Changing to mirrorless?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,063
Re: What are your image quality requirements?

MarcBton wrote:

Thanks Wayne

The image quality achieved with my FF 5DIII sensor is sufficient for my needs. I do not print wall to wall sized posters but do sometimes like a tight crop when only an element of a certain composition makes it through the final edit. I'm not a pixel peeper however. The DR or low light capability at high ISO is more relevant. If more modern sensors deliver better here, I can easily move from the FF platform.

Smaller modern sensors do well at low ISOs but still haven't caught up at high ISOs. Look at this comparison of '>several sensor's performance at

Screenshot. Follow the above link to get to the real site, so you can test other cameras.

Higher is better, meaning less noise. I compared your 5D Mk III with two mirrorless cameras. And a Canon 300D so you can see how much small sensors have improved. The Canon M50 is the newest Canon mirrorless. It does better than the 5D at low ISOs but not at high ISOs. But all the modern small sensors are closer to your 5D Mk III than older smaller sensors were.

But I can live with this. The tradeoff with high noise is that when you reduce noise you effectively reduce resolution. (This is why people are happy with tiny sensor smartphone image quality--images look great on a small screen even though they look horrible on a large screen or print.) Because 24 megapixels (M50) is way more resolution than is needed for family snapshots (when I'm usually shooting in low light), then I can still get usable images (for snapshot purposes) after doing noise reduction.

I don't have any M43 cameras. I included the Olympus mirrorless camera because it measured a bit better than the M50. If you are willing to abandon Canon completely and switch to M43, you won't be losing image quality compared to Canon mirrorless cameras. If you stick with Canon you can still use your existing lenses with an adapter. If you go M43 entirely you'll get better image quality and everything will be smaller. Canon mirrorless lenses are decent but aren't as good as the best M43 lenses.

I do some trips in a car so I can take the larger Canon lenses along with the smaller mirrorless lenses so I can use whatever, depending. If you will be doing all your traveling using a plane, then mixing and matching large Canon lenses isn't as attractive.

I didn't include the Google Pixel 2 on the above chart because it achieves its high IQ by using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to get much better image quality than the small sensor gives by itself. When the Pixel 2 sensor is plotted on PhotonsToPhotos, it is a lot worse than any of the above sensors. But in actual use (where AI does its magic) the Pixel 2 image quality is comparable to the M50 with the Canon kit lens.

And again, it is only the Pixel 2 smartphone that can do this. No other smartphones can do this. Images from the best of other smartphones look good on smartphone screens but don't hold up when you examine the images at 100% (or print moderately large).

Here are some Pixel 2 XL travel pictures (not by me) that show what can be done with a Pixel 2.  Click on "Original size" to see the pictures in detail.

But with a Pixel 2 you'd still need a conventional camera to get zoom. And to be able to frame pictures with a viewfinder in bright sunlight. Shooting with a smartphone is an acquired talent. It takes time to learn the techniques.


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