Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions
zenpmd
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Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
Apr 25, 2013

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

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bosjohn21
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

the leica M is better in low light than ff dslr

bokah is a function of shape number of blades and location of the diaphram in the lens not the sensor size

not all ff dslrs are 100%

the newest iteration of the M leica gives you a quite small body combined with very small prime supurb lenses and now the ability to use macro and long focal lengths with ease.

there is no lack of supurb primes for the M leica from Leica zeiss and cosina and a hoast of about a billion older lenses to choose from,

your last point is way to broad as it really depends on what your doing. I am guessing that most sports photographers will favor lower pixel count and apc for the comparitive longer reach of there lenses and faster motor dirve times. The landscape photographer may opt for medium format digital or even eight by ten film. Your street shooter may find the smaller cameras easier to use and carry and much less intimidating to folks on the street, An elderly traveler may choose a good quality point and shoot for reasons too obvious to mention.

Added into all this mix is how much we like the interface between us and the given camera. Smaller folks will often opt for smaller cameras because they fit their hands better.

There is no grail camera there is not best camera, there are cameras which are better suited to some situations than others, and the working pro may need the bigger dslr as much for image as image making.

the short answer to your question is no mirror electronic is not the worst the silly squinty optical zoom finders found on small point and shoots are the worst but even after saying that I would still rather have one than depend one the arms length dance which has become the norm these days

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Mike_PEAT
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Guess you never heard of medium or large format cameras...
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.

Guess you never heard of medium or large format cameras...puts the misnamed "full frame" cameras to shame!  Seriously though, not everyone needs an extreme low light camera!

  1. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.

Again, look at the bokeh of medium and large format!

  1. The viewfinders are not 100%

Mirrorless cameras ARE 100% as they use EVFs!

  1. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable

I have my OM-D in my every day backpack with my books, papers, laptop...I don't even notice the camera or lenses!

  1. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.

I can use ANY manual lens I want with the right adapter, including fixed aperture zooms.

  1. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 

For the fastest AF, I don't think so.  Locks every time, and my OM-D is certainly faster than my Canon USM lens.

  1. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now

Lots of reasons, weight, size of the camera, bulk, etc.

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now.

They used to make "full frame" film SLRs the size of the OM-D...come back when they make a dSLR that size!

Look, EVERY camera format is a compromise between size/weight/picture quality.  I used to shoot medium format, then 135/35mm (aka full frame), and now Micro Four Thirds...you have to select what's best for YOU, and don't try to tell anyone their choice was bad based on YOUR bias, like you appear to be doing in this post!

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jcharding
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

I would reply, but there is too much, so I will sum up.

Mirrorless is popular because for many end uses of many end users the image quality is more than sufficient.  Not all end uses or users (you pointed out a few) but some.  However, the corresponding size and weight advantages can be rather large (sure you still have to carry a bag, but it weighs dramatically less and is much smaller).  Where a photographer is in this spectrum depends entirely on their uses and needs.  What works for you or me should not be presumed to be the case for everybody.

I find the cost complaint about mirrorless gear (or any gear really) to be a strange argument.  IMHO mirrorless gear is generally fairly priced.  Moreover, complaining about price IMHO never makes sense.  I've always wanted a 200-400 VR.  I can't afford one.  Complaining about its price is nonsensical.  People aren't meant to buy everything, and for a new system mirrorless products do not seem to me to be out of whack.

Continuous AF usually sucks, sure.  But single AF can be very good for some products.  Your statement is far too broad.

Ultimately, people need to use what fits their needs.  But I don't think mirrrorless is fueled by GAS or a need for change.  IMHO it fills a nice gap.  Since I've seen a lot of serious DSLR users buying mirrorless products to supplement, or in some cases fully replace, their kit than that appears to be a pretty strong confirmation of the utility of the product lines.

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Joseph S Wisniewski
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Each has strengths and weaknesses...
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change.

I cannot help but feel that this is wrong.

