New Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Decisions 2018. Pros and Cons on All of them.

New Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Decisions 2018. Pros and Cons on All of them. 

By Steve Huff

Well here we are, September 2018 and soon we will have a slew of new mirrorless camera options unleashed on us, almost all at once. New Nikon Z Series. The new Canon EOS-R series. Possibly another new Sony and also a new Fuji. Even Panasonic is saying a full frame model is in the future for them, and for me that spells the possible beginning of the end for Micro 4/3.

I have felt for a few months that M 4/3 may be in trouble. Now that we have so many options coming in smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras that are all full frame, all fantastic in low light, all pretty quick in Auto Focus and all with pretty big names behind them…well who will be switching to M 4/3? I really do not know but do know Panasonic will have a long road ahead as they will have to create and all new mount and lenses for their full frame model.

The fact of the matter is, these new full frame cameras on the way are about the same size as a Micro 4/3 camera and in some cases smaller (Panasonic G9). Price wise, these full frame do it all models are not really that much more expensive. So Panasonic saying they will have a full frame camera in the future tells me they have to do this to compete with this new onslaught of mirrorless wonders. It makes perfect sense. With full frame we get better DR, better ISO performance, and even richer hardier files. The larger the sensor, the better the IQ. That has been my experience with some exceptions. I have actually always preferred Micro 4/3 to APS-C for some reason. The only APS-C camera I ever bonded with was the original Fuji X100.

Today is probably the most exciting time for digital imaging. After a couple of slow going years that brought us more of the same old same old (and left me bored in the way of new releases for the most part) here in 2018 we have some truly exciting things happening and wether you are a photographer, video pro or just call yourself a “Creator” you will have so many options that are all FANTASTIC in their own ways. The only thing we need is to decide what works best for us, our needs and what we shoot.

I will not bash any of these new models coming as all will be fantastic. 

The Nikon is not perfect. The new Canon doesn’t appear to be perfect. The Sony’s are not perfect and Fuji is not Perfect. None ever are but what they do offer us is massive choice! While the Nikon has a nice looking EVF and LCD, the Sony will focus a bit faster while having a lower res EVF and longer battery life. The Canon will have a swivel LCD screen and some really hot lenses where the Fuji will keep with the retro design and charm and the smaller APS-C sensor (which does limit it in low light).

Whatever it is you need or want a solution will soon be available to you if you indeed want to witch to mirrorless or upgrade your mirrorless. Some will be happy sticking with a DSLR. Me, after years of shooting Leica, and Sony Mirrorless I have been opening my mind more to DSLR’s, just as mirrorless is growing. It’s a funny thing but I truly love my 1dX MKII that I purchased not too long ago. It’s in the top cameras I have ever tested or used if I take into account all areas of photo or video and build. So even with mirrorless growing the doesn’t mean you have to dump your DSLR as those still work great as well. I have no plans to dump the 1dxII I just bought for a lesser camera, even if it has an EVF that I prefer to an OVF. Because what I have here works for my needs and at the end of the day, that is what matters most.

So all of these new cameras will be good, will sell well and will do the job for whoever chooses them. If one has loads of Nikon glass, and you have been wanting a smaller EVF camera then the Z6 or Z7 will do the trick. Canon? The new EOSR looks mighty nice as well, and with it’s dual pixel AF and overall features it looks to be a winner (though again, not perfect due to some missing things like IBIS and dual slots). The Sony’s are super popular and get tons of love these days after getting hate for years. Funny how that happens but I think it did because Sony listened to feedback and continues to do so. They listen to us, and implement what we want, and they have been doing this for years now.

So at the end of the day, these new FULL FRAME cameras will all be wonderful for whoever chooses them. Here is my take on what model may be the right one for you:

Nikon Z6 and Z7 may be for you if:

  1. You own Nikon glass and want a smaller, mirrorless EVF camera with great video to use your lenses on.
  2. Like those Nikon colors and control/ergonomics.
  3. Want a high res EVF and LCD.
  4. Just love and always have loved Nikon.
  5. Want a larger grip.
  6. Want to shoot 4K video
  7. You want IBIS
  8. You like having a top info display

Nikon Z6 and Z7 may NOT be for you if…

  1. You want the fastest AF you can get.
  2. You need dual card slots.
  3. You want long battery life.
  4. You want a large selection of native glass
  5. You need a swivel LCD

The Canon EOS R may be for you if:

  1. You own some Canon glass already and want to keep it!
  2. You enjoy Canons Dual Pixel AF (best AF for video I have used)
  3. You like the Canon color science.
  4. You want to start dabbling in 4k Video (with the fast AF, this is a great way to start)
  5. Want a swivel out LCD (only full frame model with this feature)
  6. Want a great vlogging setup
  7. You want a camera that will focus in near dark conditions
  8. You want that new and beautiful 50 f/1.2 or 28-70 f/2
  9. You like a simple menu system
  10. You want a top info display
  11. You like a deeper grip

