Is There a Mirrorless Camera in your Future?

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mirrorless-cameras.jpg

This post on Mirrorless Cameras is by David Moore from Clearing the Vision.

Up until recently, there were two main paths you could take when choosing a digital camera. As we know, point and shoots offer affordability, small size and convenience, but the trade-offs are limited manual options and constrained image quality.

Digital SLRs are more expensive and larger, but deliver better images and more control, as well as the greater flexibility that comes with interchangeable lenses.

Now there’s a third group of cameras that are smaller than DSLRs but with much larger sensors than regular point and shoots (up to the APS-C size seen in DLSRs). Some have electronic viewfinders (EVFs), and some support interchangeable lenses.

What they all have in common is their lack of a mirror to bounce an optical image of what you’re shooting to a viewfinder (you either compose using the rear screen or the electronic viewfinder if there is one). This keeps the size down.

Cameras in this mirrorless class include the Micro Four-Thirds offerings from Panasonic and Olympus (such as the well-regarded PEN series), and the brand new Nikon 1 camera system. Other cameras in this middle ground are the retro-cool Fujifilm X100 (and its new little brother the X10), and the Sony NEX series (with the NEX-7 looking particularly interesting).

Some people are trying to call this class of camera EVIL – for Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lenses – but it doesn’t really work as a catch-all. The Fujis, for example, don’t have interchangeable lenses (but the X100 does have the EVF built in), while the PENs and NEXs out of the box don’t have the viewfinder (but do support interchangeable lenses).

On the Plus Side

You can debate the strengths and weaknesses of individual cameras in this group all day, but there’s no doubt they offer an interesting option both for people moving up from point and shoots, and for more serious photographers who don’t want to lug a heavy SLR around all the time.

I shoot professionally with a Canon 5D Mark II, and I’ll reach for it if someone’s paying me, if I’m in particularly challenging conditions or if I want the absolute best quality I can get. But carrying it all the way round a theme park for two days on a recent family vacation showed me that the best camera isn’t always the best camera to bring with you.

So I bought an Olympus E-PL2 (reduced in price because its successor has just been released) with a couple of lenses, and I suddenly saw what I’d been missing.

With easy to access manual controls and fast glass (the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is a near-standard 40mm equivalent on the M4/3rds bodies), I wasn’t giving too much up, but I was gaining large amounts of portability. The 4/3rds sensor is only slightly smaller than the APS-C sensors found in most DSLRs, but it’s more than five times bigger than the sensor found in high-end point and shoots like the Canon G12.

The sensor delivers pretty good low light performance, and the in-body stabilization means you can often use lower ISOs than you’d expect as the light fades.

For casual shooting and street photography, these cameras are more discrete and subtle than a large SLR with a zoom. People react much less strongly to them, especially if you’re using the rear LCD for composition. The Fuji X100 even has a silent mode that renders it particularly stealthy.

In all but the most extreme conditions, the image quality from these cameras if often comparable to a lot of DSLRs. They also inject some fun into your shooting, somehow inviting you to play more than the serious DSLR gear.

So what’s the downside?

One downside is that while these cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs, they’re not quite pocketable, especially with a zoom lens attached. You’ll still need a bag, or to hang them off your shoulder.

The choice of lenses can also be limited, especially if you’re used to Canon and Nikon’s myriad options for standard DSLRs.

And while they might look more like point and shoots, they’re not cheap. Here in the US, the new Olympus EP-3 is $900 with a kit lens, the Fuji X100 is $1200 and the new Sony NEX-5N is $699 with kit lens (the NEX-7 is $1,349 with lens). The Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 lens I use is around $350, while Sony’s new Carl Zeiss 24mm F1.8 for the NEX cameras is listed at an eye-watering $999.

At these sort of prices, something like a Canon Rebel T3i with a couple of lenses might start to look pretty appealing. Although one interesting point is that the Sony, Nikon and Olympus cameras support adaptors that allow you to mount a pretty wide range of legacy lenses on your new digital body.

