The Four Thirds system is an innovative, open standard for digital SLR cameras that is designed to optimize their size, performance, compatibility and extendibility. Standardization of lens mounts enables photographers to mix and match interchangeable lenses and camera bodies from different makers.
Because lenses traditionally optimized for film cameras don't always perform well with the digital camera's image sensor (the device that captures light in the form of electrical signals) the Four Thirds system – introduced by Olympus and Kodak – was the first digital-dedicated design.
Four Thirds lenses are highly computerized and tailored to the requirements of digital cameras. Small size sensors mean that lenses and camera bodies can also be lighter in weight and extremely compact. Zoom lenses, in particular, pack impressive specifications into petite size.
The latest development, Micro Four Thirds, devised by Olympus and Panasonic for mirrorless interchangeable lens digital cameras, reduces size even further, without loss of usability, versatility or picture quality.
In this authoritative guide, professional photographer David Taylor gives in-depth, jargon-free information on the pros and cons of this pioneering system, including:
- the logic behind the Four Thirds system, its sensor size and aspect ratio
- reviews of popular Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras
- advice on choosing Four Thirds lenses and accessories
- guidance on exposure, depth of field, and flash
- practical tips on lighting, macro, and camera care
- connection to external devices such as computers and printers