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Author Topic: m4/3 sensor future  (Read 3273 times)

John Camp

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m4/3 sensor future
« on: December 29, 2018, 03:14:52 pm »

I've got both Nikon (D800, D3) and m4/3 systems. I mostly use the m4/3 as I shoot a lot of street. My question is, what are the m4/3 sensor possibilities? They seem stuck at about 20mp, and even the new (rumored) Olympus E-M1x uber m4/3 has a 20mp sensor. I'm not a technical guy, but I understand there's a quality trade-off between pixel size and the number of pixels on a sensor; that is, for the same physical size, a sensor can have fewer but better pixels, or more but less good pixels. Is 20mp about as good as it's going to get with m4/3? On the other hand, cell phones must have tiny pixels and they still get decent results -- could some of that tech be applied to m4/3 sensors to increase quality? I'm not unhappy with my GX8s, but I worry about further investing in a system that could find itself left behind, especially when Nikon (in particular) really seems to be setting itself up for the future with small bodies, relatively compact lenses and those large diameter lens mounts.
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DP

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 03:33:02 pm »

further investing in a system

you "shoot a lot of street" with m43 - how much of "investment" that will be ? one body, couple of lenses ? why do you need to continually "invest" in m43 for that purpose ... and why'd you need more than D3 amount of mp for that ?
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 04:59:50 pm »

18-24 mp is a sweet spot for a lot of people.  Regardless what the internet looks like...a lot of people including working pros and publishing/printing photographers use and prefer that range.  Itís plenty for a lot of people. A solid sensor at that level is more than welcome.  If gains come elsewhere, great. 

I have a latest gen cell phone and I must say for me personally, the images look good on a cell phone screen and small web form...but the detail is still even a far cry from m4/3 much less any larger sensor.  Maybe a 14 print from the best capture... but cell phones still just donít do it for me.

I use medium format digital and m43 daily.  95% of my shoots are with the e-m1 mk2.  The shoots that specifically need high megapixels, or other medium format specific features are not very common.  I use them back to back on shoots too.  I think ide rather see improvements in other areas versus just raising megapixels. 
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 05:01:40 pm »

John, THIS LINK has a good visual that shows what the limitations might be for various sensor sizes.  If you scroll down to the table you can see what the area is for M4/3 sensor (225 square mm) compared to a 35mm full frame sensor (860 square mm).  A 20 mp M4/3 sensor is already pretty tightly packed and there may not be enough room with existing technology to increase the mp count.  Of course, things are highly dependent on the use you have for the camera and how big an enlargement is desired. 
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Aram Hăvărneanu

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 05:58:09 pm »

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
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scooby70

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 06:45:21 pm »

I suppose the tech we're seeing in smartphones and their cameras will eventually be included in the sort of cameras we like too but in the meantime I'm happy enough. MFT gives me better image quality than I ever got from 35mm film and my current cameras, GX80 and GX9, are I'm pretty sure better than the 5D I had not so long ago.

Being realistic on image sizes and viewing helps too. I've never printed larger than A3 and I don't expect heavy crops to be printed large either but I do find that even 100% crops are fine for screen viewing.

I do hope MFT continues. I have a Sony A7 too but I've been with MFT since the GF1 and still like the system for its compact size and weight and responsiveness.
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Telecaster

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 07:01:47 pm »

My current "phone" packs 12mp into a sensor just under 17 square mm. Wonder what the yields would be like on m43-sized pieces of such high photosite density wafers?

-Dave-
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John Camp

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 10:25:49 pm »

you "shoot a lot of street" with m43 - how much of "investment" that will be ? one body, couple of lenses ? why do you need to continually "invest" in m43 for that purpose ... and why'd you need more than D3 amount of mp for that ?

Actually, I have two GX8s and a dozen lenses; if the whole shooting match goes obsolete, it won't be worth much as a trade-in. And like everybody else, I'd like the best picture quality I can squeeze out of a body/lens that works for me. [Meaning compact.] M4/3 comes up a bit short (compared to some other recent tech) in things like low-light shooting. I actually have two f/0.95 lenses that help with that, but I'd prefer working with zooms. M4/3 has quite good lens sets, and I'm thinking of investing in a Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Asph, which costs about $1,000, but if the sensor tech has stalled out, the money might be better spent elsewhere. I may be wrong, but the Nikon Z7 is not a heck of a lot bigger than the GX8 (and size is a big deal to me) and I already have a half-dozen good quality Nikon lenses. But at that point, for two Z bodies, adapters and lenses, we're talking $6K-$8K...
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 10:35:17 pm by John Camp »
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John Camp

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2018, 10:33:26 pm »

My current "phone" packs 12mp into a sensor just under 17 square mm. Wonder what the yields would be like on m43-sized pieces of such high photosite density wafers?

-Dave-

This sort of the basis of my question. Holding the physical sensor size steady, how likely is it that better near-term tech will allow more high quality pixels to be placed on those sensors, or, holding the number of pixels steady, how likely is it that the light-gathering response will improve. (Or both?) It seems to me that cellphone tech may be better that what we're seeing in these smaller-format cameras, and if imported, might improve photo quality rather markedly. But, I know **** about photo tech and maybe that's just not in the cards. I was wondering if anyone had any idea about this.
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RichDesmond

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2018, 10:43:12 pm »

My current "phone" packs 12mp into a sensor just under 17 square mm. Wonder what the yields would be like on m43-sized pieces of such high photosite density wafers?

