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The 11 Key Differences Between the Micro 4/3 vs. the DSLR

By Ki Thomas on December 31st 2013

The DSLR has been with us for quite a while now. It’s seen some innovations during its lifetime but for the most part, DSLR’s haven’t changed a great deal. Sensors have advanced, auto focus has gotten better and, of course, video was introduced in 2008 with the Nikon D90 –  the same year that Olympus and Panasonic introduced the Micro Four Thirds format.

Sony has pushed the envelope somewhat with their translucent mirror technology, creating quite a unique product, but its fundamentally the same design with slightly different technology under the hood.

Micro Four Thirds (m43 from here on) is a relatively new format, but has been at the absolute forefront of technology since it’s introduction and has carved its way through a seemingly impossible road to become a format that many consider equal to, and in some cases, better than the standard DSLR.

[REWIND: What Camera Should I Buy? The Ultimate Camera Purchasing Guide]

Let’s take a look below at some of the main differences between DSLR’s and Micro Four Third system cameras, and some of the main advantages and disadvantages for both.

1. Viewfinders

Some people swear by an optical viewfinder, the type found in a traditional DSLR, like the Canon 5D and the Nikon D800, whilst others enjoy the instant feedback from a EVF or electronic viewfinder. I have no doubt that the optical view finder will become the niche as technology creates better EVF’s with faster refresh rates and higher dynamic range. Some cameras even have both. As with optical viewfinders, not all EVF’s are built equal. The viewfinder found in cameras like the Sony A99 and Olympus OM-D EM-1, for example, are truly fantastic and are actually converting people from optical to electronic. They are that good.


Top of the range EVF’s allow you to see things that the naked eye simply can’t. You can see into the dark. When you make adjustments to your camera settings, you can see them in real time, through the viewfinder. You can choose to have overlays on so you can see your histogram, amongst other things, whilst taking your photos. You can also see the picture immediately after taking it without taking your eye away from the camera. Great on sunny days. If you’re a fan of manual focusing, an EVF is your best friend too, as it allows you to magnify your view and very clearly see what you’re focusing on, all in real time.

fuji_vfAn optical viewfinder is very organic, it has a natural, familiar feel for some. An optical viewfinder on a full frame camera like the Nikon D800 gives you a 100% field of view and a much nicer experience than some entry level DSLRs. Some of these can feel like you’re looking through a tunnel sometimes. By their very nature, optical view finders cannot display the amount of information an EVF can, which you may prefer, but at least you can turn it off on an EVF. You cannot turn it on or off with an optical view finder.

2. Auto Focus

This used to be one of the biggest differences between a traditional DSLR and m43 system cameras, but it’s not as big as you might think anymore. A DSLR uses ‘Phase Detect Auto Focus’ whereas the latest m43 and mirror-less cameras are now using a combination of Phase Detect and Contrast Detect auto focus.

  • Phase-detect Autofocus uses a dedicated sensor that splits the light into two images and focuses them until the two images come together on the focus sensor. This sensor then measures how far apart the two images are, knows which direction to focus and is faster than contrast-detect auto focus.
  • Contrast-detect Autofocus uses the actual image sensor and tells the camera to keep changing focus until the contrast from one pixel to the next is the highest possible. The camera doesn’t know which way to focus, so it is generally slower and not well-suited for action photography, when the subject is moving in different directions. Contrast-detect can be more accurate than phase-detect, just a bit slower generally.

With cameras like the Olympus OM-D EM-1, Panasonic GX7 and Fuji XE-2, you now get a combination of both. Each manufacturer implements this in their own way, but it effectively means we are now seeing auto focus on the higher end m43 cameras that can keep up with all but the most demanding of sports. For a professional sports photographer then, a DSLR is probably still the best choice, but there are other elements that also come into play too, portability and size being two of them.

Things like live view and face detect auto focus has generally been more capable on a m43 camera due to the way it uses contrast-detect based auto focus. The recently released Canon 70D DSLR though, put an end to this with it’s dual pixel auto focus system, which actually performs better than most m43 systems. Sony is also very good at live view auto focus due to it’s translucent mirror.

