I love talking about equipment and am thrilled to see so many “I think I want to go mirrorless” posts lately. I am currently straddling the Nikon/Fuji worlds, but I have owned, tried, and considered so many other brands I am happy to talk about all of them. The majority of family photographers I have seen are interested in mirrorless cameras for personal use, not their client work. I have used a Fuji X100 series camera for all my personal images for almost the last 4 years and LOVE it. A year ago I took a leap and added the new Fuji X-H1 hybrid flagship camera to my kit as my main video camera for client work. Six months later exciting things emerged and there was been a shift towards DSLRs possibly being replaced by mirrorless cameras for client work for more photographers than before. The mirrorless market has expanded further into the full-frame market with new cameras from Nikon + Canon + Panasonic. If you want a full-frame mirrorless camera, Sony is no longer the only game in town. I purchased a Nikon z6 in November and it is my favorite camera, maybe ever. All the benefits of mirrorless (EVF) with the image quality of a Nikon D750 or better.
So why would you want a mirrorless camera over the traditional DSLR?
- Smaller kit (size and weight)
- EVF (what you see is what you get through the viewfinder)
- Faster focus and shutter using LCD
- In-camera stabilization for video (on most mirrorless cameras)
While I would say the image quality of my z6 is at least equal if not better than my D750, it is the user experience I love from my mirrorless cameras. I chase toddlers and photograph families for up to 14 hours at a time. It is amazing, but also super exhausting! After carrying around a D750 + Sigma Art lens my wrists want to fall off. A smaller and lighter camera also allows me to shoot one-handed, leaving my other hand free to play with the kids. The reduction of 450 grams might not seem huge, but it is. Seeing the exposure as it is through the viewfinder allows me to get closer to my optimal exposure every time I click the shutter. While I am not a huge fan of the in-camera stabilization, I love being able to take video with the camera held up to my eye instead of relying on the screen.
Which brand is right for you?
- What brand do you currently shoot?
- Are you looking to add a mirrorless to your existing kit or replace your DSLR?
- Are you heavily invested in your current brand/do you want to continue to use your current lenses?
- Do you shoot video?
- What is your budget?
I know those are a lot of questions, but there is no “best” brand for everyone. I can tell you one of the most important aspects of my user experience is switching between stills and video effortlessly. The only two brands that hold video and still exposure settings separately are Panasonic and Nikon. As a Nikon shooter when they announced their full-frame mirrorless bodies I was all-in and pre-ordered before I even knew the full specs. The single card slot did not disappoint me as it did others, because I primarily shoot video and cannot write to two cards at once anyway. I am not a complete fan of the screen, as it doesn’t flip to a full 90 degree angle, but I love it’s touch capabilities. But these are my preferences, what should you consider?
For personal travel – I would buy a Fuji X100F or Sony RX100 VI. If you want a system with interchangeable lenses look at Fuji.
For photography only – I would look at the Canon EOS R, Nikon z6/7, Fuji XT3.
For photo + video – I would look at Nikon z6/7, Sony a7iii, or Fuji XH1, but I 100% lean Nikon.
If you are curious I would highly recommend renting a mirrorless out to try it out. I am NOT responsible if you don’t want to give it back!