The Mirrorless Revolution
by Kevin Raber
Times Are Changing
There is no question times are a changing and in the photographic world we are witnessing these changing times with the migration to mirrorless camera systems. A recent report by CIPA and summarized by mirrorlessrumors.com shows that DSLR shipments are falling and mirrorless camera shipments are steadily climbing.
Recently Michael and I sat down and made the video below, The Mirrorless Revolution. We discuss the move to mirrorless and why both of us have adopted it and why we enjoy it and what we think of the present offerings in this market. Plus, Michael sends a message to Nikon and Canon.
32 Minute Video With Michael and Kevin Discussing Mirrorless Cameras
To View In HD Click The HD Button
A Quick Summary Of The More Popular Mirrorless Cameras
Sony Alpha a7r
Sony offers an incredible full frame mirrorless camera with a 36 megapixel sensor, the Sony a7r . This is an amazing small camera and sets the bar high for others. The camera itself is a bit non-ergonomic, but for a first generation camera it is a shining example of what can be accomplished in a compact and lightweight camera body. The weakness of this system is the lack of dedicated lens range. You can use adapters for a wide range of lenses but the dedicated lenses at this time are few and far between. But in our opinion this is the system to watch. The next generation of this camera with a wider range of lenses, will take the market by storm.
Fuji XT-1 and The Fuji X Line Up
Fuji has shown the market what it can do when it doesn’t have a legacy line of cameras that might be jeopardized by a new line up of cameras. Fuji a number of years ago introduced the Fuji X100 and since then has continually added to the X line up of cameras. Fuji has revealed its Lens Road Map and is delivering these lenses on time. The latest offering by Fuji is the Fuji XT-1 and is a big success. It is revolutionary camera with a touch of retro. Fuji uses its own sensors and the image quality this sensor and the Fuji lenses offer is top class. The lens line up of primes and zooms fills just about any need a photographer might have. They are small and compact and boast excellent image stabilization. Fuji has also done a great job of upgrading camera firmware and they have not forgotten their earlier models. The XT-1 also sets a new standard for electronic viewfinders (EVF). If you haven’t taken a look at this camera and are considering a mirrorless system, the XT-1 deserves a look. I own this system with 8 lenses and I find that I use it more and more all the time.
Watch for the Luminous-Landscape's Guide to the Fuji XT-1 Tutorial to be released soon.
Olympus OMD EM-1
Here is another camera system that has emerged and that has gained a very loyal following. This system falls into the Micro-Four Thirds (MFT) category. The latest Olympus EM-1 is very strong and is a highly customizable system. The lens line up of Micro Four Thirds and Full Four Thirds (with adapter) offers a wide range of excellent prime and zoom lenses. Olympus has announced a Pro Series of lenses for this camera and so far has released a 12-40mm 2.8 Pro Lens. This is a very fast focusing lens with excellent image quality.
I believe that with this lens, the recently- announced pro lenses 40-150mm (80-300mm equivalent), the 7-14mm (14-24mm equivalent) and a super telephoto 300mm (600mm equivalent), Olympus will offer a truly formidable system. The EVF in this camera is bright and easy to use. This is another camera I own and love to use. For such a small sensor the image quality is fantastic.
Panasonic was one of the pioneers of the mirrorless market and has over the years evolved its camera system to the latest version: the Panasonic GH4. Planned or otherwise, the GH line became widely known for its video capabilities. Panasonic has capitalized on this and has evolved the GH4 to be aimed heavily at the video market. Their lens line up is excellent and is interchangeable with the Olympus system as both are Micro Four Thirds. The GH4, while a super performer in the video end, is no slouch when it comes to still photography. This is one of those all-round, all purpose, excellent cameras. Luminous-Landscape uses this system for most of our video productions.
As we mention in the video, Nikon and Canon have yet to step up to the plate to offer a competitive product to the cameras above. There are a lot of advantages to the mirrorless system but some drawbacks too. The main two disadvantages are the viewfinder and resolution (except for the Sony). Yet, if you are not going to make really large prints and value the light weight these system offer, you should be taking a look at the mirroless offerings.
Unlike Michael, I have yet to sell off my Nikon D800 system and lenses. Chances are pretty good I’ll keep my full frame DSLR and even upgrade to the D810. There is still something about seeing a live image through the lens. However, I have no issues with EVF at this stage of the game. I cherish my Nikon lenses and as much as my aching back and arms may complain, I still love the feel of a big system. Maybe in a few years I’ll change my tune. For now though, I enjoy al of the above systems and find time to use each of them.
On my most recent trip, I shot with the Fuji XT-1 and was able to carry this whole system in an easy to access and carry Think Tank Sling Bag. I’ll be heading off to Photokina in a few weeks with Michael and this will be the kit I take on this trip along with the 10-24mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm and 56mm lenses. We’ll see what the camera manufacturers have to show at this event. Word has it, that Fuji may have some additional interesting announcements. We’ll keep you posted.