Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's

Started Apr 13, 2013 | Discussions
raptureall
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Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
Apr 13, 2013

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

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Brent J
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

Define "quality photo". That's a pretty vague term. Sharpness? Noise characteristics? Color accuracy?

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Makinations
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

What does "quality of the photo" mean to you?

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RoelHendrickx
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For me they are equal (and I shoot A LOT)
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

Vague question.  What do you mean by "quality".

And if you have never yet seen any good photos with µFT, where have you been looking then?

But let me tell you this : I use both a DLSR (several, actually), and an E-M5.

And I produce basically the same quality output with both, depending on the situation.

Maybe it would be good if you showed some images that you make, so that we can help you in a more concrete way.  DSLR still has a few advantages over mirrorless (if you shoot fast sports e.g.), but OTOH, mirrorless is more convenient for other stuff.

Oh wait, you want me to go first?

OK then.

Here's a clown portrait from 2011 with a DSLR:

Here's a clown portrait from today, with the E-M5:

Now you be the judge if the quality of either one is satisfactory for you.

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raptureall
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to Brent J, Apr 13, 2013

When looking at photo's from Micro 4/3, I do notice a fair amount of noise. Sharpness is OK sometimes and color accuracy are fair.  I also notice difficultly in low light situations.

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Makinations
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

When looking at photo's from Micro 4/3, I do notice a fair amount of noise. Sharpness is OK sometimes and color accuracy are fair.  I also notice difficultly in low light situations.

I don't think you're looking at the right photos.  Noise is better on the DSLR but still not an issue at any normally viewed size on the current m43 cameras.  Color accuracy depends on the person shooting it.  Oly's jpeg engine tends to push pleasing color over accuracy but you can fix that.

Define "difficulty in low light situations".

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raptureall
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

This is a shot I took with my Nikon d90

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panolympus
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

The FF DSLR definitely produces higher quality photos. Micro 4/3 is ideal for people who want to spend less, and carry lighter gear. But there are some sacrifices to be made in quality going to m4/3. Mainly in terms of depth of field and resolution. Take a look at the results of shots with m/43 and different lens configurations, that's the only way to decide if m4/3 is for you.

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David Kieltyka
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Better photographers produce higher quality photos (NT)
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

-Dave-

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RoelHendrickx
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Better photographers produce higher quality photos - AMEN
In reply to David Kieltyka, Apr 13, 2013

I will gladly accept the challenge to go head-to-head with 90% of all people who use a camera and even 70 % of all who consider themselves photographers (there is a difference).

They can use the camera they want, be it mirrorless, FT, APS-C or FF.

I'll just use my LX3 compact.

Better still : they can use any camera I own and give me any camera they own.

(Of course, those 70 % are not posting here : you guys are, obviously, the 30 % I am not so sure about.  No need to feel offended or to consider me condescending...)

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Elemental Photography
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On a technical level, medium format is superior to both
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

If your main interest is in the technical capabilities of the camera, what you should really be looking at is a Hasselblad, Phase One, or other medium format system. I suspect, however, that your "main interest" is actually substantially more nuanced than "quality".

As David says, good photographers create good photos. Buying a hammer based on it's "quality" doesn't make a better carpenter.

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A photograph is a creative interpretation of reality.

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DaveLemi
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

Is this a stirring the pot post? Of course a bigger sensor will produce a better image (for the most part), but will most people notice the difference? It's hard for me to differentiate (800 ISO and below) between my old LX3 and EM5 on my MacBook screen. If your printing billboards or require very, very little DOF steer clear of MFT. I couldn't be happier though.

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KenBalbari
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

The D7100 is a brand new model, which has only been available less than a month.  It's possible it does produce better photos, I would wait and see what reviews and users say.  That hasn't been true generally for DSLR, though.  And I'm sure new models this year from Panasonic and Olympus will also have improvements.

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RoelHendrickx
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Why wait?
In reply to KenBalbari, Apr 13, 2013

KenBalbari wrote:

The D7100 is a brand new model, which has only been available less than a month.  It's possible it does produce better photos, I would wait and see what reviews and users say.  That hasn't been true generally for DSLR, though.  And I'm sure new models this year from Panasonic and Olympus will also have improvements.

There will ALWAYS be new models and they will MOST OFTEN have improvements.  One can wait forever.

If the OP wants to get going in making photos (regardless of whatever "quality" he strives for), he should just get it over with, make a choice, buy a camera and start shooting.  Chances are that any camera he will buy, will have plenty quality on offer, and it is up to him to make the most of it.

Waiting for a camera that will offer some kind of quintessential "quality" is the best excuse I can imagine for not ever buying one.

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KenBalbari
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to panolympus, Apr 13, 2013

panolympus wrote:

raptureall wrote:

I've done a lot of research concerning Micro 4/3.  I thought of getting the Panasonic GH3, but am not satisfied with the quality of photo against say the new Nikon d7100.  So does a DSLR produce better quality photo's, or have I not seen good photo's from a Micro 4/3?  I really like the Micro 4/3, but my main interest is in the quality of the photo.  Thanks for your help!

The FF DSLR definitely produces higher quality photos.

True.  But the D7100 is APS-C.

Early samples do look good though, with sharpness aparently boosted by the elimination of the low pass filter. It remains to be seen whether this has other negative effects on image quality.

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sean000
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Re: I own both, and I have kids (assuming you do too)
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

Based on the sample shot, I assume that's your toddler? I have a 9-month-old and a 2-year-old. I also own both Nikon DSLR gear and m4/3 gear. I prefer using the m4/3 gear...especially when it comes to family photography, but it depends. I still own a Nikon because I'm invested in some really nice Nikon lenses (17-55mm f/2.8, 80-200mm f/2.8, 12-24mm, 300mm f/4). I am headed in the direction of selling the Nikon stuff so I can buy more m4/3 (already sold four of my Nikon lenses... mostly primes that were redundant with m4/3 primes I now own).

