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Photography / Buying Guide

Mirrorless Cameras: A Buying Guide

         

Mirrorless cameras have been on the market for a decade, but they have really begun to make waves in the past few years. Most serious photographers would have certainly been shooting with a DSLR camera just a few years ago, but now many have traded in their DSLRs for the smaller and lighter form factors that mirrorless cameras provide. Not only are mirrorless cameras usually lighter and smaller than their DSLR counterparts, but they’re quieter, as well. With no mirror to slap up and down, street photographers, as well as wedding and theater photographers can now shoot virtually unnoticed.

Choosing a mirrorless camera can be a daunting task with lots of options, from sensor size, to video capabilities, to lens systems, and more. We will cover them all, and give you the information you need. Buying your new camera should be an exciting experience, so let this guide help you make an informed decision.

Lens Systems      

What differentiates mirrorless cameras from other compact cameras is the fact that they have interchangeable lenses. This makes a world of difference, and if you’ve never had an interchangeable-lens camera, you will be quite surprised by how it will change your photography.

Compact point-and-shoot cameras have a built-in lens that typically gives you an optical zoom with a variable aperture and small sensor. What this means is that while you might have the ability to shoot both wide and telephoto zoom lengths, you don’t have as much control over selective focus or shallow-depth-of-field techniques. Selective focus, often accentuated by pronounced bokeh, is one of the first things that people notice about photos taken with larger sensor, interchangeable-lens cameras, because now you have the option to shoot with a long zoom lens with an f/2.8 aperture, or a prime portrait lens with an f/1.4 aperture.

 

Sample shots were taken with a GH4 and SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 25mm T0.95 lens.

A good thing about mirrorless cameras is that because there is no mirror inside the camera in front of the sensor, their design allows for a very short focal flange distance, or the distance between the lens mount and the plane of the sensor. Because of this short distance, lenses that have a large focal flange length can be used on mirrorless cameras when you have a compatible adapter.  This means that, in addition to a wide selection of mirrorless-dedicated lenses, most SLR lenses can also fit onto your mirrorless camera as well.  This is important to know if you have a bunch of old lenses lying around or are making the switch from a DSLR to mirrorless; chances are there are adapters to fit your lenses to your new camera. Of course, you should always check compatibility before making any purchases.

While using older “legacy” lenses on a mirrorless camera is a great benefit, every pro has a con and, in most cases, the downside in this situation is that the adapters usually do not allow for autofocus capabilities, and sometimes do not transfer any electronic signals at all, so aperture must also be set manually. This can be a drawback for some photographers, but for videographers who normally change aperture and focus manually, this isn’t a drawback at all. 

Maybe you don’t have any lenses from other cameras, or you want to sell them all and forget about adapters. In that case, there is certainly no shortage of great lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. Due to increasing attention to mirrorless systems, manufacturers have invested a great deal into providing a wide variety of lenses, from fast prime lenses to wide-to-tele zoom lenses. Whatever you are looking for in a lens, chances are you can find it in a mirrorless line.

Sensor Size

Different mirrorless cameras come with various-sized sensors, and this is where things can get a little confusing. To make things simple, think of a full-frame DSLR camera as having the largest sized sensor, and a point-and-shoot as the smallest sized sensor. Most mirrorless cameras fall somewhere in the middle, packing an APS-C sensor, which is common in consumer DSLR cameras, or a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which falls between an APS-C sensor and a point-and-shoot. While they are the minority, there are now a few cameras that do have a full-frame sensor, and there will probably be more to come in the future.

Micro Four Thirds cameras feature a 17.3 x 13mm sensor, and are most commonly made by Panasonic and Olympus. Both manufacturers use the same mount, as part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, so lenses are interchangeable between brands. Olympus usually utilizes in-camera stabilization, while Panasonic tends to have their stabilization in the lenses. However, Panasonic has recently begun to utilize in-body image stabilization in some models, as well.

A little bit smaller than the Micro Four Thirds sensors are the Nikon 1 (CX format) and Pentax Q series cameras, which use sensors closer to the size of point-and-shoot cameras—1" for the Nikon 1, 1/1.7" or 1/2.3" for Pentax Q—allowing these lines to be much more compact than other mirrorless cameras.  

