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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Is Mirrorless m43 as good as DSLR?
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09/14/2014 08:21:12 AM · #1
I was browsing the big electronics store here in Japan, lots to love. I took a look at a couple of the new players (Or newish) and was surprised at the price the Panasonic GH4 was priced at...kinda. Then I saw the price of the m43 lenses, which are expensive IMO for the size/amount of glass you're getting.

I'm not sure what the advantages are of the m43 systems other than weight...because price of glass seems to be pretty up there. Anyone with experience care to comment? Anybody switch from full-frame or crop DSLR to m43?
09/14/2014 10:01:49 AM · #2
I switched to the Fuji X system and have no regrets. The biggest plus for me is the weight loss but still maintain exceptional IQ for all my needs. I have heard people banging on about mirrorless is no good for weddings etc, well, I have shot 3 weddings thus far with my Fuji (and Leica M) I use the fuji for colour, people have always commented on the excellent colours, for most of my personal stuff, I am even happy to shoot SOOC with excellent results. No turning back for me, I do not shoot sports so I have no issues with focus speed etc.
09/14/2014 10:18:20 AM · #3
There are some uses where they don't quite compete with DSLR's yet, mostly because focus speed is slightly less, and the top end micro43 are still 16MP. But for most actual real world uses, micro43 (and Fuji, which is APS-C) is competitive with similarly priced DSLR's. But considerably smaller and lighter.

I'm going shopping for something smaller and lighter than my D800 today. We'll see if I come back with anything. Not completely replacing the D800, but replacing it for things where weight matters...
09/14/2014 10:36:26 AM · #4
I dipped a toe into m43 by getting an Olympus OMD EM-5 and whilst i enjoyed it as a day to day walk around it didn't really work out as a wedding camera when used alongside my full frame Nikons so i sold it. I did make a full kit jump to the Fuji X system early this year though and that's a different story altogether - like MAK i've been more than happy with using it for weddings and have shot quite a few this summer. Took a bit of getting used to and a slight adjustment in my shooting style but it's worked out for the best. Depends on what and how you shoot of course but for my usage it suits fine. I've found the main problem with switching to the smaller Fuji X cameras is i quite often find myself wondering how many organs i can sell to get myself a Leica M Monochrom.

Message edited by author 2014-09-14 10:37:10.
09/14/2014 12:14:54 PM · #5
I have shot Canon for well over 20 years and about 1 1/2 years ago I picked up my first mirrorless camera (Fuji X-E1) and back in January I traded that in for an Olympus E-M5 and have now sold all of my Canon gear.

Focus:
The major difference between mirrorless and mirror (other than the lack of mirror) is the focusing system. DSLR's use PDAF and mirrorless (with the exception of the new Olympus E-M1) use CDAF. CDAF is more accurate than PDAF but lacks the ability to effectively use focus tracking, focus speed is about the same between the two methods.

The E-M1 uses both and while not as effective as a DSLR the first generation shows great promise.

View Finder:
One advantage is the electronic view finder does show a better representation of what the photo will look like. Changes you make to the exposure can be seen in the viewfinder.

Price:
Prices for lenses are pretty much the same, in reference to m43 compared to DSLR (not up on current Fuji prices). The new Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 pro is around $899 (image/build quality it is as good as Canon L glass) compared to the Canon 16-35 f/2.8L (closes lens in focal length) is $1699 so comes out to be 1/2 the price. Now the Olympus has a 2x crop factor so compared to similar effective focal length the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L is $2000, again much cheaper.

The Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro is $500 compared to the Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro is $949, again just as good if not a better lens for cheaper.

Soon to be released Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 pro is going to be around $1500, really only thing to compare it to is something in the same effective focal length like the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L at $2300.

The E-M5 is completely weather proof and is only around $800, not sure of any DSLR that is weather proof for anywhere close to this price.

Size/Weight:
Then there is the size/weight advantage.

Adaptability:
Metabones has just released a new adaptor that allows full control and exif info of Canon lenses except for auto focus. It's only a matter of time before they develop an adaptor that will allow full control (I am sure the ability is there, just a matter of getting the price down) including autofocus.

For most wildlife photography (other than birds in flight) manual focus is almost as effective as autofocus. A look at my gallery which is mostly all shot with a 34 year old Canon FD 400mm f/4.5 lens will prove this Manual focus wildlife. The 2x crop factor is a wonderful thing for wildlife photography. With the ability now to control the aperture on Canon EF lenses opens up a whole new world. I can get a Canon 400mm f/2.8 and now have a 800mm f/2.8 lens.

