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My Story Why I switched to Micro Four Thirds

Photo Moment - March 05, 2021

This is the story of how I started shooting Micro Four Thirds (aka MFT or M43) for all of my work — including commercial work. This is a re-edit of a LIVE show originally broadcast in February 2017, telling a story from 2013. This is a much shorter version, with a new intro and “where we are today”. Don't miss the end!

The cameras I'm shooting with today…

The Story of My Switch to Micro Four Thirds…

Let me tell you the story of how I started shooting micro four thirds for all of my work – not just personal photography, but also commercial photography and video work. It all started when a friend of mine shipped me a box full of cameras to play with (pretty good friend, huh?!!). In it was a Leica S3 (the medium format Leica), a Fuji something-or-other, and an Olympus OM-D… hmm, whatever model was current in 2013. Probably the OM-D EM-1 or OM-D EM-5? Anyway, I had toys to play with. They Leica was amazing, of course. The Fuji was quite nice. But I hadn't touched the small-sensor Olympus camera. He called to ask how I was getting along with them, and when I told him I wasn't playing with the micro four thirds, he told me I needed to. Fine. So I did. And boy, was I impressed! SO much so that I used it for a small party I was hired to shoot, and then used it on a low budget commercial shoot where I was able to transfer the JPEGs from the camera to my iPhone or iPad, treat them in Snapseed or some other app, and send them to the client — all from the car, outside of the venue, before I went home! This was a game changing moment for me.

Then I was invited to join some friends doing a commercial social media project for Mercedes Benz. We had a garage-full of brand new Mercedes Benz cars to drive around New York City and Los Angeles for a few days in each city, shooting photos and posting to their instagram account! I decided to shoot it all on MFT, giving me the opportunity to not only shoot natively in square format (this was back when Instagram was square only), but more importantly, wifi transfer the photos to my iPad as I shot them, treating and posting the photos immediately! It was a huge advantage and made the journey a ton of fun for me. 

For my favorite shot of the journey, I needed to reach waaaay out over a ledge to get the shot I wanted of a gorgeous Mercedes Benz SLS that I was only able to get because I could tilt up the LCD on the camera (back then, very few cameras had this feature) and see the view as I was composing it! It was a remarkable adventure. 

Can you believe… when we were on the job, the  @Mercedes-Benz  instagram account had under 500,000 followers. It was our goal to push it past half a million — and we did it! Today, the account has over 31 million followers. Wow.

Some of the original Instagram posts…

 

Some More Photos from the Mercedes-Benz Shoot…

Mercedes-Benz SLS overhead photo in Los Angeles, shot on a Micro four thirds camera

Mercedes-Benz photo in New York going over the George Washington bridge, shot on a Micro four thirds camera

Mercedes-Benz photo with the Los Angeles skyline, shot on a Micro four thirds camera

Other Videos Mentioned

(this is the original long-form live show from 2017)

🔗 More links you seek

🔴 Don't miss the LIVE shows!

📄 Full Video Transcript

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Did you enjoy this story? It's not over! Be sure to subscribe so you hear… as Paul Harvey used to say… "the REST of the story" https://youtube.com/c/photojoseph?sub_confirmation=1
So, got a follow up video coming out on Friday at all? ;)
Thanks. I just remembered I'm almost 50... and my dad liked that guy.
Welcome to the future
Why thank you, I think I like it here
GH6 I bet!
🙂
A GH6 in the summer with improved AF and crazy specs would be perfect right now
I was looking for more Affinity photo iPad videos... Did you stop those? :(
It's been a while, but here's all the ones I did. I did a 13 part series, plus several additional ones: https://photojoseph.com/tips/app/580
Love your story! Thanks for sharing. Also from a fellow joe!
haha awesome! Thank you!
For me, for video, Wildlife, travel and Macro, the m43 system is PERFECT!!! Fun factor!!!! For other and rare situations I can use my Nikon apsc and FF.
Nice!
Brilliant video mate. I made the switch to MFT for my work as a documentary photographer here in the UK some years ago. My transition to the format was in 2016. It suits me perfectly. YES the Sony A7 iii is small too, but the lenses are nowhere near as compact as those available for my Panasonic G80, Olympus E-M5 mk iii. I shoot film 35mm as well in addition to this, using an FM2n and, surprising to some, an auto only Pentax ME (that thing is compact) because I love the aesthetic of black and white film, but for all of my digital work, it's MFT, all the way. That G80 is surprisingly robust as well. I shot a 28 month long project on that camera in Palestine, including across the Gaza strip and West Bank, and honestly, that camera didn't miss a beat.
I know, I could get the GH5 but that's far too video oriented, I don't shoot video, or the G9, but it's not as compact as the G80 and E-M5.