Wait. It's not something I feel. The CIPA sales figures prove it's wrong. But that's not really important.

[spurious analogy about weights and running deleted, as only someone who has never done either could have been so wrong]

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.

True. But nothing prohibits FF mirrorless. The first one, the Leica M 240, is a bit pricy, but still, it exists.

  1. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.

Totally incorrect. The fact that mirrorless cameras can have purely symmetrical normal and wide primes, and less retrofocus normal and wide zooms than SLRs gives them a major bokeh advantage. Leica has been an industry leader in smooth bokeh for decades. Some of the small primes from the APS mirrorless makers are also pretty stellar. The DSLR design is an obstacle to good bokeh.

  1. The viewfinders are not 100%

100% wrong. All mirrorless viewfinders are 100%. Some FF DSLRs (like Canon 6D) are not 100%. Few APS DSLRs are 100%. The DSLR design is an obstacle to 100% viewfinders.

  1. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable

I've taken SLRs and mirrorless out without a bag, just pick one lens for an afternoon. Just because a camera has interchangeable lenses does not obligate you to change lenses on every mission.

  1. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, so I can't count it as correct or incorrect.

  1. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad.

As Olympus always has been. They have a history as a premium maker: check out Pen F prices, adjusted for inflation. All you're saying is that bargain makers like Canon aren't making mirrorless in mainstream quantities, either.

And price a FF mirrorless Leica M 240...

  1.  And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS.

An incorrect model cannot prove an incorrect theory.

  1. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?

Superior optical designs. More accurate focusing. Less noise and vibration. The list goes on.

  1. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost.

The AF speed sucks (which is a pain for sports shooters, who will be the last converts from DSLRs) but the accuracy and AF zone coverage is superior.

  1. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes.

True, but that trend began in the 70s, with FF film.

  1.  On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either

You can buy an exceptional 50mm f1.4 for an APS, at about the same size and weight as an 85mm f1.8 on FF, and do pretty much the same thing.

So, APS is the answer, although I'm not sure what your question was...

  1. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm.

Non sequitur.  One can become a great photographer with APS, FF, or a 4x5 view camera. There's no cause and effect relationships in your chain of reasoning.

  1. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

Have fun.

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

If you have a mission (possibly a paying one) that requires a range from 24-200mm, then carrying "just the 35mm and 85mm" is the epitome of stupid.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

Sure. Pick something smaller and lighter, with a zoom or two, so you can carry it more places and do more shooting, which increases your chances of becoming "a great photographer", and when you get good, and figure out what the heck your field of photography is, acquire heavier duty gear in that field. You may find your one true love is macro, and suddenly a lower vibration camera with a smaller, denser sensor is what you really need.

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zenpmd
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Re: Each has strengths and weaknesses...
In reply to Joseph S Wisniewski, Apr 25, 2013

Thanks everyone and thanks for being kind. Some of my points were sort of badly put. I wrote the message in some ways to provoke answers to the questions plaguing my mind.

All of this suggests to me that maybe I should just keep my x100s as I am still quite new to taking photos for the next year or so.

The only thing stopping me is a desire to take portraits at, say 85mm or so.

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bosjohn21
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to jcharding, Apr 25, 2013

jcharding wrote:

I would reply, but there is too much, so I will sum up.

Mirrorless is popular because for many end uses of many end users the image quality is more than sufficient.  Not all end uses or users (you pointed out a few) but some.  However, the corresponding size and weight advantages can be rather large (sure you still have to carry a bag, but it weighs dramatically less and is much smaller).  Where a photographer is in this spectrum depends entirely on their uses and needs.  What works for you or me should not be presumed to be the case for everybody.

I find the cost complaint about mirrorless gear (or any gear really) to be a strange argument.  IMHO mirrorless gear is generally fairly priced.  Moreover, complaining about price IMHO never makes sense.  I've always wanted a 200-400 VR.  I can't afford one.  Complaining about its price is nonsensical.  People aren't meant to buy everything, and for a new system mirrorless products do not seem to me to be out of whack.