3. Size

Size and weight play a big part in choosing a DSLR or m43 camera. The m43 bodies are considerably smaller than a DSLR of equal quality. Carrying a backup is much less of a chore too, but it’s not just the size of the body but also the lenses. This is where the real differences can mount up. As an example, a 600mm telephoto lens for a DSLR is quite a specialist lens, it’s absolutely huge and takes some extreme dedication to carry around and actually use, requiring a large tripod.

dslr_vs_om-d_sizeOn the flip side, both Olympus and Panasonic make a 300mm zoom which is the equivalent field of view as a 600mm on a full frame DSLR and you can fit this in your lunch box. It still takes proper technique to get the most out of it, but it’s a lens you could take with you anywhere..

You can carry a full selection of lenses and several m43 bodies in a very small bag, light weight and hassle free. Even if you buy a smaller APS-C size DSLR like the Canon Rebel line or Nikon D3200, for example, the lenses are still considerably larger and you are not gaining anything in image quality until you step up to a full frame sensor. If you do a lot of travel, a m43 system could fit the bill perfectly.

lens_comparison4. Lenses

Many consider the selection of lenses available for the m43 system to be among the very finest. From manual prime lenses to f2.8 pro zooms and everything in between, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something suitable.

Fast prime lenses are small and light weight for m43. Fast prime lenses for DSLR’s of equal quality are not light and are generally more expensive. However, they both produce fantastic images in the right hands. Let’s take a quick look at a typical prime lens kit a professional might use and the cost involved below (all prices are approx. and subject to change):


5. Cost

As you can see above there is a considerable difference in cost between the two systems, but very little difference in actual real world use. If you are shooting with a top of the range full frame DSLR with the lenses above for commercial clients and print in large formats, then you may see an advantage.

gh3_with_12-35_lensThe image here was taken in Paris with the Panasonic GH3 and the 12-35mm f2.8 lens. I’ve processed it in Lightroom and the results are not lacking in my view. Plenty of dynamic range to pull out the highlights and shadows. This was not a HDR image. The point I’m making is: you might not need to spend thousands to get the results you need, especially with some good post processing.

6. Weight

Being able to carry your kit with you and hardly notice is a big thing. It can allow you to feel more free, this generally leads to a happier shooting experience, which will likely mean better photos. Your happiness will shine through your images and you will attract more opportunities into your life that allow you to make better photos. Lugging around 15kgs (around 33lbs) of kit is not much fun. Especially, if you don’t need to.

Looking at the above dream kit for your full frame DSLR, how many of you can honestly say that you’d have it with you on a daily basis? I can’t tell you how many shots I’ve missed in the past because my kit was in the bag, tucked up safely until my next ‘big’ gig. If it’s smaller and lighter, I find it’s more likely to be with me, ready to use.

I find friends and family enjoy using a m43’s camera a bit more too. People I wouldn’t consider photographers have a much easier time with m43 cameras as they are simply easier to use. They are not as intimidating either, I’ve actually got some photos of me with the kids rather than ten thousand of my wife with the kids.

Things like eye and face detection actually help on some occasions. For people less familiar with certain techniques, these can prove to work well. At this moment in time, the majority of traditional DSLR’s cannot do effective face detect as they do not have contrast-based auto focus.

7. Sensors

Sensor size and the impact it has on your images can vary a great deal. A full frame sensor is based off of the 35mm film days, APS-C has a crop factor of 1.6 and m43 sensors have a crop factor of 2, when compared to full frame.

The image below shows the different sensor sizes:

sensor_sizesThe sensor also affects your field of view and focal length. These days, full frame 35mm sensors are considered the standard that all other sensor sizes are compared to, simply because it’s the familiar size from the 35mm film days and has been with us for many years. Lenses designed originally for this field of view don’t have a crop factor.

So, when looking at a m43 sensor we generally compare it to a full frame 35mm sensor, which equates to focal length and depth of field being multiplied by two. If this sounds a bit confusing, it’s actually quite simple when you break it down.

As an example, take a 25mm f1.4 lens like the Panasonic/Leica option. It lets in the same amount of light as a f1.4 lens on a full frame body. This never changes, but the sensor is two times smaller. The focal length and aperture are also multiplied by two, effectively giving you, what looks like a 50mm f2.8 lens when compared to a full frame camera.

You may also notice a bit more dynamic range with a larger sensor, but this isn’t always the case – as demonstrated in the above Paris shot. Would the picture have looked better if I had taken it with a Nikon D800 and 24-70mm? Maybe would it be noticeable, probably not, unless you are printing a massive size or zooming in 300%.

