Episode 35: An Introduction to Mirrorless Cameras ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

Peggy Farren 2017-05-10

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Show Notes for Episode #35: An Introduction to Mirrorless Cameras ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

MILC: Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Does not have the traditional mirror of DSLRs
Allows for smaller, narrower body, lighter weight, and fewer moving parts
Categorized by sensor size

FF (Full Frame) – 35mm equivalent
APS-C (Crop Camera) – sensor is 40% size of FF
Micro 4/3 – sensor is 50% size of APS-C

Smaller sensor sizes
Decrease resolution
Increase noise (digital static)
Do well with long depth-of-field
This makes APS-C better for nature and wildlife photography because it extends the reach
Can’t get shallow depth or blurred background
Changes angle of view or “Crop Factor”
FF at 100mm = APS-C at 150mm = 4/3 at 200mm
A smaller lens will get the same image, but will make it more difficult to get a wider shot

Focus Systems
Phase-Detection: lines up 2 images to bring the subject into focus
Requires mechanical adjustments from the manufacturer
Contrast-Detection: looks for areas of maximum contrast
Slower – to find the maximum point, the system has to first pass that point and then return, sometimes more than once

Both types are very accurate
DSLRs have phase-detection sensors hidden under the mirror
MILCs have their contrast-detection sensors within the light sensors

New MILCs are combining the two types – Canon has patented a dual pixel technology where instead of dedicating 12 or even 300 pixels to focusing and losing their recording ability, nearly every one of the 24 megapixels can both detect and record information – so nothing is lost.

Top Camera Makers
DSLRs – Canon, Nikon, and Sony
MILCs /APS-C–Canon (M Series)
Sony (Alpha a6000) – makes larger lenses for both FF and APS-C
Fuji – dedicated lenses all sized for APS-C, smaller, different sensor technology
Micro 4/3 – Panasonic LUMIX and Olympus OM-D – dedicated systems, small bodies, small lenses

Mirrorless has no optical path through the lens to your eye, no optical viewfinder – it’s electronic
These have gotten better than the originals,, but still don’t give the crisp view of an optical viewfinder.
They CAN show other information – histogram, focus outlines, overexposed areas, etc.
This does clutter the view of the subject and can make composition more difficult, but allows you to make adjustments and corrections prior to taking the shot.

“Many photographers aren’t learning about photography, they’re just turning the dials and pushing buttons until the blinking goes away.”

In addition to the LCD screen view (which is near useless in bright sunlight) these cameras also have eye-level electronic viewfinders.

The technology has advanced to the point where the cameras have gotten smaller, but the hands of the photographers have not. So all of the options that used to be controlled by buttons are now in a menu – which can’t be accessed when you’re shooting at eye-level. While they have gotten somewhat easier, most menu systems are still a nightmare to navigate.

Lens and Accessory Availability
Micro 4/3 – common, standardized format from both Panasonic & Olympus
All micro 4/3 lenses fit on all micro 4/3 cameras
Limited to what Panasonic & Olympus make, not many third party manufacturers
FF and APS-C – Nikon and Canon systems have a wider range of and availability of lenses and accessories
Sony and Fuji don’t have many dedicated lenses, but do make adapters, although this alters the autofocus ability
Canon M Series has a different mount, but has an adapter that doesn’t interfere with autofocus ability

How to Choose a Camera
The type of camera you choose will always be dependent on what is most important to you and what you will be using it for.
Micro 4/3 – good for viewing images on a monitor, or 8X10 prints, books, etc.
APS-C and FF – better for larger prints
MILCs are also great for time-lapse

More About Joe Fitzpatrick:
Facebook - Joe Fitzpatrick Photography
Understand Photography

See you next week for Episode 36 with Gary Farber of Hunt's Photo and Video!

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