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.

Items discussed in article

Discussion 149

Add new comment

Add comment Cancel

Hi,

I'm am trying to get a lumix mirrorless camera, did anyone have suggestion? I am looking for around $750.

Thank you.

If looking specifically for a Panasonic Lumix, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens is going to be the closest to your budget option.

Hey friends!

I've been trying to do research for weeks now, and I can't seem to come to a conclusion. I'm hoping you all can help! I currently shoot with a Nikon D810 for weddings/professional gigs. I love it, and it takes gorgeous images and pretty good video, but I need something mirrorless in the $1000-$2000 range that I can take with me out and about or on vacations that isn't so hefty and that would give me some peace of mind NOT taking my big boy everywhere... Is there one out there that shoots good video AND stills? Bonus points if it's weather-resistent! 

Thank you so much for your advice!
Alexis

I would suggest the Fuji X-T2 with f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom Lens for excellent stills and video while having a weather resistant body. Fist and foremost what makes Fuji mirrorless remarkable is their unique randomized pixel array APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor.  This affords a high degree of image quality and sharpness due to the omission of an optical low-pass filter. Versus conventional pixel patterns, the X-Trans design more closely mimics the organic nature of film in order to produce nuanced colors and smooth tonal transitions, while also reducing moiré and aliasing. You’ll find suburb color rendition and shockingly low noise at higher ISO’s which would easily rival that a full-frame SLR, its native ISO range is 200-12,800. 

The X-T2 will have a 91-point AF system, when set to the Zone option, or up to 325 points, when in the single-point mode. Around 65% of the imaging area is covered by contrast-detect AF points and the central 40% of the frame is covered by phase-detect AF points. This will also provide up to 8fps burst shooting and the dual SD card slots will support the faster UHS-II standards.

The X-T2 will also offer UHD 4K video recording, 3840 x 2160: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps, as well as standard HD, 1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps, and will offer a 3.5mm Mic input.

The durable weather-resistant body design is constructed from magnesium alloy and sealed to protect against dust, moisture, and cold temperatures down to 14°F.

Only caveat here is availability. This has been an extremely popular camera for all the reasons listed above, as of right now, it is currently only available for Pre-Order, no confirmed ETA.

This is the update to the XT-1, while this also an great option, the improvements made to the X-T2, still resolution, overall performance speed, low-light performance, and video resolution make the X-T2 a much more comparable option to your D810.

Sony also has a very strong presence in the Mirrorless realm and does also provide excellent still and video quality. Within your price range,  the A7 II with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens should also be considered. The A7 II provides, 117 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection autofocus points but a slightly slower 5fps burst rate. Though no 4K video it will have standard HD, 1920 x 1080 video at frame rates of 60p, 30p, and 24p and also offers a 3.5mm Mic input. The A7 II body also features sealing for dust and moisture resistance.

Between the two, I’ve found that the Fuji X-T2 will provide better color and less noise even over the A7 II full frame option. The kit lens available for the Fuji X-T2 will also be of more solid build quality, sharper, and faster in terms of lower light performance, than that of the kit lens provided with the A7 II. 

Hello - 

I am ready to finally upgrade from my Canon 20D. I am deciding between Canon 6D and Mirrorless M5.  If I go the mirrorless route, can i use my canon 50 mm and 70-200mm on the M5 body?  Also, what am i potentially giving up by going mirrorless other than heft?

Thanks!

You can use the Canon EF-M Lens Adapter Kit for Canon EF / EF-S Lenses to use your standard EF Mount lenses with the M5 camera. This adapter will maintain all lens functions.

Aside from size and weight, you would be switching to an electronic viewfinder from an optical. It will take a bit to get used to but not the end all be all of issues. You’ll likely also find yourself using the back screen more than you would link for composition and focusing. Given the age of the 6D, the M5 will actually improve upon speed, especially frame per second rate, and will offer more AF points giving it the edge in continuous focus and focus tracking.

Hi,

I have recently sold my SLR camera, Nikon D7000 and want to replace it with mirrorless,

when buying the Nikon, I havent take into consideration its wheight and how easy it will be to travel with it.

It became a burden and I find myself rarely use it.