8. Depth of Field

A m43 camera gives you less depth of field at the same focal lengths when compared to a 35mm sensor, less ‘bokeh’ or out of focus backgrounds. But how much ‘bokeh’ do we really need? Most studio portraits are shot between f5.6 and f8, that would be f2.8 or f4 on your m43 camera allowing you to have smaller, less powerful strobes. Depending on what/how you shoot this has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The below shot was taken with a Panasonic GH3, 12-35 f2.8 at 35mm and has plenty of ‘bokeh’.

On a m43 camera you can stay at f1.8, letting a load of light in, but still get your subjects face in focus rather than just their eye lashes. This allows for a faster shutter speed and/or lower ISO’s. If you take a landscape photo, you can be at f8 instead of f16 and see the same results with everything in focus, again letting in a lot more light, keeping the shutter speed higher or using lower ISO settings.

Full frame lenses at f1.2 will give you a very unique look indeed, a look that a lot people love. I enjoy a good dollop of bokeh as much as the next guy, but I’m also aware of how to use it. There is so much more to bokeh than just shooting a full frame camera at f1.2. Focal lengths, composition, subject matter and light all play a big part in this, and each system can achieve the coveted shallow depth of field if you know how these elements work together. The two images below demonstrate more bokeh than you can shake a stick at. The left image was taken with the Olympus EM-5 45mm f1.8 at 1.8 the right one was with the Canon 5D3 and 24-105mm at 105mm and f4.

canon-olym9. Range

It’s huge for both m43 and DSLR systems, you can rest assured that whichever system you choose you will not be wanting for anything. We have already covered lenses above, but you can get flashes, filters, bags, battery grips, tripods, light modifiers and a lot more, all geared specifically towards both systems. For such a young system, relatively speaking, m43’s really do offer the photographer a viable alternative to the DSLR, unlike any other system at the moment, although Fuji is getting close.

You can get excellent cameras in both systems from the budget conscious right through to the professional looking for the best of the best. With new cameras like the Olympus OM-D EM-1 blurring the line between what was once strictly Nikon D4 territory, it’s an exciting time to be a photographer.

 10. Appearance

You look super cool with the latest silver and black retro designed camera, especially when its housed in a vintage look brown leather man bag! Just kidding, but the m43 cameras like the Panasonic GX7 and Olympus EP-5 are very cool cameras to look at, hold and use. They inspire me to shoot more and have a certain feeling about them which is lacking in most larger DSLR’s. I particularly like the Fuji X series cameras like the XE-2, X-Pro 1 and X100s.  Although these are neither a DSLR or a m43 camera, it’s worth mentioning them here as most people will be looking at these alongside the Panasonic and Olympus offerings when looking at this style of camera.

11. Image Quality


These smaller system cameras open up new ways to shoot, they allow you take DSLR quality with you anywhere, with excellent fast prime lenses. They allow you go relatively unnoticed should you wish, but most importantly they deliver the results, they give you image quality that up until recently you could only get with a DSLR!

Where you will notice a difference is in low light. M43 sensors are not the best in low light. They aren’t bad, but a larger sensored DSLR will serve you better if you have to shoot at ISO’s above 1600. Light is 95% of photography though, and I would encourage you to learn how to light your subjects properly and then the high ISO limit becomes less important. olympus_omd-em5_45mm_lens_2Above shot taken with the Olympus OM-D EM-5 and 45mm f1.8 at 1.8. Plenty of dynamic range with this sensor.

Personally, I can see a difference between m43’s and full frame sensors, albeit small sometimes. With the right lenses, my Canon 5D3 has a depth to the picture that I cannot achieve with any m43 camera to date. It has a 3D like quality and it’s files are much more forgiving. I can push a raw file from my Canon a lot more in post processing should I need to and the new Sony A7r is even better. How important this is to you, depends on the job your shooting. I use each system accordingly.


Ultimately, you can’t really go wrong with either system. They are both capable of producing absolutely stunning results. Much of it boils down to what you are going to use them for.

All you have to do is look at the classic photographs from back in the day. My equipment is more advanced than the cameras they used but the photos they produced are timeless masterpieces that capture so much more than simply pressing the shutter button.

It really is an exciting time to be a photographer.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Ki Thomas is a freelance photographer, filmmaker, graphic designer and writer based in the UK. Ki is known for his approachable, friendly and professional ethos. Specialising in small / start up business promotion, initiating projects and driving companies forward through a successful, sustainable and creative vision.

