Catalog > Free Tutorials > Going Smaller, The Myriad of Mirrorless
  • Going Smaller, The Myriad of Mirrorless

  • by Aaron Nace
    September 18, 2013
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Tutorial Description

Today we’re going to talk about just how awesome mirrorless cameras are and why you should probably be at least taking a look at them if you’re looking to get a new camera.

You know assuming you somehow missed the wave of mirrorless cameras that pretty much every major camera company has released in the past few years. Just remember bigger isn’t always better especially if you happen to be one of those folks that go about and aimlessly swing your legs around in order to traverse from point A to B like some vehicleless savage. Or if you’re just lazy and don’t like carrying a lot. I don’t know about you but my back, lazy little legs, and tiny Asian frame isn’t that fond of carrying a lot. But I digress!

Brief little bit about mirrorless cameras. If you already know what makes them so awesome you can skip this if you want, unless you REALLY enjoy my messed up writing and nonsensical ramblings. SO mirrorless cameras are exactly what it sounds like, a camera that doesn’t have a mirror. If you never knew those DSLRs you (possibly?) have all have mirrors in them! Now what do they do? Witchcraft and magic for all I know but companies realized that if you take that mirror out you can make a camera considerably smaller and lighter. Those old point and shoots (and cell phone cameras) that we all threw out years ago because of the iPhone and Instagram are also mirrorless, but we’re talking specifically today are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. So you can put different lenses on it… Kinda like those $50 iPhone lenses you have right…? Not really. Mirrorless systems are small and light so they are very travel friendly. They are generally cheaper (I said generally okay?) and are more consumer friendly. The image quality on these guys rival the big boys, cause you know they have large sensors and what not, which is what sets them apart from point and shoots… And your iPhone. Only real con is the fact that the AF performance generally doesn’t match up to a DSLR, and for the most part (talking about you Fuji!) they don’t have optical viewfinders. Also mirrorless cameras can use almost any lens ever made with the right adapter that is. Though for the most part they’ll be manual focus only.

With that aside lets continue and we’ll talk about what each manufacturer has to offer and I’ll give you MY two cents on them, remember MY THOUGHTS so take it with a grain of salt would you. Not trying to anger the Internets here folks.


The amazing Canon EOS M, Canon’s first knock at the mirrorless market! … Yea screw it, its pretty garbage, don’t buy it, don’t be fooled by Canon’s current fire sale on them, there is a reason why they’re trying to get rid of them, so just a flat out noooooooooooooo for the Canon EOS M, maybe next time Canon. NEXT!


The Nikon 1 system, it’s an underrated system in the photography community but it’s surprisingly good. It’s main selling point is the very high frame rates, for those people that really enjoy machine gun photography. I mean damn! The idea of doing a 60 fps burst is just ridiculous but that’s what sets the 1 system apart. Nikon has shown that they at least somewhat committed to the 1 series since they just introduced the 32mm F1.2 lens recently. Though… They sure seem to be losing quite a lot of money on it according to recent financial reports. Only down side, which is what made the photography community balk at, is the fact that the Nikon 1 system uses a 1” sensor. Which means it has a 2.7x crop factor that in turn means you don’t really get super shallow Depth of field (unless you get the $1000 32mm F1.2). It might be a good camera, with surprisingly good image quality for such a small sensor but I can’t full recommend it since there are much better options out there.


Oh the Panasonic G series, I’ll say this right now if you’re interested in doing video work at all this is the one you’ll want out of everything that’s going to be mentioned here (the GH series in particular). Besides that welcome to the world of Micro 4/3rd cameras. m4/3rd do have smaller sensors compared to DSLRs (I’m talking APS-­?C here) so it’s a 2x crop factor on these cameras. The Panasonic G series are simply put pretty awesome. Great image quality with a large lens line up compared to everyone else. All thanks to the fact Panasonic and Olympus m4/3rd cameras share the same mount! Cause for once two companies are okay with sharing, honestly why can’t all companies do this? Looking at you Sony with all your proprietary crap and your need to be different from everyone or as you like to call it… Innovative. So with that the m4/3rd system is the most well supported mirrorless system. You can’t go wrong with any of the models really, from the new GX7 all the way to the big GH3. I really have no complaints with the system at all to be honest. And if you’re really looking to dabble in video at all like I said this is the one you want to look at.


On the other side of the Micro 4/3rd system is Olympus! Now I got to say their original 4/3rd system (as in the Olympus DSLRs) were overlooked by everyone but now with their m4/3rd system they are one of the top players in the mirrorless market. So yea the Olympus E series are also very awesome cameras just like the Panasonics. They might no be as good in the video end as Panasonic but Olympus has one key thing that sets it apart from everyone else (minus the new Panasonic GX7), in body stabilization! So any lens you put on it gets image stabilization. Plus the Olympus cameras look pretty stylish… Right? If money were no object I’d totally recommend the Olympus OMD EM-­?5 (Or the newly announced EM-­?1). Best m4/3rd cameras in my opinion (for photography) also it has the fastest and best AF performance out of any mirrorless camera, and that it really rivals DSLRs in that area. If you’re a little poor like me the little EP-­?5 or EPL-­?6 should do you just fine. Assuming you can live without a built in electronic viewfinder.


