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Date: 25/09/2013 | By: Mathieu

The 8 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Professional Photographers (2015)

best mirrorless cameras 2015

The 8 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Professional Photographers (2015)

Note: this article was first written in 2013 but has been updated following the latest camera releases and the personal experience we’ve had with them.

One year ago, I remember returning from my summer vacation feeling somewhat angry at myself and antagonistic towards the profession I had gotten into. I owned two excellent DSLR cameras and a wide range of lenses, yet my will to actually get out and photograph for pleasure was like that of a hungover college student on exam day.

The excuse seemed lame at the time but now I have no shame in saying it – all that gear was simply too heavy to be enjoyed.

With this realisation, I gradually began my switch over to mirrorless, though the decision wasn’t completely conscious at the time. I started by buying a used Olympus OM-D E-M5 for stills after selling a couple of Nikkor lenses. Feeling cautious, I used it alongside my Nikon D700 for a few months but I soon realised that the E-M5 was good enough for use on its own.



Then, I picked up a Panasonic Lumix GH3 for video, which I used with my Panasonic AF101. The Fujifilm X100s soon joined my collection when I realised I wanted something small, discreet and compact that I could carry around with me at all times. The OM-D E-M5 became my official “workhorse” and the X100s, my second body, while the D700 was restricted to a view of my closet.

One year down the road, in early 2014, I finally replaced the E-M5 with the flagship E-M1 and I haven’t looked back since.

If you have stumbled onto this article, I can assume that you are the mirror image of me two and a half years ago: a professional tired of carrying around heavy gear all the time. A professional looking for a compact high-end mirrorless body to use for some or all of your work.

As of 2015, there are a number of excellent models to choose from but I have chosen to list the eight which I consider the best.


Olympus OM-D E-M1

best mirrorless camera 2015
My main camera for work.

When we first had the opportunity to try the OM-D E-M1 in Ireland, I felt from the beginning that this camera was the one for me. Although new cameras are being released all the time, this one felt just right. I then had the chance to try it for one week and use it for my regular assignments. Following that week, I immediately ordered one and it was the best choice I’ve made since I became a photographer. It is one step above the OM-D E-M5 (the camera I was using for work up until then) and has been conceived and promoted as the ultimate DSLR substitute. While the camera body isn’t much smaller than an entry level DSLR body (especially if you use the battery grip), the compactness of Micro 4/3s lenses makes all the difference in portability.

The E-M1 has a very professional and elegant appearance so there should be no fear of looking inadequate on the job. It is extremely fast (10fps) and accurate in terms of AF/C-AF thanks to the combination of contrast and phase detection on the sensor. The image quality is on par with mid-end DSLRs and its improved 5-axis stabilisation makes taking pictures easy even in low-light conditions with slow shutter speeds. It is also completely weatherproof (dust, splash and freeze) so you need not fear taking it out on a wet and blustery day. Since the E-M1 has one of the best electronic viewfinder to date, you will rarely miss the OVF.

You can find the OM-D E-M1 on AmazonB&H Photo and Adorama.

More in-depth reads:


Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

omd em5 mark ii
A compact version of the E-M1

The original OM-D E-M5 was my workhorse in 2013. I used it for all sorts of photography including commercial events, weddings and portraiture. Now we have the new E-M5 II, and with it comes many important updates.

As MILCs go, it is extremely small and compact even with a lens attached. It features a very detailed built-in electronic viewfinder, 5-axis stabilisation which allows you to shoot with a shutter speed close to 1.5 seconds with a steady hand, a handy flip/touch screen for awkward shots, a fast continuous shooting rate of 10 fps, quick autofocus, and very good low-light performance. It is also weatherproof (dust and splash). It also incorporates a silent shooting mode, which makes the camera ideal for theatrical shows.

Two features that make the E-M5 II special are the High Res Shot mode and its improved video features. With the former, you can combine 8 frames to create a 40MP high resolution image if you steady the camera on a tripod. The latter has been updated to allow for Full HD 1080: 60p, 30p, 25p, 24p video recording with focus peaking. If you do a lot of still life shooting or video, the E-M5 II is certainly an attractive alternative to the flagship E-M1.

If you can’t afford the E-M5 II, another option could be the OM-D E-M10. While it is aimed more at the consumer market, it also includes many interesting features. However, it lacks a weather sealed body, which may put off some professional photographers.

