Best mirrorless cameras 2015

 

Last update: 14/09/2015

Best mirrorless cameras 2015

sony a7s release date

Best mirrorless cameras 2015
Introduction – Best mirrorless cameras 2015

Mirrorless cameras become more and more popular today. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the mirrorless (or MILC) cameras?

The main advantages is the smaller size and less weight compare to Dslr cameras and significantly better image quality compare to compact cameras.

The disadvantage is the lack of optical viewfinder, bigger battery consumption, and fewer available lenses, especially high-quality specialized ones.

In the beginning the aim with mirrorless cameras was to make Dslr like image quality in a smaller pocket sized body. This way in the beginning these cameras were more like the compact cameras.

According to my perception though these cameras were sought more by enthusiasts, than beginners, this way, these people want simple Dslr like usage more than compact-like, menu based sometimes very complicated and frustrating interfaces, with few external controls.

Some cameras features touchscreen which makes the usage even more different, but can be better and more simple as well. The disadvantages of these cameras is the lack of optical viewfinder, not so refined functions and quality (improving), and menu system because of these are quite new systems, compare to the more refined, much older, more mature Slr cameras.

Some mirrorless cameras has electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is like a small LCD on the top area of the rear of the camera. This viewfinders uses battery like the back LCD panel though, which results in much higher energy consumption, this way shorter battery usage. A spare battery or two can cure the problem.

In my system I only imagine mirrorless cameras as a second or third camera, for my hands this cameras are very small and I prefer optical finder because it is much better for such purposes or wildlife or bird photography or Macro and has much lower energy consumption.

For landscapes the back LCD is better, I prefer Live view over OVF in my SLR cameras as well. For a go everywhere camera the mirrorless camera offers an excellent option with a small usually pancake lens. Despite the small size many of these cameras has excellent picture quality.

Best Canon mirrorless cameras 2015

EOS M
Canon only released two mirrorless cameras yet, the Canon Eos M and the Canon Eos M2. The Canon Eos M2 is only selled in China and Japan yet. The Canon Eos M features essentially a 18 megapixel, Aps-C sized Dslr camera CMOS image sensor, similar than the ones in the entry level Rebel models. There is no viewfinder, we frame pictures with the rear LCD panel which is a fixed, usable touchscreen. For Dslr users the camera is very small and has few external controls, and was built more on the touchscreen interface. The Canon Eos M has an affordable price, very good image quality, very good video features, but the autofocus is slow compare to other products especially if we use the non-M mount lenses with an adapter. The video has full manual control, which is very good. It is reported that the Canon Eos M2 model has improved autofocus ability compare to the original model. All digital EF Canon lenses can be used on a camera with a separately purchased adapter.

Canon mirrorless camera lenses

There are four lens is available specifically for the system: the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is stm, the Canon 22mm f/2 stm, the Canon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 stm is, and the Canon 11-22mm f/4-5.6 is (see above). The 22mm prime is much more interesting with it’s f/2 bright aperture, than the 18-55 kit lens. The focal length is just perfect as well. The 11-22mm ultrawide lens is also very interesting. The Stm is a stepping motor, which is optimized for video recording. It is totally silent and makes smooth transitions which is very important for video recording. The “is” refers to image stabilization, which helps in low light situations, with still objects, like landscapes. Tamron also has a 18-200mm lens for the Canon EOS M camera. On paper all other Canon EF lenses can be attached to the camera with a separately purchased adapter. There are other adapters are also existing to the EOS M, made by other companies allowing to attach other lenses as well to the camera. Functionality with these adapter not always the same, it can easily happen there is no autofocus functions, or aperture control with these adapters.
EOS M adapter
The adapter price is 100 Dollar. The autofocus performance with the adapted lenses are not as fast as on Dslr cameras, Nikon is much better in this regard.

