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Dec 09

Micro 4/3 Year in Review

So, in summation – it’s been a banner year for Micro 4/3. More than any other year since the first year it came out, 2012 saw the introduction of major pieces of gear on both the camera and lens side, and for once they were extremely tilted towards the high-end photographer. As a result, I’ve seen more and more professionals and serious amateurs migrating to Micro 4/3, either as a second system or even as their primary system like I did two years ago.

The good news is that next year looks to be shaping up to be another great year for Micro 4/3. There have already been a number of announcements and substantiated rumors for new things next year. Here’s a little bit of what we can expect:

  • Two new high-grade prime lenses from Panasonic. At Photokina this year, Panasonic briefly mentioned two new lenses on their roadmap: A 42.5mm f/1.2 portrait prime and a 150mm f/2.8 telephoto. These would be outstanding additions to Micro 4/3, provided they are of high quality.
  • Panasonic will almost certainly release a new high end compact Micro 4/3 camera. With the GF5 this year, they’ve solidified the GF series as their entry level, with the GX series taking the high end in that form factor. Not much is known about the future GX2, but it is quite possible it will share the same sensor as the GH3, and could possibly have an integrated low profile viewfinder.
  • Schneider-Kreuznach will be releasing at least three native mount autofocus lenses. They’ve announced the 14mm f/2.0 Super-Angulon, the 30mm f/1.4 Xenon and the 60mm f/2.4 Makro-Symmar. Given Schneider’s reputation for outstanding lenses, these should all be extremely high quality lenses, though with a similarly high quality pricetag.
  • While not confirmed, it is likely that Olympus will be releasing a new camera to fill in the E-P3′s old slot. Possibly a rangefinder styled camera with the OM-D’s IBIS and viewfinder. We’ll have to wait and see. It is also possible we’ll see an OM-D E-M5 successor. However, we don’t know what sort of cycle Olympus plans to keep the OM-D series on.

Finally….

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to all the readers of Admiring Light. I started this website last January, and the response has been fantastic. Admiring Light will pass its Half-Millionth page view sometime in the next day or two, and the overall support of the reader has been far more than I expected when I began this project. I’ve had a great time testing gear, trying out new techniques and passing on some of those experiences to you.

I’ll try and make 2013 even better. I hope to continue bringing you great equipment reviews and I’m going to try bringing a few new things to the table in the coming months. Thanks again and keep shooting!

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

15 comments

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  1. John Rappold

    Great article. I just got the GH3 and the Olympus 60mm Macro, and couldn’t be happier with both. Got into the system with the GH2 in 2011, and with my recent purchases my Nikon stuff will be retired. Another nice lens that I believe was released this year is the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 7.5mm fisheye. A fun and very reasonably priced niche product. Hope to see more Micro 4/3 lenses from them.

  2. Jordan Steele

    I have heard great things about the Samyang 7.5mm. However, it was released in September of 2011, so no inclusion here. :) Thanks for reading!

  3. Sylvain

    And ftanks for your blog and articles, Jordan. It’s a very good source for well balanced reviews : technical & practical. Matching pretty much my expectations.

    Keep up the good work and happy shooting,
    S.

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thank you! I appreciate the feedback!

  4. Julian

    Just a quick note to say thanks for this article and for all the others over the past year. I really like your subjective style of reviewing kit as it makes a refreshing change from specification driven reviews. Your photos are also inspirational and a great showcase for what Micro 4/3s can produce. Keep up the good work!

    BTW I currently own a GH2 and am trying to decide between a GH3 and OMD. Any thoughts? How do you find the 12-35 on the OMD – do you miss the Panasonic baked-in lens corrections?

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks for your kind words! I don’t own the 12-35, but I had it for a week for testing/shooting/review. As to the corrections, the distortion corrections are still accounted for in the Olympus files, but CA is not. However, with Lightroom 4.1′s CA correction tools, it’s a single check box to get rid of the vast majority of any CA present in any lens.

      As to GH3 vs OM-D, it’s hard to say. I should have a GH3 review unit sometime in January, so I hope to complete my review around that time. From looking at specs and early tests, image quality is extremely similar between them, so it’s down to better video on the GH3, and probably better ergonomics (and slightly better autofocus), vs smaller size and in-body IS.

      For me, I’ve come to quite love the IBIS on the OM-D, but Panasonic bodies are really well thought out ergonomically.

    2. Esa Tuunanen

      As it is E-M5′s retro design is ergonomically clearly below GH2.
      With landscape grip from that expensive grip set grip from camera becomes little better than from GH2 because of having better place where to keep thumb in rear. Besides that rear controls are equally point&shoot cramped and tiny.
      While overall GH2 didn’t have exactly good ones (because of size limitations) E-M5′s settings are even more based to on screen menus instead of direct physical controls.

      GH3 clearly corrects most of GH2′s ergonomical flaws. Like way too small grip which along with lack of space in rear causes thumb accidentally pressing buttons when carrying it. Also there are now rear and front dials which are ergonomically positioned. (vs. E-M5′s 50y old tech of the time limited unergonomy)
      Also making focus mode switch separate instead of GH2′s, hard to use with cold fingers/gloves, tiny lever under knob is welcome. Along with better spacing and size of all major controls.

      Olympus sure got great sensor now and IBIS and Live Bulb are exactly innovations which we should be seeing in digital age but after making some of the more ergonomical bodies in entry level DSLRs they seem to have lost ability to put tech in modern ergonomics package.
      With that and GH2′s below entry level DSLR ergonomics I had to give Panasonic christmas gift and ordered GH3 yesterday. (another shop still has it in stock here in Finland)
      -10C temperatures with wind don’t tolerate any fashion Point&Shoots which can’t be operated with gloves so I need utilitarian camera comfortable to handle instead of fashion decoration.

  5. Terry smith

    Great wrap-up & great site. We are fortunate to have your energy working in the MFT camp!

  6. Michael

    It was my understanding that the sensor in the G5 was a “locked” (not full resolution muti-aspect capable) version of the sensor found in the GH2. I’ve seen this information on several sites. Can you confirm this as fact, please?

  7. lisandra

    Hey jman, Michael is right the g5 sensor is the non multi aspect version of the gh2′s sensor. Great stuff as always!

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thank you. Article has been updated.

    2. agachart

      G5 hacked can unlocked MA-feature.

  8. Joerg

    Do you have any info as to how the G5 can be hacked to unlock the MA-feature. I would love to have that option.
    Thanks!

  9. Mariano Srur

    Great article. I think the system needs an equivalent to the excellent Olympus 50-200 f/2.8-3.5

    Keep up the good work Jordan!.

    Mariano

  10. Dr House

    very good

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