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Re: Experience from DSLR to Mirrorless

A general thought about the DSLR versus mirrorless stuff.

First, I use both. I've used various Fujifilm APS-C cameras for a decade, mostly for street/travel photography, but also for some event photography and an occasional landscape. I have used Canon DSLRs for 20 years, largely for tripod-based landscape photography, but also for a lot of wildlife (birds) and some other stuff.

While I could move to a Canon mirrorless camera, my 5DsR is working really well still for the kinds of photography I do with my full-frame system, so I'm not in a hurry to change. Eventually I will replace it with a mirrorless system — might be Canon, but might be something else.

Personal preferences and prejudices aside (and we all have them, right?), it is fair to say that when the current iteration of so-called mirrorless cameras began (with early cameras from Olympus and Fujifilm and Sony) that their performance at first left most feeling that the DSLRs are still superior on most counts. However, since how we rank what is important to us varies, those who really needed small, light systems (likely Fujifilm/Olympus fans) or who wanted higher resolution for tripod-based landscape photography (likely attracted to the early Sony FF bodies) initially felt that the balance was shifting. (The small size, manual controls, and lens selection originally overcame my misgivings about other aspects of performance when I got into the Fujifilm system.)

Those who weren't ready to shift for those reasons felt, with justification, that the earlier mirrorless systems lagged behind DSLRs when it came to the quality of the EVF displays, battery life, latency, and so forth.

But the manufacturers kept chipping away at these issues, improving all aspects of mirrorless camera performance. There will always be some things that cannot be fully "fixed" — for example, there will always be some latency by comparison to fully optical displays — but the differences continue to shrink. (By the way, note that some problems cannot be fixed on DSLRs either — viewfinder blackout for example.) For example, current battery life is actually pretty good and sufficient for a full day's shooting for the great majority of photographers. (And most of us carry an extra battery or two anyway.) EVF quality is much improved.

In addition, mirrorless cameras allowed some improvements over DSLR displays, including useful manual focus aids, exposure simulation for brighter displays in low light, smaller and lighter camera bodies, and so on.

On top of that, as manufacturers have shifted to mirrorless designs they are no longer really regarded as being experimental, but as being mainstream. For this and other reasons, the concerns about EVF performance have greatly diminished, and many of us who were initially pretty resistant to the idea (as I was, which is why I got the hybrid viewfinder Fujifilm XPro2) became accustomed to the EVF displays and realized that...they aren't that big of a deal.

(My own experience with the XPro2 is illustrative. When I first got it I used the OVF display almost exclusively. Then I realized that the EVF was actually more useful in low light and night photography and I began to use it more. I also started using it when I need more precise framing or when using lenses that would obstruct the OVF view. At some point I realized that, without actually thinking about it, I had made the EVF my default mode and was now only rarely using the OVF. I replaced the XPro2 with a EVF-only model recently.)

In any technological transition there is a period of adjustment and adaptation. When it begins only a few early-adopter types jump in. If the technology "has legs" and continues to improve, others become less resistant and eventually move in the same direction. Over time, if the technology proves itself, many of the early objections fade away and adoption becomes widespread... and the older technology eventually becomes the outlier.

It won't happen at the same speed for everyone, but it is clear that my DSLR, as well as it works and as well as it has served me, is not going to be the superior technology going forward.

Mar 18, 2023 at 12:24 PM

  Previous versions of gdanmitchell's message #16196664 « Experience from DSLR to Mirrorless »


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