I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system? Locked

Started Jun 30, 2013 | Discussions
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Landscapephoto99 Senior Member • Posts: 2,815
Re: Wrong and misleading IMO

So, why is that silly comparison between older m43 sensors and new Nikon 1 sensors relevant to the needs of the OP?

The point is not to draw false equivalences between one system and the other.

For image quality: FF > m43 > Nikon 1

For portability: Nikon 1 > m43 > FF

The problem is that with technological changes, the differences between these systems in terms of sensor quality will diminish to irrelevance with time. That is when things like Olympus' great IBIS or superb Zuiko / Panaleica glass or Nikon 1's rapid shooting will make the difference.

I honestly think that FF will slowly disappear or become a specialized format with time.

Funny, that's the way I feel about the Nikon 1.

But the truth is, the differences will never diminish or disappear. When Nikon 1 sensors improve, MFT sensors will improve by the same percentage. But MFT will always have the 0.85 stop advantage that comes from the larger sensor size.

And much better glass available, and much better IBIS, etc.  I don't see why everyone always pooh poohs IBIS, being able to shoot with a great prime like the Panaleica 25mm f1.4 at incredibly slow shutter speeds hand held.  That is an incredible advantage that more than makes up for the slight advantage of FF and puts m43 way ahead of Nikon 1.

I love street photography at night, it is so easy with my E-M5.  Try doing that with a giant FF.

Given the fact that sensors are already approaching their theoretical limits as far as efficiency, the difference will likely always be large between MFT and Nikon 1, if Nikon 1 even withstands the test of time.

IMO, the MFT standard is really the perfect balance between quality and portability.  The Nikon 1 sensor is just a little too small for a system camera.

I think this is the key to its success.  Nikon 1 has a niche, though, as a second camera system for Nikon FF photographers.  Nikon clearly wanted to slow the flow of customers toward NEX and m43.

JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,934
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

Alternative to the 20mm f/1.7:  Check out the Leica (branded) 25mm f/1.4 for micro 4/3.  It's bigger, but it's an amazing lens.

I don't think I can help you decide what you yourself want.  The Nikon 1 has a substantially smaller sensor than micro 4/3, which might not be a good thing.  I may be unfair, but I think of it more as a Panasonic LX7 with interchangeable lenses.

Despite saying that you don't need a viewfinder, I know I do and I think you should. Some small cameras have an electronic viewfinder.  Current Panasonic model is the G6, last years model with a built in EVF is the G5 - still available. An intriguing small camera with a built in EVF is the Sony NEX-6.  That might just blow your budget, and of course the lenses are larger (for APS-C sensor) and fewer than the micro four thirds equivalent field of view lenses.

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js

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Aspenz
Aspenz Contributing Member • Posts: 764
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

Lol relax guys, there's nothing to counter, use whatever pleases you, that's what I believe.

I'm not saying the image quality of the V1/J1 is on par with the latest few m4/3s i.e EMP2, EPL5, OMD5 etcetc... it's not, and the lowlight capabilities and DR have improved greatly for those recent cameras. What I AM saying however is that it has been shown the older ones like EP3, EPL3, GX1, GF3 are behind of the V1/J1 in terms of dynamic range and around the same in terms of noise. You'd be surprised how well our 'smaller' sensor handles noise. And sometimes sensor sizes are not instantly their differences due to physics. The samsung NX cameras have a much poorer noise performance compared to the nex, and they both have the same sensor size. The GX1 was what the OP mentioned as the alternate so naturally that's the comparison to be drawn.

And DXOmarks of lenses are greatly affected by larger resolving power. At 10mp obviously the 1 system lenses are gonna seem poor. In fact the scores more or less go higher according to the sensor+mp count of the cameras with those lenses. But let me assure you the lenses offer great performances that max out what the 1 cameras handle.

For stuff like lens sizes and weights, it's subjective. You think your m4/3 lenses are just the right size and weight, I think mine are, the nex people probably think theirs is worth carrying over DSLRs...

 Aspenz's gear list:Aspenz's gear list
Nikon 1 V3 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 +3 more
photo perzon
photo perzon Veteran Member • Posts: 4,503
Marketing wise Nikon 1 was a failure. m4/3 a success.

Marketing wise Nikon 1 has no future.  m4/3 does.

