Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
Graham Hill
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Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
10 months ago

I had an interesting observation while out shooting on this trip to Japan that is just ending now (about to check out of the hotel ). During 6 days of this photographic trip, I've seen an enormous amount of camera gear from other photographers. Tokyo and Kamakura are VERY target rich environments. The overwhelming majority of the DSLSR vs Mirrorless spotting heavily favors DSLR's. It is easy to spot 10 or even 20 DSLR's for every mirrorless camera "in the wild".

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

It is here that the mirrorless cameras virtually do not exist. During 6 days in Tokyo and Kamakura, EVERY time I stopped and worked a scene for 30 minutes or more (I spent 3 entire hours in the Engakuji Temple alone), not once did I share a scene with a person shooting mirrorless. Everyone had either Canon or Nikon equipment.  I guess one exception is Leica. I did share a scene three times with some people shooting Leica M9's. But never with someone shooting any of the affordable mirrorless cameras.

Myself? I was shooting my Sigma DP2M, Fuji X100, GA645, and new GF670W. All "mirrorless" in a sense.

I find it surprising that there was a complete, 100% shut out in mirrorless representation here. Where are the serious photographers?

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PenPix
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

I'm not sure what constitutes a serious photographer, but when I was in Hong Kong 2 years ago, I saw a lot of tourists with mirrorless cameras.  It was mostly Sony NEX and a Olympus and Panasonic.  I was the exception with a DLSR.  The only other DSLRs I saw were in the hands of professionals doing wedding photos.

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nevada5
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Of those with DSLR's, many are attention-seeking, hence the bigger cameras and the need to hang around a while and be seen a lot.  I've seen plenty of them - they show up at an event like a classic car show-and-shine with a six pound camera and an eight pound lens swinging from their neck.  Usually they're the loudest people there - which is good cause it's easy to know where not to be.

When you're interested in photography as opposed to being noticed, you carry the camera that suits you and the environment.  You take a minute and get the shot you want and move on.

Just my cynical 2 cents.

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fotophool
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Here are three that I just happened to run across today:

http://andyfelthamphotography.com/blog/

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/

http://nathanelson.com/the-fuji-xpro1-in-studio-part-1-of-2/

I'm sure you could find more on your own if your questions was a serious one -- as opposed to a cheap shot intended to score an imaginary point.

Your basic tenet -- that you didn't see any mirrorless pros while you were at a certain place at a certain time -- is fundamentally flawed.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

I had an interesting observation while out shooting on this trip to Japan that is just ending now (about to check out of the hotel ). During 6 days of this photographic trip, I've seen an enormous amount of camera gear from other photographers. Tokyo and Kamakura are VERY target rich environments. The overwhelming majority of the DSLSR vs Mirrorless spotting heavily favors DSLR's. It is easy to spot 10 or even 20 DSLR's for every mirrorless camera "in the wild".

That's why people prefer them in street shooting, they are much less noticeable haha.

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

It is here that the mirrorless cameras virtually do not exist. During 6 days in Tokyo and Kamakura, EVERY time I stopped and worked a scene for 30 minutes or more (I spent 3 entire hours in the Engakuji Temple alone), not once did I share a scene with a person shooting mirrorless. Everyone had either Canon or Nikon equipment. I guess one exception is Leica. I did share a scene three times with some people shooting Leica M9's. But never with someone shooting any of the affordable mirrorless cameras.

Myself? I was shooting my Sigma DP2M, Fuji X100, GA645, and new GF670W. All "mirrorless" in a sense.

I find it surprising that there was a complete, 100% shut out in mirrorless representation here. Where are the serious photographers?

For so many reasons, doesn't surprise me. Some pros are sponsered, some have spent godly amounts of cash on a particular system. If you have loads of canon gear with a 1Dx for example, what are you going to do, ignore the 50k in lenses you have bought and grab an Em5?

On top of this, many pros want to know that moving objects are still covered with PDAF that is proven. Mirrorless still presents some doubt, regardless if it is as bad as some think. Also, mirrorless is still much newer than DSLRs, so of course their user base is not as large. It takes time to reverse such long standing traditions.

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BertIverson
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My recent tourist trip- some vague statistics ...
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

In Sept, I spent 12 days on a Mediterranean cruise with day trips to famous tourist spots. I casually noted the camera usage. My vague camera counts:

(1) $100-$300 PS cameras (most prevalent)
(2) Cell phones
(3) Serious cameras DSLR/MirrorLess
(4) Tablets (huge ones too -- who would lug a large tablet for photos???)

