Welcome to Micro Four-Thirds Monday
The Micro Four-Thirds system is a standard for mirrorless interchangeable lens digital cameras that as created by Olympus and Panasonic on August 5, 2008. Micro Four-Thirds shares the same image sensor size (17.3 × 13.0 mm) and specification with the Four Thirds system that was designed for digital SLRs but does not provide space for a mirror box and a pentaprism, allowing smaller bodies and a shorter flange focal distance and permits smaller lenses. The upside is that virtually as long as there’s an adapter any lens can be used on Micro Four-Thirds camera bodies, and there’s no shortage of those including ones that permit Leica M-mount lenses to be mounted. In addition, Four Third lenses can be used—with autofocus—using adapters that are available from Olympus and Panasonic.
Why Micro Four-Thirds Monday? Well the photo industry tried this smaller SLR concept once before with the Advanced Photo System (APS) that many people called Advantix after Kodak’s implementation of the system and while even companies such as Canon and Nikon actually built nice little SLRs around the system it was a fizzle.
The Micro Four-Thirds system offers an extensive array of camera bodies that are available from Olympus and Panasonic, including the dazzling Lumix G5 that I have been testing for Shutterbug magazine. But more than that there’s an extensive array of interchangeable lenses available for the Micro Four-Thirds system. From Panasonic alone there are almost thirty including supplementary lenses and adapters available with many others available from Olympus and more coming each day from Sigma and Tamron. So the Micro Four-Thirds system is here to stay. Right now the ratio of digital SLRs to Micro Four-Thirds system cameras in Asia is about 50-50 and with new cameras from Olympus and Panasonic I expect more and more shooters to try the system. And whats not to like? Small lightweight cameras with extensive imaging capabilities, impressive image quality and lots of lens to chose from. Welcome to Micro Four-Thirds Monday.
In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce you to the Micro Four-Thirds cameras and lenses that I use and some of the applications that I use them for may surprise you.