Why Full Frame Didn't Suit Me and Why I Won't Leave Micro Four Thirds

Why Full Frame Didn't Suit Me and Why I Won't Leave Micro Four Thirds

You’ve probably heard many outright lies about Micro Four Thirds. It’s suffered attacks from certain quarters, sometimes from those openly in the pay of its competition. Here’s everything you need to know about the system and why it’s a great option for professional and amateur photographers alike.

Why Full Frame Is a Misnomer

Firstly, Micro Four Thirds is commonly called a crop frame system. That is sometimes said with a derogatory tone. I don’t agree with that term or that opinion.

So-called full frame cameras are also cropped when compared to medium format cameras. However, the photographic industry inevitably uses the 35mm format as the baseline for comparing different sensors. So, it is almost impossible to talk about the system without talking first about what we wrongly call full frame.

I believe it was Canon that first borrowed the term “full frame” to describe 35mm sensors. Though now in common usage, it’s a misnomer. It originally referred to the gate size in cinematography cameras. The gate is the part of the camera that held the film, and the term “full frame” was coined when the Academy ratio (as in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) was introduced in 1932. That ratio was 1.37:1. In other words, the 35mm 3:2 film was effectively cropped to a 4:3 ratio. Although it was superseded by widescreen in 1953, the full frame aspect ratio is still sometimes used in films such as Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Asteroid City.”

So, the original full frame 4:3 aspect ratio is that is used by Micro Four Thirds, not 35mm sensors.

The 4 x 3 aspect ratio is that used by the original full frame, which cropped 35mm movie film to those dimensions.

What Is the Difference Between Micro Four Thirds and 35mm Sensors?

The difference between the sensor in a Micro Four Thirds camera and that is a 35mm camera is size. The former has a diagonal width of 21.6mm (0.85”), and the latter is around double that at 43mm (1.7”). As with everything in photography, there are advantages and disadvantages to both these sizes.

As the name suggests, Micro Four Thirds cameras and lens combinations are tiny compared to full frame, making them enormously portable.

The Obsolete Arguments Against Micro Four Thirds

Historically, many photography pundits have concentrated on three supposed disadvantages of the Micro Four Thirds format and ignored the advantages.

Firstly, is noise. With the newest sensor technology, it’s possible to shoot in very low light and have acceptable levels of noise with Micro Four Thirds. If you then consider the amazing AI-based noise reduction software that’s available, crisp, clean images are achievable at ISOs that were previously unrealistic, even for 35mm cameras.

Turnstone, shot at ISO 12800

Secondly, having more depth of field at any given focal length is an advantage in many circumstances. When that extra depth isn’t wanted, it can be circumvented by using different shooting methods, such as changing proximity and focal length, to achieve the desired effect. Furthermore, some extremely fast lenses are available for Micro Four Thirds that produce beautiful bokeh.

The third supposed disadvantage is built around a half-truth. Although equivalent f-stops will give more depth of field on a Micro Four Thirds camera, if you put it side-by-side with a 35mm camera, and set the ISO and aperture to be the same, the shutter speed will be identical. An f/1.4 lens is f/1.4 no matter which camera body it is mounted on.

A shallow depth of field is perfectly feasible with Micro Four Thirds.

So, Does That Sensor Size Difference Matter?

If you had asked me that a few years ago, then I would have answered yes. I shot professionally with Four Thirds DSLRs and then the mirrorless Micro Four Thirds systems. Very rarely, in extreme circumstances, I was hindered by the extra noise. Consequently, I debated with myself whether I should change to 35mm. Furthermore, for a few weeks, I owned a 35mm camera, but that's another story.

Yet, camera technology has improved so much over the last few years that any contemporary camera, including Micro Four Thirds, produces images in extreme lighting conditions that are more than good enough. That's the key term: more than good enough. In some areas, more expensive, far larger 35mm camera systems might perform better, but is that necessary when a smaller system does the job perfectly well?

Consequently, I still use Micro Four Thirds professionally. I am glad I didn’t change and am now reaping the benefits of the smaller cameras. I have some big, internationally known, household-name clients, and I shoot for national magazines. None of them complain about my work or the image quality. Plus, I have all the advantages of the smaller and lighter kit.

Even shooting contre-jour, Micro Four Thirds cameras can show details in deep shadows.

Never Listen to the Doom and Gloom Merchants

Not so long ago, the ill-informed doom and gloom merchants – some of whom were paid to promote other systems – tried to claim that Micro Four Thirds was failing. Keep an eye out for them in the article comments sections. As always, they were wrong.

Meanwhile, the booming sales of cameras like the OM System OM-1, the unprecedented demand for some lenses, the continuing popularity of cameras such as Panasonic’s GH Series, the use of the system in some DJI drones, and cinema cameras made by Black Magic all show that it’s a thriving and growing system. There are currently 56 companies listed as supporting the Micro Four Thirds format, far more than any other system.

Furthermore, because Micro Four Thirds has been around for many more years than the latecomers to mirrorless cameras, they have a greater variety of lenses and a proven track record for reliability.

