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Why Mirrorless?

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had switched from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera. In this post, I'm going to walk you through my reasoning for doing so.

In June, I switched from Canon's crop sensor DSLRs to a Sony a7riii. There are a few main considerations that influenced my choice to do so:

  • More Compact and Lighter

  • Full Frame Format

  • Adapting From 3rd Party Lenses

  • Future-Proofing

More Compact and Lighter

When you live in a country like Singapore, it's perfectly normal to get the travel bug. Exploring new places is always something to look forward to. When I started photography, carrying one camera body and one lens was easy enough to stuff into a bag, or just keep on hand. As I started experiencing the well known phenomenon of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), it started to get more difficult to travel with all the camera equipment I wanted to. 

Then came the advent of the mirrorless camera. It had been around for a while now, but it was finally accepted as a proper tool rather than a gimmick. The smaller body allowed my to fit more stuff into a camera bag than every before. Furthermore, the light weight allowed me to lug around more equipment. Some of you will note that mirrorless lenses are longer than DSLR lenses, as you can't disobey the rules of optics. However, my main struggle was packing the large DSLR body, which was an awkwardly thick and tall shape. The lenses can simply be placed vertically to maximise space.

Full Frame Format

My previous camera bodies were all crop sensor cameras. For those of you who don't know, crop sensor cameras have a smaller image sensor. This has a few major effects:

  • Typically better Dynamic Range

  • Typically better low light performance

  • Better Depth Of Field when using equivalent focal lengths and the same aperture


Obviously, a full frame camera has very different applications than a crop sensor camera. What drew me to this mirrorless system was that I could get a full frame mirrorless that was smaller than my crop sensor DSLR. Even if I didn't switch to a mirrorless camera, I was planning to eventually transition to a full frame system. The Sony packed so many features into one body, that it made more sense to jump ship from Canon to Sony in order to get them.

Adapting 3rd Party Lenses

Sony themselves said that it was possible for the end user to adapt lenses to their system. This is a great feature of practically all Mirrorless cameras: the short flange distance allows you to add back some distance to adapt lenses. This meant that I could still use my Canon lenses on my Sony body.

However, the autofocus performance was sufficiently bad that I transferred to Sony's own glass. The reason I am still interested in adapting is that Sony is still building up its lens selection over time. Since I can adapt other, very specialised, lenses, I have a greater lens selection than any single DSLR company can offer.

Future Proofing

The switch to a mirrorless market is inevitable. It may not be in five year, or even ten years. But I am sure that it will happen eventually. By switching now, I can benefit from the innovation that mirrorless bodies are incorporating now. Some of these amazing new features are:

  • Pixel-Shift: This shifts the sensor 4 times to gain much more RGB data per pixel than any single photo can hope to. This, in theory, increases detail, and colour reproduction.

  • Electrical Viewfinder: Now that I've used this, I can't imagine going back to a regular Optical Viewfinder. The electrical viewfinder can simulate the final image that will be produced, it can zoom to aid with manual focus whilst also providing peaking, and it can display the full menus and settings that the camera is using.

  • Augmented Video Recording: Now, this is not necessarily exclusive to mirrorless cameras, but some of the best still+video Interchangeable Lens Cameras are mirrorless cameras (Fuji xt-3, Sony a7sII, etc.). The fact that the cameras have the ability to oversample the footage to reproduce cleaner colours and detail is a big sell for people who want to take videos and photos in tandem.


Maybe some of these innovations will make their way to DSLRs over time, but they are available on mirrorless systems now, which allows me to be ahead of the curve. Additionally, DSLR giants Canon and Nikon have recently released their first attempts at a mirrorless system.

Conclusion

So, this is a whole lot more information than one of my posts typically contains, and it completely lacks any pictures. However, I felt that this would be interesting to explain why I would make such a drastic switch, and maybe even help some of you readers learn a bit more about Mirrorless ILCs.

Ankit KumarComment