You can find the E-M5 II on Amazon and B&H Photo.

More in-depth reads:


Panasonic Lumix GH4

best mirrorless cameras 2015
Trying the new Lumix GH4 at the TPS

In terms of video performance, last year the Panasonic Lumix GH3 outranked every other mirrorless camera on the market by a mile. In fact the quality was so good that you could even use it for commercial filming or short films. Since I am also a director by profession, the GH3 seemed like the perfect second body to use along with my Panasonic AF101 video camera, which is why I made the investment last year. When its replacement the Lumix GH4 was announced, Panasonic implemented lots of new features that probably make it the best hybrid camera (for stills and video) you can find on the market. And I wrote “probably” only because I haven’t fully tested it yet.

The most anticipated new feature is of course the ability to shoot 4K video but Panasonic also implemented many professional settings that you can find on high-end broadcast videocameras. Furthermore, an external module, which is sold separately, brings all the professional connectors a filmmaker like to use such as XLRs, SDI Timecode SYNC, etc.

The GH4 is also a great camera for still photography. It has a new generation 16MP sensor that certainly puts the camera alongside the best M/43 cameras such as the OM-D E-M1 and the Panasonic GX7. The camera also has a blazing fast AF that works with contrast detection. It works with a new functionality called DFD (Depth from Defocus) whereby the camera calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating two images with different depths of field. It is fast (12fps) and has a beautiful build and great ergonomics. The viewfinder is also a great improvement over the GH3.

If you are a photographer who enjoys making professional-grade videos, or a videographer looking for a second small body, the GH4 should be your first choice.

You can find the GH4 on Amazon and B&H Photo.

More in-depth reads:


Panasonic Lumix GX7

best mirrorless cameras 2015
The Panasonic GX7

We owned the Panasonic Lumix GX7 for quite some time last year and we really enjoyed using it. We didn’t keep it simply because we cannot keep all the cameras we review and the E-M1 felt like more of a complete option. That said, there is not doubt that the GX7 can work as a second camera. It is on the same level as the OM-D E-M1 in terms of image quality and is the first Lumix camera to have built-in stabilisation. It also has a small yet very detailed tilting electronic viewfinder, the first on a mirrorless camera.

Being a Lumix camera, it also has the advantage of an excellent video codec – not quite as good as that on the GH3 but still one of the best. I was also extremely impressed by the silent shutter mode which is, as the name suggests, completely silent. This makes it a great option for shooting in quiet settings such as a theatre or church.

The design is also one of the most attractive out there – retro, stylish, lovely to hold and super compact.

You can find the Lumix GX7 on Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama.

More in-depth reads:


Sony A7r II

sony a7r mark ii review
The A7r II looks exactly like the A7 II.

The Sony A7r II is the fifth full-frame interchangeable mirrorless camera from Sony and by far the most complete. It combines everything good about the previous models four, from the 5-axis stabilisation and phase detection points of the A7 II to the high ISO performance and 4K video capabilities of the A7s to the high resolution sensor of the A7r.

The A7r II houses a 42MP backlit sensor, making it one of the cameras with the highest resolution on the market and also the world’s first to have BSI technology combined with a full-frame sensor. It incorporates one of the largest and brightest OLED viewfinders with 0.78x magnification and works not only with its native E-mount lenses but also A-mount and third party lenses via an adapter.

Other features include 5 fps continuous shooting with tracking, internal 4K video with full pixel readout and no binning, a silent shutter mode, Wifi and NFC capabilities, and improved ergonomics over its predecessor, the A7r.

Though we have yet to try this camera over a long period of time, the specs suggest that the A7r II is a game changer.

You can find the A7r II at B&H Photo.

More in-depth reads:


Leica Q

Leica Q review
The Leica Q

Up until recently, the only fixed-lens full frame premium compacts available on the market were the Sony RX1 and subsequently the almost identical RX1R. Then, nearly two years later, Leica released the first real competitor for these two cameras, the Leica Q, a camera that had long been requested by the Leica fan base.

The Leica Q houses an updated version 24MP full-frame sensor found in the Leica M-P 240 and is fixed with a 28mm Summilux lens with a fast aperture of f/1.7 and macro mode. The body resembles a traditional M but is smaller, lighter and includes a very reactive touchscreen that can also be used to focus. Speaking of autofocus, the camera is far faster than any other digital Leica, and could even be compared to the likes of the E-M5 II in terms of pure speed and reactivity.

