Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions
Art_P
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Sounds like you are trying to justify a purchase
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 26, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

1. well, if you need a photograph of that black cat in the coal bin at night, sure, you go for a camera w the highest usable ISO.  For daytime shots it's not an issue, and my E-M5 does fine handheld for night shots by streetlight.

2. as others have said, Bokeh is a characteristic of the lens, not the sensor.  DoF is shallower because you get closer to the subject, or use a longer lens, for the same framing.

3. 100% of what the sensor sees? That's not a characteristic of mirrorless, that's a characteristic of cutting corners (in consumer DSLRs vs. semi-pro DSLRs.) It just can't be 110% of the sensor's view because it is using the sensor's image

100% of the size of the sensor?  Well, the VF van actually be any size in a mirrorless camera, not confined to the size of the sensor, where as a DSLR VF looses brightness if the image is magnified.

4. You have to carry a bag?  I can fit the OMD w the 14mm in one jacket pocket, another lens or two in the other.  It's rare that I carry a bag.  No jacket? a lens fits in my shirt pocket.  Heck, I've even lost the 14mm in my pants pocket a couple times

5. That constant aperture Panny has the same FoV as your Tamron, yet it is a little less expensive, has stabilization and is weather sealed, all while being smaller and lighter.  Tell me again why the Tamron is a better value?

6. And the cost for a full set of FF primes is cheap?

OM-D plus 17mm plus 45mm costs less and weighs less than 6d plus 35mm plus 85mm.  Just because several primes are available doesn't mean you need them all, and those who collect primes would probably do that in any system they were in, not just mirrorless...  It's just that you can pack more m43 lenses in a given space.

For versatile, I would think in terms of a 14-150 super zoom, not the narrow range of the 24-70.  Even my 12-50 is more versatile w extended range and macro mode.

7.  The AF is quite snappy, and accurate... just not great at continuous tracking.  Still better than my last DSLR tho.

8. APS relies on FF for its primes... but since weight isn't an issue for you, the lack of dedicated APS primes shouldn't be an issue either, just go for the larger FF prime of the right focal length.

9. see number 6

If you like the bigger camera, go w FF, don't let me talk you out of it- buy what works for you.  But don't expect your wants/needs to correspond to everyone else's.

If you want ultimate detail, go w medium format... or maybe large format film and a high res scanner

If you want the lots of detail and highest ISO in a reasonably portable package, then yes, FF is the answer.

If you want to follow the crowd, maybe APS is the best format for you.

If you want very good quality in a very portable package, M43 could be the answer

And if portability and convenience trumps everything else, stick w a compact.

Everything is a compromise, the trick is finding the compromise that works for you...  And don't worry so much about what others think.

OH, if you want a system to learn on, buy one generation back- either used, refurb or clearance can save big bucks over leading edge.  you don't need the best to learn, just something competent.

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coudet
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Those retrofocus lenses are kind of good these days.
In reply to Joseph S Wisniewski, Apr 26, 2013

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

Totally incorrect. The fact that mirrorless cameras can have purely symmetrical normal and wide primes, and less retrofocus normal and wide zooms than SLRs gives them a major bokeh advantage. Leica has been an industry leader in smooth bokeh for decades. Some of the small primes from the APS mirrorless makers are also pretty stellar. The DSLR design is an obstacle to good bokeh.

Though, I'd love to hear from Leica how they managed to fumble that $6,000 35/1.4 that has inferior bokeh compared to some, several times cheaper, SLR 35/1.4s..

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Wallybipster
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Oh dear, you're right...
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

I mean, why have I been wasting my life hiking an OM-D and a couple small lenses up mountains when clearly I would be better served with a real camera that's big, bulky, and gimmick free since you say so.  I think I suddenly want to go get a D-700 and get rid of all my silly mirrorless equipment today.  Thanks for showing my all my faulty logic and telling me what I really need with my gear.

Wally

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Ed Rizk
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Re: 'Tis indeed.
In reply to Great Bustard, Apr 27, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

Smaller and lighter is still smaller and lighter even if it doesn't fit in your pocket.

Except, why not smaller and lighter still that will fit in your pocket?

For some uses, with some space/weight constraints, without such IQ requirements, pocketable is the way to go.  APSC is a compromise.

If you travel by air, backpack, bike, or to a lesser extent camp or travel by car, every ounce and cubic inch saved counts

RX100, then?

A cool camera, not as good as a DSLR for many things, but a great pocketable.

I want a 6D too.  Still, I would like to keep my EFs lenses and my 60D, or replace it with a mirror less or SL1.  Even the larger of the smaller sensor cameras has a bulk advantage, especially with EFs telephotos.  Sure, the 100-400 on FF is better than the 55-250 on crop, but the 55-250 is tiny and weighs nothing by comparison.

