Camera comparisons, Mirrorless

Why I (Finally) Switched to Mirrorless

Should I switch to mirrorless?

It’s a question we’ve been hearing a lot lately here at Webbcam, so I wanted to take a moment and address some of the most common questions and misconceptions people have about moving from a traditional DSLR camera to a mirrorless system. I, personally, was hesitant to switch from my trusty Nikon DSLRs and lenses but made the jump to Sony late last year and haven’t looked back.

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The murmurs swirling about the “rise of mirrorless photography” reached a crescendo at the end of 2018, with Nikon and Canon finally releasing their own responses to Sony’s rapidly growing full-frame mirrorless offerings. Long dismissed by many as a technology that would never rival traditional DSLRs, it is now apparent that mirrorless is not only here to stay but is poised to dominate the market in years to come.

 

So why should you consider switching? The biggest reason for many people is, simply put, weight! Before I sold off my Nikon gear, I weighed my typical wedding loadout – with the bag, it came to 22 pounds! After finalizing my Sony kit, I did the same thing –  while not comprised of the same exact setup, a two-body wedding kit (with smaller bag) came in just over 14 pounds. I find that this not only takes less of a toll on me after a long day of shooting, but it also makes me want to actually carry my mirrorless gear out to shoot personal and family photos with as well – something I would normally never do with my heavier Nikon DSLRs.

The main hesitation many of our customers have about switching to mirrorless is the viewfinder. The lousy, low resolution electronic viewfinders of yesteryear have given EVF’s a bad reputation that has lingered to this day; thankfully, EVF technology has evolved considerably in the past few years and they are no longer a hindrance but actually offer many benefits over a reflex-mirror optical viewfinder. I personally find that using an EVF versus the traditional DSLR viewfinder results in much less eye strain at the end of a long day, especially when shooting in low-light situations. In addition, the EVF can amplify the light levels in the viewfinder in low light situations, making following action and composition much less difficult.

 

Nikon z6

Body only: $1999.95

As shown in kit with 24-70mm f4 Z mount lens: $2599.95

You might be wondering why, as a former Nikon DSLR user, I wouldn’t stay with Nikon and go with the z6 or z7. Don’t get me wrong, Nikon’s Z-series cameras are fantastic and have a lot of strong points in their favor to persuade existing users to stick with the system. For users wanting to retain their existing F-mount lenses, the FTZ mount adapter works extremely well and gives full compatibility with no loss of performance. The FTZ adapter also makes it easy to ease into the switch; for photographers that shoot with two cameras, you can retain one of your DSLRs and try out the z6 as your second body while still being able to utilize most of the same lenses.

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The z6 has excellent ergonomics, and being slightly taller than the A7 III it has a more comfortable grip that has room for your pinky finger without needing an extension like the Sony. It also has the best EVF of the three cameras featured, with a resolution of 3.68 million pixels. Canon’s EVF is roughly the same resolution but we have found Nikon’s to be a little bit less laggy and more enjoyable to use. Overall, Nikon has done a great job of retaining a familiar layout and feature set which will make the transition for existing Nikon users very painless.

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Pros:

  • Great backwards compatibility with Nikon F mount lenses
  • Superb build quality
  • Adds some great features for video shooters, including a future firmware update that will allow 4k RAW shooting

Cons:

  • Single card slot with a hard-to-find card format (XQD)
  • Currently has the smallest selection of native lenses
  • Poor battery life

 

Sony A7 III

Body only: $1999.95

Shown here with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III for Sony E Mount: $879.95

The main things that attracted me to the Sony system were the wide selection of native lenses, ever-increasing third party support, and just the overall feel, speed and reliability. While a single card slot wasn’t a dealbreaker for me, I do love the added peace of mind that having dual slots provides. Folks looking to switch from Canon have a few good options for adapters if they want to retain their Canon glass; the Metabones and Sigma MC-11 adapters do a pretty good job of retaining most of the lens functionality, although there is a small sacrifice in autofocus speed versus using a native Sony E mount lens. Sadly, there is not a decent Nikon F mount adapter that we have found as of yet; users who have Nikon glass they cannot part with would be advised to stick with the Z system instead.

