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Micro Four Thirds Camera

Updated on August 19, 2014

Is a Micro Four Thirds Camera Right for You?

A micro four thirds camera is a good step between a traditional DSLR camera and the typical point and shoot cameras. They are built a bit differently but offer some impressive photographic capabilities.

On this page you can get an overview of how these cameras are different and what they offer, both the advantages and the disadvantages. You'll also find many of the current models available.

Introduction Photo by the other Martin Taylor.

What is a Micro Four Thirds Camera?

A micro four thirds camera provides some of the advantages of a traditional DSLR with some of the benefits of a compact point and shoot. They are smaller and lighter than a DSLR but they allow users to make use of interchangeable lenses.

In simple terms, the mirror box used in a DSLR s not necessary with these models, so the body can be slimmed down significantly which makes them more portable, easier to take anywhere, anytime. However, their sensor is larger than that in a typical compact camera. In fact, their sensor can be eight to nine times larger than the sensor in the average compact.

You can learn more about the design of a micro four thirds camera, and what makes it unique here.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

Whether you have a point and shoot digital and want to progress to a model that gives you more control and flexibility or you have a DSLR and want something more compact to take along more easily, a micro four thirds camera may be a good idea. They do provide some distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here are just a few:

Small and lightweightAs mentioned above, a micro four thirds camera will offer a more pocketable device than any DSLR. It will be a bit larger than most point and shoots, but without the mirror box and with using lighter weight lenses, these cameras are much more portable than any DSLR.

FlexibleIf you are moving from a point and shoot to a micro four thirds camera, you will gain a great deal of flexibility. Especially in regards to lenses. Using an adapter, these devices can accept nearly any lens. Being able to use interchangeable lenses is only one thing that provides improved flexibility over point and shoot cameras though. Having hot shoes for flashes, microphones, and so forth is much more common on these devices as well.

Sensor SizeIf you are accustomed to using a DSLR, the sensor in the micro four thirds camera will be smaller, nearly 40% smaller, however the 4/3" type sensor is still much larger than that found in a compact cameras. For point and shoot users, it should be remembered that sensor size will have greater influence on image quality than the increasingly large number of megapixels squeezed on to the sensor. Certainly, point and shoot users should see an improvement in the image quality of low light shots in particular.

DustFor those who are accustomed to using interchangeable lenses, these devices will be familiar but for point and shoot users, a reminder may be needed that taking lenses on and off can expose the camera to dust and other infiltrates so care must be taken. Ideally the model you choose will have a dust reduction feature.OtherThere are a number of other differences such as the fact that a micro four thirds camera will eliminate problems with mirror vibration that DSLR cameras sometimes experience. In addition, unlike superzoom compacts they won't offer extreme zooming capabilities. On the other hand, they can offer video recording. For DSLR users, there is also no optical viewfinder but instead, like many cameras, these devices make use of a electronic viewfinder/LCD screen.

PriceThe pricing of these models is significantly less in most instances, than a DSLR. The lenses and sensors used are also generally less expensive. For a point and shoot user, the pricing of most micro four thirds cameras is in the middle to upper end of their typical range.

Buy a Micro Four Thirds Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 MP Live MOS Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3-Inch Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 MEGA OIS Lens (Black)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 MP Live MOS Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3-Inch Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 MEGA OIS Lens (Black)

This micro four thirds camera has a 12.1 megapixel sensor and 3" touch screen that can rotate 180 degrees side to side and tilt 270 degrees top to bottom for excellent viewability. It has a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens, optical image stabilization, and offers a variety of creative effects. This camera will also record 720p AVCHD Lite video.

 
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens

The G3, released in 2011 offers a 16 megapixel sensor and 3" free angle touch screen for easy viewability and intuitive controls. It has a 14-42mm f/3.5-6.6 lens and offers an optional 3D lens as well. It records 1080/60i video and offers a pop up flash, faster focusing, an external mode dial, and hot shoe more reminiscent of a traditional DSLR camera. It features a built-in flash, 16 preset scene modes and a burst mode that allows users to capture 4fps or up to 20 fps at a lower resolution.

 

If you didn't find the camera you want, be sure to visit our online electronics store.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      squidoo's tech expert. Thanks for the lens.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      very good information

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      I really like the feature about the price: To low to display =D