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devlin2427 Regular Member • Posts: 469
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

Aspenz wrote:

Lol relax guys, there's nothing to counter, use whatever pleases you, that's what I believe.

I'm not saying the image quality of the V1/J1 is on par with the latest few m4/3s i.e EMP2, EPL5, OMD5 etcetc... it's not, and the lowlight capabilities and DR have improved greatly for those recent cameras. What I AM saying however is that it has been shown the older ones like EP3, EPL3, GX1, GF3 are behind of the V1/J1 in terms of dynamic range and around the same in terms of noise. You'd be surprised how well our 'smaller' sensor handles noise. And sometimes sensor sizes are not instantly their differences due to physics. The samsung NX cameras have a much poorer noise performance compared to the nex, and they both have the same sensor size. The GX1 was what the OP mentioned as the alternate so naturally that's the comparison to be drawn.

You sir, are wrong. All the things you said about nikon 1 cameras benefiting from raw processing applies to any other format. The problem is nikon 1 will always lag at least 1 stop behind m43 and 2 stop behind APS in dynamic and tonal range because nikon are not even using the best 1" sensor available, ie the Sony one from the RX100 series.

And DXOmarks of lenses are greatly affected by larger resolving power. At 10mp obviously the 1 system lenses are gonna seem poor. In fact the scores more or less go higher according to the sensor+mp count of the cameras with those lenses. But let me assure you the lenses offer great performances that max out what the 1 cameras handle.

For stuff like lens sizes and weights, it's subjective. You think your m4/3 lenses are just the right size and weight, I think mine are, the nex people probably think theirs is worth carrying over DSLRs...

In the end nikon 1 cameras are too close to premium compact camera image quality and too much behind larger sensored siblings.

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Dev |
Rehab is for quitters.

Mahmoud Mousef Senior Member • Posts: 2,604
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

David Banner wrote:

for the same price I can have a 10-30 kit lens and the FT1 adapter

FT-1 adapter is big, and so are the lenses that attach to it. If you want a small camera, you negate much of it with this, in my opinion.

which would allow me to use my Nikon cameras. I don't know if this is possible with 4/3. So I'm leaning a bit towards the Nikon 1 but I'm still researching it and I'd love to get some feedback from the 4/3 crowd.

I have experience with the V1. Love the electronic shutter. Love the high-speed captures. Pic quality is surprisingly good (for the sensor size), but I prefer the quality I get from (ye olde) 16MP Panasonic Micro Four Thirds (along with the far better fast access to common controls).

But need I mention how much I love the electronic shutter and fast captures of the Nikon V1? No compatibility with current flashguns on the new accessory port is a big no-no to me though.

Aspenz
Aspenz Contributing Member • Posts: 764
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

devlin2427 wrote:

You sir, are wrong. All the things you said about nikon 1 cameras benefiting from raw processing applies to any other format. The problem is nikon 1 will always lag at least 1 stop behind m43 and 2 stop behind APS in dynamic and tonal range because nikon are not even using the best 1" sensor available, ie the Sony one from the RX100 series.

In the end nikon 1 cameras are too close to premium compact camera image quality and too much behind larger sensored siblings.

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Dev |
Rehab is for quitters.

It's not up to me to decide what's wrong or right, tests show the results clearly. In the same vein I'd love to claim V1's as good in DR as OMD5/EPM2 but that would just be lying.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/olympus-epm2/Z200b_ACRman1_Step_2.png

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/omd-em5/Z00200_ACRman_Step_2.png

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NIKONV1/Z0100NR0_ACRauto_Step_2.png

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-g5/Z00160_ACRauto_Step_2.png

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EP3/Z00200NR_OFF_ACRauto_Step_2.png

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-gf5/Z160_40_ACRman_Step_2.png

When you compare the highest quality DR (lowest noise type that satisfies pixelpeepers), it's EPM2>OMD5>V1>G5>EP3>GF5 at 9.65 > 9.19 > 8.42 > 7.87 > 7.36 > 5.81. The fact is that recent sensor evolution on the olympus side has led to much better DR for the m4/3 system so it's a good thing for you guys anyway.

Now I don't know what sort of images you're achieving with your camera but if these are 'premium compact camera quality' then I guess I'm pleased with my V1.

