This Christmas Santa delivered an A7iii. Actually, I got a good deal on it while stuck at Singapore Airport. Does this mean I am ditching my Olympus Em5ii forever? The M4/3 (Micro four thirds) system is flexible, lightweight, responsive and home to some great lenses. I am likely to keep the system as a high-end backup and a lightweight travel option. So why change systems?
I was getting frustrated when shooting at a high ISO levels with my Em5ii, there was just too much noise. A full-frame camera creates better low light images. Early mornings and late evenings are prime times for Street Photography. Having a full frame camera has extended the time I can actively shoot. The pic below was shot in a dark temple at ISO4000. Elsewhere I have read of people taking images at ISO 12,000 and still being happy. I can’t wait to see how far I can push the A7iii when taking photos at dusk and dawn.
The cost of the A7iii scraped into my budget. Just. Secondly there are some reasonably affordable prime lenses available for this system. On the other hand, there are many lenses that cost a fortune. Fortunately third party lenses, such as Sigma and Tamron appear to be keeping prices lower, or at least provide cheaper options.
I purchased the ‘budget’ Sony 50mm FE1.8 as a standard ‘walk about’ lens. Early reviews of this lens stated it was relatively slow. However, stuck on the A7iii, with the camera set to AF-C mode, this lens behaved perfectly. It is also smaller and lighter than the more expensive 50mm and 55mm options available for the full frame E-mount system. In comparison, Olympus are producing some seriously expensive pieces of glass, with the 17mm pro lens costing $1200. The Olympus pro lenses are fantastic, they are weather-sealed and capture stunning images. However, is it worth investing in expensive glass for a system that may be facing the wall?
I hope M4/3 is not dead. However, there is a lot of talk of this system going the way of the the Dodo. At the moment it looks like the next high-end Olympus is going to be aimed at sport and nature photographers. This move would make sense as these disciplines will make use of the inherently smaller zoom lenses. However, for Street Photography, where often small prime lenses are used, the M4/3 loses its size advantages. My A7iii fits in my Olympus camera bag perfectly.
Panasonic appear to be hedging their bets with M4/3 and will be releasing a full-frame camera very soon. Olympus, as ever, keep things close to their chest. However, I would not be surprised if they too start looking at full frame options at some point in the future.
Last year Olympus launched the entry level Em10iii. However, the enthusiast Em5ii is now 4 years old and the sensor is getting behind the times. The next release looks to be aimed at the Pro user and I can’t see it replacing the Em5ii. However, they did release a special ‘Blue’ Pen model to go with hipster jeans. Unfortunately I live in board shorts…
Obviously these are my first impressions, and very positive ones at that. The image quality of the photos I have taken so far look stunning. RAW images can be pushed to extremes in Lightroom with very little detriment to digital noise levels. File sizes are not bringing my laptop to a halt and the battery life is better than any other mirrorless camera I have used.
At the moment I have the 50mm 1.8, which I have used for all the photos in this blog post. In addition, the camera came with a standard kit zoom (28-70mm). The kit zoom appears to take some flack, however, it is light weight and gets the job done. I certainly can’t afford to upgrade the kit lens for a while!
Thats all for today folks. As always, feel free to comment.
Take care and keep clicking, Chris