Other features include a silent mechanical leaf shutter with a maximum shutter speed of 1/160000, Wifi capabilities, 10 fps burst shooting with tracking, great high ISO performance and a bright and crisp EVF.

Digital Leica cameras have never really convinced me, which is why the Leica Q is such a powerful addition to the line-up. It incorporates all the most modern and important features of its competitors, feels great in the hand, and even comes at a more reasonable price tag than its brethren. For anyone interested in entering the Leica world for the first time, the Q is the way to go.

You can find the Leica Q at B&H Photo.

List Price: $4,250.00
Current Price: $4,179.99
Buy Now
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Fujifilm X-T1

X100S, 1/25, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
The brand new Fujifilm X-T1

The Fujifilm X-T1 is the latest entry in the X lineup and was built as a good alternative to DSLRs, much like the OM-D E-M1. I haven’t fully tested it yet but one thing is for sure: this camera certainly has the best EVF on the market. The Fuji X-T1 is perfect for portraiture, street, landscape but can also work for certain kinds of sports photography thanks to an enhanced autofocus and a blazing 12fps in continuous shooting mode and AF-C. Not to mention the gorgeous retro design, a growing range of high quality glass, and exceptional image quality thanks to its X-Trans sensor. In fact, it is the APS-C X-Trans sensor that sets Fujifilm apart from the crowd in that it creates images that almost have a film-like quality despite being digital.

You can find the Fujifilm X-T1 on Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama.

More in-depth reads:


Fujifilm X100T

Fujifilm X100T

The Fujifilm X100T is undoubtably one of the most popular mirrorless cameras around. It has a high-quality X-Trans CMOS II sensor and Fujinon fixed 23mm lens (35mm equivalent on full frame), making it every street photographer’s dream camera, as well as a gorgeous retro design based on the rangefinder cameras of the 70s and 80s.

Like the X-Pro1, you can switch between an optical and electronic viewfinder using a small toggle on the front of the camera. It has an updated version of the magnificent APS-C X-Trans sensor as well as all the Film Simuation modes found on the X-T1 (including the brand new Classic Chrome). It performs extremely well in low-light conditions but isn’t always reliable in AF-S mode.

I personally used the previous version of this camera, the X100s, as a second body for work. It is useful for informal portraits and group photographs during events and weddings, where discretion is your goal.

You can find the Fujifilm X100T on Amazon.

List Price: $1,299.95
Current Price: $1,099.00
Buy Now
Price Disclaimer

More in-depth reads:


Do you agree with our list? Which do you think are the best mirrorless cameras for professionals? Let us know in the comments section!


Like our blog? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you’re planning on buying camera gear, you can check out AmazonB&H Photo and PhotoMADD. Prices remain the same for you, but a small percentage of your purchase value is valued back to us. Thank you!

About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Steinar Knai

    I agree as far as the body is concerned, but the Sony E type lenses are all almost as big and heavy as DSLR lenses. So why change, if you end up with a kit that is as heavy as the one you left.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Yes, but very expensive and with only one native lens for now.

  • Nick12UK

    Have you noticed Leica SL?

  • Vikas

    Nx500 is best for 4k videos. Still pictures are good…but not the best

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    It is certainly the best camera for the money you can possibly get :)

  • Matt Simione

    I would put the Sony a6000 on the top of the list – even over the a7’s. The camera is often overlooked but matches [and in some respects] exceeds the abilities of the a7’s. Feature rich and excellent low light capability. Best camera I’ve ever owned. And at it’s current price point [$449.00 body only] you can’t go wrong.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    This article needs a second update. I could certainly replace a few things. I agree with the A7s, actually it was my favourite camera for 2014.

  • AydinO

    I think you completely missed the boat the A7s is one of the best if not the best Mirrorless cameras on the market. This is from a guy that spent a year looking to switch from Canon and did two weeks ago. I don’t think any cameras can do what it does in both Photo and video.

  • https://youpic.com/photographer/bariscihan/baris-cihan-from Baris Cihan

    Since I’ve switched from FF to mirrorless cameras I tried several of them (X – T1, X-E2, Sony A7, E-M5 and E-M1) and decided to use Olympus for my daily work as portrait- and weddingphotographer. For me Olympus builds the best of two world’s (FF and mirrorless). Right now I am working on a big book and exhibition project just with OM-D’s. I’m sure that mirrorless is the future.

