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Mirrorless Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018)

II. SERIOUS (ADVANCED) MIRRORLESS

If you want to take up photography as a serious hobby and have a desire to learn how to take great photos, step up to an advanced mirrorless camera that gives you control over shooting modes. Aperture-Priority mode allows you to control depth of field, getting everything from near to far sharp, or throw the background out of focus and make your main subject pop; Shutter-Priority mode allows you to freeze a subject in motion or allow flowing water to blur for that ethereal cloudy effect; and, Full Manual Mode hands over total control of the camera over to you. (Note: many entry-level models usually also allow you to have that level of control, but operability, performance and image quality will vary.)

What is PASM?
PASM is an acronym for Programmed Auto, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and full Manual. They refer to the shooting modes available on your camera. Some cameras may list the order differently (etc., PSAM) or even use different letters (e.g. Tv instead of S, Av instead of A).

In Full AUTO mode, the camera makes all the decisions for you.

In Programmed Auto shooting mode, the camera meters the scene and suggests a shutter speed/aperture settings combination for a correct exposure. If your camera has Program Shift feature, you can dial in a different shutter speed (or aperture) and the camera will shift the aperture (or shutter speed) accordingly to continue to maintain correct exposure. You can also dial in an exposure compensation (over or under) and the camera will use that compensation in its exposure calculation. If you adjust the ISO, the camera will also take that into consideration.

In Aperture-priority shooting mode, you decide on an aperture (small for maximum depth of field and sharp landscape photos, large for narrow depth of field and portraits with blurred background) and the camera takes exposure compensation (if you have dialled one in) and ISO into consideration and select the shutter speed required for a correct exposure.

In Shutter-priority shooting mode, you decide on a shutter speed (fast to freeze action, slow for cloudy or blurred effects) and the camera takes exposure compensation (if you have dialled one in) and ISO into consideration and select the aperture required for a correct exposure.

In full Manual shooting mode, you decide on everything: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and though some cameras may suggest settings for a correct exposure, you are left to be in total control.

You take the time to know your camera inside out, practice taking lots of pictures under different weather conditions, explore various shooting techniques, improve your post-processing and start to develop a definite idea of your likes and dislikes as far as what type of camera and what type of shooting you prefer. For example, you may prefer shooting landscapes or portraits or macros or wildlife or sports. You also start doing some basic post-processing (such as sharpening, light levels, white balance adjustment) in a photo editing software — and start to immediately see a major improvement in the quality of your pictures.

Our recommendation here is that you move up from your entry-level camera to a better model keeping the same brand if you have already invested in additional lenses and accessories; or, switch to a different brand, depending on your photographic needs and preferences. Do not invest heavily in lenses and accessories yet until you are certain you have settled on a camera system. Concentrate on learning and mastering the fundamentals of good photography. Do not be afraid to experiment.

A note about forum boards: join boards where you get to learn and practice your photography, not to debate the finer points of camera features. Remember: there is no perfect camera. Do not worry about what other people say negatively about your camera choice. Instead of wasting time debating which camera is better, just go out and take pictures. Become a better photographer. Enjoy your photography!

 

Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M6 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Canon EOS M6 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-E3

Fujifilm X-E3 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-E3 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-E3 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T20

Fujifilm XT-20

Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm X-T20 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-T20 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T20 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T100

Fujifilm X-T100

Fujifilm X-T100

Fujifilm X-T100 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T100 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica CL

Leica CL

Leica CL

Leica CL Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica CL (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica TL2

Leica TL2

Leica TL2

Leica TL2 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica TL2 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

OLYMPUS PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F QuickFact Sheet

Olympus PEN-F Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Olympus PEN-F (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 MARK II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Olympus E-M5 Mark II Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G85

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85

Read our Panasonic G85 Review

Panasonic G85 QuickFact Sheet

Panasonic G85 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY α6500

Sony α6500

Sony α6500

Sony a6500 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony α6500 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)

INTRODUCTION
I. ENTRY-LEVEL MIRRORLESS
II. SERIOUS (ADVANCED) MIRRORLESS
III. ENTHUSIAST (EXPERT) MIRRORLESS
IV. PRO MIRRORLESS

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