Are Micro 4/3rds cameras good for landscape photography

Are Micro 4/3rds cameras good for landscape photography

Landscape photography is a beautiful art that involves capturing the essence of natural landscapes in a single photograph. It requires not only technical skills but also a good camera that can capture every intricate detail of the scenery. 

With the increasing popularity of mirrorless cameras, photographers are always on the lookout for the best options to capture stunning landscapes. One such option is Micro 4/3rds cameras, but are they good for landscape photography?

In this article, we will explore this question and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on buying the perfect camera for you. 

An illustration of why and how crop factor happens. A 50mm focal length lens will produce images with a field of view that varies, depends on the size of the sensor in the camera. As you can see, a 35mm format sensor (marked in green) can capture more light than APS-C (red) and Micro 4/3rds (blue). *Sensor sizes in this illustration are approximate.

What are Micro 4/3rds cameras?

Micro 4/3rds cameras are a type of mirrorless camera that uses the Micro Four Thirds System. This system was created by Olympus and Panasonic in 2008 and has since become widely popular due to its compact size and interchangeable lens capability. 

Micro 4/3rds cameras have a sensor size of 17.3 x 13.0mm, which is smaller than the APS-C sensors used in many DSLR and mirrorless cameras. This smaller sensor size is compensated by the lens design, which allows for lighter and more compact lenses. 

The Micro 4/3rds system has a crop factor of 2x, which means that the lenses will have a 2x magnification factor, making it an attractive option for photographers who want to travel light without compromising on image quality. 

The 2x crop factor means that a 50mm lens will appear like a 100mm lens on a full-frame camera body, or 75mm on an APS-C crop sensor camera. But the differences between sensor sizes are more than just the physical size of the sensor.

Next, we’ll talk about a few of the benefits of choosing a camera with a smaller, Micro 4/3rds sensor. 

There are plenty of reasons to buy a micro 4/3rds camera over an expensive full frame body in 2023.

Advantages of Micro 4/3rds Cameras for Landscape Photography

There are plenty of advantages to using a Micro 4/3rds sensor. These cameras come packed full of professional features that often are only possible in full-frame cameras that easily cost twice as much. 

Cuiping Hill in China, submitted to the MPI 2023 landscape photography competition
You need something small and lightweight when you’re taking a camera to a place like this.

Size and Weight

One of the biggest advantages of Micro 4/3rds cameras is their small size and weight. When compared to a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera, Micro 4/3rds cameras are much smaller and lighter, making them an excellent option for photographers who want to travel light.

This is especially important when you are carrying a lot of gear for a long hike or trek. The smaller size also makes it easier to pack more lenses and accessories, allowing you to capture different perspectives and compositions.

Cameras have never been so good. But features in Micro 4/3rds cameras are putting a lot of pressure on the big 3 camera manufacturers.

Feature-Packed Cameras

Because of the smaller sensor, Micro 4/3rds camera manufacturers often pack tons of features into their cameras. It’s not uncommon in 2023 to see Micro 4/3rds cameras that have 4k60, or even 8k30 video recording features, or the ability to shoot photo still as fast as 20 frames per second. 

As well, manufacturers often throw in custom advanced modes like Panasonic’s Live View Composite mode that will show you a preview of the long exposure as the camera is making it, which is incredibly useful for light painting. 

Micro 4/3rds cameras in 2023 are some of the best choices if you’re considering shooting video. They usually have better frame rates and can shoot in higher-quality codecs that give the users more information to work with in post-production. Because of this, some manufacturers are starting to release two versions of their Micro 4/3rds cameras — one for video, and one for photos, so that they can better target the growing video marketplace. 

A photographer taking a photo in a frigid ice field
Never worry about the freezing weather again with the professional sealing offered in Micro 4/3rds cameras.

Weather Sealing

Many Micro 4/3rds cameras are weather-sealed, making them an excellent option for landscape photography, where weather conditions can change rapidly. Weather sealing protects the camera from dust, moisture, and other environmental factors, ensuring that it will work even in harsh conditions. 

This is a great advantage for landscape photographers who often work in extreme environments and need a camera that can withstand tough conditions, such as when traveling through the backcountry, in extreme sports, or when tracking wildlife over a couple of days. 

