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Is micro four thirds still worth investing into? (from a beginners-ish perspective)

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Before you yell at me for creating a second post with a lot of questions, wait a moment :) . I just want to make sure that I don't make a mistake. 

I am in the market for a new camera system. I was over-ambitious and started with a a7s (because it was shiny and new) which I realised I couldn't really use so I ditched it before the a7sII got announced and am now looking for something cheaper and not as high-end. So to get to the point of my question why I am asking if mft is still worth investing into: 

- I am starting from 0. No body, no lenses or any of that kind. 

- Sony made huge improvements in video. The RX100 family has superb image quality and the inclusion of IBIS and LOG in most of their new cameras clearly show the direction Sony is going. Heck, according to rumors the a6100 (that could come at the end of February) will probably have 4k, IBIS, LOG and more!

- APS-C sensor. I am nowhere close to call myself experienced in the field but I know the math: Bigger image sensor = better quality and low light performance. I would assume that this translates very well into video

- Full frame potential. If I start with a a6100, I could step by step invest into full frame lenses and at some point swap the body with an a4s or whatever exists at that point. For MFT, I would lock myself into the system and would need to ditch my entire equipment if I want to switch. 

 

I have my eyes on the EM5II or GX8 with a combo of 25mm voitgtlander and an oly ultra wide angle lens but at the same time hesitate if I should wait for the a6100 announcement. 

 

So I was wondering about the perspective of the readers here. What do you think the future of m43 will look like? Is the smaller sensor a horse I can bet on or should I wait for sony's new toys? 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I empathise with your dilemma.  Panasonic currently have the best budget 4k options.  (Not sure why you are looking at opymus if one of your priorities is video.) For the record I do not care about 4k video for 4k output.  I care about it for good quality 1080p output.  What we don't know is if panasonic will come out with a 4k camera that doesn't crop. The crop makes native 4/rds lenses narrow.  I also dont like the thought of lenses with large narural distortion that digitally corect.  Maybe that doesnt make sense, but for some reason the idea doesn't sit well with me.  The 12-35 2.8 looks a nice lens but it is expensive.  Is it realy worth it for a system that can only be 2x crop maximum?   I would say at the moment, the best future safe budget system, If you don't mind using manual lenses, is the GH7, cheap speedboster and full frame manual lenses in nikon mount.  That way your lenses are garanteed to be usefull on anything.  My only issue with this setup is that full frame lenses are big. And there dont seem to be any good ultra wide options.

This is the reason that I have been waiting for sony to bring out a 4k apsc mirrorless. But they have been dragging their feet so far. Probably for a few reasons begining in FS.  hopefully I dont have long to wait. and hopefully there wont be a massive crop.  Even though I think panasonic 4k is a cleaner image than sony 4k, Id rather have a compact apsc system for photography.

If cannon eos m had 4k I would have got that long ago because the native lenses are great and fairly cheap. But I doubt they will ever have 4k.  at least not in the next 10 years.  They just wont undermine their cinema line.

Maybe I have just thrown up more questions than answers, but hopefully you will find some use in my post.

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I have a GX8 with 12-35 F2.8 and I love it for the documentary style photography that I do. The combination of sensor stabilisation and optical OIS is fantastic, definitely making this a keeper. I sold my D810 and bought this combo instead, when I realised that my customers did not want 2 metre prints.

MattH is correct about the crop problems for video though. I line the shot up in the view finder and then hate the fact that the image in the viewfinder (and being recorded)  suddenly crops in 4K mode when recording starts. I very often have to reframe.

Like Matt, I use 4K for enhanced 1080 output, but I have a range of manual Nikon glass and a MFT metabones speed booster so I am seriously considering buying a dedicated video cam such as a BMC in the near future.

I am becoming more convinced that hybrid cameras are too compromised - they are either great for photography, and good'ish for video (GX8) or vice versa (GH4). For a beginner, though - they are fine :).

There are fantastic deals for the GH7 in the UK at the moment so this would be a great place to start, but try and buy used lenses in good condition.

Investing in manual glass such as manual Nikors is also a great way of building an investment that can move from camera to camera.

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I have invested in (and locked myself into (although I adapt quite a bit of Nikon/M42/Pentax/MD/FD glass)) the M43 system and can't wait to go APS-C mirrorless. So...