Again, brilliant video, and echoes my own thoughts to be honest. Subscribed.
That’s a great story, thank you! The G80/G85 is a great balance of a camera, with the weather sealing someone like you would want. The G9 is a tougher camera so probably the only really good reason to consider it over what you have, but what you have is clearly doing the job, so why mess with it! Thanks for watching and subbing!
I love micro 4 thirds... please NEVER DIE......
☺️
Still waffling.....
I prefer pancakes.
@PhotoJoseph very good, I take it all back....respect for a top reply.
I remember that video!
Oldie but goodie :-)
Ah, but you've since become a full-framer have you not?
Did you watch to the end?
@PhotoJoseph Fair enough. Let us pray for a GH6.
I think you are wrong there, at 6:10, Canon has a flip out screen since or before 2010.
oh cool. At least ,no one had one on this shoot!
Like many M4/3 users, I got tired waiting for the gh6 to replace my 4 year old gh5 and stepped up to the S1, I love it and have never regretted the move (although I loved the gh5)
I know quite a few gh5 users are now buying the S5, and surely that is now the obvious upgrade path NOT the gh6, especially now Panasonic are the only major company selling the format.
I can’t help thinking, what could the gh6 possibly have, that would tempt people away from the S5 with its 5.9k, full frame body with ibis and great low light performance?
time will tell
Great work.
Thank you! Cheers!
Why bother to release this 4 years later? In 2021, M43 is at the end of the tunnel just like DSLR.
Because it's not the end of the tunnel
Hey
I'm shooting on micro 4/3 to and love this i buy recently the 14-140mm Panasonic and i love him!
Now i want to buy Lumix g9 to replace my gx80
Awesome!
m4/3 is dead. the industry doesnt support it anymore. i only see full frames coming all the time. bad mount to invest in
or, you could be wrong. There's always that. May I remind you that a brand new camera, the BGH1, was just released. Totally new form factor, and an absolutely amazing camera.
Sorry but MFT is far from dead. Just because it isn't supported doesn't mean it's dead. I'm a professional documentary photographer and photojournalist and I work in MFT and 35mm film still.
Guess film is dead as it's not supported anymore, right? I mean hey they don't make these old bodies I'm using anymore. Except for my Leica M6, Leica still makes film cameras and parts, but other than that?

