Three reasons to get excited about the future of m4/3 - No. 3. The Panasonic GX8

There are lots of things to admire about the Panasonic GX8 and it's specs. have been well documented. However there are two things that I want to focus on for the concluding article of this short series. 

Firstly the 16MP 4/3 sensor 'barrier' has finally been broken. I've been looking at more and more raw samples and I'm now convinced that the 20MP sensor is a distinct improvement. There is a slightly softer look than the current 16MP sensor offers but the raw files do sharpen nicely and there is a serious improvement in the high(er) ISO settings which once again expands m4/3 capability and options. There is now the very real possibility to consider the GX8 as a genuine 'all rounder' and indeed a professional spec. camera. No longer need we m4/3 users be hesitant about taking our cameras into low light situations. We have been able to use them for fast action stopping shots for some time and there are a number of fast lens alternatives giving high quality results. So the last part of the 'jigsaw' has fallen into place and we now have a incredibly versatile and capable camera.

The second thing I want to highlight is the impact that this will have on the rest of the system. Surely in the wake of this Olympus have to sort out their video options. The OM-D E-P2 has to have 4K video and it has obviously to use this 20MP sensor. I would also suggest that Olympus have to go for an OLED viewfinder as well as adding everything that the OM-D E-M5 has come up with. And this Panasonic > Olympus > Panasonic etc. 'leapfrog' can only benefit us m4/3 users. Long may they continue to attempt to outdo each other, because we get the benefit.

Now there are other mirrorless manufacturers in the game too, but it's these 4/3 sensor advances that excite me the most. Despite all the Sony massive MP counts I'm still not convinced by the FE system. And at the root of that is the lenses. Not enough of them and not the right focal lengths or quality for me. Plus I really don't like the A7 and it's derivatives design. The A7 II was better but I absolutely hated taking it out with me and using it, even though the files it created were splendid. And for me Fuji are up a blind alley. Wedded to their (admittedly very attractive) retro design ethic and that opinion polarising X-Trans sensor, for me they have to change their focus and come up with a body / sensor that really does justice to those great lenses, which to me is and always has been the strength of the system. And of course the appalling video needs upgrading dramatically. I suspect that the X-Trans sensor is the cause of both problems and the rumour is that they have finally seen sense and are going for the upcoming Sony a7000 24MP unit for the X-Pro 2 (If that camera isn't actually a myth!!.) If and when that happens I might consider Fuji again and if Sony get their act together with some lenses I might want to buy then they too may get my custom again. 

But in the meantime it's m4/3 that is pushing all my buttons. So much so that my Leicas and Nikons are currently sitting on the shelf twiddling their thumbs. And in these three articles I've tried to demonstrate why. I've always been keen on the concept since buying that G1 all those years ago and despite the occasional sabbatical I've used m4/3 ever since. For me it's a system that is really going places again. We might have thought that high-speed, high resolution and good high ISO performance were just pipe dreams, but again and again Panasonic and Olympus prove us wrong. They always seem to come up with lateral thinking solutions that makes manufacturers like Sony, Fuji and Samsung look like stick in the mud fuddy duddys. For me this is where the innovation is, this is where the creative and photographer orientated advances are coming from and this seems to be where the cameras I want to buy, own and use are coming from. It may be one of the smallest mirrorless sensors out there but it's the format that comes up with the big ideas for me. And these are ideas that work for me as a serious professional photographer, not a leisure photographer impressed by charts and tech. gobbledegook. Great cameras, great lenses, great results, exciting and intriguing possibilities. What could be more exciting than that?