  • http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com/ Heather Broster

    It is great for both family and street, and is very sharp. You can see our full review here if you’re interested: http://www.mirrorlessons.com/2013/10/22/mirrorless-on-the-job-episode-2-why-the-fuji-x100s-is-the-perfect-second-body/

  • http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com/ Heather Broster

    All of them are excellent. Micro Four Thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic currently have the widest range of lenses so you may want to check them out first.

  • griha

    How sharp is x100s? what is the quality of the image(color/tone) without post processing in the lightroom/photoshop? Is it good buy for general family photo and ocassional street??

  • Sara

    I’m a semi pro photographer who has spent the last year doing daily photo projects with my (gasp) phone. I’ve discovered through this that I really long for a smaller serious camera body. I love macro, portraits, landscapes, and the portability of the iPhone, but need something with pro iq and more control. Is there a camera you could recommend for me? I’m having trouble deciding. Thank you!

  • Mathieu

    The E-M10 and the E-M1 have the same sensor so you won’t see a difference concerning image quality (DR, low light, etc.)

  • Es

    Hi, first of I liked to thank for vital information that you publishes. I like ask you to help my decision. I have just let D800 and I have got em10 and is that work to upgrade EM10 to EM1.
    What I consider is DR, low light superb, image quality (process flexibility).
    -Any recommend beside EM1…what if?

  • Mathieu

    The X-T1 will have it with the firmware update coming in december. Also the GX7 and the GH4 have a silent shutter.

  • http://wandererstraining.com/ Jonathan F.V.

    I know this is an old question, but the Sony A7S and the Fuji XT1 do have a silent shutter option. Others may also have it, but those are the two cameras popping up in my mind.

  • http://andresycesar.wordpress.com/ Andrés

    They all look like to me big chambers, for the photography of street it seems to me to be important that the throttler is silent. Which of these chambers possesses the above mentioned throttler? Thank you

  • Heather

    It depends on your budget. :) Would you be trading in your D600 and 50mm? I’d probably say an E-M1 or X-T1 if you are able to spend over $1000.

  • Amanda

    Great article! I currently own a Nikon D600 and a Nikon 50 mm lens. I feel like I don’t shoot as much as I could because of the weight of my camera so I’m giving thought to a mirrorless camera. I have an interest in pet photography and often photograph them indoors. Any recommendations which camera on this list may be the right one for me?

  • Enrico

    Caro Mathieu, accanto alla X100 (che ho posseduto) metterei senza dubbio la Ricoh GR, fotocamera APS-C di dimensioni compattissime, con un 28 mm. equivalente di qualità eccezionale. Una fotocamera pensata e creata da fotografi per i fotografi. Sicuramente da provare a fianco della X100.

  • Mathieu

    I have no problem with the Olympus RAW files. I too switched from a full frame DSLR (Nikon D700). The 40d isn’t a recent camera so you will probably find the Olympus files of an OM-D E-M5 or E-M1 even better because the sensor has a more recent technology. So I don’t think you should be concern regarding this. Certainly the most recent full frame sensors are better for shallow DoF and dynamic range, but I am always surprised by how far I can go when post processing Micro Four Thirds raw files.
    And the advantage with the Olympus is a very compact system with super lens quality.
    I guess it depends on what kind of pictures you like to take, if you print a lot (and which size), if you also work as a photographer etc.

  • http://yimpressedbythenewhigh-endcompacts Peter

    I too am thinking of moving to a mirrorless camera system from a Canon 40D. I was considering waiting for the next 6D or even 5D upgrade to get into full-frame but am consistently impressed by the latest upmarket compacts such as the ones above. My greatest fear is that the smaller four-thirds sensor cameras may not give me a big enough file to crop or enlarge as I can presently do with my 40D or even other full frame cameras. How have you found the files, from the Olympus, when it comes to working in say Photoshop etc compared to your DSLR files?

  • Colin

    HI Mathieu & Heather, I have come upon your review as I have been looking in to moving from a DSLR system for some time. I would appreciate you views regrading moving. I currently use a Canon EOS7D with 28, 50,105 f2.8 primes along with a 70-200 and 17-50 f2.8 zooms the majority of my work is in the Studio using either strobes or speedlites.
    The move is really to help save my back when carrying this around all day, when out and about taking photos for fun, is getting harder, and the idea of having a lighter bit of kit is becoming desirable.

