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A Word On Micro Four Thirds
Micro Four Thirds (MFT) is a standard that is neither a DSLR or compact equivalent, yet takes advantage of a large sensor to produce DSLR-like high-quality images while retaining the smaller body size of a creative compact or bridge camera. However, Micro Four Thirds is not to be confused with Four Thirds – a different, yet similar, standard that uses the same size of sensor but has a different lens mount size and lens-to-sensor ratio – which is used in current Olympus DSLR cameras.
The MFT standard was devised by Olympus and Panasonic and is an open standard, meaning that any MFT lenses are cross-compatible, irrelevant of brand. However, a number of manufacturers have released similar systems that are based on a different standard: the main competition is the new Samsung NX10 that has a larger APS-C sized sensor while retaining the small body size. Sony is also in production of a new NEX range. Of course with solo ventures comes solo fittings, meaning neither Samsung nor Sony lenses will be compatible with MFT cameras. As an overall category, What Digital Camera terms this camera group as the ‘Micro System Cameras’ category, though many alternative names such as ‘Mirrorless Interchangeable Compact’ or ‘Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens (EVIL)’ are commonplace.
Despite providing interchangeable lenses, Micro Four Thirds (and, indeed, all Micro System) cameras function fundamentally differently from DSLRs and, as such, shouldn’t be considered as the same. The removal of the mirror box from the concept means no optical viewfinder is possible, but it also takes much of the bulk out of the system. In place there’s a constant live view system, with many models incorporating an electronic viewfinder. So for those wanting the control and lens choices provided by DSLRs but without the large size, Micro Four Thirds is one of the best alternative options out there.