In Praise of Micro Four Thirds
Friday 3 April 2015 — Category: Equipment
For my four hundred third (403) article, what could be more fitting on April 3rd (4/3) than to praise the virtues of the Micro Four Thirds ( µ4/3) camera system?
It was nearly three years ago, back in the summer of 2012, that I found myself floundering in a great camera quandary. At that time, my Sony APS-C camera system was so heavy and bulky that it was almost literally breaking my back!
After carefully researching the pros and cons of each available camera system, I chose Micro Four Thirds — and have not regretted it for one second since!
I cannot imagine EVER going back to APS-C or full-frame cameras and lenses, which are two to three times heavier and bulkier than those of the µ4/3 system. If that extra size and weight were to produce images which were two to three times higher in quality, I might consider it. But since that is not the reality, why even give a thought to going that route?
interchangeable-lense camera systems which are smaller than Micro Four Thirds, like the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q systems? Unfortunately, the reviews for these cameras have had less-than-stellar reports about image quality. Furthermore, each of these systems has a small selection of mediocre, proprietary lenses — in contrast to the wide selection of µ4/3 lenses made by Olympus, Panasonic, and a number of other manufacturers. As I concluded a couple of years ago:
In the end, it’s hard to see what purpose the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q series cameras fulfill. They are still too big and bulky to replace a pocket point-and-shoot, but their image quality, features and lens selection can’t match the Micro Four Thirds cameras, which are not too much bigger and heavier. In my view, you have the worst of both worlds instead of the best. Therefore, I can definitely scratch both of these camera systems off my list of possibilities.Of course, every camera system has its own unique mix of advantages and disadvantages. But the more you investigate the options, the more you see that the Micro Four Thirds system really hits the sweet spot. Although it cannot match the lens selection and image quality of its APS-C and full-frame older cousins, in many cases it comes awfully close. In order to escape my great camera quandary, I gladly gave up a bit of lens selection and image quality in return for a system that was so much lighter and compact. My middle-aged body thanks me each time I take my equipment on an outing!
From what I have read, I would say that there is a larger gap — in terms of both equipment and image quality — between Micro Four Thirds and the Nikon 1 / Pentax Q systems than there is between µ4/3 and APS-C / full-frame systems. I’m willing to make some compromises in order to reduce the size and weight of my photographic equipment, but going smaller than Micro Four Thirds would require me to make too many of them.
So on the official Four Thirds day, 4/3, in article 403, I sing the praises of the µ4/3 system and offer a toast in its honor: may its magnesium-alloy bodies never corrode, may its shutters never fail to open and close, may its lenses always focus quickly and accurately, may it remain small and lightweight, and may it live long and prosper!