The Canon EOS R may NOT be for you if…

  1. You need dual card slots
  2. You need IBIS (in body image stabilization
  3. You want a large selection of native glass

The Sony A7III may be for you if:

  1. You want a huge selection of native glass
  2. You want a mature system (Sony is 5 years ahead of the game)
  3. You shoot 4K video and Photo
  4. You want IBIS
  5. You want class leading battery life
  6. You want great AF speed and options
  7. You need dual card slots

The Sony A7III may NOT be for you if:

  1. You dislike Sony colors
  2. You dislike Sony menus
  3. You dislike Sony ergonomics
  4. You need a swivel LCD
  5. You want a top info display
  6. You want a deep larger grip

The bottom line here is that these cameras will all be great, and depending on your needs and wants, you should be able to find one that fits. Which one are YOU going for if you are switching or upgrading to a full frame mirrorless system?

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91 Comments

  1. Only time will tell what happens to M43 – market forces can be unpredictable! I’m a wildlife photographer and really appreciate the ‘reach’ of lightweight lenses, such as the Pan/Leica 100-400 mm. I also use many other ‘special’ features of my E-M1 Mk.ii, such as in-camera stacking for macro work. I feel I would lose a lot, if I had to switch to so-called ‘full-frame’.

    Of course, full frame bodies can be very small – remember the Rollei 35? A digital version of one of those would appeal to me, especially if it had an interchangeable lens mount: Leica M, say.

  2. Weather sealing has always kept me from jumping from Olympus to Sony. I crave full frame low light performance but I consistently shoot in brutal environments and weather and love how care free Olympus weather sealing allows me to be. The introduction of canon and Nikon mirrorless systems is exciting if they can deliver trustworthy weather sealing and a nice selection of glass. Honestly I love the small size and weight of lenses like the oly 40-150. Personally I would be head over heels for an oly medium format system. Both m43 and MF produce the same image ratio and I can easily see me self packing a light m43 system for long glass and a Mf system for wide and portrait primes. That would be a dream set up for me, especially if oly produced a mf system with the tank like build and weatherproofing of their current pro gear.

  3. APS is the more likely eventual casulaty?

    What APS cam provides better output than premium m43s?

    M43s can still provide a tiny lens alternative w really good IQ

    Pro lenses w awesome quality….tiny lenses w really really good quality

    If there is a market for small/lightweight..m43 is the apparent choice

  4. Since I’m shooting Fuji, I don’t have any skin in the game for Sony or the new cameras. One thing that seems to be missing in the YouTube feature comparison lists is weatherproofing.

    I shoot in all weather and just can’t do Sony. A friend set his A 7II down in a very shallow rain puddle and bricked his camera. I set my X-T2 down beside it and had no problems. From what I’ve read the A 7III isn’t any better. Canon and Nikon cameras have good reps for water and dust sealing. Their service network is excellent, too. Those kinds of features aren’t as sexy as FPS, but are vital for me.

  5. Micro 4/3rd and APS-C (especially Fuji’s) will remain relevant. Photographers switched to these formats from DSLR’s because of the size and weight of the bodies and the lenses. Well the full frame mirrorless bodies and lenses are heavier than both M 4/3 and Fuji APS-C. The lenses are a lot bigger too unless you go with manual focus. Even compared to the equivalent DSLR set up I find the mirrorless full frame lenses to be the same size if not a little bit bigger than the DSLR equivalent. So if the switch to mirrorless was due to size and weight I think most m 4/3 and APS-C users will get a Sony A7iii and get turned off by the size, weight and cost of the glass. I did. I bought a Sony A7iii and ended up going with Loxia Lenses because the autofocus glass is so huge. Even now I find the camera too heavy compared to my Fuji XT-2 and Olympus OMD-EM 1 Mk 2. So never count the little camera out. Always a place for a light and discrete set up.

  6. I did not read the other 80 posts but I do not think M43 is in trouble. The much smaller size in glass is significant. Many of the lenses have wonderful rendering and the sensor on the Panasonic is more than adequate for many purposes. I love the Panasonic G9 body – camera bodies can get too small and I had to add a grip to my Sony A7R to make it comfortable to carry. I think that APS-C cameras are in bid danger as the glass is not significantly smaller than full frame. I flushed my Sony A7R full frame and Leica M and SL system for Panasonic G9 and Pana and Olympus glass and recently pulled trigger on amazing images of Hasselblad X1d system. I have finally found delight in digital.

  7. It will be interesting to see how Nikon uses the in body 5 axis image stabilization and the new larger z mount to create lighter weight lenses without image stabilization, that will act to reduce overall weight of the Z6 and 7. Although Sony introduced in body stabilization in its A7RIII, it still pairs with the large array very heavy Sony stabilized lenses built for non stabilized cameras. My A7RIII with my 24-105 stabilized lens weighs a ton and it is a poor ergonomic combination without the added weight of an additional hand grip.