Continuous AF usually sucks, sure.  But single AF can be very good for some products.  Your statement is far too broad.

Ultimately, people need to use what fits their needs.  But I don't think mirrrorless is fueled by GAS or a need for change.  IMHO it fills a nice gap.  Since I've seen a lot of serious DSLR users buying mirrorless products to supplement, or in some cases fully replace, their kit than that appears to be a pretty strong confirmation of the utility of the product lines.

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while I essentially agree with you I am a bit amused that somehow mirrorless finder has been translated into smaller 4/3 cameras and the ilk. There is a full frame camera with an auxilliary electronic finder. So the discussion is really about which is the best kind of finder regardless of the sensor size. For many many years the quintisential slr used a flip up mirror and a pentiprism for its viewing system This system requierd a fairly large pentiprism and mirror box and a sealing baffels for the mirror when down etc. not to mention drive gear to activate the mirror.

There were a few exceptions canon did a pellex finder which instead of a mirror used a half silverd mirror that was fixed. however the view in the finder was dim. the cheaper dslrs and slrs went to a mmirror system instead of the pentiprism to orient the image correctly in the eye piece but again these finders are dimmer than a pentiprism finder. So the major advantage of the pentiprism mirrorbox finder is a bright image ( the brightness will depend on the maximum aperture of the lense your using) and a big image in there. The original OM 1 made you thing the image in the finder was bigger than the camera.

but the drawbacks of the pentiprism mirror reflex finder are many. They require a somewhat large pentiprism and the bigger the  better.  They require a lot of moving precision parts extra light baffles and add a great deal to the cost of manufacturing the camera. Even with very little r and d now being done for pentiprism finders their cost is a big chunk of what your paying for the camera.

Another downside of the pentiprsm finder is it seriously limits how close the lens flang can be to the sensor plane thus requiring lens makers to jumb through hoops in designing retrofocus lenses that can accomodate the long distance from flang to sensor plane and still be fast. This gives us wide angle lenses with elements the size of dinner plates and makes all the lenses much bigger than for a given ff camera with no mirror box. One only has to compair the zeiss cosina and leica primes for ranger finder cameras to get an idea of just how much bigger the dslr lenses have to be.

but the finder has some great strengths along with the to date better image and bigger image than the average electronic finder it is the easiest design for digital sensor design. Because of the large sendor to flange distance the light path of any lens on the camera will be stricking the sensor at the same angle an angle that is veries little from center to edge. This make sensor design easier and low light performance easier to achieve than say the leica range finder or other cameras with shorter sensor to lens flange distances using electronic finders when compaired to mirror cameras with the same sensor size.

another not very well known disadvantage to the pentiprism mirror finder is the black out and all that mirror slapping around in there takes away about a stop of handholdability from your mirrorless cameras.

There are some advantages to the electornic finder beyond the obvious size savings. The most noticable is low low light viewing is incredible really way to bright but of course full of noise. Non the less it is much easier to frame and see your subject in very dark places however fuzzy the image.

another advantage of mirrorless is the huge advantinge in allowning a shorter sensor plane to lens flange distance allowing for much simpler and smaller lens designs but requiring more software to correcto for fall off from center to edge as Leica did in using offset sensor lenses.

Ever eletronic finder I know is one hundred percent which on paper sounds great but in practice not necessarily the best for every one.  The head honcho at seiko once quipped when asked why automatic watches are set in the factorys to error on the fast side if there was to be any ere "would you rather be a couple minutes early for the train or a couple minute late for the train?" so for our finders being slightly less that a hundred percent will give you a bit of insurance around the edges just in case. So for some one hundred percent is the grail for others maybe not so much.

but bottom line is it wont matter much what we think because the electronic finder is here to saty and  all but the highest end dslrs will retain their pentiprism finders.

