Micro Four Thirds in 2023: Quality Over Quantity

Micro Four Thirds 2023 Recap

Micro Four Thirds remains an excellent system for photo and video applications. Despite the relatively small image sensor size, Micro Four Thirds cameras like 2022’s OM System OM-1 and Panasonic GH6 show that great things come in small packages. However, what about 2023? What new Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses arrived this year?

No OM System Cameras and Just One Panasonic Camera This Year

It was a very quiet year for new Micro Four Thirds cameras. It was so quiet, in fact, that only a single one arrived on the scene: the Panasonic Lumix G9 II.

Despite the lack of new cameras, the good news is that the G9 II is incredible. It has quickly become a PetaPixel favorite and is the camera of choice for recording many of our videos, despite being targeted more as a camera for photographers.

There’s a lot to like for photographers, too, of course, including a new 25.2-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, phase-detect autofocus (a first for Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras), and continuous shooting at 60 frames per second.

A Single New OM System Lens and Nothing From Panasonic

This recap’s lens section is no busier than the camera section, with OM System announcing only a single lens this year and Panasonic going practically silent.

OM Digital Solutions announced the OM System 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS PRO lens in February. While the sensor size of MFT can occasionally be limiting, it can also enable some exciting photography thanks to the crop factor.

Micro Four Thirds 2023 Recap
Photography By Lisa and Tom Cuchara

The 90mm f/3.5 macro lens showcases this latter trait by enabling 2x magnification straight out of the box and 4x magnification when used alongside the MC-20 2x teleconverter. It is an amazing macro lens and helps make Micro Four Thirds an even better choice for macro photographers.

OM System technically rebranded an existing lens this year, too, slapping the OM System name on 2021’s fantastic M.Zuiko ED 150-400mm f/4.5 IS PRO lens. PetaPixel finally got the chance to review the lens, and while it is not technically new, it is worth highlighting here.

By the way, while Panasonic did not release any new lenses this year, the company did redesign two of its Micro Four Thirds lenses alongside launching the G9 II. Panasonic’s 35-100mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm f/4-6.3 zooms got refreshed with new coatings and in the case of the longer lens, teleconverter compatibility.

Grading Micro Four Thirds in 2023

This is a tough one. There was only a single new Micro Four Thirds camera released by a major player this year — I am ignoring the odd Yongnuo streaming camera — the Lumix G9 II. The G9 II is excellent, but it is a bit disappointing not to see anything else hit the market. C-plus.

Micro Four Thirds 2023 Recap
Panasonic Lumix G9 II

As for lenses, the story is the same, and it is a concise story. The OM System 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS PRO lens is amazing, but again, just the one new lens from a major MFT player? That is not great. It doesn’t help that Sigma’s CEO, Kazuto Yamaki, said earlier this year that the company won’t make new Micro Four Thirds lenses because of significantly diminished demand.

There were some other interesting third-party lenses released this year, though, including cine lenses from AstrHori and Sirui, plus a fun tilt shift lens from TTArtisan and a super-affordable macro lens from Pergear.

Micro Four Thirds 2023 Recap
OM System 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS PRO | Credit: OM Digital Solutions

Grading only OM System’s new lens effort, the quality is good, but the quantity is a bummer. C-minus.

I still believe in Micro Four Thirds and think that OM System and Panasonic do, too. The year was quiet for the system, and it warrants a middling C-minus grade, but there’s no cause to sound the alarm bells just yet. My fingers are crossed for a busy 2024 for MFT cameras and lenses.