From Canon to MFT: “The Truth Behind The Migration” by Mohammad Shafik.



My current MFT family, from left: 40-150R, OMD + 75 f/1.8, 12-50, 45 f/1.8, 25 f/1.4

Hello everyone, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Mohammad Shafik, and I usually go by “mshafik” on the internet. I consider myself as an advanced amateur photographer, i.e. I don’t take photos for a living, I only take them for my own pleasure. I am a co-author in a humble blog called “” created by Mic Ty. I found his blog a few years back when I was learning about lighting, I started commenting and having discussions with Mic, one thing led to another, and I am now Mic’s co-author on the blog. He represents the Nikon camp, and I used to represent the Canon camp, until almost a year ago, when I dumped all my Canon gear and switched to MFT for good.

And this brings us to the topic of this post, I initially sent Ale a couple of posts I’ve written that describe my switch from FF to MFT in full detail (it’s quite an interesting read by the way), but when Ale requested me to write a guest post and introduce myself, I didn’t know what to talk about, especially since the full story is quite long (you’ll notice, I write a lot, and use parentheses a lot, too). So I let the idea form in my head over a few weeks, until I finally came up with this post, which summarizes the main highlights of living with a MFT system after spending a few years using Canon crop and full frame cameras.

For those who like a bit of a nice, long story over a cup of hot chocolate, here are the links:

Part 1- The Truth Behind The Migration

Part 2- A Tale Of Seven Cameras And One Subject

On with the post then, I started learning photography and lighting seriously five years ago, my motive was to have a high quality photo record of my first born, and the Sony T10 P&S wasn’t doing her justice. So I started learning with the then-famous Canon G11, a couple of Canon speedlites (430EX & 580EX) and several lighting modifiers. The resulting pictures were ok, but not as good as I wanted, and since I was in the learning phase, I was getting familiar with DSLRs, lenses, shallow DOF, quick focusing, focus tracking, shutter lag, etc… Once my girl started moving faster than my G11 could lock focus, I dumped the G11 and entered the DSLR world.

My APS-C family, from left: 55-250, 85 f/1.8, 60 f/2.8 Macro, 35 f/2, back: 60D + 15-85

I was biased towards Canon because of the flashes I already had, and because the Canon 550D (T2i for US folk) was just announced and had brilliant image quality. I bought a brand new 550D and three lenses: 18-55 kit, 55-250, 50 f/1.8. Over the time, I replaced the 18-55 with the excellent 15-85, the 50 f/1.8 with the 35 f/2, and later added the 60 Macro and the 85 f/1.8. I was hooked to primes. The quality, the fast aperture and the shallow DOF were addictive. And for some reason, I enjoyed picking just one prime and using it for a full day of photography, it helped me concentrate on the composition instead compared to using a zoom, and I got very familiar to some of the famous focal lengths (FF equivalent: 50mm, 85mm, 100mm & 135mm). During this period, I upgraded to a 60D and added a 580EX II speedlite.

My 5D2 family, top left: 24-105 f/4L, 5D2 + 100L Macro, middle right: 50 f/1.4, bottom: 200 f/2.8L, and a 580 EXII

After feeling very contempt with my system and the resulting images, I was lured in to the full frame world by Mic, and after some resistance, I finally gave in. I sold the 60D and all of the previous lenses, and bought a brand new 5D Mark II, 24-105 f/4 kit, 50 f/1.4, 100L f/2.8 Macro, and the 200L f/2.8. I bought the 5D2 two days after the 5D3 was announced, and I knew I would never pay such money for a camera body, funny how things work out in life. Despite being perfectly happy with the 5D2, I lusted continuously over the 5D3, until it was discounted to $3,500 ($500 saving), and I sold the 5D2 and bought a brand new 5D3! I also replaced the 430EX with the new 600EX-RT. Are you spotting a pattern here?

Size comparison, left: 550D + 60 f/2.8 Macro, right: 5D2 + 100 f/2.8L Macro

During the 4 years of continuous equipment acquisition and upgrades, I never once looked at the full picture, it wasn’t as obvious as I told you here in a couple of paragraphs. I only looked at incremental upgrade costs, and found one reason or another to justify the upgrade. Not only that, I was continuously thinking about a secondary “smaller” camera to complement my FF kit and join me everywhere I went, that’s how I got interested in MFT in the first place.

Some three months after buying the 5D3, I started realizing how deep I was down the rabbit hole. At that stage I suddenly discovered how much heavier and larger the 5D3 was compared to the seemingly small 60D, the lenses have gotten much bigger and heavier, and I was very careful of my expensive 5D3 falling or getting stolen that I had to lug it everywhere and never leave it unattended.

More importantly, I remembered why I bought a DSLR in the first place, I bought one to get better photos of my family growing old and happy together. So did the more expensive, larger camera gear get me better photos? Yes, to some extent, but where the photos two or three times better as suggested by the price difference? No, they were not. Could I get similar results with a smaller and cheaper system? I wondered. The OM-D EM-5 immediately jumped inside my head, I was interested in this camera since the day it was announced, and I was following  with great interest the adventures of Kirk Tuck, Robin Wong and Roger Cicala with small MFT cameras.

12-50 kit lens, macro mode, nice and sharp

Out came the calculator, and I found out that for just the price of my 5D3 body, I could get an OM-D with the 12-50 kit lens, Oly 40-150R, Panaleica 25 f/1.4, Oly 45 f/1.8 and a Sony RX100 and a nice urban looking ThinkTank Retrospective 5 camera bag. WOW, I was shocked at the realization, and once I passed the initial shock, I started weighing in my losses in image quality and DOF.

After checking all the reviews I can find for the camera and the lenses, I found a few RAW files for download, and when I imported them to Lightroom, I was stunned at the quality of the ISO 1600, 3200 and 6400 files, they were better than the 60D, much better in fact, and they handled shadow recovery much more better, without showing the ugly noise patterns Canon users are used to. I was convinced. Next day I started selling all my Canon equipment (body, lenses, flashes, bags, accessories) and ordered the MFT package I mentioned, I added a couple of Wasabi batteries, a couple of small Lowepro Apex bags (one for the OMD with one lens and one for the RX100), a couple of Yongnuo 560EX II flashes and the Olympus FL600R flash (for on-camera TTL bounce flash). I didn’t get the Oly 75 f/1.8 because it was expensive, and I reasoned the 45 would be enough.

This was probably the hardest decision I ever took regarding photography, it was a scary choice for a few reasons. First of all, there is no MFT market in Egypt at all, that means that I would hardly be able to sell any of the MFT equipment I own, unlike the active Canon/Nikon DSLR market, where I could sell or buy gear in a couple of days. The second reason was the shallow DOF difference between FF and MFT, of course I’ve seen a few examples, but I never got a feeling for it until I tried it for myself. And finally, I had no warranty on any of the equipment I’d bought (don’t be shocked, this is normal in Egypt when you buy something from abroad that is not sold locally). That was a huge risk, but it would help me keep my GAS under control, with no easy way to sell my body or lenses, I would be discouraged to keep trying out different camera gear. And gladly everything turned out ok, except for the OM-D’s eye-sensor that doesn’t work, but nevertheless, I was planning to turn it off anyway.