How 'bout the FZ200, then?

Ditto

The shallow DOF is a disadvantage for most of my shots.

Is it too much effort to stop down?

No, but you lose some of the low light capability.  Shallow DOF is the price for getting the lowest light hand held shots without flash.

Landscapes and architecturals are worse off for it.

Then don't shoot landscapes and architecture with wide apertures.

That's the point.  Shallow DOF is not always an advantage.

High ISO performance on such shots is overcome by a tripod and DR is overcome by HDR.

Assuming no distracting motion in the scene.

True

In candid photos of multiple people, shallow DOF is also a disadvantage.

Not always:

Canon 6D + Sigma 35 / 1.4 @ f/1.4, 1/125, ISO 100

That said, you can always stop down:

Canon 6D + 50 / 1.2L @ f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 2500

Your pics would be good with any camera, therefore are not a fair comparison.

You're trying to document the interaction of several people, but only one eye of one person will be sharp if you're lucky.

It always amazes me how many people can't quite seem to figure out to stop down if they need more DOF.  I mean, duh, in a light limited environment the greater DOF will cost you the noise advantage of the larger format for a given shutter speed, but so many here seem to be like the monkey with its hand stuck in the cookie jar 'cause it won't let go of a few cookies.  That is, they fail to understand the connection between DOF and noise in that both depend on the size of the aperture.

That is another set of trade offs in a world full of trade offs.

APSc and morrorless have their place.

Their place is based entirely on size, weight, and price.

As are the other formats.

I would like to try the 6D, first to use the 17mmTSE and second for its low light advantages.

Well, with a TSE lens, depending on the scene, you can use a wide aperture and still get a "deep" DOF.  Other times, however, you cannot, so you'll have to stop down.

I generally use f8 on a tripod, although I understand that I could stop down more on FF without diffraction.  Of course I don't know if I could stop down enough to get more DOF considering the sensors contribution to DOF.

Maybe after using it, I'll also find everything else useless, but I don't think so.

A 6D + 17 TSE will still be larger, heavier, and more expensive than APS-C and mirrorless for the same AOV.

It is probably worth the size and price to me for some situations.  I may like the extra IQ well enough to haul it around all the time.  Who knows?

The plan is to rent one with the lenses that interest me for my next long road trip and see how much better it is in my hands with my processing skills.  I am also eyeing used prices and a deal I could resell without much loss might be another way to test it out.

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JosephScha
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to ultimitsu, Apr 27, 2013

The front edge of the flower is in perfect focus. So is the bee.  I suppose you are claiming that the focus was on the bee, and the bee was moving. That would be difficult for m43.  But, I bet by pre-focusing on the front of the flower I could get a shot like that.

The seagull hanging in mid air may be facing your camera but it is not clear that it was moving quickly toward you.  Pictures of seagulls are pretty easy, even m43 could take this one.  How about a picture of a swallow flying toward you? That would impress me.

The running dog picture is excellent.  m43 cameras do have focus tracking, but I have never tried it on a dog running toward me.  I don't own a dog.  So I'm not sure about m43 ability to catch that - probably not as well.  I agree that that is an excellent example of good focus on a subject coming toward you quickly.

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Great Bustard
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Re: 'Tis indeed.
In reply to Ed Rizk, Apr 27, 2013

Ed Rizk wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

I would like to try the 6D, first to use the 17mmTSE and second for its low light advantages.

Well, with a TSE lens, depending on the scene, you can use a wide aperture and still get a "deep" DOF.  Other times, however, you cannot, so you'll have to stop down.

I generally use f8 on a tripod, although I understand that I could stop down more on FF without diffraction.  Of course I don't know if I could stop down enough to get more DOF considering the sensors contribution to DOF.

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/index.htm#diffraction

In terms of cross-format comparisons, all systems suffer the same from diffraction softening at the same DOF.  This does not mean that all systems resolve the same detail at the same DOF, as diffraction softening is but one of many sources of blur (lens aberrations, motion blur, large pixels, etc.).  However, the more we stop down (the deeper the DOF), diffraction increasingly becomes the dominant source of blur.  By the time we reach the equivalent of f/32 on FF (f/22 on APS-C, f/16 on mFT and 4/3), the differences in resolution between systems is trivial.

