Over a year ago I spent time checking out mirrorless camera technology, trying to decide if it would be right for me. After reading a ton of material and looking at the pros and cons, I needed to truthfully examine why changing to a mirrorless system would make sense. The answer became fairly simple; I needed to reduce the bulk and weight of my equipment while maintaining some if not all of the attributes that come with a full frame DSLR system. It may be time to go mirrorless.
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 available their new reported full frame mirrorless cameras so I thought about waiting. The Canon mirrorless system, appeared to be a good choice because I shoot with a Canon system now and have a considerable investment in Canon equipment. However, my biggest concern with waiting and choosing the Canon was that the weight and bulk savings would be minimal. Moving on, I researched Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus. The high end mirrorless cameras offered options and features that were close to the options and features of my Canon system. My sensor decision was a micro 4/3’s camera. And I did want a camera with internal image stabilization.
After settling on sensor size, the next important criteria was lens availability. Most camera manufacturers offer their own lenses, or lenses manufactured by a third party. Given that I had chosen a micro 4/3’s camera, I began researching lens availability that would fit my photographic needs. With a micro 4/3’s camera, I’d need to double the focal length to arrive at the equivalent of a full frame 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. And, I did have to consider the crop factor when using less than 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. The research was extensive. To go through all my research, interviews with other photographers, and the data I collected would make this post huge. So I am just hitting the highlights.
I ended up purchasing 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 will probably use. The menu system is somewhat intimidating when you first look at it, but with a little time and practice, you can master the settings most appropriate for you. I also purchased a combination of lenses including a 12 – 40 mm lens, a 40 – 150 mm lens, a 300 mm prime lens, and a 1.4 teleconverter. I plan add additional prime lenses as my budget allows.