Older daughter, Oly 45 1.8 wide-open, a very quick two lights setup

My expectations for the OM-D and lenses were really high, all the reviews were raving about the high quality of the 25 and 45 lenses, and I have to admit, the system has exceeded my expectations, a lot! Gone were the days of lugging heavy camera bags, gone were the days of finding a suitable focus point to place on my subject’s eye, and this was just the start.

Oly 75 1.8 wide-open, reminds me a lot of the 200L

A lot of people think that the benefit of a MFT system is just size and weight, which is nothing to scoff at, by the way. But there are a lot of arguments and counter-arguments these days about the demise of MFT, especially with the increasing prices of high-end MFT bodies and lenses, compared to very good DSLRs like the Nikon D7100 for example. To each his own, but in my opinion, I see more advantages to MFT than just size and weight when compared to DSLRs, and yes, I know of the DSLR advantages over MFT, but I will come to that later, so here is what I think are the most important advantages of MFT (and the OM-D EM-5 to a certain extent):

  • By far the most understated feature, I am always amazed at how OMD reviews and users don’t mention the auto near-eye detection and focus feature, it is the best feature, ever! It transformed the way I shoot portraits completely, now I never think about moving focus points anymore, I simply compose the picture, and the OMD reliably focuses on the near eye on its own. With more than ten thousand shots now, the success rate is north of 90%, how cool is that?
  • No more fiddling with micro focus adjustments, contrast detection focusing found in MFT cameras is more accurate than phase detection focusing found in DSLRs, and as fast or sometimes faster.
  • No more complaining about the focus points filling a small part of the frame. No more focus and recompose. On the OMD, there are 35 focusing points by default, positioned in a 7×5 matrix filling 90% of the frame apart from the very extreme edges, and the focus point size can be changed by a single button press. Using the smallest size I can move the smaller focusing point into any of 1100 different positions!
  • For some reason most MFT prime lenses are very sharp wide-open, I just checked all the pictures I’ve taken with the 45mm f/1.8, and 70% of the shots are taken wide-open, there is no reason for me to stop-down anymore, unless I need more DOF obviously.
  • And that brings me to shutter speed, another understated advantage. With the smaller sensor, there is no need to stop-down the lens to get adequate depth of field (unlike a FF DSLR with shallow DOF even at f/4), so I can easily shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower light conditions without resorting to high ISO.
  • The EVF shows real-time exposure and color effects, when I shoot in B&W, I see everything in B&W. I find the live histogram, blocked shadows and clipped highlights very useful. The EVF can show horizontal and vertical levels, and most importantly, it plays back the picture in the finder without removing my eye. Of course the Sony DSLTs are embracing the EVF as standard.
  • OMD has the best AWB I have ever seen, even under tungsten lighting, a first for me. Colors are also excellent, even under mixed lighting.
  • 5-axis in body image stabilization works a treat, I find myself shooting at much lower shutter speeds and lower ISOs than I was used to on the 5D3.
  • Noise performance is incredible for such a small sensor, easily as good as current APS-C sensors, and compared to Canon sensors, they have incredible tolerance to shadow recovery.
  • Olympus colors, now I understand where did this phrase come from, I really like the colors I am getting out of this camera, skin tones and white balance are very good.
  • People don’t get intimidated like when I pull out the 5D3 with the 200L and put on the lens hood. And despite only shooting my kids, everyone around me got alert whenever the pointy end passed in front of them.


Mixed lighting with totally different colors, AWB, 25 1.4 wide-open

That said, I find that the future of MFT is brighter than the declining sales numbers suggest, and several of my friends are already selling their DSLRs and getting either a MFT system, a NEX system, or a Samsung NX system.

On the other hand, these are the scenarios where I believe DSLRs are still king:

  • Sports and action: my OMD sucks at tracking any moving subject, no matter how fast or what I do, unlike the DSLRs with their phase detection systems. I sincerely hope the EM-1 changes this.
  • Wildlife and super telephoto lenses: high-end DSLRs are more robust when exposed to the elements, and there are lots of choice in the super telephoto category.
  • High megapixel count: cameras like the D800E with their 36 megapixels are essential to some types of commercial photographers.
  • Really shallow DOF: no way a MFT could match the FF DSLRs regarding extreme shallow DOF, things like full-length subject isolation are considered FF territory.
  • Low noise: FF DSLRs have excellent noise performance at high ISOs, I never thought twice about shooting ISO 3200 on my 5D3, even in day light, it is similar to how I treat ISO 800 on my OMD.
  • Dual memory cards for backup and redundancy.


5D3 + 50 1.4 wide-open, you can’t get this kind of luscious bokeh at these viewing angles with MFT


To be honest, sometimes I miss my 5D cameras. When I see a picture with deliciously shallow DOF, I miss it, when I want to track one of my kids running, I miss it. But once I hold one in my hands and feel how bulky it is, and look through the OVF to find the view shaky with no image stabilization, I am reminded how much I became spoiled with my lovely OMD.

Despite that, I always missed the 200 f/2.8L look on FF, it was my absolute favorite lens on FF, people told me the 75mm f/1.8 is the lens to get to satisfy this need. After a long resistance, I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Oly 75mm f/1.8. I received mine a couple of weeks ago, and I only had one chance to shoot with it. I came back loving every single image, which rarely happens. I spent a long time zooming to 100% on every picture, and getting amazed at how sharp that lens is, seriously, I opened some of my 200L files, and I could not tell which one is sharper, and that is high praise. I can’t wait to shoot more with it, expect a raving review.

Don’t you love the rendering of this lens? Panaleica 25 1.4 @ f/1.8

Back to those DSLRs, do I really miss them? Did my pictures become worse? Did I lose the shallow DOF? The answers are: rarely, no and not really. Have a look at these two posts where I compare similar pictures shot with different cameras:

A Tale of Seven Cameras, And One Subject

Different Cameras & Lenses, Same Point of View

What do you think? When I look back at my images from 5 years ago, I find that since I started using a DSLR and a fast prime lens, most of the images are satisfying and good enough. There is the odd shallow DOF image or well lit image every now and then, but I would say that MFT can do 90% of what my FF cameras did for me, and then some more, that Panaleica renders files in a very attractive way.

V‰sterbron Bridge, Stockholm, 12-50 hand-held, in a moving boat

This has been a long post, and it’s time to draw a conclusion. The moral of the story is that all modern cameras can produce great pictures with good enough lenses, no matter how cheap they are. Moreover, MFT cameras do bring a lot of advantages for both the beginner and professional alike, for those shooting streets or traveling around the world. And with the excellent MFT lens lineup and sensors, competing APS-C mirrorless cameras will take some time to catch up, with all their different lens standards (ex. Sony NEX, Fuji X, Samsung NX and Canon EOS M).

It’s time to say goodbye, I hope you enjoyed this post, and I leave you with some more images and some links to my other MFT posts. Keep the comment coming.

Olympus OM-D: First Impressions & Comments on DOF

Macro Fun @ Home (Olympus 12-50)

Phone Photography, Mirorrless Happiness And The OM-D EM-6

Review: Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux

OM-D, Bits & Pieces

The OM-D Visits Europe – Part 1 (Stockholm)

The OM-D Visits Europe – Part 2 (Poland)

Yongnuo RF-603 + Olympus OM-D


Motorcycle, 45 1.8 @ f/2.8


Manicured Beetle, 12-50


Kids in The Sand, 40-150R @ 89mm


Back Window View, 12-50


Rusty Lock, 40-150R @ 70mm
  • Very interesting articles!