- Full frame potential. If I start with a a6100, I could step by step invest into full frame lenses and at some point swap the body with an a4s or whatever exists at that point. For MFT, I would lock myself into the system and would need to ditch my entire equipment if I want to switch. 

... sound like a solid plan to me! From what I've gathered we'll know more by CP+, http://www.cpplus.jp/en/ Feb 25-28.

Nothing wrong with sticking to M43 either, though. Just. You got to be real sure you want to stick with it. I have 15+ or so lenses native to M43... so switching now is quite tough (even if there's a dumb adapter M4/3 to E-mount, although I wouldn't so much be switching, just when an upgrade is due, not go for the new GH5, but something like the A6100, there's still a place and time to whip out M43 lenses I think (E-M1/BMPCC/Z Camera E1/DJI X5R)).

But I also have a Nikon system, D5300 and was already adapting Nikon mount lenses for the longest time, as well as M42, PK, MD, FD, etc (so, I wouldn't neccessarily be starting E-mount without adapting options). The D5300 was the first time I've gone up from a mirrorless interchangeable lens system with Micro Four Thirds sensor (having started out with the GH2, and later added the BMPCC, E-M1 and GH4). It showed me that APS-C is the way to go for me when it comes to hybrid shooting. Stills are just awesome and overall performance is quite a bit up from M43. Just, a D5300 isn't mirrorless, and being used to liveview from previous experience, an OVF (which also takes away the option to look through a viewfinder shooting video in sunny conditions having a hard time seeing the screen, or just for stabilization purposes bringing it in close to you and cradle it with your hands and keep it against your head for three points of contact) felt like a step in the wrong direction. Also, it just slams the mirror multiple times when you would shoot stills in liveview. Video mode isn't spectacular. The recorded image itself actually is way nice. But it's just a shame you're so limited with it.

Mirrorless APS-C can be found with the NX1... which I would get, eventhough the system is appears dead, if you wanted to spend the money on the body + S lenses. Great image, features, autofocus. Just... it's quite a chunk of money still... and apart from the S lenses there's only a thin not so exciting line-up with no smart adapters of focal reducers. I wouldn't do it unless the price was too good to let it go, which for me, still isn't the case.

Nah. Then mirrorless APS-C concerned we're left with Sony. And with them the only hing I'm not sure with with Sony is the initial (or persistent) bugs and how they handle color. Otherwise, they bring out exciting cameras with awesome features. I like what they've done with the RX10M2, RX100IV, A7RII and A7SII. I'd get the A7RII, but I can't really convince myself it's worth to splurge on. Especially because I care a lot about keeping things compact and travelable. A fullframe sensor would simply be wasted on me, as I wouldn't be too eager to feed it fullframe image circles coming from somewhat bulky lenses most of the time. That's why I initially went with Micro Four Thirds in the first place. But do think APS-C/S35 is where it's at. For hybrid, for the performance, for the aesthetics, which include making it easier to establish a shallow depth of field. And then there's still the option to throw on a focal reducer to get close to that fullframe look. And there's smart adapters for Canon and recently Nikon-compatible as well. So. An A6100 would be it for me. Especially if the rumors are true and it's basicly a mini A7RII.

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Good to hear that I'm not the only one with this struggle. I was also favouring the aps-c option but am in need of a new camera and with all the push backs of the a6100 it is still not 100% sure if it will really come at the end of February. Also I really need a articulating screen and while there were some rumors that the new alpha will have one, most of them didn't mention it. 

What of course makes m43 attractive are all the great lenses. Coming from an a7s, I felt like in a candy store going to the market yesterday. Stuff like the 25mm f/0.95 is really damn impressive. In general, for every need there is already a lens which is sadly not the case with the e-mount. Though of course not sure if that is reason enough to set on a system which could be vastly underpowered against others in video. 

There's of course hope that the em1 will be a battleship and change everything once again, but that is unlikely.

Maybe I will wait for the a6100 after all. 

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I am in the market for a new camera system. I was over-ambitious and started with a a7s (because it was shiny and new) which I realised I couldn't really use so I ditched it

- Sony made huge improvements in video. The RX100 family has superb image quality and the inclusion of IBIS and LOG in most of their new cameras clearly show the direction Sony is going. Heck, according to rumors the a6100 (that could come at the end of February) will probably have 4k, IBIS, LOG and more!

