A common question that I was asked recently (when I invited you all to submit some questions) was my choice of gear, specifically why I choose mirrorless cameras over more “traditional” DSLR’s.
First let me start by saying this is not going to be yet another long, endless, drawn out post about why mirrorless is going to take over the world and DSLR’s will be extinct in 5 years. Nor is this going to be a post telling you to go out and ditch all your gear and go mirrorless. You shouldn’t.
So why mirrorless?
For the uninitiated of you, mirrorless cameras, in a nutshell, are lighter and smaller versions of DSLR cameras. They’re made smaller by removing the traditional mirror that flips up inside the body of a DSLR as you press the shutter but still retain most, if not all, of the features of a DSLR. I’ll leave it at that as not to complicate or bore you further. With that concept in mind, many of you will be thinking that surely a smaller, lighter camera is better right? Especially as they tend to be cheaper than many DSLR cameras! In the right hands for the right purpose they are. That’s the important part that I feel a lot of people are missing out when entering this discussion.
For me; primarily a landscape and commercial photographer who regularly prints many of my photographs, I have three important things to look for in my cameras. I want something with good resolution, a camera that will survive the elements and lastly something fairly lightweight to travel with, as I travel often.
Well lightweight we’ve covered. Mirrorless certainly offers that but at the same time I need something sturdy, something that feels strong and resistant to weather and dust. DSLR’s are kings for this but a number of mirrorless bodies now offer weather sealing and the same type of strong magnesium bodies as their DSLR “cousins”. To what kind of degree is still debatable in some circles but I’ve found them to be perfectly adequate for me.
So with resolution, the widely held theory is that a larger sensor offers a higher and better resolution. This is mostly true however there are some smaller format sensors on APS-C and Micro four thirds cameras which offer very very good resolution nowadays. One in particular is the X-Trans sensor in the Fujifilm X series of cameras. Their sensor pattern is slightly different to a traditional camera sensor (you can read about this here). I personally believe that the images are just as good as a full frame sensor. Pixel peepers will disagree but if you feel that you need to look at a photograph with a magnifying glass then that’s up to you. I prefer just to look at the photograph itself.
So as you can see for me a mirrorless camera fits the bill perfectly. Even more so now that they are starting to mature as full camera systems. Those of you with a keen interest in the photography world will have I’m sure, read about many pro’s who are switching or have switched to a mirrorless system. There are still some people for whom the mirrorless systems are still not quite what they need whether it’s down to ergonomics or functionality but the gap is closing pretty quickly. Will mirrorless take over completely? Maybe not but that’s neither here nor there. We as photographers need the best tools for us to ply our trade, mirrorless or otherwise.
I believe that I have that in my mirrorless system.