A significant reason that some people like mirrorless cameras is that they are smaller and lighter than DSLRs, and a lot of that has to do with the smaller sensor size. While a smaller and lighter camera is great for some, it, too, has a drawback. Generally speaking, larger sensors perform better in lower light, and produce less image noise in photos taken with higher ISO sensitivities. If low-light photography is important to you, you might want to consider one of the full-frame mirrorless cameras, or at least one with an APS-C sized sensor. If you are more concerned with a smaller camera size, and don’t require the best in low-light performance, a Micro Four Thirds camera might be a good fit for you. This is not to say that cameras with smaller sensors are not suitable for low-light shooting, rather, it is one of the main benefits of a larger sensor size.

Sample shots were taken with a GH4 and SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 25mm T0.95 lens.

Viewfinders

Viewfinders are another thing to take into consideration, particularly if you’re switching from a DSLR or other type of camera that has an optical TTL (through-the-lens) viewfinder. A TTL viewfinder means that what you are seeing is exactly (or very close to) what the lens is seeing. Since, by design, there is no mirror to direct the view of the lens to the viewfinder, many mirrorless cameras utilize an electronic viewfinder, or EVF.

There are, of course, benefits and disadvantages to the EVF, just as there are for an optical viewfinder. One thing that can be distracting is that touch of lag time between the moment that something is actually moving and the time that you see it in the EVF. As technology improves, this lag time is becoming shorter and shorter and, in some cameras, is already imperceptible.

Another disadvantage is that an EVF eats away at your battery power, just as using your LCD screen would. This is minimal, and usually not a huge concern, but just another thing to take into consideration.

As for advantages, there are quite a few, the first of which is focus peaking, which has become a desirable asset when comparing cameras for video or manual-focus uses. Focus peaking is a real-time focusing aid that highlights edges of contrast within the frame with a colored line, which helps to avail a more objective system of determining critical sharpness when focusing manually.

Focus Peaking

The other main advantage an EVF has is its ability to give an accurate depiction of any exposure, color balance, or other camera-setting adjustments prior to shooting. Whereas an OVF simply displays the subject as it is, an EVF gives you a closer representation of the final image.

Autofocus

DSLR cameras use what is called phase detection to focus on a subject, while mirrorless cameras use contrast detection. Phase detection takes advantage of the mirror in a DSLR camera to divide the incoming light into pairs of images, compares them, and then quickly focuses the lens on the subject.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, use contrast detection to measure the contrast between pixels on the sensor until it detects enough contrast to find that the image is in focus. The downside of this focusing method is that it is slower, and more difficult to use in low light. It is also less effective when trying to focus on moving objects.

The good news for mirrorless shooters is that many newer cameras are now using a hybrid focusing method that combines phase- and contrast-detection methods. This is another consideration to weigh before choosing your camera. If fast autofocus, especially in low light, is important to you, you should consider a camera with a hybrid autofocus system.

Video

Video recording is one area where mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras are pretty much neck and neck, when it comes to quality. Of course, mirrorless cameras are going to offer video shooters more flexibility with lenses than DSLR cameras, but both systems offer cameras that can shoot full HD, and some cameras can also now shoot 4K.

Get the most out of 4K video recording by connecting your mirrorless camera to a 4K recorder/monitor.

"If you’re making the move up from point-and-shoot cameras to a mirrorless, then the video quality is going to be leaps and bounds better than what you’re used to."

What mirrorless cameras improve upon, compared to many DSLRs, is the way they shoot, not necessarily what they can shoot. Because mirrorless cameras focus with continuous contrast-detection, you can more easily focus, and maintain focus, on moving subjects in your frame. DSLRs also utilize contrast-detection focusing when recording movies, or when working in live view, but since it is the inherent technology within a mirrorless camera, it is often more refined and responsive.

If you’re making the move up from point-and-shoot cameras to a mirrorless, then the video quality is going to be leaps and bounds better than what you’re used to. For one thing, you will be able to control the depth of field via the aperture, and also manually focus your shot. This gives you greater creative control, not to mention much higher-quality files.

The smaller size of mirrorless cameras means that the camera’s light weight allows for longer shooting with less fatigue than shooting video handheld with a DSLR camera.

