by Mike McNamee Published 10/04/2015
Four Thirds - Micro Four Thirds - What is the difference?
There are two lens mount standards based around the 4/3 chip camera. The older Four Thirds system was designed with sufficient rear flange distance to clear a conventional (though small) SLR mirror. The Micro Four Thirds is a universal standard which makes the assumption that an EVF is to be used (or rear LCD only) and has 50% less rear flange distance along with a tighter specification on the number and placement of communication contacts between lens and camera body. This is to allow for things such as Live View. The Micro Four Thirds lenses are thus interchangeable although there is an argument that aberration correction and in particular image stabilisation require the user to stay within the same marque for both lens and body.
Four Thirds is overseen by www.four-thirds.org and their website is a useful resource for camera, lenses and compatibility.
Certainly for the beginner in photography the CSC has pitfalls:
1. The smaller chip needs more light so a lower ISO can be employed.
2. The diffraction limit on a small chip is less so there is a limit of around f8 in most cases.
3. The dynamic range is compromised on a small chip and so your exposure has to be more accurate to ensure you don't waste any dynamic range.
4. Minimise cropping, you are short on pixels to start with, so compose tightly.
5. Avoid using JPEGs, noisy pixels break apart more easily on compression.
6. Sharpen with care to prevent noise build-up and watch your noise reduction settings as you process.
In practice if all the above are attended to you should easily make an exhibition-quality A3 print. With care we can just push CSC files for front cover or double-page spread use but we always do so with caution and take additional measures and make additional checks. If you have compromised any of the six steps above then you might never be able to create a full bleed 16x20-inch image as a print.
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