I would like your recomendation for a mirrorless camera that could mount to my old Nikon in capabilities.

Budget- 750$

Thanks

Mey

If you want to be able to use your current Nikon lenses, your best option would be to go with one of the Nikon mirrorless cameras, such as the Nikon 1 J5 with the FT1 mount adapter.  It does have a significantly smaller sensor than the D7000.

Otherwise, you might look at an option from Sony.  The a6000 would have an APS-C size sensor like the D7000, and would be a solid option for starting out with a mirrorless camera.  Though, there wouldn’t be an ideal way to use your Nikon lenses on the camera. 

Hi,

I have a pentax k and a nikon d5300 and would like to add a full frame mirrorless camera that shoots raw, is fast focussing and very good in low light. Which one would you recommend please?

For a full frame mirrorless camera, you would be looking at the Sony a7 series.  Among the a7 options, the a7R II has the best autofocus system.  It would also be extremely good in low light.  Otherwise, you could also look at the a7S II, it would be stronger in low light, though the AF system won’t be quite as good as that in the a7R II.

Hi and thanks for your time!

My girlfriend and I have decided to go with the Panasonic Lumix G7 basic kit because of the 4k video for our youtube videos and wanting to take great stills when we travel also its price point at this time. But I am new to this world of photography and am wondering what would be best to pair with this camera when it comes to SD cards, travel tri pods, and a great travel bag that is held on the waist since we will be backpacking while using this camera? If you also have any articles on these subjects that would be great too!

Also any recommendations on another beginner lense for this camera that can capture great landscape shots during day and night? 

Thanks again for the help!

Tanner R.

Hi Tanner -

The 64GB Elite UHS-I SDXC Memory Card from Delkin is a high-capacity card for your HD and 3D-enabled video capture device. It boasts superior speed, writing at 80 MB/s and reading at 95 MB/s. Its UHS-I / Ultra High Speed Class 3 (U3) interface provides a bus speed of 312 MB/s.

Create stable video with the A373F Series 3 Aluminum Video Tripod & BV4 Head from BenroAble to hold a payload of up to 8.8 lb, this tripod is a great choice for lightweight kits, especially with numerous video-specific features. The BV4 head features side controls for adjusting the 6-step counterbalance as well as the independent 4-step pan and tilt drag. The 2-stage tripod legs feature flip legs locks for fast adjustments and have a 75mm bowl on the top for balancing the head. The tripod system can be adjusted within a height range of 12.2" to 64.2" and it offers two 3/8"-16 accessory threads for a monitor, audio recorder, or more. It comes with both rubber and spiked feet for working in a variety of environments. A carrying case is included as well.

The black Camslinger 160 Mirrorless Camera Holder from COSYSPEED holds a mirrorless camera with an attached lens, and an additional lens between padded interior dividers inside a protective pouch that is worn at your hip. The holder secures around your hips with a durable quick-release belt that features a safety buckle to avoid accidental detachment. The Camslinger provides protection against dust, bumps, and water splashes while allowing fast, one-handed access to your gear.

Included with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 camera body is the well-rounded Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens, which provides a 28-84mm equivalent focal length range to cover wide-angle to short telephoto perspectives. An Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for camera shake for sharper handheld shooting while a pair of aspherical elements help to minimize the overall lens size and maintain a high degree of sharpness and clarity throughout the zoom range.

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH. Lens for Micro Four Thirds format digital cameras is an ultra-wide angle zoom lens which has two aspherical lenses and four ED multi-coated elements to minimize ghosting and flare. It has an amazing 114° angle of view and large-diameter glass molded lens elements that help display brightness over the entire zoom range. When mounted on LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System camera, the lens allows use of the advanced contrast AF system and features smooth, quiet autofocus as well as precise manual focus capability.

This lens operates with contrast AF system support and has a micro four thirds mount that will work on any compatible camera.

Hi! I'm a photography student and I've been using Canon t2i for some years now and I wanna change to a mirrorless full frame camera but I have trouble choosing one. I want one that it's not very pricey but that has some great quality. I would like to use bigger sensibility but without noticing the noise so much. I've been considering Sony mirrorless cameras but I don't know which model. Can you help me? Thanks!