If you are a serious videographer and want professional video capabilities, you might consider a mirrorless camera that records video in a high-quality format, such as AVCHD or XAVC S, and one with which you can use external microphones, headphones, video monitors, and recorders.

Wireless Functionality

The wireless capabilities that have been included in many of the mirrorless cameras on the market are truly incredible. Most cameras with Wi-Fi also have a partner app for either iOS or Android that allow you to control the camera from a smartphone or tablet.

NFC allows cameras to “bump” each other, or another smart device, to share photos.

These apps range from basic live view and shutter control, to full control over shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and other settings that you would normally need to adjust on the camera.

Some cameras enable you to transfer images directly to a smart device from your camera, or even right to your favorite social media sites. Another great Wi-Fi function is Near Field Communication, or NFC, which allows cameras to tap-to-connect with one another or a smart device, to share photos. This is especially helpful when you’re with friends and you want to share photos without having to remember to email them later.

Choosing Your Mirrorless Camera

By now you should be able to make an informed decision about buying your next camera. Keep in mind the main points we discussed. If image size and quality, especially in low light, is important to you, choose a camera with either an APS-C or full-frame sensor. However, if you’re looking for a compact camera that offers more control and options than a point-and-shoot, choose one of the cameras with a smaller sensor.

Most mirrorless cameras will fall into one of three categories: consumer, prosumer, and professional. This doesn’t mean that a professional camera will guarantee professional-looking photos, rather, that it is built with the capabilities that professionals need and want.

Consumer

Entry-level consumer mirrorless cameras are a great starting point for someone looking to make a move from point-and-shoot cameras to something with a little more flexibility and control. Often, entry-level mirrorless cameras are a replacement for consumers who are using an entry-level DSLR and like the interchangeable-lens feature, but want something that is lighter and smaller. These cameras usually offer an LCD to compose your photos instead of an electronic viewfinder. Consumer-level mirrorless cameras typically have a smaller sensor, allowing for a smaller and lighter body size, while sacrificing a little bit of image quality.

Prosumer

In between consumer and pro cameras are “prosumer” cameras. In the world of mirrorless cameras, prosumer-level cameras will probably be most comfortable for photographers making the move from a DSLR to a mirrorless model. Prosumer cameras have a slightly smaller body size than professional-level cameras, while offering more control and better image quality than consumer cameras.

Another thing that makes prosumer mirrorless cameras appealing is that many of them have an electronic viewfinder, as well as the LCD screen on the back of the camera. This makes the transition to mirrorless much easier if you are accustomed to looking through an optical viewfinder. With both an EVF and an LCD screen, problems with viewing your composition in bright light are minimized.

Professional-Level Cameras

If the highest-quality video and imagery is what you seek from a mirrorless camera, a professional-level camera will deliver what you need. These cameras straddle all formats, including Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, and full-frame and also tend to feature larger, more durable bodies that are often weather sealed. Additionally, they are characterized by faster processors, which aid autofocus performance and buffering when shooting large files or burst sequences. These cameras are also ideal for shooting professional videos, thanks to their support for external monitors, headphones, and microphones, as well as external video recorders.

These are the cameras that you will want to consider if you are an advanced hobbyist or professional who is used to the feel and performance of a professional DSLR camera. They offer the most creative control through their inclusion of fully manual adjustment capabilities and support for interface customization. Additionally, professional-grade cameras are usually the preferred choice when working in adverse situations, such as extreme low lighting or fast-action situations, due to their expanded imaging capabilities, sensitivity, and refined focusing performance.

After you choose your preferred sensor size or system type, think about what kind of lenses you might already own, or what types of lenses exist for the various cameras you are considering. Some manufacturers have a wider line of lenses for their mirrorless cameras than others, and this might be important to you if you like options.

Key Features to Consider:

Sensor size
Form factor
Lens mount
Viewfinder
Video capabilities
Wi-Fi
Hot shoe
Battery grip

Once you have narrowed down the larger, important aspects of choosing your camera, take a look at what features are important to you. Do you need HD or 4K video? Maybe you are a social-media guru and really like the ability to share photos online directly from your camera.

Another consideration is the accessories that are available for the various cameras. If you use an external flash, you’re going to want to make sure compatible flashes are available, and that the camera has a hot shoe to which one can be attached. Other accessories that might be important are battery grips, cases, remote controls, and apps―just to name a few.