Of course this sample comes form a middle-age / older group of tourists - not DPR folks

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Me: I just had my RX100 in my pocket.

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NexOffender
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

This is a strange definition of serious. Why are people who take half an hour to take a shot more serious than those with the experience to know what they want, get the shot, and move on? It sound like the people you describe are most serious about being seen as serious with their impressive gear. I don't shoot scenery or buildings so if I pondered for half an hour before taking a shot, the moment would be long gone.

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pavi1
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Anyone serious has a DSLR.

Only those trying to be different for the sake of different have mirrorless.

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Vlad S
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Tablets
In reply to BertIverson, 10 months ago

BertIverson wrote:

(4) Tablets (huge ones too -- who would lug a large tablet for photos???)

They don't lug tablets for photos. They carry the tablet instead of a book, a media player, a laptop, and it just so happens that it can take photos too. So since they already have the tablet with them anyway, and the picture will end up on that tablet after all, why not just take it with the tablet?

Vlad

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Ed B
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

I had an interesting observation while out shooting on this trip to Japan that is just ending now (about to check out of the hotel ). During 6 days of this photographic trip, I've seen an enormous amount of camera gear from other photographers. Tokyo and Kamakura are VERY target rich environments. The overwhelming majority of the DSLSR vs Mirrorless spotting heavily favors DSLR's. It is easy to spot 10 or even 20 DSLR's for every mirrorless camera "in the wild".

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

It is here that the mirrorless cameras virtually do not exist. During 6 days in Tokyo and Kamakura, EVERY time I stopped and worked a scene for 30 minutes or more (I spent 3 entire hours in the Engakuji Temple alone), not once did I share a scene with a person shooting mirrorless. Everyone had either Canon or Nikon equipment. I guess one exception is Leica. I did share a scene three times with some people shooting Leica M9's. But never with someone shooting any of the affordable mirrorless cameras.

Myself? I was shooting my Sigma DP2M, Fuji X100, GA645, and new GF670W. All "mirrorless" in a sense.

I find it surprising that there was a complete, 100% shut out in mirrorless representation here. Where are the serious photographers?

Some of the serious photographers are in the studio.

http://nathanelson.com/the-fuji-xpro1-in-studio-part-1-of-2/

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Craig Gillette
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Probably trying to find some spot where that gaijin with 4 (seriously, 4?) cameras wasn't wandering around in the way.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to PenPix, 10 months ago

PenPix wrote:

I'm not sure what constitutes a serious photographer,

To help you, I defined the term in my post.

but when I was in Hong Kong 2 years ago, I saw a lot of tourists with mirrorless cameras. It was mostly Sony NEX and a Olympus and Panasonic. I was the exception with a DLSR. The only other DSLRs I saw were in the hands of professionals doing wedding photos.

Funny.  I see enormous quantities of DSLR's when I'm in Hong Kong.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to nevada5, 10 months ago

nevada5 wrote:

Of those with DSLR's, many are attention-seeking, hence the bigger cameras and the need to hang around a while and be seen a lot. I've seen plenty of them - they show up at an event like a classic car show-and-shine with a six pound camera and an eight pound lens swinging from their neck. Usually they're the loudest people there - which is good cause it's easy to know where not to be.

Nope, not the type of people I am talking about.  Example: I was in a Zen monastery, in a part that was very isolated due to heavy amounts of bamboo as well as the fact that there were hundreds of tomb stones.  Enormous shooting opportunities there but you have to spend time finding them.  20-30 minutes of looking, seeing.  People working in total isolation like this are not showing off. They are interested in practicing their craft.  Never have I seen a mirrorless person in such a situation.

When you're interested in photography as opposed to being noticed, you carry the camera that suits you and the environment.

You take a minute and get the shot you want and move on.

I call that snap shooting, the antithesis of what I like about photography.

Just my cynical 2 cents.

Yep, clearly.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to fotophool, 10 months ago

fotophool wrote:

I'm sure you could find more on your own if your questions was a serious one -- as opposed to a cheap shot intended to score an imaginary point.

Cheap shot at who?  The mirrorless crowd?  Did you not even read my post?  Clearly you did not, or could not understand it.  I AM a mirrorless camera user.  I did NOT use a DSLR here in Japan at all.

Your basic tenet -- that you didn't see any mirrorless pros while you were at a certain place at a certain time -- is fundamentally flawed.

Did you see the word PRO in my post at all?  No you did not.  Perhaps you should calm down before responding to posts.  Make sure you understand the basic idea first.  Then you won't look the phool.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to NexOffender, 10 months ago

NexOffender wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

This is a strange definition of serious.

