OK, sure that’s a bold statement, and for me it just may be true. I believe that the mirrorless camera is and will continue push the DSLR as we know it aside. Its progress and its coming. If you do not agree you may just have to accept it, even the greats in Glass like Carl Zeiss are making lenses for the mirrorless systems, they see where photography is going too. So, let me tell you why I think so.
1. Because size does NOT matter
It doesn’t. We all know deep down that a great image is a great image no matter what camera was used to make it.
I don’t need to bang on about how the greats used tiny Leica’s and one lens, you will have read that a dozen times.
I was at the Photography show in March this year and recall being amazed by visitors wandering around with bent backs due to gripped DSLRs, 400mm lens attached waving around their chests like great glass phalluses. Just to catch a half snap of a model way up on stage.
Dear all, you just don’t need that anymore.
A mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens can almost be hidden in the hand and you get quality, discretion and a smaller bill from the osteopath. You think you need a full frame sensor right? Well you can get those in mirror less if you want but let me set you a challenge. Of my images here, some are 36 Mp full frame and some are made with the mirrorless cropped sensor.
You tell me which is which?
2. Because you cannot afford not to go Mirrorless
So what did your DSLR system cost you? Well now halve that and you can still have a mirror less system and not sacrifice the quality of work you produce. Today you can buy two bodies, 3 primes and a pair of zoom lenses for a mirrorless system for about £6000.
That’s about half what my previous system was worth new, you can re invest into other areas of your business or if not professional how about a week in Iceland to use that lovely new kit? without the back ache. Sounds tempting, right?
3. Because you need discretion and practicality
Up until a year ago I was shooting high resolution DSLRs, I had the latest body and the latest back up.
I had 15 tons of lenses, OK I exaggerate but you get the picture. For street photography I was anything other than discreet, I may as well have had a rocket propelled grenade launcher on my shoulder such was the attention I would get. For Landscape I had a hefty tripod to mount the cameras with a monolith of a geared tripod head.
Now, I am an ex military man, I have yomped across Dartmoor many a time with a back breaking load and I can tell you it was getting to the point of similarity with my camera bag. Something had to change; I’m getting on a bit, so along came the mirrorless system.
Also, how many of you have used all of those options in your DSLR menu, the ones we need all that space inside the body for the electronics to hold for you. There seems to be thousands of them and most of them to be brutal are pure gimmickry. What we all need are cameras with great quality that do the basic brilliantly. Lets get back to craft.
4. Because you just don’t need a mirror anymore
Let’s be honest. The mirror is a pain really isn’t it? The cannon fire bang as it lifts and slaps back down.
The shake the mechanism produces even when secured on tripod. Having to mess about with mirror lock up and cleaning oil splashes from your sensor. Its old technology, it is no longer necessary and focusing directly onto the sensor gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside that things are more likely spot on when that focus locks.
5. Because the quality IS there
This was always going to be at the center of the argument. Resolution and how much we really need?
Well unless you are printing for the west face of K2 do you really need those 30+ megapixels? What you need is a camera system that inspires you to go and do better photography. A system that frees you up to create.
You need tools that are a pleasure to use, affordable and a little less intimidating. I am not even sure what resolution my mirrorless cameras are, It has not occurred to me because I am so happy with the output that it’s not a worry.
Then there is the party trick of the mirrorless, the EVF (electronic view finder). Oh what a joy it is to spot meter and lock exposure live in camera and see your image just as it will be before hitting the shutter. It’s a dream and the tonal range you can achieve by metering live with EVF in this way can be sublime with practice.
Now, get on with that challenge I gave you in reason 1.
So that’s it, convinced? Sure you could argue that what works for me won’t work for you, but have you tried?
You want shallow DOF? Have you tried the Fujifilm fast glass? You want fast tracking AF, have you tried the Olympus OMD EM1? You need weatherproofing, have you checked out the Fujifilm XT-1? You insist on Full Frame? Try a Sony A7.
So if your DSLR isn’t obsolete yet, it just may well be soon. In time all but the die hard will be walking straight backed and proud of their new release of creative energy inspired by perfectly formed little gem stone cameras that wont attack the Mortgage.
Oh and did I mention that mirrorless is making Photography cool again?
If you are not convinced, here is a look into Martin Gillman’s bag, as featured on InMyBag.
- Fujifilm XT-1
- Fujifilm XPro-1
- Ricoh GXR- Infrared Converted
- ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8 lens
- ZEISS Touit 32mm f1.8 lens
- Fujifilm 60mm f2.4 lens
- Fujifilm 18-55mm lens
- Rokkor 135mm with X mount adapter
- Lowpro Flipside bag
- 3 Legged thing Frank Tripod
- Blackrapid ‘sport’ strap
- Lee ‘sevenfive’ filter system with various graduated filters
- Flashwave 3 TX/RX trigger system
- Cleaning kit, lens and sensor
- Sekonic Flashmate light meter
- Various SD memory cards, Sandisk and Samsung
- Business cards
Martin Gillman’s Philosophy
The first advice I would give would be to educate yourselves. Skill and craft and learning how to see are elements that will always bode you better than any piece of fancy kit.
Practice, practice, practice and when you are weary of practice. Practice some more.
Print your work! In my opinion a digital image doesn’t exist and a photograph isn’t finished until it is printed.
Finally, its about focusing on your own work and not be drawn into the world of negative discussion around the art.
We would all fare far better if we were to reserve our critical eye for what we see through our own viewfinders rather than for what others are doing.
About The Author
Martin Gillman Is a professional photographer based in the UK, you can find more of his work on his site here, buy his prints here and follow him on facebook here. This article was originally published here.