    I’ll be comparing the 2 cameras at an in store demonstration at Kenmore cameras on Friday. It will be interesting to see the weight and handling differences.

  8. You don’t think Leica is in the future but in the past. Agree, can’t think easily in going for one of them, not only because the price

    • Leica makes beautiful cameras. NO question. No other camera besides the X1D, IME, has the build, feel and beauty of a Leica. They still have the best EVF I have ever looked through 3 years after launch of the SL (though that will change soon). They are for a different kind of photographer. One who takes one shot at a time (me), one who uses a camera as a tool to create life memories and appreciates minimalistic design and UI. They also provide a unique look with their color and allow us to use tiny jewel like lenses that offer looks and renderings that we can not get from other lenses (Voigtlander 35 1.2 for example). Leica is a Niche camera company and will never ever be mainstream like Sony or Canon or Nikon. I doubt they would ever want to be. I will always be a Leica fan but one needs deep pockets or high limit credit cards to enjoy what they have to offer. They are beautiful though, The SL for example is built on a whole other level from something like the Sony A9 and works so well with M mount lenses from any manufacturer. It’s also so much more satisfying to use and has better IQ and color. So they do make amazing cameras.

      • For someone using Oly and Pana w pro lenses…and very happily so:

        If I wanted an exotic gadget to scratch that itch, would you suggest the SL or the Hassey?

  9. I have been using 135 format for a long time, I sold it in favour of the smaller the contacts T2, which is by the way also a 135 camera. I have been using a 6×6 camera before.
    Now about eight years ago I switched to the M4/3 format. Of course with it’s smaller sensor the image quality is lagging behind a bit, but by no means its image quality is not sufficient. Quality can be better, as can with the 135 format.
    I love trekking in nature, where the 135 weight is too much of a burden.

  10. My thought is that full-frame will be the standard size for the foreseeable future even in consumer level cameras. And medium format will be where most professionals go. Technology doesn’t stop and I see the processors in these cameras being able to handle the medium format sensors the way they handle full-frame sensors now.

  11. For certain we live in interesting times, not just for the many photographic options available to all, but also for the diversity and devision in options this creates.

    I am no apologist of M4/3 but I disagree with a number of priori assumptions that FF is the most desirable and standard format. Equally and it my opinion the reduction size and weight differentials between FF and M4/3 does not diminish the attraction of M4/3.

    I use FF and m4/3 and I never think about either weight or format. I suspect if I did it would be the need to convince myself of something to justify another expense. Again personal opinion but we all know that there are differences between formats when you push the envelope hard enough, but right up until you hit that threshold, it is just perceived advantages and not really about the camera. I mean , just reading certain other review sites some are claiming there cell phone is good as APSC…….. Congratulations to the master marketing puppeteer, marionette take a bow!

    • Well this is about the new full frame mirrorless cameras ; ) I have written so much on the SL many were getting tired of it! The SL for me series one purpose. Gives me a body to shoot M mount lenses on, and offers a great UI and feel. It will lose though in high ISO/low light to these newer cameras as well as those who want uber high speed AF. Also, video specs go to these newer bodies. Even so the SL is to me, the best and most versatile Leica digital body made.

  12. Hi!

    I went to a rock concert with an Olympus PEN EP5 (5 axis image stab) and the stupid 40-150mm f/5.6 plastic zoom which cost me $60 used. No photographs were allowed so I put myself discreetly in the back, shooting five second bursts and keeping the camera hidden.

    Folded in, this lens is 60mm (2 1/2 inches) long.

    I put everything on AUTO, limiting ISO to 3200 I think, one stop underexposed and on 3FPS continuous.

    Autofocus was perfect and immediate except in pitch dark.

    Every single shot was perfectly exposed, colors were intense and gorgeous.

    So, MFT done for? I should think not! Rather, it’s unique.

    Imagine what one can do with the serious MFT lenses!!!

    Bye,

    Dirk.

  13. What is ‘full frame” anyway?

    It is simply a hangover from the days of 35mm film.

    Perhaps more exciting is something like the Fuji GFX-R that is coming. A sensor 70% larger than “full frame” in a camera not much larger than a Leica M perhaps? I can get excited about that.

  14. RIP m43, I loved you when you were new, now I moved on to full frame, based on raw qualities I can never go back. It was a good thing we had but sadly, this is it. Goodbye..

    • Exactly my experience. Moved from GX7 16mpx m43 system (with best available m43 glass) to Sony A7M3 24mpx FF (with non-GM 35mm+55mm+85mm primes) because m43 could simply not cope (indoors) with my 2y old daugther.
      After my first CaptureOne RAW session I was 100% sure I would never shoot a non FF again.
      I do miss the portability of the m43 but, for my shooting purpouses, the superior DR, IQ, low-light indoor performance and outstanding eye-AF of my current Sony FF setup far outweigth the portability inconvenience.
      Before I tought the sentence “m43 is for those than cannot afford FF” was a presumptuous statement… I don’t think like that anymore ;-), I would rather say “FF is for those that prioritize IQ above all”

  15. As and Olympus and Canon shooter, I’ll make the following observations. I use the Olympus as a “toy” – adapting legacy lenses, video, and snapshots. It’s handy for family outings, vacations and loaning to relatives. The Canon strikes me as a “real” camera and since I don’t mind the weight and love the performance, I see no reason other than GAS to move to mirrorless. Were I to make a change, I think I would move to the Fuji medium format offering or possibly the Hasselblad. While the bodies are a bit of a step up, the lenses and budget breaking and a good reason to stick with full frame DSLR’s.