If you sold your a7s because you couldn't use it, it sounds like LOG shouldn't be a feature that really matters to you. 

I use Sony cameras a lot (a7s, a7sii, FS7), and while I love the possibilities they offer (log, great low-light, tons of features), they can be an absolute pain in the ass to use, whether its due to awful menus, poor ergonomics, short battery life, lack of customization, or whatever other weird Sony thing happens to be getting in the way of shooting. Whenever I use my own gear (GH4 + GX7), I always have a really nice shooting experience. Panasonic cameras and easy and enjoyable to use, and that's a big reason why I haven't invested into any Sony gear. I rent it when I need it.

I only own one M43 lens, and that's so I can have a small lens with fast AF when I want to take low-profile stills. Otherwise, with a speedbooster and some moderately fast canon lenses, I'm able to get really good low light performance in most situations. If you use third-party lenses and adapters, then you'll only need to replace the adapters if/when you switch. 

So yes, I think M43 is definitely worth investing into, but it's certainly not the only option. It sounds like you've already got a grasp on the advantages of other systems. The only way you can learn whats best for you is to try all the options out. Renting is a great way to get a lot of experience with different cameras for relatively cheap.

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Don't want to hijack this thread but I'm wondering if experienced MFT users could recommend the best native MFT lenses? 

Like Nick above, I shoot on a GH4 and BMPCC - each with their respective speed booster (Nikon mount in my case) and have only one MFT lens (the 25mm f/1.4 Leica) for stills and small form factor. Because I invested in Nikon mount lenses (prior to the EF Speed Boosters being released), I can't get image stabilisation without using MFT glass. I also quite like the idea of having a "small" lens kit. At the moment I'm thinking:

  • 12-35mm f/2.8 Panny
  • 35-100mm f/2.8 Panny
  • 25mm f/1.4 Leica (already own)
  • 45mm f/1.8 Olympus

As far as I can tell this list is my best option for: 1 all-rounder zoom, 1 long zoom, 1 fast normal prime and one fast portrait prime. I know ideally I'd have wider options for the BMPCC and GH4 in 4K mode, but for that I'll just use my Tokina 11-16mm with Speed Booster. 

I don't want to pay out my nose for the Leica 45mm 1.2 or 15mm 1.4, and I don't think I'd use the Olympus 75mm that often.

Am I missing anything?

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I think m43 lenses are way to expensive for what they are.

I agree. The high-street prices certainly are anyway. However you can almost always get them brand-new with a huge saving from an independent shop on eBay - often half the RRP.

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What I like best about the M43 system is the lenses I've collected...I can get to S35 with a speedbooster xl and 1.3 stops on all my glass for that adapter, and for me S35 is all I'm looking for as I only really shoot video. SLRMagic also makes a lovely set of lenses for the M4/3 system and I'm confident I will never sell my GH2's, so to me they will always be relevant, but if you read the lens thread in the forum, Andy recommended some Nikon and Tokina zooms, (Nikon Mount in my case) that are so exceptional, they are really like owning, in the case of the Nikons, a set of primes ranging from 17 to 200 mm...heavy, but the image is so good....Then of course there's the Sigma 18-35, Anamorphic on the GH4...and old Russian glass you can often buy for higher shipping costs than the lenses themselves. So I find it to be a very flexible system, and in the end, your glass will go with you all the way...rarely the same cameras....

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Don't want to hijack this thread but I'm wondering if experienced MFT users could recommend the best native MFT lenses? 

I normally prefer to use primes, but I am blown away by how good the 12-35 F2.8 is on my GX8. 

I know that there is software correction involved, but I love the size vs performance and the combined stabilisation is really boosting my photography keeper rate because camera shake is all but eliminated.

Like you, Matt, I have a number of AiS primes as well as the fantastic Nikkor 28-70 F2.8. These are all great on the GX8, but it is the 12-35 that stays on there mostly.

I also have a GM1 with the 20mm F1.7 that I carry around with me. Its a bit fiddly to use, but it takes surprisingly good photos and 1080 video for such a small camera.