Super-fast focusing and subject detection tracking make Micro Four Thirds cameras a great choice for wildlife photography.

APS-C Versus Micro Four Thirds Cameras

For most amateur photographers, other cameras with smaller than 35mm sensors do a good enough job too. I even knew a wedding photographer who used a Canon APS-C camera.

However, although the image quality of contemporary APS-C sensors is good, those produced by the most common manufacturers haven’t had anything like the development seen in 35mm or professional Micro Four Thirds camera systems. Consequently, many of them lack the functionality that camera enthusiasts and professionals seek. This is a generalization, of course, and there are exceptions. For example, Fujifilm, Leica, and Pentax all produce super cameras with APS-C sensors, albeit aimed at different and particular specialisms.

However, none have the advanced features that you will find in professional-end Micro Four Thirds cameras. Also, unlike Micro Four Thirds, there's very little inter-brand compatibility.

I often share my OM lenses with clients who shoot with Panasonic Lumix cameras for them to try. That doesn't work between other brands.

Lenses Are Central to Photography

Do smaller sensors increase the focal length of a lens? It’s not strictly true that they do, although that is the effect you get.

With APS-C and similar-sized sensors such as Nikon’s DX, Canon’s EF-S and EF-M, and Sony’s DT and E mounts, the field of view is approximately ⅔ that of the 35mm camera. So, a 50mm lens on an APS-C camera gives you the same field of view as around 80mm lens on a 35mm camera. With Micro Four Thirds, the field of view would be about the same as a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Consequently, my 150-400mm f/4.5 Micro Four Thirds lens has the same frame-filling capacity as an 800mm lens on a 35mm camera. However, it will be a lot lighter and smaller. If I activate its internal teleconverter, it has a 1000mm equivalent reach.

A test shot using the OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens with its teleconverter activated.

Comparing Like for Like

No two systems produce identical lenses, but we can get close. Let’s compare, for example, two professional telephoto prime lenses. In size and weight, the (I believe discontinued) Canon EF 300mm 1:4 L IS USM Lens and the OM System 300mm F4 IS PRO lenses are similar. They also both produce excellent quality images one would expect from professional lenses.

There are differences, however. The OM System has double the reach and provides four stops of lens image stabilization, six when working in conjunction with the camera’s IBIS. Meanwhile, the Canon gives two and doesn’t work with the IBIS. The OM System lens has 0.48x magnification, and the Canon has 0.24x. The OM System lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1.4 meters, the Canon is 10cm further away at 1.5 meters. Moreover, using these lenses, I find the extra depth of field afforded by the Micro Four Thirds lens an advantage as I can get an entire subject in focus without stopping down the aperture.

I am not saying the Canon lens is bad, it isn't. It was fabulous in its day. However, the OM System equivalent outperforms it in many areas.

I should emphasize that the Canon lens does not seem to be available now, but it is a reasonable comparator. As is the lighter, but plastic-bodied Nikon equivalent. Again, a superb lens but plastic construction and has some decentering issues.

Three 300mm f/4 lenses: OM System, Nikon, and Canon.

What About Pixel Count?

It wasn’t that long ago when the Pixel Wars were a-raging and people were crying out for 10- or 12-megapixel cameras. Then Sony brought out the A900 and Nikon the D3X with their greater than 24-megapixel cameras. It wasn’t long before 36-megapixels and above were above them. Meanwhile, Micro Four Thirds has stuck with between twenty and twenty-five megapixels.

When you can get 50-megapixel cameras in smartphones, why did Micro Four Thirds stop in the twenties?

The answer to that had much to do with consumer demand. Research showed that camera users wanted greater dynamic range and noise control over a higher pixel count. That is achieved by having a lower pixel density on the sensor and, therefore fewer pixels.

Furthermore, 20-megapixels is more than enough for most people. Whitewall will print a 63” (160 cm) x 47.2” (120 cm) from my files. I could also use software to upscale to a much higher resolution if I needed it; as of yet, I haven't. My camera also has a trick up its sleeve where it uses sensor-shift technology to create up to 80-megapixel composite images. As fabulous as that feature is, I’ve never used it. It’s not something I need. However, that feature does have an advantage over sensors with a higher resolution.

63" prints are within the scope of a 20 megapixel camera.

Cameras with huge pixel counts sound great in theory, but they are limited by the performance of the lenses. Having a high-megapixel camera is no advantage when the lens can’t resolve images with that amount of detail. Phone cameras with 50-megapixel counts have no better resolution than 30-megapixel cameras because of the limited resolution performance of the lenses.

For the same reason, if you have a collection of older DSLR lenses designed for lower-resolution cameras, you won’t be able to notice that great a difference in fine detail buying a higher-resolution camera. Of course, camera manufacturers are producing new lenses for you to buy to get around this issue.

But this is where a camera that combines several 20-megapixel images has an edge. The OM System Hi Res mode captures information between the original 20 MP photosites. That gives a result that would have been from an 80 MP smaller pixel sensor but with the light-gathering advantage of a 20 MP sensor with larger photosites.

