What the photography blogging sphere needs is another article about the micro four thirds system. Today’s camera collection momentum is firmly in Sony’s favor in regards to mirrorless cameras and as competitor Canon and Nikon’s, now previous, dominance. Mirrorless cameras are the future but all anyone wants to talk about is how great Sony’s are and what are Nikon and Canon going to do about it.
The micro four thirds system is woefully underrepresented. It is all but invisible. I suspect that in the absence of smartphones these cameras would have been more popular. Despite the obvious advantages of full-frame mirrorless cameras from Sony, and soon from Nikon and Canon, micro four thirds systems can hold their own in a variety of ways. In other ways they actually exceed full-frame cameras in my opinion.
Size and Weight
My Panasonic Lumix G9 is only slightly smaller than my old Canon Rebel t4i. In fact, it is probably the same size as the almighty Sony A7III. Where the size disruption occurs is in the lenses. The 12-35mm Lumix lens that is typically attached to my camera body is about the size of the 50mm f1.4 I used on my crop sensor Rebel. The size of the Lumix 35-100mm f2.8 compared to one you’d snap on a Sony full-frame is laughable. In short it’s not necessarily the body that is the size differentiator. It’s the size of the lenses that you have to tote around.
By the way, something else that stands out when regarding micro four thirds system lenses is that they all play well together. Panasonic lenses work on Olympus bodies and Olympus lenses work on Panasonic bodies. Imagine if CanonNikonSony had that arrangement.
Low Light and Auto Focus
These are definitely not an advantage. If low light gigs are your bag then you’d want to pay the exorbitant cost for a Sony and go forth into the darkness. Auto focus has always been an issue to those that are fanatical about such things. I understand that SonyCanonNikon are (slightly) faster and more accurate.
In my real world experience with the micro 4/3 camera I’ve never been disappointed in collecting photos in low light situations. As long as I can keep the ISO around 1600 to maybe 3200 the noise is not a problem. But then again I’m not fanatical about the pixels. As an enthusiast I can get away with just about anything and be happy with it. The pros and wannabes have other issues to absorb in their photography.
I am supposed to be disappointed in the focus but I’ve never thought “boy, if only that focus could be faster and more accurate.” In fact, the AF speed is pretty damn sharp on the G9. I would certainly seek the top end for a sideline gig on Sunday for Sports Illustrated but snapping Sally’s kickball tourney at Squire’s Field is likely not going to be any trouble for the micro four thirds system. You may not look as cool with a lens that could fit in your pocket as opposed to your neighbor with the white barrel bazooka. However, you won’t need a tripod to steady it nor will you need a backpack to carry it out.
The micro four thirds system has led the way in cool tech. My Panasonic G9 has in-camera stabilization, touch screen LCD, 6K and 4K photo mode, 4K video, post-focus, focus-peaking, silent shutter, wireless control among other groovy things.
I guess Sony’s mirrorless cameras has most of this tech. I can tell you that DSLR’s likely don’t. I’m sure CanonNikon will catch up, eventually. But this stuff has been on the micro four thirds system for years.
Pros may scoff at 6K photo mode. I think grabbing images with this setting is fabulous. “But it only grabs JPEG. Wah.” Freaking RAW isn’t everything. The 80MP high-resolution mode blows my mind. As long as you are taking a static photo of say, a landscape (no clouds), this thing will collect an image that you’d be happy to hang on your wall.
I read comments from the various photography tribes. “If only it weren’t micro 4/3” seems to be a constant refrain on reviews these fabulous cameras. I get it. The religion of full-frame is important to a lot of people. I personally don’t like to follow the herd and am quite happy with my micro four thirds system. It works for me. I suspect the micro four third systems would work for you.