Link up with Ki via his Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rudra Banerjee

    Can’t reason how this article is published in slrlounge. The title is wrong. You can can differentiate full frame or aps-X with mft; or you can differentiate dslr and mirrorless. But how on earth you differentiate a sensor size to sensor exposure technology? 

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  2. Leeladhar Leeladhar

    is micro 4/3 lens mount is same for all cameras

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    • Rudra Banerjee

      MFT Lens mount is same for all mft camera, i.e.  all Olympus and most of Panasonic. 

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  3. Caleb White

    Enter the Full Frame E-mount. haha have an a6300 and original A7. Still, I’d love a GH5 for video!

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  4. Nick Whetstone

    m43 image quality is OK but the ‘look’ is not as pleasing as many APS-C cameras. m43 pictures always look a little ‘dull’ to me.

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  5. Fred Hip

    I rarely print smaller than 16×20 …. the 4/3rds just doesn’t cut it.

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  6. Cielito Lindo Productions

    Hi, I’ve been shooting now quite a while with the Micro Four Thirds standard (Panasonic DMC-G5 and several lenses) and I have to say that I like it pretty much.

    You can visit my page to see some of my pictures:


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  7. r k r g

    Excellent Article !! Am a beginner and same stage to chose m43 or a dslr and not able to decide even now.

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  8. cbe kumar

    Is this statement in this article true?
    “As an example, take a 25mm f1.4 lens like the Panasonic/Leica option. It lets in the same amount of light as a f1.4 lens on a full frame body.”

    The recent “Total light” equivalency folks are saying it also collects only as much as a FF 50 f2.8 ( it impacts total light gathered as well as DOF)? They differentiate between intensity vs total light….

    There seem to folks on both sides of this fence but dpreview has a detailed article on this….with sample photos

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    • Eduardo Bernardes

      You are right,  the information in the article is technically wrong.

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    • Caleb White

      yeah I guess how it actually is, is you get the same concentration of light, so if you were to cut out a m43 size rectangle on a FF sensor with a 1.4 lens on it, then that’s how much light the m43 sensor at 1.4 is getting

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  9. Craig Shipp

    Great writeup for sure. I, too, would have liked to have seen a side-by-side of lenses to create a similar DOF for full-frame vs. m43. For now I’m using my A7r with the 24-70FE F4 lens as my walk-around camera for stills and video. That said, I’m looking at the GH4 with their 12-35 f2.8 lens and I’m tempted.

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  10. Mike

    I enjoy reading these types of articles and the responses. If you want to achieve great bokeh with your MFT system get yourself the Lumix/Leica Nocticron 1.2, 42.5mm (Equiv to 2.4, 85mm in FF). I use it on my Olympus EM-1. It is a good low light performer, which is handy to have as low light performance is the downside to MFT, in my opinion. With this lens I never use higher ISO than 200 for portraits and the pictures are awesome. Not cheap though.

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  11. Henry Ong

    Hi I used to have a Olympus OMD EM5 with a Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, but I have just recently changed to a Canon 6D with a 50mm f1.4…
    I take portraits of my girlfriend and I have noticed that my canon is not as sharp as my Oly. Is it because the depth of field is too shallow that I can’t get her whole face in focus? Most of the time I used f1.4 to f2.8 on my Oly.. what aperture should I use on my canon?

    Am I right to say that with my Olympus I was able to stand at around 1m to 2m distance away from her, but with the Canon I will have to stand much further away to get more depth of field? Would you suggest that I used a smaller aperture? But if I use a smaller aperture, I will need a slower shutter speed or higher ISO which I am trying to avoid (indoor shoot)

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    • Dan


      Canon or any aps-c will never be as sharp as a 4/3 system. They might have better bookeh, but not better sharpness. So, if you want slightly better bookeh, go for aps-c and full frame for more. If you want more sharpness, then go for m4/3.
      The sensor is smaller and has a 4/3 format, for that. It’s optimized for sharpness and of course, for smaller lens and system overall.
      Can’t explain you now, why is that, but maybe the site owner will if he got the time. So basically when you traded Olympus for canon aps-c, you traded sharpness for slightly better bookeh.

      I was reading through this, as I did quite the opposite. I am aiming at m4/3 for their sharpness which, to me, makes more sense, than marginally better bookeh, compared to aps-c. Then it comes the weight and all other factors which clearly favor m4/3.

