Micro Four Thirds vs. medium format film

Sensor sizes

Ok, this is going to create some discussions here. We often see MFT vs APS-C camera comparisons but nobody every tried this until today: TheOnlinePhotographer (Click here) compared Micro Four Thirds vs. medium format film and the conclusion is:

Image quality is a multidimensional thing, some of which can be quantified and some not. Still, by no measure of image quality does a good Micro 4/3 camera and lens perform more poorly than a good medium format film rig, and by some measures it performs considerably better. My overall subjective evaluation is that the aggregate image quality of Micro 4/3 today, in film terms, falls midway between 6×7 medium format and 4×5-inch large format.
Almost everyone you can find who is still arguing that Micro 4/3 can’t match up to professional film has not done substantial amounts of serious work in both media. I believe the technical term is ‘talking through one’s hat.’

Surprised to read that? Me yes!

Panasonic 100-400mm lens test by Mirrorlessons, Camerastuffreview and Photoreview: “excellent value for money”

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The Australian site Photoreview tested the new Panasonic 100-400mm lens:

Subjective assessment of images taken at other focal lengths implied image sharpness was maintained up to about 250mm, after which it began to tail off a little. However, images were still nice and sharp at 400mm and judicious application of unsharp masking before printing yielded excellent results.

Some people may think AU$2199 is a lot to pay for a fairly specialised lens. However, we feel this lens represents excellent value for money, particularly when compared with similar lenses for DSLR cameras, which weight several kilograms more and cost at least four times the price of Panasonic’s 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 lens.

Mirrorlessons writes:

I’ll say it up-front: the Panasonic 100-400mm really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting the lens to be that sharp at all focal lengths and the fastest apertures. Although I used 300mm and 400mm most of the time for my wildlife photos, I also found it helpful to be able to pull back to 100mm. It can be an excellent choice not only for birds and wildlife but also for outdoor sports and other applications where a long lens is required.

Camerastuffreview writes:

The resolution (in lp/mm) of the Panasonic 100-400 mm is so high that a 24-megapixel camera with a larger sensor takes pictures that aren’t any sharper. You will not be bothered by vignetting and distortion. Thanks to the built-in image stabilization, you have a quiet viewfinder image when you shoot by hand, are less likely to get a motion-blurred shot in low light and get quiet video recordings. The robust construction and the extra sealing against dust and splashwater make this super-telephoto zoom perfectly suited for use under the most extreme conditions. Micro-43 users had to wait a long time for this lens, but it is worth the wait. This is an absolute winner.  

Really a great lens!

Panasonic-Leica 100-400mm preorder links at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, FocusCamera and Panasonic. In EU at Technikdirekt, Cyberport, WexUK. Fotosidan.

Lenses for Micro Four Thirds compared.

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43rumors reader Dave sent me a huge file (download the PDF here) whcih collects all the MTF charts from MFT lenses (Some of the MTF charts are from DxO and ePhotozine). Dave writes:

The object of the exercise is to present the bulk of the Olympus, Panasonic and third party lenses for the Micro Four Thirds (mFT/m43) compact system camera mount in one place, grouping lenses that might be the subject of some comparison prior to purchasing. (You can cut and paste rows if  necessary.) Only lenses native to the m43 system and the prior Four Thirds (FT) mount – which can be used with an official system adapter – are shown. Bear in mind that FT lenses from third parties are usually re-purposed full frame and APS-C sized lenses and as such are often significantly larger and heavier than even their native Four Thirds counterparts, let alone their m43 descendants. The point of considering older FT and compatible lenses really comes down to two features: the fact that some older lenses can be had quite cheap and that lenses designed for a larger format utilise just part of the image circle. This second aspect means that those lenses that typically score poorly when paired with a larger sensor can actually be quite good on the smaller FT sensor *, as the corners and edges are cropped away.
Equally, some of the more modern native mount lenses with large, fast apertures (for example the Voigtlander Hyperprimes) are big and heavy by m43 standards. Other specialist lenses, such as those for cine and special effects are not shown, as I think people wanting those will not really want or need to compare them with standard lenses, nor may sharpness be the starting point for a comparison.

* Note that the FT and mFT sensors are exactly the same size – it is just the flange distance that differs. You can use an older four thirds lens on the newer micro four thirds bodies with an adapter, but not the other way around. However, focussing performance is generally significantly poorer for the older lenses.

Panasonic Lumix TZ100 review by CameraLabs


The new Panasonic TZ100 is not a MFT camera but one of the best fixed lens compacts on marked. CameraLabs posted their TZ100 review and writes

There are 1in class cameras with pocket bodies and brighter lenses, but their zoom range is much shorter, typically 4x or less – for example the Canon G7X, Canon G9X and Sony RX100 IV. There are 1in class cameras with longer zooms, but their bodies are much larger too – for example the Canon G3X or Sony RX10 II. But right now there’s nothing out there which couples a 1in sensor with a 10x zoom in a pocketable body, and impressively also gives you a built-in viewfinder and 4k video.
As of early 2016, there’s nothing to match it if you desire the quality of a 1in sensor with a longish zoom that will fit in your pocket.

TZ100 store links: Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.