Nonetheless, at the moment you can find a DSLR set-up that will ultimately deliver better image quality for the same money. But that’s not worth much if you often leave the camera at home because it’s too much to carry around all the time.

Niche Appeal

This type of camera isn’t for everyone, but there are two groups for which they could do an excellent job. An enthusiast trading up from a point and shoot doesn’t automatically need to think about a DSLR when looking for a ‘good’ camera.

These mirrorless systems also work well for more serious shooters looking for a smaller but still capable option when they just want to have fun.

Compared to comparatively slower speed of innovation on the DSLR side (there have been no new full-frame SLRs from Nikon or Canon since 2008, for example), what’s been happening over in the mirrorless world is definitely more exciting, and some of the innovation is carrying across to the larger bodies. Sony’s new A77 camera boasts a translucent mirror and electronic viewfinder, for example.

A lot of us would love to have a Leica M9 to carry around with us – a small and understated camera capable of producing amazing results. But since we’re not all likely to win the lottery at the same time, one of this new raft of mirrorless cameras might just fit the bill.

David Moore is an Anglo-Irish photographer, writer and web designer at home in the high desert of New Mexico in the US. You can find him at Clearing the Vision.

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  • Froemer

    I am looking at buying the new Olympus OM-D5 hopefully when it’s released. My T2i broke down and it basically giving me an excuse to change cameras 😀 I do like the features that the m4/3 has and really excited about it.

Some Older Comments

  • Froemer February 25, 2012 10:00 am

    I am looking at buying the new Olympus OM-D5 hopefully when it's released. My T2i broke down and it basically giving me an excuse to change cameras :D I do like the features that the m4/3 has and really excited about it.

  • Steven Meier January 28, 2012 08:00 am

    going to buy an old GF-1 and the 20mm f1.7 pancake as a replacement for my point and shoot. Also for trekking trips which should be about nature and not carrying tons of camera gear

  • Perry B November 6, 2011 02:18 am

    This looks like a "hybrid" or a compromise between a high end point and shoot like the Canon sx30is camera's abilities, but with a shrunken body the same size as the low end pocket size point and shoots, with a dslr lense grafted onto it.

    When you consider the weight of the lense, it puts it up in the range of the weight of the Canon sx30is. The Canon also has a 35x zoom and 14.1 meg pixels. It's also 1/2 the price and takes stunning pictures for a point and shoot, so why not get one of those, or wait until the price for one of these mirrorless cameras come down?

    If I am going to pay the same price I would for a dslr, then give me a dslr; not another bridge camera that has an interchangeable lense. I would rather have the real thing. I could be wrong though, I have never seen their actual performance, so I don't know if they are stepping beyond the high end bridge cameras like the Canon I mentioned enough to justify the price. I would like to see some real world results before writing it off completely. I am sure my wife would like something like this for the size, as we are both into nature photography.

  • Matthew Braney November 5, 2011 07:14 pm

    I have been using the Sony NEX-3 for about a year now. I like using a mirror-less camera (or bridge camera as I call it) because it has an easy learning curve for people just getting into serious photography or for serious photographers that want a second camera. I bought the Canon 550D last fall and traded it in for a Sony NEX 3 due to it's cheaper price, compact size and HDR and panorama modes. Amazing what they can fit into this camera. I shoot on mainly older lenses (such as a 50mm 1.4 m42 pentax or a minolta 70-200mm lens) the peaking mode and custom soft keys are great. I also find the zoom button for manual focusing more convenient than the plus and minus buttons on my Canon 550D i had.

    I think if you want to go mirrorless with your camera, choose a Sony NEX camera. They've got APS-C sensors and shoot RAW!!! Nikon's line of cameras are a joke for mirrorless cams.... screw 4/3 sensors. Less crop factor, the less noise and better quality

  • Ausdoc October 31, 2011 10:36 pm

    Oops, I meant MILC not MIRC. For an extra touch LCD screen and remote shutter capability, the NEX5N body is over two hundred dollars more and the NEX 7 with the 24Meg Sensor is 3 times as much as the NEXC3. I am sure that you will find the great features at very competitive prices with the user reviews I am reading.

