Yesterday I was chatting to a friend who wanted advice on buying a mirrorless camera. He had been looking at the new Sony a6000 but had serious reservations about the price. Without hesitation, I immediately suggested that he shift his glance toward the older Nex 5, 6 and 7 models, which last year, had been the pride and glory of the Sony mirrorless line-up. Indeed it was only when the full-frame alpha series and the incredibly fast a6000 came on the scene this year that everything changed…
These days, all it takes is the release of a new camera to slice the price of its predecessor in two.
It doesn’t matter if many of the specs are practically identical, or if the appearance of the new camera is almost indistinguishable from the previous: the fact is that new releases result in the almost immediate depreciation of older camera models.
The cameras you see below are just a few whose price has really taken a dive since the release of their successors. These are cameras that, despite their “old age” in digital photography terms, are perfectly capable of handling a wide variety of genres, from weddings to events to portraiture. They teach us the lesson that, just as size isn’t everything (as most mirrorless users know), age isn’t everything either.
1. Sony NEX 6
My jaw almost dropped when I saw the price dive the NEX 6 has taken over the past few months. The first drop came when the A7/A7r were released but the final blow occurred after the arrival of its and the NEX 7’s true successor, the a6000. You can now find the NEX 6 for just over half its original price, and for even less second-hand.
The amazing thing is that the NEX 6 is still a perfectly valid camera by today’s standards, with its 16MP APS-C sensor, 10 fps shooting, fast hybrid AF, bright OLED viewfinder with 100% coverage, full HD movie shooting, and WiFi sharing capabilities. Is it as technologically advanced as the a6000? No, but most advanced amateurs do not need or even care about the 24MP, blazing fast autofocus or 4K still image output found on the a6000. The NEX 6 is by far sufficient for every day, and even professional use. In fact, I know a photographer/filmmaker who religiously uses it for much of his landscape photography.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M5
The OM-D E-M5 was first camera in Olympus’ OM-D series, and was so well-loved by its users that it sparked the use of the popular Twitter hashtag #OMGOMD. As many of you now know, it was also Mathieu’s first mirrorless camera, and the one he used for over a year before switching over to, yes, you guessed it, the OM-D E-M1.
The E-M5’s price drop was the result of the E-M1 hitting the scene, taking its place as the professional’s mirrorless. Its value further depreciated when the E-M10 showed up, a camera almost identical to the E-M5 with a much lower price tag. You can now find the E-M5 for an average of $300 less than its original price.
A surprising fact is that most professional and enthusiast Olympus users I know have made the decision to stick with the E-M5 rather than upgrade. The reason? They feel it is enough for the kind of work they do. Indeed, with its 5-axis stabilisation, high resolution EVF, touch/tilt screen, fast AF, 16MP m4/3 sensor and ergonomic yet cool retro body, it is everything a photographer could want and more for certain types of photography such as wedding, events, portraits and street. We still love this camera, and always will!
3. Fujifilm X-E2
The Fujifilm X-E2 is a brilliant camera but it had the unfortunate luck of being released just months before the extremely popular Fujifilm X-T1. This led to price cuts that were premature for a camera with such notable improvements over previous models, such as an improved AF and a much brighter viewfinder. I must admit that I’ve scratched my head more than once while considering Fujifilm’s decision to release these two cameras so close together.
In the case of the X-E2, you’ll actually be more likely to find a very good deal on a second-hand model than a new one, as many of the photographers who originally jumped on the X-E2 soon sold it to fund the X-T1. The biggest difference between the two models lies in their design: the X-E2 is a rangefinder whereas the X-T1 has an SLR-like appearance. The X-T1 is also in possession of the most OVF-like EVF on the market, but the X-E2’s EVF is more than enough for most situations. The other differences are fairly insignificant, which is why the X-E2 is such an incredible bargain.
4. Sony A7
Another camera that has prematurely come up against a competitor in its own backyard is the recently-released Sony A7, one of the two original full-frame mirrorless cameras from Sony. While we were all waiting with bated breath for Sony to bring out an onslaught of fast lenses for the new system as soon as the A7 and A7r came out, we were instead greeted with yet another body, the A7s.
And what a body it is. Though it only has 12MP, it provides clean HDMI output with the possibility of 4K recording and most importantly, has an astonishing ISO sensitivity of 409,600. However, the fact that both the A7r and A7s have such unique features puts the A7 in a tight spot. Portrait and landscape photographers will choose the A7r for its extremely high resolution whereas event and wedding photographers will certainly be tempted by the A7s’ astounding low-light performance, so where does that leave the A7?
Well, it is certainly the cheapest of the three full-frame cameras, especially thanks to recent price cuts. With the kit lens, it doesn’t even come close to $2000 which could be reason enough to choose it over the others if you are happy with its middle-of-the-road specs. We personally loved the camera while we had it, and would gladly pick it up again in a heartbeat.
Do you think camera companies should slow down the pace at which they release new mirrorless models? Share your thoughts below!