Camera Type Advice

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Hi,
I'm looking for a bit of help and advice if possible. I recently lost all my camera equipment in the Liverpool Echo Area Car Park Fire on New Years Eve. I was parked on the fifth floor and my car went the way of the other 1400 I'm therefore looking to replace it. I had a Canon 7D Mk1 and was looking to replace it with a 7D Mk 2. However, last year I attended a couple of workshops where the person running them used a mirrorless Fugi XT-2 and the results are really impressive. Also, I've seen the specs of the latest Panasonic G9 - however, I'm not sure about the Micro Four Thirds Sensor as it has mixed reviews especially in low light. My primary interest is wildlife, landscape and night photography (long exposure). Can anyone help me and provide a bit of advice on this?
Thanks.
 
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A couple of years ago I lugged 35lbs of Nikon gear to the Shetlands to take photos of among other things Puffins. I'm working up another trip this time to Ireland and have sworn to travel lighter. To achieve that I bought a Fujifilm X-E3 which is a 24 mp APS-C mirrorless similar to your workshop leader's Fujifilm XT-2. So far I like it and have sold some of my Nikon gear.
 
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Is weight important to you? Do you photograph BIF or other fast moving subjects when out photographing wildlife? If weight is not an issue, I would recommend staying with a DSLR as many mirrorless cameras still do not match up to premium DSLR's when it comes to continuous autofocusing and tracking. I shoot with mirrorless, full frame and APS-C and each system has its own advantages (and disadvantages). Also, how big is your output and your need to crop? A larger sensor is going to give you more to work with, but that may not be that important if you do not crop much and do not print big. I love my E-M1 and am quite happy with it for travel, but when things get moving or the light gets low, then I switch out accordingly. I prefer the right tool for the job at hand whenever possible.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

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Is weight important to you? Do you photograph BIF or other fast moving subjects when out photographing wildlife? If weight is not an issue, I would recommend staying with a DSLR as many mirrorless cameras still do not match up to premium DSLR's when it comes to continuous autofocusing and tracking. I shoot with mirrorless, full frame and APS-C and each system has its own advantages (and disadvantages). Also, how big is your output and your need to crop? A larger sensor is going to give you more to work with, but that may not be that important if you do not crop much and do not print big. I love my E-M1 and am quite happy with it for travel, but when things get moving or the light gets low, then I switch out accordingly. I prefer the right tool for the job at hand whenever possible.

Good luck,

--Ken
Can you provide a little more info on the pro/cons as represented by the current crop of cameras in each category as you see it?
I have a Canon 6D, and was debating getting a new Camera. So far my pocketbook says no... but my heart says yes...

Tim
 
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Can you provide a little more info on the pro/cons as represented by the current crop of cameras in each category as you see it?
I have a Canon 6D, and was debating getting a new Camera. So far my pocketbook says no... but my heart says yes...

Tim
Sure, I 'll give it a try. But do remember that I can only comment on the bodies/systems that I use. And, as I elaborate below, keep in mind the questions I initially asked above, as the answers to these will help when trying to understand the advantages/disadvantages of each system if you are in the market to switch/supplement/purchase new equipment.

m4/3rd's: I have now shot with Olympus and Panasonic bodies and lenses for about six years. I switched when I had health issues that prevented me from carrying my Nikon equipment. I thought the switch would be temporary, but I now use this gear as much, if not more than, my Nikon gear. The biggest advantages are the most obvious - size/weight/flexibility. Both companies make very compact bodies and lenses as well as premium gear where optics and quality take precedence over size. So, you can carry a basic kit in your pocket or you can pack a bag or pack with a bevy of bodies and lenses. The IQ, IMHO< is a step above 1" sensor cameras if you print large or shoot in lower light conditions, and is almost as comparable to APS-C cameras. And, if you pack a fast lens on a decent body, you can further negate some of the APS-C advantage without too much additional bulk. AF in normal lighting conditions on static subjects is pretty much instant (at least from most of the premium bodies/lenses). And if you have a good EVF, you get focus magnification and peaking when focusing. You can also easily see if an image is not clearly in focus, and this helps me when shooting close-up handheld photos. The lens selection is great and some premium Olympus bodies and lenses seem to do quite well in wet weather.

The two big downsides to this format are moving objects/C-AF and low light. Contrast AF systems keep trying to close the gap with respect to C-AF, but it is just not the same as a DSLR. Granted, a skilled photographer can bring home the money shot with either system, but beyond brand ambassadors, many who shoot action will probably not choose mirrorless like Olympus/Panasonic. Low light is also a challenge as there is no escaping the advantages of sensor size. Ye, I can shoot my E-M1 at ISO3200, but it is really at the limits, IMHO< and requires good NR techniques in PP. The "grain" structure of the noise is actually not bad on the E-M1, but it is still there. I try to limit the camera to ISO 1600 under normal circumstances when I can. I also need to mention that battery life is not the same with a mirrorless camera. It has gotten better, but not many bodies will give you more than 500 shots under normal conditions (and lots of action in a short period is not what I would call a normal condition). Think measuring in hours rather than shots.

