still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
robonrome
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still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
11 months ago

I've been using both m43 and full frame systems for over two years now … I had hoped by now to have made up my mind to go one way or the other, but I feel a bit like those folk who emigrate to another country, decide to move back home and end up feeling just a little dissatisfied in both countries. I also recognise this is only a "problem" because I am so lucky/blessed to have such options, but I did wonder whether any others out there have had or are having similar mental tussles over what's the right system for them.

I first dipped my toes into the m43 world via a G3, later a G5 and more recently the GH3 and the top quality pany zooms, and I am using this m43 kit almost exclusively now but I still can't seem to cut the cord with my Canon 5Dmk3 (and earlier versions) and L glass despite these spending months at a time sitting bagged up and unused.

Now for many, especially anyone making a living from photography, I can see having two systems makes sense as each has unique strengths… for me though I'm just an enthusiast, I can afford it, but I just don't take enough photographs to warrant such expensive gear languishing.

The GH3 is a true joy to use, fits the hand perfectly and is wonderfully configurable via physical controls alone. Having recently returned from Nepal where I only took the GH3, I thought I'd finally reached a point that I was content to let go of the full frame gear. I started processing through the several thousand images I'd taken and while I have some (I think) good shots, I couldn't help but notice the greater incidence of noise even at base ISO compared to similar shots I took with my canon gear (then a mk2) on my last visit to Nepal a couple of years ago. Noise in skies in particular I've found more than a little annoying even at iso200. Fine detail too I felt was perhaps just not quite as crisp as with the 5d2 and 3.

Then I hit the beach (I'm in Australia) over New Year and was keen to get some action shots of my son learning to surf. I don't do a lot of action stuff and this is probably the only prolonged bit I've done with m43 kit… while the high speed shutter and tracking is up to the task, the freezing of the image in the EVF is a killer (Not sure there's a work around for this?)…

So with the above in mind I got nostalgic for my 5d3 and dragged it out along with my 70-200/2.8 mk2 IS for a bit of a play expecting to be over-whelmed with feelings along the lines of "now this is a real photographers kit"…. well it didn't quite work out that way. Sure it would have been a better choice for those action surf shots (assuming I wanted to drag it down the beach), and sure it gives me creamy skies at ISO as high as 800, and maybe the fine detail is a tad crisper, but, but, but...

  • it feels like I could beat whales to death with it (not a hobby of mine, just an observation)
  • my back hurts again
  • the grip is too big and too square for my hand
  • where are all my function buttons and twin dials that do everything without looking at a menu ever
  • where is my live histogram in the EVF for immediate exposure compensation
  • where is my articulating screen
  • where is my built in fill flash

In short, what the hell was I thinking! Now the 5D3 is back in its bag in the dark of the walk-in robe… still can't quite bring myself to sell it (not even sure why, maybe it's an innate love for big chunky shiny things) but it's now clear that there are just too many ergonomic and functional advantages to the GH3 over the 5D3 that I would ever be happy with the Canon gear alone again no matter how much better the IQ is (and, really, it's just not that much better).

So after that brief flutter I'm back with the GH3 in hand and guess it will remain my primary if not sole kit for the fore-seeable future… until next year when I no doubt will go through the whole cycle again

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Gato Amarillo
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

Worked out differently for me.

2013 was to be a major upgrade year for me. Though I've been happy with m4/3 since 2008 and regular 4/3 back to 2005, as I started to order a GH3 I realized I would not be fully satisfied until I tried full frame -- even though I knew intellectually I don't need it.

Six months and $4,500 later I know as well as anyone can know that FF is not for me. The difference in image quality is utterly tiny, judged in a print or a finished online image, while the tradeoff in size, weight, cost and general cumbersome handling is huge.

Thank goodness for eBay -- I bought most of the gear used and expect to get back most of my money by the time I get it sold.