For example, consider the Canon 100 / 2.8L IS macro on a 5D2 (21 MP FF) vs the Olympus 14-42 / 3.5-5.6 kit lens on an L10 (10 MP 4/3).  Note that the macro lens on FF resolves significantly more (to put it mildly) at the lenses' respective optimal apertures, due to the macro lens being sharper, the FF DSLR having significantly more pixels, and the enlargement factor being half as much for FF vs 4/3.  However, as we stop down past the peak aperture, all those advantages are asymptotically eaten away by diffraction, and by the time we get to f/32 on FF and f/16 on 4/3, the systems resolve almost the same.

Just thought I'd point that out.

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tissunique
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

Not really. It's horses for courses. If you want small, light, ultra portable (a camera youcan keep with you all the time) and good quality images then mirrorless offers the best solution. I use FF cameras (D3s, D700 and 5D MK II) and I would certainly like to buy a small portable for carrying around everywhere. The choice of these cameras is increasing virtually monthly along with image quality which is now hard to criticise (along with AF ability). My only criticism of them is the general lack of viewfinders but even that is improving.

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Christoph Stephan
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.

That is true, but not important for everyone

  1. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  2. The viewfinders are not 100%

The finder is indeed the biggest reason why I am tempted by the 6D. Sooo big and bright. When taking mirrorless into consideration, their EVF finders suck battery life big time.

Indeed, in direct comparison on a travel and photo fair in Darmstadt - nothing could compare to the finder of the 6D

  1. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable

Smaller size and weight can matter, especially during treks and in hot climate. However, I wonder whether what you save in weight you have to add in additional batteries when using mirrorless. Five spares for a DSLR might translate into ten for mirrorless on a multiday trek, and then the additional weight of the spares becomes significant.

  1. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  2. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  3. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  4. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  5. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

Great for portraiture photographers, but for other stuff you need other lenses. The crop factor and higher pixel density of crop cameras is a huge boon for birds, where no tele-lens can be long enough. Macro magnification is better on crop as well.

For landscape and portrait I agree, the 6D is best.

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

True for portraiture, not true for landscape and nature photography. There I use all focal lengths at my disposal. For architecture, you also will find your 35 mm to be not wide enough very quickly.

For depth of field there you mostly want stop down you lens, so you will find the f1.8 of your prime of little use for landscape, macro and telepoto shots.

Zooming with you feet is also not an option. It is about the perpsective thing, not only about what is in the picture.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

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Mike CH
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Last weeks topic from you was...
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

...the death of FF.

This weeks topic is FF über alles.

What is next weeks topic going to be? The holy cellphone?

Regards, Mike

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Wait and see...

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Dccps
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

I usually don't reply to these threads because the arguments are often pointless.  That said though, you caught me in a weak moment so I will throw in my opinion for whatever it is worth.  Arguments about the size of the sensor are very similar to arguments about the size of the negative.  Back in the days when press photographers all carried 4"x5" press cameras, Henri Cartier-Bresson made 35mm Leica images famous and was among a small group of photographers who changed the course of photography with incredible street images from 'small' film negatives. Interestingly, his images were not as "sharp" as what could be achieved by 4x5 press cameras yet the 35mm formant started a revolution because it was much more portable and therefore could become much more ubiquitous in the photojournalistic world.

Today, micro four thirds is continuing that revolution.  And no, the bokeh for a given aperture is not as 'good', the contrast is not the same, etc.   In the hands of a creative mind and skilled photographer, MFT is a powerful tool and can yield spectacular images. In the hands of a hack, FF will provide nothing all that interesting.

As regards price, Leica has never been accused of being cheap, and as mentioned about, did not provide the same 'quality' as 4x5 negatives did.  But was the price worth it to the photographers that wanted to document the world as they saw it? Did those images become iconic and pricey? Go try to buy a Cartier-Bresson original and you will see just how "worth it" those images really were.

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jrtrent
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Two lenses might be too much!
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either.  With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

A full frame camera with a couple of lenses is a great choice.  My thoughts to the contrary are that when I was using a Contax SLR, I bought the 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses from Zeiss to go with it.  What I found over time was that I used the 50mm lens 95% of the time, occasionally found use for the 85mm, and the 35mm stayed in a drawer because I just didn't like the results using a wide angle lens.  Your preferences may be different, of course, but I could happily live with just a 50mm and never have to change lenses!  I did something similar a few years ago, buying the Sigma SD14 with just their 30mm F/1.4 (51mm equivalent).  I never felt like I needed anything different.

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CharlesB58
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 27, 2013

First you say,

>Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve,

Then go on to a list which demonstrates you don't seem to understand your own words.

Was it really necessary to display your own ignorance of the subtlety of photography and the long learning curve just so you can end up with a Canon fanboy "guess what I'm buying! Are you envious?" blurb at the end?

You should have just said "I'm buying a 6D because I can" and left it at that. What a rube.