  • lorenzaccio

    Great post. Good luck with all your projects!

    • marilyn

      troll haha

      • lorenzaccio

        Wow, I never cease to be surprised by the low level of some comments, here…

        • Zune

          Chuckle ;-)

  • Any pictures in low light ?

  • Anonymous

    I sense strong gear lust in you :) Wondering when you’ll get bored of EM5 ;) Tongue-in-cheek aside, I’m a Canon FF and mu4/3 user, too. Have an Olympus EPM2, which supposedly shares the same sensor as EM5, but I’m never happy with the raw conversions in lightroom. So my question to you is: How do you process EM5 raws? Lightroom colors haven’t been satisfactory for me. Canon 5D Mark II (with 50L, 85L, 24-40L etc) produces *amazing* results with lightroom processing. I’ve long thought of switching completely to mu4/3, but neither my Panasonic cameras (GF3, GX1) nor Olympus EMP2 (with Pany 25mm or 85 f/1.8) give nearly as good results when it to comes white balance or (neutral yet rich) colors. I love the portability of mu4/3… love the Pany colors in good light… and EPM2 sensor is very impressive for its size.

    • mattschia

      you need to change the default adobe color calibration in lightroom if you wish to have the same color output of canon (or the one you get if you process your file with olympus viewer).. first convert a photo(any)to dng format then download adobe DNG Profile Editor, now open the dng file with it and load a default canon/nikon profile (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.X\Resources\CameraProfiles\Camera).. mke changes if you wish and save it with a different name in C:\Users\*youruser*\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles and you will find it in lightroom the next time

    • Steve

      I’m gonna dump my d7000 for an Olympus ,and your scaring me. With all the tweaking available in LR (I have 4) why can’t you produce good images ?.
      I use serge ramelli’s tecnniques. And this works well too

    • I am not sure I can help with that, since everyone has a different taste in images, however, I have a standard preset that gets applied to every RAW file when they’re imported, and I use auto white balance on the camera 90% of the time.

      Contrast +10, Highlights -10, Blacks -10, Clarity +10, Vibrance +10.

      After that, I tweak images slightly to my liking.

      • neoxcool

        Hi mshafik! Idont thing OMD is your ultimate camera. I bet you would sell all your MFT Gear again when E-mount Full-Frame Nex comes out.

        • NikonShooter

          Sony fanboys are pathetic.

        • Theeky

          I think he will buy the EM-1 asap, just will not change because the colors…

          Right mshafik!?

          • Well, you never know, I have a friend who wants to buy my EM-5 with the 12-50 kit lens, so I am already tempted by the EM-1, but we decided to wait until the EM-1 is fully announced before I decide to sell the EM-5 or not. Here are the list of features that will certainly make me upgrade (in order of importance to me):

            – Same size & weight as EM-5 + hand grip
            – Better continuous focusing
            – Better EVF (same as the EP-5), almost confirmed
            – Better video options (audio levels, mic input, touch focus, focus magnification, etc…)
            – Better image quality
            – Same battery as EM-5 (I have two spares)

            • Theeky

              I believe you will… is a very good update if you don’t care about a bigger grip.
              Sure you should wait for a few reviews too, we don’t know if they have some annoying bug in release (isn’t too unusual).

        • Anonymous

          And why he would be interested in nex ff? Biggest reason why he changed systems was the size advantage of m43. Do you seriously believe nex ff will have compact lenses? Some primes like 35mm or 50mm might be not that big, but when you go to UWA or telephoto difference will be clear

    • bousozoku

      There are settings that you can use for Lightroom to re-work the colour. I’m sure a web search will help.

      I use Phase One Capture One and it works better for me than anything else I’ve tried, even Silkypix.

    • rrr_hhh

      I am in the same situation : 6D and E-M5.

      I’m used to shoot jpegs and raws. And in LR I import them together. So I never cared much for the jpegs. I grew unhappy with the E-M5 colors untill I got the 6D and realized that the culprit was Adobe’s standard color profile. It does a very bad job with Olympus raws, unlike with the Canon where you can mimick the usual Canon picture styles.

      I’m getting much better Olympus colors when using DXO : confronting Olympus jpegs and raws conversion, DXO is much nearer of Olympus colors than LR. Problem is that I’m much better at adjusting tones with LR than with DXO and that LR fits better in my workflow. DXO with its lenses modules is also producing better pictures in matters of sharpness.

      I have got the X-Rite color checker passport in order to create color profiles for my cameras and lenses in LR, but they produce the same results as Adobe’s generic profiles (not too surprising as I learned that Adobe is working with X-Rite for their color profiles.. Duhhh I will have to change my workflow and learn DXO better.

      Capture one is also better than LR.

      • That’s strange, I am very happy with the Olympus colors, some say it has a slight magenta tint, but I like how it turns out for me, using the standard Adobe profile.

    • Theeky

      You need to try Capture One to edit Olympus Raw files, just try and see what it can do!

      (see some tutorials on youtube to know the workspace)


    • antipodean

      Give DXO Optics a try…colour renditions in the defaults are beautiful and the lens corrections are second to none.

    • Dan

      I am also a Canon user who owns an OMD. I love the OMD, but the files don’t come close to my 60d or 6d. I too wanted to switch but I am giving up at this point, even with my 75 1.8 I just can achieve the lovely skin, attractive DOF, color etc I get from my Canon SLRs. This article proves the point: the authors former Canon images are lovely, the OMD pictures look good as well but have a very p&s “look” to them – I suspect no matter how great the m43rds sensor is this will always be a limitation – unfortunate really.

      • rrr_hhh

        It may depends upon which subjects you are shooting mostly and which lenses you own for both system and how big you are printing. After much hesitation I decided to update my olding 5D MK1 to the 6D, but I’m wondering whether it was really worth it : I find the E-M5 results outstanding and don’t see much difference with the 6D. I updated it only because there are no shift lenses available for architecture in the MFT world.

        So no, I don’t agree that the E-M5 is not up to the Canon FF : I got the 6D after the E-M5 and was surprised that the difference wasn’t bigger. Things may be a little different with a Nikon FF using a Sony sensor however.

        • blohum

          I believe you can get an OM>m43 adaptor with shift, I guess it depends on if you need a really wide angle FOV too with the crop factor.

          • rrr_hhh

            I know about it, but for architecture it s quite useless : you can’t find legacy glass that is wide enough : 15/16mm used to be fisheye only and even that would only produce a 30-32mm equivalent.
            You need 24-28mm at least for architecture.

    • Bill R

      I have a Nikon DSLR, Olympus E-P3 and E-M5 and have to say that for a great majority of shots, the out of camera jpeg’s are really fantastic. I shoot raw+jpeg on these cameras and like the fact that I can save time by NOT post processing most of them.

