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Thursday, 27 December 2018


So are you theorizing that we are buying FF cameras due to FFatter FFingers?

"...for some of us small sensors are a feature, not a bug"
Amen Mike!

At the risk of offending, well just above everyone, I will say that if folks applied a bit more cognitive elbow grease to their camera buying decisions they might realize that small sensor cameras are frequently not at any disadvantage compared to larger sensor cameras, and in fact have many advantages of their own. Except for landscape astrophotography, I don't miss my full frame gear at all and even there, I've learned a few post processing techniques that really enhance the ability of my m4/3 system to do that type of photography. But, it's horses for courses I suppose and I do appreciate the fact that there are so many camera choices available to us these days.

"I actually do prefer a Micro 4/3 or APS-C camera over a 24x36mm."

Totally agree, and my Mazda3 sedan is as close as it gets to perfect for me. Thanks for speaking for so many of us.

Yeah! What you said.
Besides, what is the big deal with 'full frame' sensors anyway. Why should a holdover from 35mm movie film adapted for still photography 100 years ago define sensor size? We don't call 4/3 sensors '110 camera' sensors although they are very close in size. (Yes, yes I know, APS sensor size designation is a holdover from the film era also.)
Now it seems to me a 30X30mm sensor would make more sense. The diagonal is 42.4mm so current and old FF lenses would have the coverage necessary. And you could crop any way you like and not worry about how the camera handles when held vertical. Or, maybe a round sensor with a diameter of 43mm would work for all format sizes. There is certainly nothing 'magic' in FF.

I get it: I think FF is too expensive and heavy. For stills shooters especially, it seems like differences in real quality at normal resolutions and viewing distances in most conditions between FF and crop are small.

But I also think the G9 is too expensive. At $999 it would be an amazing camera. At $1,300, it's still too dear, in my view (and for what I do).

Can we perhaps agree that neither APS-C nor Full Frame is best but that they are just different? I have both and use each at different times for different reasons.

Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!

George and Ira Gershwin


I also have an SUV and a four cylinder sporty car.

I'm starting the year with a Hasselblad 555ELD and a Phase One P65+ back. Here's its Ford truck equivalent.

http://.com/uploads/photoalbum/1947-ford-truck-coe-with-sleeper-very-rare-1.jpg I

I take your word for it, I move my Olympus OM-D M1 and me about in my wonderful fun to drive Civic. I also have had the big beasts, they are simply overkill for me.

I won't go so far as to call it ignorant, but it's a common misconception that the "humps" on mirrorless cameras are merely affectations meant to make them look like SLRs.

Those humps are packed chock full of glass, just like the pentaprisms on an SLR - the only difference is that they are basically high quality mini-lenses reprojecting the image from a small, very high-resolution OLED display, rather than the image from the lens reflected via mirror.

Take a look at this picture comparing the Nikon Z7 and the D850. You'll see that the mirrorless hump is purely functional.

And the G9 has the highest magnification EVF ever, outside the mammoth Fuji GFX50S. So it needs all the hump it can get.

Sorry, it appears the EVF cutaway image didn't come through in the previous message. Please see here:


You state that the preference for 4/3s size sensor is decreasing, presumably because the manufactures are heading to 24x36 in lock-step as their main platforms. Aside from pros who have their needs, isn't it odd that people want the larger sensor at a time when many people display work on low-rez devices and rarely print. For them, is the larger sensor a real need or a manufactured one?

One argument that I don't buy is that people want a format that suits their inventory of lenses. Although that may be true for some, I doubt that it's a large effect. To read the interweb, people trade-in systems at the drop of a hat or at a hint of a new feature all the time.

Lenses don't receive enough attention in the current full frame craze. First, FF lenses are huge. Everyone seems to miss this point. Second, fast and sharp versions are crazy expensive.

A lot of people seem to disregard how small and capable and reasonably priced m43 optics are.

To take one example there is NOTHING like the Olympus 12-100 in full frame. I was considering a Nikon Z6, but I would really miss the capability and convenience of that lens.