Gato

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Richard Weisgrau
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

I can understand your ambivalence. As a pro I began working with Nikon in 1965 and I still have Nikon gear today, but not for too much longer. My Nikon D700 bodies and the lenses produce very  high IQ with minimal noise at high ISO. Put into one bag they could serve as an anchor for a small yacht. I recently bought some Lumix gear (G6 and lenses). The size and weight differential is remarkable when compared to the Nikon gear. I semi-retired in Jan. 2013. I used to do about 30 sports assignments a year. That was the first type of work I dropped. I just did not wan to lug all that gear up and down the sidelines of a 3 hour football game any more. Same for soccer, lacrosse, and other field sports.

I also shot a lot of real estate with the Nikon gear. That is work I still do along with some work for regional  and out of town media. After extensive testing, I recently used the G6 gear on a couple of jobs. It worked out well. The clients had no complaints. That's my critical test. The G6 passed it.

There is no way that the G6 is going to produce results as good as the D700 when it comes to noise, but that does not bother me. The noise is not problematic. I do not pixel peep so I never see it exaggerated. I accept noise the same way I accepted grain when I shot film. It's there. So what. I never has an work rejected because of grain. That is also true when it comes to noise, and I have been sooting all digital since 2000 and all digital since 2002. The cameras in those early days were noisier than my G6, and no one ever mentioned it.

My 72 birthday is just 4 months away, and all those joints you wear being a professional photographer  ache when I am loaded down with my nikon gear. They ache less when I carry my Lumix gear. So, the Nikon gear is going. Much of it is gone already and the rest will go soon.

I have what I call my 'grab and go' kit. A bag with enough gear to take on any job. The bag is  (12x7x6 inches) and fully loaded as in the photos below weighs a bit over 5 pounds. A comparable Nikon setup would weigh about double that and need a bag twice the size. I am a happy Lumix camper.  The photos follow.

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robonrome
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to Gato Amarillo, 11 months ago

Hi gato, good to hear you've found a clear path. Like you I know at an intellectual level I have no need for full frame, it's more a visceral urge i can't quite shake…yet anyway. I turn 50 this year. maybe that will be time for me to grow up and let go of such things

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robonrome
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to Richard Weisgrau, 11 months ago

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

I can understand your ambivalence. As a pro I began working with Nikon in 1965 and I still have Nikon gear today, but not for too much longer. My Nikon D700 bodies and the lenses produce very high IQ with minimal noise at high ISO. Put into one bag they could serve as an anchor for a small yacht. I recently bought some Lumix gear (G6 and lenses). The size and weight differential is remarkable when compared to the Nikon gear. I semi-retired in Jan. 2013. I used to do about 30 sports assignments a year. That was the first type of work I dropped. I just did not wan to lug all that gear up and down the sidelines of a 3 hour football game any more. Same for soccer, lacrosse, and other field sports.

I also shot a lot of real estate with the Nikon gear. That is work I still do along with some work for regional and out of town media. After extensive testing, I recently used the G6 gear on a couple of jobs. It worked out well. The clients had no complaints. That's my critical test. The G6 passed it.

There is no way that the G6 is going to produce results as good as the D700 when it comes to noise, but that does not bother me. The noise is not problematic. I do not pixel peep so I never see it exaggerated. I accept noise the same way I accepted grain when I shot film. It's there. So what. I never has an work rejected because of grain. That is also true when it comes to noise, and I have been sooting all digital since 2000 and all digital since 2002. The cameras in those early days were noisier than my G6, and no one ever mentioned it.

My 72 birthday is just 4 months away, and all those joints you wear being a professional photographer ache when I am loaded down with my nikon gear. They ache less when I carry my Lumix gear. So, the Nikon gear is going. Much of it is gone already and the rest will go soon.

I have what I call my 'grab and go' kit. A bag with enough gear to take on any job. The bag is (12x7x6 inches) and fully loaded as in the photos below weighs a bit over 5 pounds. A comparable Nikon setup would weigh about double that and need a bag twice the size. I am a happy Lumix camper. The photos follow.

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Richard Weisgrau
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thanks very much Richard, your thoughts are very helpful and it's reassuring that someone such as yourself who has such a long professional pedigree recognises the small differences (often negligible even for paid assignments) in IQ between these systems.

I'm intrigued by the second pic above, it looks like you have something attached to the pany 45-150? what is that or is it another lens?

