If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you will have seen my collaboration project with Canon. I teamed up with Canon this weekend to showcase some of the highlights of Amsterdam and I did that with the new mirrorless camera Canon EOS M5. Because I was surprised by the quality of the images, I wanted to show you guys what I’ve captured (at what settings) and why I think you should consider a mirrorless camera.
First off, I have been shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II for years now. It’s a beast of a camera, still considered one of the best cameras Canon has produced. The lenses I use most for my work as a photographer are (in order of use): the Canon L 50mm f1.2, Canon L 17-40mm f4.0, Canon 100mm macro f2.8, Canon 85mm f1.8. Shooting with a full-frame camera that delivers razor-sharp images and is fast, is important when you’re a photographer and right now the Canon 5D Mark II still delivers on every single point I look for in a camera. Even with all the cameras that have come out after the Mark II, I haven’t felt the need to switch yet.
And I won’t – not even after having tried the Canon EOS M5. While I think it is a camera that holds its own, it would be too limited for me as a professional photographer and aspiring filmmaker. Having said that, the Canon EOS M5 has changed my opinion on mirrorless cameras.
The Advantages of a Mirrorless Camera
1. First off, it’s super light-weight and compact. Especially compared to the heavy DSLR’s professional photographers shoot with. For the project with Canon I had to shoot a series of 23 images and I had to travel all throughout the city to capture it. Lugging around your camera and lenses around town can wear you down quickly and I found that the compact size and the weight of the M5 made it a camera very pleasant to work with. It also made me reach for my heavier lenses more that I otherwise would have left at home had I taken my Mark II with me.
2. Like I said, I was surprised by the quality of the images. All images on this page were shot with the M5 and I think the images are sharp and accurate and almost indistinguishable from my regular photos shot with the Mark II. The M5 is a crop though, so it did take me some time to get used to the smaller frame. But once you get used to it, you start working your way around the cropped frames. It delivers on quality, definitely.
3. Mirrorless is the future. We may not be there yet, but there’s so much innovation going on with mirrorless cameras. Where the first generation mirrorless cameras were mostly aimed at entry-level shooters, the latest cameras are featuring higher-end options. Having experienced the M5 (and I’m reading raving reviews about other mirrorless cameras as well), I’m afraid this may be the beginning of a new era of mirrorless cameras.
4. It is great for videos. Most mirrorless cameras have an amazing auto-focus. I don’t shoot videos yet (not much at least) but I want to start shooting videos again this year (soon). The Mark II doesn’t offer auto-focus on video – I’d have to look into the Mark IV or perhaps a mirrorless camera.
5. The native lens selection is still limited for the M5 but like with most mirrorless cameras, there are ways to still use your current lens collection. I shot most of the images here using the kitlens but with an adapter I was able to shoot with my other glasses as well. And I haven’t experienced a loss of quality with it.
Cons of a mirrorless
1. Most mirrorless cameras have a cropped frame. Shooting with a full frame, I wouldn’t be able to go back to a crop again so this is definitely my first and biggest concern.
2. Speed. DSLRs are beasts that shoot on a high speed. I find that shooting with a mirrorless camera does slow you down a bit. And that’s disastrous if you’re an event or sports photographer whose body of work relies on shooting at the right moment.
3. They’re not the cheapest and at the price they currently come at, you’re more likely to consider a DSLR.
4. They’re not as robust as DSLRs. The exterior feels less sturdy than a DSLR and I wouldn’t take my chances with shooting in wet circumstances.
5. For me, a camera isn’t a camera until you have a DSLR in your hands. Due to the compact size and weight, it does feel like you’re shooting with second-tier gear.
Why you should consider going mirrorless, regardless of the cons
In my opinion, there are three groups of photographers who should consider a mirrorless camera.
1. You’re a professional photographer and you’re looking for an extra body. I would count myself in this group. If I could choose between a DSLR and a mirrorless, I’d go for a DSLR, no question. That said, as a photographer you’re always on the lookout for new cameras that offer the advantages that you’re missing in your DSLR. For me that would be auto-focus in video (as the Mark II doesn’t have auto-focus in video) – this would enable me to work with video as well, without having to switch to another camera like the Mark IV. The compact size and weight is also a plus, especially on days you’re not on an assignment for a client. And it’s always good to have two cameras so you don’t have to switch lenses too much when you’re at work.
2. You’re a(n) (amateur) photographer currently shooting with a cropped body and want to look into a new generation of cameras. Full frames may be a big step from where you’re at now but mirrorless come in full frame as well but at a friendlier price. With the innovation happening in mirrorless cameras, you’ll be shooting with the latest technology without having to invest too much into your gear. Things like shooting videos in 4K are options that only the highest end DSLRs offer but there are some mirrorless cameras that offer 4K as well.
3. You’re a beginner and you want to invest in a good camera that will last you a while. A DSLR may be a big step for a beginner. Of course you can start with an entry model. But if you’re not used to shooting with a DSLR, the size and weight of a mirrorless may be a more favorable.