You should now be prepared to choose the mirrorless camera that best suits your needs. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online for a Live Chat.

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Hi,

I am an amateur filmmaker with little experience and currently looking for a camera to shoot videos with (independent/arthouse, documentaries, sport montages, etc.). After doing a bit of research, I have learned that, now, the mirrorless cameras on the market seem to have a bit of an edge over the DSLRs. However, I must ask: Between a mirrorless and DSLR camera, which one am I really looking to purchase with a flexible budget ($650-$4000)? I am looking for something easy to use -mind you, I do not mind learning if it is a bit confusing/difficult at first - and great quality for price. I hope I mentionned enough to receive help.

Thank you.

P.S. I recently visited my local photography/videography store and the employee mentionned how great the Sony cameras are right now, in comparison with what Canon has to offer. He showed me the Sony a6000, a6300 and the a7s II. I do not know if it was a biased opinion, but it seemed legitimate.

Sony Alpha Series - I've consulted with some  established professionals using high end Sony Alpha cameras. The two ongoing negatives are:  Understanding, using the complex menu system & the inability of the LCD to be useable under low light conditions.

Please comment.

Thanks!! 

Hi Rick -

Like with most cameras or complex tools/instrumentsl, there is a learning curve that must be overcome to obtain ease and mastery . Practice and patience will win the day.  As a technology, LCD screens are challenged in bright sunlight.  The OLED viewfinders are there for a very good reason - use them!

Long term user of Nikon D80, 18-200 Dx. Just returned from a trip and feeling like I'm noticeably behind in focus speed and quality. Experienced amature looking for upgrade options. I take lots of images of fast moving kids and grandkids. Lots of travel pics, lots of candids and street shots. I want as many features as possible in package as small as possible. Thinking about going to mirrorless with a6300 and 16-70 or 18-200. Worried about image quality of Sony18-200. I'm not adverse to DSLR but used to use Leica M6 and would like the quiet shutter of mirrorless. Would like to keep price of camera, lens,maybe external flash below 3K. Thanks for your help and advice.

Hi Al -

Most customers (and our own staff) feel that the Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Lens offers great value, versatility, and performance for a lens of this type and price.  The a6300 is truly a favorite among our customers and a terrific, convenient  instrument for all of the applications you have outlined.

Find me at least two professional level cameras meeting the following needs. My area of confusion are lenses for Mirrorless cameras, what is available, recommended, & costs.

Currently, I use a Nikon D300 focusing on macro & landscape photography. I shoot in RAW & in manual mode.  Add in my need for long exposure, nightscape photography. Also, important is high dynamic range. At the bottom of my Mirrorless needs is video. I would rate my interest in the professional level.

For professional level mirrorless options, Sony really has the better option. I would consider the Sony Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Camera. This camera would be ideal for landscape and macro work given its extremely higher resolution 42MP Full Frame sensor. This would surpass the D300 in terms of fine detail, low light performance, color rendering and speed. There is an ever growing lens selection, the top of the line being Sony’s newer G Master Lenses, as well as the variety of Zeiss lenses designed for the E-Mount. Obviously, this will shoot RAW and allow for full manual control, in addition to a litany of automatic functionality.
 

Aside from the Sony, you could also look at the Fuji XT1. This is an APS-C size sensor camera, and while it will not have the resolving power of the Sony, it is exceptional with color and noise, with some of the cleanest RAW files at higher ISOs available. Lens selection is bit more limited, but the variety of Fuji X-Mount lenses are very well made, and provide excellent results.

Should you need any further information or recommendations, email us at askbh@bhphoto.com

Andrea... Thanks for the reply & recommendations. Doing more research since my post has my budget & shooting needs between the body only a6300 or a7ii. I'll follow-up through askbh.

Thanks!!

Hi, 

I'm considering between Fujifilm X-A2 and X-E2 (which slightly expensive than the other). What would you recommend between those two?

You could go with either camera, though the X-E2 would be a slightly more advanced option.  It has a viewfinder, is a faster camera, and would have the better overall image quality (should produce sharper images). 