  • Nice story. Being much older than you, I’m 62 now, I jumped directly from film to 4/3 (a mistake) and then, with the arrival of the EP-2, to M4/3. Now I have an OMD EM5 with more or less the same lenses as you, plus the Voightlander 17.5 f0.95 which is my favorite lens. Last week I ordered the 42.5 f0.95. I got tired of large cameras. My main film cameras were a Hasselblad V system with three film backs and three lenses and an 8×10″ view camera with three lenses. After my incursion to 4/3, I started to check with Canon and Nikon for a FF system. After having those systems on hand I realized how heavy and voluminous they are, almost the same as my Hasselblad system. No way, I will not carry around such a weigh I said to myselft, and I decided to buy the EP2, which served me very well until I got the OMD.

    I belong to a group of friend enthusiast photographers, having cameras from the D800, 5D mkIII to iPhones. I’m the only one with a professional printer, an Epson 7880. I have done prints for most of them. The most asked size is 13×19″, and then 17×22″. Very seldom I have made larger prints, up to 24×36″, which is the largest size my printer allows. It is amazing how close are the prints from the OMD to those of the full frame cameras. Up to aproximatelly 20″ wide you can’t tell the difference. As your friends, some of my friends with larger cameras are switching to M4/3 after seeing the print results.

    • Thanks for the nice comments.

  • cosinaphile

    good article ….i use em5 and fuji xe1 both systems serve well

    like the blog too

    cheers from nyc

    • AL

      i have the E-M5 and i’m thinking about getting a XE1. is the image quality from the fuji that mush better than the OMD? what about the AF on the Fuji? the Oly is pretty fast


      • Damn Oly

        Fuji X-E1is a good camera,.for having great sensor,.is better than E-M5 ,but the AF still not comparable against M43 camera,.it need a lots of improvement to match OM-D,.if i have to say even my GF1 Lumix has better AF than X-E1,.but if you shoot landscape is not a problem,.
        for the lens itself,.i think M43 lenses has better option in many ways,.,.AF speed M43 lenses is way , way much better and accuracy compared to XF lenses,.

        in term of sharpness;
        1.4/25mm PL >< 2.5/60 XF macro = Fuji 60 Macro is slightly sharper than,.Oly 45mm MZD,.but the Fuji being a macro lens ,.of course has better resolution,.but for the AF speed,.can not compare to OLympus,.both of them are very sharp at wide open

        for the 18mm fuji,.i have nothing to compare with being the same FOV on the m43,.i mean i don't have the 14mm Lumix

        For the kitlens itself,.i really prefer you to purchased the 18-55mm F2.8-4 Xf,.and forget about the F2/18mm.,.,and also .i have the 14-54 F2.8-3.5 olympus but i didn't had a chance to compared side by side against Fuji,.probably ,.the olympus has slightly sharper but the Af on E-m5 is not good enough for me,.and fuji 18-55 is faster than Oly 14-54 on Em-5,.will see on the new E-M1

        • Damn Oly

          oops i messed up the sharpness comparison, should be

          1.4/25mm PL >< 2.5/60mm macro Fuji,. Fuji has better sharpness for being a macro lens too,.but the AF on 45 Oly,.is far better than Fuji,.

          btw,.Fuji has really promising line of lenses with the Just announced 1.4/23mm XF also the Upcoming 1.2/56mm

          • Damn Oly

            damn,…. what’s happening here,.,.why is it my text is always missing and jumped to another line again,.i ‘m sure that ,.i wrote ,.

            1.4/25 PL>< 2.5/60mm macro

          • Damn Oly

            wow,.is definitely something wrong in here ,.i don’t know what happened,.why is it the text is jumped to the line under ,.,.i already checked before i submitted my comment,.let me do it again,.

            1.4/25 PL >< 1.4/35mm Xf

            • rrr_hhh

              Try wording it differently : you are probably using a character that the editor is nterpreting differently.

            • AL

              That’s funny, i didn’t know if you were drinking and posting :)

              I have doing a lot of video clips lately as well. (Mixing stills with video clips) so i was thinking about a Lumix for better video quality but now i’m thinking that maybe i will stay with the OMD video quality and get something that has better image quality for weddings and family portraits.

              I really do like the MFT lenses though, fast and cheap!

              Thanks again!

      • Al,

        The picture quality is way much better on the Fuji in every way. Handling the Fuji X-E1 is a real joy. The OMD is more a gadget machine. The focus is faster on the OMD but the focus on the X-E1 is also good especially after the latest upgrade. The Fuji and Oly are about the same size but the Fuji feels more solid and has a great menu handling with its Q button. My wife and children liked the OMD because the used the OMD more like a point and shoot camera. If you want better control of dof, print larger, have super crisp pictures, awesome colors, super high and low iso performance etc…. go for the X-e1. If you want a fast point and shoot camera with interchangeable lenses with decent picture quality and also the capability to some more complex settings go for the OMD. Everybody is talking about the lens lineup for M43 but all the other brands have a lot off choise these days. Personally i find the camera’s like the OMD and the upcomming EM1 a bit expensive for what the deliver in picture quality in comparing to the APSC and FF market. M43 camera’s and lenses are getting bigger and bigger but the have reached their limit picture quality wise due to smaller sensor. And this limit is where cheap APSC size camera’s just start off.

        • jan

          “The Fuji and Oly are about the same size but the Fuji feels more solid and has a great menu handling with its Q button”

          That´s funny – for me it´s the other way ´round: Fuji´s X-E1 felt more like a cheap plastic camera in my hands. Too lightweight, no real grip and way less solid then the E-M5.
          I have no experiences with the Q button but I love the Olympus´ “super menu”: One hit on “OK” and you can directly change the most important parameters.

        • CarDusan

          Yap yap yap…been listening to the same ol’ sensor small, sensor sucks, sensor better in FF camera, sensor better in APS camera ,your camera toy with small sensor since my E-1 days. Those talks had more warrant before, but sensor technology caught up so much that it doesn’t matter anymore so please stop.

          That’s like saying 5D classic camera sucks these days because it’s sensor is so inferior (OMD sensor is better in all aspects) which IS NOT TRUE. 5D is still awesome and more then competent camera.

        • CarDusan

          Do you get paid to call m4/3 and OMD point and shoot and bash this system + insist on “negligent” superiority of bigger sensor ?
          I know there is a name of that profession – it’s called being shill.

    • Thanks

  • henrik

    Interesting article indeed.

    I immediately was attracted by the toddler photo with that almost overblown bokeh – only to read that it was done with a FF camera at f1,4, realizing once again that there are some natural limits to m43 and that i would wish for a FF mirrorless (with a very decent lens selection at that).

    I wonder if you would post such articles from people who did not turn towards m43, but turned away from it.

    • Yeah, sometimes I wish I still had the 50 1.4 and the 5D2. I can sing about the benefits of FF all day long, but I decided to sacrifice some benefits for the reasons I mentioned in this post.

      I am wondering how they’re going to make mirrorless FF with fast lenses and keep the size small, I don’t think it’s possible. I was looking on Kirk Tuck’s blog at the Samsung 85 f/1.4 mounted to the NX300, and it was HUGE, and that’s just an APS-C sensor. And on the other hand, the RX1 has a small enough lens. We’ll see.

      • bousozoku

        They’re lucky now to be able to make some smaller lenses for the APS-C sized mirror-less systems. I can’t imagine that the image quality is reasonable. I’m sure they’ll use every technique they can to use smaller lenses but they’ll just end up limiting the maximum aperture to keep things smaller.

      • CarDusan

        You will probably do what I did, although my path was different, destination will probably be the same.

