Are you Switching to a Mirrorless Camera?


Olympus-OM-D-EM-5-Review.jpgWith the increase in popularity of the smaller, more portable Mirrorless Four Thirds cameras I’m curious to see where you stand on this discussion. Personally I’m ready to jump on and get myself an Olympus OM-D EM-5, only thing holding me back as of now is justifying the cost of having a second camera.

I’m in the “I’m not ditching my full sized DSLR just yet” camp as I still use it for teaching and doing portraits. However the more travelling and photography tours I do, the more appealing the Olympus becomes. One of the guys on my Cuba tour had one and it took great images, and video as well! I was really impressed.

We could have this debate all day but some of the pros and cons generally tossed about include:

PROS of Mirrorless cameras (as understood by myself who does not own one yet):

  • Sony A7R Reviewsmall and lightweight (that’s a given)
  • you can pack more lenses in a small bag for travel
  • less intimidating to people you photograph, especially when doing street photography
  • ability to accept and use adaptors to fit just about any lens, including those from your DSLR
  • the sensors in many of them rival DSLR APS-C sensors, and in the case of the Sony A7R they might even have the edge

CONS of Mirrorless cameras (as understood by myself who does not own one yet):

  • they are some that are less expensive than the full sized DSLRs, but in some cases they are more expensive. You pay for compactness
  • they CAN be slower to focus, so shooting moving subjects is more challenging
  • the electronic viewfinder – this is a bane of many DSLR owners who are used to seeing through an optical one
  • because of the point above, they can be battery hogs

So – you tell me, where do you sit on this issue?

Are your feet firmly planted one side of the fence or the other? Or are you still on the fence, as yet undecided like our little friends here?


By hehaden


Have you invested in a Mirrorless or 4/3s camera yet?

  • Yes I am or have replaced my DSLR with it (11%, 5,666 Votes)
  • Yes I am or have replaced my point and shoot camera with it (5%, 2,509 Votes)
  • Yes I bought one in addition to my DSLR (14%, 7,050 Votes)
  • Yes I bought on in addition to my Point and Shoot camera (3%, 1,710 Votes)
  • Yes it is my first digital camera (3%, 1,699 Votes)
  • I'm still on the fence as a solid "maybe" (15%, 7,286 Votes)
  • No way, they are still lacking something in my opinion (21%, 10,683 Votes)
  • What's "mirrorless"? (27%, 13,336 Votes)

Total Voters: 49,937

Are there greener pastures on the other side?

Is this where the future is taking us? Are full frame cameras obsolete? Who knows – but maybe I’ll see you over there!

By Stefan Tan

By Caroline

Editor’s note: I have removed the term “bandwagon” from the title which is apparently confusing and offending some readers. This was not the intention in the least. The sole purpose of this post and poll is to find out what the majority of dPS readers are using and how many have invested in the mirrorless cameras. This is not a diss on them at all, there is no looking down on anyone regardless of camera choice. I full plan on buying an Olympus OMD myself when funds become available to me to do so. So please let’s keep the discussion about cameras and not my words. Thank you.


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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles on her site Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Morocco and India. To help you at whatever level you're at she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

  • Paul C

    I am a novice. I need to wear reading glasses if I use a mirrorless and then often I can’t see the screen because of the light. If the mirrorless used a viewfinder, then I would be ok with it but most of the inexpensive ones don’t, so I got a Pentax k500 instead of the Olympus EPM2. Also, if I want to have super portability, I like compacts and don’t want to carry lenses.

  • Michael Presley

    as one who has replaced FF DSLRs with the m43 platform i wish to point out a couple things that you said that arent quite accurate. AF speed on pretty much all of the current models of m43 bodies with good lenses is as fast if not faster than the typical DSLR lineup…. and focus accuracy is better. Its the continuous focus tracking of the contrast detect focusing systems that lag behind the DSLR focusing. The latest m43 models now have hybrid PDAF and CDAF focusing which is narrowing the gap but you generally wouldn’t use a m43 system for serious sports photography.

    The second point is the lens lineup available for the m43 system. The real strength of this platform is the prime lenes available. The

  • You missed my point which was cameras that are good for shooting moving subjects.

