Best Micro Four Thirds Cameras for Every Type of Photographer: Reviews, Buying Guide and FAQs 2022

by Alex W.

DSLRs have hogged the limelight for long enough.

But a time of change is upon us. The emergence and subsequent improvement of mirrorless technology has seen these systems surge in popularity, but most of the focus is solely on those DSLR-equivalent mirrorless cameras.

Micro Four Thirds systems sometimes get lost in the noise, and it's a massive shame because there are some absolutely fantastic Micro 4/3 cameras out there.

So we've rounded them up for you in our best Micro Four Thirds cameras article, a follow-on to our best Micro Four Thirds lenses piece.

But first…

Top Micro Four Thirds Cameras in 2022 by Editors

What is a Micro Four Thirds camera?

A Micro Four Thirds camera (or 4/3, or micro 3 4 camera if you prefer) is a range of cameras that have a 4/3 of an inch sensor, hence the name. The system, developed by Panasonic and Olympus, has a smaller sensor than APS-C or Full Frame cameras, and while this does affect image quality is also brings with it plenty of benefits.

All of these benefits are outlined below.

Best Cameras For Landscape Photography
Best Cameras For Landscape Photography

Why buy a Micro Four Thirds camera?

Why buy a Micro Four Thirds camera?
Why buy a Micro Four Thirds camera?

Size and weight

The biggest advantage in the Micro Four Thirds system is the size and weight, or should I say the lack of it. Because of the mirrorless design and the smaller sensor, many Micro Four Thirds cameras are extremely compact.

This also allows for smaller lenses, meaning many camera and lens setups can easily be carried in a coat pocket. This understandably makes them extremely popular for travel photography. Many photographers also use Micro Four Thirds systems as backup or secondary cameras behind a full-frame setup.

Lens selection

Micro 4/3 systems have been around for a fairly long time and, combined with both Panasonic and Olympus being heavily invested in the system, the result is a massive array of lenses that are compatible with every Micro 4/3 camera on the market.

Third party manufacturers have also joined the party, further increasing the already burgeoning lens selection.

The lenses on offer range from cheap, beginner friendly superzooms all the way up to high end professional lenses, and we've outlined some of our favourites here.

Technology

Micro Four Thirds systems often see the very latest camera technology introduced before their DSLR counterparts. For example, things like 4k photo mode, 6k video, in-camera stabilization and high resolution stacking have all been pioneered by Micro Four Thirds.

Top 6 Best Micro Four Thirds Camera Reviews 2022

Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkIII

Best for: Wildlife and action photographers

  • OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark III Black Camera Body

    OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark III Black Camera Body

    • Multi-selector (Joystick) for quick selection of the AF area while looking through viewfinder
    • Dust proof/Slash proof/Freeze proof magnesium alloy weather sealed construction
    Rating:

Despite the incredibly confusing naming system, Olympus's OM-D range of cameras has long been a frontrunner in the Micro Four Thirds world.

The OM-D E-M1 MKII offers some of the best performance Olympus has to give. It can capture as many as 60 frames per second in burst mode, and that's RAW files too. This drops to a still impressive 18fps in continuous autofocus mode, making it ideal for action and wildlife photographers.

It's also extremely well sealed from the elements and if its 20 megapixel images aren't enough for you you can use High Resolution mode, which takes multiple images and combines them into a massive 50 megapixel image or, if you're using a tripod, up to 80 megapixels.

Need more? It also records Cinema 4k at 24fps and standard 4k at 30fps, high speed video as well as boasting 5-axis in camera stabilization (up to 7.5 stops), two SD card slots and a vari-angle touchscreen.

Basically, it has pretty much all the features a photographer would want from a camera, although if you're more serious about videography it's perhaps not the best option.

Panasonic Lumix G9

Best for: The photographer/videographer hybrid

  • Panasonic LUMIX G9 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel...

    Panasonic LUMIX G9 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel...

