m4/3 & small camera inferiority complex?

Samsung NX10 18-55 Zoom
Samsung NX10 18-55 Zoom.

This thread has been going for a while now:- http://www.mu-43.com/f35/we-expecting-miracles-format-3979/
Here are a few quotes:-

"I do occasionly browse the dpreview forums, and there seems to be good bit of discontent with the (m4/3) format right now."

"If I was selling cameras, and a customer told me they were interested in the mFT but they just wanted to walk around with a kit lens, never expand their lens collections, and really were just after better dynamic range and higher ISO, I think there are high end P&S cameras that would satisfy."

"At dPreview forum you mainly see the early adopters and hobby / professional with too much money, that is just a small part of the market, but the impact of such reviews should not be underestimated (many people surf on internet, but hardly post). Still this will not make "normal" people buy a full frame DSLR, just because it is better (much more expensive than m43 and probably well above their budget)."

"Not all photographers are "serious" some of us just want to casually take photos so we just want a camera we can carry around with us anywhere and everywhere. P&S's fit most of the needs except image quality."

"Yes. Part of it comes from the attitude that a lot of "SLR" folks have. (Not all, but enough that it's a stereotype.) It's not even just owners but the elitist attitude even happens in stores. It's embarrassing enough and snobby enough that when I had my e410 I felt really really bad about being in public with the camera because I didn't want to be grouped in with "those guys". In the end, I think I took my e410 out of the house less than 10 times in a year.
I'm not saying all SLR owners are like this but I'm sure you've met SLR owners who think they're better than everyone else and thumbs their nose at you because of your gear etc.."

"In my own experiences, there are three types of slr users. The first is the family shooter wanting pictures of their kids running around or just snapshot type photos. The second is the more enthusiast of the group, and the last sorta combines two groups: the high end enthusiast and the professional. "

"Salesmen, at least in my area, are making no attempt at selling the ELP1.

My own experiences at events where lots of cameras are out, the SLR users who have some sort of knowledge, usually have their noses up when I have my PEN out.

Leica X1
Leica X1

Many of the quotes here are from photographers on limited budgets, those looking to upgrade from point and shoot and compact cameras and those who want a camera (at the moment) to merely document their lives. Sound familiar? Certainly does to me and I suspect to many of us. The interesting thing is that they are contributing to a (a rather good) forum. As you will see I have become quite involved. I've got some real concerns here, both about some of the things that are being said, and also the implications of some of these peoples experiences.

Olympus E-P2 Zuiko 40-150 4/3 Zoom
Olympus E-P2 Zuiko 40-150mm 4/3 zoom.

When I first began my obsession with photography, there was no internet, let alone photographic forums. Magazines were the source of knowledge and information in those days. Written by (usually) experienced professionals, well aware of the mixed status of their readers, they catered for beginners and "advanced enthusiasts" at the same time. A photographic institution like Amateur Photographer, here in the UK has been doing this for over 125 years.

With the emphasis less on magazines such as this and the proliferation of internet forums a different kind of "knowledge and information" has emerged. Much of it prejudiced, ill-informed and deliberately contentious. This sharing of personal experience may seem a good way to judge the performance of equipment, but in reality is it?

I suspect that its not when people seem to take what is said in forums as representative of the experience of the entire user base of a particular product when it obviously is not. This must be particularly difficult for those who have no great experience or confidence in their choices.

In the comments I have quoted above and others I have seen recently there does seem to be both an element of an "inferiority complex" and a sense of "intimidation" referred to by some of the posts.

"My own experiences at events where lots of cameras are out, the SLR users who have some sort of knowledge, usually have their noses up when I have my PEN out."

To think this is happening and to be affected by it sends out all sorts of wrong messages. It panders to those who promote the view that m4/3 and other small cameras are somehow inferior to the mighty DSLR. Those of us that have been around a while and can cope with much of the nonsense that presents itself on these forums, are able to treat it with the contempt that much of it deserves. Others may however be unable to do that and give some of these subjective, ill-thought out comments much more credence than they deserve.

I'm very reluctant to give advice but would offer the following, with all kinds of "health warnings"!!

1. Be very wary of negative comments by a few people on internet forums. The likelihood is that people who have complaints are much more likely to publish their views than those who have a generally satisfactory experience.
2. Trust your instincts. If you feel a piece of equipment is right for you then it probably is.
3. Don't get put off by people implying that the choice you have made is somehow not what "real photographers" use. Experienced photographers use whatever they think is right for them and are unimpressed by people "lecturing" them on what they "should" use.

On the specific issue of small cameras and m4/3 in particular.

4. If people tell you that these cameras are "inferior" to DSLR's don't believe them, because they are not. With careful exposure and processing you can equal or exceed the image quality of comparable DSLR's.
5. It really is the image that counts, not the camera.

You might also take a look at these:-


Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens Zoom
Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit zoom.

Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens Zoom
Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit zoom

Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens Zoom
Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit zoom