For serious video, I am thinking of either a BMPC or BMCC as 10 bit 1080 with high DR is all I need at the moment, and I can use my MFT and Nikkors with it.

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If you sold your a7s because you couldn't use it, it sounds like LOG shouldn't be a feature that really matters to you. 

LOG is definitely something that I want to learn to utilise. The advantages sound great when reading it but grading LOG footage in 8bit (especially if you are not good with colors) is a absolute pain in the butt. I ended up chaining LUTs and hoping to achieve something good and eventually escaped to CINE4 which I was quite happy with. 

But the main reason why I sold it was that I just couldn't make it work. I do all of my stuff alone. If I just wanted to frame myself into the picture I had to use the remote app and frame, then exit the remote app, set up my picture profile (that doesn't work inside the remote app) and then shoot (you don't want to know how much battery this workflow eats). I also had it that there were errors during recording or autofocus issues but because noone monitored the screen I didn't see it and lost footage. If I were to buy an external screen and FE lenses I wanted I would had to spend a small fortune on top of the expensive body which just wasn't worth it for me at that time. 

 

I would love to hear more arguments on the pro-MFT side of things. I am sure there must be more people with a MFT lens collection and experience here. 

Investing into adapters and canon / nikon glass also sounds like a good way to go that I didn't think of yet. 

Renting is a great way to get a lot of experience with different cameras for relatively cheap.

? 

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I shoot photo and video professionally and I'm heavily invested in M43. Had the opportunity to go full frame a month or so back but chose to stick with M43 (GH4). Just so dam convenient, compact, amazing battery life, easy menus etc etc. The key is good glass. I'm 100% native glass too (I have everything from wide to Tele and everything in between but the nocticron Basically lives on my gh4. That lens is the key to amazing photos and video on m43 and is the main reason I was convinced to stay with the system!

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I shoot photo and video professionally and I'm heavily invested in M43. Had the opportunity to go full frame a month or so back but chose to stick with M43 (GH4). Just so dam convenient, compact, amazing battery life, easy menus etc etc. The key is good glass. I'm 100% native glass too (I have everything from wide to Tele and everything in between but the nocticron Basically lives on my gh4. That lens is the key to amazing photos and video on m43 and is the main reason I was convinced to stay with the system!

What do you use at the wide end when shooting 4K?

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Can't really go wrong with Olympus glass. They've solid rendering all around their line-up.

I didn't go with Pana's 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS, I actually decided to go E-M1 for stills and then use the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO kitlens (even though the lack of stabilization on GH2/GH4/BMPCC/Z E1). You can get quite stable handheld or just use a mono- or tripod anyways. Then I've added the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO. Not really interested in the 8mm fish-eye or the just announced 300mm tele. But the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO with MC-14 1.4x teleconverter would be a welcome addition and give you 3 flexible zoomrange lenses with consitent qualities throughout. Additionally I have the excellent classic which is the 45mm f/1.8 and last year I finally pulled the trigger on the 75mm f/1.8 ED which I had been eyeballing for the longest time (doesn't get much better than that for portraits). For macro the 60mm f/2.8 ED. Don't have the 12mm f/2 ED, because it used to be priced ridiculously high (they've first brought out a silver version then sold the black version as 'limited edition' :') ), it has come down a fair bit (about 300 EUR), but still didn't go for it. Other lenses would be the 17mm f/1.8 and 25mm f/1.8 of which I've heard good things. But this is a common range in which I have enough alternatives. They've got some pinhole-like body cap lenses, but I wouldn't mess with those.