  16. Like many of the people posting, I still like micro 4/3 as an option even with full frame cameras coming out.

    My view is with m4/3 you can have better IBIS, higher FPS both in stills and video in a small body and lens.

    If someone can afford it, they can have m4/3 and full frame while skipping APS-C completely. I shoot Olympus EM10iii and Sony A7riii. Small compact when needed and optimal IQ when need.

    Hopefully enough people see it the same way to keep the m4/3 standard alive.

  17. Zeiss: give us something like the Leica Q, but with interchangeable lenses and a Sony 45mpx sensor and I will sell my soul and my blood for that camera.

  18. “I have felt for a few months that M 4/3 may be in trouble. Now that we have so many options coming in smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras that are all full frame, all fantastic in low light, all pretty quick in Auto Focus and all with pretty big names behind them…well who will be switching to M 4/3?”

    The main reason I moved from a Nikon DSLR to a Sony A7R3 was to get away from a big heavy body and larger lenses. Why would I want to get a 28-70 that weighs 1.5kg? M4/3 like a Pen F would be very tempting given the tiny, lightweight lenses.

    FF mirrorless suits me, but I think there is a future for M4/3 provided it stays small and lightweight.

    • I agree. The M4/3 size/weight advantage over a DSLR is quite clear. The competition for FF Mirroeless is the DSLR, and with similar size and weight, I’m not sure why anyone with a high-end Nikon or Canon DSLRwould want to switch (especially given the substantial costs).

    • Proabably the new Pannasnoic FF will come with an adaptor so that you can travel with little light lenses when it suits you- good for travel and family photos, and scale up to an FF lens when you want it. I can see myself doing this since I can keep my m43 glass, add a 28 and 50 and that’s me done! Olympus will have to do the same to stay relevant

  19. My oponion is that a lot of photo enthousiast and photo bloggers or vloggers forget that in even in the early days of photography photographers were able to take beautiful photos. Today a one year old camera is alreday obolete because a new one is entering the arena with even more megapixels, etc, etc. It sounds like a mesage which is telling ‘you can only shoot good pictures with a full frame’. I regret this short sighted view.

    Further on I disagree that a m43 camera and its system is ‘behind’ a full frame or the so called new ones. Perhaps the Mirrorless cameras of the ‘superior’ full frames are smaller than there DSLR’s, there lenses are not. I even see an increaing in size and weight of those full frame lenses. In total the weight can be a heavy burden during a 1 day shooting or during a holiday. A lot of those full frame users will than lurking to there smartphones.

    I regret that there is a majority still think that only a full frame camera is capable of shooting good photos. They forget that each system has its own benefits.

    M43 can shoot astonishing and high quality photos. There are photo professionals who do use m43-system. The quality can be better than there clients are asking for. And yes you can make beautifull and big prints with the m43-system. And yes we all know that a fullframe sensor will always be better than a smaller sensor. But the sensor technology and the software behind it is improving too.

    Rick Ebli (who seldom use higher than 800 iso)

    • It’s not that people think that “only” a full frame camera can take good pictures. Lots of cameras can take “good” pictures. Lots of smartphones can take good pictures, for that matter. However, the fact remains that there’s nothing an M43 sensor can do that a full frame sensor can’t do better.

      • @Doug Frost “However, the fact remains that there’s nothing an M43 sensor can do that a full frame sensor can’t do better.”

        We need to take the whole picture into account though. Like the M43 system having the best IBIS and can offer new features like 4k60 without overheating (no FF mirrorless camera has it).

        So the smaller sensor leads to some additional advantages besides the obvious weaknesses.

  20. At first I was interested in the Nikon Z7. My enthusiasm has cooled a lot since I’ve read the fine print and seen some samples online. The jury is still out, but so far I’m not impressed. The camera I’m most interested now is actually the upcoming Zeiss full frame camera with fixed prime, to be announced on Sept. 27th. It sounds kind of like the successor to the Sony RX1RII, but from Zeiss. They claim the lens design is totally new.

  21. Where is the ‘rangefinder style’, that is, quite compact, fullframe camera like the fujifilm x-e3 that takes Leica M glass (even wide angle)?

