A few years ago I bought an Olympus PEN, a Micro Four Thirds camera. It was (still is, actually!) the size of a largish compact but with a much larger sensor. It was truly revolutionary. This is proven by the huge number of Compact System Cameras that have been released by pretty much every manufacturer since then. They have, perhaps, condemned both Bridge cameras and premium compacts to becoming obsolete. Perhaps. Why spend £400/£600 on a Bridge or a camera like the new Canon G16 when for the same money, or less you can have a far more capable camera in a far more pocketable body? I should ask myself that question, seeing as I later shelled out for a large Fuji bridge camera….
But whilst the Micro Four Thirds format lead the way, has it itself fallen into the ‘obsolete’ bracket? The thing is, every other manufacturer (I think!) have put full DSLR sized sensor in their compact system cameras, giving them a very distinct edge over the offerings from Olympus and Panasonic. Sensor size is important. Why choose a model with a noticeably smaller sensor?
Well, here’s one reason. The lenses. The advantage of innovating is that other companies will jump on your bandwagon. Lens makers included. There’s a positive abundance of third party lenses available for the MFT mount. The most recent of which come from one of my favourite companies – Lomography. They have been specializing in bringing film back into fashion for years, with funky lenses that produce photos that Instagram users can only dream of.
Now they’ve released a set of three funky lenses for MFT cameras. Less than £80 for all three. I’m excited. Now, do I have a few bucks to buy these lenses for my PEN? Pfft. Sadly no. I have written a begging letter instead. I’m told I’ve been put in the queue for a set of loaned lenses for the press. Moi? The press? I should be flattered. I’ll be more impressed if I ever actually get them! And when I’m buying a new camera, do I go for a large sensor Sony, or stick with the MFT concept? Decisions, decisions…