Debunking the Myths of Micro Four Thirds

My decision to switch from a full frame camera to micro four thirds has been criticized by many. They say smaller can’t be better and that you can’t be a pro without subscribing to these methods. The thing is, I’ve always found that following the masses can be detrimental in both art and life. I’ve come to realize that not only is a compact system more readily available, but it’s one hundred percent capable of matching, if not surpassing its full frame counterparts. Here are several of the common myths debunked.

You can’t shoot wide enough...

With an ultra lightweight 14mm f2.5 lens, you are working with an effective 28mm. This is wide enough for most opportunities. Need even wider? How about the Olympus 7-14mm. After nearly 20 years of shooting outdoor and travel work, I’ve never needed anything wider.

You have limited ISO sensitivity...

If you shoot enough, you’ll inevitably find times when super high ISOs are necessary. The prospect of noise immediately comes to mind for many photographers. Won’t my photo look grainy they ask? The truth is, yes, it will be noisy at ISOs 6400 and over no matter what camera you are using. This is where a hint of noise reduction in post production is valuable. Applied conservatively, it takes mere seconds to clean up the grain while retaining the sharpness of the original scene. On my OIympus PEN F, I’ve gone to ISO 12,800 with salable images.

Beautiful bokeh is impossible to achieve...

Of all the misleading myths out there, this is probably the easiest to debunk. The fact is, it’s common for micro four thirds lenses to feature incredibly wide apertures including f1.8 and even f0.95. The amazing thing is, these are typically sharp from corner to corner while throwing the background completely out of focus. As always, the result is further exaggerated by getting in close to the subject, or using something in the medium telephoto range.


JPEGs are for amateurs...

Some photographers feel that “JPEG” is a dirty word. Surely you can’t create great files without shooting in RAW right? Actually many of the JPEG engines in today’s mirrorless cameras create beautiful results in-camera. Couple this with creative modes like the infamous “Monochrome 2” from Olympus, or the double exposures mode, and you have more capability than ever before.

You can’t sell stock or print large...

A small sensor does not equate to inadequate file size. In fact, there are several 20MP mirrorless cameras that create very large files. Many of my best selling stock images were created with a micro four thirds sensor. The prime reason was that I had the camera by my side when the moment arose.

In Conclusion

While it may seem counter-intuitive at first, a small camera is advantageous for those who are serious about their photography. For me it’s been an absolute game changer. If however your main goal is to count pixels, you will be disappointed no matter what format or model you choose. My goal in sharing this is to help open your mind to the possibility that bigger is not always better.

Chris Corradino