Tis a matter of economics pure and simple, it is much much much less costly to make an electronic finder than it is a petiprism mirror finder. thats it just as it is much much less expensive to make a nice  lcd view panel on the back of your point an shoot than to make an optical zoom finder howver squinty they are because the optical zoom finder has mechanical moving parts which cost more to manufacture and assemble.

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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

A nice list you have composed there.  Perhaps a good explanation on why mirrorless sales continue to trail far behind SLR's.

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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to bosjohn21, Apr 25, 2013

bosjohn21 wrote:

the leica M is better in low light than ff dslr

Which FF dSLR is it better than in low light, exactly?

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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to Biggs23, Apr 25, 2013

Biggs23 wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

the leica M is better in low light than ff dslr

Which FF dSLR is it better than in low light, exactly?

I have a Leica M8 and a Canon 6D.  IMHO the Canon 6D beats the Leica in low light.  I can't speak for the newer Leica M cameras because I haven't used them.  They might give better results than the M8.

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TrapperJohn
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In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

I currently use an OMD, which suits me perfectly.

AF is very fast, and is wicked accurate. No lens calibration problems - the main sensor is also the AF sensor. C-AF doesn't work so well in some circumstances, but I don't tend to use C-AF much, so I don't care.

Better quality bokeh on the large sensor? Probably true. I have the 4/3 version of the PL25 1.4, and it produces lovely bokeh, with elements of 'the Leica Look'. I'm satisfied, enough so that I'm not going to spend several thousand dollars and lug several kilos of gear to make it better.

Low light - the OMD does well in the low light situations I come across. Maybe FF is better, but the light would have to be super low for it to be a factor. The large sensor does 'better', but the smaller sensor has become so good that much of the advantage is purely academic. Much like arguing that a Ferrari is faster than a Lambo, when there is a police car behind both.

What about low profile? That big rig is like shouting with a megaphone: Hey everyone! I'm taking photographs! Look at me! The OMD - you just about have to whack someone over the head with it to get them to notice it. I like that.

And you don't have to carry a bag - the 45 1.8 is about the size of a 35mm film can, you really can just drop it into a pocket. Same goes for the 14-150 or 75-300... narrow enough to go in a shirt pocket, and around 5 inches long.

And then there's telephoto... aside from the AOV differences, that shallow DOF you love for portraits becomes the enemy - it's too shallow, and you have to stop down past some of that tele aperture you paid an arm and a leg to get.

So if one wants to shoot short to mid range focal length with an emphasis on shallow DOF portraits, sure, the big sensor is the best. If one wants to walk a long distance and shoot nature with long telephoto, the smaller system will probably work better. If one wants to engage in a dpr spec debate, the FF sensor will tromp the little guy. If one wants to do something and also be able to grab some shots without the camera gear dominating their activity, the little setup just works better.

Isn't it wonderful that we have this level of choice?

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Hen3ry
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In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

The only thing stopping me is a desire to take portraits at, say 85mm or so.

Try a Panasonic G5 or G6 with the Olympus f1.8 45mm (90mm equiv). You'll be amazed. In incidentally, the Oly 45 has a wallet-friendly price -- and I bet you can’t find a cheap one on eBay. Everyone who buys one loves it.

And a bag? My walk around kit is an E-PL5 with Panny 14mm lens and VF2 in one pocket and the Oly 40-150 zoom (super lightweight and small) in another pocket.

Cheers, geoff

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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Since I have went full frame I have been unable to use anything else and believe me I tried. Almost every compact out there. Every single one seemed to have one or more quirks I just couldn't live with an 99% of the time I grabbed a full frame.

The a99 is so small and light, for a full frame, there is really no point in using anything else. Plus the image quality, dynamic range and color depth are hard to leave at home.

I have swore off compacts and am not investing in another one that will set in the safe and not be used. If I do get a smaller camera it will be the RX-1.

If one loves photography and does it seriously then IMO full frame is the only way to go. I had rather have a full frame camera and a couple of cheap primes as to a good APC-S camera and a bag full of nice lenses.

