Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?

Started Jan 8, 2013 | Discussions
kennethfong
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Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
Jan 8, 2013

With the lightweight features of mirrorless, I'm proud to say I'm happy to be investing in mirrorless system, whenever a new lens comes out in the market (as it should), I'm always hesitating whether to save more bucks and spend wiser into the realm of full frame dslr's...

Many of my friends who have been toying around photography for a long time will always look down on our new mirrorless, yeah that means looking down on myself for walking down this path, despite my efforts of trying to make clear that mirrorless does its work just fine as would a full fledge prism DSLR...

The best of both worlds, to me, and at least for today, is to invest in both systems, my take (although a subjective one) would be the Samsung mirrorless for its truly excellent and cheap native NX lenses, and the Canon 6D full frame with the legendary 24-70 F2.8.

But whenever we try to save some bucks for future investment, you will always look back to the initial basic choice of investments you've made, which is the right one to go for with a limited budget? You don't want to invest in something that will be things of the past in couple of years, if you wanna invest in FF, the crazy FF lens price will kill, the weight will slow you down, the size is bigger, but the superior focusing system, great ISO range, accessories support with its fully matured market, 3rd party availabilities, flash supports (although I'm a flashless guy), extreme configurability (i.e. astrophotography is possible for 30 mins exposure) are all top notch... as for ergonomics, I'm fine with either DSLR or small mirrorless... EVF, liveviews or OVF, doesn't matter either gets the job done perfectly.

So just interested to see how you guys doing with Samsung, would you rather get another copy of FF just to have the best of both worlds, or rather stick with one single system? For limited budget users like me if you're forced to choose between the two lol....  and of course we're talking bout a lifetime interest here...

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Bryan M
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 8, 2013

kennethfong wrote:

With the lightweight features of mirrorless, I'm proud to say I'm happy to be investing in mirrorless system, whenever a new lens comes out in the market (as it should), I'm always hesitating whether to save more bucks and spend wiser into the realm of full frame dslr's...

Many of my friends who have been toying around photography for a long time will always look down on our new mirrorless, yeah that means looking down on myself for walking down this path, despite my efforts of trying to make clear that mirrorless does its work just fine as would a full fledge prism DSLR...

The best of both worlds, to me, and at least for today, is to invest in both systems, my take (although a subjective one) would be the Samsung mirrorless for its truly excellent and cheap native NX lenses, and the Canon 6D full frame with the legendary 24-70 F2.8.

But whenever we try to save some bucks for future investment, you will always look back to the initial basic choice of investments you've made, which is the right one to go for with a limited budget? You don't want to invest in something that will be things of the past in couple of years, if you wanna invest in FF, the crazy FF lens price will kill, the weight will slow you down, the size is bigger, but the superior focusing system, great ISO range, accessories support with its fully matured market, 3rd party availabilities, flash supports (although I'm a flashless guy), extreme configurability (i.e. astrophotography is possible for 30 mins exposure) are all top notch... as for ergonomics, I'm fine with either DSLR or small mirrorless... EVF, liveviews or OVF, doesn't matter either gets the job done perfectly.

So just interested to see how you guys doing with Samsung, would you rather get another copy of FF just to have the best of both worlds, or rather stick with one single system? For limited budget users like me if you're forced to choose between the two lol.... and of course we're talking bout a lifetime interest here...

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Hi Kenneth:

Great post for discussion. Having owned several Nikon DX cameras in the past, most recently a D300, I decided it was time to downsize and go with a CSC. Every camera has its place but for me the NX210 seemed right. Samsung has a better than average lens selection at decent pricing. The transition has been smooth for the most part and I have been very happy.

I recently entertained the idea of going full frame with a Nikon D600. I did my homework on the camera and went to the store to have a look. The camera was compact for a full frame and extremely well built. I admired many things about it but after considering everything that matters to me as a photographer I think I am going to hold off. My two main reasons are size and price.

