A few words on Equivalence and comparing systems

Started Apr 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 38,500
Re: Perhaps the real question should be.....

jalywol wrote:

Can you get the results you are looking for from the camera system you are using?

Yes, but that's 'cause I shoot FF. 

If you are a shallow DOF seeker, then FF is always going to be a better choice than M43.

I disagree.  While FF allows for a more shallow DOF and less noise than mFT, that doesn't mean that mFT doesn't do shallow DOF or has too much noise.

In fact, even for someone who loves shallow DOF and clean photos, they may find that mFT is "good enough" in that regard, so why put up with the size, weight, and cost of a FF system that has even more shallow DOF and lower noise still, when it won't make a noticable impact on their photography?

If you routinely shoot in very dark environs with no flash, the high ISO performance of a good FF sensor is going to be better than M43.

Again, not necessarily.  The better noise performance of FF comes at the expense of a more shallow DOF.  For the same DOF and shutter speed, FF has no noise advantage over mFT (indeed, FF is even at a disadvantage when using a lens that does not have IS and motion blur is not an issue).

If you want smaller, lighter lenses with a competent system, and the DOF differences are either an advantage (in the case of landscape and macro work), or not a significant factor in your style of shooting, then M43 is a remarkably adept option.

That's what I'm saying.

These are different tools.  Pick the one that works for your shooting style, or use both if needed. Don't try and make one into the other....just use the blasted cameras and if you find one does not do what you want in terms of DOF rendering, then realize you have to move to the other to get what you need out of it.

They are different tools, but can largely be used for the same purposes.  It's only for certain particular tasks that one has the clear advantage over the other.

Until the laws of physics change, and you can get a FF sensor into an M43 body with M43 size lenses, then the compromises you make for portability are going to be in the DOF and sensor noise area.  As technology improves, the sensor noise issues are going to also continue to improve, so that may become a non-issue at some point, too (look how far we have come in terms of high ISO performance in the M43 in the past two years, for example.  I can now actually get good quality images at ISO 3200, and can relax about using ISO 1600 without having to worry about the color washing out or significant detail loss to noise...and future sensor performance will improve yet again on that.)

All systems continue to expand the envelope, although there are physical limits to what can be done.  The question, then, is how large an envelope you need for your photography.

I frequently feel that this particular argument is perpetuated by non-M43 users who are trying to prove how INCOMPETENT M43 is to make themselves feel better about their own DSLR choices.  I often wonder what cameras the loudest equivalence complainers have....are they really FF users, or are they APS-C users trying to justify the small gains in DOF of their APS-C models over M43?  Perhaps the answer to these arguments should simply be: Why not try out the M43 cameras and lenses and see if they work for you?  No point in getting into this fray again and again.....

In my opinion, best to acknowledge the differences between the systems based on the both the facts and the types of photos one takes.  That is, while one system may clearly be superior to another for a particular purpose, if that particular purpose is not an aspect of your photography, then it has no bearing for you.

For example, someone might say, "The 70-200 / 2.8 on FF is equivalent to a 35-100 / 1.4 on mFT".  A good response might be, "Sure.  But I don't need an aperture that wide, and the significantly smaller size, weight, and cost of the mFT option suits my needs much better.  For example, I would be uncomfortable pointing a D600 + 70-200 / 2.8 VR II at someone in a crowd, whereas I feel very comfortable doing that with my EM5 + 35-100 / 2.8."

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