        I shot exclusively 4/3 and then got in m4/3 to try it out (not really happy due to not having nice lenses), and then I got myself a entry FF body with few primes 50 1.8 and 85 1.8 for ISO/DOF when I wanted it.
        I shoot around 80% with EPL5/GH2/EP2 and rest is divided equally between 4/3 and FF.
        So I can see you going for either 5D classic or 5Dmk2 when you find a good deal. It really supplements the m4/3 system instead the other way around.
        My FF choice was D700 due to the great price I got and due to my personal preference to Nikon and superior low light and CAF which is all things my m4/3 (and 4/3 especially) are lacking in.

      • Dima

        Look at very good comparison “X-E1 vs. OM-D E-M5 Part 2: Fuji XF 35mm F1.4 vs. Panasonic 25mm F1.4”

  • AL

    how do you do this? I’ve been looking for this :)

    and the focus point size can be changed by a single button press. Using the smallest size I can move the smaller focusing point into any of 1100 different positions!

    Thanks, great article!


    • I am assuming you already know how to use the magnification in touch screen mode, it will be very easy to do, make sure that on the touch screen you select the maximum magnification (14x), then exit this mode.

      Next, you assign any button to the “Magnify” function through the buttons/dials settings menu, I have assigned it to the red video recording button, once that is done, here’s how to use it.

      In normal stills shooting mode, whether through the back screen or the EVF, pressing the assigned button once will give you the small green focusing box you want, and indeed you can move it to more than 1000 positions using the arrow keys, and if you hold the arrow keys it will jump more quickly instead of moving one pixel at a time. If you want to exit this mode at anytime, you press the ok middle button. And if you press the assigned button again while you see that small green focusing box, it will show you magnified view, that helps you in manual focusing.

      • AL

        I got it, works great. it should really help trying to shoot a bride & groom thru some trees or tall grass etc…

        thanks again!

  • true homer

    Full length subject isolation can now be achieved. I use a sigma 85mm f1.4 with a .70 speed booster and it works like magic. Its manual focus but tue results are amazing.

    • AW

      That sounds good. Have you got a link to a couple of sample photos?

    • Same here, sounds interesting, can you share a few? How’s it doing for size and weight distribution?

  • Pam


    I remember your daughter. I must had visited your blog a while ago when Googling the OM-D EM-1 after I saw the demo video.

    I also dumped my heavy Sony a99 and small NEX system for M43. I picked up an OM-D E-M5 with 14-42mm, 14mm, 25mm, 60mm, FL-300R and FL-600R (all used from Craigslist/eBay) and still have a lot of money left over (total spent so far $1620). I really wanted to stay under $2,000 but I don’t think that will happen since the grip is $210 used and I still need some lens hoods, more batteries, and a tele-zoom lens.

  • Nice write-up Shafik. Youre photgraphic skills improved a lot going from youre first to youre last camera. Liked the pictures from de 5D the most. Youre framing on the OMD looks good but the pictures always seems to look a little bit blurry from this camera especially when you enlarge the pictures. And i was wondering if you could show a picture of youre bag with all you M43 stuff, I think that its still a big bag and that you still have to carry a lot with you just like with youre 5D………

  • teguhsarif (indo)

    i plan to get my first mirrorless this years. have you compare the omd and the new lumix gx7? what’s your opinion please? i love the omd/oly color but not the shape. in the other hand i like the retro style of gx7. i like go everywere as a ‘amateur’, but with ‘a monster’ in my hand so mft is my choice.

    • I am not qualified to tell you about the GX7, especially that I never used a Panasonic MFT camera before, but from reading reviews, I believe the GX7 has better/newer features than the EM-5, except for the image quality, where they’re similar, and the GX7 has an inferior IS system, and the IS doesn’t work in video.

  • Hi there,
    I am Xavier, french pro photographer based in Paris and the world, teacher and freak of photography.
    I could say the same but with Nikon. I wanted to do so close up of ladybugs as I was walking my dogs, but was not for carrying my 60 + D700 ! So i looked at panasonic and bought a GF1 with the 45 Leica/Panasonic lens. Wahoo ! I was blown. So when I learned that the 12-35 and the 35-100 plus the GH3 were available, I took all my nikon gear and switched it to panasonic. Needless to say I am more than satisfied by the results, the weight and ease of use !
    Pana or Oly are the way to go, within a year, they caught up with the best of semi pro camera from nikon and canon.
    My bag weights not even half of what it used to and I have the 7-14, the 12-35, 20, 35-100 and the 100-300 and three bodies, plus flash and grip. Every day, I have with me the double combo GH3 + 12-35 and GH3 and 35-100.
    To tell you the truth, I even sold my Leica M8 gear because I found it too heavy since I have been using the Pana stuff ! (Ok, I keep my M6 and my lux 50)
    I give these two brands no more than 5 years to come up with bodies that will be no longer behind the two leading camera companies. The GH3 is already an amazing camera for both pictures (I only shoot stills) and video, the GX7 looks so promising, the E-M 1 and its pro lenses are going to be killers (especially with the dream lens 40-150 announced which is the equivalent in 24×36 of a 80-300/2.8)
    Canon is not doing well with its M line, Nikon with the 1 series does a bit better, but they have not got the point, the essence of hybrid, mirrorless camera. Oly has been the first, now Pana is its equal !
    Good for them, good for us, we save our money, we save our bones….

  • use to like 43 rumors
  • bousozoku

    It’s good to see an open, unapologetic story about switching to a different format.

    Even though micro Four-Thirds, (or any other mirror-less format) isn’t a final solution, it works for a lot of people.

    • Thanks, exactly my point.

  • JL

    Great text and photos!

    They show two things: How much you have developed as a photographer during the years, and how much less important theh gear nowadays is, if you can use it well.

    Of course FF has some advantages in some situations over (m)FT -format, but usually those can be compensated on way or another. The shallow DOF is one of those – mostly just choosing the background helps with that. Some things you can easily do in PP…

    Even the advantage in nature photography is about a tale: I find that carrying a couple of bodies and lenses from (FF-eqv. in FOW) 18mm to 600 -(800)mm in a single backback is much easier wit this format than in FF-Canon or Nikon system. Of course I’ll lose the f2.8 or something in 400mm-600mm wide open, but I have the 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 with converters – and if I choose to go light, the m. Zuiko 75-300mm lens. Larger DOF in nature is – at least for me – usually an advantage in itself…

    Just sold the E3 – time to change to EM1 or GF7. Or EM5 or EP5.

    • Thank you for the compliment.

  • lone.samurai

    Lovely images M.Shafik.
    The leica nocticeon 42.5 f1.2 will be released soon
    if you’re interesed in more DOF control but we don’t know about it’s closest focusing distance which also plays a huge part and whether or not it’ll render a more shallow background than the 75f1.8 remains to be seen until it’s been tested.
    Loved the image of your son in front of what looks like a mosque. Enjoy your equipment Muhammad.

    • Not only do I like fast aperture, but I like the combined effect of the compression a long focal length does, and a fast aperture as well. I have to say the 75 1.8 has met my expectations until now.

      Thanks for the compliment, that’s my niece, and he’s shot in front of a swimming pool at a club, the white building in the back is the showers/dressing building.

