Photography

My Thoughts on Mirrorless Technology

What does the future hold for camera design?

July 2, 2019

I made the switch to mirorless in 2016 and never looked back. What is the draw for this new technology?

Mirrorless has been around for about 10 years now but this year is the first time that mirrorless is beginning to seriously challenge DSLR dominance. I know there are camps on both sides - many are reluctant to switch due to lens or camera compatibility or other reasons. New mirrorless models have recently come out from both Canon and Nikon. Also impressive are medium and large format mirrorless cameras from Hasselblad and Fuji.

Where will innovation come from?

For me I feel there is much more opportunity for innovation with mirrorless. At the heart of this difference the DSLR is virtually unchanged from the film SLR and innovations rely on physics and optics. On the other hand, the mirrorless sensor and electronic viewfinder (EVF) innovations rely on the science of computational photography. There are also some inherent advantages such as better autofocus across virtually the entire sensor these days.

The EVF - love it or hate it.

The much maligned EVF is actually a thing of beauty in today's mirrorless models. It is also a mecca of information for the photographer with innovations like focus peaking, zebra, real time histograms (no more chimping). I can see the effects of my aperature, ISO, and even picture modes before I shoot. I can focus manually better and can focus zoom right in the viewfinder. Nowadays focus tracking is a game changer. Last week I used eye autofocus while bursting on a moving two year old and got 90+% usable images with spot-on focus.

There was also something intangible when I first tried mirrorless. Yeah, it was smaller and lighter but it was something else. It was fun. In my career I was always a fan of disruptive technology and the move to mirrorless felt like the right thing at the right time. I could do things that just weren't possible before and it felt like it was just the beginning. My photography was fun again.

I am a professional photographer, fine art print-maker and a co-founder of J&J Digital along with my wife Jennifer. I also designed and built the J&J Digital web site during the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020.