I am trying to get into taking pictures with a proper camera (currently using my phone). After speaking to my friend who is a photography enthusiast he directed me toward getting a mirrorless camera. I am looking at the Fuji XT10 but not sure if it is the right one for me. I enjoy taking landscape photos as well as street images. I also am looking to take videos with the same camera. 

Hi Shabbir -

I like the Fujifilm as well.  The retro look and feel is way cool (and of course it also an excellent photographic tool).

Characterized by its sleek, retro styling, the silver X-T10 is a mirrorless camera featuring Fujifilm's unique sensor technology, versatile autofocus modes, and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder. Revolving around the 16.3 MP APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II, the X-T10 is capable of up to 8 fps continuous shooting and full HD 1080p/60 video recording, and features an expandable sensitivity range from ISO 100-51200. Fujifilm's proprietary X-Trans sensor uses a randomized pixel array in order to avoid the use of a resolution-reducing optical low-pass filter, therefore providing images with the utmost sharpness and clarity. Beyond the advanced imaging capabilities, the X-T10 further distinguishes itself through its ease of operation via direct shutter speed, drive, and exposure compensation dials, as well as a dedicated automatic shooting mode lever. Intuitiveness is further carried over to the Real Time Viewfinder, which features a 2.36m-dot resolution and 0.62x magnification, as well as a Natural Live View setting, to mimic the viewing comfort of an optical viewfinder with the added information control an electronic finder provides. Rounding out the feature-set is a sextet of autofocus modes that utilize the Intelligent Hybrid AF system for fast, accurate focusing with precise subject tracking capabilities. The X-T10 combines a rich array of imaging features with a classic, visceral design for both ease and enjoyment of use.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

After going through the queries n replies it seems that it's a Sony sponsored review site; same medicine for every patient!😞

Hello, 

I have been researching and trying to decide which mirrorless camera to purchase for quite a while now. Currently I use a Canon T3 DSLR and take photos of clothing for my website with it as well as ourdoor photos as well. I would liek a mirrorless as I am able to take it many more places with me due to its smaller size. I am leaning towards the Sony a6000, however the Fujifilm X-E2 or X-T10 both look like good options as well. I need something that will take good and high quality still in studio pictures, somtimes in a bit lower lighting. Any recommendations would be great! :)

In my opinion Sony makes the best mirrorless cameras. If you want high quality photos get the a6000. It's also great in low light!

Both Sony and Fujifilm are making excellent mirrorless cameras, and it would be hard to go wrong with any of the cameras you mentioned.  Though, the Sony will be more compact and there are more lens options for the Sony.  For these reasons alone, I would likely lean towards the a6000 for your stated purposes.  The a6000 is an excellent little point and shoot, and would perform extremely well in low light.

I currently have the Canon 60D and am considering a move to a mirrorless option because of the weight difference (thinking my arm and back will thank me for it).  I have a variety of canon lenses but the two I use on a regular basis are the 70-300mm telezoom and the 100mm macro lens.  I love macro photography but am having a hard time finding a mirrorless option that would give me the same results as the 100mm macro lens I currently use.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreicated.  I would also prefer one that has a view finder rather than just relying on the LCD screen and image quality is important. 

If going the Sony Mirrorless route, you'll find their Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS Lens sharper than both the L series and USM version of the Canon 100mm Macro Lenses. Even if you did not want to replace the lens, Sony bodies paired with a compatible Metabones adapter would allow you to continue to use your Canon glass, with Autofocus and Auto Exposure. As far as image quality, Sony bodies with an APS-C sized sensor, like the A6300, would match the quality you are seeing with the Canon 60D, a full frame body like the A7 II or A7R II would easily exceed what you would be getting with the 60D in terms of resolution, noise, and low light performance.

I was using Nikon D80 and it break down a few time. I bought a second hand Sony Nex 5N and it break down in 3 months. So I bought a used under warranty Sony Nex 6. The only reason for choosing Sony is that it can easily couple with Zeiss lens. Zeiss are well known n expensive, I sold the Sony zoom lens for a cheap price.  Sony automation are terrible despite their claim. So usually I shot in manual mode with manually selected white balance. I am happy with the Zeiss 18-70mm. If not for the Zeiss, Sony knows people will not buy Sony camera. may be a TV.