Hi Maggie -

If you are just starting out, but still have a fairly flexible budget, I would likely look at the Sony Alpha a7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)

It would be an excellent option for video with the many frame rate/bit rate options, color profile options, and fantastic low light capability.  It could be fairly straight forward to use when starting out, but is still something feature rich for video so that you wouldn’t outgrow the camera if you get more involved in/serious about video.  

Nikon 1 j5 or nikon1 aw1 or sony a5000 ?
Nikon or sony for mirrorless camera!

I would generally recommend Sony Mirrorless over Nikon, and in this case the a5000. The larger APS-C sized sensor will provide higher quality images overall. You'll find more accurate color rendition, more detail in both highlights and shadows and better low light results with less noise at higher ISOs. 

Why have you not once mentioned the Olympus Om-DE-M1 which PC magazine just rated tops of the ten best mirrorless cameras? Am curious as I plan to down-size and am checking all out. Is it because it does not have a full frame sensor?

Not mentioning the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera above had nothing to do with the camera's sensor size.  B&H's Explora page has listed numerous articles concerning the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera, including, but not limited to the First Impressions: The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraFour Days with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 PROFast AF: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and posted videos including Olympus EM-1 Test Drive: A Hands-On Micro Four Thirds Experience and Olympus OM-D E-M1. In respect to the above article, Mirrorless Cameras: A Buying Guide, no specific camera brands or camera models were mentioned in the article.  The above article was written to inform customers and potential buyers of the different features that are avaiable with mirrorless digital cameras and how those features may impact their shooting and their ultimate camera purchase.  As no specific cameras were listed above, there was no reason to specifically list the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in this article.  However, if you are interested in Explora articles concerning the OM-D EM-1, you may type the camera's name in the Explora Search Bar on the top of this webpage (also listed at the following link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/search/site/OM-D%20E-M1 ).

Can you please recommend me a mirrorless camera that is friendly to use, and that I can eventually add external mic and headphone.

How important is it to consider built-in stabilization? 

kind regards,
Jeremy

Unfortunately, there aren’t many mirrorless options that have a headphone jack.  You could look at the GH4.  It has both a mic and headphone jack.  While Panasonic’s top of the line mirrorless option, it would also have plenty of auto settings.  So, it could be as easy to use as you would like.  It does not have built-in stabilization, so you would need to pick a lens with stabilization.  Stabilization can be useful for video if you aren’t using a tripod, though optical stabilization would be fine. 

Hi,

I currently have a Canon t3, I've had it for a few years and I'm really looking for a newer camera that is easier to travel with and that I can also improve with. I love the idea of mirrorless cameras, but choosing one has been very difficult. So far, I have liked the sony a6000, fuji xt-10, and the sony a7 (however, the sony a7 is a little pricey). An ASP-C sensor will work fine for me, and a viewfinder is important. I will also be shooting video very often too. Which cameras do you think would be right for me? And are there any others that I should consider?

Thanks!

Fujifilm makes some excellent mirrorless cameras.  Though, if you will be shooting video as well as stills, I would lean towards Sony.  If you have been using the T3, the a6000 might be the better fit.  It’s a fantastic little camera, with great image quality and a fast AF system.  Its viewfinder is also extremely responsive for an electronic view finder. 

Howdy,

I have a Canon 5D-MK3.  My wife rarely uses it as its heavy.  I have considered a mirrorless to alleviate the weight issue for her.  The 5D-MK3 is a heavy puppy.  I have it would be nice to be compatible with the stock 24-105 and a 70-200 2.8 lenses.  I wouldn't mind having two compatible bodies sounds like an interesting idea.

The photography I do is wide ranged, golf scenery, vacation, general scenery, outdoor/indoor portraits with Speedlite and Elinchrom heads.