Hey, I totally share your taste for smaller lenses. And most of your other tastes, such as Texas Leicas and the KM7D. When I moved on to full frame with the Sony a850, and now the K-1, I've continued to use the smallest lenses I could obtain. A K-1 with its DFA 28-70 variable-aperture zoom is no bigger or heavier than a than a crop DSLR with an F2.8 "pro" zoom attached.

Once I checked out a FF Sony f2.8 lens from a demo days and lugged it around downtown Denver. Sitting on light rail with this aggressive-looking black lump on my lap, the size and weight of a melon, made me feel as uncomfortably self-conscious as everyone else around me felt. I'd never use full frame if those jumbo lenses were required, but in this age of stabilization and five-digit ISOs, they're not.

Why would I stick with full frame? I'm not printing large, and my iMac screen isn't big enough to tax the resolution- when I get everything in focus, which is much more challenging than in the film era, with all this extra resolution. Meanwhile, my Fuji images are just as detailed, if not so deep in DR. My tiny Ricoh GRll delivers bitingly sharp results. Is my FF camera just another symptom of the overcapacities that glut our society, such as the empty-bedded, single-driver, dual-wheeled, coal-rollin' pick-me-up-truck?

Not so much. I'm not using FF for the sake of the final product. Instead, it offers a process I prefer. An optical VF is essential, because I need to see the actual light and color of a scene and, essentially, fall in love with it before I make the exposure. For the best OVF experience, you need a FF mirror, and it all flows from there. The side benefit of that is being able to crop 1.4x at will, extending the range of my short, modestly-speced lenses.

I guess that makes me like the guy who only buys trucks because he likes the big view from the boxy interior and upright windshield, like you can't find in modern aerodynamic cars.

I'm with you 100%, Mike. At this point in time, I don't see any compelling reason for FF over M4/3 or APS-C. And I see a lot of downsides in that the lenses, on average are 30-35% larger and heavier. And often, twice as expensive. Let's step back a bit: The original reasons that "FF" created a "mystique" was 1) the only way to get more megapixels was to use a 24X36mm sensor than an APS-C or APS-H sensor and 2) because the the pixels could be larger on a 24X36 mm sensor and still have acceptable resolution, these sensors provided better noise performance than smaller format sensors of equivalent resolution. Both of those original arguments are moot today, and now it appears the predominant reason purported by FF advocates are "bokeh-geeks", who are constantly espousing faster and faster FF lenses so as to be able to render more and more of a photograph....out of focus! On top of this is the notion that 24X36mm sensors provide a more shallow DOF than smaller formats, when in actuality, sensor size only indirectly impacts "range of acceptable sharpness" or "DOF" from an optics perspective (the distance to the subject and the diameter of the entrance pupil exert considerably more "leverage" on DOF than sensor area).

Bottom-line though, I think its much simpler: money. All the YouTube talking head/pundits/gurus that are pushing "FF" really, really hard have affiliate links and they make much more money pushing a $2000-$4000 FF mirrorless camera than a $550 APS-C Rebel. They are constantly trying to convince their viewing audience that "FF is nirvana" and a land of milk, honey, butterfly and buttercups that we should all aspire to. Because course, we all want to take portraits where the subject's iris is in focus, but the eyelash is not.

And actually, along these lines, a photographer whose work I do value recently did a very well designed study with sample of 52 people classified as "non-photographers" and found that the majority of people, for the majority of photographs, preferred to see some level of detail in the background. His top 3 conclusions overall: 1) the strength of a photograph is NOT due to how much background blur it has 2) The majority of viewers strongly preferred to have the background provide sufficient detail to provide "context" (e.g. where or what environment the photo was taken) 3) participants were much more concerned with how sharp and in focus the subject was, than how much the out of focus the background was. Wow! Who would have thought that?

Interested folks can just do a search on YT for "Bokeh is Overrated". The results don't come as a suprise to me, but might to folks who learned photography from YouTube videos.