  22. I understand the ff movement. Still, micro four thirds does what I need. I print no bigger than 11X14 normally. While not a pro, my cameras pay for themselves plus a little. One of the ways they do this is shooting long. shooting 800 equivalent and needing 60 fps to capture the strike when shooting raptors to catch the strike nothing compares with micro four thirds. Light enough to shot handhold and move to any position needed. No full frame and gimbal mount compares and the cost of a Wimberly & tripod is more than a EM1 II and adds so much weight. It may be a niche market, but there is a place for micro four thirds for awhile imo. But then I like a TL2 because the TL took me back to my early days (large format) and it has an IQ I love in a small package I love. Although it is also a niche as I only have 3 lenses and want no more. Not arguing the success and growth of ff mirrorless. That is obvious. I just feel there is a place for the other choices. Perhaps a smaller place with the market contracting. With a 1.5 crop factor there may still be a place for aps with 24 mp sensors as it would take 54mp to crop the same out of it for long lenses. And there are some limitations with higher mp sensors. If the size of each pixel is the same, then some of the ff benefits disappear, so perhaps Canon and Nikon will keep an aps choice for those pros who need to shot long. Depends on sensor development. I may be all wrong, but it is something to think about. in film, 35mm was always inferior (in IQ) to 645 film and many magazines and stock companies required medium format. But the advantages of the small system in faster lens and longer lenses won over eventually for most people. Remember, it has been 3 years since Olympus patented a F0.7 auto focus design. If they follow up on their patent, there may be a place for fast lenses in the future.

  23. Steve,
    Yes, I have also been thinking M 4/3 is coming to an end, which is sad because the E-M1 Mk II is such a good camera (focus, etc.), especially compared to a Mk I. It changing times, but the SL will continue as my primary. Thank you again for the insight regarding the SL
    You mentioned regained interest in DSLR cameras. With the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 in hand, do you have any thoughts of giving the Df another try?
    Thanks again,
    Jerry

      • Hey Steve, you are correct regarding not wanting yet another body. I just need to decide which low light Voigtlander lenses to get for the SL:
        definitely the 58mm, but then the 40mm (lighter, but closer to the 58mm) or the 35mm (heavier, but slightly further from the 58mm). Are you happy with your 35mm (over the 40mm) decision?

  24. For me the issue isn’t, or isn’t simply sensor size, or an absolute, bench-measured notion of IQ. I’m an enthusiastic, not super competent amateur, and what I want is to optimize four traits: IQ, weight (more than size), cost, and ergonomics, by which I mean comfort and pleasure in use.

    FF wins on IQ, and depending on the brand, pegs level on ergonomics. Size/weight is interesting, as a FF and primes comes close enough to the weight of a Fuji rough-equivalent and isn’t all that far off at least some versions of the M43 analogue. But once you look at zooms, especially the consumer zooms I take hiking with me, smaller formats become much more back-country friendly, at least for my 60 year old bones.

    Cost? Fuji APSC — my current system, mostly, as my m43 stuff has been gathering dust for about a year — is half or less what current FF mirrorless goes for: XT-2 at a sale price of $1,100, and the X-E3/X-T20 at around eight or nine hundred, depending on the latest rebate hijinks.

    Ergonomics–I like the Fujis, haven’t fully grokked my friend’s Sony A7 S2, but could probably get used to it, and liked Nikons back in the film days, so I’m less bothered by the details than by what just feels best in the hand, and that’s a case by case thing.

    So, for me and only that, Fuji continues to be a sweet spot for me: I can (as I did last month) hike at high altitude w. a body (my X-T1, for now), two XC zooms and the 27mm pancake — and well into golden hour I never felt limited by light gathering issues, nor did I feel overburdened, and as so much of that shooting was about deep depth of field, the aperture/dof issues of smaller formats didn’t get in my way.

    IOW: Horses for courses.

  25. Hi!

    Since Olympus have filed a lot of patents for a full frame system with camera and lenses the last few years I have to wonder if they plan to compete with Sony. I dismissed these thoughts a year ago, but after seeing Panasonic going Full Frame, I have to wonder. What if Panasonic and Olympus would continue to share lens mount and go FF?

    I would love to see Panasonic and Olympus share a FF mount and get a good range of FF lenses out there together. It would steal the thunder from other brands if they released, say four great lenses each in different sizes and with a common mount.

    With Panasonic, Sony, Nikon and finally Canon in the FF mirrorless market, it would be safe to say that the industry as a whole is moving in that direction. But with FF comes larger bodies and lenses, which is taking away the benefit of the M43 philosophy. It is easy to forget that these small-sensorbased systems actually have a lot of things going for them.

    I am curious, is there a market for a Olympus “EM-2” FF and a Leica-look a like “Pen-F+”? Surely, a sweet FF Pen-F would excite you Steve?

    Would you guys buy in to it? Would you trade in your EM1-mkII or keep two parallell systems?

    • With Panasonic doing it, Olympus scan not be too far behind. They will have to in order to survive as everyone will start jumping on the Canon, Nikon and as they have been, Sony bandwagon over M 4/3. If Olympus does do it, I am sure it will be spectacular.

