Micro Four Thirds Gaining Fans

Posted Aug. 19th, 2019 by Daniel J. Cox

I’ve been singing the praises Micro Four Thirds cameras since 2010. I’ve been shooting the LUMIX brand full time since about 2015. But getting other professionals to see the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds system has been a daunting task. That seems to be changing.

Marc Newton from The School of Photography produced a very informative video comparing a Canon EOS 5D (full-frame camera) with an Olympus OM-D EM-1 (Micro Four Thirds camera) producing prints at 24×36 inches. The video above is fairly long but well worth the time to see the comparison. Whether Marc has been convinced enough to use MFT on a full time basis I don’t know, but others are definitely making the move.

Photographers I personally know who have seen the advantages of Micro Four Thirds include:

Joe and Mary Ann McDonald,  Eric Rock, and Matt Seuss. Not a long list but all good things start small.

For a bit of comedy relief, this piece by Jimmy Chang and his buddy Kim talk about Bokeh Balls and other great reasons NOT to use Micro Four Thirds.

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There are 11 comments on this post…
  1. Deborah AlbertOn Oct. 3rd, 2019

    So are you recommending giving up Lumix in favor of Olympus?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 4th, 2019

      Not necessarily Deborah. Both systems have their advantages. For fast-moving action, the Olympus is superior. For all other things, I prefer the Lumix. My Lumix G9 has a much better EVF, the touch screen is far more advanced, the ergonomics are the best of any camera on the market today including those outside the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) realm. The beauty of MFT is our ability to mix and match lens and bodeis from both Olympus and Lumix if needed. For me, that means two Lumix G9 bodies for landscapes, travel, and macro. And one Olympus Em-1X for action such as Birds in Flight. It’s the best of both worlds.

  2. Ronald CleggOn Oct. 1st, 2019

    After attending one of your presentations I did some research on the Lumix cameras. Not willing to spend a lot on a camera I may not like, I purchased a Lumix fx300. I was impressed by the lens focal rang of 24 mm to 600 and the 4K burst mode, I spent less than five hundred dollars. Just imagine what a Nikon lens 24-600 mm would cost.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 2nd, 2019

      It’s true Ronald. The FZ300 that you refer to is currently only $398.00 on Amazon. I regularly suggest this camera to people who are just starting to think about the Lumix line. It’s a great way to get a feel for Lumix technology in a camera that won’t break the bank. Do keep in mind however that the FZ300 uses a 1-inch sensor, not a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Either way, it produces fantastic results.

  3. Matt SuessOn Sep. 2nd, 2019

    Hey Dan -thanks for the shoutout! I can not be happier with my switch this year to Olympus from Sony FF!! I just returned home from a big commercial shoot in MO – one that I’ve shot on 3 separate trips last year with my Sony gear – and honestly had so many more keepers for my happy clients with the Olympus gear. The system just afforded me more opportunities than what I had before. It’s too bad the big 3 are so good at marketing the FF aspect – photographers should be focused on the creativity aspect instead because that’s what is really the most important in regards to photography.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 5th, 2019

      Happy to help Matt. I just got back from Alaska where I was shooting lots of action, brown bears chasing salmon and the rockets of the natural world Horned puffins. I was testing my Lumix G9 against the new Olympus EM-1X and Sony A9. It was an interesting test. You can read more at https://naturalexposures.com/predictive-autofocus-for-flying-birds/

  4. Dennis LindenOn Sep. 1st, 2019

    Hi Daniel,

    It’s been a while since I visited the blog and was frankly fascinated by the ongoing discussion on quality. Again,
    if you begin with the end in mind, the discussion will be focused. In my case I’m printing to 16×24 inches max for my walls and the majority of prints are 8×10 in. I do a lot of street and travel style work, less and less wildlife since my neck, shoulders and more recently my heart can’t handle it. I have an older Lumix Gx85 with Leica 15mm lens; a Sony A7R3 and recently experimented with a Canon M6 and 22mm lens. I was convinced tha the new M6 was just a bit blurry compared to the other two, and this was noticeable at all sizes over 8×10, could be seen at 100% on screen, but not generally to the naked eye at device or screen resolution. I went back over my Lightroom catalog with a metadata fine toothed comb and began to think I was nuts. So, out came the test charts….