Best Nikon mirrorless cameras 2015

New Nikon 1 cameras2
Nikon currently has a Nikon 1 mirrorless system (CX format). This cameras has smaller sensors than most of the competition(Canon, Sony, Fuji, Samsung, Olympus, Panasonic). This leads to two things:
1. Picture quality is not up to other cameras, with bigger sensors, especially in low light.
2. Crop factor is significantly bigger (2.7x), which means all tele lenses are longer even than on the Micro 4/3 cameras(2x), this is why Nikon 1 is so popular among birders, apart from a really good, fast autofocusing system. Nikon dslr lenses can be attached with a separately purchased, special adapter. If we attach a 300mm lens it will be 810mm equivalent of Full frame format. What does it mean? If we compare the focal length of all formats the situation is the following:300mm is the focal length on Full frame format, 450mm is the Dx format, 600mm is the Micro 4/3 format, 810mm is the Cx format(Nikon 1). The 300mm lens on Cx format is like we have an 540mm lens on a Dx camera, a 400mm lens is like a 720mm on a Dx camera. That’s a pretty good focal length to work with. Remember no optical finder though. A new 70-300mm lens is coming for the Nikon 1 format. If you are not a die-hard Nikon user or a birder who wants to attach a 300-400mm Nikon autofocus lens with an adapter for this camera, perhaps this camera is not the best choice in the market regarding picture quality, and especially for price/performance ratio.

Nikon mirrorless camera lenses

Nikon seems much more hardworking in the mirrorless segment more than Canon. There are much more lenses are available here. The 1Nikkor 6.7-13mm, 11-27.5mm 18.5mm f/1.8, 10-30mm, 10-100mm, 30-110mm, 70-300mm, 10mm f/2.8, 32mm f/1.2. There are primes, zooms and PD zooms as well. PD zoom (power drive) is more optimized for video recording with electronic zooming, instead of mechanical zooming, similar to Canon’s stm. Nikon calls the stabilizer vr (vibration reduction). In a recent interview one of Nikon’s official haven’t excluded the possibility of releasing a Nikon mirrorless system with bigger sensor. Obviously neither manufacturer prefers the mirrorless segment too much at the moment.

Best Sony mirrorless cameras 2015

sony a6000
Sony bought Konica Minolta in 2006. In the near future or already Sony will be the third biggest camera brand/supplier. In mirrorless cameras Sony has the most interesting offerings such as the Sony a6000 and Full frame models. Why? These cameras has excellent Dx (or Aps-C) sized sensors, similar to Nikon Dslr cameras, with wide dynamic range, nice colors, and excellent high ISO performance. The newest models has Hybrid AF system, with phase detect and contrast detect points. Some models has high resolution electronic viewfinder as well. Currently the newest is the Sony a5100 which is an upgraded Sony a5000, which had sub-par LCD, and lower specs compare to the higher end Sony a6000.
Read more about Sony a5100 here
Sony cameras 2014 comparison table

If we are after picture quality perhaps Sony offerings are the most interesting, because Sony has several mirrorless models with a Full frame, top of the class quality sensor. The Sony A7R is perhaps the best and the Sony A7 is also very good. For low light the Sony A7s is the best with it’a 12 Megapixel Full frame sensor. Just to mention almost all Middle format(44*33mm or bigger) digital cameras, like Phase one, Hasselblad, Pentax, etc has a Sony sensor.
Sony Full frame camera comparison
sony a7s release date

The former Sony Nex cameras now they call a(alpha). The newest ones are the Sony a6000 and Sony a5000. This Nex cameras has very good value, if we prefer the smaller size over reflex construction with an optical viewfinder.
Sony recently released the Sony 7 and Sony 7R cameras, which is according to the rumor has caused the Sony lens design team to disappear completely. It is interesting nonetheless, many people wish to have a compact Full frame camera. Seems not easy to design proper lenses for this construction though.

Sony mirrorless camera lenses

Sony has many lenses for the mirrorless system. Some of them are made by Zeiss. You can check them at below link: Sony lenses (bottom of the page)

Best Fujifilm mirrorless cameras

fuji x-t1
Fujifilm is known for excellent colors, and it’s Velvia film. I still regret to sell my compact Fuji camera, it was fantastic for the price, with it’s fantastic colors..Fujifilm makes mirrorless cameras with Aps-C sized sensor. Currently the newest is the Fujifilm X-T1. This cameras has truly excellent low light performance thanks to the new algorithm of the sensor. Fujifilm uses his own pattern instead of the Bayern pattern in all other cameras, this way can eliminate the AA filter. The price is little high now, perhaps will be more affordable in the future. This cameras has a hybrid viewfinder and a retro oldish style look, like the Nikon DF. Currently few prime lenses are available, but there is a plan to produce many lenses in the near future.

