That photography is more and more present in our lives is a fact. The camera of our mobile phone is of fundamental importance in everyday life. How do I know if the phone is enough or if it’s better to buy a camera? And which of all models on the market do I have? Is this the end of the SLR? How far do the cameras go without mirrors?
Cameras, cameras and more cameras
The mobile phones have become the most occasions, in our main camera because they are always carried by themselves. The picture quality is increasing and also the functionalities. Everybody takes photos today, and more: when you buy a cell phone, the final decision often depends on the quality of the camera that carries the device.
On the other hand, there is the revolution of cameras without mirrors, which are increasingly flooding the market with new models.
At the moment there is a struggle between the brands to see who gets the best market for mirrorless (without mirrors) full size. The last to reach the fight were the two brands that control the SLR market, Nikon and Canon. But later I will comment on whether they have managed to sell the Queen, which is currently Sony.
And then there are the SLRs that do not seem to shine, but they are still there.
With so much exercise and so many options, it’s normal not to know where to shoot. So I’ll try to find out about the current status of the cameras and what we can consider to decide one or the other.
Mobile VS cameras (with or without mirror)
The first question we should ask ourselves is: Is it worth to buy a camera with a cell phone?
It all depends on the use of the photos and the type of photos you are going to use. I’m not the first to be surprised when you take a picture with your phone and see the impressive picture quality.
When I take pictures with my camera, I usually take a few with my cell phone and sometimes I wonder what kind of utensil substance is invested between the filters, the tripod, the thousands of euros, the weight, when the phone makes a photon. Is there someone who has asked this question?
The first thing you need to know is that the image quality is given by the sensor and the lens. If we ignore the lens, we have the sensor. The smaller, the worse the quality, especially in low light conditions.
Although we see a brutal quality in the mobile, we would see in print that the quality is not. I am sure that everyone has seen how the quality lowers in low light.
Another problem with mobile phones is that we can not change the destination right now. Some phones have two cameras built in so we can make an optical zoom without losing quality. Nevertheless, it remains a limitation.
We also forget cell phones when we want to do action photography. This type of photography usually requires large telephoto lenses, but above all a very good continuous focusing system that cell phones do not have.
Most phones film in JPEG format, although they contain the RAW format used by cameras, which offers much more latitude in the processing of the photo. But who shoots in RAW with the phone? Do you give it to the computer for later editing?
My current phone has this format and I have to say that manual mode allows me to take more professional pictures. Nevertheless, the picture quality is not comparable to that of the camera when I see it together on the computer.
So if you want to take pictures with good light, you do not intend to print them out. You usually do this to publish in networks or have a memory, and you do not want to be loaded with another batch of that with your cell phone you’re over.
On the contrary, if you are looking for more image quality, you want to change the lens, you are going to take action photography, night photography, even if you are going to print photos, you probably need a camera.
Current camera market status
Today, we have two options (seriously) when you buy a camera: those without mirrors (which I will now refer to as mirrorless) and the reflexes of your life.
The mirrorless seemed to reduce the size and weight of the equipment. To do so, the mirror used by the SLRs had to be removed, and therefore the electronic viewfinders were displayed.
After a few years and developments, we can say that there are virtually no differences between each type. What I want to say is that both an amateur and a pro can practice their hobby and profession, regardless of which of the two camera types is purchased.
Of course, the mirrorless ones came on the market because we had those who weighed heavily during long journeys or distances. However, having a mirrorless camera does not necessarily mean having light equipment.
Mirrorless cameras have two groups that we have to distinguish. The models with a full-format sensor (henceforth I call Full Frame) and the rest where we find APS-C and Micro-4/3 sensors.
The size of the sensor is very important as it determines the size of the lenses used by the camera. To give you an idea, the Mirrorless Full Frame has lenses as big, heavy and expensive as a full frame SLR camera.
If you buy a full-size mirror camera, you will not save more by reducing the size and a few grams in the case. Mirror-less with a smaller sensor, however, not only reduce the size and weight of the body, but also the lenses.
The size of the lenses for full-frame cameras with or without mirrors can not be reduced because this is a matter of physics. In order to have luminescent lenses with such large sensors, the diameter of the lenses must be larger (or stay).