    I have been looking at the following cameras with regard switching
    #1 Fuji X-pro1
    #2 Panasonic GF7

    Both I think would be very usable but I am slightly hesitant, as the results I get currently are fine. I sell almost all the studio images taken to either corporate business or Families, with the largest print size being 46’X34′ inch.

    Would either of these cameras be able to produce salable quality images to the size stated, and would there be any issues I should look for regarding focus speeds when using with Flash?

    I know I’m asking very broad questions but would appreciate your views.

    Kind regards

    Colin

  • Mathieu

    Hi David, I haven’t tried a ring flash on a mirroless camera yet.
    I think that the question needs a little bit of research because depending on which system you are interested in, the lens diameters are very different. MFT lenses are the smallest but for example Olympus doesn’t have a ring flash for MFT cameras, but only for its DSLRs. That being said, I read that some users managed to use it with an adapter ring.
    Probably there is more chances to find something with third parties manufacturers.
    It also depends on which lens do you want to use. There is less choice compared to the DSLR system. For example Fuji doesn’t have a 1:1 macro lenses yet. Zeiss is releasing the 50mm Touit lens for the X-mount, which will be the first 1:1 macro lens for the Fuji X system.

  • David Rudman

    Hi Matt
    I have used a canon SLR for a while now and have had an EOS 5D Mk 3 for a while. I love the autofocus and image quality but would love a smaller camera system. One area where I use my 5D is for macro photography with the ring flash, at work (I am a vet). Is there a decent ring flash for mirrorless cameras yet?
    Regards
    David Rudman

  • Mathieu

    Well if you use primarily your E-M1 for stills and your GH3/G6 for video, you will be fine. I actually work in the same way, I had the E-M5 before and the E-M1 now for still photography and I often use a GH3 for video.
    The E-M1 has a better weather seal body and is also freeze proof 😉

  • Bob L

    Thanks Mathieu,
    By multitasking I meant going back and forth between Lumix and Olympus… I suppose that wouldn’t really be an issue. Do you think the EM-1 has better weather sealing than the GH3?
    Thanks again… I’m enjoying your website
    bob

  • Mathieu

    Hi Bob, what do you mean exactly when you refer to multitasking?
    The E-M1 menu is less intuitive than the Lumix menu but once you get used to it, you won’t be bother by it. The Lumix 12-35mm is a nice lens, I got the chance to test it briefly last year. But I ordered the E-M1 with the new 12-40mm because of its extra 10mm and for its great build quality. But it isn’t cheap either.

  • Bob L

    HI, thanks for your article. I’m primarily a stills photographer but do some video. I currently own a GH3 with a G6 as a backup. I really like lumix cameras but I’m intrigued by the new EM-1, especially its viewfinder. Do you think it would difficult for a Lumix (formally Canon) user to get used to multitasking and using the quirky Olympus menus, or is that issue overstated?

    I’ve got several lenses including the 9-18mm, 17mm 1.8 and 25mm 1.4. Not sure I want to fork over another $1200 for the 12-35 lens when that would almost pay for a new E-M1!
    Thanks a lot, Bob

  • Mathieu

    Sorry for responding late. Yes I meant the X100s but I could have written it more clearly 😉

  • Jaris

    Sorry, I guess you meant the X100s and its 23mm lens which is almost equal to 35mm due to the crop factor, right?

  • Jaris

    “then chances that you fall in love with the camera are very high”…did you mean x-e2 plus 35mm lens?

  • Mathieu

    Well if you want to keep using your DSLR for portraits, then in this case the X100s is a more logic choice for street photography. Personally I love the X100s, it is the camera I mostly carry around. I use it for many things, not only street, because of its compact size yet exceptional image quality. It makes more sense than an X-E2 because you already have an interchangeable lens system. And you can always switch to an X-E2 later.
    Just make sure that a fixed 35mm equivalent focal length is something you’re interested in, then chances that you fall in love with the camera are very high 😉

  • Jaris

    Hello again, I already have a DSLR with some excellent lens for portrait (50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8) and honestly I want to buy a new one just for street because I like the retro desing from Fuji X-series and I also want to have a small good camera to carry with me everyday, I think the best option is the X100s, right? What about X-E1 with some lens for street? May you suggest something? I have seen excellent street portraits using just the X100s, what is your opinion about it? Thanks in advance.

