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Wednesday, 23 July 2014


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A two-stop difference in sensor size, and about a two-stop difference (2x in linear dimensions) in physical size.

Well, sure, but you can put a 24-85/3.5-4.5 on the FF body and do everything you could do with the f/2.8 lens on m43.

I know, I know, whenever this topic gets brought up, somebody objects to the notion of equivalence, but every FF user knows he doesn't need an f/2.8 lens to match the capabilities of f/2.8 on m43 ... I really don't get why people insist on making the comparisons and then objecting when it gets pointed out that they're irrelevant.

[The Olympus's superior depth of field is implicit in the comparative sensor size, which I mentioned as one of the major differences. --Mike]

Unfair! Take that tripod plate off the bottom of the D800!

Whoever is waiting for the Panasonic 12-35mm for his Olympus OM-D should at least consider the Oly f2.8 12-40mm zoom. True: it's not stabilized, it's 100g heavier and it's bigger than the Panasonic, but: with 1:2 it's as good as a macro lens (mind you, as the m43 sensor results in a crop factor of two, 1:2 in reality is 1:1 in 35mm terms), the image quality is superb (dare I say it seems to be better than the f2.0 12mm or the f1.8 17mm), it shows no noticeable purple fringing at least on my OM-D M5 and on the long end it's 5mm longer, making it 80mm-e and with that a good portrait focal length. Highly recommended from my side.

Equivalent focal length is all though, there remains a big difference in equivalent aperture and image quality. That's what keeps me away from micro four thirds and stuck with APSC which can be equally small while not loosing quite so much in "equivalency".

This is sort of a "duh." One would expect the Oly to be quite a bit smaller given that the sensor is HALF the size of the Nikon. I use my D800E in the studio and in places where carrying is irrelevant, and where I want to use a tilt-shift lens, otherwise I carry my Fuji X T-1. They both do great work but FULL FRAME and 36MP are intrinsically different than HALF FRAME and 16MP... except with small enlargements where it's not easy to see a significant difference unless one really works at it. I used to use a 4X5 and thought a Hasselblad was a "small camera." Times have changed.

Small is nice, but as I learned recently when I attached a Nikon 180mm lens to my little Fujifilm XE1, if you want to use a long lens, a bigger body is better for anti-shake reasons.

Ha! Yeah, that photo pretty much sums it up, right there!

And it's not just the size comparison; the performance and image quality from the Oly/Panny will be fully suitable for a broad range of enthusiast and professional needs as well.

That Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 rocks and is a helluva lens.

Every bit as good as the Nikon 24-70, and better than the ubiquitous Canon 24-105 f/4.

As someone who owns both an Olympus OM-D EM-5 as well as a Nikon D800E, I choose to use the Nikon almost every time. The massive difference in image quality and exposure latitude is well worth the extra weight and size.

As a follow up to the post I submitted to the 6D article and relevant to this. I went with the 6D over my OMD EM5.
6D and 40mm vs OMD/grip and 17mm=about the same size!
70-200f4l vs .....nothing yet, but probably smaller than 40-150 f2.8
24mm vs 12mm, bigger, heavier, but cheaper.
Sometimes like for like goes the way of the old style.
Also, OVF, optional matte screen for real manual focus, better battery life, better in a larger hand, af button under the thumb (missed that).
I sell lots of Olympus/Fuji etc, but my own tastes have changed.

Of course, it wouldn't be a fair comparison on every level, but certainly shows a big part of the mFT appeal (no pun intended… )

Of course they really aren't equivalent. The Panasonic lens should really be a 12-35 f/1.4 to get the same look (depth of field) as the Nikon. That would make for a much larger lens. Or the Nikon should have an f/5.6 lens on it which would make for a much smaller lens. Not that either lens is available.

Why stop there? The 24-70 f/2.8 in the new RX100 is literally pocket sized.

And the Olympus combo has either optical or in-body stabilisation (your choice) whereas the Nikon has none...

Looks like comparing my E-M1 with Summilux 25 against my R8 with Summilux 50 ...

The local dealer in Palo Alto has the 12-35mm in stock, I believe.

A few weeks ago I was shopping for used Panasonic m43 on eBay. Seemed like every time I checked the selling prices had gone up a bit. Maybe short supply is a sign of increasing popularity.

I wonder if the GH4 is so popular it caused the lens to sell out.

The black Sigma 60mm 2.8 for m43 also seems to be backordered everywhere.

Then, when you go to image-resources.com, and look full-screen to shots made by the two cameras, side by side, you say: "So, in the end, WHY the D800? O_0"
Really, the practical 1 dinamic range stop advantage when you go higher than ISO 3200 is enough to justify the heavier and pricier beast, expecially when all you do is "action shoots in low light" (translation: shooting toddlers running around the house at Xmas Eve) then putting them on Facebook at 1024*768 resolution?

