A couple of things have happened in the past few months that make me think that the mirrorless camera message has finally sunk in with photographers. In my work with Panasonic visiting camera stores, customers are realizing the benefit of having a small camera that gets great results; they don’t very often need or want to carry a big digital SLR anymore. I’m not just talking about Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four-thirds cameras because Fuji and Sony mirrorless cameras are also sharing in this popularity.
The elephant in the room right now is the Sony A7 and A7R full frame mirrorless cameras. Up until now mirrorless cameras used mostly Micro Four-thirds of APS-C size sensors. It’s been proven that there is not much, if any quality difference between those two sensor sizes. A full frame sensor is four times larger than a MFT sensor. There is no arguing that that will produce an image that will make a larger print and have less noise at high ISO’s.
On the other hand, a full frame camera will have much larger and heavier lenses cancelling out some of the benefits of the full frame sensor. Americans love BIG and I suspect that the lens size won’t matter that much to some people.
I have to admit a little envy of the larger sensor but the lighter, cheaper mirrorless cameras and lenses are still going to be my choice. Check out Panasonic’s Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 or the Lumix 100-300mm zoom or the Olympus 45mm f/1.7 and 17mm f/2.8 lenses to see why size matters and smaller is better.—Mark Toal