 Aspenz's gear list:Aspenz's gear list
Nikon 1 V3 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 +3 more
OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: Wrong and misleading IMO

For Nikon 1 to be worth it, the lenses should be proportionally smaller than MFT lenses for any given focal length range (true focal lengths not 35mm eq. focal lengths).

I didn't compare size for the main lens I'm interested in (14-140 or 10-100) but the Nikon 10-100 is actually heavier than the equivalent panasonic.  I found that strange.

OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system? - I actually like noise

pcake wrote:

David Banner - are you planning to shoot in indoor/lower light? if so, the little nikon doesn't do as well as a micro 4/3. btw, i've had the panasonic G3 (same sensor, i believe, as the GX1) and loved it. i now have the E-PM2 with the VF2, and find it a great camera for well-lit stuff, but the EVF isn't all that accurate in lower variable light, although the pics are very nice - i find myself chimping when there are too many lower light changes to adjust the screen over and over and over.

As a few have said, i think it's important to keep in mind the criteria of the OP (me in this thread) because everyone has different priorities.

I want a small MFT or Nikon 1 camera for vacations, going out all day, long walks in the park, etc.    basically a super compact.  And maybe the RX100 would be a decent choice but it's expensive and I like the idea of switching lenses.

To answer your question.. while on vacation I'm sure I'd be shooting in indoor and/or low light.  For events around my home I just take my 85 1.4.  I used it for a dance recital which was pretty dark and it worked well but I had to use high ISO.  BTW this is a personal preference and is why I said earlier that it's important to keep the OP personal preferences in mind.

I'm probably going to be different than the average photographer here but I actually don't mind high-ISO noise at all.  So I have no problem using ISO 3200 on my D300.  I use it a lot actually.  I find the noise gives the photo some texture.  Even better if the photo is b&w, the noise looks like film grain.

On the other hand if these smaller sensors have a 1 or 2 stop disadvantage, then maybe they have more noise and maybe it's less agreeable?  One thing I do hate is noise reduction.  I usually use RAW to avoid this.

OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

I didn't know the 25 1.4 existed.  The Panasonic is expensive right now, maybe it's worth it to spend a little more for the Leica?

I like the viewfinder but that adds size and weight.  I'm used to going without one on my compacts.  and since the MFT/N1 camera will play the role of a more advanced compact, I think I can get by without a viewfinder.

Funny you mention the LX7 because I'm also considering upgrading my LX3 to the LX7 and just using that.  

JosephScha wrote:

Alternative to the 20mm f/1.7: Check out the Leica (branded) 25mm f/1.4 for micro 4/3. It's bigger, but it's an amazing lens.

I don't think I can help you decide what you yourself want. The Nikon 1 has a substantially smaller sensor than micro 4/3, which might not be a good thing. I may be unfair, but I think of it more as a Panasonic LX7 with interchangeable lenses.

Despite saying that you don't need a viewfinder, I know I do and I think you should. Some small cameras have an electronic viewfinder. Current Panasonic model is the G6, last years model with a built in EVF is the G5 - still available. An intriguing small camera with a built in EVF is the Sony NEX-6. That might just blow your budget, and of course the lenses are larger (for APS-C sensor) and fewer than the micro four thirds equivalent field of view lenses.

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js

OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

FT-1 adapter is big, and so are the lenses that attach to it. If you want a small camera, you negate much of it with this, in my opinion.

True, but I wouldn't take those on a day trip or traveling.  One use of FT1 would be to use my Sigma 50-150 2.8 lens for equestrian competitions.  That would be nice.  I used a friend's 100-300 IS (Canon) and it was nice to have more zoom.  That's a nice advantage of the Nikon 1 system.  Also it'd be nice to use the sigma 30 1.4 and nikon 85 1.4 for example if I want to do HD video (dance recital).

which would allow me to use my Nikon cameras. I don't know if this is possible with 4/3. So I'm leaning a bit towards the Nikon 1 but I'm still researching it and I'd love to get some feedback from the 4/3 crowd.

I have experience with the V1. Love the electronic shutter. Love the high-speed captures. Pic quality is surprisingly good (for the sensor size), but I prefer the quality I get from (ye olde) 16MP Panasonic Micro Four Thirds (along with the far better fast access to common controls).

But need I mention how much I love the electronic shutter and fast captures of the Nikon V1? No compatibility with current flashguns on the new accessory port is a big no-no to me though.