I currently shoot with a Nikon D300s and mostly use my 35mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8 and Tamron 17-50. I am looking to switch to mirror less and want something that will give good lens options for wide aperture with similar length options (obviously comparable to those lengths on a crop sensor.  I also need a speed light and want the possibility of using off camera lighting. What would you recommend, I likely cannot afford a professional level mirror less but let me know your thoughts  

Also, is the length of a APS-C sensor with a 50mm lens similar to a crop sensor with a 50mm lens?

I should have added that I mostly take photos of my kids - portraits, everyday and vacation. I am looking to switch for weight and size. 

You might look at the a6000.  It would have an APS-C size sensor like your D300s, so focal lengths will look the same on the a6000 as they did on the D300s.  There aren’t as many lens offerings as the micro four thirds system cameras, but more E-mount lenses are getting introduced regularly.  The current lens selection is quite nice.  There is also the option for off camera flash with one of the compatible Sony flashes.  As for the camera itself, it is extremely compact and extremely fast.  It would be great for vacations as well as carrying around for everyday use.  The autofocus system is extremely responsive and accurate, which would be great for take photos of your kids playing sports or doing other activities.  The image quality is fantastic.  If video is a big concern, you could also look at the a6300.  While the a6000 does shoot full 1080HD video, the a6300 will shoot 4K. 

Hello....

I am a Nikon user ( D810 ) with Sigma Art serie lenses....need to buy the compact full frame mirror less body that can act professionally...preferably using my Art serie lenses.....any suggestion...?...price is not an issue....and for some reason I am not a Sony fan....Thank you for your time, really appreciate it....

Sony and Leica are going to be your only two mirrorless options for a professional full frame sensor camera. Ideally the A7r II would meet your D810 for performance. The A7r II 399 Phase Detection Auto focus points are unrivaled, and provide speed an accuracy that may even give the D810 a run for the money.
The closest Leica option would be the Leica SL (Typ 601), though at little more than half the resolution will only have 49 Contrast Detection AF points, its not going to outperform the Sony.

As far as using your Nikon mount Sigma Art lenses, there are several options available for Sony, though most will not offer electronic communication for auto exposure or focus. For Leica there is currently only one adapter available, similarly no electronic communication available.

I read in DXomark that the sigma Art 30mm perform lower than normal 30mm.

Hi,

I am looking to buy my first mirrorless camera, and I and debating getting the sony a6000 or the canon eos M3, and I am wondering which I should chose? Or if you have any other suggestions that are better in that price range.

Thanks!

Between the two, I would likely go with the a6000.  The a6000 is a fantastic little camera, with excellent image quality, and extremely fast autofocus.  And, there are far more options in terms of lenses for the E-mount than the Canon EOS-M mount at this time. 

Canon M3 is behind time, there is no EVF. many years back Sony bulit camera like M3.

Looking at making the jump from a point and shoot. Initally was looking at DSLR's (Nikon D5500 and the Canon Rebel SL1), but recently started researching mirrorless and now I don't know what to do. My main concern would be image quality, so as long the the mirrorless is in-line with the DSLR's I mentioned, I think I may be leaning toward mirroless due to the silence when taking shots. So far I think I am leaning toward the Fujifilm X-T10 with the 18-55mm lens, but am a bit worried about the low 16MP. That said, the amount ot large prints I would be making would be few and far between, so I still think I prefer the X-T10 over the Sony A6000. Which out of the four would you prefer/any other suggestions? I would be doing mostly street/travel photography as well as some nature/landscape photography and my budget would be $1000-$1500 for body and lens.

Hi Michael -

I'd give the edge to SONY based on overall price, performance, and size.  The focusing is very quick and accurate and the video/movie footage is simply amazing. And the form factor is sweet indeed.

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens (Black)

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

if you want Sony camera, choose the Zeiss lens. but depend on your budget.

I am moving from a Canon 40d DSLR to a mirrorless system for reduced weight. I shoot mostly wildlife on vacations and want to be able to make enlargements of at least 11 X 13 (or  larger if possible).  I need excellent image quality and good low light performance and a zoom that goes to 400mm. Since I am shooting moving animals (not usually birds),  the camera needs to be able to handle action with good burst. My budget is $1000-$1600 for the camera and another approximately $2000 for the zoom lens. What do you suggest?

