Micro Four-Thirds Wins

Two months ago I wrote about our three camera systems:

  • Sony RX-100 compact
  • Micro four-thirds system
  • APS-C dSLR

In that article I was wondering if three systems are too many and which one to give up. Well, Katja and I have decided that it’s best to keep just a single system, so we gave up two of the above.

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Why Just One System?

Advantages:

  • It’s easier to learn its peculiarities and master its operation
  • Only one set of lenses and accessories to buy
  • Less stuff that lies around and loses value
  • Fewer choices when deciding what equipment to take

Disadvantages:

  • No single system is optimal for all photographic situations
  • Equipment envy when new models are introduced

OK, so a single camera system is nothing for gear-heads (no offense, just a fact). Also if you shoot under very different circumstances — for example travel photography in remote areas and glamor in the studio — a single system will not suit you best.

But since Katja and I deeply believe that photography is all about the images, and since we predominantly engage in travel and street photography, we decided to simplify our lives and go for it.

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But Which System?

The RX-100, as great as it is, cannot serve as a general-purpose system, so the battle was between m4/3 and APS-C dSLR.

Since I don’t want to trigger any equipment discussions, I’ll keep this short and simply say that in our case micro fourth-thirds (with an Olympus E-M5 and a Panasonic G3) won. The smaller size and lighter weight of the system, great image quality, attractive lens choices, superb in-body stabilization of the Olympus E-M5 and E-P5 as well as Nikon’s lack of f/2.8 VR DX zooms were the major factors in our decision.

Deciding to sell the Sony RX-100 was not easy, but in the end we do not need a pocketable camera that often, and a m4/3 body with a single lens is usually small enough for us. Or maybe it was the fact that even though the RX-100 is a compact camera, we still want the best possible results, so we kept optimizing the settings according for each photographic situation, and having two different bodies with two different control interfaces was not ideal.

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Is m4/3 Perfect?

Well, only time will tell… For now we are happy, with two things to keep an eye on:

  • Battery life, especially when traveling to remote areas. We have three spare batteries for each body, so we should be able to shoot without limitations for 3 or 4 days, but maybe we should buy even more spares.
  • Robustness of the lens hoods. I haven’t seen them all, but I’d say that only the hood of the Leica 25/1.4 is rigid and robust enough. All others are too loose and/or mechanically flimsy, so while optically sufficient, they do not offer much physical protection. And they’ll probably get lost within a short time. A silly source of savings for Olympus, especially when they are trying hard to lure serious photographers away from Canon and Nikon.

What’s Next?

Now that the equipment question has been solved we return to our mission: chase the light and photograph our planet and its wonderful people.

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