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pannyics
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I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

robonrome wrote:

I've been using both m43 and full frame systems for over two years now … I had hoped by now to have made up my mind to go one way or the other, but I feel a bit like those folk who emigrate to another country, decide to move back home and end up feeling just a little dissatisfied in both countries. I also recognise this is only a "problem" because I am so lucky/blessed to have such options, but I did wonder whether any others out there have had or are having similar mental tussles over what's the right system for them.

I first dipped my toes into the m43 world via a G3, later a G5 and more recently the GH3 and the top quality pany zooms, and I am using this m43 kit almost exclusively now but I still can't seem to cut the cord with my Canon 5Dmk3 (and earlier versions) and L glass despite these spending months at a time sitting bagged up and unused.

Now for many, especially anyone making a living from photography, I can see having two systems makes sense as each has unique strengths… for me though I'm just an enthusiast, I can afford it, but I just don't take enough photographs to warrant such expensive gear languishing.

The GH3 is a true joy to use, fits the hand perfectly and is wonderfully configurable via physical controls alone. Having recently returned from Nepal where I only took the GH3, I thought I'd finally reached a point that I was content to let go of the full frame gear. I started processing through the several thousand images I'd taken and while I have some (I think) good shots, I couldn't help but notice the greater incidence of noise even at base ISO compared to similar shots I took with my canon gear (then a mk2) on my last visit to Nepal a couple of years ago. Noise in skies in particular I've found more than a little annoying even at iso200. Fine detail too I felt was perhaps just not quite as crisp as with the 5d2 and 3.

Then I hit the beach (I'm in Australia) over New Year and was keen to get some action shots of my son learning to surf. I don't do a lot of action stuff and this is probably the only prolonged bit I've done with m43 kit… while the high speed shutter and tracking is up to the task, the freezing of the image in the EVF is a killer (Not sure there's a work around for this?)…

So with the above in mind I got nostalgic for my 5d3 and dragged it out along with my 70-200/2.8 mk2 IS for a bit of a play expecting to be over-whelmed with feelings along the lines of "now this is a real photographers kit"…. well it didn't quite work out that way. Sure it would have been a better choice for those action surf shots (assuming I wanted to drag it down the beach), and sure it gives me creamy skies at ISO as high as 800, and maybe the fine detail is a tad crisper, but, but, but...

  • it feels like I could beat whales to death with it (not a hobby of mine, just an observation)
  • my back hurts again
  • the grip is too big and too square for my hand
  • where are all my function buttons and twin dials that do everything without looking at a menu ever
  • where is my live histogram in the EVF for immediate exposure compensation
  • where is my articulating screen
  • where is my built in fill flash

In short, what the hell was I thinking! Now the 5D3 is back in its bag in the dark of the walk-in robe… still can't quite bring myself to sell it (not even sure why, maybe it's an innate love for big chunky shiny things) but it's now clear that there are just too many ergonomic and functional advantages to the GH3 over the 5D3 that I would ever be happy with the Canon gear alone again no matter how much better the IQ is (and, really, it's just not that much better).

So after that brief flutter I'm back with the GH3 in hand and guess it will remain my primary if not sole kit for the fore-seeable future… until next year when I no doubt will go through the whole cycle again

I think you should try the E-M1. With the newer sensor, you should get about a stop better in noise performance, and the detail should be great since they took away the the AA filter. Also, there's a thread discussing something about E-M1 having better sharpness because Olympus lowered the RAW noise reduction (can't seem to find it now). Also there is a thread saying that someone has tested and said that the E-M1 has better tracking than DSLRs (also couldn't find that), and the EVF does not lag or freeze at all.

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Richard Weisgrau
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

Yes,  I do have a Lumix DMW-GWC1 wide angle adapter attached to my 14/2.5. It converts the 14mm to 11mm.  You can see the difference in angle of view here, and you can see more about the combo here.

My new mantra is travel light. I have an assignment for some travel websites in late January in the Caribbean. Looking forward to the warm. It is 15 degrees F here in Philadelphia right now so the thought of warm is appealing.

