Word is reaching NCN that full-scale war (aka, War M43) has broken out between the two main tribes of Micro Four-Thirds, Olympus and Panasonic, the rival factions going all out to prove their superiority over the other.
While they share the same genetic code, their approach to the market has diverged greatly over the years, with Olympus making strategic investments in face cream, microwave plates, and garbage recycling businesses, while Panasonic seeks to strengthen its position with nose hair trimmers and electronic fitness horses. These strategic differences have resulted in cameras and lenses that are only 99% identical, and it is this 1% difference that is being fought over.
The Olympus normal prime lens, for example, is a 25mm F1.8, while the Panasonic normal prime lens is a vastly different 25mm F1.4. Their standard, constant aperture zooms are similarly dissimilar, with the Panasonic specified as a weather resistant 12-35mm F2.8 while the Olympus is a weather resistant 12-40mm F2.8. Things get even crazier with the camera bodies, the Panasonic GH camera resembling modern DSLRs while the Olympus OM-D cameras resemble older SLRs, the dropping of the “D” from DSLR making, apparently, all the difference in the world.
Skirmishes have been reported on a number of online forums, with Panasonicans and Olympussians hurling rotten fruits and vegetables, plush toys, and ad hominems at each other. There’s a whole lot of “blah blah 100% crop blah blah low light blah blah 5-axis stabilization blah blah video blah blah” going on with no end in sight. The camera world has not seen fighting like this since Andre Agassi and Ashton Kutcher bumped into each other in Las Vegas.
Many question why the two tribes, when surrounded by so many rival groups of varying sensor sizes, choose internecine rivalry instead of cooperation and world domination. Some, have even gone so far as to suggest that the Micro Four-Thirds consortium should be dissolved, but fellow consortium members Sigma, Tokina, and Cosina are trying to diffuse the situation with humor. The following song was sung by Sigma, Tokin, and Cosina executives to Panasonic and Olympus at a recent consortium meeting:
[To the tune of Gershwin’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”]
“You say 5-axis IBIS, I say Mega-OIS.
You 17mm F1.8, I say 20mm F1.7.
Let’s call the whole thing off!
25mm F1.4! 25mm F1.8!
Let’s call the whole thing off!”
Stay tuned as we send NCN staff photographers (with full-frame Nikons and Canons…you know…real cameras) into the heat of battle.