Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Growing Disillusionment With Micro 4/3

Rumors have been flying about Panasonic's successor to the GF1 for some time. I have the GF1 and love it. My only real problem is the noise level of the sensor, which is rather extreme. Detail starts to be significantly lost at just ISO400, and by ISO800, noise is noticeable even in Facebook-sized images. But aside from that, the rest of the camera was near-perfect.

As such, the primary thing that I wanted out of the GF2 was a better sensor. instead, I got the exact same sensor and a reduced feature set in a less-ergonomic body. The GF3 went even further, removing any semblance of enthusiast or pro-oriented elements. The GH1 was the only camera in the Micro 4/3 world that was at least comparable to APS-C cameras, and its noise levels were very good. I expected a lot from the GH2 and thought that I would buy it.

Instead, I was disappointed by the GH2. Its overall sensor performance was actually worse than the GH1, and the development focus appeared to be on the pipes surrounding the sensor to better generate video. This, as is well-known by now, resulted in the best video DSLR camera on the market. Which is good! But I take primarily photos, not video. As do most people.

The G3 finally arrived with a new sensor. Its noise levels were much improved, but every other element of the sensor was the same. Dynamic range and color depth were identical according to DxOMark. And seeing as Sony, Nikon, and Canon are making huge leaps with each sensor generation, the G3 was outdated before it even came out. My seven-year-old Canon EOS 20D outperforms it. It fixed the problem, but just barely.

Now the GX1, named in line with the X-Series lenses, is coming out. It will have the same sensor as the G3. This means that a camera that won't even be out until 2012 is already dated. Considering the quality of the lenses available for Micro 4/3, I was prepared to eat sub-par cameras. But this, and most glaringly Olympus' recent corporate debacle, are pushing me away.

This behavior speaks of a corporate philosophy that has no interest in pushing boundaries. In fact, the only company out there that seems really dedicated to pushing the industry forward is Sony. I'm feelingly increasingly like I will sell my Micro 4/3 gear. The increased size and weight is a tough pill to swallow, but the better cameras provide increased flexibility when trying to shoot wildlife, which, like whiskers on kittens and packages tied up with string, is one of my favorite things.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All posts are moderated, so it may take a day for your comment to appear.