Best Olympus mirrorless cameras

Olympus E-M1
Currently Olympus E-M1 is the best Olympus mirrorless camera, and arguable the best smaller mirrorless camera in the segment apart from Sony (Sony has some Full frame mirrorless cameras). The Olympus E-M1 has a very fast autofocus in good light, good high iso performance, a good viewfinder and small size compare to Slr models. The Olympus E-M10 is also a newer model together with the Olympus E-M5, which both have the new very good quality Micro 4/3 sensor.
The newer sensor in the 5 number cameras are the newer much better unit than the older 12 Mpixel sensor which is also very good, but not up to the recent competition. Olympus announced to release a new 300mm f4 lens for sports and wildlife photography. This lens is like a 375mm lens on a DX or Aps-C cameras, together with the f4 aperture is an interesting option.
Olympus 300 f/4 prime

Best Panasonic mirrorless cameras

panasonic gh4
Panasonic GH4 is the best current Panasonic camera regarding sensor performance, with a wide 13.3 EV dynamic range, but the low light performance is not up to slr or other competing cameras, like Sony or Fujifilm. For video recording the camera has exceptional abilities, can record 4K video as well. All Panasonic cameras has currently a 16 Mpixel sensor.
read about Panasonic GH4 here

Best Leica mirrorless cameras 2015

Seems Leica also made a mirrorless camera the Leica T system camera with Aps-C sensor.

Best Samsung mirrorless cameras

Samsung Nx1
Samsung NX1 is a very interesting camera from Samsung. Samsung has ambitious plans for the future, and as the first step they announced the Samsung NX1 camera. This is very interesting, the new Samsung NX1 has a 28 Megapixel back-illuminated Aps-C sized CMOS sensor, offers 15 fps continuous shooting, and can record 4K video. The camera has a top LCD panel like semi-pro Dslr models. The camera has a very fast Wifi, and Bluetooth as well. The camera has 205 af points. Back illuminated CMOS sensor only used yet in compact cameras as far as I know, Samsung make an innovation in this field, and the camera has better noise control because of this feature. The camera hasn’t got an AA filter in front of the sensor which leads sharper images. The camera exceptional 15 fps burst mode are capable to make 70 fine jpg or 40 Raw images. This allows app 4s or 3s long burst shooting respectively. The camera can record lossless 4K video. Samsung claims that the camera can focus up to -4 EV. Aparts from the LCD the cameras sports with a 2.36 dot electronic OLED viewfinder. Read more about Samsung NX1 here

Mirrorless camera lenses

Although many of the mirrorless cameras has excellent Aps-C sized sensor
with low quality lenses we gain nothing. For the Canon system only four lenses are available and one done by Tamron. For the Nikon 1 they already released many lenses, but …, Fuji has excellent prime lenses like the 35mm f/1.4 and now they going to release many new zooms in the future, Sony also has many lenses, Panasonic and Olympus are perhaps in the most developed state, they have some very good lenses, like the Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake, but good lenses are not cheap, even compare to Dslr lenses. Interestingly no really good long lenses are available yet at an affordable price. What is interesting that more and more third party lens manufacturers prepares lenses for mirrorless systems in good quality, Sigma, Zeiss, Samyang/Rokinon/Bower starts to release more and more high quality lenses for mirrorless cameras.

Mirrorless camera sensor comparisons

Below you can find some comparisons by Dxomark. Here Dxomark compares camera sensors performance.

They compare three parameters: High iso performance, dynamic range and color depth. At their website you can select any camera and can compare to any other. I include these here to give on overview on different cameras performance. They compare Raw sensor performance.

There is three table below because you can only compare three cameras at the same time. What you can see here? In all categories the higher number is better.
1000
1001
1002
The Full frame Sony eats the whole branch for breakfast in terms of High iso performance, and the best for dynamic range as well. After the also Full frame Leica is the second. It is the most pricier as well. After most other cameras are similar (Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic). Finally Nikon 1 system is significantly weaker than most other cameras in ISO performance. The cameras in this comparisons are not the best cameras of each manufacturer, because there is no measurements for several cameras, others are too new.

Which one to choose?