  • Mathieu

    You’re welcome. Don’t hesitate to ask further questions if you need to 😉

  • Jaris

    Ok thank you very much for your advises and also for your time to reply back.

  • Mathieu

    In my opinion the X100s is the perfect camera for street photography because of its compact size, minimalistic appearance and “pancake style” lens. But you can find it more limiting for portraits. Of course it depends on what kind of portraits you want to take. The X-E2 certainly offers the advantage of an interchangeable lens system and if portraits become more serious, you can add a specific lens to your gear. With the X100s, you are mostly limited on environmental portraits because of its focal length.

  • Jaris

    Hello, thanks for your advise. What about Fuji X100s? May you suggest it for my goals? Thanks.

  • Mathieu

    Hi Jaris, my advice could be to start with an X-E2 and the 35mm lens. Its focal length is good for street photography and can be also a good start for portraits (if you don’t get too close to your subject). Then later you can consider to purchase additional lenses. The 23mm is wonderful. There is also the upcoming 56mm f/1.2 that promises to be a gorgeous lens for portraits. Anyway, maybe just wait one more week as Fuji is ready to release a new camera, the X-T1 that will have a more SLR like design.

  • Jaris

    Hello, nice post. I’m planning to buy an X-Fuji camera and lens, I like to shoot portraits and I would like to start shooting Street Photography so which one may you suggest to buy? X-E1 and 35mm, or X-E2 and 23mm, or another like Olympus? Thanks in advance for your time to reply.

  • Mathieu

    I agree with Adam, you should buy it with the kit lens, it is a very good piece of glass and I’m sure you will find it useful in various situations.

  • Sha-Sonja

    Thank you Adam! Helped a lot! Much appreciated!

  • Adam

    Hey Sonja, I’d buy the body and kit lens combo as you will be able to sell the kit lens on eBay for more than the extra cost of the body only deal if you don’t want to keep it. The kit lens is pretty good (for a kit lens) on the Fuji, in fact the Olympus (12-50 or 14-40 PRO) and the sony kit lenses are pretty good. Always worth getting the extra kens for the small cost, even if you sell it straight away on eBay (other auction sites are available). I bought the Olympus E-M5 body only then ended up buying the lens that would have been the kit for more than the extra cost which annoyed me. Hope this helps.

  • Sha-Sonja

    P.S Should I just purchase the body (specifically speaking about the x-e2) and just use the extra money for the 35 and 55-200? I also heard the 14mm is the best out of the bunch.

  • Sha-Sonja

    Wow! Thank you so much for the responses! I will definitely update you guys! This is awesome! Thank you!

  • Adam

    Maybe you should also consider the Panasonic GH2, which is a few years old but will save you a bit of money and still uses all of the excellent micro four third lenses from Panasonic and Olympus. The GH2 is a “DSLR style” mirrorless camera and so you will be familiar with the layout of the system. It also means that if you then decide to upgrade to one of the more expensive micro four third systems you can keep the lenses from the GH2, AND if you are willing to manually focus u will be able to use your Nikon lenses too with an adapter, saving you a bit of money.
    I moved from Canon DSLRs to Olympus M4/3 last year and I haven’t regretted a single day with my new setup, it’s light, great IQ and I can carry Camera, grip, small tripod and 3 lenses in a small bag – definitely enough for a day of street photography. Have fun, let us know what you choose!

  • Mathieu

    The Fuji X-E2 could be an ideal choice for you. It has the same APS-C sensor format as the D90, but the Fuji X-trans II sensor is far better. Wonderful colour rendition, wonderful high ISO and dynamic range.
    The kit lens you can get with it is faster than the usual kit lenses (it is a 18-55 f/2.8-4). Then you will also find some equivalent lenses in the Fuji X system, particularly the 35mm f/1.4, one of the best lenses, and also the 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 which is nice as well. You might find the autofocus slightly worse than the D90 though, so my advice is to try it in a camera shop if you get the chance and see for yourself how the AF works and reacts.
    The Nikon DF is not mirrorless. I saw it the other day in a camera shop, not really smaller than other DSLRs. Surely image quality is superior, but if you aim to a smaller system, it might not be an ideal choice.
    Finally, if we have a look at Panasonic and Olympus, the MFT system is without a doubt the more compact system you can find. A Panasonic GX7 or an Olympus E-M5/E-M1 with some primes or even some f/2.8 constant aperture zooms will still be more compact than any other system with the equivalent lenses.