I admire the IQ and performance of the D600 but I can satisfy just about all my photographic needs with the Samsung NX210. While the NX210 pales in some comparisons to Nikon, Canon and Sony's full frame offerings it shines in other areas, mainly size and price. When I compare my desired Samsung Kit against a Nikon Kit I will be spending about double. I acknowledge that the Nikon kit will be superior but the question for me is it truly worth it.

I think it's only a matter of time until these full frame cameras loose their mirrors, get EVF's and drop in size. In the mean time the CSC is evolving and I think eventually we see them meet in the middle.

Samsung continues to evolve despite all the groans from the naysayers. The recent announcement of the NX300 has over 400 comments and a despite some negativity towards it I think it will be a nice upgrade. I look forward to the new improvements and plan on buying one. I will happily keep my NX210 for a backup camera.

I really enjoy traveling with a much lighter system and that in itself really lends to the experience in my opinion. The added benefit of keeping the system costs down is a nice bonus. That leaves me more money for my travels and kit. I feel regardless of which system we buy we need embrace the experience of photography and share that passion.

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migus
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 8, 2013

FF glass on APS-C mirrorless = marriage made in heaven. Small bodies, dSLR-class IQ, low price (particularly the 'older' NX), yet still enough DOF and bokeh control to often rival FF.

rant on

My FF terminators: I come from Leica-like rangefinders and Nikon FF. For daily shootings currently i use mostly my NX and NEX cameras. The former for its price, exemplary GUI/controls and decent 20-50 kit glass. The NEX is exclusively used w 'guest' lenses, for its low noise 16Mp EXMOR and tiny size: A NEX-C3 is a natural FF lens "terminator", as it quasi-vanishes behind nikon's zoom or fisheye lenses. A pleasure to handle and quite mobile, as it basically just the lens with a 200gr. attached at its lighter end. Sometimes i also attach nikkors to the NX bodies, but the lack of focus peaking and other functionality (video, panorama) made me use the NEX as the dominant host for the big glass.

Glass, not digital bodies: I invest in nikon FF glass because i perceive my NX and NEX bodies as mere  lens 'terminators' - volatile digital cameras, improving and dropping in price faster than i can learn how to operate them. Their half-price decay interval rarely exceeds 18 months, actually faster than Moore's Law.

Ideally each of my lenses should have its on tiny NX/NEX sensor attached :-). While i don't plan, nor exclude, the purchase of future Nikon bodies --iff they shrink under my 1-pound threshold with a 50/1.8 attached (will happen, Sony has shown canikon how to break the 'laws of physics')-- my choice of this mount provides the max. freedom of choices.

The nikon FF glass can be obviously used on its own family (not done this since years), or trivially adapted to Canon (whose bodies don't inspire me, but FF sensors i used to like till 2-3 yrs ago, when Sony and Fuji took the lead). Then it's the mirrorless world of NEX and NX, whereby for $10-30 one can get reasonable adapters for nearly any lens ever made.

Aside note: Finally, i still see a big niche left open in my needs. Namely the super-macro, the long-reach zoom (rarely ever used, yet a 24-1200mm SX50 costs under $400) and the always-in-my-pocket cameras. That's where the small sensors remain kings of my hill, though i deplore the vanished OVF. Here I wish for a 150gr Powershot A1200 with proper sensor and IQ, because no APS mirrorless NX/NEX can shoot 1K+ 1"-macros on a 2x AA under 200gr total and cost under $99 (as reflected in the reduced IQ). Mitch

rant off

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giuseppe pepperoni
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 9, 2013

This exactly the situation I'm in.  I shoot a 5d and bought an NX-200 last spring.

My son is a thrower at a Division I school (shot put, discus, weight and javelin).  I shoot all the throwers at meets and give the coaches/athletes access to them for help with technique, etc.

Lugging the 5d around, with 70-200 2.8L  and 400L glass was a weighty experience for an old, out of shape guy.

So, the NX-200 with 50-200.  I really appreciated the lighter weight, and the higher fps count of the Samsung.

My biggest complaint - the lack of continuous focusing at high fps speed, and the inability to see what's going on since the lcd goes dark when it starts ripping off images.

I'm kinda back to spray and pray shooting.