Hear Hear! I am Sooooo tired of the FF is better debate/statements. Current trend for FF smells like Marketing hype to me, similar to the time when distortion specs were touted by HiFi manufacturers. All that matters is finding the tool that fits your needs / preference - whatever that might be. The rest is just chatter.
If it works, use it! Its all about the picture, not the gear that made it.

I remember in the 1970s the first time I encountered a Unimog and thought "This is the Nikon F2 of automobiles." because at the time Nikon had a truly insane number of accessories for the F2.

Hi Michael,

You are not alone. I am a full-pledged Sony APS-C user since 2012 when I switched to the Sony Nex-7 from Nikon full-frame and APS-C cameras. I am a 78 years old landscape and architecture photo enthusiast and I prefer the extra DOF from a smaller sensor, not to mention the smaller and lighter weight of my current camera bag.

Last April, I spent three weeks in China photographing 21st century contemporary architecture buildings in Beijing, Harbin, Shanghai and Hong Kong, thanks to the "Greater China Grant" from Luminous-Landscape Endowment Fund. I brought my Sony A6000 and my full frame A7II. I ended up shooting with my A6000 most of the time while the a7II stayed in the hotel. I made one image with the A7II. I just upgraded to an A6500 recently. You may view my China architecture images at www.carlosesguerra.com.

"My 24–70mm FOV equivalent lens is smaller than a medium-speed Nikkor prime."

But - why is the camera larger??

"It makes the whole package much more right-sized IMO."

Obviously, opinions vary. A monster, for no discernable technical reason, IMO. For me, right size for µ4/3 is around E-M5 II, GX9 size. The GX9 is, BTW, a Gear of the Year choice @ DPR.

Oly is on the bandwagon, too, BIG, PRO, $$$, with the forthcoming E-M1X. I imagine the driving force behind it and the sudden plethora of FF mirrorless bodies is a search for better margins.

[It's not a "monster." It's a medium-sized camera, neither large nor small. It's about the size of a Canon Rebel or a Pentax K-3 II.

And there are certainly lots of small options in Micro 4/3 if that's what one wants. People can choose what suits them...as you did. Are you suggesting that ALL Micro 4/3 bodies MUST be small? I don't see why that should be. --Mike]

"I actually do prefer a Micro 4/3 or APS-C camera over a 24x36mm. Obviously this is becoming a minority preference."

Might you be conflating internet chatter with actual (and potential) sales?

Lets see what it looks like after they've all been actually available for a year. You and I may not be the only ones who prefer the smaller formats*. \;~)>

* Although for somewhat different reasons.

Michael Reichman said it perfectly ... No one ever looked at one of my pictures and said "You should have used more megapixels". Some years ago three of my images were part of the opening exhibition at a local gallery. They are 11x15 prints from an Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot camera. The curator had no idea what size camera they were shot with and no one looked at them and said "You should have used a bigger sensor". Sensor size matters for certain things; making good images is not one of them.

[It's not a "monster." It's a medium-sized camera, neither large nor small. It's about the size of a Canon Rebel or a Pentax K-3 II.

Your IMO and my IMO differ. In my gear, GM5, GX85, E-M5 IIs, E-PL7 and original A7, it would stand out as huge.

And there are certainly lots of small options in Micro 4/3 if that's what one wants. People can choose what suits them...as you did. Are you suggesting that ALL Micro 4/3 bodies MUST be small? I don't see why that should be. --Mike]

My complaint is that the smaller µ4/3 cameras seem to be becoming second tier. From my perspective, the E-M5 II gave away nothing in capability to the E-M1 in return for it's smaller, lighter form.

Where is the 20MP E-M5 III, with 1/60 sec. HR Mode? I know I'm not the only who's been waiting for it. Why is the GX9 only sold in a kit with their consumer grade 12-60?

I am relatively VF agnostic; I can live with the GX85/GX9 EVF. Lack of a wired remote release socket is annoying (the GX7 had one), but I can use the WiFI. For many folks, shortcomings like these will put it in the entry level/toy category, in spite of its equal image quality.