The net is awash with such comparisons, and why? For the last 100 years, there were always cameras in various sizes, and people just picked and used whatever they wanted or needed.

One could complete the size comparison going towards smaller cameras, or larger cameras. It does not matter.

What matters is choosing the right tool for the job. For example, if I were a professional photographer, I would pick a camera maker that would offer a solid and widespread assistance programme. Makers like Olympus or Panasonic do not offer such a programme.

There's a 12-35 at Ted's 235 Elizabeth st Melbourne Australia 24 7 14 -- might not be there long after this!! I just picked up the 12-40 Oly lens, and it's bigger.

I'd love to get rid of that pesky lump of a D800 I have and get a nice, svelte Olympus. But I'm looking at the rest of his portfolio. All the shots before the "dueling camera" shot were taken with the D800, and all the shots after were taken with the Olympus. They're all good, but his D800 shots have more pop than the Olympus ones. They're small web images, so I'm probably seeing things, of course.

Ah, camera comparisons. Every time I see one of these, I think about how at base ISO, in good light, equivalent lenses are pretty much equivalent at most reasonable print sizes. So the D800 has about a stop's advantage. For me, that's merely one consideration among many tradeoffs. Like, can I carry it all day?

Sure, I'd love to have the shallow depth of field that comes with a larger sensor, but I only need it for certain kinds of photographs. But, I'll never make those photographs with such a huge, serious business camera. And, in other situations, I'd like to have that stop of depth back at ISO 100.

I can't justify buying such a boat anchor for the handful of photos that really "need" it, especially at that price. I mean, I scraped by with film and point and shoots for years, so, what could my justification be?

I almost never buy photography magazines. There is seldom anything in them to interest me. I first picked up an SLR in about 1972 and it isn't very often that something in a magazine tells me something new. There are tired old articles I've seen versions of before. There are comparison tests that don't make direct comparisons. there are lazy writers who tell you that putting a lens from one format onto a camera that uses smaller format somehow alters the focal length.

What beginners make of this sort of misleading rubbish, I can only guess. Magazines are equipment led, not image led, though that's always been partly the case. I wish there were magazines that were worth buying, but I've had enough.

Yes, there are websites like that too, and I don't bother with them either.

Please don't bring the arguments on 'equivalent aperture' to TOP. I said 'please'...

Now that's just sweet. But wait, there's more! Believe it or not, the OM-D E-M1 with a Panasonic 12–35mm ƒ/2.8 lens is actually smaller than a Linhof Kardan! That's just grand, isn't it? Who would've thought that possible...


The real comparison on a quality basis would be the D800 or the 5D3 with an 50mm prime lens against a 4"x5" camera with a 150 mm lens.

I'm just glad I have a little camera like the 5D3 which effortlessly produces sharp, detailed 24" x 36" prints - even hand-held at 1/30 second. I print that size at home, and it's a decent mid-range size if you are aiming at the art print market.

Yeah, but they promised me faster lenses in return for the smaller sensor, and they're not delivering very well. So I'm a bit miffed. The idea of shelling out a grand for a basic 24-70 equivalent zoom that's no faster than the one I already have for my D700 just isn't on.

(Unlike, I guess, some modern photographers, I nearly never strive to reduce depth of field. What I strive for is to find enough light to be able to use a shutter speed that can stop the action at least in key body parts like the eyes, and then after that to get enough depth of field to include both eyes.)

It's positively amazing how many interweb forum photographers are fixated on shallow depth of field.

New Yorker is free for 3 months online I was told. If you like me cannot access to its physical issue, got a free chance. I like their articles :-); not knowing better if it is a bad magazine from US reader point of view. But I did like it and the best is their comment on visiting the Leica many years ago.


I have the Olympus EPL5 with 17/1.8 and 45/1.8 and I love it, especially as a small carry everywhere camera for short trips. But for landscapes it cannot compare at all even with Nikon APSC cameras that are a few years old, like D7000, when also shot with prime lenses. ( Maybe one could put the Oly on a tripod and use multiple exposures to improve dynamic range, but then what's the point of a small camera?) I have done side by side shots and I see a clear difference. People who doubt this should try shooting the D7000 with the superb 85/1.8g compared with Oly with the highly regarded 45/1.8 or 75/1.8. I seem to see a difference even on the small retina screens in my macpro.

Which brings me to my next point that nobody seems to have made yet: comparing performance at 8x10 (or even 11x14) size may not be quite right. Technology is fast improving and we will soon only look at our photos on huge and ubiquitous screens that will be flexible and paperthin.

There are two irreplaceable print media magazines for which I cannot imagine ever terminating my subscription.
New York Review of Books
London Review of Books
Where photography's concerned, websites will do just fine.

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