  • Sha-Sonja

    I’m currently using a nikon d90 with a variety of lens.. 2 primes (50 and 35) and two zooms (18-105 and 55-300) **my main lens that I end up shooting with is the 55-300 (beautiful portraits/IQ). I’m looking for my workhorse and hopefully as I gain more money, I can add on other gears, but right now I need my workhorse to help us set a firm foundation.

  • Mathieu

    Hi Sonja, can you tell me which camera and which lenses are you currently using? That will help me give you better advice 😉

  • Sha-Sonja

    Hey Mathieu! I need some help. I came across your site because im currently trying to transition from dslr to csc. My passion/career is street photography/photojournalism with some portraiture in between and I’m eyeing the following cameras: Fuji x-e2;Nikon Df and from what i’ve now read before the olympus and panasonic. I’m very torn and to get on a personal note, I have social anxiety.. so being a professional photog with that illness is the main reason why I would like to switch to a csc. Need some help!

  • Adam

    I had a look at both the X-Pro 1 and the E-M5 and finally chose the Olympus. I tested both out in a store and the difference in IQ was so small I could not notice, albeit from the back of the camera and not on a computer screen. I love the Olympus image stabilisation and the weather sealing had also been a great addition. I think the price of the Fuji lenses are slightly better value than the Olympus, from what I have come across, however, you can pick up legacy Olympus OM lenses on eBay for no money at all and slap a MMF adapter on the E-M5 if that whats you’re into, I have 6 old legacy lenses which I love including the Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f1.8 which is beautiful (actually I have 2 of those because I love it so much).

  • Heather

    Hi Steve. I’m responding on behalf of Mathieu as he’s quite tied up with work at the moment. If you are really interested in weather-sealing and prefer Fujiflm, then you may want to wait for the new high-end X series camera. It will sit somewhere between the X-Pro and the X-E categories. It will be more expensive than an X-Pro1 but it may be worth it for the extra bells and whistles (rumours suggest high performance EVF, X Trans II sensor, double SD card slots). However, if you are limited by price and you want both weather-sealing and image stability, the E-M5 is a no-brainer, also because the stabilisation makes it possible to lower your ISO in dark conditions. In our opinion, the loss of IQ really is minimal. Just have a look at the pictures from this article and you’ll see what we mean. I think your idea to go to a camera store and try them out first-hand is a good one. You’ll get a proper feel for how these cameras behave and whether or not they fit your style.

  • Stephen

    Mathieu, great right up, loving the website!
    I’m trying to decided between the Olympus OMD E-M5 and Fuji X-Pro 1, don’t know if the weather sealing and Image stability is worth the loss of IQ, plus quite fancy the analogue feel of the Fuji, going to pop out tomorrow and find a place that has both.
    Hard choice when both are at the same price and have a free lens promo in the UK….. Any opinions on either?

    Cheers, Steve

  • Kim Pasacreta

    Thanks Mathieu, I was leaning towards the 7100 in the new year. But the mirrorless have intrigued me. There’s been a lot if buzz about them.

  • Mathieu

    The 50mm and 85mm are good lenses. I’m surprised you are not getting satisfying results. I don’t know the D5100 but perhaps you could think of upgrading your Nikon body before switching entirely? If you have an opportunity to try a D7100 or a D610. Of course it depends on your budget as well. My advice is do the switch if you are also interested in other aspects such a smaller bodies and lenses, etc.
    A good alternative could be an Olympus E-M5 (or E-M1 if you have the budget) with the 45mm f/1.8 for portraits. Or a Lumix body (GX7 is great) and use the Panasonic Leica 25mm 1.4 and the olympus 45mm. There are other lenses as well. The best portrait lens for MFT is for now the 75mm 1.8 by Olympus, but it is more expensive.

  • Kim Pasacreta

    Nikon 50mm & 85mm
    as well as some walk around lenses 18-105, 18-200, & Sigma 10-20

  • Kim Pasacreta

    I have the following lenses
    Nikon 50mm 1.8G AF-S
    Nikon 85mm 1.8D
    Nikon 18-105mm
    Nikon 18-200mm
    Sigma 10-20mm DC HSM

  • Mathieu

    Hi Kim, what lenses are you using with your Nikon D5100? For portraits, lenses are more important than camera bodies.

