Episode 141: The Current State of Mirrorless Cameras Today

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Greetings everybody, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is episode 141. So for today’s episode I wanted to talk about the current state of mirrorless cameras and where we stand with the big four camera makers,

So let’s start off with Canon and their recent cameras, as you know over summer 2020 Canon release the EOS R5 and EOS R6 and both of these cameras were home runs for Canon. 

The EOS R5 has it’s 45MP CMOS sensor with the Digic X processor. It has 5 axis IBIS, DualPixel AF II, 8K video, which for me is overkill and 12fps mechanical and 20fps electronic shutter. It uses 2 cards slots with one being SD UHS-II and the other CFExpress Type A. It is a fantastic camera, but I’ve never understood Canon giving customers two different types of card slots and making one of them slower than the other. I mean you cannot write to both cards at once when shooting the high end video as the SD card slot will seriously slow down the much faster CFExpress slots performance. Sony has the right idea here by giving you two of the same card slots so you have maximum performance on both for dual writing.

Next we have the EOS R6 which has the 20MP CMOS sensor and the same Digic X processor. The EOS R6 also has the same IBIS with 5 stops of shake reduction and the same 12fps mechanical and 20fps electronic shutter, which is amazing! They also opted to give both card slots SD UHS-II, which was a very smart move so you have no performance issues when writing to both slots at the same time. The EOS R6 also has the same DualPixel AF II system so no difference in performance there. I am not bothered by the fact that the sensor is only 20MP as I am used to that having owned the EOS 1Dx3 and it also means the camera is great in low light performance!

As of this past week or so we now have a “confirmed” rumor from Canon Rumors that Canon will not only release the new EOS R1 flagship mirrorless sports body this year but also an EOS R5c, which will be Canon’s new cinema camera. It is rumored to have the exact same hardware specs as the EOS R5, but in a bigger body with active cooling to address overheating issues when shooting the 8K RAW video. This is HUGE news, considering if Canon does release this body it will be the Sony A1 killer. Remember, I talked in previous episodes about the A1 and how it doesn’t really affect the EOS R5 as the R5 has better specs with a much smaller price tag of $3,900 to Sony’s $6,500 for the A1.

Canon is certainly on the right track with their mirrorless offerings. All of their latest bodies have great specs, reasonable pricing and their EyeAF is already better than Sony’s, which is impressive considering Sony had a head start in EyeAF technology. This is why Canon is still the “king” in the camera world, they have been making cameras for over 100 years and they are still number one in the world!

Next we have Nikon and their latest offerings. We have the Z 6II and the Z 7II, which are both great cameras, but to be honest they are what the original Z6 and Z7 should have been. The Z 6II has a 24.5MP BSI or Back Side Illuminated CMOS sensor, it has 14fps continuous shooting so behind Canon there. It does have 5 axis IBIS, which is fantastic as well as 4K30 video and it had their Dual EXPEED 6 image processors. Now it had dual card slots, which Nikon got a LOT of heat for having single card slots in their original Z 6 and Z 7 but like Canon with EOS R5, they opted to go with one CFExpress slot and one UHS-II slot, which again baffles me from a performance standpoint, considering Nikon has been using faster card tech than Canon for some time now like Sony. Now the good news is the Z 6II is currently on sale for around $2,000, which is an awesome price point to be at!

The Z 7II is also a great camera and everything the original Z7 should have been. It’s got a great 45MP FX BSI CMOS sensor with 5 axis IBIS and the Dual EXPEED 6 image processors like the Z 6II so the performance is great! It can shoot 4K60p as opposed to the Z 6II’s 4K30p, but being as this is Nikon’s “higher” end mirrorless full frame camera body, why go with the same crappy dual card slots of CFExpress and UHS-II? That totally baffles me as again performance issues when trying to record to both cards at the same time, stupid Nikon, just like it was stupid for Canon to do it in the EOS R5.

