Is FF really better than m43? and why?

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,488
Better at some things

It has much greater latitude in controlling shallow DOF, and generally speaking, the bokeh is of a more pleasing quality, though that's for the individual to decide.

The latest M43 sensors offer enough performance to keep the average enthusiast quite satisfied, so the sensor performance gain tends to be more theoretical than something one can really put to use in the real world. Cue the 'discriminating enthusiast' on that one...

FF can be shot at higher F stops, whereas M43 hits diffraction limitation quicker. One can work around this with ND filters, but they aren't always convenient.

FF has quite a few fast zooms. M43 has two, and they're pricey for what you get.

The system in general is quite mature, having been in active development for about 15 years, based on a system that's been developed for over 50 years. Service and support is more widespread.

On the other hand...

FF setups are quite a bit larger by the time you get a decent lens selection. More to carry, higher profile for the person doing the carrying. This is becoming especially noticable as more public events restrict high end cameras.

They're still expensive, by the time you've added a few lenses good enough to do justice to the larger sensor.

Not always true, but FF systems tend to lose the lowest stop or two to overall softness. While you can shoot a 4/3 F2 lens wide open without noticable softness, the same can't be said for a lot of FF F4 lenses (or F2 for that matter). While FF has a two stop advantage in DOF control, it also has a two stop deficit in sharpness.

Long telephoto - M43 beats the pants off of FF in that area. Not only do you get more magnification out of a given focal length, that shallow DOF that looks so good in portraits becomes a problem - it's too shallow, meaning one has to stop down to get enough DOF. You can crop a FF image for more magnification, but it's so much better when you compose to the view, than compose to an imaginary crop you'll be doing later.

So, it's the right tool for the right job. I'd love to pick up an older FF setup to play around with, but just can't see replacing the OMD with a FF body. I've become spoiled on the portability, and save portraits and other short focal length compositions, current M43 is close enough.

I don't spend much time on the FF fora, so perhaps someone can tell me - do the FF discussions get as many M43 zealots jumping into conversations to 'set the record straight' as we get around here going the other way? Do you think they're compensating for something?

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