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  12. Branon

    This is a very useful article. What would be your recommendation between DSLR and M43 at the entry level if size were not an issue? My six year old Nikon D40 needs repair and I am suffering from separation anxiety. At the same time I am seriously thinking of moving to a M43 system and selling off the D40 lenses.

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  13. Martín

    Excelente artículo. Siempre me ha gustado la fotografía, pero no podía adquirir una cámara DSLR. Ahora he comprado una m43, que tienen un precio más accesible y son de buena calidad.

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  14. George

    Great article, once again proved that it’s up to what you have for what you want to accomplish, I started with m43 two years ago, and still very satisfied with the result. Yes, the sensor speed are slow for fast autofocus, but then again, would I want to carry a FF? Maybe not, so I need to adjust my expectations. Hopefully, m43 sensor technology improves over time, and fast autofocus would be improved.

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  15. mckenzy

    An article to supplement yours:

    i feel that the term ‘DSLR’ nowadays is too All-Encompassing, a distinction needs to be made, like say, Professional bodies vs Entry-level (for both body types)

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  16. C. Juhn

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been looking for something to do street photography that’s a little bit more inconspicuous as a 5D Mark III with a 70-200 lens isn’t exactly something that lets you shoot people in their natural environment. The more I read up on it the more I think these cameras are a good fit for me.


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    • Ki Thomas

      Hey Chris, no worries. I’d encourage you to check out the offerings from Fuji too for street photography. The XT-1 looks the biz! :-)


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  17. roy gumpel

    Good facts about this subject basically. though the first thing I read here was false… your mistake in explaining about more or less depth of field with larger/smaller sensor, etc.
    Since you might be writing more of these types of things here I thought I would teach you a worthwhile little thing: It is Not “I should ‘of’ done this or said that”. It is “I should ‘HAVE’ said this or done that. Should Have. Could Have…. not could OF. “I would HAVE gotten more depth of field, etc..”
    for some odd reason(s), this is a wildly common mistake these days…. the internet doesn’t help either..usually.

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  18. Niladri

    Hi, thanx for a very nice an prompt article
    Currently I am using the Canon Sx50 hs. At the time of buying it I was confused because at that price range one entry level Dslr and aps c mirrorless cameras are available from almost all brands. But I thought to sharpen my skills with composition and light a bit before the interchangeable lense cameras.
    I use the camera mostly for travelling purpose and one or two indoor gathering in a year. Could you suggest me a m43 which can give a decent lowlight in the range of 750-800 USD. I am concern about lowlight because I hate to use flash.

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    • George

      Get Lumix DMC-GF5 with Lumix 20mm F/1.7 that’ll do the job!

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  19. Gonzalo

    That was a detailed and unbiased comparison, thanks for that. I have never used FF for photography before, always been using m4/3 and I’m very satisfied with the results you can achieve with this system if you know what you are doing. Both a butcher’s knife and a scalpel can cut, but you would use them differently, wouldn’t you? I have plenty of images in my blog, if you wanna check examples!

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  20. Brandon

    I would have to say that everything depends on a photographer’s needs and what they want to use a camera system to achieve. For me, it’s more for landscape work in both good light and very low light (night photography). Regarding my use, I’ve seen the Canon 7D, 6D, 5DmkIII, and Panasonic GH3 in action. While a person can make anything look good for small web sized images, including even iPhones these days (lol), the 7D and GH3 don’t come anywhere close to the quality of the RAW files from the newer full frame sensors. For others’ shooting needs, maybe they are closer, but based on what I’ve seen myself for my photography needs, it’s not close at all. And technically it shouldn’t be, because I’m often shooting in harsh lighting and lower lighting conditions.

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  21. Arden

    Thank you for your article. It is very helpful. If you could answer this question, I would be so grateful.

    How would these 2 lenses compare in range of view, depth of view and brightness on a Sony nex-6?
    A Canon 50mm 1.8 with an adapter vs. the Carl Zeiss 24mm 1.8 emount lens?

    Thank you.

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  22. sporobolus

    a helpful article, but there are gaps; seems to imply 100% optical viewfinder coverage is a full frame quality, but it’s available on APS as well (e.g. Pentax); the viewfinder advantage for full frame is a brighter image

    in #8 you have stated depth of field backward; on m43 a lens with the same field of view and aperture will have more depth of field than on a camera with larger sensor

    also, i understand the selection of rectilinear ultra wide primes is weak for m43 – is that correct?