Should You Buy a Micro Four Thirds Camera?

I’m not suggesting that you should immediately dump your 35mm camera and buy a Micro Four Thirds one. There’s probably not much wrong with the camera you have, and you enjoy using it.

However, if you are struggling to lug that heavy gear around, or need something lighter for traveling, or want something that will fit in your coat pocket, or desire a longer reach from your lenses, or require something that you can take anywhere with you without looking like a member of the paparazzi, or you hanker after some of the computational technological advances that are not in your camera, or would like to be inspired by something new, then Micro Four Thirds has come of age and is now an exceedingly good option.

Yes, there are still arguments for using 35mm cameras, not least because there is peer pressure in the industry to do so. However, there are also good reasons to break free from the norm and embrace Micro Four Thirds. Since doing so, I haven't looked back.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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Nice article with good arguments. I suppose the costs of the fabrication of a camera with a smaller sensor are not a lot lower than that of a camera with a full frame sensor. That s the reason why Canon invented full frame and called it pro in the first place. Some benefits of a larger sensor but also to charge a premium price tag on cameras and lenses. That pro story is now stuck in everyones mind and will remain there for ever. :-)

Thank you for the comment. There's a lot more to it than cost, though. There is much more to some cameras, like the OM-1, than to others, and you pay for those features.

Interesting article but I will continue using a full frame. From my understanding one difference between the two sizes is dynamic range. Many sources say the differences in signal to noise ratio between the two sensors directly affect dynamic range. A medium format sensor has greater dynamic range than a full frame which is greater than a micro 4/3 or APS-C. To me a few extra stops is important but a medium format camera is too costly for me. That said, if you're travelling or just wanting to do some street photography, a smaller lighter camera make sense. (a modern smartphone works too).

There is a huge difference in terms of image quality and usability between the best phone cameras and micro four-thirds. Perhaps phones will get there at some point but we're far from it currently.

As far as dynamic range, great photographs were made with cameras with far less dynamic range than modern micro four-thirds. In my experience DR has only been an issue when I totally screw up exposure, which only happens when I'm in manual and forget to adjust.

Dynamic range is often everything in Architectural photography. I make HDR sets almost as standard these days.

Thanks, James. As I said, each to their own. I'm not insisting everyone should jump ship from their system, but highlighting the reasons why a lot of people are. I think I made clear in the article that there is a difference in dynamic range, but MFT has reached a point where it is more than good enough for most photography and outperforms cameras that, not too long ago, were considered the top of the game.

I think we all muck up exposure once in a while. That's why I love Aperture Priority as, as an event, I can rush from a dark interior to outside and not faff around changing the settings, and the exposure will be near enough correct.

I found M43 with professional lenses struggles with the fact that many combinations of body/lens are the equivilant size and weight to FF. Only once I got to super telephoto did lens size really make a difference. Everything I had from wide angle to portrait was about the same between my G9 to A7IV. Example G9 /Noct 42.5 1108g
a7iv/Batis 85 1111g Just became a difference without distinction to me.

I think you need to go into more depth because then it becomes more difficult to substantiate that statement.
I currently use Sony (I've used 7 cameras and over 30 lenses) however I'm selling 2 of my 4 Sony cameras and some lenses to fund adding the OM1 and 6-7 lenses to my kit for numerous reasons. Some covered above.

Here's another example (I think more commonly used than the example you gave) :
Sony A7r5 (my camera) with a 24-70/2.8 GM = 723g (inc battery) + 886g (total 1,609g) + list US$3,898 + US$2,200 ($6,100)
OM1 + Oly 12-40/2.8 PRO = 599g (inc battery) + 382g (total 981g) + list US$2,200 + US$999 ($3,200).

I could do the above calculations for almost all of the most commonly used FLs (using top of the line lenses from both companies), they would all come out similar. I think the only major exception being the long tele lenses where there's not much difference between the 150-400/4.5 and say a 500/4 or 600/4.

There are many more examples (I've checked 35 lenses for my new Oly kit so far) so even though I use excellent light lenses now (including 4 x Samyang 'Tiny' range, and I still have much larger f1.4 and f2.8 lenses for specific uses) the Oly kit almost always comes out much lighter - and thousands of US$ cheaper (which is a major factor for many).

There are other benefits too (superb video which most other mainstream cameras can't get close to). Industry leading WR - actually IP53 rated (note most manufacturers don't actually have them tested, they just make claims, some of which are valid of course), you can even find someone running water from a faucet over it for over 5 mins on YT.
The Pro-Capture for wildlife (captures up to 70 shots 'before' you depress the shutter button!), now being copied by Nikon in their Z9. And numerous other functions which target the more creative photographer.

BTW I think Ivor was wrong to mention the 80mp sensor-shift technology, which most cameras have now and which is almost useless in all of them (inc. the Oly). He should have instead mentioned the far more useful and accurate (as in no blur) 50mp handheld composite function instead. And the internal ND filters. And the ... you get the idea ;)

"Sony A7r5 (my camera) with a 24-70/2.8 GM = 723g (inc battery) + 886g (total 1,609g) + list US$3,898 + US$2,200 ($6,100)
OM1 + Oly 12-40/2.8 PRO = 599g (inc battery) + 382g (total 981g) + list US$2,200 + US$999 ($3,200)."