That’s why I always say that mirrorless full-frame cameras look like SLRs but are camouflaged in a smaller case.
Brands like Fujifilm and Olympus (as of today) do not have a mirrorless full screen, so they are the options if you want to save weight. Canon and Nikon have some APS-C without mirrors, but they have nothing to do with these two brands mentioned above.
After a few years, Nikon and Canon decided to compete with Sony in their mirrorless full-frame format. The general feeling, however, is that they came too late. In addition, they have the problem of not competing with each other.
Nikon has just released two new models with a full-frame sensor, the Z6 with 24 Mpx and the Z7 with 45 Mpx. Canon has done the same with its new Canon R and what they call a new system because the lenses have technology that facilitates communication with the body.
However, these new models give the feeling of being half-hearted. They are good cameras and have finally done a serious job, but it’s curious how the three are down in terms of the specifications of the Sony models and their SLR flagships.
While these brands were decided, Sony has taken over the market and today the brand to beat. The model that makes the difference (and the price) is the a7r III and the a7 III. Due to the incredible picture quality, the focus and the video system, several professionals have already converted to this format.
But not everything has to be full screen. Olympus has its latest model, the OMD E-M1 Mark II brought out, and Fujifilm has its X-series with the video-oriented X-H1 and its latest innovation, the new X-T3 diversified.
A fight has just begun and we will see who has the best mirrorless full-frame format on the market, although after the first impressions Sony seems to still be at the top. In return, Fuji intends to face the full-frame, which includes a bit the prices of its new models.
To sum up, buying a mirrorless camera is not necessarily about having a compact and lightweight camera. Now we have a greater range, so it is no longer about the choice between mirrorless or reflex-like, but light or heavy equipment.
Mirrorless VS Reflex
What are the differences between reflex cameras and mirrorless cameras? The answer has changed over the years and, frankly, there are fewer and fewer differences. If you hurry me, the Libra begins to lean against the side of the Mirrorless.
The image quality is no reason to choose one or the other, as we find in both an exceptional quality.
As mentioned above, the weight depends on the type of camera, not the system. When you buy a mirrorless full screen, you will not save as much weight as you think.
Electronic viewers without mirrors continue to evolve and apparently some are really spectacular. I could not test them in the latest generation of cameras, so I can not comment on that, but the reality will always be the reality.
One of the benefits of these viewers is that you can know how much light the photo has before shooting. What you see on the screen is the photo you will have.
The lack of a mirror and the appearance of the electronic shutter make the reflection quieter than the SLR cameras.
The approach was something the SLR camera always brought the cat to the water, but then came Sony and its a7 III with an infallible tracking approach that is able to focus the eye of a moving person without error.
The Fuji X-T2 and now the new X-T3 emphasize the improvements to its approach system, and as I said, this was their weak point, and now they have made it an advantage for them.
The battery was and is the Achilles heel of the mirrorless. This is because most cameras are far below the SLR camera. It was because Sony released its a7r III with a range far beyond the rest of the mirrorless version, which again made a difference
The theme of the video in the Mirrorless is more than beaten and recorded on many models with high and medium range with 4k.
Some cameras already have a double card slot, mostly in SD format, as with professional SLR cameras.
Something that is currently only mirrorless sensors available, is stabilized. The first was Olympus, but quickly joined the Sony party. The last one to do so was Fujifilm with his X-H1. These stabilized sensors allow shooting with very slow shutter speeds. This is ideal if there is no light and we do not have a tripod.
As you can see, the differences are not that big and it’s getting harder and harder to decide. To decide one or the other, you have to estimate the weight, the price and certainly some additional features that the rest will not offer.
Is it the end of the SLR?
Apparently in recent times, all brands (now do) seem to be more concerned to develop improvements in their mirrorless than to continue developing their SLRs . Do not forget that a high percentage of professionals continue to use SLR cameras to work.
Therefore, where are we going? Are they going to be leaving aside the reflex cameras and betting on the mirrorless? I hope not.