I have decided to do the work with two G6 bodies, the 14/2.5 and wide angle adapter, 20mm/1.7, 14-42 version 2, 45-150, and Oly FL36R flash. In FF terms that gives me coverage from 22mm to 300mm in a package that will weigh about 7 pounds. With that kind of weight reduction in gear I might just work another 20 years.

Honestly, if I had to take two Nikon D700 bodies, an SB 700 flash, and the same lens range coverage in Nikon FF gear, I probably would have turned down the gig in spite of the cold.

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robonrome
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Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1
In reply to pannyics, 11 months ago

pannyics wrote:

robonrome wrote:

I've been using both m43 and full frame systems for over two years now … I had hoped by now to have made up my mind to go one way or the other, but I feel a bit like those folk who emigrate to another country, decide to move back home and end up feeling just a little dissatisfied in both countries. I also recognise this is only a "problem" because I am so lucky/blessed to have such options, but I did wonder whether any others out there have had or are having similar mental tussles over what's the right system for them.

I first dipped my toes into the m43 world via a G3, later a G5 and more recently the GH3 and the top quality pany zooms, and I am using this m43 kit almost exclusively now but I still can't seem to cut the cord with my Canon 5Dmk3 (and earlier versions) and L glass despite these spending months at a time sitting bagged up and unused.

Now for many, especially anyone making a living from photography, I can see having two systems makes sense as each has unique strengths… for me though I'm just an enthusiast, I can afford it, but I just don't take enough photographs to warrant such expensive gear languishing.

The GH3 is a true joy to use, fits the hand perfectly and is wonderfully configurable via physical controls alone. Having recently returned from Nepal where I only took the GH3, I thought I'd finally reached a point that I was content to let go of the full frame gear. I started processing through the several thousand images I'd taken and while I have some (I think) good shots, I couldn't help but notice the greater incidence of noise even at base ISO compared to similar shots I took with my canon gear (then a mk2) on my last visit to Nepal a couple of years ago. Noise in skies in particular I've found more than a little annoying even at iso200. Fine detail too I felt was perhaps just not quite as crisp as with the 5d2 and 3.

Then I hit the beach (I'm in Australia) over New Year and was keen to get some action shots of my son learning to surf. I don't do a lot of action stuff and this is probably the only prolonged bit I've done with m43 kit… while the high speed shutter and tracking is up to the task, the freezing of the image in the EVF is a killer (Not sure there's a work around for this?)…

So with the above in mind I got nostalgic for my 5d3 and dragged it out along with my 70-200/2.8 mk2 IS for a bit of a play expecting to be over-whelmed with feelings along the lines of "now this is a real photographers kit"…. well it didn't quite work out that way. Sure it would have been a better choice for those action surf shots (assuming I wanted to drag it down the beach), and sure it gives me creamy skies at ISO as high as 800, and maybe the fine detail is a tad crisper, but, but, but...

  • it feels like I could beat whales to death with it (not a hobby of mine, just an observation)
  • my back hurts again
  • the grip is too big and too square for my hand
  • where are all my function buttons and twin dials that do everything without looking at a menu ever
  • where is my live histogram in the EVF for immediate exposure compensation
  • where is my articulating screen
  • where is my built in fill flash

In short, what the hell was I thinking! Now the 5D3 is back in its bag in the dark of the walk-in robe… still can't quite bring myself to sell it (not even sure why, maybe it's an innate love for big chunky shiny things) but it's now clear that there are just too many ergonomic and functional advantages to the GH3 over the 5D3 that I would ever be happy with the Canon gear alone again no matter how much better the IQ is (and, really, it's just not that much better).

So after that brief flutter I'm back with the GH3 in hand and guess it will remain my primary if not sole kit for the fore-seeable future… until next year when I no doubt will go through the whole cycle again

I think you should try the E-M1. With the newer sensor, you should get about a stop better in noise performance, and the detail should be great since they took away the the AA filter. Also, there's a thread discussing something about E-M1 having better sharpness because Olympus lowered the RAW noise reduction (can't seem to find it now). Also there is a thread saying that someone has tested and said that the E-M1 has better tracking than DSLRs (also couldn't find that), and the EVF does not lag or freeze at all.