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You may have noticed this is the only camera featured here with a non-OEM lens; that’s because we’ve found the combination of the Sony A7III and the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 to be an incredible combination in terms of performance, balance, and price point. Tamron has been building some great lenses the last few years, and the 28-75mm is no exception. It gives excellent sharpness and wonderful out of focus area rendering in a package that just feels “right” on the Sony body. It’s also almost half the weight of Sony’s 24-70mm f2.8 G Master lens, and close to a third of the price.

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Pros:

  • Great lens ecosystem
  • Great price-to-performance
  • Superb autofocus speed and burst shooting capability

Cons:

  • Smaller grip leads to slightly worse ergos than Canon or Nikon
  • No true factory service in USA – subcontracted, can be slow/expensive
  • Flash hot shoe seems small/flimsy; OEM flashes are not the best, but many aftermarket options are available

Canon EOS R

As shown in kit with the 24-105mm f4L lens: $3399.95

Canon’s first offering in a full-frame mirrorless camera (recently joined by the new, smaller EOS RP) shares a lot of professional features with its DSLR cousin the EOS 5D Mark IV. Both feature ~30 megapixel sensors and dual-pixel autofocus. The R is quite a bit slimmer and lighter and also adds a horizontal flip-out swivel screen, which is a great feature for video shooters. Just like Nikon, Canon offers its own lens adapter which allows the use of EF mount lenses on the R system bodies so if you have certain specialty EF-mount lenses that you can’t live without, the R is probably the simplest choice although the Canon to Sony adapters are a passable solution as well.

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Dollar for dollar, we find the EOS R to be a better option for people trying to decide between that and the EOS 5D Mark IV. The EOS R is currently $700 cheaper including the 24-105mm lens (factoring instant rebates) and boasts a newer Digic 8 image processor, native ISO 40,000 performance (vs 32,000 on the 5D), and a whopping 5,655 phase detection autofocus points.

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Pros:

  • Shutter closes to protect sensor when not in use
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Rapidly expanding selection of lenses, new cameras on horizon

Cons:

  • Single card slot
  • Higher price point than Nikon/Sony for a kit
  • No in-body stabilization

 

Making the transition to mirrorless can be intimidating, but here at Webbcam we’re committed to giving you the guidance and information you need to make a smooth transition. At the time of this writing, Nikon and Sony both have aggressive incentives for people looking to trade in cameras towards one of the mirrorless products featured in this article; in addition to your trade allowance, both manufacturers offer $200 instant savings on top when trading in any working digital camera. These programs both run until the end of March, so if you’re interested in making the leap stop by or call today!

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The Webbcam 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Under $50

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Holga 120N ($35)

Nothing beats a Holga for getting started in lo-fi, medium format photography. The photos have a very distinctive look and feel courtesy of the Holga’s plastic lens – owning a Holga is a must for every photographer!

Don’t forget the film!

kata-d-light-grip-14Kata Grip 14DL ($39)

One of our bestselling bags due to it’s sleek design and midrange size which accommodates most DSLRs and basic lenses. The holster-style design includes a shoulder strap and a rain cover.

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Phottix 32″ 7 in 1 Reflector ($46.95)

The 7-in-1 Light Mulit Collapsible Reflectors are a great addition to studio or on location work. The reflectors have 7 changeable colors: White, Black, Silver, Translucent, Golver, Green and Blue and collapse into a 12″ circular carrying case.

Under $75

ImageBlackrapid Straps ($39.95-124.95)

Not the cheapest strap, but by far the most comfortable! Often imitated but still the best, Blackrapid offers several models to accommodate different sizes of cameras and shooting styles. For most DSLRs check out the Curve (RS-7), our best selling model.

ImageGary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount ($59.95)

The #1 selling flash diffuser here at Webbcam, Gary Fong’s Lightsphere Collapsible has been improved with a new velcro strap mount borrowed from the Universal model making it the best of both worlds. Check out Gary’s awesome Youtube channel for great tips on how to get the most out of your on camera speedlite!

