One of the first things people notice when they meet me is my camera. Almost always in arms reach, I’ve carried a variety of different cameras with me over the years, ranging from entry level and pro dSLRs, to tiny point and shoots and, most recently, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, or ILC for short.
Initially, mirrorless cameras were hard to take seriously. They had slow autofocus, small sensors, laggy electronic viewfinders, and awkward controls. The first one I picked up, the cumbersome Canon EOS M, was massively discounted and seemed like a nice alternative to carrying a point and shoot when my 5D Mark II was just too large. And, indeed, the auto focus was slow, the interface a bit weird, the lack of a viewfinder frustrating. However, the small size and APS-C sensor grew on me and the camera became my daily go to. As the market matured, and a long trip over seas made me tired of lugging around a heavy dSLR, my interest in the newer mirrorless ILC systems grew.
The Sony a7 ended up being the winner, hard to beat intersection of price, sensor performance, and size. Paired with my ever growing collection of legacy lenses, I had found the compromise between wonderful analog SLR cameras and the convenience of digital sensors. Shifting from a large, intimidating dSLR to a camera many people mistake as a film camera resulted in an immediate shift in my street and candid work. Smaller tripods that could fit in my day bag became viable. Compact rangefinder lenses further shrank the setup. Being able to use my Canon lenses when the need arose was another perk.
Of course, Fujifilm is making some excellent cameras. While some professionals and enthusiasts mock the APS-C sensor, the smaller sensor means smaller lenses that are still quite sharp and fast. Low light performance is nearly on par with a full-frame sensor beyond the most extreme situations. Gorgeous third party lenses exist as well, though for virtually all APS-C mirrorless cameras, including Canon’s lackluster EOS M series.
Basically, when people ask if they should get a Canon or a Nikon, I respond with “get a Fuji or a Sony.”
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