Does Micro Four Thirds cut the Mustard for Fashion Photography?

Colorful Asian Model

What Does a Professional Fashion Photographer Think?

Watch Fashion Photographer ‘Joe Edelman’ talk about his experience with M43s

It’s pointless to discuss DSLRs and M43 cameras as one being better than the other because they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Mirrorless M43 cameras have the edge over DSLRs when it comes to fast autofocus and more focus points that are also easier to access.

DSLRs are bulky and heavy, but in low-light conditions, such as at a night-time concert, there is no substitute for a full-frame camera.

Fashion is one photography niche that is notorious for throwing up any number of challenges during a shoot, but does the M43 format have what it takes to create outstanding images worthy of your portfolio? Let’s find out.

Auto Focus Advantages

A good quality M43 camera can provide fast autofocus. With the ability to quickly lock onto the face with Face Detection AF, the photographer will spend less time making sure the face is sharp – a valuable feature if you specialize in portrait shots.

Fast AF also comes into its own if you are capturing fast-moving models, such as what happens on the catwalk. With image stabilization, you will also find that you can leave the tripod in the van.

The creative process can flow unhindered because you don’t have a bulky tripod to slow you down.

A Handy View Finder

Finding the perfect focus point can be tricky and limiting on a DSLR, but most M43s include the ability to change your focus point simply by tapping the relevant area on the screen.

If you need to focus on the eyes, then a quick tap will quickly bring them up as the focal point without interrupting your creative flow.

Finding the right creative look for your image is also much more satisfying on an M43 camera. You get instant feedback via the electronic viewfinder, which processes the image on the fly according to the settings you select.

This feature can be a huge timesaver as you instantly get to see what works and what doesn’t, without having to review the image after you have taken the shot and possibly trying again.

Lots of Choices in Lenses

Choice in the lens is an essential consideration for the fashion photographer, with many professionals stating that it may even be more important than the selection of the camera body.

It’s a good argument when you consider that a lens will have a working life many times that of the typical camera.

PRO lenses from Olympus are a firm favorite for photographers using the M43 format as they help to achieve the crisp perfection which is so crucial to every successful fashion shoot.

The best lenses from Olympus include the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.2, M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8, and the fantastic M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8.

M.Zuiko 45mm f1.2
M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8
M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8

Panasonic also offers some stellar portrait lenses such as the Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 and Lumix 42.5mm f1.7.

Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2
Lumix 42.5mm f1.7

And let’s not forget the impressive manual focus Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f0.95.

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f0.95

The M43 standard has matured, and there are now just as many options for lenses as there are in the DSLR category, so making the switch will not mean you need to make a significant compromise.

Choose a Camera for Your Needs

The Micro 4/3s format has come a long way in recent years, with minimal sacrifices to be made when deciding to leave your heavy DSLR gear at home.

However, an M43 mirrorless will not suit every occasion, so it’s essential you go to the studio with the correct equipment.

In slightly less challenging conditions an M43 will be more than capable, and even produce comparable results to high-end DSLRs.

In the right hands, the latest M43s can excel in low-light conditions, but the image stabilization may struggle with moving targets at slower shutter speeds if you are (as you should be) trying to keep ISO low for cleaner images.

Using an advanced lighting system in (or out of) the studio, should ensure that you will have complete control of the image quality.

Video Capture

Tinkering with depth-of-field on a DSLR during video capture requires experience and dedication, but many camera models in the M43 range make it a walk in the park.

Selective focus is relatively easy on a still photograph, but M43 cameras now make it possible for the creative photographer to experiment with depth-of-field even during video capture.

Best Travel Cameras

In a nutshell, if your fashion shoot is going to take place in reasonable to good lighting conditions and you need fast autofocus, high-quality video capture, and want to travel light then an M43 camera may be the right choice.

In any event, there is no doubt that the latest batch of M43 cameras is more than up to the task of producing incredible imagery.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling and photography. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of Micro Four Thirds photography. Discover the advantages of carrying a small yet powerful camera system.

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