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thanks. I did consider the EM1, though I'm not sure I've seen or heard of any credible evidence that the Em1 has materially better IQ than the GH3. All the reviews I've seen suggest the EM1 is much the same as the EM5 and I know it's pretty much a wash between the EM5 and the GH3 (most likely the same SOny sensor used) so I expect nothing worth changing for there. The EM1 does lack a couple of things I find important - fully articulate screen and built in fill flash. More importantly I found it just didn't fit my hand the way the GH3 did (I found the grip too narrow). If it did allow high speed shutter without freezing (not really freezing I guess just displaying the last image taken) the EVF that would be of interest so I might take another look at some point.

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Brian Wadie
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Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1
In reply to pannyics, 11 months ago

"Also there is a thread saying that someone has tested and said that the E-M1 has better tracking than DSLRs (also couldn't find that), and the EVF does not lag or freeze at all."

I use the EM-1 having come from Canon (7D, 5Dmk2) via EM-5 and whilst I don't agree that it is better at tracking moving objects than the canon's (the 7D still I believe being one of the best for this) it is perfectly usable for BIF and high speed sport - for me at least

As to the shutter black-out,, the way I have it set I find it no different than that seen from mirror flap in my OVF on the above mentioned canons

The key settings are, High refresh rate in the EVF, Eye switch off, instant image review off (this was the setting that bugged me the most until I found it, as with it on the camera was unusable for tracking birds or other fast moving subjects) and in bright light, set Live View Boost ON (it controls the EVF as well) In this way I find that the EVF behaves in a very similar way (for me) to the OVF on my canons (I have had Nikon and canon shooters borrow my camera set this way and all have been surprised (some amazed) at how well they found they could use it for BIF

Just spotted the comment re IQ and I agree, there is very little difference here between EM-5, GH3,or EM-1 its the EVF and CDAF + PDAF focus with m4/3rd lenses that make the difference. On this, I have read that, for some reason I don't know, the Panny 100-300 is not so good as the 75-300 on the ME series bodies, no experience of this though (the 35-100 is superb on the EM-1)

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Richard Weisgrau
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Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1
In reply to pannyics, 11 months ago

pannyics wrote:

I think you should try the E-M1. With the newer sensor, you should get about a stop better in noise performance, and the detail should be great since they took away the the AA filter. Also, there's a thread discussing something about E-M1 having better sharpness because Olympus lowered the RAW noise reduction (can't seem to find it now). Also there is a thread saying that someone has tested and said that the E-M1 has better tracking than DSLRs (also couldn't find that), and the EVF does not lag or freeze at all.

I agree that the OP should try the EM1 if he can. He should also try any other option he thinks worth the effort.

I have been buying from the same pro dealer for 40+ years so I get the luxury of being able to try things at home for a day. I settled on the Lumix G6 because for the money to be spent the IQ value was appropriately in line. If the EM1 had better noise control than the G6 or Gh2 (same sensor) I failed to see it. Of course I do my tests with real subjects under real conditions. I abhor test charts and setups because that is not what I shoot. For me photography is in not an academic, technical pursuit. It is both an income and way of expressing myself. If the image is good, it is good regardless of technicalities.  Look ay  the surviving 11 frames that Robert Capa shot on D-day: blurry with subject motion and flat lighting. Still  they are great photographs. Look at the work of US Civil War Photographers: grainy, flat, an PRICELESS.

Photography is not about technique only. I could find a thousands of technically perfect photos on the Internet, but I would prefer to find one that engaged me intellectually. I prefer content and do not care about digital signal noise.

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Paul De Bra
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You have not yet experienced the true size advantage of m43.
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

Sure, coming from a 5D-size camera and lenses the GH3 must feel small, but m43 can go much smaller in both camera and lenses and then you would really see the benefit of the format.

My last film slr was the Olympus OM-G, in the late eighties and used throughout the nineties (although not that much), mostly just with the 50mm f/1.8. My first DSLR was the Canon Digital Rebel (aka 300D) in 2004 and it just felt huge. I could never really get used to the size. Moving to m43 with the E-M5 was like coming home back to smaller size without giving up image quality.