I think the brands have lost their way and they are not clear about the purpose when they started developing the mirrorless . Or they are quite clear about it, and it is to sell, however it may be. Saving weight and size was a good idea, but I think the trend will be to develop the mirrorless FF, with what little by little you will see how they start to gain weight and size again.
Example: The Fujifilm X-T1 weighs 440gr. The new X-T3 weighs 539gr.
I think Canon and Nikon have two problems. The first is that they have arrived late, taking out some cameras that are inferior in base than the competition and equally expensive, something I do not understand. If you are the last to arrive and you already know what the rest have, why do not you get something that is at least the same as the competition ? The ideal is to get something better, and if it is possible to surprise with something new.
The second is that they are between the sword and the wall. On the one hand they can not get a mirrorless that has the same specifications as their leading SLRs because then, who will buy the SLRs? But on the other hand, they start at a disadvantage, so they will have to make new models with many improvements. Are they going to do the same with SLRs? Will they take them out at once? What will differentiate them?
If we have to try to decide on one or the other system, we should evaluate certain factors.
The price is usually the main factor when buying a camera. The SLRs have several price ranges, being the cheapest in the market . Therefore, if you are looking for something cheap you will end up buying a low-end SLR. Another option would be to go to the second-hand market.
If we have a less adjusted budget then we have a lot of possibilities at our disposal and here we must think about whether we want to go light or we do not care.
Many people have complained that the small size of the mirrorless is not good for a good grip. Therefore, the models of cameras that go out to the market today have a more pronounced grip, which means a better grip .
If we want to go light we have to go for a mirrorless camera of the brand Fujifilm or Olympus . The top-of-the-range cameras that aim to compete with the professionals are the X-H1 and the X-T3 in Fujifilm, and the OMD EM Mark II in Olympus. But there are models with less economic benefits.
If we buy a mirrorless we have to know that the autonomy usually lasts less than a SLR . The solution is to carry several batteries.
If the weight gives us the same then we have the SLR cameras and the full format mirrorless.
Before choosing a brand, we have to investigate the catalog of objectives available for that brand. We have to make sure that they have the goals we need to make the photos we want.
Is it the moment of the mirrorless?
Sometimes I wonder if it would not have been easier to develop a hybrid camera. Fuji has its X-Pro series with Hybrid Viewer, which loves more than one. Would you like to tell me that you can not add a digital information screen to the SLRs, as is the case with mirrorless cameras?
We live in a consumer world where companies want us to believe that every year we have to change handsets. And it seems to me that this trend is going into the world of photography.
With the cameras, something similar is beginning to happen, and it is true that only two years have passed since the launch of the Fujifilm X-T2, and here we have the X-T3, with a new sensor and a better focusing system.
Is an enhancement of the focusing system really a reason to get a new camera? Are there many differences between the two models for people to change their camera?
I do not think the technology has developed so much in a year that we have to change computers, cell phones or cameras in such a short time. And if they do, they sell it to us in very small doses.
I think they have discovered the goose that lays the golden eggs with this type of camera. Think that a camera of this type is almost all electronic. Many brands improve their products simply by updating software . Therefore, they decide how much they evolve, and how much of that technology they give us. Moreover, if they wanted, they could not give us those updates and take out a new model that included such software, improving its features.
Do not you think that between camera and camera there should be something unique that makes the difference? What has been the last great functionality that has marked a before and after in photography?
We find a market in which we find two types of cameras that are being compared , which are equally valid for making any type of photographs. But as is obvious, this can not be maintained forever . At some point you have to make a decision and opt for one, as happened when digital photography appeared.
There is no doubt that we are at a time when the mirrorless are going to go further . You already know that this trend comes and goes, and it seems that the fashion today is to have a mirrorless, either because of a matter of real need, or because they have created it for us.
The competition between the three major brands has begun and will bring new models with better specifications. We will see who wins the battle. What is clear is that there seems to be someone who will be touched by all this, and it is the SLR .
You may also want to read below articles;
- The 12 Most Recommended EVIL Cameras in 2018
- Samyang XP 35mm F1.2: the new Korean objective of high resolution and acutance
- 10 Most Committed Mistakes in Digital Photography
- 10 Key Tips to Choose the Camera You Need
- Is this the future of mobile photography?