From here, it seems that µ4/3 is running away from its original promise - and my many years of happiness with it. In the CameraSize link you shared, look at the front view; look at the sensors. Both cameras have 5-axis sensor shift IS and equal EVFs. What is Panny doing with all that size?

Sure, make monsters like the E-M1X, but how about your best tech in smaller bodies, too?

My bag with a GX85, the 2 kit lenses (which are not bad at all) and a Olympus 45 1.8 a few filters and an extra set of keys weighs 3 pounds. I am more than happy with the M 4/3 image quality and if I want a soft background the 45 1.8 works well. I want to carry more weight because?

What do you think of the viewfinder? That, and blinding speed, may sell me on the G9.

Agreed, in part...I love the micro 4/3 system for the holy trinity of small size, light weight, and good image quality, but have a AWD SUV to go up for extended stays in snowboarding country. Right tool for the right job. And speaking of wrong tool for the job, I have numerous casual photographer friends who got full frame 5d's because it gave the best image quality at the time...and then didn't use them because they were too big to take anywhere and the loss on their investment stifled their interest in photography.

Cameras are rather like vehicles and political theories - one size rarely fits all situations, and then only in the fervid imaginations of fan-boys of any persuasion.

I have a small, high-efficiency Saturn SW2 station wagon, old and reliable like my E-M5, and ... a big old Chevy Blazer with a snow plow and big winter tires. I prefer driving the SW2 whenever I can but when the going is rough and there's a foot of snow in the mountain passes, when I need to plow a 400 foot driveway AND the office parking lot, or when I need to tow a heavy load, I'm glad for the truck.

It's the same with cameras - I prefer my E-M5 and Pen-F whenever possible, but the Pentax K-1 and Limited series primes are there when I need brute force.

I'm not about to buy a truck to use as a daily vehicle and I'm not about to buy the relatively massive E-M1X to use in place of that K-1. I'll wait for the E-M5 III and Pen-F II.

You will be marketing these soon,won't you, Olympus??

Camera size is more to do with ergonomics than anything else. There is a point which as the body gets smaller it becomes difficult to hold. Also there is less area for the controls which become too close together and can be accidentally operated. I have small hands and find my Fuji X-T2 about right. I tried m43 and found it too small. I would think that anyone with large hands would need a larger camera.

But I also think the G9 is too expensive. At $999 it would be an amazing camera. At $1,300, it's still too dear, in my view (and for what I do)

Aren't Panasonic offering a cash rebate at the moment ? They are in the UK.

I also think 4/3s is the perfect balance between overall image quality and camera and lens size and weight. For 'general use'.
I have a full frame DSLR and some APS sensor ones as well as 6x6, 4x5 and 6x17 film cameras. Those are all special purpose equipment.
I sometimes wonder about the current fashion for narrow depth of field. Seems like modern photographers have not heard of Group f/64.

Clearly ergonomics rather than sensor size defines body size for mirrorless cameras. Why else would G7/Z7/A7/X-T3/EOR R be practically same size. This is the smallest size where you can comfortably fit a good grip and necessary physical buttons and dials. I think this is the new normal size for cameras. Smaller are "compacts" with more or less (often desirable) compromises. Bigger are the "suv cameras" with more size than is necessary.

Managing internally generated heat may be one reason why some Micro Four Thirds bodies are as big as they are.

Let's be accurate with comparisons. Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 is Dimensions (DxL) 2.66 x 2.91" \
Weight 10.76 oz while the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is 3.1 in. x 3.5 in.
17.7 oz. (500 g), more than 50% heavier

I bought two like-new Pentax Limited primes recently, the DA 40 and 70mm pancakes. Sure they are great on my K∙50 - but they were also substantially cheaper than the μ43 primes at 42/75mm, and even with adapter they are equally small. Testers indicate the two can work with the 36×24 K-1 with some compromise near the edge (or shoot in 1:1 crop mode). Great optics, wonderful coating, small and inexpensive: win³!

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