Sensor MP:
Anyone who has watched the development of digital sensors should know that finally the companies have stopped trying to get more and more pixels and have started to really work on sensor design. While there is an advantage to a greater number of pixels there reaches a point where better design is a greater advantage. The 16MP of the m43 is more than enough for what 99% of those who make a living from photography and 200% of those who just are into photography for a hobby.
09/14/2014 12:32:33 PM · #6
One big draw to the m43 system at least for me is the manual focus prime lenses made for it.
Like these Voigtlanders:
https://cameraquest.com/voigt_m43_17.htm

I was considering a m43 camera earlier this year, in comparison to the Sony A7 and the Fuji X-E2 - I chose the X-E2.

Something about the way the controls work on the Fuji just agreed with me, and I like the look of both the camera itself and the images it makes.

I've never owned a m43 so I can't speak to those, but here's some of my thoughts on the Fuji.

Things I miss coming from Canon DSLR's (most recently a 40D):
Autofocus speed and accuracy - this one is pretty finicky, I use manual more often than not except for snapshots or in-motion shots, which the Fuji will usually miss anyway. If I still shot sports I would have got one of the iterations of the 1D; the original 1D I had was great at focusing.
Being able to easily see the effects of a circular polarizer through the viewfinder
Being able to remove the memory card while the camera is on a tripod. The X-E2 has both the battery and the SD slot covered up when it's mounted, even just on a QR bracket. I might get a wifi SD card to work around this.

Things I like more about the Fuji:
Image quality - the extra 6 megapixels from the 40D I could take or leave, but the way it captures colors and the smooth graduations in tones and the dynamic range are awesome.
The size and weight of the camera
The way it works using manual focus lenses (it zooms in so you can clearly see where the focus is going as you spin the ring)
The aperture ring on the Fuji lens and the shutter speed ring on top of the camera (you fine tune with the left and right arrows)

I plan to hang onto this one for at least a few years and see what's out there at that time. Will most likely be getting the 10-24 Fuji zoom lens as soon as I can afford it, and I'd like to get either an FD or Pentax screw mount 400mm lens soon.
09/15/2014 10:43:53 AM · #7
My wife came home from the camera store yesterday with an OlympusOM-D E-M10 and a couple of lenses. My first impression...

It's really CUTE. in a tiny kind of way. Her whole kit, including batteries, chargers, etc, easily fits in the bag she was jamming the D300 + 50mm into.

The menu system is atrocious. It took me 15 minutes and an internet search to figure out how to switch to RAW.

The EVF is really quite good, but I'd have to change some of the settings to be happy with it.

The Olympus 60mm macro she got is the bees' knees. We were getting amazingly detailed and rich shots of the dust on a living room lampshade, and it is light and easy to hold, unlike my Nikon 105. If I were doing macro regularly, I would consider switching for this alone.

Lens hoods are a profit center for Olympus. We had to order 3rd party ones from elsewhere.
09/15/2014 10:50:38 AM · #8
Originally posted by Ann:

My wife came home from the camera store yesterday with an OlympusOM-D E-M10 and a couple of lenses. My first impression...

It's really CUTE. in a tiny kind of way. Her whole kit, including batteries, chargers, etc, easily fits in the bag she was jamming the D300 + 50mm into.

The menu system is atrocious. It took me 15 minutes and an internet search to figure out how to switch to RAW.

The EVF is really quite good, but I'd have to change some of the settings to be happy with it.

The Olympus 60mm macro she got is the bees' knees. We were getting amazingly detailed and rich shots of the dust on a living room lampshade, and it is light and easy to hold, unlike my Nikon 105. If I were doing macro regularly, I would consider switching for this alone.

Lens hoods are a profit center for Olympus. We had to order 3rd party ones from elsewhere.


You may want to make sure she got a discount on those lenses. Last I looked, Amazon and Oly were offering $200 off EACH on quite a nice selection of lenses with a camera purchase.

Did she look at the M10 versus the M1. The M1 is bigger, which could make it easier to hold without the optional grip. And it has more buttons, and better still, it has a focus on button so you can do press to focus. Alas, it's almost twice the price...but also has hybrid contrast/phase detect focus and is weather sealed.
09/15/2014 11:01:28 AM · #9
I switched to an EM5 after years using Canon DSLR's. My last Canon DSLR was the 50D. I borrow my sister's 7d from time to time as well.

