This is a question I've seriously been pondering of late. I feel a little bit between a rock and a hard place on this one... not because of my belief but because as Olympus principal photographer and educator in the UK my opinion could be accused of being biased.
Those that really know me personally will know the internal dilemma this will have caused me because you can't buy the McGillicuddy integrity, I wont sell my opinion, loyalty or endorsement for pennies in the pound... period!
Actually I'm sure that isn't quite true - I just haven't found my price yet... when I tell you that the new "Chocolate" camera from Cadbury Schwepps is the be all and end all... THEN you have my permission to throw rotten fruit at me, if you can reach me in my ivory tower... until then please bare in mind my first love is always photography ;0)
I started my career with my head virtually under a black cloth with sheet film cameras, how refreshing, how liberating it was to transcend to medium format roll film... smaller lighter more readily transportable, more comfortable to use for a protracted length of time... 10 6x7 shots out of a 120 roll instead of the two... is this nirvana???
Then 35mm came along and very quickly the "novelty" format strengthened its appeal, and real pro's looked at it and took to it as film became more advanced and optics improved. How refreshing, how liberating it was to transcend to the new 35mm format... smaller lighter, more readily transportable, more comfortable to use for a protracted length of time... 36 shots out of a tiny roll instead of the 10 out of a roll of 120... is this nirvana???
Then digital surfaced... and quickly evolved. Bodies and lenses designed for 35mm film were converted to the new technology and in no time at all the pixel race was producing files that were not only good enough, but in the hands of the vast majority - just as good. The bonus though was huge... no film cost, instant feedback on what you shot, no protracted lengths of time locked alone in the dark (personally I love the darkroom) now this has to be nirvana surely???
Then sensors got to the point it was cost effective to make them "full frame" and it was almost like the second coming of christ... we had arrived... and battle lines were drawn!
Can you see where this is heading ;0)
If you weren't on "full frame" you were somehow inferior, somehow not a top pro... bollocks - the camera is just a tool, whatever its shape, size or format, I've always believed its how you wield it that counts... Think on this, there isn't a camera available today that isn't technologically superior to the equipment used by some of the most significant artist's in photographic history... Horst, Parkinson, Newton etc, etc. Their "inferior" kit didn't stop them and many, many others shooting images that simply took ones breath away. So its not the kit alone then???
As I write this I'm out of the UK working, testing and tuning stuff as usual and shooting images. Part of my reason for being here is to push myself and cement my beliefs, to test and prove and test and prove again, finally and empirically my faith... my faith in the micro four thirds format.
I've come away with, for me, what is bare, bare , bare bones kit. Two bodies, the one I want to talk about here, the E-P5, a kit lens, my 9-18mm, 17mm prime, my 25mm Voigtlander and the 60mm micro - oh and two FL600r's.
One of my commissions is a new book and I wanted to see just what imagery I could create with what many would see as "none serious" kit. I've long believed that prejudice is holding back our beloved profession. I wanted to see what compromises, if any, the m4/3 kit put on me in my quest to shoot my brief.
Granted this is a new way of working but in the whole of my career part of my success has been due to my ability, just like the marines, to adapt, improvise and overcome! The world is ever evolving... most of us carry in our pockets smartphones that literally have more computing power in them than it took to put men on the moon... sobering thought really!
Yes in the beginning the quality wasn't up to that of film but things advance. When I tested equipment for "Digital Photographer and Creative imaging" magazine both the editor and I coincidentally penned the same thoughts in our respective articles... "when we hit SIX megapixels - that will be Nirvana". Sounds a little laughable now doesn't it!
I'm going to stick my neck on the block here and make a prediction. The DSLR as we know it is on the endangered list! Last time I made such a rash industry statement was in the early 90's when I saw the impending demise of the GP (general practitioner - doing a bit of everything) photographic studio. You guessed it - I was laughed at... but where is the GP, one in every high street, studio now??? Pushed out of existence, first by those that specialised and more recently by business conditions and the ready nature of adequate imagery today...
Feel that chill??? Its the wind of change my friend - take note, or catch a cold ;0)