APS-C: This is what I shot before using m4/3rd's (D300), and I just recently bought a D500, so it will be back in the line-up. My take on APS-C is that what you see, is what you get, mostly. It sits in the middle between FF and m4/3rd's, and IQ generally falls as such in comparisons. Two main things about this format. First, it can be found in both mirrorless and DSLR bodies, so really the comparison is not about sensor as much as it is about the body style. I am going to limit my comments to DSLR bodies as I have not shot with an APS-C mirrorless body, but I suspect that some of what I just said above will apply to those cameras. My take on APS-C cameras is that they serve two big markets. First, they are affordable (for entry-level bodies) for those wanting a DSLR. And second, and more importantly, they are a viable option for those who shoot subjects like wildlife and want the extra "reach". The D500, for example, give me many of the D5 features at a more affordable price point. And while it gives me more "reach" than the D5, it does not give me any more reach than the new D850, given the pixel pitch of the cameras. It is also an affordable way to get phase detection AF that generally give you better C-AF performance than contrast-based or hybrid systems.

Full Frame: At the cost of money (albeit less so these days) and size, you get all that a FF body can offer. A large sensor, shallow DOF if needed, and generally good low light performance. I have a D610 that I picked up form a friend a few years ago when he upgraded bodies, and it was an offer that I could not refuse. I like the camera for low light work, like nightclubs, or night shots, and the files seems to go on for ever and ever when I preview them for culling, but that is generally what you want. A lot of high quality pixels. While I like having this camera, I suspect that it is the least used of the bunch. Mostly because of size and the slightly uncomfortable grip. Still, having it available, especially for what it cost me, is great. As I said above, I like the right tool for the right job whenever possible. I'll wrap it up here as I could write numerous books on the issue. I am sure that others will have different experiences, and I would encourage you to take them under consideration as well before you make any decisions. And as always, YMMV.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

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Ken,

Nice write up. Thanks.
I am on the two extremes, and small Sony point and shot to carry in my pocket (actually almost never used) and a Canon 6D at the other end.
I think what I really want is not available. I want a full size sensor on a mirror less body.

Tim
 
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tspear

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Sure, I 'll give it a try. But do remember that I can only comment on the bodies/systems that I use. And, as I elaborate below, keep in mind the questions I initially asked above, as the answers to these will help when trying to understand the advantages/disadvantages of each system if you are in the market to switch/supplement/purchase new equipment.

m4/3rd's: I have now shot with Olympus and Panasonic bodies and lenses for about six years. I switched when I had health issues that prevented me from carrying my Nikon equipment. I thought the switch would be temporary, but I now use this gear as much, if not more than, my Nikon gear. The biggest advantages are the most obvious - size/weight/flexibility. Both companies make very compact bodies and lenses as well as premium gear where optics and quality take precedence over size. So, you can carry a basic kit in your pocket or you can pack a bag or pack with a bevy of bodies and lenses. The IQ, IMHO< is a step above 1" sensor cameras if you print large or shoot in lower light conditions, and is almost as comparable to APS-C cameras. And, if you pack a fast lens on a decent body, you can further negate some of the APS-C advantage without too much additional bulk. AF in normal lighting conditions on static subjects is pretty much instant (at least from most of the premium bodies/lenses). And if you have a good EVF, you get focus magnification and peaking when focusing. You can also easily see if an image is not clearly in focus, and this helps me when shooting close-up handheld photos. The lens selection is great and some premium Olympus bodies and lenses seem to do quite well in wet weather.

The two big downsides to this format are moving objects/C-AF and low light. Contrast AF systems keep trying to close the gap with respect to C-AF, but it is just not the same as a DSLR. Granted, a skilled photographer can bring home the money shot with either system, but beyond brand ambassadors, many who shoot action will probably not choose mirrorless like Olympus/Panasonic. Low light is also a challenge as there is no escaping the advantages of sensor size. Ye, I can shoot my E-M1 at ISO3200, but it is really at the limits, IMHO< and requires good NR techniques in PP. The "grain" structure of the noise is actually not bad on the E-M1, but it is still there. I try to limit the camera to ISO 1600 under normal circumstances when I can. I also need to mention that battery life is not the same with a mirrorless camera. It has gotten better, but not many bodies will give you more than 500 shots under normal conditions (and lots of action in a short period is not what I would call a normal condition). Think measuring in hours rather than shots.