  • just curious, not saying I agree or disagree, but how do you figure that?

  • sorry which photos? The ones in this article are not taken with a mirrorless camera I just chose them to represent “fence sitting” that’s all

  • this is not meant as an “article” to help you decide – it’s a poll that’s all

  • The author, me, hasn’t missed that point at all! Why do you think I’m running this as a poll? To see where we are at now. I will likely run the same question again in 6 months or a year to see the trend. THAT was the point actually!

  • The “writer” is the editor – me. I wasn’t expecting an argument either way, just opinions. That’s what a poll is for – to hear what people think. That was kind of the point.

  • that’s why one of the options was ” Yes I bought one in addition to my DSLR”

  • I am QUITE aware the A7R is full frame, thanks.

    As for words chosen in the title – they are just words, please get over that and move on.

  • Please read what’s where and not add stuff into it that you “think” I might know or not know.

    As for saying this, “rival DSLR APS-C sensors” – notice the initials “DLSR” in there? So yes they are both APS-C sensors. I was making note of the ones IN the DSLR’s compared to the same sized ones IN the M43 ones. Just a reference. Why must everyone nit pick on words, holy cow.

  • this “piece” is not an article meant to be informative to make any decisions it is simple just a question, a poll.

  • thanks – I think for some unknown reason people are overly defensive and offensive on this topic and I’m not sure why.

  • rocket ship, love it!

  • right, SLR = single lens reflex (mirror) that’s it. In my career I’ve used 8×10″ and 4×5″ view cameras, Hasselblad, Pentax 6×7 film, Pentax 645 film, Canon 35mm film and Canon DSLRs. – and of course my iphone!

  • Manu

    Whatever it is, unless you’re specifically requesting no opinions or comments please, you may be okay. Next time?

  • Manu

    You might be aware, but you didn’t come across as someone who is (best case scenario). A worse situation would be a deliberate attempt to malign an area of development that many seem to be feeling more uncomfortable with. And trust me, words aren’t merely words, they convey a lot and in a variety of ways. Or else, you wouldn’t have put them the way you did.

  • kyteflyer

    Slow AF is not the case in all mirrorless cameras. The Olympus is blazing fast and so are my Nikon 1s. The Canon M was slow, the rest really aren’t. Both the Olympus and Nikon 1 (and the sonys for that matter) are streets ahead of my K5. Thats what I use for considered photography. For catching the moment, my J1 or v1 + a prime is excellent.

  • kyteflyer

    Ahh… so this is why you think mirrorless are slow. 🙂

  • kyteflyer

    I have way too many cameras, lenses and “enthusiast” compacts. I choose the camera I want to use, according to the kind of shooting I expect to do. There’s no way I want to lug all my DSLR gear if I am only going to a party (come to think of it, I dont really want to take party photographs, but you get my point)… horses for courses…

  • kyteflyer

    Must confess I like optical. But I also like EVF. Thats probably why I love the hybrid VF on my X100.

  • Perhaps usage of the term ‘bandwagon’ put people on edge. The title could be read as implying that people buying into it now are not doing so out of careful weighing of options, but just because everyone else is doing it – like a flock of sheep. And no one wants to think of themselves as just another sheep.

    DSLR fans may be defensive because bandwagon also implies something that is assured of success and gives the impression that they are on the losing side.

    What is of course hilarious is that none of that matters. The only important thing at the end of the day is the final image. The tools used to create that image are ultimately inconsequential.

    Same thing happens in music production software discussion, with people slating one piece of software or another for being unprofessional or always sounding the same. Only the end result matters. If it’s good enough then no one should be thinking about what tools were used in the process.

  • sglau

    i know some are faster than others, but coming from a 5dMk3, most seem slow… especially in low light. Also, the Sony.. it depends on which ones.. cause the a6000 seems really fast, but the A7r… that seems kinda slow..

  • Artsifrtsy

    As an early adopter I have had years of seeing articles that position my chosen format as less of a real camera because it doesn’t have a mirror.

