When Smaller Size Is A Detriment to Using Mirrorless

Image comparison courtesy of camerasize.com

I invite you to read the very interesting and thought-provoking article by professional wedding photographer Vanessa Joy over at Fstoppers as to why “I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to use a mirrorless system for professional use.” “Ever” is a long time, Ms. Joy.

She brings up a very important reason. Her reason is simply the perception in the eyes of her customers that size matters: the bigger and imposing-looking the camera (like her Canon 1DX), the more professional it looks, the more confidence it induces in them, especially when they are paying big bucks for a wedding shoot. As to the smaller mirrorless cameras (like her Sony a7S), clients “don’t see them as professional.

This is, in my opinion, a valid reason, and one that probably other professional photographers also use to justify continuing to use their bigger DSLRs. The difference in size is significant as the above comparison of the Canon 1DX and Sony a7S (courtesy of camerasize.com) clearly shows. Bigger does look more imposing.

Mention is made of videographers using an iPhone as their main camera to shoot the wedding. While I would also cringe at paying top dollars and see the videographer whip out an iPhone to shoot a wedding, I don’t think this is quite comparable to using a mirrorless vs a DSLR.

But it is interesting that she is using one of the major advantage of the mirrorless camera (size) — the one that initially propels most photographers to switch from their trusty (but heavy) DSLR — as a disadvantage.

Changing perception takes time. As more and more pros start using mirrorless cameras, the “bigger is better” myth will slowly but surely give way as people see the results and realize that mirrorless cameras can be as good as — and even better than — DSLRs. Thanks to advances in technology, professional cameras don’t need to be big, bulky and heavy to take great shots anymore.

This is a wonderful opportunity for mirrorless camera manufacturers to craft some clever, funny and inspirational ads to counter this “bigger is better” branding bias that still lingers in some people’s mind.