I, as I'm sure many of you here, have been watching and paying pretty close attention to the whole Mirrorless camera movement the past few years. I recently came across a video (from last year) where Jason Lanier jumped ship from Nikon over to the Sony FF Mirror less system, his YouTube video has gotten over 500,000 views on it and it just keeps going. It's sparked responses mainly from that idiot...rgghh.. angry photographer guy who calls Jason out as a sellout, blah blah blah. That's obviously all a bunch of nonsense however.. it has me thinking why do I choose one system over the other.
Is it even possible for people to have a logical discussion about the merits of a camera without a mirror versus one with a mirror without people getting all upset about the situation? Most people in the mirrorless camp really claim that "mirrorless is the future". I'm not very sure why they say that or what grounds they have to make that claim. Who can predict the future? We've had "pure" digital mirrorless cameras here from the beginning of digital photography, they're nothing new. Those cameras are certainly getting way better but why the need to turn this into a Canon vs Nikon, Apple vs PC, Coke vs Pepsi kind of thing?
We all (should) know that the camera is a mere small piece of delivering a picture. The fact a camera has an optical viewfinder, and has a mirror that moves out of the way when the exposure is being made versus one that doesn't is hardly reason to make such a big deal of this.
I've used a Fuji XT-1 and have played with the Sony A7 series in the Sony Store. I have some feelings on the issue, I'm going to give my two cents assuming anybody cares and ask anybody out there if I'm really missing something here.
Here are my findings based on using a Fuji XT-1 vs at the time was my D7100 and D700 bodies.
#1) The EVF made me uncomfortable, not so much with the picture quality but more or less when I released the shutter the screen would go black for a longer period of time than when I'm used too. It kinda messed up my flow. And in all honesty, I felt like I was using a toy or a point and shoot. A deal breaker? Probably not, but the optical viewfinder is... well... perfect from the standpoint of what I shoot is what I get. Maybe not from an exposure standpoint of course, but in all other elements, EVF was a downer no matter what the resolution is.
#2) Mirrorless big "advantage" seems to be the size aspect. The XT-1 (and A7's) honestly don't practically have any advantage over a D7100 or say a Canon 7DM2. Are they lighter and smaller? Yes. Does it really make a difference; no. It's not as though you can put one in your pocket and the other you can't. They're all basically around the same size as one another with the bodies that have mirrors are a little heavier; it's not going to change the way I can or cannot make a picture; period. Quality lenses are still large and the better and longer they are, the bigger they get. It gets so bad that after awhile you have a kind of reverse situation going with Mirrorless in that the lens and bodies don't balance well.
#3) There is no cost savings, quite the contrary actually. At the time and still now, the Fuji-XT1 versus the D7200 is the same price and when you start factoring in glass, the Nikon pulls away. DSLR is less expensive for rough equivalent systems.
#4) I couldn't actually really find any specification that any mirrorless camera actually was BETTER than it's DSLR equivalent. AF is clearly better on the DSLR's from top to bottom. Is it good enough on the mirrorless? Maybe so, but it's not better. Some mirrorless cameras shoot really fast, but then when you look more carefully, if you're trying to track motion, they slow WAY down. No advantage there. They're not "better" in low light but they're about on par. You can't easily find a mirrorless body that can take two cards at the same time for backup or overflow. Yikes, that is a huge no.
#5) No TTL flash support or spotty at best. This is a huge feature frankly, not only do the mirrorless cameras usually sync at slower speeds (1/160th, etc) but there is no solid TTL support amongst really any of them. I know there was life making good pictures with flash before TTL but that seems like a pretty big omission to me with no change on the horizon in sight.
There are a few benefits, I know. The Fuji can evidently shoot at like 1/16,000 now? Some have a 100% complete silent shutter (very cool), the ability to see the exposure and also a histogram in the viewfinder is certainly cool and valuable. I'm not a mirrorless hater. I just don't know why it's such a big deal fight among photogs. Sensors are sensors, photographers capture pictures and the editing of those pictures is a HUGE factor in the end presentation. I like the lenses that Fuji offers, I'm liking the look and specs of the Sony A7Rii (I think). All these options are great for us!