DSLR or mirrorless digital camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hulk2012, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    I am putting my hands on photography and thinking of buying either dlsr or mirrorless Sony nex7. Thinking of spending max $2k for the whole kit incl lenses. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    I went mirror less first. it was great, why, because its light and when you step up from a compact its not something you like not having. Image quality isn't really affected that much for day shots, and it allowed me to learn photography.

    I now have an SLR for photoshoots (usually at home/studio though where I don't have to lug it around) as well but its only a starter and hoping to upgrade, but no point at the moment as its only a hobby.

    Don't see how this relates to the imac though tbh :p
  3. macrumors newbie


    Classic mirrorless.
  4. macrumors regular

    As a NEX-5N owner I was really looking forward to the 7. I bought it and tried it out for a month and ultimately resold it. I love my 5n! It doesn't have tri-navi but it's a lot lighter and goes anywhere with me. I'd probably spring for the 6 now that that's out tho.



    16 Megapickles is PLENTY. Makes it easier for editing.

    Get a Gordy's strap for it, trust me on this!

    Oh, and my other camera is a D4. Really. But I still like having my 5N around for quick run out and take shots fast portability.
  5. macrumors member

    The NEXs are great. I got a F3 for my mother and she absolutely loves it. Often I find myself wanting to use her camera rather than my bulky SLR.

    The beauty of the NEXs is the size of the sensor. I did get for her a Nikon J1 and she hated the controls, plus the IQ wasn't anything to write home about. We ended up returning it and getting the NEX instead; much better.
  6. mzd
    macrumors 6502a

    mirrorless is great, just make sure you research your options well before you buy. you are buying into a system so look at the available lenses and your other needs/wants. personally, that led me to the micro 4/3rds format. particularly the lenses since both Panasonic and Olympus are making some great quality lenses at a variety of price points and there are even a couple Voightlander ($$$$) native lenses if you really want classic high-end. the m4/3 lenses also tend to be smaller and lighter than SLR lenses.
    the Sony Nex is a great system as well, but there are fewer native lens options and though you save space with the mirrorless Nex body, the lenses are just as big as their SLR brothers. but you also get a larger sensor with the Nex so that is a plus as well.
    the Fuji is a great camera as well if you want the classic rangefinder experience. but, again, not a lot of lens options yet.

    also, you'll probably get more responses in the Digital Photography section. ;)
  7. macrumors 6502

    I could not agree more. If I wasnt tied into another system, I would jump onto the Fuji X-Pro 1 bandwagon as soon as possible.
  8. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I'd go with mirrorless at this point, smaller camera, less money but image quality is at DSLR levels.

    I have an Olympus OMD EM5 and I highly recommend that camera. The Micro 4/3 standard has a lot of high quality lenses that are not overly large.

    I looked at the Sony NEX cameras but found the lack of native lenses and the size of the lenses it does have to be the main reason why I went with the M43. I think the Sony NEX series has some great cameras and certainly fit your needs but I think the Oly Camera is better ;)
  9. macrumors 6502

    I think for most consumers, mirrorless is the way to go simply for form factor.

    I always though APS-C dSLRs would survive for awhile. But with the advent of mirrorless cameras with sensors approaching (or at) sizes of APS-C, I seriously think we'll see 'entry' level consumer dSLRs disappearing and that product segment will be replaced by mirrorless.
  10. genshi, Jan 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013

    macrumors 6502a


    This seems to be asked a lot on here lately... but I researched the subject for at least 6 months before finally making my purchase (I am an ex-Canon DSLR owner) and after all of my research, coming close to buying the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I waited until they released, and purchased the Fujifilm X-E1... and it is one of the nicest cameras I have ever used, especially considering the price!

    Same APS-C/X-Trans sensor as the X-Pro1 with the only thing missing is the Hybrid Optical/EVF viewfinder (which aparently, the optical side can only be used in Auto mode in the X-Pro1 and I always shoot all manual) but the X-E1's EVF is supposed to be one of the best in the industry; the same as the Sony NEX-7.

    But it's the X-Trans sensor that is all the rage in both the X-Pro1 and the X-E1. There is no Anti-Aliasing filter (just like the Leica M9) so the images are much sharper than what you would find on even a full frame sensor, according to most of the reviews (I had posted numerous links to this to the last person who asked this same question a few weeks ago; not going to search for the links again.) But unlike the Leica M9, which has bad moire issues (which is why camera makers put AA filters on Bayer Pattern sensors in the first place) the X-Trans sensor uses a new Random filter array which eliminates moire, which is why even Leica owners have been singing the praises of the new Fuji X series of cameras.