It depends on many factors. Canon and Nikon are make sense if you already have lots of lenses, and want to use them on the mirrorless. Nikon is the weakest here by a good margin in high ISO performance. Cheaper Sony’s and Sony cameras in general has the best value according to my judgment, here are many lenses available. If video is high on your list Panasonic is worth to look at, Olympus also offers very good value, in still perhaps better than Panasonic but usually the menu system is not really simple here. If you want premium quality FF Sony cameras are very good. There is a Leica for Leica fans. Fuji cameras are also very good, but little pricey at the moment.
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Best Dslr cameras 2015 – Newest cameras

Canon 7d Mk II, Canon 750d – at the time of writing not released yet, but will be the topic for the future for sure.
Panasonic GH4 is a very interesting camera with 4k video, the camera can be bought with an interface unit as well, as a complete broadcast solution.
Nikon d7200 is a also a very much waited camera, especially if it will be the predecessor the Nikon d300 or not. Burst mode will be long enough of little restricted.
Sony 7 and Sony 7s are FF mirrorless cameras, a very interesting small and light combination, perhaps a dream for many.
Sony a6000 and Sony a5000(formerly called Nex). The Sony a6000 is the predecessor of the Sony Nex 6, the Sony a5000 is coming in the place of the Sony Nex5. Sony claims that cameras has the fastest hybrid autofocus system in the world. Of course I wouldn’t put 1000 dollar for such statements.

Best Dslr cameras 2015 – camera curiosities

The Nikon Df is an interesting looking retro styles Full frame camera, with excellent low light abilities but without video function.
Best Dslr cameras 2015 - Nikon Df
Sony has two Full frame mirrorless cameras the Sony 7 And Sony 7R.
The Panasonic GH4 is also a very interesting new video camera with a 4K video ability.
In the middle format there are also some interesting cameras like the Pentax 645D II for example. Pentax currently doesn’t have a FF camera, but has a medium format 645D.

Best Dslr cameras 2015 – lens roundup

My favourite theme is the lenses. One can have the best Full frame or even medium format camera with a mediocre lens, and easily can be beaten by a very good lens and the cheapest slr camera.
In lens department Canon and Nikon has a good adventage. They have many really good, fast focusing, image stabilized lenses. Many of this lenses are truly exceptional and unrivalled by the other manufacturers. Apart from the really expensive “pro” lenses, there are good cheaper offerings as well. Even some of the cheapest lenses are not bad at all. Sony in the latest times works diligently to broaden their lens range, many lenses are available for Sony cameras as well. Pentax has also a very good range of lenses, but weak in the telephoto range where Canon and Nikon are the strongest. Micro Four third system (mirrorless cameras with a little smaller sensor and significantly smaller cameras, Panasonic and Olympus) has also a wider and wider range of lenses. Fujifilm currently makes his revolutionary new sensor but the lens range today is a little limited, only several lenses are available for the new X-mount cameras. Sigma and Tamron are also makes a wide range of lenses for almost any camera mounts. Some of their products are very competitive and better than the Canon and Nikon offerings in some aspects. The Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 and the new Tamron 150-600 lenses are very interesting. Leica also has a very strong lineup of lenses in a very high quality, unfortunately in a very high price.

Best Dslr cameras 2015 – what is our budget

An interesting question what we can get for our money. I would chose three aspects.
1. Sensor quality – interestingly Fuji, Olympus, Nikon, Sony are making very good new sensors, Pentax uses Sony sensor, while as I see Canon and Panasonic is a little behind in terms of innovation. This doesn’t mean they make bad cameras, but currently they uses the older sensors in their cameras. Canon makes better sensors in Full frame cameras, but not yet in the entry level segment.
2. Lens lineup – here Canon and Nikon wins hands down.
3. Autofocus and other camera functions

If we are on a tight budget I think we can get the best value if we buy Canon or Nikon entry level slr cameras. Some of this cameras are dirt cheap compare to other models, but compare to compact cameras miles apart from them. Pentax cameras also has a very good value. The Sony cameras currently uses translucent mirrors. I think this cameras not yet so polished. The Mirrorless Olympus and Panasonic cameras are also good, if we prefer the smaller, mirrorless construction. Fuji also makes his very good revolutionary new sensor but the current high price makes them not so good in terms of price/performance.

What I would buy today?

Today I think Nikon has the most interesting offerings on the market in entry level cameras. In mirrorless segment the Sony cameras has very good value, but this cameras little bit like compact cameras with very good Dslr like picture quality. In Full frame Canon and Nikon has very good offerings. The Canon 6d and the Nikon d610 is especially interesting because of their smaller size.