Suggestions please

I apologize about the wait for a response.  I don’t know if you were entertaining the idea of also switching systems, though for what you are shooting and shooting with, I would suggest sticking with the 5D III (especially if you are happy with the camera and not overly bothered with the weight)  One option to look at for your wife, depending on what she likes to shoot, would be the Canon SL1.  While still a DSLR, Canon designed it to be as light weight and compact as possible.  It would be significantly lighter while still having the Canon EF mount.  Otherwise, if you are specifically looking at mirrorless options, there are adapters that will enable one to mount Canon lenses onto a mirrorless body, and some of them can retain both autofocus and control of the aperture through the camera’s body.  Though, the amount of functionality retained can depend on the mirrorless camera and its firmware.  Even then, the adapter is attempting to translate two different languages simultaneously, so performance can be hit or miss.  In this case, you might be better off having two separate systems.  You could look at the Sony a6300 for your wife.  It’s a fantastic little camera, with a fast AF system and great image quality/low light performance.  The Sony APS-C size sensor E-mount lenses will also be smaller and lighter weight than your Canon lenses.  Though, this being said, I would suggest contacting our Photo Department directly via email.  In the email you might want to mention what your wife likes to photograph and what she might be looking for in a camera (besides less weight).  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

I'm trying to narrow down the choice between the Sony a6300, (APS-C sensor), the a7 full frame, & sony a7II (full frame).

[A] Sony a6300: Where I'm not clear are the top, sharp, minimal distortion lens choice for this camera. My favorite lenses to shoot with my NikonD300 where 18-200mm, Tamron 90mm micro, & the Tamron 12-24 wide angle. What are you recommendations for the a6300? 

[A1] Since the a6300 has no in camera stabilization, is it best to only consider lenses that offer it; if so, please list a few good lenses.

[B] Is the Sony a7 outdated compared to the newer a7II? What are the significant differences? What are my lens very good, sharp choices for shooting zoom (Let's say 12-200 or other), Marco, & Wide Angle? These would be non-stabilized lenses right?

[C] What is the role of prime lenses with all 3 cameras? I understand the low light capability, but is there a good reason to go prime vs zoom lenses?

[D] I don't full understand the difference between full frame & cropped sensor shooting. I'm use to shooting a Nikon D300. What adjustments can I expect?

[E] Cost wise, am I better off with the Sony a6300 when one figures the cost differences between a lens for crop sensor camera vs full frame costs for full frame Sony a7 or a7II?

Thank you!

For the a6300 lens selection, for an all-in-one, I would suggest the Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Lens.  For a wide angle zoom, the Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Lens would be one of the only options currently on the market.  Both of these have OSS (which is Sony’s version of image stabilization). 

As for the a7, I wouldn’t call it an outdated model, though the a7II has some marked improvements.  The autofocus system has been improved in the II, it has in-body 5-axis image stabilization, and has a more durable build.  In terms of lenses, you could look at the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens for an all-in one, and the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens for a super wide zoom.

As for a macro option, you could look at the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens for both the a6300 and the a7/a7 II.

In terms of price, going with the a6300 will cost less than going with the a7 or a7II.  The camera itself will cost less, and the lens options will be less expensive (and smaller). 

The a6300 will have an APS-C size sensor, like the D300 you have been using, so the format would be the same.  Going full frame, lenses with the same focal length would appear wider.  Full frame cameras can also be capable of achieving shallower depth of field.  If you are confused about full frame vs APS-C, you might checkout the following article:

DX vs. FX: It's Not a Debate, It's a Choice

It goes into some depth about the differences between full frame and APS-C and the pros/cons of each format. 

As for prime vs zoom, prime lenses can have larger max apertures than possible with a zoom lens, and typically have better optical quality than a zoom lens shot at the same focal length.  Though, they aren’t as versatile as a zoom lens.  When it comes to choosing between prime and zoom, it really comes down to personal preference.  Some people prefer shooting only prime lenses, some will only use zooms, and some photographers use a selection of both.  If you like the versatility of an all-in-one lens, such as the Tamron 18-200mm, primes might not figure into your workflow.  Though, you might look at renting some to try out.  It would be a cost effective way to find out if you would enjoy using prime lenses. 

If you have additional questions, I would recommend contacting our Photo Department directly via email.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

Hi,

I am a Nikon D3000 user for since 2010. Now I want to move to some more advance camera. I am not a professional photographer. I would like to have mirrorless camera as it it more portable and eas to carry than DSLR. So my question is that which camera should I buy? Is EVF is must needed option for photography in bright days? My option would be Canon M3, Fuji XM1, Sony a6000. Please suggest if you have any better option. 