Now, just recently Nikon went public with their development of a flagship mirrorless body they are going to call the Z 9. We don’t have a lot yet in the way of specs for the Z 9 but Nikon is saying it will have 8K video with some sort of active cooling to reduce over heating issues. There are no specs even on the sensor at this time, but rumors are that Nikon has prototypes in the field with both a 45MP and a 60MP CMOS sensor and they are seeing how they perform before they decide which sensor they are going with for the production models. Nikon is also saying it will have a brand new EXPEED processor and more than likely 2 of them like the Z 6II and Z 7II. Now where Nikon is falling behind is in innovating their cameras. They have been making improvements to their EyeAF system but it is still light years behind both Canon and Sony, so Nikon really needs to step up their game if this “flagship” sports body has ANY chance of competing against Canon and Sony. Now rumors are like I expected that the Z 9 will have an integrated battery grip design like their D series flagship DSLRs and the upcoming EOS R1.

Looking at Fujifilm next, we see that Fuji is certainly going all out with both their APS-C X-Trans bodies as well as their GFX line of mirrorless medium format cameras. Fuji recently released the XS10 body, which is priced at $999. It has their awesome 26MP X-Trans sensor with the X-Processor 4 and 5 axis IBIS to keep those images stabilized when shooting handheld. This body can shoot 4K30 and 1080P at 240fps, which is impressive for those shooting a lot of video. They did skimp though with only adding one UHS-II card slot but Fuji doesn’t tout this camera as one for wedding shooters or anyone that NEEDs dual card slot redundancy. If you need that then you are better off with the X-T4, but Fuji has made this a fantastic camera with it’s hybrid shooting abilities and so far is has been getting rave reviews from reputable reviewers that aren’t paid shills.

Fuji didn’t stop there as they recently announced the new X-E4 APS-C body as well and again Fuji hit a home run with this camera. The X-E4 continues Fuji’s “rangefinder” style X-E line and is a great camera. It has the exact same 26MP sensor and X-Processor 4 as the XS10 and the same 4K30 and 1080 240fps for video. Now according to reviewers it doesn’t perform quite as well as the X-S10 for video so if that is your main thing than you want to go with that option instead. But if you want a reasonably affordable “rangefinder” style body and you want to shoot say street or landscapes, this camera is most likely the one for you, especially if you pair it with Fuji’s new 27mm F/2.8 MK2 pancake lens.

Undoubtably Fuji’s biggest announcement was their new GFX100S medium format mirrorless body that released the same time as the X-E4. Now this beast is based on the same 102MP BSI CMOS sensor as their existing GFX100, but this camera is a much smaller form factor and even slightly smaller than the GFX 50S, which is impressive. It has 4K30 video with F-Log Gamma and 12-Bit RAW output to an external recorder. The 100S also has 5 axis IBIS to keep your shots steady and the same X-Processor 4 as the X-E4 and the X-S10. It also has 19 film simulations built in and it can do 400MP images with it’s Pixel Shift Multi-Shot capability, which is insane! Now this body is NOT a “rangefinder” style like my 50R, but there are rumors that Fuji will also announce another more budget friendly body, possibly called the 50R MK2.

I must also include the fact that I have been hearing in the GFX 50R group that I manage on Facebook that their are reports the 100S “freezes” at times, which sounds like a major firmware bug as Fuji has not recalled the cameras, so hopefully it is something they will address quickly in a firmware update.

Last but certainly not least we move on to Sony and what they have going right now. Sony hit it out of the park with the recent release of their much awaited A7S3 video-centric camera. ALL of the Sony video shooters were waiting for what seemed like an eternity for this new body to drop. The A7S3 is sporting the same 12MP BSI CMOS sensor as previous models although I believe Sony did revamp it for even better low light performance. This camera shoots 4K 120p, which is insane and can do 10-Bit 4:2:2 internal recording as well. It has the 5 axis IBIS to keep your video smooth and beautiful and 16-Bit RAW output with HLG & S-Cinetone. The A7S3 also sports a crazy high resolution 9.44 Million dot EVF and this camera also has Sony’s new revamped Menu system, which seems to have everyone shooting Sony very happy. I was also impressed and happy to see Sony went with dual purpose dual card slots which can use either SD UHS-II or CFExpress Type A cards either one, now why in the hell are the other companies not doing this???

