Switch from A-Mount to Micro Four Thirds - lessons

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DaPonti Contributing Member • Posts: 563
Switch from A-Mount to Micro Four Thirds - lessons
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Hi,

I've now almost completed a transition I started over 2 years ago from A-mount APS-C (a58) to m4/3. The main reason for the switch was the possibility to go smaller and lighter. I know, if you want equivalent light gathering ability you'll get mostly equivalent glass and weight, but when you don't need it you can go really small and light. I'm not sure how many people here would consider such a switch, but I'm posting my thoughts in case someone finds them helpful.

What I gained by going m4/3:

  • Obviously, the lighter camera bag is more comfortable at the end of a long day.
  • The smaller size also means I take the camera with a light lens when I wouldn't have before. The E-M10 II with the 14-42EZ or the 45mm 1.8 is lighter than the a58 body only. So I'm using the camera more.
  • The camera is just nicer to use, it feels more "fun". Some of if is subjective, like I appreciate that it's not that big and bulky (and has a better EVF), but it also has less annoyances. For instance on the a58, if you wanted to use HDR, you had to first dig in the menus to manually disable RAW.
  • Plenty of additional features but that's partly because the camera is newer (2015 vs 2013).
  • There are a lot more lenses to choose from and that truly is the strength of m4/3. At any focal length, you can go cheap and light or heavy and high quality, or somewhere in the middle. On A-mount there are plenty of lenses if you include the full frame options, but then you carry extra weight.
  • Better single shot AF. With the a58 I'd say probably 1-2 % of my static shots would be misfocused and I'd only notice it afterwards. Not just slightly in front or behind, completely wrong. Since the lower end model now, the a68, has a better AF sensor I'm assuming that's less a problem. Call it user error if you want but I never had any issue with the E-M10.

What I lost by going m4/3:

  • A lot of money . Equivalent lenses are just more expensive. This is particularly true for telephoto. I had the DT 55-300 which was fantastic and if I want similar image quality I'll have to pay more than double. The gap is even bigger if you look at second hand since there's not a lot of demand for A-mount.
  • Good continuous AF. M4/3 is really lagging behind most other systems there. On low end cameras like the E-M10, it's barely usable.
  • Megapixels. The sensor has a lower resolution and I prefer the 3/2 ratio to the 4/3 ratio, so I lose a bit more.
  • Dynamic range. Not only is there less dynamic range, but I think it's exacerbated by a different processing. As a result I tend to post-process RAW files more often. And the free Olympus Workspace is nowhere near as nice to use as the free Capture One Express for Sony.

What didn't really change:

  • Low light performance. Smaller sensor but no SLT means that with sensors of a similar generation, the low light performance is probably similar.
  • IBIS. The E-M10 II has 5-axis IBIS. Although it's rated less than the higher end models (4 stops), I was expecting it to be better than on the a58 but I'm not getting any better results.
  • The "mount X is dead" discussions...

In conclusion…nothing's perfect but if I had to do it again today I think I would make the same choice. I still think APS-C is the sweet spot, and E-mount or Fuji X-mount cameras provide better performance at the same price than Olympus or Panasonic. But the E-mount APS-C lenses are neglected, and the Fuji X can get heavy quickly. If size and weight are really important, then m4/3 is great. For the weight of the a58 + Sony DT 16-50 / 2.8, I can now carry the E-M10 II + Olympus 12-40 / 2.8 (which is better) + 9-18 + 40-150 (which aren't fantastic, but do the job).

If weight isn't that important, then even though the grass is alway greener on the other side, I don't think there's a lot you can't do with A-mount.

 DaPonti's gear list:DaPonti's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro +1 more
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony SLT-A58 Sony SLT-A68
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