ImageFuji Instax Mini 8 ($74.95)

A great way to capture Christmas morning memories! Fuji’s Instax cameras have taken over where Polaroid left off and become a worldwide sensation. There’s nothing like instant film photography for parties, weddings, vacations or anytime you want to pass around actual, physical prints with your friends.

Under $100

ImagePocketwizard Plus X ($99.95 less $15 instant rebate)

The best wireless flash trigger system just got better, and cheaper! Pocketwizards are the industry standard and the new Plus X Transceiver makes them more affordable than ever. Just $85 per unit after the instant rebate, and they now include many of the connection cables that were previously sold separately!

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Westcott Modern Vintage Backdrops ($79.95)

Westcott’s new Modern Vintage backdrops are a great alternative to a flat solid color background or dated looking crush-dyed fabric. They come in many different styles and color combinations and add a new look to your portrait or product photography!

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Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack 1 ($99.95)

A new and improved design of one of our all time best selling bags. The new Manfrotto Active Backpack series is a great daypack for carrying your DSLR body with a couple lenses in a sleek form factor with enough room up top to store your hoodie, laptop, and whatever else you need while out and about.

Under $199

ImageTamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 XR Di II ($199.95)

Looking to upgrade your basic kit lens, or increase your max focal length without carrying a second lens? The Tamron 18-200 is a very compact superzoom at an extremely affordable price – plus a $20 mail in rebate until the end of the year!

MePhoto_Trans_Group_Coll[2]Mefoto Backpacker ($139) & Roadtrip ($189) Tripods

The new Mefoto tripod series is a staff favorite here, and for good reason. The Backpacker model folds up to only 12.6″ for nearly effortless transportation, and all Mefoto tripods include a padded carrying case!

4aCanon 40mm f2.8 EF Pancake lens ($219, $169 after rebate)

A great alternative to the “nifty fifty” that upgrades the build quality with a stainless mount, and cuts down on the size! This lens is awesome on the new Rebel SL1 and makes a great, lightweight walkaround lens on any body.

videomic_03Rode Videomic ($159)

If you’re serious about shooting video on your DSLR, you’ve probably run into the limitations of the on-camera mic. The Rode Videomic eliminates a lot of these issues by stabilizing the mic in their proprietary Rycote® Shock Mount system, minimizing unwanted noise created by vibrations or autofocus. The highly directional microphone also isolates your subject from distracting surrounding noises.

Under $500

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Phottix Mitros TTL Speedlite ($299)

Another Webbcam favorite, the Phottix Mitros is hands down the best third-party alternative to the pro level Nikon or Canon speedlites. With a feature set that rivals the SB-910 or 580EXII the Mitros is a very well constructed flash at a great price.

sigma_30mm_f14Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC Art Series lens ($499)

Sigma’s new Art Series of lenses has caused quite a stir in the photographic community over the past year, with the introduction of their fantastic 35mm 1.4, revolutionary 18-35mm 1.8 and the revamped 30mm 1.4 for crop sensor cameras. Roughly equating to a ~50mm on APS-C sized sensors the Sigma 30mm f1.4 is a sharp, fast lens that works wonders for shooting in low light or capturing your subject with a shallow depth of field.

d3200Nikon D3200 DSLR Kit w/ 18-55VR lens ($599 less $100 instant rebate)

The best value in an entry level DSLR right now. With a 24.2 megapixel CMOS and the new EXPEED 3 processor this camera is incredibly powerful for the price. If you are looking to step into the DSLR world from your point and shoot/iPhone etc, the Nikon D3200 is the way to get started.

dlcrigDLC HDSLR Rig ($399)

At only $399, DLC’s HDSLR rig is cheaper than many other companies follow focus units alone! In addition to including a follow focus, the rig also comes with a matte box, quick release plate and uses industry standard rail sizes for easy additions or replacement of components.

mn_mt190xpro3Manfrotto 190XPRO3 ($219)

The newest version of the 190 series of tripod legs improves on the leg locks and streamlines the design of the center column rotation feature that cuts down on the size a bit. One of the best, midsize/midpriced tripods just got better!

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