My only regret is staying with a cropped sensor as long as I did. The only time I miss a cropped sensor is when I am shooting wildlife and need some extra focal length.

If anyone is thinking about it. Stop thinking and do it. You will never regret it and wonder why on Earth you didn't do it sooner. Even if you have to buy an older a850/900, D700 and some manual primes. The dynamic range, color depth and bokeh is way better.

Plus you can finally quit figuring out the equivalent focal length. Compacts are way over priced for what they are anyway. None of them are worth $1000.00+

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

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Beat Traveller
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 25, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

Thanks for telling us why it doesn't work for you, but none of these things are essential benchmarks for everyone buying a camera. And the price of a 6D and good lenses is definitely prohibitive for enough people that mirrorless represents an acceptable tradeoff in quality and available lenses. Just as for enough people the price of mirrorless is prohibitive enough that a compact zoom is an acceptable tradeoff. Horses for courses.

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cosmonaut
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Re: Every one of us has 'the best camera'.
In reply to TrapperJohn, Apr 25, 2013

TrapperJohn wrote:

I currently use an OMD, which suits me perfectly.

AF is very fast, and is wicked accurate. No lens calibration problems - the main sensor is also the AF sensor. C-AF doesn't work so well in some circumstances, but I don't tend to use C-AF much, so I don't care.

Better quality bokeh on the large sensor? Probably true. I have the 4/3 version of the PL25 1.4, and it produces lovely bokeh, with elements of 'the Leica Look'. I'm satisfied, enough so that I'm not going to spend several thousand dollars and lug several kilos of gear to make it better.

Low light - the OMD does well in the low light situations I come across. Maybe FF is better, but the light would have to be super low for it to be a factor. The large sensor does 'better', but the smaller sensor has become so good that much of the advantage is purely academic. Much like arguing that a Ferrari is faster than a Lambo, when there is a police car behind both.

What about low profile? That big rig is like shouting with a megaphone: Hey everyone! I'm taking photographs! Look at me! The OMD - you just about have to whack someone over the head with it to get them to notice it. I like that.

And you don't have to carry a bag - the 45 1.8 is about the size of a 35mm film can, you really can just drop it into a pocket. Same goes for the 14-150 or 75-300... narrow enough to go in a shirt pocket, and around 5 inches long.

And then there's telephoto... aside from the AOV differences, that shallow DOF you love for portraits becomes the enemy - it's too shallow, and you have to stop down past some of that tele aperture you paid an arm and a leg to get.

So if one wants to shoot short to mid range focal length with an emphasis on shallow DOF portraits, sure, the big sensor is the best. If one wants to walk a long distance and shoot nature with long telephoto, the smaller system will probably work better. If one wants to engage in a dpr spec debate, the FF sensor will tromp the little guy. If one wants to do something and also be able to grab some shots without the camera gear dominating their activity, the little setup just works better.

Isn't it wonderful that we have this level of choice?

The OMD EM-5 was the best compact I used. In the end the DR and controls of the full frame took it though. The a99 is really a small camera considering it's full frame. It and a small prime really is quite compact. In fact one of my biggest issues with the OMD was it was to small.

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Great Bustard
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A compelling case can be made for the opposite.
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 26, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

I cannot help but feel all it has done is fuel GAS and people's desire for change. Photography is a subtle art and a long learning curve, but without concrete and identifiable progress which you would see if you were lifting weights or running. New technology can feed off that insecurity.

In the long term, mirrorless technology will be very radical, but at the moment its not worth buying into for the following reasons:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.
  2. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.
  3. The viewfinders are not 100%
  4. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable
  5. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.
  6. Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?
  7. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  8. APS-C systems, except Pentax, lack good primes. On FF on Nikon and Canon, you can buy exceptional 85mm 1.8 for example and its not a big package. So APSC is not the answer either
  9. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now and just become a great photographer with the 35mm and the 85mm. This is my plan and this week I am going to order the 6d!!!