The E-M1 lost some of that small size appeal and it's an Olympus so not that familiar to you. Maybe you should have a look at the GX7? You should definitely try something to better take advantage of the small size of m43.

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robonrome
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Re: You have not yet experienced the true size advantage of m43.
In reply to Paul De Bra, 11 months ago

Paul De Bra wrote:

Sure, coming from a 5D-size camera and lenses the GH3 must feel small, but m43 can go much smaller in both camera and lenses and then you would really see the benefit of the format.

My last film slr was the Olympus OM-G, in the late eighties and used throughout the nineties (although not that much), mostly just with the 50mm f/1.8. My first DSLR was the Canon Digital Rebel (aka 300D) in 2004 and it just felt huge. I could never really get used to the size. Moving to m43 with the E-M5 was like coming home back to smaller size without giving up image quality.

The E-M1 lost some of that small size appeal and it's an Olympus so not that familiar to you. Maybe you should have a look at the GX7? You should definitely try something to better take advantage of the small size of m43.

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thanks Paul. I find the GH3 in the goldilocks zone for size. It is way way smaller than the 5D kit, but I find going much smaller too many compromises in feel and usability. I have the G5 and had the G3 so have used smaller m43 and don't find them as effortless - you actually forget you're holding the GH3 it is just so intuitive and useable. Truth is I don't really see the benefit of going much smaller in body size. The serious size advantage for m43 is in the lenses - the pany 2.8 zooms are a good example. Using the same m43 lenses even going to a smaller body is only going to get me 100 gms or so weight saving to my entire bag of kit…hardly worth it. Until a body get's small enough to be pocketable I see no real benefit over the the GH3 and for that I have the RX100.

The GH3 (and pany zooms) already ticks all the boxes for me in terms of size weight advantage and has all those functional extra's lacking in my 5D3. The only thing I'm occasionally missing is the IQ of the 5D3 and that action tracking… on that I really need to read the manual better, I had thought I could only reduce the Auto Preview time not turn it off… I just realised that if I scrolled further down on the relevant GH3 menu option there is an "off"… i just ran off a few sprays and there is a slight lag, but it should be ok for my purposes so another issue bites the dust

Actually I also missed another m43 plus. Focus accuracy… it's easy to forget just how good m43 is and how it has none of the regular focus missing and need for MFA of various lens copies that bedevil some of my FF kit (particularly those otherwise excellent fast SIgmas).

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Jerodequin
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

Hi Robonrome,

How do you find the evf on the gh3? Many vocal people on these forums made a lot of noise about how "bad" it is... How does it compare to the evf on your old G series camera?

Thanks, J

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Brian Wadie
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Re: You have not yet experienced the true size advantage of m43.
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

" I really need to read the manual better, I had thought I could only reduce the Auto Preview time not turn it off… I just realised that if I scrolled further down on the relevant GH3 menu option there is an "off"… i just ran off a few sprays and there is a slight lag, but it should be ok for my purposes so another issue bites the dust"

It does make a real difference doesn't it and it bugs me a little that both Panasonic and Olympus have it set it on as a default and bury the off switch deep in the menu

I have found if I want the maximum speed its best to work in manual mode as I get the impression that working in Aperture or shutter priority there is a little lag added from the exposure metering process (small but still there)

I have got my system set up now so that the shutter lag is inconsequential compared to my own lag between thinking "that's the shot" and actually pressing the shutter button. I am never blocked from getting the shot by camera lag (from whatever source), this is the case whether it be Falcons coming off the stoop to hit the lure, a bee backing out and flying off from a flower, motor sport or windsurf action etc

I do believe a lot of the problems people are having in transferring from DSLR to M4/3rds are to do with not changing their mind-set and not reading the (horribly complex) manuals to find all the essential but hidden tricks for squeezing the maximum performance from whichever system they choose

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So much to learn, so little time left to do it!

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robonrome
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to Jerodequin, 11 months ago

Hi Robonrome,

How do you find the evf on the gh3? Many vocal people on these forums made a lot of noise about how "bad" it is... How does it compare to the evf on your old G series camera?

