Hello, I just found this nice site, tutorials and forums, looks very well done.
My first question is about 4/3s cameras and full frame cameras.
First, some background: I have an aging Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10. It is just 4 mp but has done very well by me for quite some time. I got it from the reviews I was reading in a popular digital camera review website. Lumix glass with true 12x zoom and stabilized. Much of my photography has been taken while traveling, on the highways or four wheel driving way out in the remote deserts and mountains. Therefore a value I am aware of is the cost of a really nice camera and lens kit limited by being afraid of having it stolen pr damaged. If you wouldn't think of living with the camera as you go walking about then it probably would not work for me. I did notice that both Olympus and Pentax had extremely well constructed and sealed bodies. I presume this rugged construction isn't really available on a Canon or Nikon till you hit the top top models? And you certainly wouldn't want to get into rain or mud ore any circumstance less that perfect for the cameras body and lens. Therefore one of my first values is that the camera has to be well built enough that I am unafraid to have it with me because most really good shots occur when there is not time to run and get a camera.
I suppose what I am really asking is about the differences between full frame and 4/3s sensors. Both are larger than "normal" digital sensors with full frame being a good deal larger than 4/3s. If the benefits of a full frame sensor are:
larger actual sensors in the sensor chip allowing for more light
larger area for light to strike and be processed allowing for more detail
And the costs are:
More expensive lenses required to get the image edge to edge on the sensor
SLower processing time for the added data
More expensive camera body to purchase.
Limited depth of field apparently although my brother has a 5D and he says he hasn't noticed DOF as a problem.
Now, 4/3s: I already like Panasonic and OLY looks/feels very well built. Both have reputations for excellent glass apparently. But to what degree will a 4/3s camera have the benefits of the full frame camera? I suppose we are really comparing a Panasonic Lumix GF1 with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II here (not sure of the lenses).
WIth the Panasonic/Oly cameras, 4/3s have a way of halving the required lens length. So I could buy a 150 zoom in 4/3 and it would be as if I had a 300 zoom in full frame. Definite cost savings there. I also like what is good enough, not limiting my art and detail of the full etc, without sacrificing the usability and yes, the inherent destruction of a well applied tool. One hopes it will never come to a camera being actually destroyed but I did find myself hiking in the desert once and caught in a real flash flood. I threw the Panasonic to the far shore while I fended off the flood. It was in it's bag (was over my shoulder). Got wet all over and pretty muddy (my shins were pretty bloody and I escaped with my life). And it still works great.
I guess the question is, is a 4/3s better than most digitalis other than full frames? Do the same principles apply as I outlined for the full frames albeit at smaller ratios? IF a full frame is truly better then I will find a way to make that happen. Why I am asking this rather long question (sorry) is to get some feel for what benefits or probs of a full frame camera also are with a 4/3s camera?