Misinformation about m4/3

Started Feb 14, 2014 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 650
Get your photography understood, first.

El Chubasco wrote:

I am taking a photography workshop and las night I found myself in a funny or frustrating situation. First, the group is about 15 people and of course, I am the only one who uses a m4/3 camera. Everyone else in the room uses nikon or canon.

Well, the funny thing started when the instructor stated that crop factor does not apply to APS sensors when you use APS designed lens. In other words, he stated that the 18mm lens of an APS canikon covers the exact same angle as if using a full frame 18mm lens in a FF camera. I tried to explain that the 18 lens in APS sensor would be close to a 28mm of FF but he refused to believe me. When I said that I use m4/3 as an example to make my point (multiplying focal length by 2) he said "well, with a micro 4/3 you have a real problem" making everyone believe that m4/3 cameras actually pose problems for photographers.

The discussion went on and it deviated in something else. I just learned that some old-fashion pros who have always used FF have no idea of what cropping factor means and how lenses compensate to sensor's size. Even worse, people have the conviction that m4/3 are "problematic" and make believe other the same. Anyway, I do not know where I am going with this, perhaps I am just venting.

What matters, of course, is what your photography does. If your photography pleases clients, generates passion, motivates appreciation or action, or just satisfies you, then what does it matter what some troglodyte somewhere thinks of your tool set?

It's possible to understand a lot about photography and yet know / care relatively little about cameras and imaging technology. If you're looking for technical insight, interviews with renowned, successful, talented artists like Annie Liebovitz or Mario Testino will leave you pulling your hair out--they really just don't care. Likewise, lots of people know everything about the technology in play but know nothing about how to actually capture a compelling image. Cue just about every post in DP Review fora for that extreme. You're going to have to make peace with photography's dual character--that of technical and aesthetic craft--and learn to live with the crazy juxtapositions that this interesting and often conflicting duality sometimes creates. One of them: a photography instructor who doesn't understand much or anything about format sizing.

Another thing you'll likely have to make peace with: m4/3 is probably destined to be a niche and largely misunderstood product, especially in the era of 135-format mirrorless and 40-megapixel cell phones cameras. The message that communicates m4/3's unique strengths and wonderful core capabilities is pretty subtle and depends, a lot, on first-hand experience with the product. Meanwhile, Sony can just bark about 36 megapixels at ISO 25600, and Nokia can talk about 40 megapixels, always connected, in the palm of your hands. People interested in technology for specification bragging rights are never going to love m4/3.

There were interesting, subtle strengths to the 4/3 system, too, that didn't find much mainstream appeal. That lovely color signature of the early Kodak CCD sensors? The unique, crystalline quality of the Zuiko f/2 pro zoom lenses? Most people skipped it. But some didn't, and there are *incredible* images out there for it.

Hey, medium format is niche, too. So is film. So are lots of other really interesting, powerful, vital ways to make visual art. Lots of people will tell you that medium format sucks and fewer really understand what it's capable of doing--but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use it if you have an idea and you know it's the best way to make it happen.

The healthy way to go about this? "Yeah yeah yeah m4/3 sucks, now look at my images." You don't need people to appreciate your camera--you need them to appreciate your photography.

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