So far I think this has been constructive and people have presented the advantages and disadvantages of each system.  It's a tough decision.

OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system? - Which Olympus Model?

Can someone recommend the Olympus model(s) which would be similar to the Panasonic GX1? Doesn't have to be the latest model, those are usually more expensive. The in-body IS Olympus offers interests me. Does it work as well as the in-lens IS used by Panasonic? In the past I've read that it doesn't, which was the justification for Canon & Nikon using IS in the lens.. but it could also be to justify higher lens prices.

bryanbrun Contributing Member • Posts: 772
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system? - Which Olympus Model?

David Banner wrote:

Can someone recommend the Olympus model(s) which would be similar to the Panasonic GX1?

The GX1 and the EP3 were both released at the same time and in the same market category.  The EP3 actually has higher end features.

bryanbrun Contributing Member • Posts: 772
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

David Banner wrote:

FT-1 adapter is big, and so are the lenses that attach to it. If you want a small camera, you negate much of it with this, in my opinion.

True, but I wouldn't take those on a day trip or traveling. One use of FT1 would be to use my Sigma 50-150 2.8 lens for equestrian competitions. That would be nice. I used a friend's 100-300 IS (Canon) and it was nice to have more zoom. That's a nice advantage of the Nikon 1 system. Also it'd be nice to use the sigma 30 1.4 and nikon 85 1.4 for example if I want to do HD video (dance recital).

Do you realize the crop factor penalty of 2x (or bonus depending on how you look at it) of the Nikon 1 sensor?
Your Sigma 30mm 1.4 turns into a 90mm, which can be a good thing if you have enough range, but that lens and any 50mm becomes MUCH harder to use indoors on Nikon 1.  IMO, this is a major weakness of the Nikon 1 brand.
The m4/3 crop factor is 1.5 which means adapted lens are more useable in a variety of shooting situations.
Nikon can certainly improve the Nikon 1 sensor in the future, but certain basic laws of physics cannot be altered.  The crop factor penalty and the inability to produce background blur (using the kits lens) are inherent weaknesses of the Nikon 1 brand which will never go away.

Beach Bum Senior Member • Posts: 1,055
I would avoid...

David Banner wrote:

For Nikon 1 to be worth it, the lenses should be proportionally smaller than MFT lenses for any given focal length range (true focal lengths not 35mm eq. focal lengths).

I didn't compare size for the main lens I'm interested in (14-140 or 10-100) but the Nikon 10-100 is actually heavier than the equivalent panasonic. I found that strange.

Just to let you know, I love the micro four-thirds system, but I would avoid the 14-140 mark I. They've announced a new version this year, but the old one from 2009 isn't very good IMO. It's probably because of the 10x zoom range, which makes it more difficult to maintain quality throughout the zoom range. With this lens in particular, it loses quality in the second half of the zoom range.

I don't know how the newer version performs yet, but my guess is it will be better.

I believe all of Panasonic's zoom lenses starting at 45mm are good. I personally like the 45-175,  but it's gotten some negative reviews because of the "shutter shock" issue at 1/60s to 1/250s. Nonetheless, I still like it.

Anyway, I suspect you'll have many of the same problems with the Nikon 10-100 because of the long zoom range.

What I would do, whichever system you go with, is split the range you need into two or more lenses to get better quality, unless the newer version of the Panasonic 14-140 solves some of the problems with the old lens.

sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system? - Which Olympus Model?

bryanbrun wrote:

David Banner wrote:

Can someone recommend the Olympus model(s) which would be similar to the Panasonic GX1?

The GX1 and the EP3 were both released at the same time and in the same market category. The EP3 actually has higher end features.

I can't recommend an EP3 with its ancient sensor.

You can get a new E-PM2 for t he same price, with the same sensor as in Olympus' most expensive cameras like the E-M5 and E-P5.

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
Some things to consider

David Banner wrote:

I'd like to get a camera such as the GX1 and a 50mm equivalent prime such as the 20mm f1.7 and a super zoom like the 14-140. I think these two lenses would cover my travel needs and allow me to travel light.

I'm not familiar with 4/3 models but here is what I see:

Panasonic GX1 - I definitely want a very small camera, I don't need a viewfinder

Panasonic 20 1.7 - This is $400. Why so expensive? Any better alternatives?