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  23. Arden Meyer

    Thanks for your great article. It was very helpful.
    I just bought a Sony nex-6 and am trying to decide if I should buy the Carl Zeiss 24mm1.8 lens to go with it. I have a Canon EF 50mm 1.8 lens. My question is: If I bought an adapter, would the canon lens give me the exact same view (depth of field, focal length, amount of light) as the Carl Zeiss?
    Thanks for your help.

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  24. ovi

    Hi !!
    I am going to buy a nikkon dslr camera. I am beginner. Would you kindly suggest me which nikkon dslr should i buy? Which model is suitable for me and which one also support future upgrade. :)

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    • Ki Thomas

      Hello OVI, thanks for stopping by. It’s quite hard to recommend a camera based on the information you’ve provided. I don’t know anything about what you would like to shoot, your budget or what sort of goals you want to achieve with your photography.

      There are so many good cameras out there. If you want a Nikon DSLR and don’t want full frame I’d recommend the recently released D5300 or possibly the new D3300, just announced. If you want full frame then the D610 might be the way to go.

      Have a good think about what sort of photography you want to do and also what lenses you will need to achieve it. This might play a part in your camera choice too as lenses vary a lot for both APS-C and full frame in both quality and price.

      I hope that helps a little :-)

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  25. John O

    I’ve been considering a m4/3 camera for wildlife photography because of the 2x crop factor, but wanted a few questions answered before making the jump. You’re article has provided a very useful comparison between the two systems and has answered most of my questions. Thanks!

    I was, however, confused about what you said about f-stops. You stated, that with a 25mm f/1.4 for m4/3 cameras, “The focal length and aperture are also multiplied by two, effectively giving you, what looks like a 50mm f2.8 lens when compared to a full frame camera.” However, the aperture of a full-frame lens is not affected when mounted on a crop sensor camera, and the aperture of a lens made for a crop sensor camera does not get doubled either. So, that 25mm f/1.4 lens would effectively be a 50mm f/1.4 when compared to a full frame camera. What do you mean that it looks like a 50mm f/2.8?


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    • Ki Thomas

      Hi John, thanks for the comment. Yes that’s exactly what I mean. It will give a similar appearance as a 50mm 2.8 on full frame when used on m43.

      Obviously nothing actually changes it just looks different as it will be a 25mm lens and not a 50mm lens to get an equivalent field of view.

      All the best.

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  26. Paul Beentjes

    Hello Ki,

    So nice to read your review. Finally someone who looks at the pros and cons of each system without bias.
    I have switched from DSLR to M43 about 4 months ago and the only gripe I have is that I didn’t do it before…
    Still I find it is mostly frowned-on by colleague photographers to pull any non-full frame camera out of your bag. Even while more and more people are convinced to get the tool that suits them most still follow the marketing machine by the big 2 or 3.
    There is a clear problem with the image of MILC’s. This can be seen in camerashops where the full-frames are maketed as professional, the aps-c cameras are mid-level amateurs and everything else can be found in the back of the store. Some camerastores that target the professional users even refuse to sell MILC’s.
    Which is ok I guess because I just love to prove people wrong by showing them the endresult of my “kiddy-camera”. Cracks me up everytime.


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    • Ki Thomas

      Hi Paul, thanks for stopping by.

      It certainly is an interesting subject which seems to divide photographers quite a bit and cause a lot of heated conversations between people.

      I’m a big advocate of picking the right tool for the job, and enjoy using all these wonderful cameras we have available to us. Sometimes a job will call for a particular system sometimes not, it doesn’t matter too much though as long as you get the end result you need, both on a personal level and client level, and enjoy doing so in the process.

      There has never been such a wide variety of awesome cameras and in some ways it’s almost too much, making it harder to simply buy a camera and create with it. Sometimes less is more :-)

      Have a great 2014…! Ki

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  27. J Cortes


    Nice write up . I have the Sony a99 and I love it’s EVF, however it was nice to see a comparison with the smaller 4/3s system. Thanks

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  28. Volker

    To be honest I say your lens price comparison is a joke. Comparing prices of 1.2 with 1.8 glasses, i must point out that i have never seen such misleading information on slrlounge.

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    • Ki Thomas

      Hi VOLKER, I think you may of misunderstood the comparison somewhat.

      The price comparison is simply meant to compare what’s considered the best lenses for each system, not necessarily the equal, which is what most would aspire to get, eventually.