Best Canon Dslr cameras 2015

Best Canon entry level Dslr cameras 2015

The Canon 100D is a good deal today, with the significantly cheaper price. This is really a compact camera with its approximately 400g weight. The Canon 750d is perhaps the best entry-level cameras. The Canon 600d and Canon 650d is also very good. I would skip the Canon 700d. This cameras has flipout screens, which is very useful in multiple situations especially for movies.

Best Canon enthusiast/crop sensored Dslr cameras 2015

The Canon 7d and the Canon 70d is the best here. The older Canon 60d is also good especially for video recording because of the flipout screen, but lacks the dual pixel autofocusing which the Canon 70d has. Basically the cameras from Canon 550d to Canon 60d has the same 18 Mpixel sensor. The new Canon 70d has a little better 20.2 Megapixel sensor.

Best Canon Aps-C Dslr cameras 2015

Currently the Canon 70d is the best Dslr camera. This camera has currently the best video autofocus among Dslr cameras. The new Dual-pixel autofocusing system is makes a difference in video recording.

Best Canon Full frame Dslr cameras 2015

Perhaps the Canon 6d is the best deal today. This Full frame camera has an excellent low light ability and the smaller size and cheaper price is an added bonus. The only downside is just the few autofocus points(11) and only one cross type point compare to the rivals. The Flagship camera is the Canon 1 D X. The Canon 1 D C is a camera for movie makers with a 4K video capabilities.

Best Nikon Dslr cameras

The Nikon cameras are generally very good today. The new 24 Mpixel Aps-C sensor is superb with excellent low light capabilities. The older 16 Mpixel unit is essentially the same with a little smaller resolution.

Best Nikon entry level Dslr cameras

Depends on a budget you cannot go wrong any of them started from the Nikon d3100 until Nikon d5300, Nikon d3200,d3300 included. I wouldn’t buy the Nikon d5300 though, I would buy the Nikon d7000 instead. Not everybody like me someone prefers the higher megapixel count, and advanced Wifi and other features. For photograpy the Nikon d7000 is a much better camera.

Best Nikon enthusiast Dslr cameras

The Nikon d7100 is a very good enthusiast camera, but not the same quality as the former Nikon d300. There is a rumor about a new Nikon d9300 which perhaps comes in the place of the Nikon d300.

Best Nikon Full frame cameras

The Nikon D4S is the newest low light cameras with a 16 Mpixel sensor. For those interested in Mega-resolution the Nikon d800 is the best camera with a wide 14.4 EV dynamic range. The Nikon d610 is also a very good capable camera on a lower budget. Despite the lower price this is a very capable camera, with excellent low-light performance, and even feautures a built-in-flash which is rare in FF models. The former Nikon d600 has oil/dust problems on the sensor.

Best Pentax Dslr cameras

Pentax cameras today uses Sony sensors, as Nikon did in the past. Pentax K5 IIs is the best Pentax camera today if we think about sensor department. The Pentax K5 IIs features a full glass viewfinder, a sensor without AA filter, ISO range of 100-51,200(expanded). Pentax cameras usually have a built in image stabilization system, which usually Canon and Nikon cameras lacks. Canon and Nikon puts the stabilizer in the lens, while Pentax makes image stabilized camera bodies. The sensor moves this way eliminate shake. This system allows stabilization with any lens attached, while the lens stabilizer only works with lenses with stabilizer functions. Stabilized lenses are usually much more expensive. Pentax also has a medium format camera with a 44*33mm sensor, the Pentax 645 DII.

Best Leica cameras

Leica is a brand of super expensive cameras. Leica is like Rolls Royce in cars, very expensive and exclusive but not the best especially in electronics. Currently the Leica M Typ 240 camera is their best Full frame camera, but the sensor quality is still not on par with the best Sony and Nikon Full frame cameras. Leica also has medium format cameras.

Best Sigma Dslr cameras

Sigma makes interesting Foveon sensored cameras, but this cameras are not so widely spread. Earlier Sigma was known to make cheap lenses usually with not the highest quality. Today Sigma makes some truly exceptional lenses like the new Sigm 35mm f/1.4 a (art) or the new Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 smaller format zoom lens. The newest camera is the Aps-C sensored Sigma DP3 Merill.

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