Full frame mirrorless was a fatal mistake… ?

Canon vs Nikon vs SonyCanon vs Nikon vs Sony

Recently the photography world has gone crazy over a post which “concluded” that full frame mirrorless camera is basically a “fatal mistake”. I read the article myself, though I must say I do agree with some of the points shared by the author, but I got to say the whole piece of writing irritates me a little. First is the continuous use of “professional” wording in the article. Full frame mirrorless are not just targeting professionals, it also serves the amateur and consumer market. Secondly is the lack of strong supporting facts to back his writings. At most I viewed it as a personal opinion of the author on why he choose not to use a full frame mirrorless, but it is not sufficient to turn to a conclusion that the full frame mirrorless was a fatal mistake like what the author was trying to present.

The author basically commented that the “advantages” of a full frame mirrorless cameras are basically:

  • Light weight and compact
  • Electronic View Finder (EVF)
  • Better image quality / In body image stabilization (IBIS)

As I was intended to write a comparison and comment about it, someone has done a very good write up which tackled the points from the original post. So, instead of doing yet another comparison write up, I will just voice out my view on this matter. I’m not a professional, hence my point of view is coming from an average consumer, or enthusiast if you may say.

First off, I have to agree with author that when it comes to “professional” glass and performance (I assume author is referring to those f/2.8 zooms and large aperture prime lenses), the size and weight advantages of full frame mirrorless does disappeared instantly as compared to DSLR. But honestly, I don’t think is fair to expect a small, light and “professional” glass for mirrorless system. End of the day, there are still limitation in physics and science on how much you can shrink the package while maintaining the optical performance. Perhaps things will change in the future, but as of now, I do agree with author that if you are looking for the so-called “professional” full frame camera system, the Sony full frame A7 series does not offer a great reduction of size and weight as compared to DSLR.

BUT, I’m not a professional. I can live without “professional” glass and performance. And as pointed out on the second link, there’s always a choice for smaller and more compact lenses for full frame mirrorless. In fact, one of the advantages of full frame mirrorless (well, in fact all mirrorless regardless of sensor size) is the ability to adapt lenses. They don’t necessarily yield bad image quality, hence it opens up a lot more possibilities than DSLR which usually can only mount their native lenses (other than the likes of Pentax DSLR).

EVF or live exposure preview is certainly something nice for mirrorless, but it’s not a necessity for everyone. In fact quite a number of DSLRs in the market are having pretty good live view shooting mode (like the EOS 80D), and it actually gives you live exposure preview. It really depends on how much you need this feature. Other than the Sony SLT series, other DSLRs are just offering Optical View Finder. Hence, if EVF is what you need, you simply don’t have much choices for now.

The point on IBIS will degrades image quality is the weakest of all. Author just speculate based on interview with some sales representatives and not providing enough supporting facts to back it up. I’m not expert in this area, I personally got no idea whether IBIS will degrade image quality. But if your concern is IBIS will introduce digital manipulation to your files to correct the corners and etc., I would suggest you to stop shooting digital from now on as I believe all digital files captured by your camera (doesn’t matter RAW or JPEG) contains digital manipulation and correction by the image processor.

To me, the full frame mirrorless system excels in allowing more flexibility in lens selections. The video function are still one of the best compared to DSLRs in the market. Yes they still lags behind in terms of shooting sports or following your subject (EVF blackout and lag), and the battery life is pretty weak compared to DSLRs. There are always pros and cons for you to juggle and decide whether this is the right camera for you or not. If it’s not the right camera for you, move on and look for something else. Something that’s not right for you doesn’t mean that it’s a failure. The world doesn’t revolves around you.

After reading through the original articles and looking at how the photography community responded towards the post, I can’t help but to think that:

  • The author simply wrote a provoking title to get more traffic into his post, and to get more attention from people on him.
  • The author has either failed to see, or choose not to see and selectively representing the “facts” to back up on his points on why full frame mirrorless was a “mistake”, while in actual fact it’s proven that his point is not completely true.
  • This is just another “Sony hating post” which we are seeing every other day.
  • Perhaps author just want to get more “likes” and popularity from the community, as he is praising the APS-C mirrorless system and trashing Sony under the Fujifilm forum.

That pretty much sums up how I feel about this incident. End of the day, it just shows how immature the photography community is. Like what I have shared previously, this incident really reflects on why I feel the photography community is sick. People are writing provoking articles online just to generate traffic to their website, and others do not make logical understanding towards what they read online and just followed blindly and started a brand war. It’s sad, really. If you are really a “professional”, let your picture do the talking instead. There’s always room for voicing your opinion or engaging a healthy discussion, but this is certainly not the best way to do it.

Let’s hope the community will grow and become better in days to come.

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