Are Full Frame SLRs Obsolete?

Started Jan 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,901
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As I entered my 60's this old former wedding, portrait and landscape photographer began to tire of lugging around the FF gear. At one point, before my shoulder surgeries, I had a 50lb bad full of pro Nikon or Canon bodies, pro lenses and dual flashes and accessories I would take around the country with me in a large backpack as I traveled. I also did catalog/product photography as well. I enjoyed using that gear to be sure. But now a days it's just a burden and I no longer travel. I got to try my first mft camera with the Olympus PL1 when it was released several years ago. I was headed on a vacation and thought "gee wouldn't it be nice to just leave the big stuff at home".

I picked up lenses that would give me the equivalent of 24-70mm and 90-400mm. When I got home and processed the shots from RAW in Photoshop then I was astonished that low and behold side by side one could NOT distinguish the differences between my FF output and the little PL1's in prints coming off of my Epson Pro3880 printer at 22x17. I have a wall full of them at work all different cameras side by side and nobody ever thinks they were taken with different cameras (even if I know they do indeed look near alike). These are shots taken at ALL times of the day and light scenarios.

NO I'm not a birder so I'll say that up front. These are shots of mostly landscape and some people shots. Migrating along the line, I ended up parting with my FF gear, lenses and bags to move into the EM5 Olympus when it was released. I just updated that with a EM1. As many on this forum know I also did some side by side comparisons with the 6D recently (great camera by the way) and once again for MY purposes when critically evaluating full sized images, the ONLY place the 6D went ahead of the EM1 was in next to NO light (which I would expect). Now since I don't shoot in those conditions I made the only logical decision I could, I sent the 6D back.

To those arguing "depth of field" let me tell ya. If I want that I can snap on one of my fine f1.8 Zuiko lenses and adjust my distance from subject to get  a background that literally disappears, so it's no worry. When you know your subject AND your gear you can adjust most things to accommodate your desired output. It's called photography. With all that said if I still had the body I had when I was 40 in a heart beat I would have pro FF gear once again. But as I said for ME "that ship has sailed". Everyone has to evaluate what their specific needs are and buy accordingly. This most certainly isn't a discussion about "which is better period" but rather which is better for what purpose and end file result. I stand by the statement if one isn't printing HUGE prints beyond 22x17 or cropping heavily the Mft stuff does just fine thank you. If you want easy depth of field control without buying specialized lenses, have a bug about not having a non electronic view finder (which by the way the EM1's is astoundingly good) or have an ego where by you feel naked if you don't have a huge DSLR body behind a large white lens, the Mft is something to consider very strongly.

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MOD Mako2011
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