And of course, wrapping up this episode we have to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the new Sony A1 “flagship” camera and no doubt this thing is a beast, but it DID NOT out do the Canon EOS R5 like everyone thought it would. It has a 50MP BSI CMOS sensor with 5 Axis IBIS so its only 5MP more than the EOS R5 and it can shoot 8K 30P video like the R5 and it can do 30fps, but does that really matter? Sure it’s great if you shoot sports, but Sony touting this as their “flagship” body it’s not all that impressive, especially when they went with the smaller battery instead of a massive battery like the Nikon D series and Canon 1Dx line. Sony also didn’t make the A1 with an integrated vertical grip, instead you have yo buy one separately for another $400 which means by time you buy the camera, 2 batteries and the grip your price has jumped from the starting price of $6,500 to $7,000 for just the body.

I understand this is their first “flagship” body but Sony did not have a massive amount of R&D cost in this since they were already making their full frame mirrorless bodies for several years so I was shocked at the high price tag. On most all of their other bodies, Sony tends to be on par or less expensive than their competition, which is one of the big items that draws people to switch to Sony, but with this high price tag I personally think Sony missed the mark big time!

Chances are Canon and Nikon are going to release the EOS R1 and the Z 9 and both those bodies with have integrated vertical grips like the D series and 1Dx line with a massive battery and if they keep their price points at around $6,000 or better yet at say $5,500, they are going to put a hurt on Sony in the “flagship” battle. Canon more so than Nikon since Canon already has better EyeAF and Animal EyeAF than Sony. Again Sony was smart to make this body’s dual card slots versatile with the option of either SD UHS-II or CFExpress Type A, that is a major thing, especially when shooting high level sports like the Olympics, MLB, NBA, NHL or NFL, but keep in mind those CFExpress cards are really expensive, but then again if you have $7,000 to drop on this body you are probably not worried about dropping another $1,000 on fast CFExpress Type A cards.

In conclusion, ALL of these camera makers have released or will be releasing MAJOR cameras this year and the mirrorless war is certainly heating up. Canon is still number one with Sony nipping at their heels but I believe Canon will continue to remain top dog. Nikon has to really innovate to stay relevant and I hope they do with the Z 9 but we’ll have to wait and see. I HAVE NOT shot with ANY of these new cameras as of yet. I am NOT a huge podcast/Youtube celebrity like many of the others who are pulling in tens of thousands of dollars a month with their podcasts and channels and I probably will never be one of the big dogs, but I like to share my views and opinions with my listeners and appreciate you taking the time to listen to this show and hopefully share it out with others, Rate and Review it and join the Facebook Group.

I am planning currently to buy my EOS R6 in the next few weeks and my GFX100S as well and I will do in-depth reviews on both once I have them in hand and can spend some time in the real world shooting with both.

Alright folks, this is going to wrap Episode 141 of the Liam Photography Podcast, I will see you all again in another 7 days for the next Thursday episode and I will see you again Sunday for this week’s news and rumors round up!


Also be sure to join the Liam Photography Podcast Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/liamphotographypodcast/ You can reach the show by call or text @ 470-294-8191 to leave a comment or request a topic or guest for the show. Additionally you can email the show @ liam@liamphotographypodcast.com and find the show notes at http://www.liamphotographypodcast.com.

You can find my work @ https://www.liamphotography.net on and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @liamphotoatl. If you like abandoned buildings and history, you can find my project @ http://www.forgottenpiecesofgeorgia.com. and http://www.forgottenpiecesofpennsylvania.com.

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