      • I love the design of the Pen-F but I could not justify buing it as an amateur who already owns the EM-1 MkII. A Pen F+ with FF mount would be hard to resist though. I would love to adapt my Voigtländer lenses for Leica-M to an Olympus FF Pen-camera…

        Cheers!

    • But how big would the lenses be?

      The Oly pro lenses are not small…but still smaller than full frame lenses..AND you can still use some pretty great quality tiny m43 lenses like the Panasonic 20 or oly 12….etc

    • Bravo- u r right. And no one can tell the diference on a Screen/ Print-out
      Who really needs FF? And Next Generation aps c & m53 will be as good as FF today. What do you need more.
      Advantage of samaler Sensor: Wildlife (Zoom) !!!

  26. What’s interesting to me is that full frame 35 is not the most useful format for new systems. And yet so much attention is given to it. Mind you, for legacy lenses (and systems like the M) it does make sense.

    Fuji’s X-Trans sensor is amazingly good, and I’d take it over any FF35 sensor from anyone, save for the A7rIII for high-res mode.

    I’m also looking forward to Sony’s next pro APS-C camera. Should be fun!

    All IMHO.

    • Fuji X-Trans is based on Sony APS-C sensors with some twists and a filter array that was first introduced to allow suppressing the AA filter and avoid moiré in stills…besides it proved not to be as effective for video at the beginning.
      Fuji colors and color simulations are not an exclusive of X-Trans as the original Fuji X 100 proves as it uses a Bayer sensor.
      Having no AA filter allowed Fuji marketing to say their sensors could offer IQ compared to “some” FF sensors, but times did change and most Bayer sensors nowadays use not AA filters and this takes the sharpness advantage claimed by Fuji when they launched X-Trans.
      Not questioning Fuji cameras IQ it seems that the initial marketing arguments don’t fit market reality as by the time X-Pro 1 came in and as matter of fact Fuji continues to use Bayer sensors in some of their models including the Mediu Format GFX, and there are no talks about the colors from these cameras being worse or not being “Fuji colors”.

  27. I love my Oly Pro lenses so much and am completely happy w the bodies I use them on. If I suspect that m43 may go away, I would buy a few of the best m43 bodies and store them safely unboxed so I would never be without the ability to use my Oly 25 1.2, Oly 45 1.2, Oly 7-14 2.8 and Oly 12-100.

    I’m a gear junkie and will end up buying other stuff I don’t need I’m sure…but I just adore these Oly Pro lenses.

    • Totally agree the Olympus pro line is really awesome. I have the the f2.8 lenses but would love to get the f1.2.

      Now if m4/3 could start shooting native iso100 I would consider dumping my full frame stuff because the size/weight/IQ would be good enough matched with fast Olympus glass.

  28. great compare Steve, thanks.
    Well, it will be the battle of FF-MILC this autumn! For sensor-cleaning aspect, it is better to choice Canon! Dust on the Sensor is killing the AF!!! You have to clean much more!!
    Nikon technical say that MILC need more attention to dust! Dust interfere the AF-system!!! Hm,…. is MILC real the solution…. against DSLR…..???

  29. We don’t know that the Panasonic system will use a new mount, do we? Panasonic already uses the EF mount on their EVA-1 and they have a tight partnership with Leica so it could use an SL mount. Panasonic also seems less exclusive in their lens mounts and they could negotiate with Samyang, Sigma, Tamron, and possibly Zeiss to bring their lenses to whatever mount Panasonic uses from day 1—something Nikon said they won’t do and Canon is unlikely to do as well. I’m a long time Sony shooter and unlikely to switch but of the three new systems Panasonic is the most intriguing (although Canon seems to have gotten a LOT more right than I thought they would!)

  30. So, that’s the answer to my earlier reply. Panasonic too will be into the full-frame business soon. Maybe at maxi four thirds (36x27mm) 🙂
    I do not understand however the idea that everybody will change to full-frame. For many people APS-C (at 24mp) and mft (at 20mp) is more then enough. Smaller form factor and having great quality. And do not forget the investment in lenses and equipment already made! So, I believe there will be at least 3 future options; APS-C/mft, full-frame and large sensor.

  31. Wow! Steve your assessment here is SPOT ON! I too have been considering a move to either the 1DX or the D850 not to replace my A7III but as a secondary kit for shooting variety. Today’s camera landscape feels like 33 flavors of ice cream with so many delicious choices, its impossible to be stuck on just one ;)Now if only Olympus joins the FF MILC movement with a FF version of the E-M1 MKII, my G.A.S. may very well be satisfied … at least for a time 😉

  32. With regards the end of M43, where is the “full frame” 600mm lens that is as small as the Olympus 300mm with the same image quality, or the 80-300mm f2.8 with the same image quality. I could list other lenses also. So whilst full frame cameras may compete on body size and short f1.8 lenses they are still large when it comes to telephoto and f2.8 zoom lenses. Don’t get me wrong I have owned and still own a mix of M43, APSC and Full Frame (not full frame any more), but I really believe that each format has a useful and valid reason for owning, and needn’t be at the expense of the others.

