A lot pixel-peepers will tell you that nothing short of a full-frame sensor camera provides acceptable quality. While it is true that a FF camera provides smoother, less noisy images than an MFT camera, does it really matter for web-based images or even for prints up to say, 16″ x 24″?
I contend that it does not, and in fact the convenience of the MFT form factor overweights the drop in quality.
To prove this point, many people have been asking: “When will an MFT sensor surpass Medium-Format film?” This is an interesting question as Medium-Format has long been considered to provide the best quality available in a still hand-holdable camera. Well at least a couple of pro photographers think that the MFT format already surpasses Medium-Format film in most or all relevant aspects of image quality. Here’s a quote from an interesting post at The Online Photographer.
“Image quality is a multidimensional thing, some of which can be quantified and some not. Still, by no measure of image quality does a good Micro 4/3 camera and lens perform more poorly than a good medium format film rig, and by some measures it performs considerably better. My overall subjective evaluation is that the aggregate image quality of Micro 4/3 today, in film terms, falls midway between 6×7 medium format and 4×5-inch large format.”
“Almost everyone you can find who is still arguing that Micro 4/3 can’t match up to professional film has not done substantial amounts of serious work in both media. I believe the technical term is ‘talking through one’s hat.”
I guess that pretty much settles it. But even if you disagree, I think it’s safe to say that MFT is good enough for most purposes.