Considering the switch from DSLR to Mirrorless

Started Nov 25, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Brian Short
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Considering the switch from DSLR to Mirrorless
Nov 25, 2011

This might be a bit long, but here's some background. A few years ago, I purchased the Nikon D300. I have a few lenses for it, but anymore the only time it gets used is when I go on vacation. Part of this is because my interested change, and photography around home doesn't interest me as much as when I'm away. But I think the other thing is the size, and that maybe bigger is not really better. When it comes to packing around the camera and the lens selection I want, it ends up being quite a bit of weight. I took a cruise in February in Mexico, and most of my photos are from the shore, with hardly any on the ship. I never felt like packing around my big camera walking around the boat.

IQ however is really important to me, and I like the control over depth of field that I get with a DSLR vs. a compact. When I bought the D300, the mirrorless cameras didn't exist.

Now I'm planning for my honeymoon trip, which is a 12 night cruise in the Mediterranean. This includes a few days in Barcelona before and after the cruise. My original plan was to rent a 18-55 2.8 lens, and take only that with me. Then I got to thinking about how large and heavy that would be trying to pack it around the ports, and that such a large setup might be an invitation to be robbed, especially in places like Barcelona which have a reputation for pick pockets. I've been thinking about what I really need, and more and more it's leading to something a lot smaller, lighter, easier to put in a pack, and a bit more discrete, but with the IQ that a DSLR provides.

It looks like the new mirrorless systems really fit the bill, but I have a few questions.

I've noticed that there don't seem to be many, if any, large constant aperture zooms. Is this something that is a technical limitation of the system, or does it not really matter anymore because they shoot well in low light at high ISO?

Who else has switched from a midrange DSLR such as mine, to a micro system? Are you happy you did?

I've just begun to research the different brands, but to me it looks like Sony, Panasonic, and Olympus are the best choices? I've been looking mostly at the Sony and Panasonic offerings. I like that Sony uses the APS-C sensors, but I like the looks of some of the Panasonics more.

To EVF or not to EVF? My only experience with EVF's was an old Sony F717 I had ages ago, which I never really liked, but it sounds like things have really improved, and some of the newest ones are nearly as good as a real optical viewfinder?

What are the noise levels like, especially with the M 4/3 cameras, compared to my D300? I've been very happy with that noise wise, up to ISO 1600 anyway, where you still can't really see it very well.

Anything else I should know?

Nikon D300
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