Panasonic 14-140 - Walkaround zoom is $680.

Thanks!

Haven't read every post, so some of this might be redundant. But here are some considerations:

N1 will use your existing lenses W adapter and still AF

m43 can use your existing lenses, but MF and manual aperture only.

m43 has more native lenses available, can also use 4/3 lenses w adapter but not all the bigger lenses focus as well as the native lenses.

Olympus bodies will be able to use IBIS on any adapted lens.

Only the latest generation Olympus (E-M5, E-PL5, E-P5, E-PM2) have the newest Sony sensor. Of those the PM2 is the smallest, the E-M5 has a built in VF, the P5 has improved IBIS and can be controlled from a smart phone.

size wise, I don't see a lot of difference between the mirrorless Nikons and PENs... even lenses don't show a significant size differenced  http://camerasize.com/

The 20/1.7 goes for around $300 used

Other near normal options:

14/2.5 tiny, inexpensive

17/2.8 small, reasonably priced

17/1.8 about twice the size of the f2.8, snap focus ring w distance scale

19/2.8 Sigma bargain priced but not particularly small.

25/1.4  not cheap or small, but sharp and bright

30/2.8 Sigma reasonably small, inexpensive

If you want a single lens solution, look at the Olympus 14-150... same size as the 40-150, but heavier, but you'll still get better results w a two lens solution.

The Panny 14-45 is said by some to be a bit sharper than other kit zooms, the Olympus 12-50 may not be the sharpest (or smallest) but has a nice range and macro function for added versatility.

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Art P
"I am a creature of contrast,
of light and shadow.
I live where the two play together,
I thrive on the conflict"

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OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I would avoid...

Anyway, I suspect you'll have many of the same problems with the Nikon 10-100 because of the long zoom range.

What I would do, whichever system you go with, is split the range you need into two or more lenses to get better quality, unless the newer version of the Panasonic 14-140 solves some of the problems with the old lens.

I read that comparisons of the 10-100 to the 30-110 were very favorable.  In my case I'd be willing to live with that trade off.  For my D300 (DX 1.5 crop) I have 17-50 2.8 & 50-150 2.8 and 18-200 VR.  I use the 18-200 only when traveling.  otherwise I use the 2.8's.

OP David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: I'm debating: Micro Four Thirds or Nikon 1 system?

Do you realize the crop factor penalty of 2x (or bonus depending on how you look at it) of the Nikon 1 sensor?

Your Sigma 30mm 1.4 turns into a 90mm, which can be a good thing if you have enough range, but that lens and any 50mm becomes MUCH harder to use indoors on Nikon 1. IMO, this is a major weakness of the Nikon 1 brand.
The m4/3 crop factor is 1.5 which means adapted lens are more useable in a variety of shooting situations.
Nikon can certainly improve the Nikon 1 sensor in the future, but certain basic laws of physics cannot be altered. The crop factor penalty and the inability to produce background blur (using the kits lens) are inherent weaknesses of the Nikon 1 brand which will never go away.

I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing.

My 30 1.4 has a 35mm equiv of 45mm (crop factor 1.5).  The Nikon 1 has 2.7 crop factor, so that 30 would be 35mm equiv of 81mm.  To get 81mm on my nikon would use a 54mm lens (81/1.5). So the 30 1.4 on the J1 would be equivalent to a 54mm on my Nikon.  Which is very good for portraits.  And that's why I'd get the equivalent of my 30 1.4 for the J1 (18.5mm) or MFT (20mm).  And the 85 1.4 would be like a 153mm on my D300, which is a bit long but good for headshots and sporting events.  So yes I've considered that a lot.  THe 50-150 2.8 becomes very useful for sports.

The alternative with MFT is that I can't use those lenses at all.  Ok with manual focus but I doubt I'd do that.

I agree about sensor size though and wrote Nikon 1 off when I first read about it for that reason. The only reason I'm even considering Nikon 1 is because it's smaller, lighter, cheaper, and lets me use my Nikon lenses.  For someone without Nikon lenses I'd agree the MFT is the way to go.  Why Nikon went with 2.7 crop I don't know.  Seems silly.

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,366
Nikon J1 + 10-30mm for $199

I got a Rakuten/Buy.com email this morning that had the Nikon J1 + 10-30mm for $199.

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