    • Was just about to write the same thing. All major sites praises the smaller size of the mirrorless full frame cameras but almost no one talk about the heft of the glass for those cameras. What good is a smaller camera body if the the glass is just as heavy as on regular DSLR full frame bodies? Many carry multiple lenses but not multiple bodies hence the weight savings on the body is almost negligible. I get why full frame lenses can’t be made smaller and lighter in terms of physics.

    • It is much easier to make smaller lenses with good optical quality than bigger lenses required for 35mm format. Some people may stress that you also can use a high MP FF camera plus a shorter, lighter lens, and crop to get about the same image. But I agree with you, I think if the M43 systems would die it would be a real loss for us customers. I still hover around FF cameras and carry big tele lenses, when I go for wildlife (often for pretty some miles), but always have the idea in mind that I’ll change to a lighter M43 gear when I get older. I think M43 is perfect for seniors in particular, besides younger users who simply prefer a small, light system. So I hope it’ll survive.

  33. Very helpful posting, Mr. Huff, to sort out things in these exciting times. Here is a question of a Canon gear user: is it already sure that the EOS-R will have no in-camera IBIS? Well, I personally do not need it too much (but I wouldn’t mind having it), since I still use also vintage cameras made in times when Ibis was a bird. But Canon would set themselves a little bit back, compared with the competition. On the other hand, without IBIS it is easier to connect the sensor thermally well with the body, so it does not heat up so quickly when shooting videos.

  34. 3/4, APSC (Fuji) or full format, in digital, this is judged on the files, it should even be done blindly, compare without knowing the device used.
    If the boxes are of equivalent sizes, it is not the same objectives, with the full size, it is bigger and heavier, who we do!
    Zeiss also arrives, and probably others, we start from scratch…
    p.s.. Fuji (and Panasonic) states that the IBIS has a negative effect on the images in low light.

  35. Funny, one week ago the Nikon was a non-starter because of the one slot. Now that canon has followed its only a minor negative. If Sony comes out with a single slot I guess it will morph into a plus?

    • It’s also listed as a negative in the Nikon. NO one ever said MINOR here, only you did. Remember that. Both single card slots are listed in the “why you may NOT want”… for the Nikon and Canon. This was not an evaluation of ANY of these cameras, just pointing out the pros and cons of each system, which is factual and correct here.

  36. I just have to laugh a bit. Steve- Its fun to see your re-introduction into DSLRs. They are big, heavy, and they just work, oh so well! 😉

    DSLRs still have the edge in my comparison (I don’t do video) but mirrorless have their place. I’ve shot Nikon DSLRs since 2002 and still shoot a D800 because honestly, the incremental updates really haven’t been so large that I felt I needed a new camera. I did almost buy a D5 – oh I love that thing. Just amazing what it just does without struggling. Once the D800 dies, it will probably be a 850 or a Z7 (or whatever comes next) but probably the Z7 if there aren’t big decreases in performance – and hopefully I can adapt some really old glass to it. Having over 50 Nikkor lenses helps keep my loyalty to Nikon. The files and performance from Full frame systems (especially Nikon) have in my eye always outperformed all the mirrorless systems out there. Owning and using a top DSLRs system is different than those who just “test” them. Add the Flash system Nikon (and Canon) have, I just can’t move from DSLRs yet. Yes, if one knows what they are doing, you can make anything work, but Nikon and Canon’s flashes are so much easier.
    That said, I bought a used Olympus Pen-F with the 12/17/25/45 primes and love that little thing. I almost bought a Fuji (have, still love x100, and I love Fujis colors) but the key advantage the M4/3rds has, is the closer focus of equivalent focal lengths and the size/weight. That is what pushed me to the PEN-F – with Travel and portraits, I’m always struggling with the close focus limits and the kit size. FF mirrorless, is still big and the lenses are basically the same cost and size of DSLRS. That will not can not (due to the laws of physics) change with any full frame mirrorless system. For my equivalent of my PEN-F, Fuji is 50% more expensive, Sony A7s is double, and Nikon is 230% more in cost. Let’s not kid anyone, cost is a huge factor. That’s why Sony never appealed to me, adapting glass is not the same as using everything in-system. Nikon and Canon have the huge lens lineups and other than IBS, I don’t see the big advantage really, over DSLRs.
    They are all tools and I’ll keep shooting both – choosing whichever depending on the the goal. Full frame for art and anything major, M4/3rds for family, travel and spur moments. I do hope 4/3rds sticks around, but I am looking forward to seeing the Nikon getting put through it’s paces.