Shot, weight and discus aren't so bad since they're basically stationary in a ring (just rotation by the body and maybe 4 feet of forward progress).  I can even use a tripod with good success. However, javelin will be a real challenge since it involves running before letting the jav fly.

I have a few months before they move outside (winter track & field meets are indoor, and they do the weight and shot put only) for javelin, shot and discus. I'm afraid I'll be back to lugging the 5d around instead.

We had considered an HD camcorder, but the kids and coaches prefer still images, as do I.

Maybe I missed the boat and should have bought the NX20 instead.

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007peter
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Makes Sense to be a DUAL (mirrorless + DSLR) shooter, but FF not necessary
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 9, 2013

I have many friends who are dual shooter. They tend to be Small Micro43 (travel / landscape) + Big Fullframe (portrait sports). Micro 43's smaller sensor = Larger Depth of Field and is an unique advantage for landscape shoot. Likewise, FF's larger sensor = Shallow Depth of Field and provide superior subject isolation. I think m43 + FF is the ideal solution when money isn't an object.

However, I just can't justify spending over $3000+ on any FF body yet!

As I'm NOT a professional photographer, I'm a photo enthusiast and I shooting for FUN. I tend to use mirrorless for everything, and only force to rely on my canon dslr when I'm shooting sports (which happen rarely)

Where dual system makes sense for common people like me are:

- buy Mirrorless (m43, NEX, NX) for general / landscape photography

- buy a cheap APS-C DSLR (nikon d3200/ canon t3i) for SPORTS / Action photography

APS-C DSLR are cheap and offer superior AF Continuous Tracking for sports / action shoot. Plus, DSLR telephoto lens tend to be cheaper and faster.

That is my 0.02 cents

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kennethfong
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Re: Makes Sense to be a DUAL (mirrorless + DSLR) shooter, but FF not necessary
In reply to 007peter, Jan 10, 2013

Thank you guys for the long detailed input, I wish I have all the dough in the world to be one of the admired dual APSC and FF shooters. Lately I find that I'm carrying more and more things whenever I go out with my family outings, definitely lightweight equipment for personal use is still unbeatable for the NX series.

We all know that the current APSC lenses designed for NX is only sufficient to cover an image circle of an APSC sensor. What's bothering me is that we heard news that Sony soon be launching its first FF mirrorless this coming Christmas, and soon we hope Samsung will compete with that just not so sure will Samsung be re-designing a new lens lineup for FF from scratch again, as opposed to current Sony's advantage of its widely available existing FF A-mount lenses. I do hope that all new lenses will live through at least 5 years but judging from the breakthrough we see today, it's pretty much a shaky situation the investment of lenses we made for now will need to be replaced in the near future, once again. Of course talking about changing from APSC to FF.

For example, If I were in the Canon camps, I would have gotten all L lenses even if I'm an APSC user today, just to foolproof myself that there may be some day I may go FF, that's a flexibility for average consumer like myself, and I'm sure many people out there are looking into these factors when making big glass investments.

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migus
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Re: Makes Sense to be a DUAL (mirrorless + DSLR) shooter, but FF not necessary
In reply to 007peter, Jan 10, 2013

"I have many friends who are dual shooter. They tend to be Small Micro43 (travel / landscape) + BigFullframe (portrait sports). Micro 43's smaller sensor = Larger Depth of Field and is an unique advantage for landscape shoot. Likewise, FF's larger sensor = Shallow Depth of Field and provide superior subject isolation. I think m43 + FF is the ideal solution when money isn't an object."

Complementarity FF/m43: I often pondered upon the above. It makes good sense, except two issues.

One, i still need a 1/1.7" or the like small sensor P&S for 1" macros, quasi-infinite DOF and general (light) shooting. The always-present small P&S remains my primary tool, irrespective of how many FF and CSCs are left home. The m43 fails the above 3 constraints, though theoretically it could meet one and fail the other two. But then, my 220gr. NEX-C3 is smaller than most/all m43, and also cheaper.