  • Ausdoc October 30, 2011 10:19 pm

    #doc taz. Take your time, why go for 4/3rds when you can have the full APS-C? There is likely to be a rush of cheaper & better MIRCs in the next 6 months and a new standard of interchangeable lenses. I have been most impressed with the Sony NEXC3 results even though it has limitations in the electronic lenses it will take (E mount), the lack of a remote control shutter (available for the more expensive NEX5), lack of a viewfinder and limited flash options (nonstandard connections). I have addressed each of these with relatively cheap and simple solutions (all within $50). There are new models for the Sony mirc range, and I am sure the Olys, Panasonic and Fuji will rush in with their version of this new breed. I showed my set up to a pro with his $7000 plus Canon EOS 1DS Mk 3 and I could see his eyes roll with amazement at what my tiny set up has for less than a tenth the price of his. In the meantime, I can experiment with all the features that my MIRC offers and wait for the next wave. Good luck.

  • doc taz October 29, 2011 01:09 am

    Originally I disliked the 4/3rds sensor when it was introduced in the Olympus DSLR's a few years ago. I'd probably consider a m4/3 Oly now if I could. No, I'm not someone who is old enough to have been around for the PENs, but I'd love to have a smaller setup that at least approaches APS-C quality. The Sonys look even better from an IQ angle, but the Olys look like they're great bang for the buck performers. I was considering the Pentax Q, but I'm not too happy with its sensor.

    I used to own a fairly hefty OM-2 rig years ago, including a motor winder. My current DSLR is a Pentax K-x (used with both digital and manual focus KA lenses), but sometimes I miss it when it's left behind at home. I'd be fine with the Olys as long as it has a decent manual mode, and is good with Program mode.

  • Tel October 21, 2011 10:48 pm

    and thanks for all the great info in your replies. V, Shaun, Darcy and Ausdoc very helpful and David Moore for the article and comments in discussion

  • Tel October 21, 2011 10:39 pm

    I'm seriously looking at a mirrorless. Mainly because I use my camera hard out when I travel and this is lighter than DSLR and better quality than a P&S. Also it's not as expensive looking and a target for theft as a full size job.

    I have a manual only film camera Pentax MX - old skool which I hardly use. Have worked my way through two digi p&s which Iove for fun and convenience and portability.
    Decision now is which one?

  • Akshay Chauhan October 13, 2011 06:29 pm

    Mirrorless camera will definitely have a much larger product range or few expensive models. I am afraid it might become mainstream :P

    I just brought Fujifilm x100 it is way way lighter than my Canon DSLRs and has better image quality, better low light performance.

    You will never get a similar quality DSLR with 35mm f2 lens under 1200 USD. People who used SLR would love it.(shutter button, aperture dial, the metallic body)

    It is NOT meant for :-

    1. People who just started photography since they are more likely to get frustrated when they need telescopic shot.
    2. People who need fast focus like in sports.
    3. Those who do not understand the complete specification of the camera.
    4. People who think in future, 12 megapixels in cellphone will the same quality :P

  • A. Hamza October 8, 2011 10:36 am

    Mirror less EVIL cameras are future because of useable to all available lenses in the world with help of adaptors.

    1. mirror less mechanism gives an opportunity to built system for shooting faster like 10 fps or more.
    2. Advanced adaptors will be soon made to communicate with camera electronics for better results.
    3. Less distance between lens and sensor is an advantage to make more advance lenses in future.

  • David Moore October 6, 2011 03:48 am

    @shaun - glad you're enjoying the Oly. I normally shoot RAW with mine, but the JPGs are pretty impressive most of the time - particularly the famous Olympus skies.