APS-C: This is what I shot before using m4/3rd's (D300), and I just recently bought a D500, so it will be back in the line-up. My take on APS-C is that what you see, is what you get, mostly. It sits in the middle between FF and m4/3rd's, and IQ generally falls as such in comparisons. Two main things about this format. First, it can be found in both mirrorless and DSLR bodies, so really the comparison is not about sensor as much as it is about the body style. I am going to limit my comments to DSLR bodies as I have not shot with an APS-C mirrorless body, but I suspect that some of what I just said above will apply to those cameras. My take on APS-C cameras is that they serve two big markets. First, they are affordable (for entry-level bodies) for those wanting a DSLR. And second, and more importantly, they are a viable option for those who shoot subjects like wildlife and want the extra "reach". The D500, for example, give me many of the D5 features at a more affordable price point. And while it gives me more "reach" than the D5, it does not give me any more reach than the new D850, given the pixel pitch of the cameras. It is also an affordable way to get phase detection AF that generally give you better C-AF performance than contrast-based or hybrid systems.

Full Frame: At the cost of money (albeit less so these days) and size, you get all that a FF body can offer. A large sensor, shallow DOF if needed, and generally good low light performance. I have a D610 that I picked up form a friend a few years ago when he upgraded bodies, and it was an offer that I could not refuse. I like the camera for low light work, like nightclubs, or night shots, and the files seems to go on for ever and ever when I preview them for culling, but that is generally what you want. A lot of high quality pixels. While I like having this camera, I suspect that it is the least used of the bunch. Mostly because of size and the slightly uncomfortable grip. Still, having it available, especially for what it cost me, is great. As I said above, I like the right tool for the right job whenever possible. I'll wrap it up here as I could write numerous books on the issue. I am sure that others will have different experiences, and I would encourage you to take them under consideration as well before you make any decisions. And as always, YMMV.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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Hi Ken,
Thanks that is really useful. I nipped into a Camera shop today and went through the virtues of the Fuji T2 and Panasonic G9 with them. They put the T2 ahead for portrait and street photography but the G9 for Landscape and Wildlife. I don't do too much hand held low light. I normally use a tripod and long exposure. However, as luck would have it one of the local camera shops is having a series of 30 minute one-to-one demonstration sessions next week for the G9 so I've booked a slot.
 
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Hi Ken,
Thanks that is really useful. I nipped into a Camera shop today and went through the virtues of the Fuji T2 and Panasonic G9 with them. They put the T2 ahead for portrait and street photography but the G9 for Landscape and Wildlife. I don't do too much hand held low light. I normally use a tripod and long exposure. However, as luck would have it one of the local camera shops is having a series of 30 minute one-to-one demonstration sessions next week for the G9 so I've booked a slot.
It's great that you can try before you buy. Curious to hear your thoughts after your session.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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Yeah, then I have to replace my lenses also....
The problem is scope creep....
Not entirely, you could use a Metabones adaptor to mount your EF lenses on a Sony (pretty sure Johan mentioned that he does that sometimes). I'm considering getting one for the Olympus E-M1 MkII that I bought last year.

Pretty much the same path as Cletus, my Canon gear was just too heavy to carry all that I'd want, so I down-sized by trading in my APS-C 7D and a bunch of EF L lenses. Kept the FF 5D3 and a couple of EF lenses and bought the Olympus with a few good Oly and Panasonic (Leica) lenses. At the decision point, and looking for either MFT or APS-C mirrorless I checked out a few of the "likely" bodies.....I really wanted to like the Sony a6300 or 6500, but I just hated the feel of it. I ended up with the Oly, no regrets. Ken's summation is pretty good regarding MFT, but like him I tend to use it more than my FF Canon.
 

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@Jim Wilde
How do the adapters affect performance?
I do not have a lot of equipment, instead I just went for a few really nice pieces. e.g. Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM.
So maybe I should consider selling and switching.

Tim
 
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I think what I really want is not available. I want a full size sensor on a mirror less body.
The Sony A7 is exactly that. However, with a full frame sensor then you also have to have lenses that cover full frame. So basically a set of lenses the same size and weight as for your 6D.

If you really want to save weight then you need to go to a crop frame system like Fuji or Micro Four/Thirds.

-louie
 

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The Sony A7 is exactly that. However, with a full frame sensor then you also have to have lenses that cover full frame. So basically a set of lenses the same size and weight as for your 6D.

If you really want to save weight then you need to go to a crop frame system like Fuji or Micro Four/Thirds.

-louie
So far the weight does not bother me (except the spare tire around my waist). The reason I want mirror less is likely for a few rather specious reasons; and likely marketing.
1. With no moving parts, should be smaller.
2. Less potential for alignment issues. By not having moving parts, you need less structure to handle the normal bumps bounces... this makes it easier to make a smaller body.
3. Lighter weight so my wife and kids do not complain when they use the camera.
4. It is new.

