Micro Four Thirds cameras are a popular choice among many photographers and for a good reason. They’re compact and lightweight, allowing photographers to carry them easily to their shooting venues. Additionally, they are flexible and produce high-quality images.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a Micro 4/3 camera, this article explains all the details you need to know about them to help you make an informed choice.
What are Micro Four-Thirds Cameras?
Also written as Micro 4/3rds, M4/3, or MFT, are cameras that cover various shooting styles and options. However, the main thing that differentiates them is their sensor size. It is the same in all cameras and is a bit small compared to an APS-C sensor. It measures about ¼ of a full-frame sensor.
These cameras were first manufactured in 2008 by Olympus and Panasonic. These competing brands decided to share the same lens mount, which is uncommon, even if the sensor size is the same. This means that you can use a Panasonic lens on an Olympus body and vice versa.
Therefore, photographers with Micro Four Thirds can use the lens of two different brands, allowing them more lens options. Now, because the sensors are small, it also means that the lenses and camera body are small, which makes the camera great for lightweight shooters.
The compact size together with the various range of options offered by these cameras makes them versatile and great for various photography projects.
What Is the Sensor Size of Micro Four Thirds Cameras?
These cameras use a 4/3 sensor measuring 1.7mm x 13mm. Note that full-frame and APS-C sensors use the ratio 3:2. However, the aspect ratio for this sensor is 4:3.
Now, this can be confusing, since many people think that the bigger the sensor, the better. But that’s not necessarily true. What’s important is the way you use your camera and the object you are shooting.
Most times, photographers will prioritize ease of use over picture quality. That is what the M4/3 caters for. The reason why these cameras were introduced was to replace hefty and expensive camera gear that was a burden to photographers.
Panasonic and Olympus introduced smaller 4/3 sensors that are mirrorless. The elimination of a mirror in these cameras makes them compact. However, while this solves the problem, these cameras are not without some considerations and one of them is the crop factor.
Crop factor defines the lens magnification a cropped sensor causes. Photographers use it to understand the effect a cropped sensor will have on the focal length of a lens.
The crop factor of an APS-C sensor is 1.5x, while that of an MFT is 2x. That’s because the M4/3 sensor occupies about ½ the surface area of a full-frame sensor, meaning that the 300mm lens on an MFT is the same as the 600mm focal length of a full-frame camera.
As such, this creates a smaller and more compact system compared to full-frame DSLRs. Apart from the focal length, the crop factor also affects the aperture. So an f/4 lens on an MFT camera is equal to an f/8 aperture on a DSLR.
Benefits of Micro Four Thirds Cameras
- Small and Lightweight
This is the main reason why these cameras were introduced. Compared to full-frame and APS-C mirrorless cameras, these are smaller. Plus, their lenses are also lighter than those in DSLRs. Photographers who always carry their gear around to different shooting locations will appreciate the smaller weight. Additionally, since the cameras offer a smaller form factor, it gives you an advantage when shooting in unobtrusive situations like weddings or street photography.
- Longer Focal Lengths
The smaller sensor size of these cameras offers a focal length of 2.0x that of a full-frame camera. Thus, you get the same field of view with these cameras as you would with a full-frame lens. This means that if you have a lens of 300mm on your MFT camera, it’ll be equal to 600mm focal length on a full-frame camera. As such, you can shoot distant objects with focal lengths that are impossible on full-frame cameras.
- Change Lenses of Different Brands
Micro Four Thirds cameras are generally cooperative and collaborative. Individuals can mix and match lenses from different brands on the camera body. For instance, you can use an Olympus lens on your Panasonic camera and vice versa. You don’t even need any adapters for this.
- Advanced and Unique Technology
MFT systems come with unique tech features. For instance, both Olympus and Panasonic have a pro capture mode, silent shutter, high-resolution mode, 6k photo mode, and many more advanced features.
The Olympus also includes a Live Composite feature, allowing you to take clear photos with no guesswork while building exposure gradually. The feature will help you take high-quality shorts without overexposing elements in the image.
If working on a tight budget, MFT cameras are your best bet. They are more affordable compared to full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Plus, they come in a wide range of options for you to choose from, including Olympus, Sigma, Kowa, Venus Optics, etc.
Who Should Buy MFT Cameras?
An MFT camera will be ideal for a photographer who wants to travel a lot but doesn’t want to invest in expensive equipment. That’s because it’s lightweight, allowing you to move around with it easily, and it’s also cost-effective.
You can also use these cameras for night snaps here and there. These cameras give you high-quality images with sharp lenses and image sensors. As such, even professional photographers can use them as well.
Final Thoughts: Are Micro 4:3 Cameras Good?
MFT cameras are generally great. Their small weight, compact size, and affordable price are some impressive things about these cameras. These traits make them suitable for travel and outdoor photographers who don’t want to buy a bulky, expensive DSRL camera.
If you are still curious about the Micro Four Thirds system, M43 Photography can help you. Contact us for help in choosing the best MFT cameras for your needs or any other information about this system.