Would we pay more for a tiny M4/3 body?

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 36,444
Would we pay more for a tiny M4/3 body?

As a GM camera body “freak” I love to use multiple GM camera bodies each with a lens.

This saves changing lenses in the field and also makes carrying more than one lens as “cameras” much easier than carrying larger “cameras” as a GM camera body is only the size of a pack of cards larger then any lens it is attached to.  The Olympus Air tried to address the same problem but was not a complete camera in its own right - but only “part camera” and it had also only had a built in battery.

Objections to the GM series were that it was too small for clumsy hands and short on user conveniences.  This of course is simply user choice and those that cannot fit a GM in-hand or need their user “extra conveniences” such as tilt/flip screen, larger dials, big grips, high prformance video, IBIS, etc, etc can stop reading here  Similarly those who regard such size cameras as “unbalanced” with other than tiny lenses atached to it.

The GM series seemed to offer what M4/3 was all about - compact kit (all round) it was a serious attempt to produce a full function camera (aka as one with all the essential abilities to make good images left in) and it was designed for serious use by thinking photographers.

There was never any doubt that the GM series (especially the GM5) were designed as full systems cameras for the entire M4/3 system.  Not just as horses for the smallest lenses only.

However here we reach the impossible divide.

The notion that all small cameras are “entry level” for new users, backup, pocketable, toys, etc.  And as such should not cost much.

The result of this notion is:

1) that M4/3 = small lenses and large camera bodies.

2) Olympus and Panasonic have responded by producing and supplying “cheap” cameras such as the E-PL9 and GX950 marketed at entry level users.

Gone is the serious attempt at making the ultra compact serious systems camera.  Now cameras such as the GX9 are the serious compact camera for M4/3 and even the E-M10iii has overtures of being suitable for entry level only.

And yet many complain that M/3 bodies are becoming too large and we might as well buy a similar sized compact FF ML camera body quite forgetting that longer and more sophisticated M4/3 lenses can still be more compact than FF capable lenses - the more so when it is considered that FF ML systems will have to rely on ex-dslr lenses adapted for many years to come.  This is not an open invitation to get into an equivalence argument.  This is more about whether or not we can recognise that a “sophisticated compact BMW” might be worth paying a bit more for than a large SUV that seems to provide more metal weight for the money.   There is no equivalence in thes ame size and capable sensor in different size bodies.

Are we willing to see past our camera size blinkered notion that all small cameras are of lesser standard simply because user-conveniences have been omitted to make them smaller?  A small well built camera that thrives on intelligent user input rather than all the user convenience aids and props must be worth more than the smaller camera pitched at entry level users only.  A GM5 “type” with similar sensor can be quite competitive image wise with a larger format M4/3 system body.

In cameras we tend to get what we see them as.  Larger capable cameras assume the identity of the faux-dslr because that is what we imagine proper cameras to look like. And to further this argument - what proper photographers should be holding.

Well we might complain that cameras do not suit the profile of our needs but the reality is that those that make cameras closely study the profile of what cameras look like that sell.

This seems - “look like a dslr, but slightly smaller will do ...”.  Too small and it is definately a pocketable/toy/backup and surely will not fit in my hand and therefore cannot be worth very much at all.

If this is really true it is hardly surprising that the well-considered GM5 is no more and the GX950 might be its entry-level cousin and the “last hurrah”.

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Tom Caldwell

Olympus E-PL9 Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
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