  37. Steve, a great comparison article. But don’t write off Micro Four Thirds just yet. With decent light, the image quality is there. I’ve sold centerfolds for slick magazines, and no one questioned the format. Meanwhile, as is often remarked, you can make a full-frame camera small, but you can only go so far with the lenses, as a matter of physics. One of my favorite set-ups for field sports is the Olympus OM-1 MK2 with the 100-400 Leica-Panny zoom. Don’t try to duplicate that reach (400 to 800mm equivalent) with full frame! I’m taking a long trip this fall, and plan to take two G9s, with the Oly 12-40/2.8 on one, and the 35-100 2.8 on another. No lens changing, just a wide camera and a tele camera. Compare with a 24-70 2.8 zoom and the 70-200 2.8 zoom on the smallest FF mirrorless. Those big lenses scream “photographer here!” while the M43 is discrete as an amateur with at point and shoot. I just weighed a a7riii with f/4 24-105 and f/4 70-200: 5 1/2 pounds. G9 with the 2.8 zooms, 2 1/4 pounds. Plenty of room for the 75mm 1.8. Micro four thirds will endure, based on reach and size.

    • Hello Phillip, well, it’s not me thats writing them off, it’s the sales numbers and enthusiasm. Today the enthusiasm is shifting to full frame mirrorless without question. Less and less talk of M 43 and less and less are buying them. This means it will be hard for M 43 to stick around as these companies can not operate at a loss. I love M 43, I own two bodies and a few pro lenses. My son uses my EM1 MKII all the time. But the writing is and has been on the wall for some time now.

      • Is the IQ not good enough? & what about wildlife…
        WISE PEOPLE LIKE YOU COULD SAVE M43 – just because it makes sense & because you do not just follow the FF hype!

        • I do not follow hype, in fact, I use cameras most have trashed! Leica SL, Hasselblad X1D, etc. I just go by reality. Full Frame is better in low light, in dynamic range, in color depth, etc. Now that more options are coming, more and more will go to it. Many today are using their camera for video over photo, and I will go further and say more are using these camera for video than photo. It’s all out there to see the trends and what is happening. These full frame mirrorless offers tremendous video options and epically Canon with the dual pixel Af and swivel screens. People will not buy $1600-$2200 Micro 4/3 bodies when they can get full frame and better performance in a similarly sized package for the same or less. There’s also a reason the point and shoot is dead. Our phones came along and did the same thing, only better. As I said, I still own a ton of Micro 4/3 gear, and love it as I always have. But sadly most do not feel the same, some do, but most are going full frame.

    • I mention Fuji here in this but the post here is more about full frame mirroelss which will be the hot ticket for the next few years. Fuji has the XT-3 coming, APS-C. They have no plans to go full frame.

      • Steve: Thanks again for the interesting article.

        I am curious: I have read in a few places that sales of various digital cameras have fallen by up to 80%. Many travelers have updated to better cell phones with much improved cameras.While such cell phone cameras are not as good as mirror-less cameras, for many sharing photos on the various web sharing sites no better camera is needed.

        At the price point for these new mirror-less cameras and lenses-and more mirror-less cameras in the works-how will all of the manufacturers survive?

        • Sales of point and shoots have fallen by that much but mirrorless sales are up, way up. Most who buy these are not buying them for facebook photos. Most but these today for 4K video, vlogging and youtube, and more serious photos. Sony is up every single year, and they sell A LOT of cameras ; )

    • * Small and lightweight lenses and bodies
      * Fuji colors
      * Fuji Ergonomics
      * No need for best of the best spec-wise
      * No need for the shallowest depth of field

    • Fuji has decided not to go Full Frame, and instead offer a Medium Format system.

      Frankly, I expect FF Mirrorless cameras to be a “flavor of the month”. After the hype has died down, there is little to no benefits for the user to go FF mirrorless instead of using DSLR: same size/weight, less lens options, higher prices. I would (and will) stick with APS-C or M43 mirrorless, because it offers somethings APS-C DSLR don’t: a size and weight advantage. As someone who takes photos while hiking or travelling, it is the best solution for me.

      That said, it makes a lot of sense for companies to offer FF Mirrorless cameras:
      – They cost less to make than DSLR, and yet practically cost the same, making them higher margins of profits.
      – There are few native lenses available and, more importantly, no 3rd party competition, which allows companies to charge higher prices, and have more potential sales. Who would care if Nikon releases a $850 35mm f/1.8 in their F-Mount? And yet, many are ready to jump on the Z-system for such a lens.
      – It’s the only growing sector of a shrinking industry.

      On a final point, I will give a point of advice for all interested buyers, as an early adopter of both Sony NEX (NEX-5) and Fuji (Fuji X-Pro1): Skip the first 1 or 2 generations! There will be performance issues, flaws in the hardware, systems that are not mature enough for photographers, and high prices. Wait and see where the systems are in two years before choosing what to do.

      Until then, your 5-6 year old camera is more than good enough: after all, we’re talking about the D600/D800 level cameras.

      • Well, FF Mirrorless has been the flavor for 5+ years now and growing bigger and stronger. Full Frame 35mm has always been the most desired but size, cost and other factors kept it from being in everyones hands. Now there is no excuse, It will grow even more. Full frame is here to say, without question.

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