Low light images at sunset and sunrise like this can be taken hand held using a Micro 4/3rds camera thanks to in body stabilization.

In-body Stabilization

Almost every Micro 4/3rds camera has advanced in-body image stabilization, which compensates for camera shake and allows for slower shutter speeds without compromising image quality. While full frame and even some medium format cameras have in-body image stabilization, Micro 4/3rds cameras often perform much better thanks to having additional space in the body for motion sensors and gyroscopes. These are especially useful for video, where even small amounts of motion can ruin takes. 

The in-body stabilization also makes it easier to shoot handheld without the need for a tripod, allowing for greater flexibility and freedom when shooting. 

When a photo is taken at the right time using the right settings, there will be no way to tell if it was captured on a full frame camera or a Micro 4/3rds.

High-Quality Lenses

The Micro 4/3rds system has a wide range of high-quality lenses that are specifically designed for landscape photography. Micro 4/3rds lenses are also interchangeable between systems, (called the L Mount Alliance) meaning users can choose any lens from any manufacturer, which makes it easier to find the right glass for your needs. 

These lenses offer excellent sharpness, contrast, and color reproduction, making them an excellent option for photographers who want to capture stunning landscapes. Due to the smaller sensor size, the lenses are also more compact and lightweight, making them easier to carry and use.

Disadvantages of Micro 4/3rds Cameras


While Micro 4/3rds cameras have many advantages for landscape photography, they also have some disadvantages that you should be aware of. Here are some of the main disadvantages of using a Micro 4/3rds camera for landscape photography:

Spirit Island during sunrise
There may not be enough megapixels on a Micro 4/3rds sensor to capture an image that can be printed large. Though there are a few techniques to solve this problem, including creating panoramas. 

Smaller Sensor Size 

Micro 4/3rds cameras have a smaller sensor size compared to full-frame cameras. This means that they are not able to capture as much detail in the image, especially in low-light situations. This can be a disadvantage when trying to capture the fine details of a landscape scene.

That said, it’s possible to overcome this problem using a panorama. In fact, many Micro 4/3rds cameras have new high-resolution modes that automatically capture a number of images and stitch them into high-resolution images even when hand held! These new features are incredible for photographers who don’t need to capture fast action, like in sports or wildlife photos.

Blur out the backgorund for better flower portraits

Blurring the background reduces the number of distractions in an image. Micro 4/3rds cameras produce images with more depth of field (the amount of the image in focus) than cameras with larger sensors.

Less Bokeh

Due to the smaller sensor size, Micro 4/3rds cameras are also not able to produce images with as much bokeh as full-frame cameras. Most landscape photographers are willing to make this tradeoff,  however, since landscape photography often entails trying to get as much of the image as sharp as possible.

But if you use your Micro 4/3rds camera for taking photos of your kids or family members, it can be difficult to achieve a shallow depth of field, which is often desired in portrait photography to separate the subject from the background.

Image quality at high ISO values is very important for landscape photographers who take photos at night.

Image Quality at High ISO

While Micro 4/3rds cameras produce excellent image quality at lower ISOs, the image quality can suffer at higher ISOs. This can make it difficult to capture landscape scenes in low light situations without introducing noise into the image.

When shooting star photos, you’ll want to have the biggest battery possible. This is one area where it pays to use a DSLR camera, which tends to have much better battery life than any mirrorless camera.

Smaller Battery Life

Due to their smaller size, Micro 4/3rds cameras often have smaller batteries compared to larger cameras. This can be a disadvantage when shooting landscapes, as you may need to carry extra batteries with you to ensure that you have enough power to last the entire shoot.

Overall, while Micro 4/3rds cameras have many advantages for landscape photography, they do have some limitations that you should be aware of. However, with the right technique and equipment, you can still achieve stunning landscape images with a Micro 4/3rds camera.

Tim Shields

Tim Shields is the founder of Photography Academy, the author of The Photo Cookbook, and the creator of the Photography Transformation 4-Step System. He holds the designation of Master Photographer in Fine Art from Master Photographers International.