  • Shaun Dunphy October 3, 2011 07:42 am

    After years of carrying SLRs then DSLRs I have now totally converted to micro4/3. I got fed up having to carry a backpack full of lenses. First I had a PEN PL2 which was a great camera. I thought I would settle down with it and have fulfilling meaningful relationship with it but then Olympus launched the PEN P3. I fell in love with it the day I first handled it. What a great camera! I recently visited Chile and Brazil and was happy with almost every shot I took - even out of the camera JPEGS. Highly recommended!

  • Ausdoc October 2, 2011 03:56 pm

    I totally agree that MILCs are here to stay. I bought a Sony NEX-C3 after comparison between the Olympus and the Panasonic. It had just come on the market in August 2011 and with 2 lenses, it was still AUS$100 cheaper than the others and with an APS-C 16 Meg sensor, beautiful tiltable 3 in LCD and loads of DSLR features. Its Auto-HDR and Panoramic shot and Focus Peaking features are particularly impressive. For someone who was brought up with film SLRs this is a very attractive entry into the digital DSLR world. There are drawbacks: No hot shoe for external flashes or remote shutter capability, limited range of lenses with auto features (works well with my old Minolta lenses but manually with a generic NEX to MD mount adapter), "slowness" of the Sony lenses and despite customizable soft keys, the menu driven settings take a lot of learning and fiddling and only 720 HD VIdeo format. There is a cheap hooded loupe that I bought to view the LCD in bright sunlight. The final results are very pleasing and you can shoot in both RAW and JPEG at the same time (Memory hungry but nothing compared to the cost of a camera). It is very light and portable and I can put the whole lot in a DSLR camera case and it will fit in the glove compartment. For me a wonderful entry into the world of DSLR photography beyond point and shoot compacts and is ideal for those with a big appetite for features and a limited budget. I am sure there will be more MILCs on the way so that it will become a sub-category in Digital photography. It will definitely be a handy second camera when I have the means to buy a full format Canon 5D Mk II (for at least 8 times the price including lenses). At least, for now, if my pictures do not come up quite as good as someone with a 5D MkII, I can cry poor, but imagine the satisfaction if mine is as good or better!

  • David Moore October 1, 2011 11:37 am

    @oz, thanks for your comment. You'll notice that while I admit to being a Canon user, the main thrust of the post was that there are now lots of alternatives in this mirrorless arena - Fuji, Sony, Olympus. The small sensor size of the Pentax Q doesn't do it any favours (smaller than the Canon G12), which is why I didn't include it here, but I think it's clear that Canon and Nikon aren't going to have it all their own way with DSLRs (which I wasn't really talking about in the post), and Pentax might well have a part to play in this.

  • Oz October 1, 2011 01:35 am

    Enjoyed your article but..... Please tell why Pentax DSLRs and so called "EVILs" (Pentax Q Digital $799 street) very very rarely get even a mention as an option or an alternative when articles such as these are written? It's almost as if Nikon and Cannon have magazines, bloggers and photograph writers in their hip pocket, making them look and sound like "puppets" for the big two.

    Yes, perhaps in total sales volume and even in a very detail technical analysis one brand might "seem superior" to another, but again as one who shoots with both Canon and Pentax DSLR equipment and lenses, not once EVER have I or any of my clients other professionals that know my work have been able to discern the difference between my Canon and Pentax captured images. In the "real word" outside of the close scrutiny of a lab style photographic analysis, both products perform very well. . . IMHO

  • erik September 30, 2011 08:12 pm

    Just go film javier. For micro-four-thirds money you can get a great rangefinder. ...with 35mm film it's even full-frame ;)

  • javier September 30, 2011 01:38 am

    I don't see myself using one of those. For the IL ones, if you are carrying a couple of lenses around the bulk is not much less than an actual DSLR. The X100 is a bad joke (seriously, how hard can it be to make focus work properly!?). I could see myself using a rangefinder if I had that kind of money to throw away but right now if I am going to compromise the DSLR quality for some portability, I will just use a nice point and shoot like the Panasonic LX5.

