My Top 5 Reasons to go Micro 4/3

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Panasonic GX1 14-45mm
Copyright 2012 Robin Whalley

I have done a number of camera club presentations recently and it’s very clear there are a lot of people who really get the concept of Lightweight Photography. I have to say that it’s usually the women who appreciate this most and appear much more accepting of this new approach. Many of the men seem to be stuck in the paradigm of using an SLR for ultimate quality (sorry chaps, but you need to wake up and smell the coffee).

Much of the resistance to the idea of using lightweight equipment is that the quality isn’t there but this is a myth. I easily dispel this by showing some of the prints I have made from Micro 4/3 cameras and asking people to comment. Somehow people seem to equate heavier SLR cameras with quality and distrust anything that is lightweight, even when the evidence is in front of their eyes.

I thought therefore that I would share my top 5 reasons for using Micro 4/3 cameras:

  1. Size – these cameras are much smaller than SLR’s and consequently much more portable. It’s easy to hold and shoot with such a camera only inches from the ground or high above your head. It’s easier to experiment and be creative with these in comparison to using an SLR. Interestingly small also equates to less of a threat in the minds of the public. People tend to ignore me when shooting with a small camera but point an SLR in their direction and they react – something you don’t want.
  2. Weight – these cameras are much easier to carry around so you are more likely to take them places and more importantly use them. It also makes them much less tiring to use which should be reflected in better and more enjoyable photography.
  3. Depth of field – because the sensor size is half that of a full frame camera, the depth of field that can be achieved is greater. Try it out and you will be amazed by how wide the aperture can be and still allow you to achieve a full depth of field in your image. I now regularly shoot at between f/5.6 and f/7.1 and seldom need to stop down beyond f/11.
  4. Quality of image – this is related to the previous point. Not needing to stop the aperture right down helps me avoid diffraction which can lead to soft images. Having a wide aperture keeps lots of light entering the lens, the shutter speed fast and the aperture within the area of best performance. Also it allows me to shoot handheld and still keep the ISO low. All these points add up to great quality in the final image.
  5. Price – I am sure this will change as there is a shift to these cameras, but the cost is generally lower than equivalent SLR kit. At the time of writing I can by a 16Mpixel GX1 for less than £400 which is about the same as an entry level SLR. For around £150 I can buy a 14-45mm lens which is superbly sharp. Then there is the 45mm Olympus prime which is under £300; to get anything like this for the Canon 5D would cost 3 times as much if not more.

There are other benefits to the Micro 4/3 camera but to stop you from dumping all your gear on eBay right now I will stop there. If however you have your own reasons for loving Micro 4/3 that I haven’t covered, why not add a comment to share this.

4 thoughts on “My Top 5 Reasons to go Micro 4/3

    Ferris Tramell said:
    August 10, 2012 at 3:38 am

    I was using Nikon D7000 with 17-55mm and 55-200mm lenses and sometimes took a wide angle lens also. For any outing I started debating which lens to take and I realized that the burden of carrying so much weight is sucking my creative energy particularly I have to suffer from neck and shoulder pain later on. I then started taking pictures by iPhone. While the quality of images are no where near the ones taken with DSLR, I realized that I was more focus on taking more images and felt excited about taking photos again. That made me realize that it’s time for me to move to micro four thirds. The energy I save by carrying less seems to boost my creative energy.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      August 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Yes I had the same experience myself. I’m quite fit and used to carrying a lot of weight but trying to carry a DSLR and a couple of lenses left me wanting to sit down rather than take pictures. I now actually find my LX5 the most fun camera to use. It’s quite liberating to take the weight from around your neck. Welcome to the lightweight club.

    Calos da Silveira said:
    January 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    This reminds me of the time when the only “right” way to photograph landscapes was with an 8×10 negative camera. Along came Rollei, and then Leica. The “right” way to take photographs changed with the Kodak Brownie. It´s the source of a lot of period photos that are still around. I like your vision a lot. It´s why I´ve bought a GX1, because it´s as Annie Leibowitz says: the best camera is the one you carry all the time… Best

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      January 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      I’m pleased you like the approach and that you bought a GX1. It’s a great camera.
      All the best
      Robin

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