I would stop buying into the "obsoletion" line if I were you buddy ;)
I used to like your chanel until I realised you are payed to defend a clearly dying system. The one company was shamelessly sold and is essentially dead (Olympus). Panasonic moved to Full frame. Everyone is milking the cow of M43 for as long as possible before moving away from the system. RIP.
It’s “paid”, not “payed”, and I’ve always stated that I’m a LUMIX Ambassador. The MFT system is certainly not dying or dead. The most recent MFT camera from Panasonic is the BGH1 which is only a few months old. You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re wrong.
Well, you're wrong, but hey. MFT is far from dead. Professionals like myself are still using it. I as a documentary photographer and photojournalist from the UK use MFT and 35mm film exclusively (nat geo, discovery magazine, new european, the royal biological journal, Wildlife magazine, private eye, eurozine magazine, culturs magazine to name a few of my regular customers). Can't be too bad if many like me are killing it using MFT. Remember, it's the brain behind the camera, not the camera itself which dictates a great image. The camera is just a tool.
"It's far from over.." I love the sound of that. ✨
me too ;-)
Hmmm...for some reason I'd lost track of you for awhile. Glad to see you alive and well. GH5 has been my workhorse video camera, but a few months ago I needed a B cam and decided on the GX85. Wonderful little camera with some limitations, of course, but shoots great video and is so compact. I've been a Panasonic video shooter since 1988 when I bought a 200 CLE early 3-chip video camera!
Hey, I’m glad I’m alive and well, too!! 😂 Thanks for sticking around, and cool history! I’m not familiar with that old camera.
@PhotoJoseph The 200CLE was a full-sized, 3-chip(2/3" chips), shoulder-held video cam with a thick, umbilical cable that connected to a fairly large, bulky and heavy, shoulder-slung, S-VHS recording deck. "Portable", but a bit of a bear to lug on shoots.
Oh yeah, I love my m43 Panasonic cameras!
Haha that’s amazing. To think how far we’ve come.
Yessss
I agree! ;-)
This is the 3rd reference to MFT in the last week I hear from different sources. Panasonic is shipping a demo version of the GH6 imminently. I wonder if the camera will come up on time for the Olympics hoping those will actually take place!
I own a Lumix micro 4/3.
Hope to shoot my Short-Film on it.
When you are so good otherwise, theese days 😉 Why did you release this video again... 😘 "Love you anyway" Now days we are hopefully waiting for a new upgraded micro 4/3. I think 🤔
im switching from micr4thirds for phots its too weak I have the Lumix g9, for video I love it but for photos its mad weak, if anyone wants a g9 to purchase hit me up
Can I ask what are the photo weaknesses in your opinion?
@Bing Bong so pixel wise the g9 photos are on the same level as my iphone 12, i did a shoot where i was shooting vid but i took some snaps and my friend was using a canon eos r with a sigma 35mm and i was using a sigma 16mm which is 32 mm on the g9 and our photos had such a contrast the dynamic range in her pics was crazy. Like u can get great pics from the g9 but u have to work extra hard and the lighting has to be impeccable 👌🏽 i am looking to move to the s5 next as i want to be photo capable and still get amazing video. I thought i g9 could do that but it falls short with photographs
@yanic barrett Thanks. The comparison with IP12 and EOSR are a bit confusing and misleading in my opinion. I watch Matti Happoja vid comparing the IP12 to the EOSR and he struggled to tell the difference between the two sets of pics, but then I think this test only applies to certain types of pics/test conditions. And of course the 'real' camera will always beat the phone in the practical and professional use (weather sealing/lens choices/zoom/ frame rate/ergonomics/viewfinder/attachments etc) Ref the 20mp G9 vs the 30mp FF EOSR it's understandable that the newer expensive Canon will have a better dynamic range. I guess the G9 falls short when compared to something more expensive, but generally, considering the many features and ability it's pretty amazing for the price I think.
@Bing Bong trust me bro there is a difference there when shooting a subject the separation from background and dynamic look is marginally different trust me
@yanic barrett The Full frame look should not be expected from m43 or you'll just be disappointed. Also phone computational processing is great, which is why they cost so much, but they have their limits like I mentioned before. I'm just making the point for someone who may be looking at m43, that the G9 and similar m43 cameras are great cameras and not mad weak. Like you wouldn't say an EOS R is a poor camera because it's not as good as the R5. Good luck selling the G9, I'm sure someone will be very happy with it. :)
Where is that commercial actually, I want to check it out
is it the case for most ambassadors when all they do now is full frame S1/S5 ?, I still love the form factor but I feel having some of the fast primes they neglect the size advantage vs some of the newer Full frame stuff, great content though
I’m not sure I understand your question… as Ambassadors, we are actively promoting the latest gear, depending on our areas of expertise. For me this means I am working with both MFT and FF but I show more FF like the S5 and S1H right now. Fast primes in full frame are big — especially when you add things like autofocus, stabilization, and/or extremely high quality optics. It takes size and space to do some of the things these lenses are capable of.