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ultimitsu
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to CharlesB58, Apr 28, 2013

CharlesB58 wrote:

First you say,

>Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve,

Then go on to a list which demonstrates you don't seem to understand your own words.

Can you explain why you find his list contradicts the initial statement?

Was it really necessary to display your own ignorance of the subtlety of photography and the long learning curve just so you can end up with a Canon fanboy "guess what I'm buying! Are you envious?" blurb at the end?

You should have just said "I'm buying a 6D because I can" and left it at that. What a rube.

I honestly do not understand this hate. I mean, 6D is what people used to pay for 10D ten years ago (cheaper if we factor inflation), did anyone think it is showing off to have a 10D?

2000 bucks for a hobby which you are really passionate about isnt really much at all. Most people spend way more than that on an annual overseas trip or their last TV.

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Hen3ry
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Right on, Art
In reply to Art_P, Apr 28, 2013

As for Zen's silly statement about the only people complaining about the weight of the FF systems -- I was one of the earliest into the Olympus OM system back in he day, moving down from the Mamiya twin lens 6x6 system.

One of the big reasons for choosing the OM1 and its lenses was lightness and portability. Back then, Nikon and Canon users., startled by the smallness and lightness of the Oly OMs, sneered at them.

They had to sneer on the other side of their faces when Nikon and Canon scrambled to follow suit, downsizing their cameras to smaller, lighter, sleeker packages.

There's no percentage in weight and bloat -- and that's what too many DSLRs sugger from.

Cheers, geoff

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Rmark
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Re: Two lenses might be too much!
In reply to jrtrent, Apr 28, 2013

this discussion seems to resurface on a regular basis. Personally I'm not a fan of any particular  mirrorless system , I have a DSLR system built around a crop sensor (4/3). Tjhis being an older system has many shortcomings compared to new ( crop sensor APS-c ) as well as FF sensor cameras.

And  I have purchased over the years macro, WA, telephoto lenses, strobes, off camera sync cables plus other odds and ends.  While my photographic skills have improved over time, I sitll think my current camera has features I've not yet explored.

I'm semi retired, photography is a hobby, Buying a whole new system...lenses, accesories etc seems like a silly expenditure until i have exhausted features of  my current system.

I tried my GF's panasonic G2, nice camera but in my mind mirrorless technologies have a long way to go to outperform even entry level DSLR's. The optical view finder is superior to any EVF ive seen, of course this may change with future technology , but composing on an LCD will not work for me ( of course I am a crotchety "old" 64yo

So...in a year or so, maybe more,  I may feel the need to upgrade my system. Might be FF, might be APS-c like a Nikon D7100.....but it will have a OVF. and money will be an issue, After all it is a hobby.

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dinoSnake
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Re: Right on, Art
In reply to Hen3ry, Apr 28, 2013

Hen3ry wrote:

As for Zen's silly statement about the only people complaining about the weight of the FF systems -- I was one of the earliest into the Olympus OM system back in he day, moving down from the Mamiya twin lens 6x6 system.

One of the big reasons for choosing the OM1 and its lenses was lightness and portability. Back then, Nikon and Canon users., startled by the smallness and lightness of the Oly OMs, sneered at them.

They had to sneer on the other side of their faces when Nikon and Canon scrambled to follow suit, downsizing their cameras to smaller, lighter, sleeker packages.

There's no percentage in weight and bloat -- and that's what too many DSLRs sugger from.

Indeed. My story of entry into the OM fold was based on both size and ability; after being pitched to switch to either Canon and Nikon from my current system and not liking either:

- Canon has no OTF flash and large bodies with unusual ergonomics (if only someone had shown me a New F1 earlier! :p),  The AE1 Program seemed old fashioned and the A1 seemed glitzy yet old as well.

- Nikon had OTF flash but the camera choices left me cold.  The FE2 was the most desirable camera of the collection; the FA's plastic pentaprism casing and Matrix metering did not entice me, the F3 was a behemoth with the motor drive only making things worse and the world's strangest flash shoe that limited cho

The local dealer also has Contax (oooh!).  A BEAUTIFUL system with OUCH! GOUGE! POW! lens pricing.

I was was left to feel alienated.  No system had what I wanted; I stated talking with my co-worker (a fellow photo enthusiast, owner of the Contax RTSII system) about possibly going medium format, since I didn't like anything in 35mm anyway.

Then, the next time I called my dealer to chat him up, he offered "I just got in a new system.  I think it'll hit everything that you just told me that you want.  Olympus OM-4".

Olympus?  Who used Olympus?!