The Sony NEX line, here’s one mirrorless camera that has a nice large APS-­?C sized sensor, so you only have to deal with a 1.5x crop factor. Though with only a handful of high end lenses its not a cheap system to get into if you want top quality lenses. The NEX series also lacks buttons; it doesn’t exactly have many buttons, though it’s very customizable. You can customize most of the buttons. That way you won’t have to dive into their atrocious menu system. There is also a lot of support for the Sony E mount, enough that people made electronic adapters that allow you to actually use auto focus on them with certain lenses and there is the Metabones Speed Booster (look it up!). Sony is really pushing their NEX line especially with a (rumored) full frame NEX coming out soon its one to give a good look at. Especially if they do make a full frame model (which they kind of already have but it’s a video camera… The NEX-­?VG900) I’d say the Sony NEX-­?6 is the best all rounder and would be the safest bet for most people. Its great for photos, it works really well for video work. You know in my opinion at least as that random Asian guy.


Fuji is back from the dead, with the introduction of the X100 Fuji shook up photography industry like no other. Partly because it was a pretty innovative product and partly because retro is the new thing now (isn’t that right hipsters?). But we’re talking about mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras here! After that success they ventured into the mirrorless market. If you want the absolute best image Fuji is the way to go. Everything else… Can use quite a bit of work. The AF Performance is frankly the worst out of all its competitors (but its getting better). It lacks the level of customization that the other brands offer. Though Fuji, unlike everyone else *cough SONY!* is a pretty awesome company that listens to its users and provides a lot of support, so plenty of firmware updates that fix and improve the camera. Plus all of Fuji’s lenses are amazing, and even better, they aren’t going to burn too big a hole whatever hipster wallet you have. If you really want the best image quality, best high ISO performance and best support, Fuji is the one you’ll want. Which model exactly? Depends on how you like to compose your photos… And how much money you have. Get the X-­?Pro 1 if you like and optical viewfinder (hybrid so it also has an electronic viewfinder), the XE-­?1 if you don’t mind just an electronic viewfinder, and the XM-­?1 if you don’t mind just using the LCD. Some say Fuji is the next Leica.


And of course that brings me to Leica M, the original mirrorless camera. Yea… If you have enough money to buy one of these you know I could use some help over here! I got nothing to really say about this, it’s a rangefinder, a whole different animal and a whole different ball game in terms of camera and price. If you know what a Leica is and want a Leica well then I sure as hell am not going to really be able to stop you from throwing your money around. I just want you to consider redirecting that money over to my area… If possible.


The Hasselblad Lunar… AHAHHAHAHA my god who would get this!? it’s a Sony NEX-­?7 with… Mahogany or carbon fibre and even better I think that’s a piece of ruby that’s on the movie button too, classy right? All for the perfectly sane price of $7000… All for a terribly pimped out NEX-­?7. If you are one of the few people that actually bought this then I must applaud your lack sense and the absurd paychecks you must get. Then ask you if you can spare some change, cause obviously you have an extraordinary amount of excess cash lying around, more so then Mr Leica over there. Congratulations Hasselblad you guys just shot yourself in the foot… Twice (cause of the new Hasselblad Stellar! Which is again another pimped out Sony camera, this time the RX100)

Alright so there we go a perfectly put together illogical and senseless article (more like ramblings) about the world of mirrorless cameras. Now I know I left out a couple other options like the Samsung NX cameras and the Pentax Q (that K0-­?1 does not count its just too ridiculous) but that’s because I’ve never really used either of them before and therefore cannot really ramble on about them. Though I haven’t tried the Lunar out yet but god that’s just ludicrous and we all know it. So quick sum up! Canon, don’t bother not even with a 10 foot pole. Nikon, if you like machine photographer. Panasonic, for those that really want to get into video. Olympus, super fast AF and in body stabilization for every lens, so great camera for photographers. Sony, for a simple all rounder that can do everything. Fuji for those of you that really want the best image quality. Leica for those aspiring street photographers! Cause you can’t be a real street photographer without a Leica right? And people that like rangefinders and have money. Hasselblad for those with more money then sense (love of god please send me money too). And lastly Samsung and Pentax for… Well those guys those that just want to be different. So yea that’s all I got! A bunch of ramblings that I hope you kind of enjoyed, and congratulations to everyone that actually read this thing and didn’t think I was some special kind of retard that was asked to write some haphazard article! For that you can… Give yourself a pat on the back… Good job.

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