Nespresso, what else? Well, starting out with the Pana GH2 I had the 14-140mm kit lens. At first I adapted vintage glass in addition (Minolta, Pentax). Then added the must have 14mm f/2.5 and 20mm f/1.7 to have a really minimal set-up. Added the 100-300mm for wildlife (with custom r-roesch.de lens collar). Just. There's something about Panasonic lenses... they're very sharp, which kinda makes it brittle, very contrasty and punchy on the colors. It's a very modern and poppy look... which doesn't really help with the stigma that stuff shot with Panasonics looks like 'video'. Olympus just has that more organic rendering. OIS for primes used to be reserved for the expensive Leica branded lenses... the 45mm f/2.8 OIS Macro-Elmarit and the 42.5mm f/1.2 OIS Nocticron. Recently they've brought out the 30mm f/2.8 OIS Macro and 42.5mm f/1.7 OIS under the Lumix branding and priced them accordingly (that's also why I don't understand people saying M43 lenses are so expensive, they don't have to be at all! And recently I picked up the 25mm f/1.7 for 99 USD only!). They're actually pretty great lenses to have and seem to have lost a bit of that typical Panasonic modern look and render a bit more organic. Seems like they're heading the right way! But... I'm still not really in love with any of Panasonic's offerings. Sure, the 42.5mm f/1.2 is probably quite magical, but I see it go for 1249 EUR right now and there's just no way. It probably should've been priced roughly like the 75mm f/1.8 by Olympus. The pancakes are quite attractive just for their shear size. But other than that, Panasonic is not really all too exciting.

What's exciting? Well, third parties. Just the lens manufacturers. Before Sigma renamed the 19mm, 30mm and 60mm f/2.8 to 'ART', these were availlable as 'EX DN' and actually featured proper grippy focus rings (now it's just one smooth surface). Managed to snap up the 19mm and 30mm for 100 EUR/each. Optically really damn good for the money. Build quality a bit iffy and rattles when powered off, but who cares. Had gotten into SLR Magic. Had seen a shootout here: http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=137:adorable-25s-25mm-f095-speed-lens-comparison-on-lumix-gh3&catid=40:camerasandlenses&Itemid=2 and decided the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 25mm T0.95 had to be the next to get. I don't regret it one bit, it's probably my favourite lens to throw in front of a Micro Four Thirds camera. It's just epic. That's the only SLR Magic I went for so far though. Another Chinese manufacturer is Zhongyi. I have their 24mm f/1.7 and 42.5mm f/1.2 (like the previously discussed Leica DG Nocticron). A good write-up can be found here: http://www.mirrorlessons.com/2014/11/17/the-zy-optics-mitakon-24mm-f1-7-and-42-5mm-f1-2-micro-four-thirds-mount-complete-review/ . Alan Besedin also has an impression on his channel. Basicly these lenses have some really quirky character, reminiscent of vintage lenses. It's a kind of you either hate it or love it situation. But I like it! Recently I've gotten their 25mm f/0.95 in, which fits right in with the other two and is just so damn small! These are not lenses you'd use for their solid politically correct qualities, but for their quirky creative bursts. Not for everyone, but I definitly appreciate it! I guess the only other native mounts are the Veydras, which I jumped on when they were still rather affordable on Kickstarter. I was send the 16mm, 25mm, 35mm and 50mm T2.2 right away, the 12mm took a little longer to get finished. It was a bit of a risk investment, but the risk paid off in the end! Very solid glass and construction, proper cinema primes. Detail rendering is on point and they're solid throughout. Not the most exciting lenses in terms of character, or in the words of Adam Wilt perhaps even 'boring', (solid write-ups: http://provideocoalition.com/awilt/story/first-look-veydra-mini-primes-for-micro-four-thirds & http://noamkroll.com/veydra-mft-cinema-lens-kit-review-rokinon-cine-lens-comparison/ ). But he also states they're basicly 'scaled-down Ultra Primes for micro four thirds cameras' and I can't think of any bigger compliment than that. Good thing now is that the mount is user swappable, which means I can get conversion kits and change the mount myself (to either E-mount (only S35 covering, and the wide lenses will vignette) or C-mount). So, that kinda of makes me excited to get a Sony A6100...

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I decided to go with giving both systems a try. Ordered a used EM5II and looking to pick up a SLR magic 25mm 0.95 (though they are impossible to find here in Japan. Probably need to import from states) to play around with. 

I checked the prices of camera equipment here and am confident that I could get 85-95% of what I spent back when selling again which I am ok with. 

If the a6100 is blowing me away, I will rent that one and then decide which system to use. Going to keep my current lens selection tiny (1-2 native lenses at max) or go with adapters. 

True, the Ultra Contrast is awesome, especially on the voigtländer 0.95 - i regret selling that lens... the combo is plain awesome.

I checked a little on the tiffen filters but couldn't find a good comparison between the contrast levels. I only want to pick up one and would have gone with the 3 or is there a other one that you would recommend me more? 

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