This is an apples-to-oranges comparison IMHO, because the Olympus 12-40/f2.8 is not really equivalent to the Sony 24-70/f2.8. If you pair the A7r5 with a Sony FE 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6, the total weight of your FF kit is only 1018g; if you pair it with the excellent Sony FE 28-60mm F/4-5.6, then it will be even lighter (=890g) than the MFT kit.

F5.6 on Full Frame gives you the same subject isolation as f2.8 on MFT. And since the sensor of your A7r5 is about four times more light-sensitive (in the sense that ISO 6400 on the A7r5 picture is about as noisy as ISO 1600 on the OM1 picture; you can check this on DPreview's studio comparison tool when selecting the two cameras and the two respective ISOs in RAW, and changing the "image size" widget to "comp"), the noise performance/image quality of a contemporary MFT camera at f2.8 is about the same as that of a contemporary FF camera at f5.6 with the corresponding higher ISO. With these considerations, you end up getting very similar kit sizes, weights and image quality/performance no matter whether you choose Olympus MFT or Sony FF. To put it another way, your FF kit will only get heavier if you want to achieve image quality well beyond what MFT can deliver (in terms of resolution and image noise).

And even if you insist on an f2.8 zoom on the FF camera, with a Tamron 28-75mm/f2.8, the Sony kit would weigh 1273 grams versus 981 grams for the Olympus - just 30% more. You could further reduce this difference by using Sony's new A7C-R body instead of the A7r5, which has the same sensor and image quality as the A7r5. The A7C-R weighs only 600g including battery, the same as the OM1.

At this point, the size and weight differences between the two systems really become negligible. MFT kits could, in theory, be drastically lighter and more compact if only OM System and Panasonic would put their development resources into high-end ultra-compact MFT bodies; but that doesn't seem to be happening anymore.

The real difference between your two kits IMHO lies in the fact that the Sony A7r5 is a specialty camera for high-resolution photography that is not very good for action and high-speed photography (especially not in electronic shutter mode with its high degree of rolling shutter), while the OM1 is a specialty camera for high-speed photography (with its high burst frame rates, deep buffers, and stacked CMOS sensor).

I appreciate your considered reply. Let me address your points as I see them.

1. The Olympus 12-40/f2.8 PRO is indeed equivalent to the Sony 24-70/f2.8 GM (note the designations on those lenses when comparing them to Tamron and a kit lens).
Just because the camera sensor affects the images differently doesn't affect the fact both are f2.8 lenses.
The aperture is the relationship between lens diameter and aperture diameter and f/2.8 on a full frame and m4/3 sensor is in both cases 1/4 of the diameter of the lens. So both behave exactly the same, with the exception of the DoF which is a function of the sensor not the lens.
Though if a low DoF is your aim then yes you'd use another lens, by the same token the Oly has an advantage for some by having a far larger DoF when required (e.g shooting a bird in low light may require f2.8 but to get the whole bird in focus you may require f5.6. With the Oly you can still get the whole bird in focus at f2.8 whilst on the FF camera you'll need to stop down so losing the advantage of the f2.8 aperture and necessitating an increase in ISO to maintain an acceptable shutter speed.
The same can apply to landscape photography and whether you need to stack or not for deeper DoF.

BTW the Sony FE 28-60mm F/4-5.6 is nothing better than a very average lens (even the new improved v2). I have it and it is nothing more than a backup in case of dire emergency (as in I've carried it everywhere but never used it apart from testing). It is just a very basic kit lens and in absolutely no way comparable to the Pro-level Oly 12-40/2.8

2. I have only spoken about the OM1 with it's new BSI stacked sensor not 'contemporary' MFT cameras per se, so whilst I agree that other 'contemporary' (Panasonic and Olympus pre-OM Systems) are noisier the new OM1 is more than acceptable, even at 12,800 ISO. I can send you a link, or just search YT if you want, to show examples by Andy Rouse (Pro wildlife photographer) of birds shot at 12,800 showing zero noise (after processing) and incredible detail.
To this I'd add that with the benefit of the new noise-reduction software from Topaz, PS, or ON1 that I use most often, noise is very very rarely any issue whatsoever nowadays and certainly just a very minor factor in deciding on a camera/lens.

3. Kit weight. Maybe you missed the bit where I said I've had 7 Sony cameras and over 30 lenses? Including very light lenses? When comparing like for like (apertures, IQ and WR or not) the Oly will always come out lighter, this really isn't even a question TBH because it's pure physics.

I also don't understand why you use the A7C-R as a comparable. It isn't in any way a comparable camera to the A7r5 or OM1 ... though it does suit your rhetoric better. And for the same reason you've mentioned using the Tamron 28-75mm/f2.8 (a fine lens but not comparable to the GM or 12-40/f2.8 PRO. Or using a Sony kit lens to reduce weight vs the Oly PRO kit (yet still be 30% heavier) !