Not it is not.

Why are people who take half an hour to take a shot more serious than those with the experience to know what they want, get the shot, and move on?

People who show up, shoot a picture and move on, are snap shooters. Period.  Anyone can do that. There's no vision whatsoever.  It's just button pushing.  It's these folks who take gear so seriously because they relay on gear to provide any differentiating factor.

It sound like the people you describe are most serious about being seen as serious with their impressive gear.

Absolute nonsense.  I'd be far more happy to work in total isolation, unseen by anyone.  I suspect those who I meet feel the same way.

I don't shoot scenery or buildings so if I pondered for half an hour before taking a shot, the moment would be long gone.

I was in Engakuji monastery for 3 hours on one day, and another 2 hours on a second day.   5 hours shooting one monastery.  A more happy photographic time I cannot recall.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Craig Gillette, 10 months ago

Craig Gillette wrote:

Probably trying to find some spot where that gaijin with 4 (seriously, 4?) cameras wasn't wandering around in the way.

I didnt look too bad. I had my Sigma DP2M and Fuji GA645 inside a Billingham bag and my X100 around my neck.  Not too bad.

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photoreddi
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to NexOffender, 10 months ago

NexOffender wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

Yet the ratio gets much, much worse when you look for serious photographers. How I define serious in this case is this. Say I find a particularly wonderful scene. I decide to work it hard, looking for angles, vision, or a unique way to capture this site. Very often, I'll be working in the same area as another photographer, doing the same thing, spending 20 minutes or more "working the scene". These people I am calling serious here, because they are not just showing, snapping an image, and then moving on.

This is a strange definition of serious. Why are people who take half an hour to take a shot more serious than those with the experience to know what they want, get the shot, and move on? It sound like the people you describe are most serious about being seen as serious with their impressive gear. I don't shoot scenery or buildings so if I pondered for half an hour before taking a shot, the moment would be long gone.

You have much to learn grasshopper. The best photographers know that to make the best use of their time, they take their time. They don't shoot quickly, like tourists.

I see so many other vehicles in Africa doing the wrong thing. They find an animal, speed over to it (first mistake), let everyone take their photos, then speed off looking for something else. I've even seen photo workshops where the instructor should know better do this. I noticed that both the vehicle Tony was in and the one I was in tended to stay in one place more often than the other two. Part of that is guide/drivers. They're tuned towards providing instant and constant gratification. Left on their own, they'll give you a few minutes with an animal, then head off to find something else. This is the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence problem. The next animal will be awesome, let's go find it.

That's especially true when the animal just seems to be sitting there. That was true of this monkey for instance. Totally boring. Sitting there watching me watch it for the longest time. In fact, I bored him so much he eventually had to yawn. Click.

Wildlife photography is all about behaviors. You want to capture something other than a head shot of the animal. Give me a behavior, please! But here's the thing: the common behavior of wild animals if you drive up to them fast and stop is that they look at you for a moment, then move away. A few animals—lions come to mind—are exceptions to that, but even elephant can be skittish if you are following the common drive up, shoot, drive away practices I see all the time.

You have to be patient. Eventually, all animals will do something ;~). Indeed, the more they're comfortable with you, the more likely they just go about their business. That's one reason why I try to keep my wildlife workshops away from the worst of the day-trips and non photo tours: almost certainly if you're spotted sitting somewhere, those other vehicles will drive over to see what you're doing. Of course, most of the time those folk aren't rewarded with anything when they drive over to see what I'm doing, because I'm just waiting. No kill? No predator? No animal-on-animal action? Boring. And off the other vehicle goes…Meanwhile, I sit and wait and every now and then you'll here a shutter click.

Funny thing is, that leopard shot I took at the pre-workshop? When we got there only one other vehicle was there. At one point there were six vehicles. By the time I took my best shot, we were the only one there. Moral of the story is: make sure you're going to these exotic places with a group that will take its time and do it right. I can recommend Andy Biggs and Chaz Glatzer, for instance, because I know both of them know and follow what I've written just above. But not all photo instructors do. Even for things like landscape photography.

