still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

Started Jan 5, 2014 | Discussions
misolo Contributing Member • Posts: 945
50/1.2 and 24-70/2.8

I'm sort of in the same boat, though I've prioritized small and light in my micro four thirds gear. What makes me keep the 5DIII are the 50/1.2, the 24-70/2.8 and, to some extent, the 135/2. They all do things I can't do with the mft gear. The 5D is usually around in the living room with the 24-70 on it for the occasional grab shot of the kids or of friends, but it's the mft gear that goes out on trips. The exceptions are family events, when I might take the 5D and 24-70 along, or when I take the 5D out with the 50 on it for an outing that's focused on photography.

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Toccata47 Senior Member • Posts: 2,800
I don't get it

If you know how to get the best from a camera, and you're not satisfied with the output, why bother? Life's too short. Unless you make photos for the e-cred at dpr, look toward a solution that gives you the quality you want in a form factor that works for you. The a7 is smaller than a gh3. So are any number of apsc bodies. Some of the lenses are bigger, but there are plenty of times when you don't need to bring along a 70-200.

Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 36,619
You have to wait for the FF fairy to wither and die

I know what you mean - you have the holy grail of systems most enthusiasts would covet, but don't want to pick it up as much as you do m4/3.   It took me a year of having a FF Canon kit go unused until I could let it go.  The tell tale was one day I brought out both systems, to do a side by side comparison one more time. . .  but each time I'd stop to do a study I looked at the Canon kit and decided it would stay in the bag, in the car.

Had the same quandary about IQ, but was determined to find a way to make compelling photos w/o the advantage of a FF sensor.   Sort of like, "Oh, yea?  We'll see about that!"   Not sure who I was addressing. . . it must have been the Oly fairy on one shoulder talking to the Canon fairy on the other. [shrug]

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"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't." - Chief Dan George, Little Big Man

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AndyW17 Contributing Member • Posts: 766
Re: You have to wait for the FF fairy to wither and die

I'm in exactly the same boat, but am taking a detour along the path from FF to M43 - namely trying life with the FF kit and an RX100m2.  I have to say taking that little Sony around is awfully convenient vs. any multi-lens system.  So the test FOR ME, is to figure out how often I miss the flexibility and the reach of the longer or faster lenses.  IQ is pretty good on this thing but of course NOT up to M43 or FF standards.  But it weighs almost nothing compared to the alternatives.

As others have said repeatedly, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Good luck!

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broody Contributing Member • Posts: 674
Re: You have to wait for the FF fairy to wither and die

I find my 5d2 a chore to carry even with the tiny 50/1.8. It becomes a ridiculous burden with any zoom, let alone a full set of them. I love the color and rendering, but this is not a take-anywhere camera in any configuration.

In contrast, I enjoy shooting M43 in a way no other format allows. Every camera has its limitations - the litmus test is whether you can work with it well enough that you forget that they are even there.

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FunkyIQ New Member • Posts: 15
Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

"The best picture is taken by the camera you have with you." That was how I decided to sell my old DSLR.

I was kind of in the same position as you some time ago. I did not shoot FF, but I used a Nikon D300s which is quite bigger than the m43 system. Too often I found myself not bringing the D300s along because it simply was too big. I sold the Nikon and got a XZ-1 which I love and I take it with me all the time. That F1.8 of the XZ-1 is great for a compact, but I missed the flexibility which the option to change lens gives, so now I also have an Olympus PL6 (almost identical to the PL5).

If you aren't ready to let go of your Canon gear yet you should get an adapter, if you do not have one already, and try out your FF lenses on your m43 I know it contradicts the portability, but if I had the option, I would definitely try it out. Try to check out the metabone speed booster.

When I read your post it sounds like you already have said goodbye to the 5d3, but good luck with your final decision

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PaulChapman Contributing Member • Posts: 985
Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

Seems to me that the big bonus of M43 is the size and weight; downside is some people's difficulty with the EVF concept and (me particularly) with an excess of gimmickry. If you are strong and size is no problem then FF is going to win. If you travel then something smaller is going to be better. The Sony A7/7r appears to be a good compromise though...although the FF lenses are not going to get smaller. Or you go Leica M/M9 as FF and m43 which has been my route driven primarily by airline carry-on limitations. When I travel I can carry a couple of bodies, good quality prime lenses and a tablet for photostoring/internet...all as carry on. As for daily use... I always carry either the Leica or M43 (GX7 or GF1) since they are so easy to bung in a bag. In all probability FF is overkill for most people (me anyway) but using good kit gives you confidence and generally results in better end results.

jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,956
Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

robonrome wrote:

I've been using both m43 and full frame systems for over two years now … I had hoped by now to have made up my mind to go one way or the other,

So after that brief flutter I'm back with the GH3 in hand and guess it will remain my primary if not sole kit for the fore-seeable future… until next year when I no doubt will go through the whole cycle again

I would love a full-frame camera, but laugh at the ridiculous size and weight of them. I don't own a car, so I walk, hike, take public transportation and bike… size and weight are big issues!