4. I would also take issue with your very very narrow definition of the cameras. I've used the A7r5 for many genres (most recently in South Africa for a safari where it performed impeccably - esp. for birds, for a month in Iceland for landscapes and for a month in Guizhou shooting minority tribes) and it's not at all an issue to shoot sports or fast moving action (even at 1/4000 rolling shutter is only noticeable in rare situations). In fact I find it to be the near perfect camera.
As far as the OM1 is concerned it is far far from being just a specialty camera for high-speed photography with it's many functions suitable for landscapes, portraiture and street it is far more of an all round camera that those that can't handle high-speed situations.

Thanks for signing up to comment, Brook.
As I said in the article, it is difficult to find direct comparators. Of course, if you use a lens with plastic construction like the Batis 85, it will be lighter.

I have been extremely interested in MFT, but after extensive research and talking with several folks who use MFT, I decided that "full frame" and APS-C sensor bodies, at this point, meet my needs better. But that's not to say that in the future I won't add MTF to my bag.

One thing I will say about comparing apples to apples, inasmuch as lenses are concerned. The best way to compare a MFT lens to a FF or APS-C lens is to compare the actual size, in diameter, of the aperture at its widest opening. The physical size of the opening is what should be used when comparing the prices of lenses with similar optical and build quality. No need to bother with f stop numbers when you can just go according to how many millimeters across the aperture is. That is what drives manufacturing costs, given that all else is equal.

1. A 35mm camera is called "full-frame" because its image sensor size matches the dimensions of a standard 35mm film frame, and the term is carried over to digital cameras with similar sensor sizes. The keyword is "standard."

2. Noise Levels: While the newest Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensors have made significant strides in reducing noise levels, so have the latest Full-frame sensors. The argument regarding noise remains valid.

3. Depth of Field: MFT sensors can't match the depth of field (DoF) capabilities of full-frame sensors due to differences in aperture openning diameter. In physical terms, Full-frame lenses have a larger aperture openning diameter compared to MFT lenses. While it's possible to achieve similar bokeh with MFT by making larger lenses, it contradicts the portability advantage of MFT.

Comparing the capabilities of Full-frame and MFT sensors is akin to comparing an orange to an apple. They are both fruits, but they offer different tastes and nutrients. Therefore, choosing between the two sensor formats ultimately depends on the genre of photography you primarily engage in.

I also agree with most of your comments - except that regarding noise.

The new OM1 (and I believe OM5 but I haven't done much research on that camera whereas I've spent maybe a hundred hours researching the OM1 !) produces excellent low noise even at high ISOs (12,800) and even if it didn't the new Noise reduction software makes it almost irrelevant, as I've found by recently reprocessing numerous old photographs take with my previous cameras (e.g. Nikon D3s. D800 or even Pentax K7 and K5).

You are entirely missing my points, Paul. Full Frame was a term in existence long before it was adopted and the meaning changed by Canon. The same thing happened to prime lenses, which once had a different meaning. My point about noise levels, which is related to dynamic range, is that with MFT it is good enough for most photographer's needs. I happily shoot at ISO 12800 and use it. I could also shoot at 25600, but I have never needed to. If a 35mm camera can shoot at double that, great! But I don't need that.

Also, with regard to depth of field, read the article properly. You are misrepresenting what I said by making a counterargument to a point I wasn't making. Like everything in photography, there is always a compromise. You are concentrating on the disadvantage of an MFT sensor, but ignoring why the full frame's apparent shallower depth of field can be a huge disadvantage.

I want a saloon V8 but only need a compact 4 cylinder... and I know its cheaper for fuel, tyres etc and easier to park... but that V8 is soooo awesome you know!

Off topic, but hear, hear!! Nothing like the operatic sound of a naturally aspirated V8. Lexus is hanging on, but it won't be long, rumour has it that 2026 will be the last year, until the NA V8 is gone. I plan on the IS500 for my next car. No turbo, no supercharger, just sublime music. :-)

But it doesn't make you a better driver!

I still lament that the Panasonic GM5 never got a successor (preferably with flip screen). With the 12-32 it was a the perfect small and light travel camera.
I'm quite happy with Fuji now. My "every day camera" is the X70.

This has been discussed in numerous articles and videos. You collected the arguments well.

I went from "Micro Four Thirds" to "Full Frame" when considering to buy a "professional" camera. I ended with the "entry level" Nikon Z5. It serves me well, not being a professional and not shooting action. Here are the reasons for my decision:

- The professional MFT cameras I considered were more expensive than my entry level Z5. (By the way, even the Fuji system with IBIS was.) Those professional MFT lenses are not cheap either, almost on the level of the excellent Z lenses I use.

- The size comparison of, say, a G9 mounted with an excellent nifty-fifty shows that the size advantage is almost non-existent. The picture is different if we are talking about very long lenses. If I were to shoot birds I'd reconsider.

- Object isolation is much easier to achieve in full frame, even at relatively affordable f/4 zooms, and even more in the f/1.8 primes I use.

