Well everyone I have finally made the switch I am officially a full time mirrorless shooter! As you may know I have been shooting DSLR's in some form or fashion for many years. I went from entry level camera's to professional grade camera's and lenses. I used to shoot film camera's when I was younger completely manual operation from exposure to focusing. So I have evolved from film shooting black and white developing in the bathroom to color slides to point and shoot digital to entry level DSLR's, Professional DSLR's and now to mirrorless camera's. There was a learning curve at each step and I would like to think that my photography skills improved with each level. So your probably wondering why switch if I have been shooting professional grade camera's? I have many reasons. But first let me say that the professional cameras are great! I'm not putting them down in any way or fashion. I learned a lot using them and am thankful that I went through the process of getting them and using them. But why switch? Let me go through how I got hooked on mirrorless cameras.
About 5 or 6 years ago my photography got me out of the house to start exploring different areas of our state. I started hiking all of the trails I could find at State and National Parks and wanted to do more. Me and my son decided that we wanted to start back packing. This entails hiking into the woods with everything you need to camp overnight Tent , Sleeping bag food ect... Well we soon found out that the packs were heavy and then carry a Full frame Camera and a couple of professional lens the weight really added up. Camera and a couple of f2.8 lenses could weigh up to 20 lbs. Thats like 3 1 gallon jugs of Milk that you carry around with you on top of all your camping supplies. That made the pack very heavy and it was heavy enough with just the camping stuff. There were many pack configurations that were tried to relieve the weight of camera and lenses but nothing seemed to work. I was working on getting lighter camping equipment but the weight of the camera was just too much. I had to come up with a solution that would still give me good quality photo's so I started looking into micro 4/3 cameras and I set up a checklist of things that I wanted out of a little camera. Some of them were that it had to be able to shoot in manual, it needed to be able to shoot in RAW, it needed to be able to change lenses. I actually had it down to two camera's an Olympus and Sony. They both had great reviews but I finally picked the Sony because of the sensor size. It had a larger ASP-C sized sensor and the Olympus had a micro 4/3's a smaller sensor. So weight was the first thing that brought me to the Mirrorless camera's but after a big learning curve there were many other things that brought me to become a mirrorless camera user. Here are some of them.
-Sensor Quality- Sony makes a lot of sensors for many camera company's beside Sony, there is Nikon, Iphone and maybe more but those are two big ones. The sensors are great and the quality of the photographs I was taking were just as good as my professional camera as far as I could tell.
-Customizable buttons- The Sony camera's are very Customizable the camera comes with custom buttons and all of the buttons can be customized to you and your style of photography. For instance I love back button focus so my camera is set up for it.
-Size-Not only is it lightweight but it is small also. A small footprint camera takes up less room in a pack or bag and you can carry more with you and still be lighter than a full size DSLR. I think this makes you a more nimble /mobile photographer. I think that this makes you a better photographer especially at the end of the day when the photographers have been lugging around a big camera you are still rested enough to keep looking for good shots not looking for some where to sit down.
-Price-Overall the price of mirrorless cameras can be cheaper especially in the ASP-C sensor sized camera. Now like everything you can spend as much as you want for mirrorless but like everything else you don't have to. You can also adapt vintage lenses from the film days to your camera with a cheap adapter. I use some of my Pentax and Nikon lenses on this small body and it brings me back to the days of film when everything was manual. And the size is about the same also.
-What you see is what you get-WYSIWYG when you look through the view finder or the back of the camera what you are looking at is what the sensor see's so you know before you take the photo if it is correctly exposed or in focus there really is no need to chimp and it take the guess work out of exposure and lets you concentrate on composure light and subject. After the big learning curve there is less fiddling with the camera.
All the things above and more make the mirrorless camera's more fun to use. Isn't that why we love photography so much its fun! That's the reason I am gearing down not up! I have sold all of my big boy cameras and lenses and now only have one camera. I think this will make me think more about photography and less about gear. Now when I go somewhere I carry my camera and 3 lenses and filters. The lenses are 10-18 f4, 18-105 f4 and a 70-200 f4 full frame equivlant to 105-300. This kit is very light and I can carry very easily in a shoulder bag that I call my purse. I used this system at our annual photography workshop couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic! While everyone was lugging around a large camera and one lens I had my purse with 3 lenses at my disposal at the same weight or less. I know famous people like Jason Lanier and Gary Fong have made the switch but they are sponsored by Sony. I am the only one that I know that has made the switch from DSLR to Mirrorless. I know I'm the only one in my photography club that has made the Jump into full time mirrorless. Some have dabbled in mirrorless but none have gone full in. I believe I am the first of many that will eventually switch to mirrorless. For me and the photography that I do Landscape, Travel and occasional Portraits this camera works for me. I don't need the Professional camera rig this mirrorless fits me and the photography that I enjoy. So choose the gear that is right for you! Keep Shooting!