Last summer I spent time checking out mirrorless camera technology, and the decision as to if “owning a mirrorless camera” would be right for me became my focus. After reading a ton of material and looking at the pros and cons of “going mirrorless”, I decided I needed to truthfully examine “why” changing to a mirrorless system would make sense for me. The answer became fairly simple; I needed to reduce the “bulk and weight” of my photography equipment and yet maintain some if not all of the attributes that come with a full frame DSLR system. I was going to include a mirrorless system in my camera inventory.
The next decision was what camera and why. Sensor size became my next area of focus. Mirrorless cameras now come with full frame sensors, APS-C sensors and micro 4/3 sensors. Canon and Nikon had not yet made their new reported full frame mirrorless cameras available when investigating what was available, and I thought about waiting. The Canon mirrorless system, appeared to be a good choice being that, currently, I shoot with a Canon system and have a considerable investment in Canon equipment. However, my biggest concern with waiting and choosing the Canon mirrorless camera when it became available was, the weight and bulk savings would be minimal if any at all. Moving on, I researched Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus as their “high end” mirrorless cameras offered options and features that were close to the options and features of my current Canon system. My sensor decision was a micro 4/3’s camera. And I did want a camera with internal image stabilization.
Once settling on sensor size, the next important criteria for me was lens availability. Most camera manufacturers offer their own lenses, or lenses manufactured by a third party specific to their mirrorless cameras. Given that I had chosen a micro 4/3’s camera, I began researching lens availability that would fit my photography genre. I needed to consider that with a micro 4/3’s camera I need to double the focal length of the lens to arrive at the equivalent of a full frame camera lens. For example, a 40 – 150mm lens on a micro 4/3’s camera would be equivalent to a 80 – 300mm lens on a full frame camera.
Looking into that equivalency revealed both good features, and some not so good features, which is good blog topic for another day. I also wanted lenses that were professional quality, weather resistant, and had “in lens” stabilization. Please realize, the research was considerably more than identified herein. To go through all my research, interviews with other photographers, and the data I collected would mean this blog would be huge and not very interesting. So I am just hitting the highlights. I did purchase a mirrorless camera system, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark ll and have never looked back. It is an incredible camera with five stop internal image stabilization and more menu features than I probably will ever use. The menu system is somewhat intimidating when you first look at it, but with a little time experimenting with the camera you will master the settings that are appropriate for you. I also purchased a combination of lenses to include a 12 – 40 mm lens, a 40 – 150 mm lens, a 300 mm prime lens, and a 1.4 teleconverter. I will add additional prime lenses as my budget allows.