Thanks, J

On the downside it doesnt look as wide as the evf on the g5. There is also some smearing of lettering especially if your eye is not perfectly centred. I became used to this very quickly and no longer notice.

On the plus size the gh3 evf is brighter and clearer than the g5 one.

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Rens
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

robonrome wrote:

Now for many, especially anyone making a living from photography, I can see having two systems makes sense as each has unique strengths… for me though I'm just an enthusiast, I can afford it, but I just don't take enough photographs to warrant such expensive gear languishing.

Hi Robonrome,

I'm in the same position as you, except that I have the E-M5 and a D700 (plus lenses).

If I were hard up I'd sell the Nikon gear, as it is it sits on the shelf most of the time.  While it may seem an extravagance to have so much expensive gear hardly used, for what I'd get used I don't feel bad about keeping it.

You shouldn't either.

I bring the D700 out for the odd formal shoot, like a neighbour's wedding or a local paper bit, and I know I'd miss it if it wasn't there.

As for your m4/3 gear, I also look enviously at the fully swivelling screen on the GH3 and may get one to replace my E-M5.  I thought I could get the E-M5 in a jacket pocket, but it's such a squeeze I've given up and have just bought a GM1.

So my plan is:

GM1 plus 12-32 permanently in jacket pocket.
GH3 plus lenses in bag for walking the local hills.
D700 sitting on shelf but used occasionally.

A lot of money tied up?  Yes, but spent over many years and this is my only expensive hobby.

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Steve_
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In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

It's true that the best of the m43 sensors, typified by the GH3 and 16mp Olys, are noisy compared to the better full frame and even APS-C solutions. Sensor size does matter. This presents more of a technical challenge to the m43 user intent on producing the best image quality possible, as one must stay at low ISO and postprocessing becomes more or an issue. Not that I've mastered it.

It's also true that hauling around a FF camera and a 70-200/2.8 just isn't happening for me, having a (really) bad back. But I can carry my E-M5 along with the Panasonic 7-14, 12-35, 35-100, and 25/1.4 lenses fairly easily. I end up assembling a complete system (that's just my carry bag) no matter the platform, so systems I could only carry a piece or two of regardless of the inherent IQ stopped making sense.

This current generation of m43 sensors brought performance to the level where I sold my Pentax kit, and hopefully the next will make the choice easy for full frame users such as yourself as well.

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tgutgu
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to Jerodequin, 11 months ago

Jerodequin wrote:

Hi Robonrome,

How do you find the evf on the gh3? Many vocal people on these forums made a lot of noise about how "bad" it is... How does it compare to the evf on your old G series camera?

Thanks, J

Well, compared to what is possibly today (see view finders of Sony A99, A7, E-M1, and E-M5) the GH3 EVF is really a disappointment. If you try the E-M1 you can see how a state of the art VF should be. I could never see without stress for the eyes through the GH3 finder, whereas this is not the case with all other finders mentioned above. So it should not be my eyes. The GH3 finder has a problematic ocular, which can't cope very well with its overstretched 16:9 aspect ratio.

A common reaction of many people in the web is to attribute the finder design problem to the user's eye sight, which is mostly nonsense, at least for people, which don't have problems with the aforementioned view finders. Others simply write that they get used to the problems, which is a kind of resignation.

I had three G/GH cameras before switching to OM-D bodies, and must say that the finders of the GH3 predecessors IMO were better to use. Of course, you have to try it yourself, but you asked for an opinion.

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tgutgu
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Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems
In reply to robonrome, 11 months ago

robonrome wrote:

I've been using both m43 and full frame systems for over two years now … I had hoped by now to have made up my mind to go one way or the other, but I feel a bit like those folk who emigrate to another country, decide to move back home and end up feeling just a little dissatisfied in both countries. I also recognise this is only a "problem" because I am so lucky/blessed to have such options, but I did wonder whether any others out there have had or are having similar mental tussles over what's the right system for them.

I first dipped my toes into the m43 world via a G3, later a G5 and more recently the GH3 and the top quality pany zooms, and I am using this m43 kit almost exclusively now but I still can't seem to cut the cord with my Canon 5Dmk3 (and earlier versions) and L glass despite these spending months at a time sitting bagged up and unused.