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now. The people who complain about weight are those who are already doing stupid things like carrying two zooms, when they should be armed with just the 35mm and 85mm.

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

Some feel that the smaller size, weight, and price of smaller sensor systems trumps any and all advantages of FF.

By the way, for a given DOF and shutter speed, many systems can compete with FF -- some even pulll ahead, depending on the particular cameras being compared.

Also, "bokeh" is the quality of the background blur, not the quantity of blur.

Next up, while their viewfinders may not be 100%, their LCDs are, and they more accurately display the look of the captured photo than the viewfinder.

Furthermore, while mirrorless may require a bag, that bag will often be considerably smaller and lighter than a bag for an FF system.

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ultimitsu
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Re: Guess you never heard of medium or large format cameras...
In reply to Mike_PEAT, Apr 26, 2013

Mike_PEAT wrote:

zenpmd wrote:

  1. Nothing can compete with low light with FF.

Guess you never heard of medium or large format cameras...puts the misnamed "full frame" cameras to shame!  Seriously though, not everyone needs an extreme low light camera!

His point holds even better when comparing 135 FF against medium and large format.

  1. Nothing can compete with the Bokeh of FF (now I admit these are more about sensor size than mirrorless technology, but my point is that mirrorless is so expensive it makes sense to compare to FF), and also to keep using FF until mirrorless FF is available.

Again, look at the bokeh of medium and large format!

That is true but MF is still a specialised type of camera, lack good AF, low light and versatile zooms. It is pretty easy to carry a 6D + 24-105 or D600 + 24-85 everywhere you go, it is a different thing carrying a MF. For the context of hobbyist photography, he is completely right.

I am not aware of Large format digital exists, at the least not outside experimental and research projects.

  1. The viewfinders are not 100%

Mirrorless cameras ARE 100% as they use EVFs!

You got him on this one. But 135 FF uses OVF.

  1. With all the options you have to carry a bag still. They are not the Sony RX100 or RX1. I am a Fuji x100s user and this is just about acceptable

I have my OM-D in my every day backpack with my books, papers, laptop...I don't even notice the camera or lenses!

So you do need  bag.

  1. The best thing in its favour is that the zooms, in particular, are small, but there is only one constant apeture option, and its excessively expensive and still only 2.8 so as limited shallow DoF for spontaneous portraiture when travelling for example. The new Tamron 24-70 on FF, on the other hand, is fabulously versatile.

I can use ANY manual lens I want with the right adapter, including fixed aperture zooms.

So it is manual, and it needs an adapter.

  1. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 

For the fastest AF, I don't think so.  Locks every time, and my OM-D is certainly faster than my Canon USM lens.

Why are you comparing a body with lenses?

  1. With the price of the 6d and d600 there is no reason not to go full frame now

Lots of reasons, weight, size of the camera, bulk, etc.

That is the point gets a lot of contests, isnt it.

Weight wise yes, FF is heavier but his point is you always need a bag anyway and the extra 400 grams is nothing for a grown man.

cost wise. it is cheaper to buy FF with 1 good zoom than a mirrorless with 3 primes covering the same range and same DOF.

So it seems to me that it makes sense to continue working with bigger cameras for now.

Look, EVERY camera format is a compromise between size/weight/picture quality.

Og course OP understands that. His argument is that those compromises mirrorless made are not quite justified by their benefits.

don't try to tell anyone their choice was bad based on YOUR bias, like you appear to be doing in this post!

Why can he not do that? this is called freedom of expression. Those who read his post have whats called freedom of choice.

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ultimitsu
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Re: A compelling case can be made for the opposite.
In reply to Great Bustard, Apr 26, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

Also, "bokeh" is the quality of the background blur, not the quantity of blur.

This is correct, however I think it is still not wrong to say FF gives you better bokeh. Firstly, Bokeh still do look better if it more blurred, that is what yo get from FF. secondly, most lenses do not give best bokeh wide open, stopping down slightly (1/3 to 1/2 stop) produces smoother bokeh. With FF you have a lot more room to do this while still maintaining excellent blur (or isolation), with smaller formats, blur wasnt much to begin with and quickly disappears when stopping down.

