Friday, January 25, 2013

So, Where Am I on Micro 4/3 These Days?

Travel Shot From Barcelona, Not Shot On Micro 4/3
Leica CL, Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2, Kodak Tmax 400 Film
Having started DMC-365 last year with a focus on Panasonic Lumix cameras, with specific emphasis on Micro 4/3 format, you may wonder where it fits in with my new, broader focus of the blog on the overall interface between equipment and creativity.
Let me be honest with you - I'm wondering the same thing. I had an enormous amount of fun with my twin Lumix DMC-G3s last year. I remember being amazed at how much progress had been made in image quality, specifically in low light, between the G1 and G3. I shot a lot of nice images with the G3 last year, if I may say so.
However, I also had a lot of fun with other cameras last year, and now tend to pick up either my Nikon DSLR for low light situations or nature, or my Leica M9 for street and people photography. And, in a couple of instances, shooting with film gave me pleasure and results not available to me with Micro 4/3. In fact, I've got an article soon to be published in a journal (don't want to break any confidences until it's ready), specifically about shooting film on my trip to Barcelona last fall. I shot probably 1/8 as many images on film as on digital, but actually had more "winners" by my own definition. In fact, at the moment, the G3s are not what I'd grab on the way off to another great international vacation.
So, I must admit, my G3s and incredible set of Micro 4/3 lenses have been idle for the last few weeks. Part of the reason is that I just don't have enough time to shoot. With more free time, I'm sure I'd still be using them. However, there's more to the story. I'm waiting on the next level of image quality in Micro 4/3 sensors.
What is not clear to me is whether the newest sensors in Micro 4/3 are the answer. The Lumix DMC-G5 clearly was not. It was an incremental, small step, as far as I can tell, above the G3. The Olympus OM-D looks like it really could be the next justifiable step for me, to keep using all of those wonderful compact, fast prime lenses. I honestly can't tell if the GH3 is as good an option for me. I don't like the idea of such a large form factor for a Micro 4/3 camera. And, from what I've read (you have to be careful what you read), the GH3 is perhaps as good, not better, than the OM-D. I hesitate to switch from the familiar menus of Lumix to a new set in Olympus. As I've said before, what may be convincing is a new compact GX2, with the GH3 sensor and a smaller form factor, which is a major attraction to Micro 4/3 for me.
So, for now, I'm thoroughly enjoying shooting other systems. I'm not ready to abandon Micro 4/3, but mainly because I have such an attraction to the size and great lenses. While I'm waiting for the next phase of sensors, I'll enjoy my other gear, and share the results with you. I hope you're enjoying the new format. I am having a great time shooting for my new regular features - Skeletons from the Closet (using old film cameras from my collection) and Whole Lotta Leica (pairing a wide range of Leica mount lenses with my M9). First results posts for both features coming soon!