    Your cons are not exactly cons. My E-M1 cost less that the new Nikon I bought for product photography at work. It is more customizable and lighter. It has faster AF and that EVF is not the bane of my existence, it lets me see live view while I shoot. Only battery life is an issue and a spare is only $60, so is it really an issue?

    While I appreciate that this was a poll, it’s a poll without a fair comparison. Perhaps that’s my own view, but looking at the pushback in these comments, I’m thinking I’m not alone in this. Your reactions have been defensive rather that conversational, as if you need to school your readers on the art if paying attention. Frankly, I’m puzzled by this. As this is a poll, I assumed you wanted our opinions. Why not ask us questions about the features that we obviously are more familiar with? Why not invite us into a conversation instead of complaining about our comments.

  • A fabulous image is never about the equipment used to achieve it. Use the best tools for the job at hand, to create the vision you have in your mind’s eye.
    One point about the cost though, the glass for mirrorless are considerably more affordable. Happy Art Making y’all with whatever tool you use.

  • so okay, you tell me – what would you add? should the questions/options be worded differently?

    Thing is you can’t please all the people all of the time. Yes there has been push back, but many also have just added comments about their choice and why they made it which is more of what I was looking for. So you can read it however you want and reply accordingly.

  • As someone who is what, aware? Malign an area many are uncomfortable with? The words? So are you suggesting I put those words there on purpose to annoy and incite people into anger? That so is not the case. Honestly there is way too much being read into the word “bandwagon” – my interpretation of the word is “hopping on a trend” that’s it. Nothing malign here. I simply wanted a catch title instead of writing “mirrorless poll please reply” which is kinda dry.

  • Please note: I have now edited the title to remove the offending word, as well as clarified that any opinions expressed in the text above are solely based on the information I have personally. Feel free to disagree. But let’s please get back to discussing cameras and not words. Thanks.

  • Artsifrtsy

    Hey, I’m sorry this has devolved into semantics. It really was a bandwagon when the first m4/3 cameras were introduced. I actually did talk about why I made my choices, I just disagreed with your list of cons. I’m sorry you’ve been taken to task over a few words.

    For me, my entry into the M4/3 format ignited my passion for creative photography. They were a step away from the technical product photography I do at work. Along the way I discovered the wonders of live view.

    Finally, thanks for asking the question. So often I read reviews and articles where conclusions are made without much hands on experience. Not from DPS, but from so many others.

  • Benson Russell

    I’m now shooting professionally with OM-D E-M1s, and really preferring it! Some key reasons below:

    My equipment (and more of it) fits into the smaller bag I used to use with my film cameras, and is far less burdensome. The lenses are high quality and so compact — it worried me at first, since the better gear was usually the bigger gear.

    The electronic viewfinder shows me exactly what I’m getting — exposure compensation, highlight clipping, colour balance, art filters (don’t laugh, they can save lots of post processing!), focus peaking; and I can review the shot in the viewfinder, without ‘chimping’. I don’t mind the E-M5 viewfinder, but with the superior E-M1 viewfinder I now couldn’t go back to an optical viewfinder that gives so little feedback!

    The in-body image stabilisation means I can shoot at lower ISO and in low light, so I’m using a tripod far far less.

    Battery life — yes, not the best. However batteries are small, and I keep a spare in a pocket in my strap so it’s never been an issue.

    I don’t really see why anyone with the choice to buy new gear would saddle themselves with a DSLR and the associated larger lenses.

    So, I guess that’s a yes to mirror-less!

  • LarryC

    I bought an E-M5 to complement my D800 and I love this little camera. But…they have got to stop calling these cameras “Mirrorless”. There’s a million things these cameras do not have or need. Naming any product after a component it doesn’t have is nonsensical. There’s a good reason “horseless carriage” never took off. They should be called “direct sensor cameras” or some such thing that represents what they are or have.

  • Edward Hudgeons

    I have an F2AS Nikon. Wonderful machine. Film outrageous. For years I have not used it because of the cost of film processing. I went small digital point and shoot and have just bit my tongue on the lack of versatility. I now am looking at the expensive Nikon Df. I have old glass and it feels so good. Mirrorless, I am not so sure, but from what I have been reading, it not much more than another learning curve and making sure you have 3 battery sets. (1 in charge, 1 in pocket, 1 in camera). I will welcome the learning curve. I use a Coolpix P100 now and while it has been fun, it is so irritating. Maybe next post I will be able to say what I don’t like about mirrorless.