  • Erik September 29, 2011 07:50 pm

    Yes, it's called a rangefinder. Today's evil cameras aren't small enough (and lack, for me, the crucial ovf) to justify their shortcomings when compared to a DSLR. Just my view..

  • ccting September 29, 2011 10:01 am

    Can I have a camera with twin lens with twin viewfinder with twin sensors that capture 2 images at same time but at same gap between eyes, then convert the gap between two images to make it looks like what our eyes see? I am waiting.. Movie and geographical maps already have that for many many years.

  • Geren Mortensen September 29, 2011 08:21 am

    For those Sony A-series cameras, don't forget the new A35 and A65. At $1500, the price of the A77 body rivals mid-level D-SLRs, but the A35 is down around the same price as the Sony NEX5, is $100 less than the T3i, yet uses standard Sony and Minolta "A" mount lenses.

    The lower-priced translucent mirror Sonys having the "standard" Sony/Minolta A-mount means that they can become part of a larger system for someone moving up from point-and-shoots -- a far better "growth" plan.

  • jimf September 28, 2011 11:32 pm

    One factor re the Sonys...they can use the entire Alpha line of lenses with either the std adaptor (139) ...or the new all singing and dancing phase change focus one (399)...those lenses are pretty reasonable online.

  • Rafael Hoyos September 28, 2011 11:35 am

    Simply. They are too expensive. Give me a good ol DSLR....

  • David Moore September 28, 2011 06:16 am

    Thanks for all the comments, folks. I know that some people will always make the effort to have a big DSLR with them, and more power to them. To do that, they're making compromises in another area - how much gear they're carrying, how mobile they want to be. For others, the compromises made in a smaller setup (marginally less IQ in most circumstances, investment in another system and lenses) are worth it. People will decide what matters most to them, but I'm glad we have that choice now.

    And @stargate I agree with you. One of things I like about these cameras is that I think they show the way forward in a number of areas. A large flapping mirror makes less and less sense, especially if you want to shoot video.

    The Nikon 1's sensor size is a bit of an odd choice, if you ask me. As well as IQ issues, the crop factor will mean depth of field will be pretty wide even with fast primes.

  • stargate September 28, 2011 04:19 am

    Well, actually there is a mirrorless camera in everyone's future. Someday all cameras will be mirrorless.
    However for the near future, for me, the mirrorless offerings do not appeal even though I had high hopes for the Nikon model. I was disappointed. I would like it to be more geared to serious photography with essential controls on physical dials. PASM, aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation is all I want. The rest can be in menus. Also what's with the adapter for F lenses. This is more expensive than another lens. I guess that other adapters will appear at lower prices soon though. The smaller sensor does not really bother me because the technology is progressing rapidly and I am sure that in a year or so I will not be able to tell the difference between a micro4/3 or a CX and todays aps-c which is more than enough for me. Anyway I would like to carry less weight but I will not sacrifice my way of shooting to do it.

  • Arindam September 28, 2011 03:59 am

    @ArchiDeos, @mrJules
    It's not about being lazy
    I work as an exec at a Consulting firm. Hence every Monday - Thursday I am in a different place, only between Friday - Sunday I am home. Every week if I need to check in my luggage that includes my stroller, my laptop bag and a heavy bag with a DSLR kit then it's going to be impossible. Hence the case for mirrorless - stow the lenses wrapped in clothes and the small camera inside the laptop bag

  • Steve September 28, 2011 03:03 am

    They do show promise but I was really hoping Nikon would have built a camera that could have taken advantage of all the lenese I already own (even with an adapter would be ok). I just can't justify buying a bunch of new lenses just for one camera. Until they come out with that I'll stick with a DSLR/P&S combo.

