Is a Four Thirds format a viable option?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hoosker, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. hoosker macrumors member

    hoosker

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #1
    My dilemma. I want to be able to shoot photos in all situations and places I go which does not accommodate the size and hassle that comes with a DSLR yet I am not always satisfied with quality I get with my point and shoot. Specifically I want a smaller package to lug around yet larger image sensor. I really don’t want to carry separate lenses. I like the fact that my Panasonic TZ5 is very small yet has a nice wide to tele zoom that also allows for very nice macro shots too. I fails with indoor shots with low light though. I know there is No solution that satisfies all my desires but reading about the four thirds format has raised my hopes. What do you think about the prospects of this format? A good compromise maybe?
     
  2. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #2
    I have a Panasonic GF1 and are in the process of selling my Nikon D300 plus the full range of 2.8 lenses. The GF1 is superb, colour is excellent, size is ideal and lenses are very sharp. To give you an idea, I had a Nikon D300 and a 17-55 and the GF1 with the Panasonic 7-14 is an equal. What is the GF1 is not fantastic at is moving images as the AF tracking is not up to a Nikon.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    It's a compromise, how good depends on your needs and usage along with how large a body you're willing to carry. Also, there's 4/3rds and u4/3rds- while you can adapte 4/3rds lenses to u4/3rds, I don't think it works the other way around. Personally, I'm waiting to see what the production Samsung NX10 looks like- an APS-C sensor is a lot more attractive to me than 4/3rds, the 35mm f/2 lens on APS-C should make an interesting smallish camera and the pre-production sample images look good to me- but then I'm used to carrying a D2x or D3x with an L bracket- almost anything is going to be tiny compared to those.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #4
    It's all opinion, of course - but I think micro-4/3 is probably a pretty safe investment. I wouldn't be surprised if those cameras end up taking over the niche that high-end point-and-shoot cameras (like the G11) fill today.

    "Regular" 4/3 cameras have their devotees; but in my mind they're the worst of both worlds - all the penalties of having a smaller sensor without any true advantages like pocketability.
     
  5. hoosker thread starter macrumors member

    hoosker

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #5
    Thanks for your comments. Does it bother you that it doesn't have an in-body image stabilization system? To get a macro shot, you would need a separate lens?

    I am not familiar with the differences in APS-C and 4/3rds other than I understand it is a larger sensor ie. better? Smallish is goodish!
     
  6. davegregory macrumors regular

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    Jul 7, 2009
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    #6
    I also have a Panasonic GF1, and with the 20 mm f/1.7 lens you can shoot indoors with no flash pretty easily. I have rarely had the need to go above ISO 400 indoors with it. Of course, you want to be careful when you focus because at f/1.7 you have a razor thin depth of field. As mentioned before it will accept 4/3 lenses when used with an adapter, but you have to make sure you check the compatibility chart, some lenses will not autofocus. I love the GF1, but I couldn't give up my 5D or 40D for it. It depends on what kind of photography you're doing, but for just plain low-light indoor shooting it will handle the job with the 20 mm lens.

    You might want to consider a panasonic LX3, I owned that previous to the GF1 and it's a very capable camera in low light, fast f/2.0 lens. It can do macro, has IS built into the body. Just the sensor is tiny. But life is full of compromises.
     
  7. NightGeometry macrumors regular

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    Apr 11, 2004
    #7
    I had an EP-1 until my girlfriend 'stole' (borrowed it and likes it so much she is refusing to give it back :rolleyes:). I like that camera, a lot. Compared to my SLR it is insanely portable, and I found image quality to be good.

    So, having said all that, and I going to get a straight out replacement... Not sure, I may just hold off a couple of months to see what comes along - Panasonic are due to be making an announcement in March, I believe, and the electronic viewfinder for the EP-2 is supposed to be very good. If it weren't for that, I would already have another EP1.
     
  8. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #8
    No, coming from Nikon the only IS lens I had was my 105mm macro and this was usually turned off as it was tripod mounted. My other lenses were a Nikon 12-24, Nikon 17-55 (f2.8) and Nikon 80-200 (f2.8). IS (VR) is useful if you have a slow lens with a long focal length IMO. A classic example of this was the Nikon 70-300 AFS

    To get a proper macro shot you will need a Panasonic 45mm which is not cheap, I do think though that the kit lens the 14-45 focusses fairly close, depends what you are after.
     
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #9
    the 4/3 system is just like any other interchangeable lens system on the market - you will have to buy specific lenses for specific purposes. there is no do-it-all solution like P&S lenses.

    the advantage of 4/3 isn't so much its sensor size as its mirrorless design. this allows for a smaller camera since there is no need for a mirror box and viewfinder prism.

    there are large, fixed lens compacts like the Leica X1, Sigma DP series, some Ricoh cameras, and the new Olympus E-PL1. only the Olympus has a zoom lens. if you don't care for interchangeable lenses, either you get that or wait for Panasonic or Samsung to come out with their own.
     
  10. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #10
    I believe this is only true of micro-4/3 cameras. "Regular" 4/3 dSLRs have the same overall design as any other dSLR.
     
  11. G.T. macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 12, 2008
    #11
    I have recently got the GF1 and here are some shots http://samaravsalma.deviantart.com/ if u got to gallery they are the later ones. I got the 20mm prime and its amazing.

    Just so u know on my devianart it desaturates my images I need to look at how I am storing colour profile (if that makes sense)
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #12
    The sensor is 1.5x larger, meaning better light gathering for the same resolution, and better enlargements, but larger lenses and a slightly larger lens flange to sensor distance. There are also depth of field and diffraction differences- larger sensors tend to win on diffraction and DoF depends on your goals.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm

    The difference between 4/3rds and a 1.5x APS-C crop is the same mathematical difference between APS-C and full frame.

    Paul
     
  13. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2008
    #13
    The E-PL1 is does not have a fixed lens; it is a smaller version of the E-P1, Olympus' flagship u4/3 camera.

    Because Panasonic and Samsung have also invested in u4/3 and NX, respectively, they're somewhat unlikely to come out with large-sensor, fixed lens compacts to compete with their large-sensor, interchangeable lens compacts.
     
  14. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #14
    In short: yes, I think 4/3 is a viable system. Especially micro 4/3 is a very appealing system because (apart from Leica), there are no digital rangefinders with interchangeable lenses. The sensors are substantially larger than those of P&S while they allow for smaller lenses.
     

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