By far, the last one is the big one :D Who does not like a new toy?

Tim
 

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I bought an A7 as soon as it came out and put a Voightlander manual 1.4 on it specifically for travel. A great small travel kit ..... but .......

I made a large list of practical issues I had with this version

No matter how I tried.... I found it impossible to use in a practical way when using auto focus lens. Whereas... the usability of my Canon gear was a dream.

I have just bought the A7r3 ...

It solves most of the issues I had with the A7. I really like how the autofocus works with native lens capturing people. I am still working on my workflow for landscapes. I nearly have the buttons configured to my taste. So far so good. I intend to replace my A7 with A73 as soon as it is launched for lots of reasons.... hopefully including
main specs of A7R3 but smaller sensor. It means I will share the same batteries, accessories, menu system and workflow.
 
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Hi Ken,
Thanks that is really useful. I nipped into a Camera shop today and went through the virtues of the Fuji T2 and Panasonic G9 with them. They put the T2 ahead for portrait and street photography but the G9 for Landscape and Wildlife. I don't do too much hand held low light. I normally use a tripod and long exposure. However, as luck would have it one of the local camera shops is having a series of 30 minute one-to-one demonstration sessions next week for the G9 so I've booked a slot.
Attended the demo yesterday. Very good and I'm sold. Not as light as I though but not as heavy as the Canon and it has a very solid feel. View finder image is crisp and clear and the focus points virtually cover the whole of the screen. Also, the issue with low light seems not be be a major problem. The Rep also showed an example of where he had shot a four second exposure hand held and the image stabilisation in the camera and lens worked really well. A large range of good lenses and the picture quality for those I reviewed was excellent.

Remote control is by an app on a smart phone but you can also buy a cable release as well. Demonstrator stated the cable was now redundant. However, I'm old fashioned enough to prefer not to have everything run through the phone. But I'll give it a try. By that you will have guessed I've ordered one.
 
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Attended the demo yesterday. Very good and I'm sold. Not as light as I though but not as heavy as the Canon and it has a very solid feel. View finder image is crisp and clear and the focus points virtually cover the whole of the screen. Also, the issue with low light seems not be be a major problem. The Rep also showed an example of where he had shot a four second exposure hand held and the image stabilisation in the camera and lens worked really well. A large range of good lenses and the picture quality for those I reviewed was excellent.

Remote control is by an app on a smart phone but you can also buy a cable release as well. Demonstrator stated the cable was now redundant. However, I'm old fashioned enough to prefer not to have everything run through the phone. But I'll give it a try. By that you will have guessed I've ordered one.
I think you might like Panasonic's app. It is among the better camera apps out there. Give a shout if you need any help with lenses. The system has a large number available.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

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bit late; however I have never regretted dumping the DSLR cameras and moving to the smaller mirrorless cameras; especially the EM D1 Olympus -- the new mark 2 would be even better with a 20mb sensor. The Oly is certainly the best camera I have used (40 + years)
 

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I do a mix of photography like most hobbyist. I have a mix of family shots where everyone is in focus.
Portrait and close in shots using a lot of bokeh, and then vacation landscapes.
Over 99% of my shots are with a 35mm prime lens, I rarely break out the telephoto lenses.

If I want to shed a lot of weight, I really have to abandon the full frame camera; therefore my question is, can I replicate the bokeh effects in Lr using a mirrorless crops sensor like the Fujifilm X-Trans?
 
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If I want to shed a lot of weight, I really have to abandon the full frame camera; therefore my question is, can I replicate the bokeh effects in Lr using a mirrorless crops sensor like the Fujifilm X-Trans?
Bokeh is a function of the Aperture not the sensor size. That said, you may need a faster lens to get the same Bokeh with a cropped frame. I have a Fuji X-E3 with a 23mm f/1.4 (35mm equivalent) I get almost the same results as I do with my D810 and a Sigma 35mm/f1.4. If the fuji lens were a 1.2 I think the bokeh would be equivalent to the Full Frame Sigma 35mm/f1.4
 
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In general, a 1.5 cropped sensor will give you one stop more depth of field when you use an ‘equivalent’ lens. So like Cletus said, a 23mm f/1.4 lens on a cropped camera will give a stop more DOF than a 35mm f/1.4 lens on a full frame camera. That means you would actually need an f/1.0 lens on the cropped camera to get the same bokeh. And that would kill off most of the weight advantage... It’s a compromise. For MicroFourThirds the factor is two stops.
 

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I already use 35mm at 1.4 for most of my bokeh shots. So I guess I am staying full frame and carry the weight until software can simulate the effect.
I did some Google searching for bokeh and Lr. I was not impressed with the current technique or effect.
Now to find out the cost of upgrading my camera body, and maybe getting another lens....

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