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Mirrorless Camera Buyer’s Guide (2018)

III. ENTHUSIAST (EXPERT) MIRRORLESS

You are now technically considered an expert, being proficient in different camera systems and how to make the best of your camera, lenses and accessories. Photography has become a passion and you want to up your game. You may have used different mirrorless models and brands, and may have developed a preference for a certain brand. You may have also settled on what you like to photograph, and what you buy at this stage will depend on whether the camera has the features you are looking for as well as the lenses and other accessories you need.

Since a mirrorless camera is a “system” camera, you will probably spend quite a bit on lenses and accessories as time goes by and you delve deeper into your passion. There are lenses specifically crafted for portraits, landscapes, macros, wildlife, sports, etc. You will find that quality lenses can easily be the most expensive equipment you can buy and, while you may upgrade your camera model, you will almost certainly still keep on using the same lenses over many years and camera model upgrades.

So now, you need to carefully and deliberately think about which “system” you want to attach yourself to for the long haul. Consider which camera brand and lenses you are most comfortable using and determine to stay with them for many years. This allows you to learn all the ins and outs of your camera and system.

Too many photographers obsess over the little quirks in their camera (forgetting that there is no “perfect” camera) and constantly change from one model to the latest one, from one brand to another–always chasing the latest features and never taking the time to really learn to get the most from their equipment and become better photographers. When you have acquired several camera bodies, lenses and accessories, changing camera brand and lenses often can end up being a very expensive luxury few of us can afford to indulge in. So, now is the time to settle on one camera brand, lens mount and lenses.

In fact, at this stage, you can be handed any camera and start taking good pictures with it because you have completely mastered the fundamentals of good photography. You do not spend hours on forum boards arguing the pros and cons of different camera systems and their features — or lack thereof. The camera is a tool in your hands. You (the photographer) take (imagine, compose, create, craft, crop, post-process, …) the picture.


 

CANON EOS R

Canon EOS R

Canon EOS R

The Canon EOS R is Canon’s first serious mirrorless camera, is full-frame and its sensor and some features are comparable to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR (though its cheaper price and weather-sealing capability are closer to the EOS 6D Mark II). For their first full-frame mirrorless, the EOS R is a hybrid 30.3MP still and 4K video camera, delivering excellent image quality in a body smaller and lighter than an equivalent DSLR. It features 8 fps continuous shooting, a high resolution 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder and 2.1M-dot Vari-Angle touch 3.15-inch LCD.

Though the Canon EOS R is built solidly and handles well, it sports controls that you would expect to see on their entry-level EOS M mirrorless models rather than on a full-frame DSLR-level camera. It’s as though Canon has not decided yet that it’s future is mirrorless and has somewhat hobbled the development of the EOS R system and positioned it beneath their current DSLR offerings.

The EOS R is weather-sealed, shoots 4K video at 30 fps, has a beautifully high resolution electronic viewfinder, and can shoot silently when needed. It also boasts the world’s most sensitive AF with sensitivity down to -6 EV. As Canon’s first generation full-frame mirrorless camera, it has a few kinks to work out (such as a severe 1.8x 4K video crop), but the EOS R is nevertheless an impressive mirrorless camera capable of producing stunning images with very good dynamic range and low noise at high ISOs.

If you are a Canon DSLR shooter and have been holding out switching to mirrorless, you may want to consider an EOS R to get used to mirrorless shooting and workflow. When your perfect Canon mirrorless camera eventually does come along (whenever Canon finally decides mirrorless is their future), you’ll be ready to make a complete switch and the transition will be smooth for both yourself and your clients.

Canon EOS R Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

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


 

FUJIFILM X-H1

Fujifilm X-H1

Fujifilm X-H1 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-H1 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-H1 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T3

Fujifilm X-T3

Fujifilm X-T3

The Fujifilm X-T3 is an APS-C mirrorless camera. What distinguishes the Fujifilm X Series mirrorless cameras from other interchangeable lens cameras is the beautiful retro design with dedicated analog controls: Shutter Speed dial, Exposure Compensation dial and ISO dial on the camera body, as well as an Aperture ring on its XF lenses. This puts the controls you need to adjust the most often right at your fingertips and providing an immediate tactile and visual feedback. If you are old enough to have used film SLR cameras, you may delight in these controls; if you have grown up using a Mode button and Command dials on film SLRs and DSLRs, you may not get used to them. Or, you may also delight in them — as many have found out!