  • Michael Devitt

    Great photos and nice write up, Mohammad. What I have noticed many photographers they have switched from big DSLRs to the mFT system now have complete peace of mind and photography becomes fun again. A liberating approach. I think the mFT hit the very best spot of size and weight of the whole system. The primes are small yet with beautiful rendering. Not to mention special f0.95 lenses from Voigtländer/Cosina if you do not mind more weight and Leica-like experience of operating manual lens ;).

    Admin – thanks for posting this, you should make dedicated section for articles like this in the menu at the top of the site.

    • Delighted you’ve enjoyed the reading. :-)

  • kl

    Sorry able the eye sensor. On that subject I just realise recently there’s a cool way of switching on/off the auto eye proximity sensor by just holding the EVF button without diving into menus.

  • Excellent review. I’m still holding out on the 75 mm but I know I will cave. I hear it’s a beauty! Also, I do lots of sports & I have to say though I’m getting closer to success, it’s still really hard. I think that’s my only gripe, but I’m making it work. I agree 100% that I can’t believe the auto focus points & white balance aren’t praised enough. I’m really missing it in my epl5!

    • If you like long focal lengths, and compressed perspective, then you will cave someday. I will be posting about the 75 1.8 once I’ve used it enough, I like everything about it, but for the first time with MFT, I have a lens that hunts for focus, but that’s just preliminary, I will report back.

      • Yeah, the 75mm will be mine someday I’m sure. Just not sure I can justify it at this exact moment. I love that focal length though!

  • Chad

    Spot on article. I was a omd user with all the lenses that did a full switch to Nikon FX with a bunch of FX lens as well. I can only say I miss the OMD more than I thought I would. There is just so much more ‘heft’ to carry and I don’t believe it’s worth the 10% extra performance. In most cases I couldn’t tell the difference between my omd and fx photos.

    Unless you are a full-time professional that absolutely need the very best in image quality to for client requirements in a studio shoot environment or you have an ego to feel more ‘pro’ by lugging that massive gear, take my word (as a full on user of both systems) you will be more than satisfied with the omd m/43 system than you would with the full-frame.

    The only thing holding me back from switching back to m/43 is not knowing whether this system will continue to be supported and grow as sales have been declining.

    • Chad

      Just want to elaborate when I said ‘studio shoot’ meaning you don’t have to move around too much. In most other scenarios (unless fast moving sport or static tripod landscape stuff) I would recommend that omd setup for pros over using a full-frame. I can not overstate more the benefit of ‘size&weight’.

      To give you an example I am casually paid to shoot day events every now and then and just yesterday I finished a day shoot (with my fx gear) that involved covering people at a festival. This is an annual event which at the same time last year i did the same shoot with my omd. I just compared the 2 set of photos and I want to honestly say there were so much more (and better) photos I captured with my omd. The people that looked into my camera had more natural expressions, and I had much more ‘captured the moment’ type photos. My subjects probably felt less intimidated with the smaller camera (with the big camera you look pro and they feel pressured their picture going to be posted somewhere). It was a full day shoot my arms really got tired as the day went on and often then not I couldn’t be bothered lifting the camera to make that shot unless i really needed to and felt i could get a decent shot. But it is often those unexpected moments that you accidentally capture the money shots (i was missing a lot of those when shooting with the full frame). I felt from the bottom of my heart that if i had my omd i would still be enjoying this event….they was a lot more post cropping and angle balancing I had to do since when your arms get tired you tend to get lazy and don’t frame properly.

      Sorry for the long post but this article hit my nerv as this just happened to me yesterday.

      • I am sad to hear this, and I hope you’ll find what works best for you. Thanks for sharing. In the meanwhile, try and enjoy what you have to the max.

      • CarDusan

        Hey Chad, are you from Okotoks AB, by any chance ?

  • ML

    Very nice post and beautiful pictures ! Those following the rule of (m4)thirds especially.
    There is one important thing you didn’t mention though : FF is still much better with zooms. Indeed, with a f2.8 or even f4 zoom on FF, you still have got quite some DOF control whereas with the expensive f2.8 zooms on m43, the shallow DOF is quite limited. That is definitely a good reason for pros to stay on FF.

    But for an amateur prime shooter, m43 is definitely a nice way to go. I would also love a sort oh fuji x100s with a fast 50 equivalent.

    Btw for me your FF 50 1.4 shot has way too little of the frame in focus : it looks like bokeh is the main subject of this pic, especially with the white thing in the foreground.

    (And don’t take me too seriously, i’m a crappy photographer)

    • Heartily agree, the 5D drove me crazy when I shot a group at f/5.6 and still got the people at the back slightly out of focus.

    • CarDusan

      Im not a fan of shallow DOF…just means that photographer doesn’t know how to incorporate background as a part of composition so they blow it out.

  • alexander

    mshafik job well done – great article +100 ! :-)

  • Thank you @mshafik for the interesting story and inspiring photographs.

    I suspect that your gear acquisition history reflects the psychological evolution of many photographers, who finally come to accept the “good enough” concept. The realization that the optimal compromise (which is of course individual and subjective) is not necessarily the equipment with the best high ISO performance or shallowest DOF is incredibly liberating. Unfortunately, it dawns on you only after you have spent far too much time and money in the rat race. I’m glad you reached peace of mind.

    • Selwyn


    • I like that term, the “good enough” concept. Indeed. :-)

  • Juan

    i stopped reading when the moron tries to tell me the noise is so much better then on a 60D.

    hell i have both cameras and the noise is at best equal.

    • Do you always call names when you dont agree?

    • Theeky

      Well.. someday you will be ready to read the rest I think!

    • Shenkie

      Juan, you’re right about the comparison. But dont give people bad names if you dont agree even if the are not telling the truth. This guy chose a slightly weight advantage over superior picture quality. This is his choise and you dont have te call him a moron. The same applys for al m43 fans who are calling people bad names if they tell the truth about the limitations of the small sensor and overpriced m43 camera’s.

      • CarDusan

        I would imagine he choose superior weight advantage over slight loss of image quality.
        Look at my reply to you above.

      • Anonymous

        Dear Shenkie.
        Ihave to say that you put a lot of efforts to your writings. You’re not talking about overpriced toy camera with tiny sensor only worth you wife and kids… But you stay what you are: a troll, a real one, and your desguise isn’t good enough to hide your aim here: you’re FUDing in each post.
        Go back to your room!

    • Thanks for the polite reply, if that’s your opinion, ok, no one will force you to think other wise.

      However, I have had both, and in fact I was shooting product shots with the 60D of a friend (with the 60 Macro) last week, and my OMD. I was shooting at ISO 800 (shooting small flash, f/13 for a large DOF, and needed a fast recycle time and battery life from the flashes), and the noise was worse than my OMD, not to mention the crazy banding and color blotches that appeared when I pushed the shadows a little in post. But to be fair the 60D has much better highlight recovery.

      Anyway, both are good cameras, and I hope you’re comparing the RAW output from both cameras, not JPEGs.

  • Selwyn

    Great article!, thanks for sharing
    i also need 1 whole year to really let go all my canon gear, as long as I have 2 system, i would rather THINK my 5D has a better picture quality. but after i sell my canon body and only have the omd, i start to push this little camera’s potential and i start to trust and more trust to this little fella. i use PS bridge to edit the RAW and also I shot with Jpeg+RAW, some time the jpeg is just great , some time i need the raw to be tweak. but i have to say I need more time to understand the color and how to edit the RAW of Olympus camera.

    hope this help.