If something is mostly unused, it is the best indication that the tool is not for you. Sell it without worries. The longer you wait, the less money you would get for it.

Now for many, especially anyone making a living from photography, I can see having two systems makes sense as each has unique strengths… for me though I'm just an enthusiast, I can afford it, but I just don't take enough photographs to warrant such expensive gear languishing.

The GH3 is a true joy to use, fits the hand perfectly and is wonderfully configurable via physical controls alone. Having recently returned from Nepal where I only took the GH3, I thought I'd finally reached a point that I was content to let go of the full frame gear. I started processing through the several thousand images I'd taken and while I have some (I think) good shots, I couldn't help but notice the greater incidence of noise even at base ISO compared to similar shots I took with my canon gear (then a mk2) on my last visit to Nepal a couple of years ago. Noise in skies in particular I've found more than a little annoying even at iso200. Fine detail too I felt was perhaps just not quite as crisp as with the 5d2 and 3.

You and many other ore obsessed with noise. The fine grained noise, you see in 100% view on your monitor, is not visible viewing your image from the appropriate viewing distance or on a print. People tend to pixelpeep on their monitors by zooming to 1:1 view, which is in fact like looking to a huge wall image from a very close distance.

Then I hit the beach (I'm in Australia) over New Year and was keen to get some action shots of my son learning to surf. I don't do a lot of action stuff and this is probably the only prolonged bit I've done with m43 kit… while the high speed shutter and tracking is up to the task, the freezing of the image in the EVF is a killer (Not sure there's a work around for this?)…

So with the above in mind I got nostalgic for my 5d3 and dragged it out along with my 70-200/2.8 mk2 IS for a bit of a play expecting to be over-whelmed with feelings along the lines of "now this is a real photographers kit"…. well it didn't quite work out that way. Sure it would have been a better choice for those action surf shots (assuming I wanted to drag it down the beach), and sure it gives me creamy skies at ISO as high as 800, and maybe the fine detail is a tad crisper, but, but, but...

Smaller sensors take a little tribute to image quality, but you gain the easiness of carrying and a lot more pleasure to take photographs. I would always sacrifice the last bit of IQ in favor for the greater fun taking the picture. Also, that FF always produces better results is a myth, it depends technically also a lot on the lens you use. m4/3 lenses are often very good at the largest aperture, whereas you need to stop down many FF lenses in order to get similarly good results, so you loose some of the FF advantage. Or, FF lenses with similar optical quality are expensive, huge and heavy and as such fun killers.

  • it feels like I could beat whales to death with it (not a hobby of mine, just an observation)
  • my back hurts again
  • the grip is too big and too square for my hand
  • where are all my function buttons and twin dials that do everything without looking at a menu ever
  • where is my live histogram in the EVF for immediate exposure compensation
  • where is my articulating screen
  • where is my built in fill flash

In short, what the hell was I thinking! Now the 5D3 is back in its bag in the dark of the walk-in robe… still can't quite bring myself to sell it (not even sure why, maybe it's an innate love for big chunky shiny things) but it's now clear that there are just too many ergonomic and functional advantages to the GH3 over the 5D3 that I would ever be happy with the Canon gear alone again no matter how much better the IQ is (and, really, it's just not that much better).

Ergonomically, I think that the larger m4/3 bodies are better than most DSLRs. The DSLRs are so big and the controls are so scattered, that is it hard to reach the controls without taking your eyes frame finder. The GH3 and even more so the E-M1 have the important controls at your finger tips and have almost no buttons with multiple functions. So, even from an ergonomic point of view, smaller bodies (E-M1 / GH3 size being the sweet spot for me) are IMO preferable.

So after that brief flutter I'm back with the GH3 in hand and guess it will remain my primary if not sole kit for the fore-seeable future… until next year when I no doubt will go through the whole cycle again

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Thomas

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ethern1ty
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Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1
In reply to pannyics, 11 months ago

I think you should try the E-M1. With the newer sensor, you should get about a stop better in noise performance,--

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I don't think so... I guess you never tried the GH3

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