@PhotoJoseph what I thought, sometimes is hard to resist the urge to leave MFT (as someone new to it), when everyone talks mostly about Full Frame, and we don't get nearly (if at all) content about MFT in general, but I guess photography as a whole applies to all systems, I'm happy just jealous :P
Ah I see. In general more people talk about FF, yes. But within the LUMIX world, the S Series are the newest cameras, so that's what's being talked about tat the moment. That's all.
Great review. Still can't decide between G9 with 12-60mm and S5 with 20-60mm, 90% Stills and 10% video.. please help 🙏 Thank you
@dadi 1212 For what it's worth I have a G9, which is great. I do love the mobility that I can go anywhere rough and ready with the G9 with three tiny cheap lenses in my jacket pocket. (12-60/ 40-150/25mm)No tripod/bag required.I wouldn't try that with expensive full frame lenses even though they are getting smaller. I would love an S5 if i had the money. I shot a couple weddings with the same combo. An S5 would have better in low light/bokeh etc but G9 still did the job. If you can afford and you don't mind the size difference of the L mount lenses then the S5 seems a good bet.
@Bing Bong Thank you for answer. bokeh is not my priority.
For low light and dynamic range, is it much different between S5 and G9?
So far, the low light that I use is only for sunrise and sunset, I don't really like photos at night.
yes I'm too lazy to bring a tripod, haha ​​..
By the way, I'm using the camera as hobbies not fot the job, only weekend camera for traveling, haha..
So, do you think G9 is worth for upgrade from G85 for me? Is it huge jump? Thank you Joseph 🙏
@dadi 1212 Hi, Nice to chat. Yeah i can't do the tripod thing. Too much effort :) The newer full frame S5 should be much more capable in low light and have better dynamic range, but it is all relative. In the same way the G9 will be a technically better camera than the G85 with a better 20 mp sensor and lots of more 'pro' features. As I remember Panny originally promoted the G9 as their greatest photo camera way back in 2017. The truth is the G85 is perfectly fine for what you need. If you want to stick to m43, I would suggest holding to the G85 and getting some awesome lenses. They make such a big difference. In the future you can always upgrade to the G9 or GH6 to match your awesome lenses. I bought my G9 with the standard lenses (which are fine) but I'm saving to buy better lenses now. In hindsight I would have probably bought the cheaper camera with nice lenses first, then saved for the expensive camera. If the G85 works for you, the G9 will do the same, maybe a little bit better, and with more technical features to keep you entertained. For ultimate technical image quality the S5/G9/G85 will be best in that order. That's just the nature of technological progress. But when it comes to capturing that great image, it will ultimately be down to your skill/craft and any of the cameras will be fine. By the way I'm not an expert like Photo Joseph so all of the above is only my subjective opinion :)
@Bing Bong Hi, Thank you so much for the answer. I think that's amazing opinion and open my mind. You're both are awesome! Thanks for helping.
The most important thing when considering a new camera is to check out the lenses and lens PRICES(!)
Do you get the lenses you will need for your field of photography? Can you handle the weight? And can you afford them? 1500 is not much for full frame lenses ...
I'm subscribed so I can see what happens next!
Micro 4/3 is the only system that allows me to carry a top quality wildlife kit in my bike's handlebar bag.
No doubt! That’s awesome.
Absolutely - and with high Image quality
For someone who doesn't make a living as a Photographer, M43 is perfect. Having said that, it's time for a New Sensor for M43 and may be affordable wide zoom lens with F1. 7!
👍🏻
I really hope the give the GH6 a super 35 sensor still with the m43 mount. JVC dud it a few years back. It would really solve a lot of the issues people have with m43. Poor low light, difficult to get shallow depth of field, and difficult to get wide lenses. With cameras like the canon c70, and the Sony alpha, and the bmpc6k pro, out or coming out, the gh6 really has to be great.
I remember this video 4 years ago, Joseph. I am not really into gear but when I saw MFT in 2015, I did some proper research and ended up with a Lumix GM5. I love photography and I always have my camera in my hand wherever I go. The cameras in this system are relatively smaller and lighter. The lenses, too, are magnitudes lighter than APS-C and small format. For me, the balance that MFT brings in terms of performance and portability cannot be matched by other system cameras. Cheers.
Awesome to hear, thanks!
Interesting.
It is the only format I have never even considered. Shooting APS-C in digital + analog 35mm. Dreaming of medium format in analog and digital :-)
All formats have their place!
Because you didn’t need it. It’s just a tool. Find a situation for it
My first "real" camera I bought(last autumn) is gx80. Previously I used to take a lot of pics with phone but felt limited by it. After it managed to get great deal on Olympus OM10 and OM2 but shooting film is bit expensive for me. Love the size of gx80 and lenses. Often I just take when I go somewhere lumix, small prime and stick it into jacket pocket. Fits perfectly