  • Michael

    I actually just went from Mirrorless (nex-5n) to a DSLR (70d). I switched because I wanted the better auto-focusing capabilities that a DSLR would provide compared to what I had. After doing a lot of research I was very tempted by the high end mirrorless cameras on the market and had Fujifile XT-1 come out before I made my purchase I may probably would have went with that. Now that I have had a DSLR for a few months I really enjoy the performance I get from it but I wouldn’t mind picking up a smaller mirrorless camera with a quick prime to replace my canon g15 as carry everywhere camera.

  • A. Costa

    I ‘ve shoot with film SRL for 15 years, the current genereation of EVF (think E-M1 and X-T1) have made me perfectly happy. Add the IQ that can rival a so-called full-frame when printed up to 20″x30″, size that can perfectly fit in my messenger bag with assorted lens and flashguns, and spectacular prime lenses, and I’m sold. The battery life is horrendous, tought, but I’m not a “spray and pray” guy (expecially when contrast autofocus nails EVERY shot).
    When I want more IQ, I simply shot medium format.

  • Bobby Stewart

    I use a Sony SLT with an OLED viewfinder, and after 2 years of using it I could never go back to a small optical viewfinder.
    The battery life is a slight downside for me, but apart from the odd time-lapse I rarely shoot more than 300 photos per day.

  • Tina R-B

    I’m in the market for a mirrorless, but not sure which I should go for. Seems like I’m hearning a lot of good things about Olympus and Sony, here and elsewhere. I’ll be taking pics mostly of kids, candids, landscapes, nature. I’m a little worried about fast autofocus and quickly moving children. Will I have a problem with this? Which brand would you recommend, Olympus or Sony, and which model?

  • mark

    Stabilised lens is better than a stabilised body as it offers superior stabilisation due to the need for smaller corrective movements. This is widely documented.

  • Mark

    I currently own a canon 5dmkii and would like something smaller but a match for iq, particularly DoF, moving subjects and low light. Typical subject matter is kids, sunset, landscape and travel. I’m guessing the m4/3 is less of an option with DoF and perhaps the Sony is a better match for me?

  • Pio Danilo Cuadra

    I believe mirrorless cameras are only a fad that temporarily makes its debut and then fade to obscurity. Canon made a professional DSLR, EOS 1n RS in 1995,with a pellicle mirror that functions similar to a mirrorless camera. It was a breakthrough but in terms of sales(ahh.. the bread and butter of companies) it wasn’t what was expected by Canon. The votes in this survey confirms that , a sizable portion of those who took part are not interested in mirrorless format…full frame and medium format, still rocks.

  • kamran

    Damn i wish i’d had this information before i brought the 700d but i am
    happy budget wise i just couldn’t afford the 70d maybe later i might get
    one who knows but it’s nice to know these things….

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  • tina

    This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the coolest blogger I ever saw.

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  • fari

    Writing is an art that everyone does it. Congratulate you for having this art. Your blog is unique

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  • daryav

    I’m guessing this doesn’t help if there are mechanical problems with the hard drive?
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  • pouya

    The beltpack on this bag would actually be perfect for a 4/3 system.
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  • ganec

    Mirrorless may produce also better pictures (in critical situations):
    – AF accuracy is higher with lenses
    (without FF/BF and lens compatibility problems)
    – there is no blur caused by mirror slap and shake
    (and with new models also with shutter)

    Side effect of liveview (also increases percentage of good pictures):
    – there are less wrongly-exposed results
    (because problems are visible directly on the screen/EVF)
    – face detection helps AF to correctly focus
    (recomposition – if AF will be done by center point – could cause wrong focus, od subject could move during that time)

    Battery life is surprisingly good: when I shoot series of photos with high-speed shooting, I created thousands of them …
    (even my camera is rated only to 350 shots by CIPA)

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