  • Kim Pasacreta

    Mathieu
    Most of my work right now is newborn/maternity with a mix of families outdoors. I not statisfied with the sharpness & close up shots I have to do of the babies. I use a Nikon 5100 I have been strongly leaning to mirrorless after Trey Ratcliffs review but I’m not sure what one to go with. Most people in this field have Canon mark 5 what do you suggest.

  • Mathieu

    Actually, there are two cameras you could consider:
    – The Fuji X-E1, which is dropping in price because the X-E2 will be released very soon. Basically the same IQ as the X100s, but you will get an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit zoom lens that is very good and has a faster aperture than a standard kit lens. It has a viewfinder and you can use it also for other kind of photographs and buy other lenses one day if you need too. In low light, the AF might struggle a little bit especially if you take pictures of food, as the distance is short. But it is also true that you can use manual focus and the focus peaking on the LCD.
    – The OM-D E-M5, which has also dropped in price. Better AF, 5-axis image stabilisation meaning that you can use slower shutter speed, and keep the ISO levels reasonable. The kit lens isn’t fast like the X-E1 kit lens, but there are lots of good micro four thirds lenses to consider and here again, you can buy other lenses the day you need too.
    Both cameras are great. The X-E1 has better high ISO with less noise, but the E-M5 defends itself very well and you’ll have less need for high ISO thanks to the in-body stabilisation.
    For both, you can pay around $1000-1200 depending where you buy it and you will have one of the best mirrorless cameras available today. You can probably also find them second-hand. 😉

  • http://Www.lapetitefrog.com Nichole

    I am thinking $500-$1000. I will consider $1000-1500 if the camera is near prefect and won’t need extra lenses.

    I want to take pictures of fruits, vegetables, and food in restaurants when I am traveling. Low light performance would be great!

    I need my images to be sharp and excellent quality because I’m trying to use them as backgrounds for my blog :)

  • Mathieu

    The RX100M2 will definitely work better in low light. Don’t rely too much on the X20 OVF as you get some parallax issue when photographing at a close distance.
    What kind of food pictures do you need to take? I guess they are for your blog. If you can’t shoot with a tripod and need good high ISO performance, then there is also the Olympus option and its great 5-axis stabilization. May I ask you your budget so that I can think of other options.

  • http://Www.lapetitefrog.com Nichole

    Do you think the Fuji X20 would not be so great for indoors? (If I were to take pictures in a restaurant with low lighting, for example). I also heard the sony rx100 ii has better quality than the Fuji X20. But I don’t like how the sony doesn’t have a viewfinder.

    I mainly want to use my photos for blogging. Which do you think is better? Thanks!

  • Mathieu

    Hi Nichole, I think that the X20 is the perfect choice for you. Small, with a very good and versatile zoom lens and it comes at a reasonable price. IQ is great despite its smaller sensor.
    The SL1 is a very tiny DSLR but it remains bulkier than mirrorless cameras.
    The X100s has certainly the best IQ of all three, but has a fixed lens and as you said is more expensive.

  • http://Www.lapetitefrog.com Nichole

    Hi Mathieu,
    Great review! I’m debating between the fuji x100s, fuji x20, and the canon sl1 for a small camera to carry around when I go out. I want to take pictures of food, people on the street, and most importantly I want all of my images to be near perfect quality.

    I was leaning towards the x100s, but it is so expensive. I’m a little against the fuji x20 since people say the images are not that great quality. Also, I heard the canon sl1 is not small as its advertised.

    What do you think is best?

  • Mathieu

    Hi Alex, may I ask you what kind of photography and which lenses you like the most? The A7r is very tempting but there won’t be a lot of lenses available right away. Of course you can use several adaptors including those for Canon lenses, but a bigger DSLR lens will unbalance the camera.
    On the other hand, if you are looking for a smaller alternative to a DSLR but want to keep the fabulous full frame IQ, then Sony is the answer. The A7r won’t be as fast as the A7 I think but if it isn’t your top priority, then you don’t have to worry about it. I think that the A7r with the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 is the perfect start 😉

  • Alex

    Need advice , I am planning on making the switch from a Canon 5D mark II to a new Sony alpha r7, any comment?

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