    Plus, the X-E1 is less money than the X-Pro1, more compact, uses all the same lenses, has a pop-up flash, can accept external microphones for video recording and is just a really, really great camera.

    If I were you, I would choose mirrorless, as DSLRs are just dinosaurs theses days in my opinion. They do still have the advantage of having a much wider lens range and seem to be better for action/sports photography, but that's about it. And if you go mirrorless, well my choice was for the factors I mentioned above, plus I wanted a classic looking manual camera, but you can't go wrong with the Sony NEX series either! Just my two cents...

    Here's one of my first test shots from my X-E1, all manual settings, shot with one continuous light source in raw mode -

  11. macrumors 68020

    I would go mirrorless, and I would also recommend you to have a look at the Fujis, but also at the Olympus OM-D M5 (camera of the year at dpreview). In any case, both types of cameras use sensors of the same size (the sensor in micro-4/3 cameras is a bit smaller than APS-C, but still significantly larger than that of any compact on the market). I think it is fair to say that all the innovation is happening in the mirrorless market at the moment.

    Here are some +, 0 and - for each (lists are incomplete, though):
    dslrs vs. mirrorless
    + Autofocus: Dsrls tend to have a more sophisticated autofocus, especially when it comes to tracking moving objects. Some mirrorless cameras, e. g. the Olympus OM-D E5, have an AF system that (at least in single shot mode) is as fast and (from what I can tell) as accurate than that of a good dslr. Note that prosumer dslrs (e. g. Nikon's newly announced D5200) have a much, much more sophisticated AF system than that of entry-level dslrs (on the Canon side of things, you have to pay a little more attention to the model and the AF system it uses, I find Canon's product strategy a little more difficult to follow). It's really night and day.
    + Lenses and other accessories: The popular dslr lens mounts have been around for decades, so you have access to a far bigger ecosystem. Plus, the used market is usually full of suitable lenses. However, if you don't have special needs, this is probably nothing to worry about. Not everyone needs a tilt-shift lens that costs more than your entire budget ;)
    0 Image quality: Many mirrorless cameras also use APS-C-sized sensors, the same size as most dslrs. Yes, there are full frame dslrs, but these cost an arm and a leg. In some instances, the exact same sensor is used (e. g. the Canon EOS-M uses the same sensor as the Canon 60D), and thus they have the same potential as far as image quality is concerned.
    - Weight: My big dslr camera bag weighs about 8 kg. Of course, I don't have to carry around 2 flashes and all lenses, but you'll have at least 1 kg of weight hanging around your neck if you take your dslr with you. Mirrorless cameras tend to be much lighter.
    - »You look more like a professional/tourist:« Mirrorless cameras are more inconspicuous than dslrs. A photographer I know who has switched from a Canon 1D (the big Canon pro dslr body) to a Fuji X100 told me: with his Canon, people told him »You look like a professional photographer!«*while with the X100 they said »You look like you could become a professional photographer!« Dslrs look more intimidating, there is a reason why my friends (most of whom have no clue about camera gear) have nicknamed my 80-200 mm my »bazooka«. ;) I often use my Sigma DP-1 for candid street photography instead of my dslr.
  12. macrumors 603

    Edit... didn't see the post directly above before posting this... guess we posted at the same time :)

    As a member of the dinosaur club :p, I'm wondering about a few things on these mirrorless cameras... When I first read about them, focus system, sensor size/quality, and lens choice were the key differences, but this tech is maturing quickly...

    What is the current state of these things on mirrorless? More specifically, what is the focus speed like? Is it similar to phase shift on a DSLR? How selective can you be with focus points? What is the dynamic range like compared to a FF DSLR like the 5D3 or D800? And lastly how fast are some of the portrait lenses... Can you get wide aperture lenses in portrait focal lengths? With shallow DOF? Creamy smooth bokeh?
  13. macrumors 68020

    I currently have a Nikon D7000 which has a decent AF system, and I tried the Olympus in the store: it seems about as fast if not a tad faster, but of course, I haven't had a chance to put the Oly through its paces in difficult lighting or when I need mm precision placement of the focal plane. Certainly, there are some models which have shaken the compact camera feel when it comes to AF performance.

    At the moment, I'm really itching to get a Fuji X100s. I'm not sure I can or should resist the urge to go out and get one when they hit the stores in Japan.
  14. macrumors demi-god


    I went with the Nex-7. Micro 4/3 was in the running but the APS-C sensor won out. I have been very happy with the camera. Much smaller and lighter that the DSLRs that I have used. I would like a larger choice of lenses but it's improving. I have the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-210. Covers most of my shooting needs. Thinking about the 50-1.8.