I love the EM5 and have no intention of ever buying another DSLR. IQ, size, ISO performance are all excellent. The comparable lens costs to DSLR equivalents are much lower. Great quality legacy lens and other third-party lenses such as the Samyang fisheye 7.5mm have all come along as well.

The only issue I have is autofocus tracking which is poor on the EM5, but greatly improved on the EM1 which is what I will switch to when the price point drops.

Once I figured the main menu out, I discovered its incredibily easy to use, provides immediate access to all functions of the camera with basically one to two touches.

And now, I can carry the body, three lenses, a flash, three sets of AA and AAA batteries, travel charger,wireless triggers, remote triggers all in one small sling bag. And the whole thing is fairly light weight. I broke my back before.

And the EM5 and EM1 is capable of optically controlling certain Olympus and Metz flashes off camera including remotely adjusting flash power.

It's a no brainer.

Full Frame DSLR's will soon be dinosaurs if they aren't already.
09/15/2014 11:05:56 AM · #10
Originally posted by Ann:

M

The menu system is atrocious. It took me 15 minutes and an internet search to figure out how to switch to RAW.



Some things don't change. I had an Oly 8080 and it's menu system was horrible.
09/15/2014 11:19:06 AM · #11
OMG! All you have to do is hit the ok button and the menu pops up. Then you just touch the RAW icon and switch it.

You can change every feature on the camera that way.
09/15/2014 11:24:38 AM · #12
Originally posted by Yandrosxx:



Full Frame DSLR's will soon be dinosaurs if they aren't already.


very subjective comment, not everyone shoot subject that sit still for an extended period of time.

i did a photoshoot yesterday with two young kids. my 5dii could barely keep up. if anything the the 7Dii soon to come out proves that the dslr isn't going anywhere for a while and enthusiasts still want and need an autofocus system that actually gives you a chance to capture a moving subject.

09/15/2014 11:32:04 AM · #13
Originally posted by Ann:

My wife came home from the camera store yesterday with an OlympusOM-D E-M10 and a couple of lenses. My first impression...

It's really CUTE. in a tiny kind of way. Her whole kit, including batteries, chargers, etc, easily fits in the bag she was jamming the D300 + 50mm into.

The menu system is atrocious. It took me 15 minutes and an internet search to figure out how to switch to RAW.

The EVF is really quite good, but I'd have to change some of the settings to be happy with it.

The Olympus 60mm macro she got is the bees' knees. We were getting amazingly detailed and rich shots of the dust on a living room lampshade, and it is light and easy to hold, unlike my Nikon 105. If I were doing macro regularly, I would consider switching for this alone.

Lens hoods are a profit center for Olympus. We had to order 3rd party ones from elsewhere.


WHO ARE YOU?!
09/15/2014 11:59:50 AM · #14
Originally posted by LanndonKane:

WHO ARE YOU?!

(?) Lanndon, I'd like you to meet Ann...
09/15/2014 12:41:34 PM · #15
A. I have no trouble at all shooting action shots. Shot several series of jet skis jumping boat wakes over the summer. All sharp and IQ is excellent. Much better than my old 50D and certainly as good as anything I've shot on a 7D.

Shoot my kids all the time with the EM5 as well.

What's difficult is tracking a bird, or following a car with it as the C-AF is slow. But, it's not hard to repeatedly half press the shutter while following the action along to take the shot. And with 7fps, you can grab multiple captures at each half press. That's actually how I did it when I used the 50D and 70D anyway.

The difference in practical performance is marginal. Much too much has been made of it. It's certainly not compelling reason to stay with a DSLR.

Even more so, because:

B. As I understand it the newer EM1 greatly improved the C-AF function thereby closing the gap.

DSLRs are dinosaurs. The only reason to stay with a DSLR is for full frame sensors.

But, there are already m4/3 full frames on the market.

It's only a matter of time.
09/15/2014 01:01:42 PM · #16
Just looked at the possible 7DII specs. Nice camera, but no 4k video? Some m4/3's have it. Rumored the EM1 will end up with it in a firmware update as well.

16,000 ISO would be huge if its clean, but, EM1 shoots capably up to 6,400 and the EM5 at 3,200. Both are expandable now.