    • Professional photo and video performance 20 3-Megapixel (Plus 80-megapixel high-resolution Jpeg or raw in-camera image) micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter to confidently capture sharp images with a high Dynamic Range and artifact-free performance
    • Rugged splash or freeze proof design durable magnesium alloy body withstands heavy use out in the field and is freeze proof down to -10-degrees splash or dustproof construction with weather sealing on every joint dial and button
    Rating:

The little brother to the more expensive Panasonic GH5 below, the Panasonic Lumix G9 is perfect for those who pursue both photography and videography.

The 20 megapixel sensor is the same as that in the GH5 and offers gorgeous image quality, and the 6.5-stop rated 5-axis stabilization is second only to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkIII above.

It also offers High Resolution mode, yielding a RAW file of some 80 megapixels, 20fps burst mode and a host of video options.

These include 60fps 4k video capabilities, with the added benefit of being able to pull single frames out in 4k photo mode. There's also high-speed video recording of 180fps in Full HD.

To top it off, there's weather sealing, a beautiful electronic viewfinder, dual SD card slots and an autofocus system that allows focus to be achieved in a reported 0.04 seconds.

Olympus Pen-F

Best for: The discrete photographer

  • Olympus PEN-F (Body-Only) (Black)

    Olympus PEN-F (Body-Only) (Black)

    • New 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor with 50 Megapixel High Resolution Shot mode
    • Operating temperature: 0 to +40℃ (operation) / 20 to +60℃ (storage). In body 5 Axis Image Stabilization
    Rating:

The Olympus Pen-F weighs in at just over 400 grams but still managed to pack in a beasty 20 megapixel sensor and a host of impressive features.

It has a 50 megapixel high resolution mode, 5-axis image stabilization, a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 second and a 10fps burst capacity. Not to mention the looks… It's an all metal construction and looks beautifully retro.

The JPEGs that come out of the PEN-F are gorgeous as well and the handling is reminiscent of the days before the digital era.

Something's got to give though, and that something is the video capabilities. It's still capable of shooting Full HD video and 4k timelapses, but you won't find any high speed video or 4k recording here.

But if you're a true blooded photographer, especially a street photographer or one that values discretion, this tiny camera is absolutely fantastic.

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Best for: The videographer

  • Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel...

    Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel...

    • Professional photo and video: 20.3 Megapixel micro four thirds sensor with no low pass filter to capture sharp images with a high dynamic range and artifact free performance
    • Splash or Freeze Proof Design: Freeze proof to 10 degrees the durable magnesium alloy body withstands heavy use in the field; Splash or dust proof construction with weather sealing on every Joint, dial and button
    Rating:

Sporting the same sensor as its slightly cheaper brother, the Panasonic G9, the GH5 packs a host of video features to nudge it more towards the videographers out there.

The low pass optical filter has been removed to increase image sharpness and an upgraded processor offers improved performance. It also has all the other expected features such as the class-leading 7.5-stop 5-axis stabilization and a decent 12fps capacity in burst shooting mode.

But where it really shines is in the incredible video capabilities. Not only can you record 6k videos, but there's a 6k Photo mode that allows you to pull 18 megapixel images from 6k footage, which records at an impressive 30fps. Oh, and you can shoot 4k videos at 60fps, which is a feat in itself!

It also boasts that Panasonic weather sealing that would allow the GH5 to survive something out of the Old Testament.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkIII

Best for: The jack of all trades photograph er

Significantly cheaper than the Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkIII, the E-M5 still boasts some impressive features if you're not overly concerned with that incredible 60fps burst shooting mode.

The OM-D E-M5 MkIII still offers an impressive 30fps burst capacity, that 20 megapixel sensor and a host of other features such as 5-axis stabilization, weather sealing, 50 megapixel High Resolution mode and 30fps 4k video recording.

In fact, the lower continuous burst shooting, the battery life and the lack of two SD card slots are the only areas it falls behind it's more developed brother.

If you're looking for a solid camera that does everything well, rather than anything spectacularly, then this is a great option.

Panasonic GX85

Best for: The photographer on a budget

  • Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera, 12-32mm and 45-150mm...

    Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera, 12-32mm and 45-150mm...

    • Fine Detail Performance: 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter resulting in a near 10 percent boost in fine detail resolving power over existing 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensors
    • Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera Kit: With 2 super compact lenses 12 32mm F3.5 5.6 and 45150mm F4.0 5.6, shoot lighter and faster with the modern hybrid photography performance of a mirrorless camera and nearly half the bulk of most DSLRs
    Rating:

If you're looking for a more budget friendly option, the Panasonic GX85 boasts a ton of features at an impressively low price. You can buy it from Adorama with two lenses for under $500!

While it doesn't have some of the more cutting edge technologies, it doesn't slouch by any means. The 16 megapixel sensor delivers very good images and it unsurprisingly has the standard 5-axis in-camera stabilization system.

Add in features such as a tilting touchscreen, a surprisingly impressive EVF, 4k video recording (30fps), 4k photo mode and 4k Post-Focus mode and you have a lot of camera for a relatively small amount of money.

If you're not looking to drop four figures on a camera that you plan to use for holidays or as a second shooter, you're unlikely to need more than this.

Buying Guide for the Best Micro Four Thirds Camera

If you're thinking about buying a micro four thirds camera, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Consider your needs

What type of photography do you plan on doing? If you're mostly interested in landscape or portrait photography, then a micro four thirds camera may be a good option for you. However, if you plan on doing action photography or sports photography, then you'll probably want to stick with a DSLR.

Compare prices

Micro four thirds cameras tend to be more affordable than DSLRs. However, do some research online and in stores to find the best deal.

Look for reviews

Before you make your purchase, be sure to look up user reviews of different micro four thirds cameras. This will help you decide which camera is right for you based on its performance and features.

By keeping these tips in mind, you should be able to find a micro four thirds camera that's right for your needs. Good luck!​

Benefits of Using a Micro Four Thirds Camera

A micro four thirds camera can be a great tool for photographers of all levels. These compact and lightweight cameras offer many benefits to their users, including:

  • A small form factor that makes it easy to carry the camera everywhere you go.
  • The ability to change lenses, allowing you to capture a wide range of subjects with just one camera.
  • Superior image quality compared to other types of cameras due to their larger sensors and higher resolution options.
  • Fast autofocus capabilities, as well as on-screen touch focus controls, which make it easy to quickly capture clear, sharp photos in different shooting conditions and environments.
  • Versatile video recording features, including the option to shoot in 4K, which allows for high-quality video recording with minimal compression.

Overall, if you are looking for a lightweight and portable camera that can give you amazing image quality, then a micro four thirds camera is an excellent choice. Try one today and see the benefits for yourself!

Types of Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Micro Four Thirds cameras are a type of camera that is becoming increasingly popular today. There are several different types of Micro Four Thirds cameras, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a look at some of these different types:

The Mirrorless Model

One type of Micro Four Thirds camera is the mirrorless model. These cameras have been designed without the bulky mirror that you would find in traditional DSLR cameras, which allows them to be smaller and lighter than DSLRs. While this can make them great for travel photography, it also means that they typically have less zoom range than their DSLR counterparts.

The Compact Model

Another type of Micro Four Thirds camera is the compact model. Compact models are even smaller and more lightweight than mirrorless models, and they often have built-in flash units. However, because they are so small, compact models generally have fewer features than their larger counterparts.

Micro Four Thirds cameras come in both point-and-shoot and DSLR styles. Point-and-shoot Micro Four Thirds cameras are typically less expensive than DSLRs, but they also tend to have fewer features. DSLR Micro Four Thirds cameras, on the other hand, offer more advanced features but can be quite a bit more expensive.

No matter what type of camera you're looking for, there's sure to be a Micro Four Thirds model that's right for you. With so many different types available, you're sure to find one that meets your needs and budget.

Expert Tips to Keep Your Micro Four Thirds Camera in Top Condition

Micro Four Thirds cameras are becoming increasingly popular due to their small size and capability to produce high-quality images. Despite their popularity, there is still a lot of confusion about how to properly care for and maintain these cameras. In this article, we will provide some expert tips on how to keep your Micro Four Thirds camera in top condition.