    If I were buying now, I'd have to seriously consider the Nex-6. While not as nice as the 7, it's good enough.

    I wish Canon and Nikon had released decent mirrorless cameras instead of the small sensor crap that they came out with.
  15. macrumors 68020

    I think the current breed of m4/3 sensors is more than good enough, unless you go to very high ISO values, the performance is on par with APS-C-sized sensors (in the sense that other things, such as lenses and RAW conversion algorithms have a much more significant impact on image quality).
    That's only true for Nikon's CX system, Canon uses an APS-C-sized sensor in the EOS-M, in fact, it's shares the sensor with the 60D.
  16. Ish
    macrumors 68000


    I have a Canon 5DII with 24–105 lens and while I love the picture quality, if I take it out and about it makes my neck and back ache after carrying it around for a while. Especially if I take the 100mm macro as well! I've just sold my compact second camera and bought a semi-compact Sony NEX-7. It doesn't worry me that it won't fit in my pocket as I've got a small Domke bag which is perfect.

    I looked at the mirrorless market before deciding which one to get and they've all got their plus and minus points so got the one that was the most comfortable for me to use. It doesn't hurt that I like the look of this one either, not being a fan of the retro style. I'm going to save up for the new Zeiss 32mm lens which is coming out later this year and get that if it gets good reviews.

    What I'd really hoping, is that in a year or two the market for full-frame mirrorless cameras will have matured and there'll be quite a few to choose from then I'll sell both my existing cameras and just have one of those.
  17. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Great Zoom is a product of lens focal length and aperture. While DSLR's have superior zoom lenses ML cameras have very good lenses that have good reach as well.

    As noted above ML cameras have for the most part nearly identical image quality given the sensor sizes are the same. The exception of course are full frame DSLRs or those ML cameras that have tiny sensors (I'm looking at you Nikon 1 Series).

    DLSRs have their place but for less money, you get a smaller camera that has nearly the same level of lens selection and quality that takes nearly the same if not the same pictures.
  18. macrumors 603


    I went for the NEX-5N. Great APS-C sensor, very low noise and the wonderful 50mm f1.8 ISS lens.

    The only thing I miss is Phase detect autofocus. Give the tech a couple of years.
  19. Moderator


    Staff Member

    The NEX-7 was a camera I almost got but because of lack of inventory I crossed it off my list (there was other reasons but if I couldn't see/try it, then I couldn't buy it).
  20. macrumors demi-god


    I agree with most of what's been said here but I often read about weight concerns and neck strain. Me…I would never carry a camera around my neck using one of the cheap stock neck straps that come with all larger cameras.

    I can carry 2.5 kg (5 lbs) of camera and lens without any strain at all using a sling shoulder strap (mine is a BlackRapid strap) that distributes the weight across the larger shoulder muscles. The other advantage is that your gear is better protected hanging under your arm instead sticking out from the front of your stomach or chest. Ever tried to stand at a urinal with a big zoom lens between you and relief?
  21. macrumors regular

    The Blackrapid R strap has transformed how I use cameras. I'm a big guy and hated having a DSLR bouncing off my belly. Having it at my side available to run and gun and grab it like a pistol and drop it back to my side/rear and hustle off is amazing. I have the double too, looking forward to trying that more.
  22. hulk2012, Jan 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    I agree.
  23. macrumors 603


    I wished I loved Sony as much as Apple or Synology but in the digital camera game I'll give Sony as high marks as any other decent camera maker*.

    If you're a casual photographer consider the Sony RX100
    Else consider a mirror-less unless you photograph sports (you'll want phase detection focus for that).

    Lots of folks that buy DSLRs never learn how to use them, or even take them off auto. They think the DSLR will take better photos (wrong).

    * with the exception of a single Canon 7D firmware update I've never seen a camera firmware update that is little more than a minor bug fix from any camera manufacture.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Try the Optech camera strap here. It will change your world. You can configure it around your next, or a side sling, which is what i do. I love it! Multiple accessories and options, like chest harness, etc. Highly, highly recommend.
  25. Ish, Jan 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013

    macrumors 68000


    Er, no I haven't you'll be relieved to know. Wrong gender!! :D

    I don't carry the camera round my neck most of the time. I have a backpack for travelling but if just out and about I put it into a bag with a cross-body strap. I'm quite petite though. Maybe I need to build up my muscles!

    Thanks for the recommendation! I use a different one from the Optech range, not quite as multipurpose though so I'll have a look.

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