Aside from its gorgeous look, superb handling and compact size and weight, the X-T3 is probably the best affordable still and 4K video camera you can purchase today. Fujifilm has also lots of superb lenses available. If you don’t need full-frame resolution, the X-T3 captures pictures with excellent image quality and may even renew your joy of photography. It’s that kind of camera.

Fujifilm X-T3 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T3 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T2

Fujifilm X-T2 with optional Vertical Power Booster Grip

Fujifilm X-T2 with optional Vertical Power Booster Grip

Read our Fujifilm X-T2 Review

Fujifilm X-T2 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-T2 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T2 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Read our Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review

Fujifilm X-Pro2 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica M10-P

Leica M10-P Silver

Leica M10-P Silver

Leica M10-P Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica M10-P (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica M10-D

Leica M10-D

Leica M10-D

Leica M10-D Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica M10-D (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica M10

Leica M10

Leica M10

Leica M10 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica M10 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

NIKON Z 7

Nikon Z 7

Nikon Z 7

The Nikon Z7 is Nikon’s first serious mirrorless camera, is full-frame and we would slot it at the top among the very best mirrorless cameras currently available for serious and advanced photographers. For their first full-frame mirrorless, the Z 7 is impressive as a hybrid 45.7MP still and 4K video camera, delivering excellent image quality in a body smaller and much lighter than an equivalent DSLR. It features 9 fps continuous shooting, in-body 5-axis image stabilization for a 5 stops gain, a high resolution 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder and 2.1M-dot tilting touch 3.2-inch LCD. There is also an OLED top plate display.

In its first iteration, Nikon has seen fit to include only one XQD card slot — a decision that has disappointed event photographers who depend on twin slots for backup purposes to ensure peace of mind.

Some photographers who prefer to leave a tripod plate permanently attached to their camera have also found that some plates protrude too far out and do not allow Nikon’s F-to-Z lens mount adapter to attach.

The Z 7 will be compared to the D850 DSLR and found wanting in the area of AF: the AF is not as sensitive in low light, AF Tracking is not as reliable or easy to engage, Face Detection is also not as reliable. But this is true of all mirrorless cameras and is one of the last bastion for mirrorless to conquer before they can claim to be master of the hill.

The Z 7 is lighter, smaller, handles superbly, is weather-sealed, shoots 4K video at 30 fps, has in-body image stabilization to eliminate camera shake, has a beautifully high resolution electronic viewfinder, and can shoot silently when needed. As Nikon’s first generation full-frame mirrorless camera, it has a few kinks to work out, but the Z 7 is nevertheless an impressive mirrorless camera capable of producing stunning images with very good dynamic range and low noise at high ISOs. The Nikon Z 7 also has an excellent intervalometer and time-lapse movie mode if you’re into this type of photography.

If you are a Nikon DSLR shooter and have been holding out switching to mirrorless, your reasons have ran out. Though there are some feature and control changes you’d need to adapt to, the Z 7 is a Nikon thru and thru and is the mirrorless that will win you over. You may not want to get rid of your D850 DSLR yet, but now is the time to get the Z 7 (or Z 6) and immerse yourself into mirrorless shooting and workflow. When your perfect Nikon mirrorless camera does come along, you’ll be ready to make a complete switch and the transition will be smooth for both yourself and your clients.

Nikon Z 7 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Nikon Z 7 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

NIKON Z 6

Nikon Z 6

Nikon Z 6

If you do not need the 45.7MP resolution of the Z 7, then the Nikon Z 6 at 24.5MP shoots at 12 fps and basically is similar in all other specs to the much pricier Z 7.

It competes directly with the Sony A7 III, and some of you may prefer it for being slightly larger and more ergonomic than the A7 III. Where it needs to improve on is the AF Tracking and Eye AF. Not that the Nikon Z 6 is not capable of tracking a subject and maintaining focus, but the Sony A7 III does it much better.

