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 Post subject: Why you ought to own a Micro Four Thirds camera
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:53 am 
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About fifty years ago, everybody I knew used a Kodak Instamatic camera, except for my Daddy's good looking cousin's rich banker husband. He always had the very best of everything, being as rich as he was, and when he took pictures his camera was silver and looked like a brick, and had knobs on the top, and his photos didn't look like ours. They were much better. I resolved that someday, maybe I'd have a fine camera like his, which he said was a Leica rangefinder.

Now fifty years later, Leica still makes a rangefinder film camera just like that banker used, but it costs something stupid, and the lenses for it are also wildly expensive. Leica makes a digital version of the same rangefinder cameras they've made for almost a century, and it's just as expensive as the film versions.

But the Japanese, have ridden to the rescue of anybody that wants a fine rangefinder type digital camera, for not much money.

This photograph was taken with an Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, the PL-3 model, that's not been made for about five years, and only cost about $150 used, with the kit lens included.

Image

My wife used the same camera to take this picture in a Farmer's Market in St. Louis, and all I did was hand her the PL-3 and show her how to turn it on. The little computer inside the camera set the exposure, computed the range, focused the camera, and she pressed the shutter button.

Image

We own three big DSLR's with big lenses, and if you have the thing with you, they take some mighty fine photographs.

We have smartphones with built in cameras, too, and those cell phone cameras are about as good as any other small compact camera you can buy today.

But, if you want to take excellent photographs with a real camera, with all the controls and gizmos found on a big DSLR, but small and inexpensive, and fun to use, and a camera that you'll actually want to use to take thousands of photographs, you need a Micro Four Thirds camera from either Olympus or Panasonic.

I prefer the Olympus brand, because I'm tight and can buy them used for not much money, but either the Panasonic or the Olympus all take the same Micro Four Thirds lenses, and the Olympus cameras have always had excellent stabilization systems in the camera body, since MFT cameras came out in 2009. The Panasonic cameras are very popular with folks that do lots of video, but my Olympus cameras work fine for video, too.

The top of the line rangefinder style Olympus MFT camera is the Pen F. With two lenses and a flash unit, they cost $1,250 on Amazon.

Image


A reconditioned Olympus OMD-M10 Mk II with one kit lens, only costs $429 from the Olympus web site. It's a little better camera than the OMD-M10 that I use now, but it costs more money, which is the way things work in this old sin cussed world. It will take the same lenses and take virtually same quality photographs as the Pen F rangefinder style flagship model, but the same can be said of the used Olympus cameras, with kit lenses, you can buy on Ebay for only a hundred dollars and up. Olympus makes a two thousand dollar body only OMD-M1 Mk II and a thousand dollar body only OMD M5 Mk II, but they all take the same lenses as the first Olympus MFT camera body that came out in 2009 that costs fifty bucks used on Ebay. The difference in camera bodies is in styling, features, weather proofing, and deeper menus to select more options for shooting. They all take wonderful photographs using the same lenses.

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And as a bonus, if you have some old Nikon or Canon, or other brand of 35mm film camera lying around with a bag full of interchangeable lenses for it, the Micro Four Thirds cameras,,,all of them,,,,can be adapted to take your old film camera lenses using adapters that cost about ten bucks on Ebay. If you have a 50mm lens on the old film camera, that lens on a MFT camera will work like it's a 100mm telephoto. The autofocus won't work with the old lens, but the metering system does, and you can set the aperture manually, focus the camera on the subject, and the camera will select the shutter speed and take your photo. Its a lot of fun, if you like photography. One other reason to buy Olympus MFT is that every single Olympus MFT camera body ever made, has stabilization in the body of the camera so it will work for old lenses, and only the newer Panasonic MFT cameras have the camera body stabilized.

Maybe you think today that your cell phone is good enough for you to take snapshots with.

Or you might have paid a lot of money for some big DSLR you wound up not using and keeping in a drawer.