Next up, while their viewfinders may not be 100%, their LCDs are, and they more accurately display the look of the captured photo than the viewfinder.

This is not wrong but I think there is more to it. I good light there is very little difference between what you see through OVF to what the picture will look like. The difference starts to appear when you shoot in low light - your eyes adjust to the low light but the camera will take the image with high ISO, resulting in much stronger contrast between shadow and lit area. While in these situations EVF reports a more accurate image OVF still maintains the advantage of being clearer and fast.

Furthermore, while mirrorless may require a bag, that bag will often be considerably smaller and lighter than a bag for an FF system.

That is true if we are talking about 1 lens and 1 body. but if you want match the same IQ, then for what you get with a D600 + 24-70 VC, you probably need 3 or 4 F1.4 primes with mirrorless, I would not think the bag is smaller.

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Great Bustard
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Re: A compelling case can be made for the opposite.
In reply to ultimitsu, Apr 26, 2013

ultimitsu wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Also, "bokeh" is the quality of the background blur, not the quantity of blur.

This is correct, however I think it is still not wrong to say FF gives you better bokeh. Firstly, Bokeh still do look better if it more blurred, that is what yo get from FF. secondly, most lenses do not give best bokeh wide open, stopping down slightly (1/3 to 1/2 stop) produces smoother bokeh. With FF you have a lot more room to do this while still maintaining excellent blur (or isolation), with smaller formats, blur wasnt much to begin with and quickly disappears when stopping down.

Fair points, but bokeh is very dependent on the particular lens.

Next up, while their viewfinders may not be 100%, their LCDs are, and they more accurately display the look of the captured photo than the viewfinder.

This is not wrong but I think there is more to it. I good light there is very little difference between what you see through OVF to what the picture will look like. The difference starts to appear when you shoot in low light - your eyes adjust to the low light but the camera will take the image with high ISO, resulting in much stronger contrast between shadow and lit area. While in these situations EVF reports a more accurate image OVF still maintains the advantage of being clearer and fast.

Sure.

Furthermore, while mirrorless may require a bag, that bag will often be considerably smaller and lighter than a bag for an FF system.

That is true if we are talking about 1 lens and 1 body. but if you want match the same IQ, then for what you get with a D600 + 24-70 VC, you probably need 3 or 4 F1.4 primes with mirrorless, I would not think the bag is smaller.

Except the mirrorless user is probably not trying to match a D600 + 24-70 / 2.8 VC and, in fact, are probably very happy with what they get with an EM5 + 12-35 / 2.8.

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RaymondR
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Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 26, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Some random thoughts from today....

Sure, the primes are super light, but the total cost of the good primes for the OMD, for example are extortionate, and mad. And in fact, that model serves as good proof to my theory that its about GAS. If great photographers, loads in fact, can get away with just two lenses, a 35mm and an 85mm, then the total cost on something like a 6D is something like £2000. Thats great value. People are buying the OMD, a ridiculous suite of primes, including buying things like the 12mm prime. Whats the point?

interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

This cost argument makes no sense to me.  I read it all the time.  I bought my e-Pl2 with the two zoom lens kit for $575 in September 2011.  I have added the 14mm Panny, the 20mm Panny and the Oly 45.  For all that, I haven't spent $2000 let alone the 2000 pounds you bandy about for FF.  If you add in the Oly 60mm, as I have, you get a suite of four solid to excellent primes that take you from efl 28 to efl 120mm.  I have a six lens collection that takes me from 28 efl to 300 efl. Total cost about a shade over $2000.

And size?  I carry the camera, the 14, the 20 and the 45 in a Think Tank Chimp Cage.

As others have pointed out, your criteria are YOUR criteria.  I dont need FF, dont want FF.  I sold off my DX gear to go m4/3.  For me, m4/3 is the best of worlds and FF the worst.

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