So I quickly researched.  Looked interesting!  The spot meter system?  Brilliant!  Just the level of control I was looking for!  All the control seemed to be user-centric, not "gadget-centric", and they said it was small.

So I traveled down to my dealer and held it for the first time.  It was, simply, love at first touch.  "FINALLY!  A camera that fits ME!" I said.  Bought it and never, ever, doubted I did the right thing.  IRONICALLY...the co-worker with the Contax, several years later after I filled out my system to included the Zuiko 180mm f/2.8 and Zuiko 350mm f/2.8, lamented to me that he wished he has bought an OM system (smaller, more ability and, when I sold the equipment, I got more for it than he got for his initially more expensive Contax system).

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Erick L
Contributing MemberPosts: 625
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 28, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

FF is a format and mirrorless is a type of camera.

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Erick - www.borealphoto.com

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Ed Rizk
Senior MemberPosts: 1,447
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Re: 'Tis indeed.
In reply to Great Bustard, Apr 28, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

I would like to try the 6D, first to use the 17mmTSE and second for its low light advantages.

Well, with a TSE lens, depending on the scene, you can use a wide aperture and still get a "deep" DOF.  Other times, however, you cannot, so you'll have to stop down.

I generally use f8 on a tripod, although I understand that I could stop down more on FF without diffraction.  Of course I don't know if I could stop down enough to get more DOF considering the sensors contribution to DOF.

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/index.htm#diffraction

In terms of cross-format comparisons, all systems suffer the same from diffraction softening at the same DOF.  This does not mean that all systems resolve the same detail at the same DOF, as diffraction softening is but one of many sources of blur (lens aberrations, motion blur, large pixels, etc.).  However, the more we stop down (the deeper the DOF), diffraction increasingly becomes the dominant source of blur.  By the time we reach the equivalent of f/32 on FF (f/22 on APS-C, f/16 on mFT and 4/3), the differences in resolution between systems is trivial.

For example, consider the Canon 100 / 2.8L IS macro on a 5D2 (21 MP FF) vs the Olympus 14-42 / 3.5-5.6 kit lens on an L10 (10 MP 4/3).  Note that the macro lens on FF resolves significantly more (to put it mildly) at the lenses' respective optimal apertures, due to the macro lens being sharper, the FF DSLR having significantly more pixels, and the enlargement factor being half as much for FF vs 4/3.  However, as we stop down past the peak aperture, all those advantages are asymptotically eaten away by diffraction, and by the time we get to f/32 on FF and f/16 on 4/3, the systems resolve almost the same.

Just thought I'd point that out.

Thanks.  Interesting stuff.

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Ed Rizk

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TrapperJohn
Forum ProPosts: 10,847
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So put a grip on it
In reply to cosmonaut, Apr 28, 2013

One of the things I really appreciate about the EM5 is it's dual purpose nature: ultra small when you want it, add the grip and fast ZD zooms for the best possible IQ.

Here's mine with my ZD 35-100 F2 mounted: a lens that defines sharpness.

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GaryW
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,260Gear list
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 28, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change.

GAS seems to me part of the reason for interest in FF cameras.

Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.

The main difference is less noise.  Maybe a bit better DR, but APS-C has improved enough that I think the rest of it is pretty much good enough if not the same.   If one is satisfied with the noise level from a given sensor size, then that is good enough; if not, then stepping up to a larger sensor size will improve the noise level (probably not noticed until light is low).  Fast aperture lenses will mitigate this to some extent, but then they cost more.

So, what camera system you buy is a compromise of a few factors, but I think these are the most important:

  • Price
  • Image Quality (particularly noise)
  • Size and Weight
Once you are satisfied with the results, paying more for a larger format sensor is not necessary.
  1. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.

From what I've seen, FF is ridiculously expensive.  I wouldn't consider it based on that alone, regardless of any advantages.

FF does make it easier to have more bokeh/OOF.  You can get similar bokeh in other formats using wider apertures, but past a point, if you want less DOF and all else being equal,, a larger sensor format will do that.  It's going to be individual preference as to how much this is necessary.

  1. The viewfinders are not 100%
  2. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable

A Nex-5 and pancake lens is pretty portable, but perhaps some other cameras/lenses start to be questionable as to whether or not it can fit in a pocket.  But even if you have a bag, it's going to be a very small bag, smaller than for a DSLR.  For me, walking around, the weight difference around the neck is significant.

  1. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  2. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  3. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  4. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  5. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

Are you trying to justify  your GAS purchase?  

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

There's nothing to prevent people from using primes on their mirrorless cameras, but the zooms are often smaller than DSLR versions (particularly FF).

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

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Gary W.

 GaryW's gear list:GaryW's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5 +12 more
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