I was amused to see Leica announce recently that they would not be issuing any micro four-thirds lenses. In a recent Popsci blog, Leica’s VP marketing is quoted as saying:
“One reason why we’ve decided not to move into Micro Four Thirds is that we have looked at the sensor size and realized that it cannot produce the image quality that we need. Therefore we decided to stick with the full format in addition to APS-C. It’s all about the ratios”
Interesting. Really? So why is Leica selling rebranded Panasonic cameras at the bottom end?
So let’s see what a real micro four thirds Panasonic, my new GF-1 with fixed 20mm lens, can do against the top of the line Canon, the 1Ds Mark III with a prime 50mm lens. Crazy comparison, eh? Who’d be crazy enough to shoot the same object with a highest-end SLR versus a point and shoot?
I just shot my most patient model in the studio, lit by a couple of Bowens strobes.
- Both cameras set to manual, 100 ISO, f/9, 1/125th second (as measured with the light meter). One shot focus, focus point on the eye.
- 1Ds Mark III: 50mm f/1.4 lens on this full-frame 23 Mpixel camera
- The 12 Mpixel GF1 was fitted with a 20mm f/1.7 lens. Because the sensor is four times smaller than a negative, this is equivalent to 40mm “real” length.
So the shots:
Full shot, Canon:
Full shot: Panasonic:
In all cases, click to see a larger picture.
These were RAW images that have been read into Lightroom and edited slightly for white balance and exposure. No sharpening or noise reduction was done.
What does this show me? Yes, I suppose at higher ISOs I’ll see more of a difference, but at these low ISO settings, any megapixel count over ten is “enough”, and the difference in the case of such a controlled shot is minimal.
Certainly, this does not in my opinion warrant the comments by Leica.
While I am not about to hang up my DSLRs, I am impressed by the small camera’s ability to produce professional work.
So to Uncle Fred (and you are not Uncle Fred, or you would not be reading this):
- It’s not about the equipment;
- It’s about the picture.
There! Let’s start thinking more about the image than about how we make it.