If these two AF features are not that important to your type of photography, then you should definitely try out the Nikon Z 6. Remember, it’s also very important how a camera fits in your hands and how you easily, effortlessly and, dare I say, enjoyably interact with it. The Z 6 also has the advantages of all the excellent Nikkor lenses already available for it with the use of the FTZ adapter.

Nikon could improve the Continuous AF issues with a firmware update, but I would bet the Z 6 II will solve that. Meanwhile, you can enjoy shooting with the Z 6 and perfect your mirrorless workflow.

Nikon Z 6 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Nikon Z 6 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with optional Power Battery Holder

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with optional Power Battery Holder

Olympus E-M1 II Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

PANASONIC LUMIX DC-G9

Panasonic LUMIX G9

Panasonic LUMIX G9

Panasonic introduced the first mirrorless camera, the G1, in 2008. Now, 10 years later, the G9 currently sits atop its many — and sometimes confusingly named — mirrorless models. The G9 is the still mirrorless camera equivalent of the video-centric GH5, the latter recognized as perhaps the best professionally-oriented video interchangeable lens camera.

The Panasonic G9 shoots 4K/60p video and also offers both headphone and microphone jacks. The GH5 adds high bitrate options and an extensive professional video tool set.

The G9 features 6.5 stops of image stabilization — the highest of any interchangeable lens camera. It can shoot 20 fps with Continuous AF, a 3.68M-dot EVF (with a high 0.83X equiv. magnification for a large view), a 1.04M-dot 3-inch fully-articulated touch LCD, Dual UHS-II high speed card slots, AF Tracking and weather sealing.

The impressive Panasonic G9 is a ground-up redesign with much improved handling, image quality and Continuous AF. Though its sensor is 20.3MP, its High Resolution mode captures and combines eight shots into an 80.6-megapixel image.

(If it’s a full-frame mirrorless you are looking for, the Panasonic S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras are coming in early 2019.)

Panasonic G9 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix G9 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)
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PANASONIC LUMIX DC-GH5s

Panasonic GH5s

Panasonic GH5s

Panasonic GH5s Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

PANASONIC LUMIX DC-GH5

Panasonic LUMIX DC-GH5

Panasonic LUMIX DC-GH5

Panasonic GH5 QuickFact Sheet

Panasonic GH5 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY A7S II

Sony a7S II

Sony a7S II

Sony a7S II Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony a7S II (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY A7R III

Sony a7r III with Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS

Sony a7R III Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony a7R III (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY A7 III

Sony A7 III

Sony A7 III

The Sony A7 series of mirrorless cameras provided the impetus for both Nikon and Canon to urgently and seriously reconsider their (re-)entry into mirrorless camera research and development. Before that, Nikon toyed with the 1 System and Canon dabbled timidly with the EOS M system. The Sony A7 series posed a clear and present danger to existing full-frame DSLRs. It was the full-frame mirrorless that many said could not be built, could not match the DSLRs in features, AF speed and image quality — well, Sony proved everyone wrong: The A7 could and did. That set off a panic from Nikon and Canon which, with their Nikon Z 7, Nikon Z 6 and Canon EOS R, are now trying to gain a foothold into the mirrorless race.

The Sony A7 III is the third generation A7 full-frame mirrorless and has earned a high and well-deserved reputation among both enthusiast and pro photographers as one of the most capable full-frame mirrorless camera at a competitively affordable price: fast and precise AF, improved AF Tracking for sports photography, highly effective Eye AF for portrait photography; effective in-body 5-axis image stabilization for consistently sharp hand-held shooting; high image quality with low noise at high ISOs. It is also a very compact camera and Sony has indicated it will not create a bigger sized model, opting to seek the perfect balance between compactness and ergonomics.

The Sony A7 III full-frame mirrorless camera is better than ever, causing many serious amateurs, enthusiasts and pro DSLR users to decide to finally switch to mirrorless. If you are new to mirrorless and do not have any brand preference, take a look at the excellent Sony A7 III. It has worked out the kinks and is a great choice whether you’re into portrait, landscape, macro, sports or wildlife photography.

Sony a7 III Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony a7 III (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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