Never Use Alcohol or Other Chemicals

One of the most important things to remember when caring for your Micro Four Thirds camera is to never use alcohol or other chemicals to clean the lens or LCD screen. Instead, use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or fingerprints. If you must use a cleaning solution, make sure it is specifically designed for use on camera lenses and screens.

Regular Battery Recharging

Another crucial element in the care and maintenance of your Micro Four Thirds camera is regular battery recharging. You should always try to keep at least one fully charged spare battery handy so that you can continue taking photos even when your main battery runs out.

Dust and Moisture-Free Environment

Finally, be sure to store your Micro Four Thirds camera in a dust- and moisture-free environment whenever possible. To protect it from accidental bumps or drops, consider purchasing a sturdy case for it as well. By following these simple tips, you will enjoy many years of trouble-free use from your Micro Four Thirds camera.

What is the purpose of a mirror in a camera?

The mirror in a DSLR reflects light coming through the lens so it hits the optical viewfinder. This allows you to frame your photo and see what the picture will look like before actually taking it. Once you take that shot, or any other, the mirror gets out of the way and the shutter opens to expose the sensor to light, which then records your image. The mirror also lets you see through the lens, which is a feature I've found useful when manually focusing a lens on a tripod. It's not required though. In fact, most compact cameras don't have them at all.

In mirrorless / DSLR hybrid cameras, there is no optical viewfinder. The lack of a mirror means that the camera can be much smaller. It also allows for electronic viewfinders (EVFs) or LCD screens to be used for composing photos, which are generally higher resolution than the optical finder in a DSLR. While an EVF has many advantages, it's not a necessity either. In fact, some DSLRs have EVFs built into them now as well.

What Is a Micro Four Thirds Camera ?

When the Micro Four Thirds system from Panasonic and Olympus was announced in 2008, it included two primary features that would distinguish it from other compact interchangeable lens cameras: small size, and reduced weight due to a smaller sensor size. Micro Four Thirds refers to the size of both the lenses and camera body: 4/3" (44 mm diagonal). This is significantly larger than the sensors in compact cameras, but significantly smaller than DSLRs. Since then, other manufacturers have joined the Micro Four Thirds group, with Samsung contributing one of my favorite mirrorless cameras, the NX series.

The Benefits of a Micro Four Thirds Camera Over Other Cameras on the Market

Nowadays, the market for interchangeable lens cameras is dominated by DSLR cameras ($400 to $1400), that are bulky, heavy, and expensive. The main reason why these large camera bodies are popular because of their low-light capabilities which are needed for shooting images in cramped areas (such as concerts).

One emerging form of interchangeable lens cameras with huge potential is the micro four thirds camera (MFT). MFT cameras, like DSLRs, allow one to swap lenses and use different styles of photography. However, MFT cameras are significantly smaller and cheaper than their DSLR counterparts.

The two main camera manufacturers of MFTs are Panasonic and Olympus. For this article, we will focus on the Panasonic GH4, which is an excellent entry-point for those wanting to get into MFT photography. It is a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera that costs $1,000 new (as compared with the $400 entry-level DSLR camera).

MFT cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs. Before buying a new MFT, one should consider the size of their current camera. If they currently own a DSLR, then they will be pleasantly surprised by how small and light the MFT bodies are.

Weight Benefit

Another benefit is that MFT cameras be made significantly smaller than DSLRs when lenses are not mounted on the camera. This means that one is able to carry their MFT in a small bag without worrying about bumping it into people or objects. An example of this benefit can be seen below in the CCTV image of someone shooting with an MFT. Notice how compact the camera is relative to the size of his hand.

At the same time, one is not forced to bring a lot of heavy lenses with their MFT camera since each lens that they buy will be smaller and lighter than its DSLR counterpart. For example, see below an MFT camera shooting at night compared to a friend's DSLR. The friend has to carry a much bulkier camera with the equivalent lens of the MFT camera.

