x 30" print will be on par with pixels needing a 4.5x enlargement? Did you forget the sensor is nearly 4x smaller?

"Enlargement" is meaningless. With film it was different because grain size was constant among formats, but with digital all that matters is sensor and lens resolution, and those are nowhere *near* linear with area.

I would love to see a 20" x 30" print from a M 4/3 of any moving object shot at 300mm. I am sure it would be lovely.

So am I, provided a half-competent photographer took it, but I'm not sure of its relevance to the thread.

As for AF, capture size matters jack as well; what does matter is PDAF vs CDAF and the quality of the specific AF sensors, which are dependant mostly on budget. Larger capture size only give you more of them, but they individually work the same as they would on a smaller format camera.

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Martin.au
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to 69chevy, Apr 2, 2013

69chevy wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

69chevy wrote:

microFT has pretty much everything Nikon and Canon have except the ability to do focus tracking across the frame effectively.

Don't forget the ability to accurately focus instantly, shoot in incredibly low light with less noise, produce stunning enlargements at 20"x30", achieve much shallower DOF for the same FOV, and shoot wider angles.

Arguing over DOF advantage is expected, but don't forget sports shooters who rely on it. Not for artsy fartsy creativity, but for isolation.

Add this to the better IQ (some may argue) of a FF DSLR, and it becomes clear which camera can do more (versatility).

I'll give you the two benefits gained from a larger sensor - low light with less noise and shallower DoF, but the rest of your post is bollocks.

Really? So you think a sensor needing a 17x enlargement of it's pixels to produce a 20"x 30" print will be on par with pixels needing a 4.5x enlargement? Did you forget the sensor is nearly 4x smaller?

Do you really think a M 4/3 camera can out focus a 5d3 with an f2.8 lens on it?

These are the only two points you "didn't give me".

I would love to see a 20" x 30" print from a M 4/3 of any moving object shot at 300mm. I am sure it would be lovely.

20x30" is over 150DPI from a 16MP sensor. It's not exactly challenging. Don't forget, it's not very long ago that we had to print from far smaller files to those dimensions.

I'd love to tell you whether an OM-D with its basic kit lens could outpace a 5d3's focus, but I don't have any accurate way of measuring such a small time gap. Don't mistake m4/3s focussing with live view on a DSLR. It's basically too fast to measure without video recording..

You forgot wide angle. As all systems stop at 14mm FF for rectilinear lenses, or 180 degree FoV for fisheyes - that's another error on your behalf.

As for your last point, aside from the moving goalposts, there's heaps of examples in the m4/3s forums. 300mm is only 150mm in m4/3s land, so there's no shortage of examples. People shoot that sort of stuff with the kit 40-150.

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Draek
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to olliess, Apr 2, 2013

Unironically, the OM-D also focuses and meters all by itself, and fires away at multiple frames per second just by selecting the appropiate mode and holding the shutter button down.

Entirely unrelated, I'm sure.

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olliess
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to Draek, Apr 2, 2013

Draek wrote:

Unironically, the OM-D also focuses and meters all by itself, and fires away at multiple frames per second just by selecting the appropiate mode and holding the shutter button down.

Entirely unrelated, I'm sure.

Some of those cameras metered by themselves too, so that isn't much of an issue.

Meanwhile, focusing and firing away at multiple frames per second are nice, but even the OM-D can't do both at the same time.  

And besides which, even the first modern AF/motor drive body, the Maxxum 7000, was hardly any bigger than the OM-D, especially with the half-mandatory grip section...

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ultimitsu
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 2, 2013

jonrobertp wrote:

ultimitsu wrote:

jonrobertp wrote:

Like having a 1970 Buick and taking that everywhere...

As oppose to a 1970 Datsun, right?

to a party,

They work great dont they? great colour and DR at iso 6400. They are quite the chick magnet too if you know how.

to a performance,

Even better arent they? fast low light AF tracking and good high iso IQ are pretty essential for these shots.

on a hiking trip,

Oh yeah, especially when it is a once a life time sunset shot that you hope to print 30x20.

on  a jet,

Isnt it great that you get 7 kg of carry on luggage that is store away for the entire flight?

to a ball game,

Exactly, for the subject isolation, and the AF tracking ability, and the high iso motion freeze, what else would anyone bring?

etc etc.

I hear you, pretty much everywhere. Unless you are 100 and cannot carry anything more than 3 pounds.

They have their use.  But it's quite limiting.

I saw you trying to open a bottle with one the other day, I was quite shocked too it didn't work.

lol...hope you had fun...

I assure you.

and enjoy your big heavy units....

Heavy? You lost me here.

A regular fishing trip with one rod and one reel, a life jacket and a bin, 5 kilos.

A regular hunting trip with one rifle, 20 rounds, 5 kilos.

A regular any other trip with D600 + 24-85 VR, 1.3 kilos. If I cannot carry that i might as well not move at all.

haha...had a whole bunch of them for decades...

And...?

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Martin.au
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to olliess, Apr 2, 2013

olliess wrote:

Draek wrote:

Unironically, the OM-D also focuses and meters all by itself, and fires away at multiple frames per second just by selecting the appropiate mode and holding the shutter button down.

Entirely unrelated, I'm sure.

Some of those cameras metered by themselves too, so that isn't much of an issue.

Meanwhile, focusing and firing away at multiple frames per second are nice, but even the OM-D can't do both at the same time.  

Yes it will. It will focus and fire at 4fps. You lose focus on high speed burst, at 9FPS.

And besides which, even the first modern AF/motor drive body, the Maxxum 7000, was hardly any bigger than the OM-D, especially with the half-mandatory grip section...

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olliess
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to Martin.au, Apr 2, 2013

Mjankor wrote:

olliess wrote:

Meanwhile, focusing and firing away at multiple frames per second are nice, but even the OM-D can't do both at the same time.  

Yes it will. It will focus and fire at 4fps. You lose focus on high speed burst, at 9FPS.

You're saying the OM-D continuous AF tracking works if you reduce the frame rate to 4 fps?

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