Thursday, October 31, 2013

Can A Pro Go Mirrorless?

By The Editors Published in Cameras
Can A Pro Go  Mirrorless?

Lens Options

DSLRs have been in production longer than mirrorless digital cameras (the first of the latter was introduced in late 2008), and many DSLRs were based on the manufacturer's 35mm film SLR systems, so there's a wider range of lens focal lengths available for DSLRs today. But mirrorless lens lines are expanding regularly and have the advantage of all being designed specifically for digital and the format of their cameras. Additionally, because mirrorless cameras have very short flange-back distances (the distance between the lens mount and the sensor), pretty much any lens for which an adapter can be found can be used on mirrorless cameras (with manual focusing, in most cases).

Fujifilm currently offers seven Fujinon X-series lenses for its X cameras, from a 14mm through a 55-200mm zoom, providing 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths from 21mm through 300mm. Several of the lenses incorporate OIS optical image stabilization.

As Micro Four Thirds cameras, Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless models can use all MFT lenses and just about any lens for which an adapter can be found. Current Olympus MFT lenses range from a 9-18mm zoom through a 75-300mm zoom, providing (thanks to the MFT sensor's 2.0X crop factor) 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths from 18mm through 600mm. Panasonic currently offers 22 lenses, from a 7-14mm to a 100-300mm, providing 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths from 14mm through 600mm, including a fisheye and a 3D lens. Olympus mirrorless cameras provide in-body sensor-shift image-stabilization, and thus their lenses don't offer it. Many Panasonic lenses have in-lens OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)—if you use one on an Olympus body, switch off one of the stabilization systems.

Samsung offers 12 NX-mount lenses, which currently number 12, ranging from a 12-24mm to an 18-200mm and a 55-200mm, and thus providing 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths of 18mm through 300mm. Samsung's i-Function lets you access a number of functions via the focusing ring on i-Function lenses. The 45mm ƒ/1.8 2D/3D lens produces 3D stills and video that can be viewed on 3D-capable TVs and compatible devices.

Sony offers 12 native E-mount lenses for its NEX cameras (and the new ILC-A3000), from 10-18mm through 55-210mm, providing 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths from 15mm through 305mm. The LA-EA2 adapter lets you use Sony A-series and legacy Konica Minolta lenses and provides phase-detection AF with them. Some of the lenses feature Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, handy since the NEX cameras don't have in-body sensor-shift stabilization.


Today's mirrorless cameras start up and wake up from sleep mode comparably to equivalent-priced DSLRs, and button-pushing-to-image-recording times are very quick. Two things to consider, though, are frame rate and buffer size, and in both of these areas, DSLRs have an advantage. Some mirrorless cameras show very quick frame rates in their spec sheets, but you have to check whether these are for full-resolution images and whether the camera focuses for each frame. Often, the rate for full-res images with AF for each shot is slower than equivalent DSLRs and certainly slower than pro DSLRs. Also, mirrorless cameras have relatively small buffers; you can only shoot a few shots at the top frame rate compared to a higher-end DSLR.

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