A viewfinder can be extremely useful when shooting in bright light, though it can also help when shooting in low light situations.  Having the camera pressed against your eye adds another point of contact enabling one to hold the camera still.  That being said, I would lean towards the a6000. It’s a fantastic mirrorless option, with fast autofocus and excellent image quality. 

Thanks Christina

Hi. I am looking to jump into the world of mirror less cameras and am seriously considering the Sony a6000 (or a6300, though that's a bit more than I want to spend). What do you think of the a6000 as a beginner/intermediate camera? I've heard good things about it, but I've also heard some negatives about the menu and small battery. Also is the kit lens it comes with decent? Basically I'm not a huge photographer but want something a bit more advanced than point and shoot.

I'm a bit hesitant to buy another camera however because I bought a Fujifilm FinePix S1 last year thinking it would be close enough to an SLR to keep me happy, but was sadly disappointed with the images I was getting. Ended up selling it.

The a6000 is a fantastic little camera that would be an excellent option for starting out with a mirrorless system.  It would be a mid range option, that would be more advanced than a point and shoot.  It has great image quality and low light performance.  The kit lens would be a good start, though coming from a super zoom point and shoot, you might consider one of the two lens kit options with the 55-210mm zoom lens. 

http://bhpho.to/2avxijX

Hi, lm a keen amateur photographer. I started out with Fuji cameras (excellent) then moved on to canon, again excellent. I presently own the 70d,which I love. Just recently I saw a you tube video by a pro photographer called Jason Lanier who explained why he'd changed to Sony from canon/Nikon, he was using the Sony a6000 in the video. I was so impressed I got enough money together to buy a used 6000 off eBay. I've got to say it's the best camera I've ever owned. I don't do video hardly at all so that has never swayed me when buying a camera. But the stills are definitely the best of any camera I've had. So I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this camera. Absolutely amazing.  Graham Oaetes

Thanks for sharing your experience, Graham! And, thanks for reading!

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.

If you are just starting out, but still have a fairly flexible budget, I would likely look at the Sony a7S II.  It would be an excellent option for video with the many frame rate/bit rate options, color profile options, and fantastic low light capability.  It could be fairly straight forward to use when starting out, but is still something feature rich for video so that you wouldn’t outgrow the camera if you get more involved in/serious about video.  With the 4K and autofocus system, I find that it would be a better option for video than the current Canon offerings. 

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!😞

This isn't a Sony sponsored review site. For the questions readers are asking, Sony Mirrorless cameras are actually more advanced in many areas, even compared to competing Mirrorless cameras.

B&H would be dishonest if they recommended lesser quality cameras based on what readers asked. B&H employees would be blatant liars if someone asked about 4K and lowlight and B&H KNEW that the Sony a7SII factually has better 4K and lowlight performance but they advised the reader to buy something else, due to personal bias.

Your comment comes off as if you don't believe the Sony cameras that are recommended are as advanced or actually meet or exceed what is being asked by the readers.

Technology is about facts. The truth is, Sony has delivered advanced Mirrorless cameras in several price ranges that are simply more advanced that what the competition has released as of today.

This may not always be true in the future as Canon or Nikon could very well release a Mirroless camera that packs in more technology and real world results than the a6000/6300, a7RII or a7SII but as of today, they haven't.

As the article states, determine what your needs are. You may not be interested in the advantages of Mirrorless or the advantages that Sony has over other Mirrorless cameras and even DSLR cameras that are made by other companies.

This article and the replies by B&H are by far the most unbiased that I have ever read with very temperate and factual answers based on the questions from the readers.

After months of comparing DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras from all manufacturers, I now own a Sony a6000, Sony a7RII and several E, FE, Prime and G lenses and the technology that Sony has crammed into these small Mirrorless cameras is impressive and does deliver consistently excellent results, often exceeding the competition.

Knowing the facts, it would be absurd to recommend something less capable when readers are asking questions in full faith that B&H will give answers within the best interest of the readers according to the specifics of their questions.

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.

Show older comments

Close

Close

Close