I shot film for years, Konica and Nikon. When digital became viable I shot with Nikon pivoting CoolPix for ages, but still wanted something better. Every time I convinced myself to check out Nikon DSLRs, I would laugh in disgust at the size and kept waiting for something with reasonable size, weight and image quality, even though I already had Nikon lenses from my SLRs.

When a colleague showed me his GF1 and EP1, that seemed perfect. The image quality wasn't as good as his Canon DSLR, but seemed good enough and a big improvement over what I was using at the time.

So, having shot with M4/3 for the past 3 years, I find myself not only with a pile of native M4/3 lenses, but also a bunch of adapted Nikon, Voigtländer and Pentax SMC Takumar lenses. The new Sony A7 has piqued my interest, but seems too much of a version 1.0 product for my taste. The big appeal, as it was initially with M4/3, is the ability to adapt all my manual lenses.

So, when Sony releases an A7 version 2.0, I'll take a hard look and see where it takes me.

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Miron09 Contributing Member • Posts: 835
not torn at all

Going up the mountain, my FF frien Anton carries 25 kgs, I carry 5 kgs max (incl tripod)

I never worry too much which lens to take with me - if in doubt, I take them all, as weight is not an issue

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William Porter
William Porter Senior Member • Posts: 1,730
ditto (more or less)

Gato Amarillo wrote:

Though I've been happy with m4/3 since 2008 and regular 4/3 back to 2005, as I started to order a GH3 I realized I would not be fully satisfied until I tried full frame -- even though I knew intellectually I don't need it.

Six months and $4,500 later I know as well as anyone can know that FF is not for me. The difference in image quality is utterly tiny, judged in a print or a finished online image, while the tradeoff in size, weight, cost and general cumbersome handling is huge.

The Yellow Cat takes the words from my mouth more or less. In my case, the path has been from APS-C DSLRs (Pentax and then Sony) to Sony APS-C sensor SLT (A77), to full frame DSLR (A850) and SLT (A99). And now to m43 (Olympus E-M1). But aside from the slightly different paths we've taken to m43, I could have written what el Gato has written above, about the reasons for trying full frame, and about the conclusions drawn from the experiment.


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texinwien Veteran Member • Posts: 3,326
Raw NR?

pannyics wrote:

Also, there's a thread discussing something about E-M1 having better sharpness because Olympus lowered the RAW noise reduction (can't seem to find it now).

What? This claim definitely requires some support. Applying NR to the raw files is a big deal. It's something DxO and good review sites will generally mention if they determine that a camera is doing it. So far, I have seen no credible source claiming that any of the latest Olympus cameras apply NR to the Raw files. Unless you are aware of some, I believe your statement is totally off base.

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Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 22,849
keep both

they both have their strengths and weaknesses and you like them so keep them

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Isca Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
You think you have problems!!!

I recently bought the E-M1 so am relatively new to M43 but seem to be facing the same challenges. My 5D Mk2 sits in the bag and then I have a Leica M9 sitting in another bag.

I'm trying to justify keeping the M9 for its portability and quality of glass (just bought a couple of lens mount adapters and waiting for them to arrive) and the manual pretty much everything on an M9 is a delight so it's staying.

Last trip was to Mexico so I took the Olympus and 5D Mk2 with me (so much for portability!). I ended up smacking the rear lcd of the 5D so it is now cracked and have decided that I won't replace it for now as it still works and I'm not too sure what direction I'm going.

I leave for Mexico again next week and have bought a few adapter rings so that I can use my Lee system on the Olympus and I must admit that being able to carry it all in a bag over my shoulder rather than a back pack is a big win.

The evf blacking out is something to get used to definitely. I prefer to think of it as a film camera and not chimp I have it set to no review so it is almost like the mirror going up on a dslr. The evf is very good but it's not WYSIWYG so that's a bit odd too, always a pleasant surprise to see the actuall image when you do sit down and review what you shot.

I plan on landscapes and bird shots in Mexico and a few long exposures using the Lee Big Stopper so we'll see how it compares to the 5D mk2 in those areas.

