M43/APSC/Full Frame - Best Suited to My Needs

Started 5 months ago | Questions thread
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 10,527
Re: M43/APSC/Full Frame - Best Suited to My Needs

richmorris73 wrote:

I am really torn between what route to take to upgrade my current camera.

I currently have a M43 Panasonic G6. I did have a few lenses with it, but have sold most now with the intention of upgrading to FF.

In fairness, at base and low ISO, with reasonable lighting the G6 is actually/probably perfectly adequate for my needs.

My photography is hobby only, and travel, landscape, family, a bit of sports - a mixed bag.

I rarely spend any time post processing. So mostly use OOC jpegs.

I print, mostly A4 size or less, and occasionally larger, but no bigger than A3 generally, if I have photo I like.

The reason I am looking to upgrade is for performance at high ISO, low light, where above ISO 800 or 1600 at a push, I find detail is lost as a result of noise/noise reduction. And it starts to be noticeable in larger (A4+) prints, so that I will not use them.

I am certain that some of this is related to my own skills.

Some of the issue might be resolvable with better/faster prime lenses. (My fastest lens was Leica 12-60 f2.8-4)

I found myself looking at upgrading to a Panasonic G9, and that would seem to offer an improvement in higher ISO performance, but maybe by 1 stop?

Then I thought about a Fuji X-T3, which seems to be maybe slightly better again, but not actually much improved over the G9 (at least at jpegs).

Then of course, I started to look at the latest full frame cameras Sony A7 iii and Nikon Z6 which maybe start to improve by 1 stop again. They are a real step up in IQ as ISO increases.

BUT, for my needs, will I really exploit that benefit at A3 print size, and notice much difference up to ISO 6400?

The other benefit of staying M43 is price and size, which although not critically important, means I would be able to buy, and carry a more versatile M43 kit with a couple of bright, fast primes as well as decent range of versatile zooms.

Or will I be disappointed with a slight improvement in M43, compared to what I would get in FF? It looks like that benefit starts to show from ISO 1600/3200.

I'd appreciate any comments or input based on experience of a similar situation and outcome.


I am indeed very simple. For better IQ, FF wins without contest. For Size and weight, M43 wins. APSC, merely 2/3~1 stop advantage over M43 is not worth for me to consider.

When I went digitalization 15 years ago after shooting slr for 30+ years, I asked myself besides the desire to taste the digital shooting experience, what else did I want. I was retired at that time and planned to travel a lot. So size and weight became a priority  (even more important nowadays with my age) and so I picked M43.

From LC5 (a 5Mp fixed lens compact), FZ30, then G1, GX1, GX7 and GX85, basically the ISO performance had been steadily improved every generation.

When GX1 can produce usable image at ISO800 around, I could do ISO1600 on GX7 and now ISO3200 on GX85. Also removal of AA filter making the image from GX85 be noticeably sharper than those from GX7, which has a similar sensor of GX85. Plus the improved jpg engine on every generation of Pany bodies, although G6 is great at its days, it has been overwhelmed by the technology development along the years.

Having said that, to have maximum amount of light would always benefit a small size sensor. Without sufficient light, we might see quite severe noise even at base ISO. It is from my experience as a OOC jpg shooter.

So if you pick M43 in the first place because of size and weight, APSC system can hardly satisfy you. If hust for better IQ and higher ISO performance, might consider a G85, GX9 instead of the flagship G9 (if its strong shooting power be really what you need, but has no advantage on size and weight comparing to other system). And I am sure lens of M43 is more cost friendly than Fuji.

My 2 cents.

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