- I found myself shooting at ISO1600 too often. The MFT equivalent would be ISO400, two stops lower. This matters for kids and anything which moves only a little. And I am not even talking about action photography.

The downside for me is the size and weight of slower or longer lenses. I am sometimes considering cheaper MFT for walk-around with a good lens. But then I simply take my Z5 with the 50mm f/1.8 and am happy.

I used a G9 in the studio to produce still-life images and was not worried about noise, or DOF. But, outside the studio, it lacked that Dynamic Range. I decided to try the Nikon Z systems, With their Z lenses. Sorry MFT. No Contest! Try cropping a 45mp sensor by 50% and then compare the noise of the cropped image to MFT.

It's true that FF is smaller than medium format etc, but it's quite unique in the sense that there are more FF lenses with large equivalent aperture than any other system. Medium format lenses aren't that fast and MFT lenses are crazy slow when we equalize the DOF or noise.

Yeah, James Popsys used to say that when he bought a Lumix G9 four years ago but now he's using an A7R5. Joe Edelman did the same move and in the latest video, Peter Forsgård has said he sell his M43 gear to change to Fujifilm.

These guys were ambassadors, who gained some advantage, by promoting Olympus/Panasonic gear. Now they are promoting sombody else's gear. So I would not take them too seriously.

Well, most of internet experts talking about how m43 is weak, not professional (and similar) never really used the system … they have compred charts at max. Nevertheless, who try m43 and do a real photography (not test charts, wall tests …) usually stick with it (I am talking about my experience and friends around)

--- "Comparing Like for Like"

You see, this is why a lot of your pro-MFT articles are not trust worthy. You are comparing a 19 year old lens (or older) to one that's that about 7 years old. And, basically comparing a 300 f4 to a 600 f8. How is that like for like? On top of that, the old Canon can be had for less than $700 while the Olympus for $3000 (or about $1800 used). Lastly, the Canon is almost 1 pound lighter. Oh, the irony. :)

Curious not much mention of auto focus speed and accuracy in challenging scenarios. Yes, there's a captioned example, but the bird is basically in the plain of focus. That's not much of a challenge. Remember the Eye-AF wars. Unless your camera was as good (or close to) Sony's, your camera was basically was snubbed.

If you bothered reading the article properly, you would see that it I said it is almost impossible to make an exact comparison.

If you've bothered thinking before writing, you would not have bothered with the apples to oranges comparison. Learn to pick your battles.

Look, let's be honest, Micro Four Thirds will always be the red-headed stepchild. You have FF + APS-C to contend with. Not the mention Sony, Canon, and Nikon.

And, if you were smart and not get so emotional, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Lens is a much more compelling MFT comparison to a FF 300 F4 prime. It has the benefits of a zoom to up 300 F4 (35mm equivalent). Weighing only 1.67 lbs. And, the price is not too bad, IMO,$1300 (<$800 used). Next time, exercise some due diligence in your research. I shouldn't have to do your job for you.

No it's not! You make the common mistake of failing to appreciate that there is a greater light drop off with the 300 mm FF F/4 lens because of the inverse square law. The light received at the sensor with a MFT F4 lens is the same as a FF F4 lens. The 40-150 f/2.8 will deliver a lot more light to the camera's sensor than any F4 lens.

Furthermore, it's a zoom, and not a fixed focal length lens.

If you've bothered thinking before writing, you would not have bothered with the apples to oranges comparison.

I'm referring to similar reach and dof. You know, like for like.

--- "Furthermore, it's a zoom, and not a fixed focal length lens."

No shit Sherlock. Hence, my statement, "… is a much more compelling MFT comparison to a FF 300 F4 prime. It has the benefits of a zoom to up 300 F4 (35mm equivalent)"

Do they not teach comprehension where you come from?

You are entirely wrong with your assumptions: 300mm f/4 is not equivalent to 150mm f/2.8, nowhere near. But thanks for the article idea.

--- "300mm f/4 is not equivalent to 150mm f/2.8"

You're saying it backwards. Nobody says it that way. It's 150mm f2.8 equivalent to 300 f4. :D

From Olympus's site: https://explore.omsystem.com/us/en/m-zuiko-ed-40-150mm-f2-8-pro (see attached image)

And, like I mentioned before, when aperture is brought up as "equivalent", it's usually the dof that's in reference to.

--- "But thanks for the article idea."

Hopefully, you'll provide actual examples that you actually took and not provide with a bunch of random example images from a bunch of sources and act like you have irrefutable truth. If you have to rent the equipment, rent them.

PS: get your filenames in order you don't screw this up, too.

If you are going to be pendantic in your comments, then stop making up stuff. No my article idea is about your inaccuracies.

AN OM System lens at 150mm f/2.8 has a depth of field completely from a 35mm sensor camera with a 300mm f/4 lens. It's utterly different, not even anywhere near f/4. You are wrong yet again, not me.

You should check your facts before making snarky, uninformed comments.

LOL! Oh, really?

"The OM System has double the reach ..."

