|Feeling trapped behind your large dSLR? Maybe a MFT camera is in your future!|
First, lets start with some stats from the first 3.5 months of 2013:
Number of total images uploaded to Lightroom: 2717
Number of images made with a dSLR: 293 (average per day: 2.8)
Number of images made with m43: 2424 (average per day: 23)
Now, in all fairness, I haven't done much "work"- I've been so busy this year with my job I haven't taken on any paying gigs (one of the nice things about being a non professional photographer- I can choose when I want to shoot for other people). When I book some paying clients for later this spring or summer, I'll probably at least start off using the dSLRs- but I will definitely bring my m43 kit with me, and spend at least part of the shoots using it.
While I expect those total image numbers to keep getting farther apart (I anticipate upwards of 10:1 by the end of the year), my initial statement about moving into MFT isn't as crazy as it might seem- quite a bit of gear is system independent- things like lighting (minus TTL) & modifiers, bags, tripods, straps, etc. The main things that are system dependent are lenses (more on this in a bit) and batteries. So far, I've built a nice little MFT kit (and for quite a bit less than I paid for my dSLR "equivalents."
Here are some advantages of the MFT system compared to dSLRs:
- Bodies are considerably smaller and lighter (due to less physical components like a mirror)
- Shorter flange distance means smaller lenses- which also usually means less expensive.
- Nearly all lenses focus silently.
- Prime lenses are sharp from wide open. I love this. Having a lens that opens to f1.8 that I can't really use until f2.8 or 4 is frustrating!
- The smaller sensor size gives you a larger depth of field with similar f/stops, which helps keep more things in focus.
- Since all focusing is done with the sensor, auto focus works in both stills and video (at about the same speed), and front/back focusing is pretty much a non-issue.
- Nearly every lens made for every system that can be focused manually (including systems that are no longer made) are usable on a MFT body- with an adapter. These lenses have to be focused manually, but the camera still meters through the lens like normal- meaning you can let the camera adjust shutter speed and ISO, and use handy modes like aperture priority. This means that all my Canon lenses are completely useable on my MFT bodies (although a bit large!).
- With a crop factor of 2x, manually adapted dSLR lenses have a much longer reach than when mounted on a dSLR.
- Because of the smaller sensor size, only the center portion of manually adapted lenses are used- which happens to be the best optical part of a lens.
- Chromatic aberration and lens distortion is for the most part taken care of in body- meaning both RAW and jpg files will be fairly clean.
And, some of the drawbacks of MFT system compared to dSLRs:
- While there are quite a few lenses out there, there are still way more available to dSLR owners.
- Depth of field is inherently larger- which means you can't "melt backgrounds" like you can on a dSLR- at least not at the same aperture.
- Phase detection focusing (dSLRs) is still superior to contrast focusing (MFT) for fast moving subjects.
- Some of the newer dSLRs have less noise at higher ISO values, but anything more than 2 generations old and it's not the case.
- Batteries wear out much faster- they are smaller, but also more things are drawing power in a MFT body- almost everything is digital, as opposed to the optical and mechanical components of a dSLR.
- For very wide angle shooting, dSLRs are still the best. There are more lens options, and there isn't as much of a crop factor (or none at all with full frame). The same goes with telephoto lenses. While many can be adapted to MFT (and they double in effective focal length), they are manual only.
- Much higher resolution, useful mainly to people to make extremely large prints.
For me, the advantages of the system far outweigh the drawbacks- and (at least for the time being) when I need the dSLR system, I can always pull it out! Another really nice thing about the small size is I can take my entire system in one bag, carry it all day, and not have any problems. I'm sure if I had a bag that fit my entire dSLR system in it, it certainly wouldn't be something anyone would want to tote for very long. And honestly, in the end- it sort of is all about the size. Getting the image quality I'm getting out of something far lighter and smaller means that I find myself carrying it around more. It is so much easier to use over an extended period of time, and since most of my images aren't shot on a tripod, that's a huge deal.
I'll end this post with some shots I've taken in the past few months with my MFT gear. Enjoy!
|The fast focusing as well as rear screen tilt enabled me to quickly get this shot|
|Nice separation from the background. Good lens + framing can give you plenty of blur!|
|Notice how almost all of their bodies are in focus, but the background is still separated- again a fairly easy thing to do with MFT.|
|I had to add this one- she's one beautiful girl!|