So this is the age of the full frames!
Nikon, Canon and shockingly Panasonic [!!!] have all announced or indictated they are joining Sony in the brave new world of full frame mirrorless cameras.
Has anything really changed?
I’m not sure.
These beasts are likely to be so expensive that they remain the preserve of wealthy enthusiasts and pro photographers. Their lenses remain heavy and the mirrorless versions are sometimes larger to make up for the new mirrorless dimensions. Maybe then everything remains the same just without mirrors.
The approx £2000 price tag will price out many hobbyist photographers, so my main concern is how seriously panasonic will take micro four thirds now. Because if almost everything stays the same, just mirrorless, then the big issue is whether mft as a format will still receive investment.
Now if manufacturers were willing to bring the price of digital cameras down then that would be interesting. If full frame cameras were within reach of more people, and at a price point that recognised that they need replaced every four years, that really would be a thing!!
With all this talk of increased frame rates, megapixels and more and more K video, what I really really want, is an inxepensive, relatively low tech, minimalist full frame camera, that I could afford to replace every few years. And of course, a few decent primes!
I can dream…
It was fun when it lasted but 10 years after the micro four thirds format was launched perhaps the end is night.
A couple of years ago I lamented the ever increasing size of mft cameras and the subsequent loss of their advantage. At the time I mused that thankfully pro end mft cameras remained smaller than their larger format counterparts (https://davebobphotos.com/2016/07/18/is-there-a-benefit-to-micro-four-thirds-cameras-in-street-photography/).
But this is no longer the case. I had read some criticism in the blogosphere about the large size of the Lumix G9. And today I have finally been able to compare it online to Nikon’s full frame mirrorless Z series. They are nearly identical sizes. And for the record the Sony A7 III is smaller than the G9. (See camerasize.com)
The size difference will remain in the lenses. Mft lenses can be smaller and lighter, and because of the crop factor effectively longer. So under certain circumstances I can imagine a comparative advantage to mft.
But for someone shooting primes in the wide to short tele range, I suspect there will be less advantage in mft lenses. And the image quality and noise handling of full frame is likely to persuade many away from mft.
Where mft used to excel was size and price but now both have crept up close to their ff equivalents.
I hope I’m wrong. But if I was a pro or wealthy enthusiast, I’d be hard pushed to consider mft now.
Perhaps Olympus and Panasonic have acquiesced to the ff mirrorless crew. But if not, in my opinion they need to remember the competitive advantage they used to provide by being a little smaller, lighter and cheaper without compromising quality.