I tell a story about a Yosemite workshop where we ate dinner early and then headed out to what I thought would be a great sunset location. It was going to be, but when we pulled up there was another photo workshop of 30 people (!) scattered in the positions my little group of 5 would have wanted. My mind was scrambling to figure out another spot we could get to quickly that was as good when I heard the instructor for that workshop yell out "Okay gang, time to pack up and head to dinner." Call me gobsmacked. What the? Sure enough, the 30 photographers abandoned their positions 20 minutes before best light and my little group was able to get great shots.

http://www.bythom.com/photographic-travel/africa/botswana-2013-workshop-blog/

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Graham Hill
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to photoreddi, 10 months ago

photoreddi wrote:

I tell a story about a Yosemite workshop where we ate dinner early and then headed out to what I thought would be a great sunset location. It was going to be, but when we pulled up there was another photo workshop of 30 people (!) scattered in the positions my little group of 5 would have wanted. My mind was scrambling to figure out another spot we could get to quickly that was as good when I heard the instructor for that workshop yell out "Okay gang, time to pack up and head to dinner." Call me gobsmacked. What the? Sure enough, the 30 photographers abandoned their positions 20 minutes before best light and my little group was able to get great shots.

http://www.bythom.com/photographic-travel/africa/botswana-2013-workshop-blog/

Excellent quote from Thom and points out exactly what I was saying.  When it comes to serious photography, actually working a scene the mirrorless crowd seems almost completely absent. They seem quite content to just snap shoot.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

Nope, not the type of people I am talking about. Example: I was in a Zen monastery, in a part that was very isolated due to heavy amounts of bamboo as well as the fact that there were hundreds of tomb stones. Enormous shooting opportunities there but you have to spend time finding them. 20-30 minutes of looking, seeing. People working in total isolation like this are not showing off. They are interested in practicing their craft. Never have I seen a mirrorless person in such a situation.

LOL @ "a mirrorless person" . Ok i gotta ask, what is a mirrorless person? EVERY person i know who owns a mirrorless either has or still does own a DSLR. I would also like to ask you, what exactly do you think the format of mirrorless has, innately, that is different than a DSLR? This should be obvious, but it seems you are painting a huge chasm between the two. IMO, they both have a sensor that allows you to take a photo, with IQ that is just as good, and that is the biggest similarity of all.

I'm wondering because one would assume in a zen monastery things would not be racing to and fro, and afterall, the claim to fame for DSLRs are their PDAF tracking. I always wonder why a person would need that if they shoot things that are not moving quickly. The real questions will come as on sensor PDAF gets faster and faster, and i expect some very inventive excuses why people stick to DSLRs.

So if you, or anybody really, wants to explain their take on the differences, im all ears. Im talking about the innate differences of course, things that MUST be different because of the formats. All i can see from my non professional armchair, is mirrorless has an EVF and on sensor AF, a DSLR has an OVF and dedicated PDAF. Anything else? If not, doesn't it seem a bit petty to classify an actual person based on it? I consider us all photographers, some just like outdated gear.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Where are the serious mirrorless photographers?
In reply to Graham Hill, 10 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

I tell a story about a Yosemite workshop where we ate dinner early and then headed out to what I thought would be a great sunset location. It was going to be, but when we pulled up there was another photo workshop of 30 people (!) scattered in the positions my little group of 5 would have wanted. My mind was scrambling to figure out another spot we could get to quickly that was as good when I heard the instructor for that workshop yell out "Okay gang, time to pack up and head to dinner." Call me gobsmacked. What the? Sure enough, the 30 photographers abandoned their positions 20 minutes before best light and my little group was able to get great shots.

http://www.bythom.com/photographic-travel/africa/botswana-2013-workshop-blog/

Excellent quote from Thom and points out exactly what I was saying. When it comes to serious photography, actually working a scene the mirrorless crowd seems almost completely absent. They seem quite content to just snap shoot.

I won't claim that taking longer is bad, i am actually more the type to do so myself. Perhaps this is why i enjoy MF so much, im not the type to rush and i like to take my time and be in control. Mirrorless also lends to my style in that most offer focus peaking even in the VF, which is a help to MF accuracy. For fast moving objects, dedicated PDAF is still unmatched, but for all else, a mirror offers me no advantage.

I will say one thing about the link though. He seems to put a lot of emphasis on weight. 44lb international limits, 18lb flight limit ect. Most mirrorless have an advantage, which is usually less weight. For whatever reason, DSLRs tend to be big. Just compare the D800 to the A7r. Same sensor, completely different size. I know there is more between those two than just the sensor, but that is still the trend.

Then we get into something like the EM-5/1. Very small lenses, great reach for wild animal shooting such as a safari. IQ that is bordering APSC, and of course a speed booster will take it closer to FF. I won't argue what "most" mirrorless users do, i don't know most of them and even if i did, you may still be right. I think a full live view touch screen system lends itself to people who are used to phones and ipads, perhaps that means more beginners using mirrorless. That however in no way reflects on those who are talented and still choose to use mirrorless. It simply means they don't care about "looking" pro.

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