4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

Started Nov 15, 2008 | Discussions thread
ljclark Senior Member • Posts: 2,414
Let's ratchet back just a little.

Postulate for your friend just what a "normal" lens is. The rule of thumb for the past century or so is that the focal length of a "normal" lens is about the same as the measurement of the diagonal of the film/sensor frame. That seems to handle a comfortable FOV for people looking at a decent sized enlargement.

So a 24x36mm 35mm film camera actually would actually host a 42mm or 43mm "normal" lens. For some reason, we settled on 50mm back in Barnack's day, but folks are happy with it.

Your friend needs to get away from thinking in terms of millimeters (focal length) and think about comparable FOVs (expressed in degrees). Then you just let the chips fall where they may regarding focal length. As it happens, the equivalent FOVs of 4/3 cameras happen with lenses having about 1/2 the focal length of full frame 35mm.

One of the "unfortunate" outcomes (unfortunate in terms of proponents of other formats) is that the range of focal lengths for the 35FF format seems to be in a manufacturing, materials, and physics sweet spot. The coverage requirements, size, weight, etc. seem to work very well in that 35mm - 90mm range.

u4/3 offers some design options for compact primes of reasonable speed, but I think that the u4/3 market will be too stuffed with snapshooters (as opposed to photographers) for there to be market incentives. Shame.

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