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lørdag 8. november 2014

Micro Four Thirds is Dead....Long Live mFT

mFtf is basically dead for me, and as dead as it had been when i went in to a shop to buy an EPL1, walked out unimpressed and bought an E450 with three lenses on-line.

I am of course impressed  by the OMD range, but I need a weather sealed system and two lenses and that in OMD mFt is a huge investment with all the time the slightly poor trade off between depth of field and size being there. Also there is the fashion-over-ergonomics which is kind of fair  enough if it helps sell bodies, but at the top model really style is not important. How ugly are the D3 and the 5DIII after all?

Olympus have slowed up on selling the compact bodies and rightly so, they can get a far bigger price for the OMD range and people can suffice with their old PEN bodies as 2nd back up or pocket walk around, or buy them pretty cheaply indeed used or old stock. Not that they are much good with that 12mpx chip, but not that they are that bad when compared to the nealy all sub 1000 eurospondoolicdollars compacts.

Until now that is, with two cameras in fact from Panasonic and the related competition from Fuji in particular.
The FZ1000 finally places a reasonable size sensor into a "super zoom" or bridge camera, while the LX100 steals the show for a street camera based on the mFT sensor and a very fast lens.

The lx100 and its sibling the Leica branded Dlux type 109 change the game, big big time for all compact non EVF mFt compacts which are basically dead in the water IMHO for enthusiast buyers.

Interesting with both the LX100 and the FZ1000, Panasonic are stealing a march on not just compacts but also entry and mid level APS-C DSLRs and system cameras. The lenses are faster and better in range than the kit-shit of Canikon land, or most MILCs. The ISO performance is good enough for real photography in disappointing lighting.
The nirvana of shallow depth of field and good bokeh are checked off as if they have reached a mountain top and can take a pause for breath, while the competition look on from their foothills.

The lenses bring into question what the blazes these companies are doing in following the strategy of DSLR and making highly expensive lenses which in DOF / Speed terms are just mid level for APS-C. They have been able to pull off the less-is-more for many years and have ended up painting themselves into a corner, all be that a very nice couple of corners- Panasonic's genius hand played in video and range of cameras, Olympus with their enthusiast and pro appeal with OMD and the retro  style PENs. Nice corners to live in for the here and now, while perhaps the enthusiast market will desert them.

I see that there will be a range of LX hundred series and even a bridge mFT camera in the FZ range. So far it looks like the LX100 is a big seller on Amazon and this is for the same reason I want to buy one - it is a fast lens which can deliver creative depth of field and it is a jacket pocket camera with a view finder. It trumps having to buy a boxy mFT compact and two or three lenses in the mid range.

mFT MILC will still take slightly better technical image quality but the fast lens for under a grand just beat entering the system, and in fact I can see a lot of olympus first and second generation PEN owners dumping their gear to get an LX100, and I can see that people looking for a good long zoom for nerdy-birding could ignore the pixel peepers and plunge into an FZ1000.

Panasonic would be wise to look at doing an mFT version of the lens , to replace the 12/35 video optimised lens and indeed consider creating a range of fast zooms which are compact but sub f3, perhaps with a little less reach such as doing yep a 12/35 but say a 30/100 f2 for portrait and best dof seekers. The genie is out of the bottle, they have achieved a very good lens with only slight compromise which has no relevance to the buyers and intended use of the LX100. The fast lenses from Oly in particular are not all that small, and relative to many APS/C f3.5s they are actually slower due to equivalence.

Why have a kit lens and an mFt for less money and have to spend lots and then change lenses all the time or end up wasting time trying to set up a shot to isolate the subject, when on the LX100 we simply click open the aperture ring and shoot.

For me then, mFT is dead but has a long future in non interchangeable enthusiast compacts.

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