Full Frame vs Micro 4:3

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Aaron801 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,096
Re: Full Frame vs Micro 4:3
2

FingerPainter wrote:

Michael Piziak wrote:

I viewed this 2018 video, to get a perspective of how much smaller the Olympus cameras are than other cameras... The video actually compares the micro 4:3 to a full frame camera when it comes to image quality.

Any comparison that claims to see no difference when it doesn't examine prints of the same scene shot under the same conditions is bogus.

Fortunately, there is a tool right here on DPR that lets you compare like to like: the Studio Scene Comparison Tool.

Are you claiming you cannot see the difference between the E-MI II and the 5DIV in these shots?

The top pair of shots reflects the ISO settings that the video's host probably used in his shots: base ISO on each camera. The bottom post shows the difference when low light has forced an increase in ISO setting.

This old video compared a FF dSLR to a MFT MILC. Since that time Canon and Nikon have shifted to MILC production. Here is a comparison of the size of a current MILC from Canon, Nikon, and Olympus. Most of the size difference has been eliminated.

Now you might be tempted to say, "Yeah, but the MFT lenses are much smaller." And they often are, But most of the time that's because the MFT lenses have a much smaller shooting envelope - they cannot cover the same range of DOFs for the same ranges of angles of view. When you compare lenses with equal shooting envelopes, the FF lenses are often smaller.

Here's a comparison of the popular Olympus 12-100mm f/4 PRO to the Nikon 24-100mmf/4-6.3. The Nikon covers the same diagonal angles of view and all the same DOFs as the Olympus lens. It also covers some shallower DOFs that the Olympus cannot get. Despite the Nikkor covering a larger range of DOFs and larger image circle, there is essentially no difference in size. This particular Nikon combo will produce sharper images than the Olympus combo, at the same DOF.

I have neither, as I've only owned APS-C DSLR's.

While I am impressed by the size of the micro 4:3, I actually came away with a conclusion that, just perhaps, all the talk about image quality advantage of a FF camera, perhaps, just perhaps, may be a bit of "hype."

No, not all of the talk about the IQ advantage of FF is hype. FF usually has an IQ advantage both with respect to noise/DR and to sharpness. The question is whether that advantage is large enough to matter. I'd suggest there is no objective answer. Now, with FF MILCs having shrunk the size gap, the question also arises as to whether the remaining size advantage of MFT is large enough to matter. I'd suggest it is only when you use lenses with significantly smaller shooting envelopes.

Sometimes the FF advantage may be overstated. When both shutter speed and DOF are constrained, a larger sensor provides no noise advantage. In practice, in these situations, the MFT sensor my perform fractionally better. But such shooting constraints occur in only a minority of all shooting situations. For much landscape shooting, shutter speed is not constrained; for much wildlife sports or event shooting, DOF is not constrained.

The video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGn3yPl59ZM

To jump straight to the image comparison, you can click to about 8:50 in the video.

Thank you for providing a timestamp. I wish more people did that.

I absolutely agree with you that FF bodes have gotten small to the point that they aren't significantly bigger than most m43 bodes, barring the very tiny models that are more limited and lack IBIS. I also agree that with a lot of lenses that are the equivalent focal lengths and the same f stop that the m43 versions aren't any smaller.

So why would one go for m43? Well... with a lot of lenses the size and weight is significantly smaller. Like my Olympus 45mm 1.8, which is tiny and the equivalent of 90mm FF lens. I can fit a really versatile kit in a really small bag that's just 10" on the long side and only about 4" wide. That little big fits my Pen F body, the aforementioned Oly 45mm, a Pana/Leica 25mm 1.4, a Rokinon fisheye 3.5 (that fils the frame, not black circle frame), a very versatile Panasonic 12-60mm 4-5.6 zoom and a Panasonic 50-150mm 4-5.6 zoom and admittedly not very powerful, but very tine accessory flash that still useful to me for certain things and has the advantage of being powered by the body (no extra batteries) and both rotates and tilts (very useful!).  Even the often heard of complaint of m43 not having as much "depth of field control" as larger formats is something that at least for me is overstated because with one of the faster prime lenses that I have, which easily fits into my small bag, I can shoot images with shallow enough DOF to satisfy, even if it isn't quite to the level of the fastest lenses on an FF rig, which honestly is shallower DOF than I typically want anyway.

Obviously too the IQ of FF can be better than m43 but m43 might surprise some folks in just how good it can be. A typical argument then is that if you're going small, why not just go really small and use a cell phone as that's by far the smallest option and at least with lots of types of shots, the IQ of that can be very good as well. A cell phone doesn't handle like a camera though and doesn't have to option to use so many focal lengths and though the tech in cell phone cameras may be very good, it still isn't quite as good as what the much larger sensor in an m43 camera can offer. A lot of folks probably don't realize just how good the IQ of an m43 camera can be and though it admittedly falls off for low light shooting, a lot of that is mitigated by the fact that a lot of the cameras have very good IBIS, which means that in a lot of situations higher ISOs can be used.

With how compact a kit that you can put together, how good the IQ is relatively speaking not to mention how much cheaper the gear can be (which is an issue for a lot of us) m43 can really be the ideal format and kind of a "sweet spot" between something that most of us would use only for casual shooting like a cell phone or point and shoot and larger, more expensive FF kit. Sure, when you get down to it the IQ of a larger format is better and that might be a really important factor for certain kinds of photography, like if you shoot a lot in very low light. For me though, for the kind of on-the-go photography that I do a much bigger kit would often mean that I wouldn't bother bring a camera at all and getting the shots. The shots that I do get, at least ones taken in anything but very low light (and even some of those can be shot at low ISOs with the camera stabilized somehow), are capable of lots of fine detail, smooth transitions in B&W and every other kind of earmark of IQ. It's telling for me that I see a lot of work by other photographers who I really admire who also use this gear. I think that we often make the mistake of following tech details too much in our choices of gear instead of going with what's most practical for the kind of stuff that we like to shoot and what has the kind of IQ needed for the level that we're looking for. M43 despite all it's detractors and the fact that it's currently looking some market share to the newest crop of FF cameras is a very practical format and might actually be the best choice for lots of photographers who have convinced themselves that they need bigger, more expensive gear to do what they do...

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