      Obviously you can get cheaper lenses for both systems and you can search around to match the prices more but that’s not what I was trying to point out. If you want the best lenses for each system, respectively, then the prices are very different, as illustrated in the comparison.

      I hope you enjoyed the rest of the article.

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  29. Jeff S.

    The price comparison isn’t valid. You’re comparing f/1.4 lenses on the DSLR to f/1.8 for the 4/3s. If anything you’d want faster glass on the compact system cameras to account for the greater depth of field.

    To me the ideal are cams like the NEX systems that are smaller but still using an APS-C size sensor.

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    • Ki Thomas

      Hey JEFF S.

      Thanks for your comment. The price comparison is simply meant to compare what’s considered the best lenses for each system, not necessarily the equal, which is what most would aspire to get, eventually.

      Obviously you can get cheaper lenses for both systems and you can search around to match the prices more but that’s not what I was trying to point out. If you want the best lenses for each system, respectively, then the prices are very different, as illustrated in the comparison.

      I hope you enjoyed the rest of the article.

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  30. Dan

    This is an excellent article that I found quite helpful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

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    • Ki Thomas

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Dan, really appreciate it. Glad you found it helpful. Happy New Year :-)

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  31. kori08

    Happy New Year Ki Thomas!

    And FINALLY someone letting me see the bokeh difference between m4/3 and bigger sensors. Many others always only say this on paper but always fail to provide clear examples. But your explanation and picture really cleared all my doubts.

    So, from what I’ve observed, m4/3 losses almost 2 full stops of bokeh compared to a full frame sensor? In other words, f/1.8 in m4/3 can only achieve f/4 bokeh in full frame? So a m4/3 user will never going to achieve true f/1.8 bokeh? That’s a bit sad isn’t it…

    What about my APS-C censor i wonder. Do I lose half a stop of bokeh if compared to full frame? One thing for sure I notice there’s a difference in DoF if compared, maybe it’s just my eyes.

    Thank you for the wonderful article, as a person who doesn’t have m4/3 camera, this question surely bugged me for a long time and thank you so much for answering it for me today. Cheers~

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    • Ki Thomas

      Hello KORIO8,

      Thanks for the message and Happy New Year to you too. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and the picture comparisons.

      There are a few manufacturers producing very fast lenses for m43 cameras, but you are still a bit limited with these. Most are only manual focus lenses and are aimed a bit more towards filming / the photographer that likes to take there time.

      SLR Magic is one such company as well as Voigtlander who produce 3 wonderfully fast f.95 lenses, a 17.5mm, a 25mm and a 42.5mm which all equate to an f2 in full frame terms, giving you 35mm, 50mm and an 85mm f2 lenses.

      These will give you plenty of Bokeh and a lovely unique look, however we’re still a bit limited when it comes to fast and wide, such as the Canon / Nikon 24mm 1.4 lenses or the superb Leica 24mm 1.4. These lenses give such a unique look that you simply cannot achieve on m43 systems at present, as far as I’m aware. Even the SLR Magic 12mm T1.6 which is wide and fast only gives you the same look as a 24mm 3.2 on full frame.

      For some reason aps-c size sensors don’t seem to of attracted the same kind of debate with regards to Bokeh. To be honest though a lot of this really isn’t that important to the majority of us. Sometimes we can all get a bit hung up on the details and forget to actually be creative and use what we have to do so.

      Thanks again for the kind comments, it’s really appreciated.

      May 2014 be full of good things for us all :-)

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  32. John L.

    “A m43 camera gives you less depth of field at the same focal lengths when compared to a 35mm sensor…” This is stated incorrectly. A 50mm lens at the same aperture and distance has the same depth of field irrespective of the sensor. However, the coverage is different, requiring a 25mm lens to produce the same coverage on the m43 as on the full frame DSLR. In that case, the depth of field would be GREATER than that of the 50mm.

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    • Ki Thomas

      Thanks for the comment, and for pointing that out. Hopefully most people will get what I was trying to say but your absolutely right and I should of worded it slightly differently to be clear. Sorry about that! Happy New Year to you :-)

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  33. F. Husain

    I think the price comparison is misleading.

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    • Ki Thomas

      Hi and thanks for your comment. The prices are straight from B&H and accurate at the time of publishing this article. Happy New year :-)

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    • kotozafy

      Yes, it is quite misleading because if you take the same aperture from both sides, the price would be quite similar. Just compare a 85mm 1.8 vs 45mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8 vs 25mm 1.8 !

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