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Saturday, 16 August 2008


How about µ4/3? I thought you were talking about old Leica camera models. ;-)

Personally I don't really like abbreviations. I often find them confusing and I don't mind reading a few centimeters extra. I even think the mind has an internal way of abbreviating words and terms by itself, but I'm not an expert.

Mike, There is the Full Frame--APS-H (Canon),--APS-C (Nikon)--
APS-C (Canon), next Foveon and then the why did they bother 4/3rds. and then the smaller P&S photo cells.
It may of been great when they designed it but at this point it's just another ugly duck in the pound. Their all between 15.7 and 13 MM high. The crop factor is not major--what you lose in the 4/3rd's is the width of the cell--more an 8X10 format--not the best for landscapes. Closer to the square shooters format. I see no advantage to this cell size at all. more info can be had on.
WiKi.- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds_System

Maarten - That's also been suggested, but I don't think having a non-standard character is a good idea. Most people (myself included) wouldn't know how to type it without looking it up, and a lot of people don't know that that character (see - I can't even type it now) means "micro". You could replace it with a "u", but that still has the second problem.

m4/3 is the way to go.

And I can't believe that's my second post on how to write the name of a standard that barely exists...jeez....talk about minutia...

That advantage is that 4/3rds is LOTS bigger than p/s sensors, and its performance is much closer to that of APS-C sensors than it is to digicam (p/s) camera sensors. If the cameras can be similar in size to small-sensor digicams, it makes them much better pocketable options for photographers than current digicams.

Mike J.

FYI, they are using the term "MFT" on other forums.

"FYI, they are using the term "MFT" on other forums."

...Which is, as I mentioned earlier, one of the worst options. It will only be the eleventh "MFT" for the Wiki disambiguation page; it will be nearly totally unsearchable in Google; and no one who doesn't already know what it means will know what it means without having it explained to them. Bah.

Mike J.

"m" means "milli" to just about the entire world, so "m4/3" would be "milli-four-thirds".


The correct prefix for "micro" is the Greek letter µ, which is usually typed as "u".

Unfortunately, 'm' is the SI prefix for milli. This system may well turn out to be 'milli', but let's not prejudge it.

Tom W.

Anything that requires one to enter a non-english character is a non-starter. Ain't gonna happen. 99% of us don't automatically remember the key-combo for mu and we ain't gonna take the time to hunt for it.

pax / Ctein

How about "DOA?"


Mike, I guess the proof will be in the usefulness and quality of the image over the smaller cells vs. the little bit large ones.
Getting ready to go on a trip and testing the Canon A640 for P&S backup, the reason I picked it up was it takes AA batteries. The quality out of it is great for street shooting and just about every thing else and yes it's slow to focus. I don't think you can make a small camera and get all the good stuff inside like you can in the bigger cameras.
Oh well time will tell and there will be a point of minimal improvement for all digital cameras.

What's wrong with "Micro 4/3"? It's unambiguous and is only an extra 4 characters to type.

As has been suggested "m" stands for "milli" and a lot of people won't translate "u" to "µ", and many wouldn't even be familiar with the latter anyway.

On the other hand, does it really matter? people will accept whatever becomes .. er ... accepted.


Remember, of course, that somewhere a legal department has spent stupid money trying to be sure that "micro four thirds" is a name they can use without being sued, that doesn't translate as something obscene, and can be trademarked.

They will know full well it will be abbreviated, but the abbreviations are very hard to defend as trademarks, and in fact sometimes cannot be trademarked. (See Intel and i386...)

Recall also that "Olympus M1" got changed after a complaint from a german camera maker....

I can't believe I'm responding to this post. It's not high on my list of importance. Nonetheless, m4/3 looks ugly and "feels" overly pedantic. I prefer m43 which is easier on the eyes.

The above is the answer my head provides. I cannot explain why, but my heart likes mFT which just looks "cool".


Trying not to be pedantic, but what I find odd is the expression "4/3rd" (or "4/3rds"). Isn't that a bit redundant?

Four thirds is usually 4/3 in mathematics, and could conceivably be "4 3rds", but 4 _over_ 3rds ? Although obviously photographers are used to creative fractioning (f/8 vs. f8 vs. f:8).

As for the abbreviation, although µ4/3 and u4/3 make sense in theory, at least in the metric world, I doubt they have any chance of success in the English-speaking world. So why not m4/3.

µDOA works for me.

As for the abbreviation, although µ4/3 and u4/3 make sense in theory, at least in the metric world, I doubt they have any chance of success in the English-speaking world. So why not m4/3.

Maybe you should ask some Canadians about that. Or Brits. Or Australians. Or New Zealanders. I would guess that a majority of the "English-speaking world" uses the metric system.

The whole point of an abbreviation is brevity. Using characters such as '/' really kills brevity. People, being people, will use '\' instead, will pronounce it "slash", "backslash", nothing, and "dash". Computer search engines will hiccup when they see the slash. Grandmothers and children will not know how to read it. Computer Science professors will dislike it (see the last paragraph here: http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/email.html)

Using µ instead of m is equally difficult for most people and introduces new problems instead of solving them.

How about something that reads easy, types easy, and makes sense. Such as m4thirds?

jtin: the majority of the English-speaking world may be supposed to have gone metric (I write this from Canada), yet in practice people have a hard time letting go of their inches/feet/ounces, let alone embrace the kilo/milli/micro prefixes. At least that's my experience from Canada and the UK, although as somebody who was "raised metric", I really wish you were right.

Maybe you are the lone user of the mm-e abbreviation, but I was amused to read that several learned folks told you that the 35mm-equivalent focal length was not a valid concept. I just upgraded to Adobe's Lightroom version 2, and I noticed a new line in the tech specs of my photos. Just below the absolute focal length that my zoom lens was set at was the 35 millimeter equivalent focal length! Not a valid concept, eh? Personally, I could take or leave it, but the folks at Adobe must think photographers want it.

I also like plain old "M43". I think the lowercase and the slash of are the sort of written niceties that tend to get mangled and then die off. I really don't care for "MFT", both for all the good reasons Mike mentioned, plus the self-serving one that my poor brain keeps translating it as "medium format".

The metric issue is another can of worms. I've finally switched from oz to ml for measuring my darkroom chemicals but that's about it. We Americans are indeed a stubborn bunch, especially those of us who cook or bake. You'll have to pry my cups and teaspoons from my cold, dead fingers.

me, me, me

comes to mind.

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