  • Diane September 28, 2011 02:11 am

    Funny as I'm hovering over the buy button for an Olympus right now!
    I have no issue shooting with my d700, grip and 70-200 for 8 hours at an air show. I use it for studio work to help pay for my kit.
    But, having something I can slip into my handbag which is still going to give me great photos on my "proper photography" days off appeals.
    Looking on flickr, there are some beautiful images taken with these cameras, the build quality is pretty good - the e-p3 feels very well built in hand.
    I think they have more than a niche following these days, but it's hard to justify buying a whole new raft of lenses when I'm already a nikon girl!

  • Jean-Pierre September 28, 2011 01:55 am

    Javan~ Well said! But I'm sure you lost a lot of people out there in digital land. Lol

  • John Stracke September 28, 2011 01:40 am

    When I got my Panasonic GF2 last spring, it was on sale for $500 (US). I could've gotten a low-end DSLR for that price, but only the body.

    I was moving up from a Canon S3 IS. I chose the GF2 over a DSLR partly because of price, partly because of weight—it wouldn't've been too heavy to carry, but I would've had trouble holding it steady.

    (I wanted to go for an Olympus, because of in-body image stabilization, but then I found out that the Olympus didn't have an orientation sensor. I just couldn't face falling back to 2005 and having rotate all my images by hand.)

  • javan September 28, 2011 01:16 am

    There has always been a difference of opinion on camera sizes. I bought an EP-1 2 months ago because i missed the compact 35mm rangefinders I used to shoot with. Most of the time i carry a bag with my DSLR and my PEN, but sometimes just one or the other. It pretty much depends on what kind of shooting I am doing. My EP-1 matches the quality of my DSLR as far as my clients can tell from the images, but the camera doesn't "look" professional to them, so I have to consider how that will affect their opinion. for those people who always insist that they will carry a DSLR because it gives the best quality, why stop there? Why not a medium format camera with a Leaf back? Or better yet, an 8x10 camera with fine grain film and high res scans? We all make trade offs to suit our personal likes and dislikes.

  • v September 28, 2011 12:38 am

    not only is it in my future, it's in my bag (right now) EP3 user

    love this:
    Nonetheless, at the moment you can find a DSLR set-up that will ultimately deliver better image quality for the same money. But that’s not worth much if you often leave the camera at home because it’s too much to carry around all the time.

    i went m4/3 because i didn't want to carry the heavy stuff. it's crazy FOR ME to take a dSLR and a ton of lenses to a theme park just so i can get the best picture as possible. i want my gear to be fun, not a burden. the EP3 has not disappointed. i'm taking more pictures, in fact.

  • Mike C September 27, 2011 09:51 pm

    I was hoping that the nikon v1 was going to be a full frame sensor. I was very disappointed that its not even an aps-c size sensor.Yes I really want a small stealth camera like the M9 but the price tag blows me away. I'll stick w/ my dslr until these new mirrorless cameras come up to the same level as my big camera. Hopefully I wont have to wait too long.

  • Mr. Jules September 27, 2011 09:09 pm

    Dslr's give you greater creativity, I have a few P&S for snaps.
    People are lazy, if you can't carry a dslr on a saturday or sunday to do some serious photography, you should think about getting in shape or maybe do something less strenuous.
    Also depends on what you do, I love walking the woods and nature photography is for me, I have reservations on their durability, strength.....to me they look cheap. I would not take one of those out in the bush. I don't think they would last long.
    No thanks on mirrorless.

  • Matt September 27, 2011 09:07 pm

    Flickr has some great stuff on the Panasonic GH2 and Canon FD Glass..

  • Verena Fischer September 27, 2011 08:42 pm

    I'm seriously counting on winning the lottery there to get that Leica M9 ...
    If that doesn't happen, then maybe in a few years I'd go for one of these mirrorless ones. Definitely not now though ...

  • dok September 27, 2011 08:29 pm

    absolutely not. i'd rather get a P&S. getting a micro 4/3 means buying new lenses and i prefer spending my money in lenses for my main camera (which is a dslr).