The only warning that needs be made here, is that Micro Four Thirds cameras are about as addicting as those old smokepole shotguns. Once you try one, you'll likely be hooked.

The good news is that the one that looks the most like a Leica rangefinder, costs less than a Browning CX Crossover whatever they call it this year.:)



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 Post subject: Re: Why you ought to own a Micro Four Thirds camera
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:18 am 
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Thanks for the little essay, Super.

I have two professional photographer friends. Both got rid of their DSLRs and switched to Micro Four Thirds. They still take spectacular photographs. Looks like time for me to search for a nice deal in the used market.


Best-
Vikram


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 Post subject: Re: Why you ought to own a Micro Four Thirds camera
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:02 pm 
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One thing it took me buying several usedl Olympus MFT cameras to figure out on my own, is that when you buy a MFT camera, you are essentially buying a lens holder for a MFT lens. The difference in image quality of the photographs in MFT photography is determined by the quality and "speed" of the lens vastly more than the price or features of the camera body itself.

The very first MFT cameras in 2009 used a 12 megapixel sensor which was capable of making better photographs than the typical computer screen monitor can resolve. And, when your computer uploads any digital photograph to social media, the computer file gets whacked down to a fraction of the original file. This isn't saying the newer 16 and even 20 megapixel sensors in the latest and most expensive MFT cameras aren't better, but the way folks actually view your photographs today, it's extremely difficult to tell the difference between a fifty dollar used 12MP Olympus PL-1 camera body from 2010 and the the latest two thousand dollar Olympus OMD M1 Mark II camera body,,,, using the same lens.

Here's a shot of Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks, using a $100 Olympus telephoto 40-150 lens on an Olympus PL-1 worth about fifty bucks. It would look about the same with the finest new MFT camera made today, if you used the same lens. The Olympus cameras sold in the stores with the 14-42 kit lens, which is approximates an 28-84mm kit lens on a full frame digital camera or an old 35mm film camera. The cheap 40-150 Olympus telephoto approximates those huge 80-300 telephoto lenses that would be on a full frame digital DSLR or old 35mm film camera. One of the biggest reasons to buy a MFT camera is you'll get nearly the same image quality as a much larger DSLR using much smaller lenses you'll actually want to carry around with you.

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Upgrade your camera body from a first generation, cheap MFT camera body like the PL-1 to the latest third generation expensive MFT camera body like the Pen F or OMD M1 MII, and you'll be happier with your new, shinier, slicker, fancier camera, but folks that look at your pictures generally won't see any difference.

Change the lens, to a better, faster lens, and folks start bragging on your pictures a lot more, and you get all puffed up thinking you are some kind of real photographer.

That rich banker relative of mine fifty years ago, had a thirty five or fifty millimeter lens on his Leica rangefinder. While his shiny,silver camera impressed me about as much as his Lincolns with the suicide doors and his graded Superposed shotguns he carried in the trunk, it was those fine, fast lenses he had on that Leica camera body that made his photographs "pop" and look so much better than the ones my parents took on their Kodak Instamatics.

Once you buy a MFT camera body, and the simple recommendation I have is to start on a nice, used Olympus camera body, which one doesn't matter much, I have a pair of second generation two hundred dollar OMD M10 camera bodies and a fifty dollar first generation PL-1, and then buy the Panasonic G 25mm fast prime lens for it. That lens produces the same results as a fifty millimeter lens on an old rangefinder camera, except the depth of field is twice as deep (that's the area that's in sharp focus) and you'll see your subject in sharp focus and the background blurred, which is what makes a photograph "pop" and look better than the ones taken with your cell phone camera.

The Panasonic 25mm MFT lens only costs about $160 new, and it has aperture that opens to f1.7 (that's blazing fast, as fast as the banker's high dollar German Leica lenses were).

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Of course, just like shotguns, once you get the f1.7 Panasonic G 25mm MFT lens, you'll just naturally hanker to buy more fast prime lenses, and fast telephoto lenses, and fast zoom lenses, and fast wide angle lenses, and it's a regular sickness and disease.:)

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