Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 253. So for today’s episode I recently had a friend and fellow photographer, Georgia Butler posted on Facebook asking me if she should switch to Mirrorless now that she needs to replace her current camera. After some back and forth on what she has been using and the types of photography she does, I gave her a well informed answer and thought it would be good to share this with my listeners. Georgia is currently shooting with the Canon EOS T7 DSLR.
When you reach the point where you need to replace your camera there are a few things to consider and I will list them in this episode and give you my answers as I am sure it will help others with this same question. Now as far as the first question, “Should I switch to Mirrorless?” The answer is simple, “Absolutely!”
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would you say that?” Well, mainly because DSLRs are going the way of the dinosaur, it’s now outdated technology. That doesn’t mean if you are shooting DSLR, you are using a worthless system, far from it. DSLRs are still very capable cameras, but why not move to the newest technology, especially if you have the budget for it. If you are using Canon or Nikon, the switch is even easier as you can KEEP ALL of your current lenses and still use them! Both Canon and Nikon have released lens adapters with their Mirrorless camera systems that work flawlessly so no need to replace good glass when you can still use them for many more years. One last thing to remember on whether or not to go Mirrorless, remember that fairly frequently both Canon and Nikon have been phasing their DSLR cameras and lenses out.
Now let’s look at the rest of the questions.
- Which Mirrorless Body should I buy? – This will depend on what genres of photography you are shooting. Do you shoot wildlife or sports? If so then you can buy the newly announced R7, which is the Mirrorless replacement for the Canon EOS 7D and 7D MKII. The R7 will be one heck of an upgrade as it’s capable of 40 frames per second, where the 7D and 7D MKII could only shoot 11 frames per second. If you are doing mostly landscapes, and portraits, then you won’t need insane fps so you can opt for the newly announced R10. Now of course, there is budget to consider and in Georgia’s case she has a budget of $2,000, which means she can go with the R10 at $949, but for her I recommended going with the RP as she can spend the same money and get a full frame camera body with $1,000 to spare, which would leave her money for a couple of new lenses, depending on what she buys. With these same questions answered on the Nikon side, you would want to go with the Z50, which is APS-C for $1,200 and get a kit lens of the 16-50mm. You could go full frame and get the Z6 for $1,600 and still have a little bit left for maybe one lens.
- Do you need the latest tech? – If you need to have the very latest technology, then you are looking for the R7 or R10 as they have the latest and greatest tech since they are the newest offerings. Better AF, which includes Animal and Human EyeAF as well as the latest AF tracking. Same thing on the Nikon side if you go with the Z50 as well as the Z6. Now of course the Z6 MK II would be even more advanced but we are trying to stay within Georgia’s budget. If you have a more robust budget, then of course you could look at the R5 or R6 on the Canon side and the Z6 MK II or the Z7 MK II on the Nikon side.
- Do you need weather sealing? – This is another big question if you want to shoot outdoor sports that play no matter the weather, like football. Now if your budget doesn’t allow a professional level camera with weather sealing built in, no fear, you can always buy a rain cover for your camera body for a very reasonable price. Also, keep in mind that even weather sealing is not absolute, so you probably want one of these any ways especially if you want to shoot in pouring rain. Some of the newer rain covers I mentioned a couple weeks ago here on the show even have built in sleeves so you can work the controls much easier without risking getting the camera soaked.
- Will the new camera require new memory cards? – This is another big item to consider when buying a new camera body and especially if making the switch to Mirrorless from DSLR. Many of the new Mirrorless cameras have switched to using CFExpress, which is a super fast, but also quite expensive memory card to have to buy. If you don’t consider this before hand you could spend your whole budget and then not have the new memory cards you really need for that awesome new camera body.
- How many Megapixels does the new sensor have? – I have said time and time again that Megapixels don’t matter as far as the quality of your work as a photographer, but when buying a new camera, they REALLY matter. Why, well if your old DSLR is say 18MP and the new Mirrorless you are buying is 36MP, that is a significant jump in file size. If you shoot RAW like I do those RAW files from your old body might have been say 20-24MB. By going to a 36MP camera, your new RAW files will be more like 40-50MB in size. Now this doesn’t mean you cannot re-use your old memory cards, but you won’t be able to fit as many shots before the cards get full. Again you are in a situation where you will need to buy larger memory cards so make sure you factor this into your budget.
- Is your new choice future proof? – This is a question that many people forget to ask when looking to buy a new body. It was more of a question in the DSLR days but still applies today even in the world of Mirrorless. Will this new camera have you covered for the foreseeable future? Considering that tech changes frequently, this is a good question, but to be honest, most of the technology behind cameras is all fleshed out, so there won’t be any massive jumps. Everyone has EyeAF now and everyone has AF Tracking now as well as better High ISO/Low Light performance without introducing tons of noise into your images. Sure, eventually, everyone will be making the move to a Global Shutter, eventually, everyone will make the move to stacked sensors as well, which will give us more capabilities when it comes to our images and how amazing they turn out.
- Will there be a steep learning curve? – This is another great question to ponder when buying a new camera. Luckily if you are already shooting Canon or Nikon, they have not changed their menu system with the release of Mirrorless cameras. I have owned both Canon DSLRs as well as their Mirrorless cameras and the menus were exactly the same with everything in the same place. Sure with Mirrorless there is some new technology and new features, but since the menus stayed the same between the two systems. There might be a few new buttons on the physical body as well but muscle memory doesn’t take long to build upon and the more you shoot with the new body the faster you will learn these new buttons and controls. Now as far as the actual photography work, nothing has changed since photography started over 100 years ago since the Exposure Triangle has not and never will change so you are good to go there.
Hopefully, after covering the items in this list and talking through them in detail you have a better idea on how to move forward when you reach the point where you are trying to decide on the switch to Mirrorless. As I mentioned earlier both Canon and Nikon will be phasing out the last of their DSLR gear in the next year or two and then the only thing left will be Mirrorless. The world of photography continues to evolve and the technology changes, but photography itself has remained the same.
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