The 7DII just is not a compelling argument to go back to shooting with one ton DSLR and lens combos.

Now that the 4/3 pro glass is coming out across the focal range, the limits of m4/3 tech are really pretty minimal.

And everything m4/3 is cheaper.

09/15/2014 01:14:11 PM · #17
Originally posted by Yandrosxx:

But, there are already m4/3 full frames on the market.

It's only a matter of time.


Actually there are no m4/3 full frames on the market and probably never will be. There are mirrorless full frames on the market, there is a big difference between mirrorless and full frame. All m4/3 cameras are mirrorless but not all mirrorless are m4/3. m4/3 is the ratio of the image sensor which is a ratio of 4:3 where as most cameras have a ratio of 3:2. m4/3 cameras are only made by Olympus and Panasonic. Lots of companies make mirrorless cameras.
09/15/2014 01:29:37 PM · #18
Correct, I tend to lump them altogether because of the size.

Fair enough.

But, for me that's the central debate. Camera size in relation to IQ and overall performance.

M4/3 cameras IQ and overall performance is easily competitive if not not exceeds APC DSLR crop sensors.

I'll concede IQ is not quite to full frame IQ, but there mirrorless full frame products already on the market.

It won't be long before there are very compelling full frame small body mirrorless cameras in the marketplace that exceed the performance of full frame DSLRs.

Some would say they already exist.

Message edited by author 2014-09-15 13:30:22.
09/15/2014 01:46:29 PM · #19
31.gif Yandrosxx You pre-order the 40-150 Pro? Going to order mine next payday, along with the teleconverter. Can't wait to get them, November is such a long ways off tho.

Message edited by author 2014-09-15 13:47:32.
09/15/2014 01:59:03 PM · #20
Originally posted by Yandrosxx:

OMG! All you have to do is hit the ok button and the menu pops up. Then you just touch the RAW icon and switch it.

You can change every feature on the camera that way.


Straight out of the box, the icon says "LN", which is apparently some jpeg quality setting. You have to touch the "LN" icon, then it lists the different quality settings, including RAW. Pretty non-intuitive.
09/15/2014 02:00:01 PM · #21
No, more glass than I need really.

More interested in the 7-14 2.8.

I shoot wide angle much more than I do telephoto and that's the only thing that genuinely bugs me about the EM5.

I may pick up a Super Takumar 135 2.8 though as a cheap alternative.
09/15/2014 02:02:22 PM · #22
Manuals are great.

Once I read the EM5's I realized how dysfunctional Canon's layout really is.
09/15/2014 02:03:24 PM · #23
Originally posted by Neil:



You may want to make sure she got a discount on those lenses. Last I looked, Amazon and Oly were offering $200 off EACH on quite a nice selection of lenses with a camera purchase.

Did she look at the M10 versus the M1. The M1 is bigger, which could make it easier to hold without the optional grip. And it has more buttons, and better still, it has a focus on button so you can do press to focus. Alas, it's almost twice the price...but also has hybrid contrast/phase detect focus and is weather sealed.


Yep, she got the same discounts in the store as online. Prices ended up being the same, and we were able to support the local shop.

Her needs are, shall we say...less technical. She's exactly in the wheelhouse of who the M10 is built for. Simple needs, but still wants the good IQ. If the camera were for me, I would have gotten the M1.
09/15/2014 02:22:38 PM · #24
Originally posted by Yandrosxx:

Manuals are great.


If only the M10's 30 page paper manual even mentioned image quality settings...it doesn't.

The online manual explains it, and that's where I found the answer, but I had to "install" the manual on my computer, then spend several minutes searching through the many, many instances of the word RAW, to something towards the end of the manual that explained how to set image quality to RAW.

Message edited by author 2014-09-15 14:22:49.
09/15/2014 02:33:24 PM · #25
BTW, I also looked at the Nikon 1 V3, with its new 70-300, as a "wildlife only" camera, to replace the heavy glass I take when shooting wildlife. The jury is still out. Speed and autofocus are there, but I suspect there are too many compromises with the rest of the shooting experience. Having to take the flimsy grip off in the middle of a shoot to get to the battery didn't look like a good idea, and I was having a hard time figuring out the controls standing on the street in front of the store. I think I'm going to rent it for a weekend and see if I can figure out how to work the thing, and if the compromises are something I can live with.
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