Full Frame or micro 4/3rds

Why an upgrade

I usually upgrade to new iteration of same camera mainly for better battery and screen resolution. But upgrade my system when equipment is limiting my shooting style. Upgraded to premium point and shoot when the focus speed and low light capture was limiting my first Canon. Upgraded to m4/3 when LX series didn’t produce good 16″ x 20″ prints. I tried Nikon APS-C sensor, but never felt the images are that much  significantly better to warrant an upgrade.

I never imagined possibility of 60″ x 45″ prints from single file, but the D810 and the Hi-Res mode changed my mind.

Reason for real world try out rather than reading a review

Shortcut to review… if you like to jump on..

Part One, Images for Very Large Print
Part Two – Handheld Large Prints
Part 3 – Harsh Lighting
Part 4 – Inside Museums
Part 5 – Indoor Low Light
Part 6 – Family Photos
Part 7 – Outdoor City Lights – Handheld
Part 8 – Handling and other considerations
Final Part 9 – Decision time m4/3 or Full Frame

Almost all the reviews are geared towards camera and sensor quality, but none of them mimics my shooting style. All 35mm film camera accepted exact same sensor, but everyone choose a camera for multiple other reasons. What I realized after moving up from kit lens to good zoom, is that lens is the most important factor of IQ. So wanted to try the camera/lens combo I am most likely to use.

Now m4/3 camera’s are becoming more expensive and  FF has become lot cheaper wanted to make sure for the my style shooting if FF will be better for my style of shooting.


I briefly considered these camera’s before limiting to m4/3 and Nikon FF.

Sony FF, though I really like the camera the lens choices are still smaller. Their good lenses are very heavy , no point having small camera when all the lenses are going to big and heavy.

Pentax, though liked everything about the new K-1 camera, limiting lens choices and the relatively new entry to FF DSLR is giving a pause.

Fuji and other Df Format, just 1 stop better ISO is not worth having big lenses, and the lack of choice in  good zoom lenses compared to m4/3.

For whatever reason I always preferred Nikon over Cannon and the fact of having 3 existing Nikkor lenses just gathering dust.

For m4/3 Since OM-D EM-1 Mark II is not out yet, decided to go with Pen-F as the IQ is close match to Mark II based on the reviews. For FF was debating between D810 and Df , decided to try out D810 as I am more interested in having IQ for large prints.



I found out even if carry good prime lenses I hardly use them in travel, no point in trying prime  when it’s likely to be inside a bag or in a hotel room. For FF zooms  I was disappointed with the of IQ of 28-300 and 70-300 zooms. I most likely won’t buy their 2.8 zooms mainly due to its size and price. so decided with 24-120 f/4 zoom.

For m4/3, since 12-200 f/4 is not out yet, choose 12-35 f/2.8. And kept 35-70 f/2.8.


Perceived Limiting Factors with m4/3

Of course I already know these known limiting factor with m4/3

  1. Cant’ shoot on high ISO
  2. Lack of shallow depth of field
  3. Not a clean image in low ISO
  4. Not good for tracking subjects(Probably not with EM-1 Mark II )

I like to try it for my self and see how much of these above factor limit my image quality for the my shooting style.

Shooting Scenarios

So used both the camera’s for shooting various scenarios, which pretty much covers all the scenarios I typically shoot.

What do I do with the Photo

Most of the review put so much emphasis on pixel view , which is totally useless for practical purpose, so wanted to give  a comparison of both the camera for

  1. Sharing for viewing in phone screen (~2k)
  2. Web Publishing and viewing in TV screen ( ~2k -4k quality)
  3. Should be capable of 8″ x 10″ prints for all photos that I would like to keep
  4. 16″ x 20″ when in good natural light, or with studio like portrait light
  5. 24″ x 30″ best handheld condition for buildings, landscape
    1. Harsh Lighting
  6. 45″ x 60″ pre-planned with tripod, 
  7. Photo books up to  11″ x 14″

Since I can’t print all the photos to large size, I cropped multiple section of the photos and printed in 5″x 7″, using the following table for crop

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 10.52.20 AM.png

So cropping section of D810 image to 546px on and printing on 5″x7″  will give equivalent of 45″x60″.

Process of Selection

Printed them and tried to find out which one looked better with out having any idea of how it came from..

Now on to actual review..

  1. Full Frame or micro 4/3rds

    Part One, Images for Very Large Print
    Part Two – Handheld Large Prints
    Part 3 – Harsh Lighting
    Part 4 – Inside Museums
    Part 5 – Indoor Low Light
    Part 6 – Family Photos
    Part 7 – Outdoor City Lights – Handheld
    Part 8 – Handling and other considerations
    Final Part 9 – Decision time m4/3 or Full Frame

4 thoughts on “Full Frame or micro 4/3rds

  1. Great review – thanks! But you have stopped just when it is getting even more interesting – low light interiors etc. When do you plan to finish your review and provide more insights and your conclusions? Cheers – Chris S.

  2. Pingback: Why Nikon? Why? | K Nathan's Photo Blog

  3. Pingback: ISO performance of m4/3 lens @ 45mm – Indoor Handheld | K Nathan's Photo Blog

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