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

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,806
Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?

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.

GAS seems to me part of the reason for interest in FF cameras.

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.

The main difference is less noise.  Maybe a bit better DR, but APS-C has improved enough that I think the rest of it is pretty much good enough if not the same.   If one is satisfied with the noise level from a given sensor size, then that is good enough; if not, then stepping up to a larger sensor size will improve the noise level (probably not noticed until light is low).  Fast aperture lenses will mitigate this to some extent, but then they cost more.

So, what camera system you buy is a compromise of a few factors, but I think these are the most important:

  • Price
  • Image Quality (particularly noise)
  • Size and Weight
  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.

From what I've seen, FF is ridiculously expensive.  I wouldn't consider it based on that alone, regardless of any advantages.

FF does make it easier to have more bokeh/OOF.  You can get similar bokeh in other formats using wider apertures, but past a point, if you want less DOF and all else being equal,, a larger sensor format will do that.  It's going to be individual preference as to how much this is necessary.

  1. The viewfinders are not 100%
  2. 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

A Nex-5 and pancake lens is pretty portable, but perhaps some other cameras/lenses start to be questionable as to whether or not it can fit in a pocket.  But even if you have a bag, it's going to be a very small bag, smaller than for a DSLR.  For me, walking around, the weight difference around the neck is significant.

  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.
  2. 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?
  3. The AF sucks for the money the systems cost. 
  4. 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
  5. 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!!!

Are you trying to justify  your GAS purchase?  

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.

There's nothing to prevent people from using primes on their mirrorless cameras, but the zooms are often smaller than DSLR versions (particularly FF).

Interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary!

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Gary W.

 GaryW's gear list:GaryW's gear list
Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha NEX-5 +8 more
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