Mirrorless vs DSLR

Mirrorless vs DSLR – Navigating the Hype

APG Meets September 20th, 7:00–8:30 PM @ The Lyndon House

293 Hoyt St., Athens, GA 30601


If you have picked up a photography magazine or visited an online photography forum in the past few years, you have no doubt noticed the huge amount of excitement surrounding the latest generation of “mirrorless” cameras. Although mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC) have been around for over 10 years now, jump-started in 2008 when Olympus and Panasonic teamed up to develop the Micro Four Thirds system, the large and growing popularity of Fuji’s retro-styled APS-C and Sony’s full frame mirrorless options with both pros and “prosumers” has led to breathless press coverage and prediction of the future demise of the DSLR. Now that Nikon and Canon have joined the fray and announced new full frame mirrorless options you can expect this trend to accelerate.

While the rapid evolution of these photographic tools is certainly exciting, and brings many new photographic opportunities (for example, see Alberto Patiño Douce’s APG talk on “Vintage Lenses on Mirrorless Cameras” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te2mWC7vpXw), sorting through the hype is a real challenge. This month APG member Wade Sheldon will provide an overview of the current mirrorless landscape, and share his real-world experience using multiple mirrorless systems alongside his DSLR for the past five years – the good, the bad, and even the ugly. He will also have his current mirrorless camera (Fuji X-T2) on hand for anyone who would like to see a top-rated electronic viewfinder in action.

Wade is a marine scientist at the University of Georgia, specializing in scientific computing and environmental data management. He bought his first camera after graduating from college, a Canon T-70 film body, and has been hooked on photography ever since. He currently pursues a wide range of photo subjects semi-professionally, including promotional and event photography for UGA, Cedar Theatre, Bear Hollow Zoo, Athens for Everyone, and various non-profit groups and scientific societies, as well as landscape and general nature photography. Wade’s photos have appeared in multiple Lyndon House juried shows and special exhibits, as well as technical publications and regional magazines including the UGA Research Reporter. You can view some of Wade’s recent work on his website at www.sheldonphoto.net.

Download Presentation (Acrobat PDF)

Vintage Lenses on Mirrorless Cameras

March 2017 Featured Speaker

Vintage Lenses on Mirrorless Cameras: They might be old, but married to a modern camera they can still produce beautiful results in ways that modern lenses can’t.

by Alberto Patiño Douce

I think that the soul of a photograph is in the lens that created it. The camera is less important, it is simply the “digital back” for the lens, what we use today instead of film. The camera is a piece of hardware that allows one to get all that a lens can deliver, and to do it in the most efficient way possible. But no camera – no sensor – is better than the lens that one puts in front of it.

Modern digital lenses can be surgically sharp, with enormous resistance to flare and scientifically accurate color rendition. And if they have aberrations or distortions, they are usually corrected by software. In other words, modern digital lenses are impersonal. Because of this, and also because I miss the “slide-rule engineering” that I grew-up with, I have developed a strong preference for analog-era lenses of decades past. I don’t think that modern “digital” lenses can match them in terms of that unique combination of sweetness and sharpness that one associates with great film-era optics.

There is, however, one digital technological development without which old lenses might have slowly died. Mirrorless cameras have given a new life to classic lenses. Just about any analog lens ever made can be adapted to them. Precise focusing and exposure are much simpler and faster with digital mirrorless cameras than they ever were with film cameras. Mirrorless cameras, especially those with full frame sensors, are able to show the qualities and unique personalities of old lenses in ways that surpass anything that film was ever able to do. And, let’s face it, Lightroom is preferable to smelly chemicals in the dark. More than anything else, shooting with old manual lenses is immensely fulfilling and great FUN. Most of my photography these days is done with decades-old lenses attached to mirrorless cameras. I would like to share some of my experiences and show you some of my results. Perhaps I will inspire you to go and try it as well.

All photos ©2017 Alberto Patino Douce