"Moreover, using these lenses, I find the extra depth of field afforded by the Micro Four Thirds lens an advantage as I can get an entire subject in focus without stopping down the aperture."

Do you know who said those, you did, in regards to FF 300 F4 vs MTF 300 F4 in the "Comparing Like for Like" section. This guy. smh

Yes, exactly what I said. You get more apparent depth of field with Micro Four Thirds. What I am pointing out is that you are incorrect that a 150mm f/2.8 on a Micro Four Thirds gives you the same depth of field as f/4 on a 300mm. It doesn't. Your understanding of depth of field is wrong.

Equivalent lenses have double the reach on MFT.

F/4 on any lens delivers the same amount of light to the sensor. So you will get a faster shutter speed with a f/2.8 lens no matter the system.

The equivalent depth of field for 150mm f/2.8 on MFT on a 300mm lens on a 35mm system is not f/4. That's is where you are entirely wrong. I am not saying it's the equivalent of f/2.8. It's your insistence that it is the same as f/4 that you have made up.

--- ”What I am pointing out is that you are incorrect that a 150mm f/2.8 on a Micro Four Thirds gives you the same depth of field as f/4 on a 300mm. It doesn't."

--- "The equivalent depth of field for 150mm f/2.8 on MFT on a 300mm lens on a 35mm system is not f/4."

Then, what is it, in our opinion? It's hilarious how you keep saying MFT f2.8 <> FF f4, and YET, you provide no actual value. You can continue to be vague.

That is the right question to ask. The answer to it is not opinion but science.

The closest you can get in whole steps for a compatible apparent depth of field of f/5.6, that two steps (being precise, we should use steps as opposed to two stops, which has to do with the measurement of light and the ratio between the aperture and the focal length).

But it is not as simple as that because of several different factors involved. (See attached formula where D = Depth of Field. N = f/number. C = Circle of Confusion. U = Distance to in-focus plane. f =Focal Length) That's for any given sensor. If you compare a 2x crop sensor, which is around (not exactly) 4x smaller in area than a 35mm sensor, you multiply that up accordingly.

That's why I said it's impossible to find a direct comparison. The only vague similarity in your example is the field of view, and even that is not exactly the same, not least because the aspect ratios are different and the MFT sensor gives more height. That is why I chose to compare the two 300mm f/4 lenses because they have the most similar factors.

I giggled reading this. Mr Rackham was right from the start and let you dig yourself a deeper hole. "Next time, exercise some due diligence in your research. I shouldn't have to do your job for you." Ha ha ha. You came out with a lot of bullocks and acidic words and showed ignorance of a topic.

Thanks for the comment, Tessa. Although, I wouldn't put it quite like that.

If we are talking like for like then comparing a 7 year old Canon to the Oly 300/4 (described by numerous bird togs as the sharpest lens they've ever used from any manufacturer) purely on price / weight is a little disingenuous.
Comparing to an uncropped FF 600/4 (and even cropping in to 100%, a comparison I saw recently was to a Sony 400/2.8 and the Oly did very very well) is a fair comparison on reach / dof and price (plus of course you can add the excellent Oly x1.4 or 2.0, the latter better than most 1st tier manufacturers offerings).
So there is a huge weight and price saving to any 400/2.8 or 500 or 600/4.

I'm very much over justifying why I use a particular system or sensor size. I have settled on my preferred camera (and lenses) and there are a number of reasons personal to me why it suits me over other systems. Any mention of my preferred sensor size still attracts negative comments and attempting to explain why it works for me usually gets a response amounting to 'I am right and no matter how many times you try to explain it, I will keep telling you how wrong you are'. It's as if what is perfect for them must be perfect for everyone else too. I don't use MFT sensors and literally have no opinion on people who do prefer them - freedom of choice should be celebrated, not derided.

The amount of incorrect information and half-truths in this article is astounding. (And I write this as an MFT photographer!)

To address just a few points:

- The name "full frame" does not refer to motion picture film (and, by the way, 35mm motion picture film "only" has an APS-C frame size because its frames lie vertically on the film strip), but to the historical difference from "half frame" 35mm film cameras like the original, analog Olympus Pen series.

- No one has ever claimed that f1.4 produces a brighter image on larger sensors. But due to physics, an f1.4 lens lets in four times as much light on an FF sensor as on an MFT sensor; since the FF sensor has four times the surface area, it needs four times as much light to get the same exposure. F-stops are a relative (to film/sensor size), not an absolute, measure of light sensitivity.

- The claim that "although the image quality of contemporary APS-C sensors is good, those produced by the most common manufacturers haven’t had anything like the development seen in 35mm or professional Micro Four Thirds camera systems. Consequently, many of them lack the functionality that camera enthusiasts and professionals seek" - is highly uninformed. The author must be out of touch with recent APS-C sensor and camera developments. Just look at Sony's excellent 26MP sensor in the a6700 and FX30, Fuji's new 40MP sensors, Fuji's stacked CMOS sensor in the XH2s, and generally the quality of all current Fuji X cameras, Sony's latest APS-C cameras, and Canon's R10 and R7. In some use cases, MFT is years behind APS-C, such as tracking autofocus at the level of Sony and Canon, or ultra-compact street photography cameras at the level of the Fuji X-E4, X100V and Ricoh GR3/x (after Panasonic and OM have neglected their old compact GF/GX/Pen segment).

