Micro 4/3 or Micro Four Thirds system

by Enche Tjin on June 18, 2009

Micro Four Thirds system or micro 4/3 is a standard pioneered by Olympus and Panasonic for creating a new camera concept which is compact, able produce high quality image and video and able to interchange lenses.

micro-four-thirds-systemThis system are introduced last year, and already creates a big buzz in photography community. Digital photographers are waiting for 10 years to get a high performance, compact digital cameras which has capability of digital SLR cameras.

As of today, there are three camera bodies and six lenses dedicated to this system. There are also almost 40 four thirds system lenses which could be mounted by special adapter.

M43 CAMERAS
PANASONIC DMC-G1

  • First m43 camera, using EVF (Electronic View Finder),
  • Smaller than any DSLR camera
  • Intelligent Auto designed for compact camera users
  • 3 inches articulating LCD screen with 460k resolution
  • Multi Aspect, including 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
  • Optical Image Stabilization on lenses

PANASONIC DMC-GH1

  • First m43 camera to record movie with stereo built-in mic
  • The rest of the spec is quite similar with G1

PANASONIC Lumix GF1

  • Ultra compact m43 camera, the lightest up to date
  • Record AVCHD video
  • External viewfinder available
  • AF Assist and Built-in Flash available
  • AF speed comparable to G1

OLYMPUS “PEN” E-P1

  • Ultra compact m43 camera
  • Slightly bigger than advanced compact camera
  • No viewfinder nor built-in flash
  • Able to record HD movie, up to 7 mins at 30 fps
  • 3 inches lcd screen with 230k resolution
  • Built-in Optical Image Stabilization

OLYMPUS “PEN” E-P2

  • Ultra compact m43 camera
  • Slightly bigger than advanced compact camera
  • No viewfinder nor built-in flash
  • Able to record HD movie, up to 7 mins at 30 fps
  • 3″ LCD screen with 230k resolution
  • Built-in Optical Image Stabilization
  • Optional external live viewfinder with 100% field of view with over 1 million dots

OLYMPUS E-PL1 (Light)

  • Ultra compact m43 camera
  • Slightly bigger than advanced compact camera
  • No viewfinder but has a pop up flash
  • Able to record HD movie, up to 7 mins at 30 fps
  • Plastic construction
  • Built-in Optical Image Stabilization
  • Live Guide
  • 2.7″ LCD screen, 230k resolution

M43 LENSES

COMING SOON

  • Panasonic 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye
  • Olympus 8mm  Fisheye
  • Olympus 70-300mm f/4-8 – 6.7
  • Olympus 50mm macro lens
  • Olympus 14mm wide angle lens

Challenges facing micro four thirds (m4/3) system:

  • By eliminating penta prism/mirror in their camera, m43 system have to rely on lcd screens or electronic viewfinder to compose the shots. The quality of lcd screen and EVF is still inferior to the DSLR viewfinder.
  • The AF speed need to be improved especially in EP-1 series
  • If m43 targets consumers/compact camera users, the price needs to be competitive.

On the other hand, m43 also has massive opportunity in front of them, many photographers especially landscape, wildlife, travel photographer will love the compactness and the lightness of this system. Compact shooters will love the image quality, ease of operation and ability to change lenses.

It seems that micro four thirds system are off to a good start, photographers and enthusiasts are very excited to try out this m43 system.

Related articles:

Related Post:

Previous post: Magic Triangle of Photography: Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed

Next post: Nikon D300s rumor