I am a professional photographer who also shoots video. When I tried the full frame Nikon z6 it blew me away as a still camera. Then I used it for live streaming and it was able to use the full frame for live streaming with all my lenses and it looked so much better than the GH5's and Sony's a6100's I used. I love those GH5's for live streaming video in spite of the poor af, but will stick to the Nikon FF system. Again. My main profession is as a still photographer. Oh and I can film in really low light and capture in Pro Res Raw.(not that I do...but I can 🙃)
I've almost fallen into full frame trap lately. I was debating internally Canon R5 or Sony A7S3 (I got Sony APS-C already). But now my GAS wants Olympus M43 camera, because it's so small yet still yields very good results and the IBIS is the best possible. Seems like almost all YT photo/video channels are pushing full frame (there are 2 or 3 exceptions) ...
Yeah, which is pretty ridiculous to push full frame for a talking head youtube setup.
@PhotoJoseph Unfortunately Olympus EM5 mk3 got one flaw that is a dealbreaker for me. No AutoISO in video manual mode. Only EM1 Mk3 and EM1X got this option which is kinda ridiculous. I was hoping to get the best IBIS in the market but without AutoIso in manual it's useless for external blogs. I'm happy that I've checked 10 reviews and 3 of them mentioned this flaw. I couldn't believe that 1200$ camera does not have AutoISO in Manual video mode. I've also heard EM1mk3 does not have exposure compensation in manual video with AutoISO.
Great story! Thanks.
Thank you!
Thanks for telling this story again. It really is a worthwhile tell
Thanks for watching!
Thank you Joseph. I love MFT, this is a great system for outdoors. I carry always my MFT camera with me. Full Frame is great, but I see it more for indoors and planned outdoors work, but as it is more heavy it may not be the camera always with you.
I couldn’t agree more!
Sigma 18-35 f1.8 + viltrox speedbooster + gh5 is cheap but ultimate wedding tool(if you able to manually focus) I don't know any analog in any full frame system.
I’ve never shot with that combo but I know people love it. It becomes quite close to the 10-25 lens at that point, doesn’t it?
@PhotoJoseph no It's becomes more like 24-50 f1/4
I had two GX8. Oldies and a G9 for about 2 years. Every one of the so called Leica branded lenses. The DoF issue drove me nuts. The low light/ hi ISO issue producing Swiss cheese noise drove me. Sold all of it in the last two months of lockdown. Switched to Sony A7Rii and Riii with Batis and Loxia glass. The crappy menus and the bulk of the 4 Batis lenses drove me nuts. I should never have left my EOS 5Dmkii system used for ten years. The L glass is also huge but the rendering is lovely. Since bought some old Zuiko glass and 3 assorted OM1 and 2 bodies. Bliss in the handling... but I kidded myself about the nostalgic pleasures of processing film. In short, I am clearly never satisfied. And I still produce images of zero merit creatively and artistically. And I’m thousands of euros worse off and have sold every shred of MFT. I am beyond saving now. Help!!
LOL sorry to hear that… maybe it’s time to put money into education instead of gear? Serious suggestion! Get the technical knowledge down pat, then push yourself creatively. Start here photojoseph.com/photo101
Love it
Thanks!
I remember that video precisely because of the top down shot. I can probably say that between that story and Emily Lowry’s Micro Four Nerds channel helped me decide to get the Lumix G7 back in 2018. It was supposed to be just a camera for video, but it was so small and light that I was reaching for it for photos as well. Fast forward to 2021, im still using it. Trying to decide if I should upgrade to a G9 (GH5 would be great as well but I do more photography than video) or save up some more for the S5 and the 24-105 f/4.
That’s awesome to hear! The G9 is a killer camera. I love it. S5 is great too though. Two things I’ll say about the S5… it’s basically the same size as G9 or Gh5 (which is nut), and while native lenses are a lot bigger, if you don’t mind manual focus, I adore shooting with adapted vintage manual lenses. The lenses are small so you end up with a package not much bigger than an MFT with a native lens!
@PhotoJoseph Interesting... I had not given thought about shooting with vintage lenses. I honestly don't mind manual focus. The dilema remains... Lol 
Budget wise the G9 makes more sense since I already have the G7 kit lenses (which are always in the bag because they barely take up any space), the Oly 17mm 1.8, Pannasonic 25mm 1.7 and 35-100 2.8 mk i. I would pair it with Leica 12-60 just because that bundle goes around $1500-1600. That 12-60 could be a great all purpose f/4 lens, with the benefit of having a 12mm f/2.8. Sort of two lenses in one.
The Panasonic camera menus are the best I have seen.
You just be referring to the S Series? 😂
.
For an occasional user that simply enjoys taking photos, micro 4/3 is perfect for me.
Right on! And the best part is… you can do pro work with it too ;-) Thanks for watching!
I have on Olympus OMD E-M10 (the first version), and it still takes better photographs than me!
Great story. Great pics!
Thank you! I appreciate that.
If the video had "GH6" in the title, it would have blown up.
haha, missed clickbait opportunity, huh? ;-)
That ending tease makes me excited 😛
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