The past few years have been an exciting time in camera technology. Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras have changed the way we shoot and more importantly the amount and weight of gear that we carry. Companies like Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji are leading the way in the mirrorless revolution, while Canon and Nikon seem to be lagging behind, not sure if mirrorless is a trend or not.
But changing your camera system is not a small task. Usually a lot of money and emotion has been poured into gear selection and acquisition through the years and often there are myths and uncertainty about moving to something new. Here are 5 myths about mirrorless photography that I’ve heard and personally experienced, and information and images to debunk them.
MYTH #1 – EVFs are not as good as optical viewfinders
Electronic view finders have existed in digital cameras for years, but they were laggy, low resolution displays that poorly tried to emulate the feel of an optical viewfinder on a DSLR. That’s simply not the case with the EVFs found on modern mirrorless cameras, including my 3 year old Olympus OM-D E-M5. EVFs have evolved to be bright, responsive, high resolution displays that give you view of the scene as the sensor in the camera sees it. That fact alone is why electronic viewfinders have become superior to optical viewfinders. I can adjust my exposure while looking at the scene, seeing what the sensor is going to record before I snap the shutter.
Myth #2 – You can’t get shallow depth of field
I admit I was worried about this one. There are plenty of mirrorless cameras out there with APS-C or full frame sensors these days (which should have no problem with shallow DOF), but the Olympus and Panasonic cameras I shoot with have a micro four thirds sensor, which is smaller than my APS-C sensor that I left behind on my DSLR. I do a fair amount of family photography, and love nice shallow depth of field portraits, so this is something I didn’t want to compromise on. TheOlympus 25mm f/1.8, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and Olympus 75mm f/1.8 are just three of the lenses in the micro four thirds system that can give you a beautiful defocused background.
MYTH #3 – Mirrorless cameras can’t be used for sports or high speed, fast moving photography
Like many pieces of new technology, the first versions are often great, but lacking in some features. When micro four thirds cameras hit the market years ago, they weren’t the fast, autofocusing monsters they are today. A lot has changed since, and there have been significant improvements in autofocus and continuous shooting modes on mirrorless cameras. Don’t believe me? Check out this article over at Mirror Lessons about 10 Photographers who use mirrorless cameras for sports photography.
I don’t shoot much sports, but I do photograph families. Little kids move pretty fast and the autofocus system on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 gives me the confidence I need to capture the shot.
MYTH #4 – People won’t take you as seriously with smaller gear
As photographers we can all too easily get caught up in the gear we own. In the past, a larger camera often equated to a better camera. For years, as my camera size increased, so did my knowledge of photography — so, when I downsized to a smaller micro four thirds camera, I was worried. I had thoughts that I would get to a shoot and the family might think, “Didn’t I hire a professional?”. The truth is, that’s all in your head. Someone hires you because of the images you produce, period. Just because someone has a “professional” looking camera does not make them a photographer.
Myth #5 – Mirrorless cameras can’t be used for serious photography
When I bought my Olympus OM-D E-M5I thought it would be a nice add on to my DSLR system — a smaller camera that I could travel with more easily and always have with me. Similar to MYTH #4, I thought that it wouldn’t be my camera for “serious” photography. That mindset changed quickly as I realized the small camera rivaled the big DSLR in a number of a ways. I found myself photographing more — doing family shoots, concert shoots and displaying and selling more photos than I had in the past.
Are you a DSLR user thinking about switching to mirrorless? Are you a mirrorless user that’s dealt with some of these myths? Share your story in the comments!