Second, the lens choice. The 1.5x factor of NX/NEX arguably retains some of the (U)WA effects of the 8 to 20mm lenses, so one can choose FF or APS for a shooting, with comparable IQ from the excellent new Sony/Samsung sensors. The m43's 2x multiplier is truly complementary to FF, and the IQ also less comparable owing to the smaller sensor.

Net: The APS-C bodies from NX/NEX are credible alternatives to FF bodies and excellent performers w/ FF lenses (NEX wins owing to its focus peaking and slightly better EXMOR sensors). To avoid glass investment dilemmas such as OP's, one can buy top FF glass and use it on NEX/NX with arguably comparable results, except the 1.5x and AF factors. This glass will last decades --almost, since floating lenses and aperture springs may cause trouble-- of use across its native and alien (NEX/NX) platforms.

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sj2
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 13, 2013

Bringing out the old car analogy - a century or more ago, all cars were trucks. Later, the market differentiated and today you have cars in all forms from a utility point of view - sedans, sports, SUV etc. So would you say just because I have a sedan, I can't have a SUV too? No, right? The answer is depends on what you need - you could have one, two or more types.

You are welcome

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eilivk
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 13, 2013

Interesting topic! From advanced compact to G3 one year ago. Fine, but had expected a little more. Then a NX10 almost was given away. Not so good from ISO 800 and inferior EVF, but things just look better and a bit sharper. So that should be OK, but then began to think of the next step, FF. Doing a lot of low light photos. Tried A99 and D600, maybe with small primes, but too large. Waiting for samller FF cameras with EVF - and maybe a small Samsung in my belt.

But Fuji X-E1 may be almost as good as FF? Small and good lenses and the price does not scare me. Can't see a Samsung alternative here. And not buying more lenses now. Can live with the 30mm for some time. And see what will happen.

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hilife
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Re: Owning both FF DSLR and Mirrorless - the future?
In reply to kennethfong, Jan 13, 2013

I think everyone will have their own reason for considering both.

I like classical 50mm prime photography, candid people shots and environmental portraits. The 50mm on full frame can give the impression of wideangle and telephoto by zooming with one's feet, give good low light ability, image quality and especially, control over depth of field. It's the equipment I've always known I've wanted from looking at other people's pictures (although I can torture myself even more by looking at medium format fashion pics!) I know there are people that *like* deep depth of field, but I'm content to stop down if I need it, and it was a pity that this one-time basic student photographer staple became something of an unobtainable luxury earlier in the digital revolution.

Now I can say that it's getting there. I have a Canon 5D classic with 50mm f/1.4 and I'm certainly very pleased rather than sore that this camera I stretched for 5 years ago now can be obtained for only a little more than an entry level APS DSLR secondhand. I enjoy other focal lengths for sure, but I've got the jones-ing to buy them out of my system, and usually like keeping it simple with one lens when I'm out and about. My wimpy shoulders thank me for it!

That would be enough, but of course like a lot of people need at most a coat-pocket sized "compact" too for travel, and when an SLR is inconvenient to carry. So I've "made" one out of a Samsung NX1000 and 30mm f/2 pancake and that is my investment in the mirrorless market as it now stands. It can give roughly the field of view and DOF of a 50mm f/2.8 on FF, which seems to allow some blur for half and 3/4 body portraits, and greater depth of field control than just the head and shoulders or flower shots demonstrated on smaller sensors. There's a roughly equivalent 25mm f/1.4 for M43, but that still-smaller sensor combination no longer goes in a coat pocket and costs a bit more. I'm guessing the same would be true of any FF mirrorless equivalent that came out (Sony RX1). Plus Samsung lenses just seem very good value and portable for what they are which is kind of the point of mirrorless for me. The 30mm is a really pleasing, sharp lens in general.

For examples of the Samsung 30mm f/2 and kind of portrait use, check the bottom of this Korean review:

http://blog.naver.com/strongarmrev?Redirect=Log&logNo=90157253902

I've never had a huge amount of disposable income, so if I was buying from the start I'd try to get the used 5D + 50mm, and then whenever possible a cheap used NX body and 30mm whenever I could.

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