- The alleged current boom of MFT cameras thanks to "cinema cameras made by Black Magic". BM's only currently available MFT camera, the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, is from 2018, has the old sensor of the GH5s, and has been updated with four newer models with APS-C and FF sensors.

- "Cameras with huge pixel counts sound great in theory, but they are limited by the performance of the lenses. Having a high-megapixel camera is no advantage when the lens can’t resolve images with that amount of detail." Actually, this is not really a problem with today's high-megapixel FF cameras if you use modern lenses. To resolve 60 megapixels, an FF lens must have the same optical resolution in line pairs/mm as an MFT lens that is adequate for a 15 megapixel MFT camera. In fact, it's the other way around; you need lenses with high MTF optical resolutions to adequately match MFT camera bodies with 20-24 megapixel sensors. The author of this article creates a straw man argument by instead comparing high megapixel smartphone cameras.

- High-resolution shooting modes are by no means exclusive to MFT, but are also available in other camera systems and sensor sizes, such as the Fuji X-H2, X-T5, Pentax K3 and others (all APS-C), Canon R5, Sony A7R series, Panasonic S1 and S5, and Nikon Z-f. They're also of very limited use, mostly for tripod landscape photography with static subjects.

- "However, if you are struggling to lug that heavy gear around, or need something lighter for traveling, or want something that will fit in your coat pocket, or desire a longer reach from your lenses, or require something that you can take anywhere with you without looking like a member of the paparazzi". This is a cliché based on the old days of Nikon/Canon DSLR full-frame photography. The fact is that (a) many recent APS-C cameras (such as the Ricoh GR and Fuji E/X-T200 series) are now more compact than current MFT cameras; (b) even FF kits can be ultra-compact these days, for example if you use a Sony A7C or Canon RP/R8 and combine it with a prime or compact zoom lens (such as the Sigma 28-70mm/2.8). On the other hand, the latest MFT camera, the Panasonic G9ii, is as bulky as the S5 FF camera, and has size and weight advantages only when using tele zooms...

I love MFT, but articles like this one ultimately do the system a disservice. They read like preaching to the choir with feel-good, but largely misinformed arguments.

"The name "full frame" does not refer to motion picture film...but to the historical difference from "half frame" 35mm film cameras like the original, analog Olympus Pen series

Apparently, I've been around longer than you. Actually, "full-frame" simply meant not cropping the original capture, regardless of the size of the medium on which the original capture was made. The "half-frame" argument is a canard. Nobody ever referred to 35mm format as "full-frame" when speaking of film, because the 120/220 and sheet film shooters would have laughed them out of the photo club.

If you don't believe me, here's a quote from an article from 'Popular Science', December 1965: "Interested in a winsome little shirt-pocket camera that gives you twice as many shots per roll, good-quality photos, easy operation, and other features (depending on the model you select) of a full-frame 35? If so, one of the new half-frame cameras, which are rapidly gaining world-wide popularity, is for you".


I agree that the terminology "full frame" is nonsense, but it has been around in photography (as a distinction between two types of 35mm cameras) a lot longer than digital cameras, and has nothing to do with cine film as the article claims.

"'full frame' is nonsense, but it has been around in photography (as a distinction between two types of 35mm cameras) a lot longer than digital cameras"

No, it hasn't. The term "half-frame" has been around since 1965, but nobody other than PopSci ever referred to 35mm format film cameras as "full-frame". And, "half-frame" was just as wrong then as "full-frame" is now.

Additionally, the historical meaning I cited earlier predates all this nonsense by decades.

Here are more references for the use of "full frame" in analog 35mm film photography:

- Industrial Photography, 1973, in an article on the Konica C35: "The development of the full-frame automated compact camera for the amateur market has triggered a considerable amount of curiosity if not enthusiasm in the professional ranks", https://www.google.com/books/edition/Industrial_Photography/vNAZAQAAMAAJ...

- Minox advertising its 35 EL camera as the "world's smallest and lightest full-frame 35mm camera" in 1977, https://books.google.com/books?id=Do_npyyyhtEC&pg=PA86#v=onepage&q&f=false

- Roger William Hicks, A History of 35mm still camera (book), 1983, p. 96, "The reduction in size of the 35mm full-frame camera that took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s"

- Popular Photography, May 1989, "The use of the term 'full frame' to describe the most common 35mm still-picture format (nominally 24x36mm) harkens back to the mid-1920s" https://books.google.com/books?id=hU8sHSz9ZkYC&pg=PA9

Note that Minox and Hicks both specified "35mm" as the format. "Full-frame" was simply a modifier.

Exactly. All full frame implies is that the entire frame is in use, as opposed to half frame, where only half the frame was used. The size of the frame is irrelevant. A phone camera still uses the full frame of the tiny sensor.

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