  • Hamid September 27, 2011 05:20 pm

    as you mentioned, everything depends on situation. Mirrorless camera is more suitable for my style because I'm a mountain climber and don't want carry heavy backpack, but for someone who wants to work in studio full frame (big and heavy) camera and a lot of lens and accessories is necessary.
    But the biggest problem with mirrorles cameras is their price that prevents selecting them instead of such as Nikon D5100 or canon 550D.

  • ArchiDeos September 27, 2011 03:23 pm

    Well as for my point of view. Business is business thats why they introduce the micro4/3 camera model.

    This camera is nothing, compare to dSLR Camera. Even if you are a not into photography, you know the big difference in IQ.

    If you are tired and lazy to carry your dSLR camera at all times. Then even the smallest camera is not fit with you, or maybe just use your mobile camera to do the shots. In the first place, why you buy your dSLR camera if it stay at home. I consider my Canon7D camera as my best friend. Love it...

  • GradyPhilpott September 27, 2011 02:16 pm

    No.

  • Arindam September 27, 2011 01:50 pm

    I own a D700 with pro lenses and gear and shoot semi-professionally. Still I find myself lusting over a Nex-7.
    I am not much taken with micro 4/3rd format but definitely an APS-C with electronic OLED viewfinder, high ISO sensitivity, Zeiss lenses, provision for external flash - this one can be my go-to cam when I am shooting casually or out on a hike where I would hate carrying my 16 pounds worth of gear!

  • Nicole A September 27, 2011 01:17 pm

    So in love with the fujifilm X100, not so much with the price. In do time I hope it will drop!!!!

  • angelique September 27, 2011 12:14 pm

    May be For future mirroless camera :) Sony will be the winners from others mirrorless

  • ccting September 27, 2011 10:18 am

    I believe in future, cameras
    a) mirrorless
    b) 2 lens or 2 shots for 1 image
    c) 1 sensor or 2 sensors
    d) 2 viewfinder
    e) Need to wear special glasses to see 3D photo, just like 3D movies

  • Rick September 27, 2011 08:56 am

    No. A Canon D7, yes.

  • Alan Schantz September 27, 2011 08:13 am

    If you want the nice you must pay the price - in this case that means carrying a dslr. If you want very good results in a very compact format get a Canon S95, or new S100. I carry my S90 at all times and get great results. Easily fits in a pocket or purse.

  • Darcy September 27, 2011 07:08 am

    I'm totally diggin on the mirrorless format. They are just the right size for my smallish hands and produce good enough quality to make me happy in most cases.

    I use a Panasonic GF1 and love it to death! Very excited about the soon to be released GFX1! I can see myself moving almost exclusively (not quite) to the m4/3 when the sensors get better (ie - lower noise).

  • Bob September 27, 2011 06:49 am

    I have an Olympus E-P1 and an E-PL1. When shooting RAW the image quality easily equals my Canon 40D except in very low light situations. They are both considerably smaller and weigh far less than the Canon gear. In any situation where I formerly used the 40D - weddings, senior portraits, children's portraits - the Pens have replaced the Canon and the results are outstanding. These are not just "fun" cameras - they can be used for serious photography. I am selling my Canon gear - I'm sold on the m4/3 system.

  • Rian September 27, 2011 06:36 am

    While I do enjoy my D7000 with a 50mm f1.4 I am still lusting over a micro four thirds camera, especially any of those Olympus PEN's. My dslr is sometimes too heavy to carry around all day when going out with the family. With two kids running around it's almost a chore.
    Thanks for the article.

  • Jean-Pierre September 27, 2011 06:26 am

    Anfitriones equals 'and think' in Android autocorrect speak, lol

  • Jean-Pierre September 27, 2011 06:20 am

    I really have started liking the mirrorless cameras. Got one for my wife anfitriones it is awesome. Very small. Quiet as can be.
    Ironically, I use a t3i with vintage lenses. I carry my t3i everyday with me and enjoy all it offers. Hopefully more people will get into the 4/3 camp though. As you stated, each camera has its strong and weak points depending on what you need. Great article!

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