    Compared directly, I found that my perception about the M6 probably rested with the fact that I could detect moire significantly on the M6, and that’s with CR2 files developed in DXO Photolab 2 and converted to monochrome. There was just a bit of blur. So, it’s my “vlogging” camera (for now) since it does a remarkable job at face finding and tracking, and has the reversing screen to allow my director of photography (me) to frame things up conveniently.

    That said, if you use the A7R3 in APS mode with the best of their lenses (this puts a 16 Mpx image in direct comparison to a 16 Mpx image) I frankly had a really hard time pixel peeping any differences. Now, if I wanted to print something at 36 inches or 48 inches, perhaps I would see more value to the A7R, but I don’t ever do that, so that capacity is frankly wasted.

    Last summer I was shooting with a buddy and he had the Oly OMD Mk ? and the 300 mm Zuiko. His kit was about the same weight and size as mine, but he clearly got way more useful shots in our environment, but I did better at candle lit portraits of the boys and wives at dinner … courses for horses, or horses for courses… My recent direct tests, trying to prove my A7R3 was better than my M6 bore fruit, but I was unable to prove an appreciable difference FOR THE WORK I DO AND THE PRODUCT I CREATE between the ancient GX85 with 15mm lens and the A7R3 in crop mode.

    This leads me to conclude, ONCE AGAIN, that the glass is probably far more important than the sensor, but incremental sensor improvements may not be that important. The simple fact that the Gx85/15 with me on the street is ergonomically better for me personally than an A7 with 35mm means that’s what I use on the streets and now I don’t feel guilty about any loss of resolution since there is none. When I shoot in the dark, I go manual and focus on the light only anyways…

    I am only making personal memories, not shooting Vogue covers here. If I were shooting those covers though, I bet I could use a G9 and 42.5 Lecia and no one would know.

    PS< I have a whole bunch of the aforementioned 16×24 in prints on my walls, and after 100's of complements, no one has ever asked me what camera took which photos and the fact is, I have 3 on one wall, one by the A7r3, one the Gx85 and one the iPhone X …. they all look just fine, no one seems to be able to tell. One of my most complemented photos is in fact shot with the A7R3 in crop mode using the 20 mm lens – but it is a perfect combination of water, sky, cloud and geese, not 16 or 20 or 24 or 36 Megapixels…

    Cheers as always – as I set my sights on better lenses and lighter gear in my bag to walk further, see more, and enjoy a coffee or a beer with friends.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 1st, 2019

      Great input Dennis. Thanks so much for sharing your insight.

  5. Bob HamiltonOn Aug. 22nd, 2019

    I have both the LUMIX G9 and the Sony A9 and use the best quality, native lenses available for each system. The sensor sizes, in terms of resolution, are as near as you’ll currently get – 20 megapixels for the LUMIX and 24 for the Sony – but, to my eyes, the Sony clearly shows the “full frame” advantage of its larger pixels by having approximately 2 stops better noise control and just over 1 stop of dynamic range advantage.
    The Lumix is good but it’s not really a match for the Sony in those respects and, sadly, not in the same ball park when it comes to continuous autofocus and tracking of moving subjects.

  6. Deborah AlbertOn Aug. 20th, 2019

    I am so trying to like my Panasonic, but just don’t think IQ as good as Nikon.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 20th, 2019

      Can’t argue that point Deborah without knowing which cameras, Nikon and Lumix , you’re comparing. I shot Nikon for 35 years and based on the Micro Four Third Triad I feel the Lumix gear competes with many of my Nikon’s very well. In some cases it beats them. Things like 4K Photo Mode, High Speed Burst, Dual IS, and many other technology tools no Nikon currently offers. So it all depends.

      You might be interested in these two films I produced on what I call the Micro Four Thirds Triad. You need to watch them both for the full story.

      Micro Four Thirds Triad Part 1: https://youtu.be/-bGmKvkoCmQ
      Micro Four Thirds Triad Part 2: https://youtu.be/ZMObxnIdph4

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