So what's better? It depends on the cameras. I own an older Nikon D200, and my newer Olympus OM-D E-M5 has a sensor that is significantly better in every measure of image quality. It's on par with, if not better than, what you have in your D90. But the sensor does not make the camera. There are other features to consider depending on your needs, and more importantly your technique and the lenses you use. Of course a Nikon D7100 will have a higher resolution and superior sensor to my E-M5 (and part of me really wants a D7100), but there isn't much point to getting that kind of image quality unless you are prepared to invest in high quality lenses. I choose my tools based on what I want to accomplish. Currently the best low-light combos I own are the E-M5 with either an Oly 45mm f/1.8 or 20mm f/1.7 mounted, so that's what I use for photographing my family in available light. If I want the best outdoor portraits, I use my Nikon D200 with 80-200mm f/2.8. Even though my E-M5 has the better sensor, the 80-200mm f/2.8 is vastly superior to the 45-200mm f/3.5-5.6 I have for the E-M5. Of course I can use the 80-200 on the E-M5 as well with an adapter, but I will need to manually focus (and I do this sometimes), but the IQ of the D200 is still pretty darn outstanding so I am more likely to use it with my Nikon lenses. Besides... for most of these shots I'm not concerned with ultimate IQ. I want them sharp, with excellent colors, and low enough noise to look good up to 8x10 or occasionally 13x19. Well within the capability of either camera I own (although the E-M5 looks better at high ISO because of how old the D200's sensor is). If I want to print a landscape or architecture shot, or a family group photo, really large with the best IQ possible... I will choose the best lens I have for the field of view required, and I will use a tripod. I will probably go with the E-M5 since it's higher resolution... but I get excellent large prints from the 10 MP D200 as well when a tripod is used.

But I think you are simply looking for something that will give you the best sharpness and the lowest noise for family photography (mostly candid snapshots like the ones I like to shoot). As far as the sample you posted: That's a cute photo, but not a display of the ultimate image quality a DSLR or a m4/3 camera is capable of. I'm not saying the image quality is poor by any means... just not the most challenging of conditions to display what it is you like about that particular camera and lens combination.

Here are some samples taken with the OM-D E-M5 of my kids under varying conditions:

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 6400 - lit only by a decorative string of lights (some of which you can see in the background)

ISO 800

Not that Web-sizes tell you much of anything about IQ, but I can say that I photograph my family often under challenging lighting conditions with both a DSLR and m4/3 gear, and either type of camera is capable of delivering. I prefer m4/3 because it is more portable. If portability is not a factor, stick with your D90 or even upgrade to the D7100. If portability is a factor, consider m4/3 (the GH3 is the least portable m4/3 camera, but the lenses will still be smaller than your Nikon lenses). Either way you will get the most out of your camera if you invest in quality glass and use good technique.

Sean

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Ulric
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Re: On a technical level, medium format is superior to both
In reply to Elemental Photography, Apr 13, 2013

Elemental Photography wrote:

As David says, good photographers create good photos. Buying a hammer based on it's "quality" doesn't make a better carpenter.

I can however say from experience that using an unbalanced hammer is more frustrating than anyone can imagine who hasn't tried. In fact, I'll take a cheap camera over a cheap hammer any time.

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marike6
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

I think when it comes to the new Nikon APS-C DSLRs like the D7100 and for example their new Coolpix A compact, there are a number of factors that make images from them look good.  First, as mentioned above, Nikon has removed the OLPF (Optical Low-Pass Filter) so sharpness, and rendering of fine detail is quite good.  Nikon also knows a thing or two about optics, and some of many of their lenses are first rate.  Certainly m43 has some outstanding lenses, but the more slightly more shallow DOF of APS-C can really makes subject that are in sharp focus stand out.

Another camera without an OLPF is the Coolpix A.  Have a look at the DPR comparison tool or Richard Butler's Coolpix A Coolpix A sample gallery, and is seems clear that the combination of the wonderful Sony 16 mp Exmor sensor with no OLPF, and the Nikkor lens are paying dividends with regard to resolution.

Second, cameras like the D5200, D7000, D7100 and Coolpix A have outstanding color depth.  I've noticed in my own images the better color depth say between the GH2 or GX1 images vs the D7000 or D800.  The Nikon images just look richer. Clearly the newer m43 sensor have improved color depth, but the Nikon APS-C and FF cameras in all class leading in this area.  With RAWs with my Nikon 1 or m43 cameras, I always felt the need to boost saturation a bit.  With my Nikon DSLRs colors usually look terrific straight OOC.

On the other hand, the newest 3 Olympus m43 cameras, and the GH3 are no slouches at all for sharpness, DR and color depth.  So certainly any of the cameras with produces excellent image quality.  Since many elements that define IQ like color rendering are subjective it's hard to say which is better.  I have my preference, but another user will have theirs.

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JamieTux
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In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

This is a shot I took with my Nikon d90

Cute kid
Here's mine (with m43)

and one with no extra noise removal at ISO 3200

I hope that helps - I have lots of non child shots too if you want to see more

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hindesite
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Re: Does M4/3 or DSLR produce higher quality photo's
In reply to raptureall, Apr 13, 2013

raptureall wrote:

This is a shot I took with my Nikon d90

Cute, and I'm sure you like it.

But if that is typical of the photography you have in mind, the difference between m4/3 and DSLR doesn't matter.

Just go out and take more photos with whatever you have.

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