Price Benefit

The next benefit of MFT cameras is that they are cheaper than DSLRs. For example, on Amazon, one can purchase Panasonic's entry-level MFT camera, the G7 for $497.95 new or Olympus' entry level OM-D E-M10 Mark II for $599.00 new. When compared to their DSLRs, both have more features and are cheaper by hundreds of dollars!

As seen above in the GH4 CCTV image, some people may be intimidated by the size of MFTs when lenses are mounted on them. However, some manufacturers produce smaller MFT bodies like Pansonic's GM1. These cameras are so small, that one can easily fit them in the palm of their hands.

The Disadvantages of a Micro Four Thirds Camera

The Disadvantages of a Micro Four Thirds Camera
The Disadvantages of a Micro Four Thirds Camera

The main disadvantage of MFTs is that one will not be able to swap lenses as quickly as they would with a DSLR. For example, let's say you see a landscape from a distance and want to take a picture of it using your MFT camera. You will have to remove the lens from your MFT body using your hands by turning its locking ring (on Panasonic lenses) counterclockwise until it comes off. Then you will attach another lens such as a telephoto prime lens onto the body. If one wants to switch back to shooting at normal distances, then they must repeat these steps in reverse order. Thus, switching lenses takes more time on a MFT camera than a DSLR.

Another disadvantage is that some older MFT lenses do not have image stabilization. Image stabilization helps to reduce blurring in images due to hand movements while shooting at low shutter speeds. However, there are numerous MFT lenses with image stabilization, such as Panasonic's 12-35mm F/2.8 and Olympus' 40-150mm F/2.8 Pro. In fact, the GH4 comes with built in image stabilization! Thus, this is not a major issue for most photographers using new MFTs.

What Are the Advantages of a Micro Four Thirds Camera vs a DSLR ?

A smaller sensor will generally have shallower depth of field, less noise in low light, and better high ISO performance. The most important advantage with respect to Micro Four Thirds cameras however is that lenses are much more compact than their equivalently-featured DSLRs or mirrorless counterparts. This means they are lighter, take up less room in your bag/on your person, and can be mounted on ultra compact tripods or gimbals without sacrificing stability.

Buy on eBay, Walmart, Etsy (subject to availability)

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark III Black Camera Body - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Olympus OM-D E-M1X with $300 in Amazon.com Gift Cards - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX GH5M2, 20.3MP Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Camera with Live Streaming, 4K - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Body Black - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark II 20.4MP Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Camera with M. Zuiko ED - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Camera - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX G9 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel Mirrorless Camera Plus 80 Megapixel - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX G100 4k Mirrorless Camera, Lightweight Camera for Photo and Video, - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Silver Camera Body - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Micro Four Thirds System Camera, 16 Megapixels, Image - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Kit, Micro Four Thirds System Camera (16 Megapixel, 5-Axis - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Camera Body (Black), Wi-Fi Enabled, 4K Video - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera Body Only Black (Kit - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera, 12-32mm and 45-150mm Lens Bundle, 16 Megapixel - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX G9 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Olympus PEN-F (Body-Only) (Black) - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera, 12-32mm and 45-150mm - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Micro 3 4 Camera Buyers

Micro four thirds cameras offer benefits over larger DSLRs in terms of size and price while sacrificing very little in terms of photography capabilities or performance. However, one must not overlook the size and speed limitations of MFTs. Thus, before buying a MFT camera, do research on its pros and cons as well as those of DSLRs. One should also consider how much they are willing to carry around in terms of weight and bulkiness.

If you are looking for a camera system that is portable and gives you great image quality, the Micro Four Thirds camera may be the perfect option for you. With so many different lenses and accessories available, you can create a system that works perfectly for your needs. Have you tried using a Micro Four Thirds camera? What did you think of the results?

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About Alex W.

Alex is the owner and lead writer for Click and Learn Photography. An avid landscape, equine, and pet photographer living and working in the beautiful Lake District, UK, Alex has had his work featured in a number of high profile publications, including the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, and Amateur Photographer Magazine.

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