Mirrorless Cameras …

Smaller, lighter, faster, right?  Not necessarily.

If you are thinking of ditching your DSLR setup in favour of a new mirrorless system, you may want to rethink that a little.

Image courtsey of CameraSize.com

Pictured above are three of the very latest mirrorless cameras, that have just been announced prior to Photokina 2018.  Two are Full-frame and one is APS-C. The other two are a Canon 650D ( my current camera ) and a Canon 6D MkII the favoured enthusiast Full-frame  DSLR also from Canon. The Canon EOS R & the Nikon Z6 & Z7 are the latest Full-frame offerings in the mirrorless market.

The list below shows the combined weight of lens and camera including batteries.

All the cameras above have lenses attached and are the lenses you are  likely to see as a “kit offering” if you dont specify a lens at the time of purchase.

  • Nikon Z7 = 1.090 kilos (2.416 lbs)  ***  $7695.00 NZD
  • Canon EOS R = 1.610 kilos ( 3.55 lbs) **   $5995.00 NZD
  • Fuji XT3 = 0.89 kilos ( 1.87 lbs)  $3732.00 NZD
  • Canon 650D (T4i) = 0.790 kilos ( 1.74 lbs) approx  $450-600 NZD used.
  • Canon 6D MkII= 1.370 kilos ( 3.02 lbs)  $4480.00 NZD
  • Sony A7 R MkIII = 0.952 kilos ( 2.1 lbs)   $1798.00 NZD
  1. ** Lens shown is the 50mm, current NZ offering for kit lens is the 24-105 mm lens. Price above for EOS R is with the 24-105 mm lens.
  2. ***Lens shown is the 50mm, current NZ offering for kit lens is the 24-105 mm lens. Price above for Nikon Z7 is with the 24-105 mm lens.

Its pretty obvious that my 650D wins in the weight stakes as all the other cameras get considerably heavier once you start using faster prime lenses and telephoto lenses. Even so I would still have the Fuji XT3 with  a heavier lens as it would still be in most cases lighter than the other full frame offerings and currently is a better  all round camera than its full frame rivals.

Although I haven’t included the Sony A7 R in the image above you can see that its lighter than all the other mirrorless Full-frame cameras when mounted with the lens that is currently offered with the cameras here in New Zealand  FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens.

In other countries the included lens as part of the kit may well vary, but currently there are little in the way of native lenses for the new Nikon’s or Canon’s for the purchaser to choose from. By comparison both the Fuji and the Sony have a large set of lenses for you to choose from and both manufactures have indicated at Photokina that there are more lenses to come for their cameras, both Full-frame and in Fuji’s case APSC.

It then begs the question, who are the new cameras aimed at, Certainly the majority of Vloggers arent going to rush out and buy one. Only the Fuji has top notch video capability, talking in terms of 4k, and none have a vari-angle LCD needed to for doing video work, and they are cost prohibitive for most Vloggers and enthusiasts alike.

Yes I’m sure they will have some impact in the professional world, but at present I have doubts as to how “professional” these cameras actually are. For the landscape and portrait photographers they do offer very good resolution, colour rendition and output files, but for sports photographers, and dare I say it the paparazzi that need multiple high burst speed they arent going to cut it.

Obviously the manufacturers think there is a market or they would not spend the R&D money to develop these cameras. However for the vast majority of users wishing for a lighter more compact, travel friendly, family snaps, do it all camera then they arent going to look here. And this is by far the largest buying segment of the consumer market and currently its still being eroded by the ever increasing allusion that the smartphone is a better option. And I have to say it but for the vast majority of people the new generations of smartphone are certainly proving to be a force to be  reckoned with.

The one good thing that smartphones are doing is making people aware that good camera gear is worth buying, and lets face it a new smart phone with a top rated camera will set you back between $500 & $2000 NZD depending upon manufacturer and specs. I’ve said this before that my Samsung S6 & J3 Pro phones are excellent snapshot cameras when you dont need anything better and provide decent images  that can be posted to the internet or printed up to A4 size without any issues.

Couple your smartphone with a good camera, Fuji XT 100, EOS M50, Fuji XT 20, Canon EOS 1500D, or even a nice compact like Panasonic’s LX10 and you have a nice little photo combination that will see you through most situations.

Then theres the price. Sony and Fuji win this hands down, both have a full range of lenses and both have lenses at a price point that would give you at least a twin lens setup for less than the cost of the new Nikon or Canon cameras. I would however in the pricing stakes give the win to Sony unless you wanted some of the Sony G Master lenses, then things change dramatically.

Suffice to say that for most of us who are somewhat less affluent, and cant really justify the excessive pricing of the full frame mirrorless cameras, sticking with the APSC or Micro 4 Thirds option seems like a pretty smart move, as does sourcing  good quality used equipment to supplement what you may already have.

You may have also noticed how video centric most of the new cameras coming to market are, and I have to question this logic. Sure  YouTube and other video sharing platforms are helping to drive this side of camera gear, but just how may people would sit down and watch a bunch of home movie clips, and how often would you do so. Remember Uncle Bob’s 8 & 16mm home movies of summer holidays when you were 10? BORING!! right?

We have a VHS tape of a school concert when my daughter was 13 years old. We wanted to record this event for posterity. My daughter is now 35 years old and we have watched this tape once in the last 22 years and then its was a couple of days after the event. We still have the LG VHS tape deck in our spare room and the VHS tape. If we were to plug this into our smart TV it would look as bad as I remember VHS looking when TV’s weren’t flat panels. My point is just how much video would you actually watch if you recorded it and will the tech be available to do so in 25 years from now.

What if anything do we give up? Well not a lot really when you consider what Fuji offers with their APSC cameras or the more standard and considerably cheaper new generation of DSLR’s. All these cameras provide excellent imagery and the ability to print very large images, sure larger sensors give more resolution and dynamic range, but how big do you want to print and more importantly, is any of the above going to make you a better photographer or help you compose and take better images? most likely not although having good gear does help, at the end of the day you can take a great image with any number of cameras but its the photographer who sees the image and has the skills to record it.

No matter your preference we certainly arent lacking for quality or choice in the current camera market, there certainly seems to be something for everyone no matter your budget or interests. Interesting times ahead in the camera world. So go take some photos and :

Happy Snappin.


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