You could look at the Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera.  It would be an excellent option for mirrorless system with a quick AF system, and sturdy build.  You could make 11 X 13 and larger prints from the files.  It’s a bit more than your stated budget, but it would be the best option from the Fujifilm line (which would be one of the few lines with a 400mm zoom lens at this time).  The low light performance would be excellent.  As for lenses, you could look at the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens.

your budget to lower.

Sony apsc a6300. Sony lenses 70-300 or 70-200/4

What would you recommend as the best mirrorless under $500?

You might checkout the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens, which is currently in your stated budget.  It’s an excellent mirrorless option for starting out.  It has great image quality, built-in image quality, and a solid autofocus system.

I have a Sony a6000, and prior to that I had the a5000. Although the cameras are good, Sony has completely failed in responding to the needs of wildlife photographers. There is not a single useful telephoto zoom lens for Sony e-mount cameras. I have been waiting for 2 years now for a decent telephoto zoom lens (300mm or more) and its time now to switch the brand.

Its very disappointing that Sony has neglected e-mount lenses blatantly. The 24-240mm lens was a failure, and the 55-210mm is a relatively poor quality lens. These two are the best telephoto zoom lenses over 200mm that they have been offering for the past years. Its pathetic, especially considering that other brands like Panasonic already have an excellent 100-400mm lens.

Although its always expensive to completely switch a brand, wildlife photographers who started out with Sony e-mount cameras, have practically no choice than doing so.

There are an estimated 40 million birders in the U.S. and its almost unbelievable that Sony missed out on catering to them by providing a high quality wildlife lens in all those years.

Thanks for your comments, Sadhu!

Sorry about your frustration, but I definitely understand where you are coming from!

We appreciate you taking the time to write in and here's to hoping Sony is reading!

Thank you for your understanding....and yes, let's hope that Sony will do something about their lack of telephoto zoom lenses for their e-mount cameras!

Sony has an adaptor that you can use on you're e mount camera that you can use a mount lens.

Sony lens are junk. why choose 6000 for wild life? for wild choose SLR cos there are many long lens for it. it doen't matter much APS-C or full frame.

any suggestions on a good mirrorless camera for nature photos? or a package that would be good, im going to be in low light areas but im also interested in trying macro photography.

I would recommend send an email to askbh@bhphoto.com. In addition to low light and macro work please let us know the budget range you were looking to stay within, if you would be planning to print very large, and how big a priority video would be. Once we have a bit more info we’ll be better able to make a suitable recommendation for you. 

My daughter is a make-up artist and would like to photograph her work which is always close up.  Most of her co-workers have the Sony A6000 with all the accessories.  She can not afford all of that. Any recomendations?

We have a nice package for the Olympus Pen -PL6 mirrorless camera which includes two lenses and is priced affordably.  See the link below for details on the offer:

http://bhpho.to/1T4VON9

HELP! I have been a Sony nut for years even back to the Minolta days. Problem is I want to update from my antique A100 to an E mount camera. So many to choose from. I like taking bird shots in the woods and family shots in the house and outside. I really like waterfall shots in the day and evening. I want to get into night photography with Milkway  shots. So I take almost everything. Lenses I have are A mounts, Sony 75-300, Sony 18-70, Minolta 70-210 and Sigma 170-500. And I understand the Sony E mount cameras will not focus well with adapters. Do I sell everything and start over or is there a Sony that fits my needs? Looking to spend about $2,000.

While the lenses you have are good quality, when adapted to any of the Sony E mount mirrorless cameras, they are going to focus punishingly slow.  In my opinion they are not worth trying to carry over to a mirrorless camera. 

Considering your budget, I would recommend a model such as the Sony A6000 camera, which has been around a few years but has significantly proven itself as a powerful camera.  Currently the body alone runs for just under $500 which would leave you with a nice difference in your budget to apply to quality lenses for it.  See the link below for details on the camera.  – Yossi

http://bhpho.to/1lUY2fv

problem with Sony E mount . they don't have much lens. the Sony brand lens is terrible.

I have bought many Sony digital camera in the past and now. the simple reason is I only bought those camera couple with Zeiss lens. If Sony lens I skip out.

Sell af lens for wild life and buy e mount lens, keep the rest and use mf for landscape

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