  • James E. Petts

    Interesting article, especially on the often understated advantages of MFT over 35mm sensors.

  • Ivo

    Thanks for nice article recognizable
    Started with oly is1000 and damn I loved the colors and sharpness especially on Fuji Velvia but it was a pain to keep moving subjects in focus.
    Loaned a Nikon slr hated the ergonomics.
    Got a ff canon eos 5e with nice glass wrecking my back, but the ergonomics were good big and heavy so I got a canon eos Ix instead.. but that camera got a Tunisian treatment, aka it went sand bucket inside, so sold it for a Minolta a1 and later a a2 big relief in size and weight and ergonomics but … Autofocus was unreliable at best And I still missed my oly colors and I wanted dust proofing
    Soo oops I did it again ordered a e3 12-60,50-200… And was shocked to see how big and heavy it was, not to mention so so ergonomics
    But my oly colors were back it focused much more reliable and no worries for dust not water…
    Since then I got a xz2 as a secondary camera being completely blown away how far those ps are know. If this thing was weatherproofed it was the ultimate light small travel camera for me.

    Now for the next step going to get an em1 so my 43 kit goes down in size and weight. Still hoping for oly to make a nice sealed superzoom for the 1lens only trips, else it is going to be the 12-60.
    As mentioned before it is all about what is good enough for you and what works for you and not for anybody else

    Those who might for instance want to mount a ff to a telescope in the back of his van to be able to play peeping Tom from a safe parental distance and still be able to drive away fast and lurk at the blown up pictures are free to develop a hernia of course…
    Please admin is there an ip filter option….

  • Dan

    I just ordered a 6d and I am pondering selling my OMD and your pictures prove my point: the larger sensors produce georgeous files. I also miss the nicer controls of my SLR, the OVF, the feel in hand, the consistent operation and focusing and of course the lovely IQ of FF. I really never planned to go back, but the honeymoon with my OMD is wearing off…

    • rrr_hhh

      I own both a 6D and an OM-D but I can’t imagine getting rid of the E-M5 I love it too much. It is able to take so good pictures.

    • And the clack of the shutter, so addictive to hear and feel.

  • > I hope you enjoyed this post

    I did! You went through quite an ordeal, man! I think your focus on family photography helped you find your way.

    Most importantly: lovely images, thanks for posting!

    > Part 2- A Tale Of Seven Cameras And One Subject

    The “ugly street lights” shot is the best one IMO.

    Also, IMO, the thing which sets apart the E-M5 images are not the IQ/etc, but everything else: composition, lighting and overall intimate feeling the scenes give off. Probably the 5D 2/3 were (unexpectedly) too bulky to fit into such tiny personal moments? Or the E-M5 marked the moment when you finally came to age, and realized what is the most important to you? I think it is more of the later.

    > For some reason the MFT prime lenses are sharp wide-open […]

    Welcome to the future, man. :D

    Otherwise, IMO, the shallow DOF is overrated. And needlessly abused. Even fully blurred background is still background and has to be taken into the account. Anecdotal story to me was one 5D2 shot on Canon forums, very highly praised and all, which had in background huge cartoonish profile of a penis made of the blurred street lights. And people, for the model in the foreground, didn’t even payed attention to it! “Blur and forget,” literally. Background, blurred or not, IMO is very very important.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write this reply.

      To answer your question, I believe it is several reasons, my girls have become older, now I use the OMD much more when I’m going anywhere since it takes a very small space, and maybe I am becoming better at selecting the moments and situations where I take my snaps. I try not to come back with more than 10 good pictures of my family from any event.

  • ahbrown73

    A clarification please. You stated that the image stays on in the viewfinder after the shot was taken. I have seen numerous people complain that they can not do that as the playback image always shows first on the lcd (?) screen. How do you do that?

    • There are two sides to this:

      1- Camera displaying the image directly after it was shot.

      Here, when I’m shooting with the EVF (I don’t use the auto-switching sensor, it’s faulty in my camera. I use the switch on the side of the EVF) the image appears directly in the EVF after it’s captured, for as long as you set it to stay on in the menus (I have it at 1 second), and provided that you don’t press the shutter button again.

      2- Pressing the play button to review images.

      Here, it always starts in the LCD, which makes sense. If you want it to appear in the EVF, you’ll have to press the switch on the side.

  • CarDusan

    Are you not understanding what Im saying ?

    Image quality differences are NEGLIBLE.

    Size difference of sensor and therefore systems are HUGE.

    So MODERN FF has a bit better image quality then MODERN m4/3 (for all intents and purpose such as printing up to normal hung-able sizes and 800-1000px posts on facebook/flickr/500px).

    OLDER FF has much more pronounced image quality then OLDER 4/3.

    ALL FF have MUCH BIGGER sensor then ALL 4/3 cameras – pretty physical property, can’t do nothing about it, but it doesn’t change the fact that OMD has better file then 5D.

    • CarDusan

      …It looks like this ^ post is not going to make much sense so I want to shed some light why it was written:

      I was replying to Shenkie’s shilling and trolling, but it looks like the post I was replying was deleted while I writing mine so therefore there wasn’t nothing to reply to and it ended up being a new post by itself.

  • DrDave

    Thanks for the story, and the posts.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but on my monitor your colors and exposure are a bit off in most of the examples, and many don’t use the full dynamic range; quite a few have a magenta shift. I’m just wondering which calibration sensor and software you use for calibrating your monitor, or whether the monitor itself has for example a wide enough contrast range.

    • No offense whatsoever, I am using the Xrite ColorMunki for calibration, and the color looks ok on a few other screens as well, that’s weird. Maybe it’s my processing, but I can’t judge it unless I see what you’re seeing. :-)

  • ck

    Some one needs to start G.L.A. (Gear lust Anonymous)

    I understand fully your reasoning to move from APC to FF (the move to 5D III decision was just lust) to M43. the problem is I can just as easily see you moving from m43 to Sony or Fuji mirrorless FF as $$ and hobbies have no real bottom line. And I agree any DSLR/mirrorless/some P&S will give you great IQ and lens that work as long as you know what you need. The same case has been made for nikon 1 and NEX and I agree hobbyist should not look further than mirrorless unless there is a lens or flash system you need with a different system or just crave an OVF.

    I am in a different boat having been in the industry for almost my entire working life working in portrait studios, events, and product photography started with a 500cm – D70 – D1x – D200 – D2h – D800

    I did find 2 of your point misleading

    “-And that brings me to shutter speed, another understated advantage. With the smaller sensor, there is no need to stop-down the lens to get adequate depth of field (unlike a FF DSLR with shallow DOF even at f/4), so I can easily shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower light conditions without resorting to high ISO.”

    —- If your within the same theoretical sensor, then stopping down to achieve the same DOF and shooting with a higher but equivalent ISO to compensate for the lose of light will yield equivalent results. You are not resorting to using high ISO but using the fact that a larger sensor has more light falling onto it and a higher native analog sharpness to achieve an image that has higher IQ, even at a higher ISO.