-Dave-

I'm thinking that the "yield" would be a bunch of m4/3 lenses that sorely lack the resolution needed to make said sensor anything more than a novelty.  ;)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 10:58:21 pm by RichDesmond »
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johnvanatta

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2018, 01:20:05 am »

If I'm going to shoot street, I'd much prefer my Oly EM1.2 over my Nikon Z7. Even the EM1.1 probably wins. They are smaller, lighter, cheaper, more customizable; and have faster small lenses and better autofocus in low light. What do you need more than 20MP for anyway? Resolution mostly makes a difference in very fine detail. Foliage and rock faces in landscapes, for example. Unless you're trying to get the fine detail of cement sidewalks, I think it'll largely irrelevant in street shooting.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2018, 02:40:08 am »

If I'm going to shoot street, I'd much prefer my Oly EM1.2 over my Nikon Z7. Even the EM1.1 probably wins. They are smaller, lighter, cheaper, more customizable; and have faster small lenses and better autofocus in low light. What do you need more than 20MP for anyway? Resolution mostly makes a difference in very fine detail. Foliage and rock faces in landscapes, for example. Unless you're trying to get the fine detail of cement sidewalks, I think it'll largely irrelevant in street shooting.

I use a different crop sensor system to you, APSC. Other than that inconsequential difference I agree with everything you say here. I donít just agree with it, I actually think you make very important points.
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Herbc

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2018, 11:23:46 am »

The question is really: image or picture?  If you can't hold it in your hand, it is not a picture. The best part of FF is the forgiveness when the shadows need to be opened up and the blown highlights need to be toned down.  Other than that, if you only have images, the small sensor will do very well indeed.
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faberryman

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2018, 11:27:09 am »

If I'm going to shoot street, I'd much prefer my Oly EM1.2 over my Nikon Z7. Even the EM1.1 probably wins. They are smaller, lighter, cheaper, more customizable; and have faster small lenses and better autofocus in low light. What do you need more than 20MP for anyway? Resolution mostly makes a difference in very fine detail. Foliage and rock faces in landscapes, for example. Unless you're trying to get the fine detail of cement sidewalks, I think it'll largely irrelevant in street shooting.
Great, use you Oly EM1.2.

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2018, 12:35:48 pm »

The question is really: image or picture?  If you can't hold it in your hand, it is not a picture. The best part of FF is the forgiveness when the shadows need to be opened up and the blown highlights need to be toned down.  Other than that, if you only have images, the small sensor will do very well indeed.

Not following you. Image and picture are synonyms in my world and can be used interchangeably in most cases. Do you mean a picture is a print? And an image is electronic? Are you then saying that a crop sensor doesnít give enough quality to print?
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gkroeger

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2018, 02:04:54 pm »

Seems to me that the real issue is who has the resources to invest in MFT.  Sony and Canon are the two largest sensor manufacturers, and neither have any vested interest in MFT. Panasonic is enamored of full frame with their new alliance. What can Olympus afford to invest and what returns can they expect?

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hogloff

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2018, 02:33:07 pm »

Seems to me that the real issue is who has the resources to invest in MFT.  Sony and Canon are the two largest sensor manufacturers, and neither have any vested interest in MFT. Panasonic is enamored of full frame with their new alliance. What can Olympus afford to invest and what returns can they expect?

Exactly my thoughts. Olympus imagining division has been sliding for years now while their other devisions have been on a roll...where do you think Olympus's focus will be. Yes Panosonic has switched gears and highly doubt they can equally contribute to both formats...m4/3 will lag.

I personally would not switch to a M4/3 system now. If you already have m 4/3 gear, use it, but I'd stay clear of high priced items.
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Dan Wells

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2018, 02:46:17 pm »

I'd agree with Hogloff - use it (the E-M series are great street cameras), but I'd be careful about big new purchases - wait to see how Panasonic plays out (do they go all FF, or keep up both lines), and does Olympus keep releasing cool quick, compact bodies?

In almost no case does it make sense to get rid of a camera you still like and use - its value as a tool generally exceeds its market value...

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mecrox

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2018, 03:55:57 pm »

I'd agree with Hogloff - use it (the E-M series are great street cameras), but I'd be careful about big new purchases - wait to see how Panasonic plays out (do they go all FF, or keep up both lines), and does Olympus keep releasing cool quick, compact bodies?

In almost no case does it make sense to get rid of a camera you still like and use - its value as a tool generally exceeds its market value...

Rather my position with two Oly cameras now much used and long out of warranty. But something is holding me off replacing them. They still do the job, very well for the most part too.

My concern is that Oly may find it very tough to fund R&D and marketing with a probably less active Panasonic and the three main industry juggernauts now really piling it on over larger-sensor mirrorless cameras. Between them, Canon, Nikon and Sony command about 90 per cent of everything. I do like Olympus kit a lot but times for the smaller camera companies are hard, I suspect. Just getting heard must be a struggle. We’ll see. I’d be reluctant to change brands unless things head really south.

To get back to the original question in the thread, I don’t see the point of looking for more than 20-24 mpx from M43. For many that’s enough and if it isn’t then go for a larger format. Wouldn’t  there be horrid diffraction problems with, say, a 40mpx M43 sensor? Plus, to handle that you’d likely have to have very high-quality and therefore very expensive lenses?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 04:23:46 pm by mecrox »
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Two23

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Re: m4/3 sensor future
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2018, 04:06:13 pm »

I like the size of the little cameras, and they just look cool. 8)  If the prices on them were to start to crash I'd probably buy one and three lenses.  I don't see what the big deal is about "full frame", even though I have one.  The small cameras are perfect for when you want a compact system, such as for high altitude hiking or "street".  I now use small cameras for street, mainly a Leica IIIc, Baby Rolleiflex, or Rolleiflex MX with black & white film.  They have no built in meters though, and I generally shoot Ilford FP4 in them.  For night use on streets I think an M43 camera with three fast lenses would be just the thing!  The cameras are great as they are.  From my POV, the camera is the least important thing in photography anyway.


Kent in SD
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