I'm not big on techie geekie pixel peeping, for me it's about the emotion of the image as well as the experience of making the photo, the few less megapixels won't bother me and noise hasn't been an issue, if I need a flashlight to see I work on the assumption that there is no light and photography is about the light

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D200_4me Veteran Member • Posts: 4,396
Just do it....

You've already proven your point, that m4/3 is working for YOUR needs and just go for it and sell the Canon and use the extra money for more great lenses or a new E-M1

Me personally, I'm keeping my D600 until it's not useful to me anymore.  In a few years maybe.  I'm fortunate in that I can afford to keep both and I do enjoy using the D600 now and then for its killer dynamic range and image quality overall.  But ultimately, I think I'm finally done with DSLR after this.  For ME, I see no real advantage in having a DSLR vs. mirrorless of some sort.  I may end up with another Fuji X in the future depending on how they progress, but for now I think m4/3 is what makes me most happy.

I'm so sick of the DSLR/full frame vs. 'smaller' sensor cameras debate, as far as those who say they wouldn't use a 'small' camera goes because they're so self-righteous about it.  As if we're all too dumb to understand there's a difference with high ISO, depth of field and continuous AF tracking.  If you understand the limitations and differences, smaller cameras can be much better in many situations (even low light) than the full framers.  My recent trip to the dungeon style lighting of the air force museum with the E-M1 proves that.  Even my old Nikon V1 did well in the past.  Just as good in most situations there as my D600 and D700 did.  (hint - it was all about shutter speed, depth of field and image stabilization).

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arbuz Senior Member • Posts: 2,247
Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1

pannyics wrote:

I think you should try the E-M1. With the newer sensor, you should get about a stop better in noise performance, and the detail should be great since they took away the the AA filter.

In JPG mode. IN RAW E-M1 = E-M5 = GH3.1 stop of E-1 advantage is a marketing urban legend with no evidence from any test that is using RAW. I am happy to see link to respectable testing eveidence. I have checked raw on imaging resource and comparison on dpreview without success.

Also there is a thread saying that someone has tested and said that the E-M1 has better tracking than DSLRs (also couldn't find that), and the EVF does not lag or freeze at all.

Another urban legends - better tracking than what DSLR? 10 years old Canon D10? No blackout? You're seriously repeating stuff like that - there is a thread somewhere where someone seen something - and in all E-M1 threads no one else even mention about it? EVF without blackout?

Never, on any forum, I have seen some many blind fans as Olympus m4/3 owners. Interestingly, Panasonic u4.3 owners are much more easy about their system.

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David Kieltyka
David Kieltyka Veteran Member • Posts: 5,298
The secret is to dump the notion of a single "best" system

I use different cameras for different things. The system best suited to careful, considered photography with a tripod often doesn't make for an optimal small, light, on-the-go rig. If you can afford it don't compromise...choose different systems tailored to different want & needs.


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Geodesiq Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: I Suggest You Try the OM-D E-M1

You know what they say, "The best camera is the one you have with you". I find I'm less interested in lugging around my a77 and am going back to basics with the tiny, under-appreciated G3. With a 20mm pancake it's super light & small. I just wish there was a quality pancake zoom. The PZ 12-42 is too mediocre for my taste.

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Geodesiq Forum Member • Posts: 60
Re: valid points

Steve_ wrote:

It's true that the best of the m43 sensors, typified by the GH3 and 16mp Olys, are noisy compared to the better full frame and even APS-C solutions.

The difference is insignificant and imperceptible in the vast majority of cases from everything I've seen & read.

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n3eg Senior Member • Posts: 2,314
Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

I have what I call my 'grab and go' kit. A bag with enough gear to take on any job. The bag is  (12x7x6 inches) and fully loaded as in the photos below weighs a bit over 5 pounds. A comparable Nikon setup would weigh about double that and need a bag twice the size. I am a happy Lumix camper.  The photos follow.

I have something very similar to that with my E-PL5 kit, and it's only 9 1/2" long instead of 12".  Left side is my Oly 75-300, middle is the E-PL5 with 14-42 lens sideways with camera stored vertically, and right side is Oly 40-150 on top of 0.6x wide converter on top of x6 and x10 close up filters.  Top zip compartment has batteries and SD cards, side zip compartment has flash/strap/polarizer/manual/USB cord.  Amazing how much small stuff you can cram into a bag.

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ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: still torn between m43 and Full Frame systems

Do concentrate on the sensor size. Buy the camera that get the shot. If you need two systems because you have a one off action shot that m43 can't do keep that DSLR and lens.

Their is also a point you have to let that shot go and move on to the next or buy a lens in the chosen system to do what you need.

Their is always a solution even when the solution is nothing.

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