Tuesday, 30 September 2008

micro four thirds

Having come from a period where almost every 'serious' camera I knew of was 35mm (and Box Brownies were just lame) I looked at camera size as being only a thing about system camera VS non system camera. One of my favourite cameras was the Olympus Trip 35. These compact little cameras could take outstanding images with their simple but sharp fixed focal length lens you could take images excellent images with a compact camera that sat easily in your pocket or brief case. My good friend took just such an image like this back in 1974:

This image makes stunningly beautiful prints up to well beyond A3 sizes. If you click it the image which loads is 1600 x 1044 pixels, but scanned on a Nikon LS-5000 makes images easily 5000 pixels wide and beautifully sharp.

Now we're strongly in the digital era, and having been a fan of compact cameras (like my Coolpix 5000) since I started using them back in 2000. The up until the 2MP camera they weren't much chop for prints anything bigger than 5x7 inches. But the 5Megapixel 5000 changed that (see this dpreview review for details), now digitals were as good as what I could easily get from 35mm (and then only with the best scanners or professional enlargements). Pretty soon I was barely taking my 35mm outfit anywhere with me (or if I was, I was leaving it in the backpack more often than not).

You see now days I've learnt that when I want a "really" high quality image, I pull out my 4x5 camera. It has film which is so enormous after looking at 35mm its just ridiculous to consider using 35mm anymore. In fact since I've got a DSLR (great for sports and birds) I can't think what I'd do with a 35mm film camera anymore.

So I now carry my compact digital and my bigger format film cameras with confidence that I can get an excellent print image or simply satisfactory www image no matter what. But the camera makers gradually ruined that with the polarisation of digital "prosumer" cameras into gumby compact cameras or large DSLR cameras. Compact cameras have increasingly smaller sensor and higher megapixels. Leading to lower and lower image quality. Damn! Just when I get used to quality image making cameras not being bulky. So I'm stuck with my 7 year old (and getting older all the time) Coolpix 5000.

But then there was the Micro 4/3's announcment from Olympus / Panasonic. Better yet, Olympus have posted this. Boy it looks sweet too: This image is linked from Ken Rockwells site


and this one from DPReview:

So it looks like my (and many others) hopes are likely to be fulfilled. A compact camera which will make images as good as compact 35mm once was and be as compact (or more compact) to carry as they were too!


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