    “For some reason most MFT prime lenses are very sharp wide-open, I just checked all the pictures I’ve taken with the 45mm f/1.8, and 70% of the shots are taken wide-open, there is no reason for me to stop-down anymore, unless I need more DOF obviously.”

    —All MFT prime lens are newly developed. I would argue that the newer lens from canon/nikon/sony/everyone have advanced to a point that stopping down for sharpness is a non issue and furthermore stopping down for sharpness was more used as a manual focus crutch (or style). lastly the added native sharpness from larger format sensor will always achieve a higher IQ as they will not need to be enlarged as much for printing. and I know you only need so much and I agree everyone only needs _____ amount until the need or preserved (G.L.A.) need for more.

    There are only 2 advantages to working with mirrorless/EVF that I have been able to find
    -IR/UV work.
    -reduction of flange distance aka Size

    and once Nikon puts out an EVF f-mount DSLR I would think the nex would be relegated to the only travel/non-work.

    Thanks for taking the time to wright the article.

    • Thanks for the insights ck.

      1- Regarding the first point, maybe you misunderstood me, or I am misunderstanding you. Let’s say you’re shooting a close portrait with the 50 1.4 on FF in low light, and you don’t want hair-thin DOF, so you’re going to shoot it at f/4, and let’s assume the ISO is fixed at ISO 200 (bear with me, I feel I get what you want to say), and let’s finally assume the resulting shutter speed is 1/25 sec.

      With MFT, using a 25 1.4 for the same field of view, in order to get the same DOF, I’d stop the lens down to f/2, and let’s keep the ISO fixed at 200, this will give a 2-stops faster shutter speed = 1/100 sec.

      Now here’s what I believe you mean, you’re saying that raising the ISO on the FF to 800 will give you the same shutter speed, and that because the sensor is bigger with larger pixels, it should have the same noise performance and dynamic range, correct?

      I am not sure, it doesn’t work like that for large and small sensors, my 5D2 doesn’t have the same noise performance at ISO 800 as my OMD at ISO 200, maybe if we’re comparing an older MFT sensor, but the newer ones are great.

      2- Yes, I believe newer lenses would be sharper, but it was just something I noticed, none of my Canon 50 f1.4, 50 f1.8, 35 f2, 85 f1.8 were sharp wide-open like the Panaleica 25 f1.4 or the Oly 45 f1.8 and 75 f1.8. There are of course great lenses, especially the macros and the 200L I had.

      As for keeping switching around, I believe I’m done with that, especially that I bought a system that I won’t be able to sell easily, and I would lose some considerable money if I did, so you can say I’m stuck with it for good. On the other hand, I sold my Canons for either what I paid for, slightly more or slightly less, so it was easier for me.

      • ck

        its not the larger pixels, its the physical size of the sensor and the fact that 2x the light is physical falling on to the sensor. This is all theoretical as the same chip is not used for FF as one used by m43 and as all of canons chips are in house the 5DIII and om-d is a bad comparison (even if the native available sharpness is still higher on canon FF as the % needed to enlarge is less). you could look at the D800 and OMD but even that is slightly off. Or there is always the options to crop a FF sensor to the DOF u want but that’s a$s backwards :)

        you say in your piece “I never thought twice about shooting ISO 3200 on my 5D3, even in day light, it is similar to how I treat ISO 800 on my OMD.”

        so even if iso 200 is slightly better on Omd than the 5DIII @ 800 we are talking about such a small margin that having the ability to shot at a lower DOF and higher native sharpness are real advantages compared to the minor extra noise (if its there). Lastly its not the telephotos that short DOF that are hard to find hell you can get nice background with the 1″ sensor, its the wide angles. I used and loved the nikon 24mm f1.4 there is no lens that m43 will ever have like that I think it would be around a 12mm f/.8 or something like that… or even 28mm 1.8 is like a 14mm f/.9

        not to talk u into FF :) as i dont find it to be a huge deal (the VF and the new wide fast Nikon primes are why i moved to FX). I just dont see the huge deal with mirrorless, they all work so don’t worry be happy :)

  • cosinaphile

    hello…hello ….anyone here wanting full frame behavior on a apsc sensor need look no further than the metabones speed-booster … try it it really takes a full frame image circle , its full detail, and out -of -focus rendering and transfers it to an apsc sensor ,with a boost of light 1 stop as a byproduct on the condenser lens

    i use it ,,, it isn’t hype …. read the white paper by cauldwell optical a usa based
    optic firm that created this device …google metabones white paper

    it will blow your mind … try the device … look at the iq and the bokeh its identical to full frame essentially … a 85mm f 1.4 lens on apsc becomes a 91mm f1 lens …. try it ….. its like a frickin religious experience [ and im an atheist!!! ]

    i am cosinaphile on …and i declare this true :)….gospel

  • cosinaphile

    you want pop ? metabones and a 1.4 85mm lens on fuji xe1….. and no i dont own stock
    if thats what your thinking

  • Although I like the pictures, I am not sure what the demonstration is about. That m4/3 can give a suitable bokeh with children and rusty fixtures?

    Where is the photograpic interest? Where is the common human interest? Is there anything to learn except to take more trendy pictures of one own’s children, which will be of moderate interest, if at all, to the next human being?

    Bokeh is just the next consumerist device to isolate your own belongings from the rest of the world. And to sell more stuff, which is the aim of this site, photography long forgotten.

    • Anonymous

      It’s just an article showing that Mr Everybody don’t necessary need a top FF camera to take pleasant pictures of wife and kids, and can acheive nice effects with m43 cam and some good lenses. I may be wrong, but I think it then covers the needs of 99% of potential customers and as such, this article is really informative IMO.

      I think you’re a bit rude talking about the lack of “photographic” or “common human” interest. Maybe you could write an article exposing your work and enlight us (no, your flicker page isn’t an example of “photographic” or “common human” interest).

    • Anonymous

      what a jerk

  • Andy Umbo

    You are correct about a lot of your size assumptions. I was perfectly happy with Nikon’s APS-C cameras, except they never made primes specific to the format, so I’m lugging a lot of heavy duty stuff around, and a lot of the lens coverage gets wasted. I’ve started experimenting with M4/3rd’s precisely because they have a lot of ‘sized right’ primes for the format, and I use a lot of primes, and it allows you to shoot the 4:3 format, as well as square, and I hate the 35mm aspect format, totally unusable.

    I’ve been a 40 year pro, and did all my work prior to digital on 120 and sheet film cameras, the only people shooting the 35mm SLR were my local newspaper guys, all other pros never used that format. Since going digital, I don’t think any of the stuff emulates film very well, but M4/3rds gets close. Unless you can afford the 16 bit color of the $50,000 120 DSLR based cameras, then anything small with less color bit depth is all the same. I’ve shot double page spreads on 12 megapixel 12 bit, so the 16 megapixel in a smaller camera size is just a ‘plus’ for me…

  • Anonymous

    So what’s the big deal?

    I shifted from Canon to MFT too, that was around 2009… but I didn’t make some Life of Pi-ish article on the net.

  • Mahmoud Ali

    Well, I now remember our talk last year when I bought the bag and lens from u, I thought u wont like the 4/3 after the 5D mk3, seems I was wrong!
    The more important is that I am thinking to switch to the same path..but still I’m in the investigation phase!
    Nice article ;)

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