i decided to write this blog post because of a question that I get asked constantly. No offense but this question is usually asked by people shooting with legacy camera brands such as Nikon or Canon. The question in general is always something like "Why do you shoot with a mirrorless camera?" Some might also ask specifically, why do you shoot with an Olympus camera?
To start with, I'm what I would call an advanced amateur photographer. I make pictures but I do not consider myself a professional and I don’t make a lot of money doing it. Why do I call myself an advanced amateur? It is because i’m always learning. Also, I’m relatively new to making pictures as I didn't start shooting with a purpose until about 8 or 9 years ago. My first “nice” camera was an Olympus PEN E-P1. I had thought about getting a camera off and on but one day I finally decided to pull the trigger and for some reason that was the camera that appealed to me. While I enjoyed that camera quite a bit, I knew nothing about sensors, focal length, aperture, ISO or shutter speed. I didn't even know that the E-P1 was considered a mirrorless camera. For the most part I was shooting with all the automatic settings.
Eventually I made my way up to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 which I loved even more. The image quality of that camera was great and I also loved the styleand the size of the camera. The only thing that broke me from that camera was the new (at that time) Olympus OM-D E-M1 that came out about a year or so later. I used that camera up until this year when I upgraded to the OM-D E-M1 mark ii.
Over the years I've tried some of the bigger full frame cameras that my friends use but for me the body and the lenses are just to big and bulky when compared to my camera. Also the image quality difference and the Bokeh is not really noticeable to me. Bokeh is always that subject that people bring up when comparing a full frame camera to crop sensor but for me and for the type of images I shoot, it's not a big deal. Besides I can get plenty of Bokeh with the right lens. (Try the Olympus 75mm f1.8 or the Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 and let me know what you think about the bokeh!) I've become used to the small compact size of my camera and for the type of shooting that I like it works out great.
I realize there are some benefits to shooting with a DSLR over a mirrorless but those differences are getting smaller and smaller. I’m not going to talk about those in this post but I will give you a few benefits of using a mirrorless camera.
With a mirrorless camera you have the options of focus peaking and focus point magnification. When you use these features the camera will highlight on the screen the parts of the image that are in focus. When shooting in manual, it almost eliminates the possibility of something being out of focus.
The lens size difference is huge. On a full frame camera a 600 mm lens for example, is a huge. No human can hold that lens for that long and get a decent shot and therefore a tripod is required in most cases. On my camera a 600 mm equivalent lens is slightly smaller than the Canon 80-200 lens. I can hand hold that lens all day. Also with the Olympus bodies have image stabilization built into the body which the advantage of being able to hand hold and shoot with most lenses regardless of if they have image stabilization built in.
A mirrorless camera can show you a live histogram in the viewfinder so you can see the effect it has as you adjust the settings. This is something that a DSLR cannot do. Also a mirrorless camera will show you an image preview in the viewfinder exactly as the image will be taken. You can adjust your exposure and see what will happen to the image before you take it. A mirrored DSLR cannot do that.
When traveling, I can take a body and up to 6 lenses, plus some accessories in a backpack. My full frame DSLR friends can't do that. To take the same equipment, it would require a suitcase and more. I can travel light and also take some equipment with my while hiking or just walking around the city without breaking my back.
Since mirrorless cameras are mostly digital, the manufacturer can do a software update and in some cases its almost like having a brand new camera.
I'm not here to rain on the parade of people who shoot with DSLR cameras, I just wanted to address those that keep asking me about mine. Shoot with whatever you want with, even it it’s an iPhone and if that works for you, then keep doing it. We all know deep down that a really good photographer can make great pictures with any kind of camera.
I would love to hear you comments