Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Mirrorless Systems For You
How to build a mirrorless system as your primary outfit for nature photography
Canon currently provides two EF-M-mount lenses for its EOS M mirrorless model, 22mm and 18-55mm, but the Mount Adapter EF-EOS M allows use of all Canon EF and EF-S DSLR lenses—more than 50, ranging from an 8-15mm fisheye zoom and a 10-22mm superwide zoom to an 800mm supertele for 35mm-equivalent focal lengths of 16mm through 1280mm. Samsung offers 10 lenses for its NX mirrorless cameras, plus a K-mount adapter that lets you use the wide range of K-mount lenses on the NX cameras. The NX lenses range from 16mm to 18-200mm, for 35mm-equivalent focal lengths of 24mm to 300mm.
Since mirrorless cameras don't have the DSLR's bulky mirror box, they can be much thinner than DSLRs. And the reduced flange-back distance between the lens mount and image plane not only makes for smaller cameras, but it also means you can use just about any lens for which an adapter can be found on just about any mirrorless body. A number of companies offer a wide range of adapters, including Novoflex and Pro-Optic. If you have some lenses for your DSLR, you may be able to use them with your mirrorless camera via such an adapter.
Granted, one of the main reasons for mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras is to reduce camera and lens size, but when you're hauling gear to out-of-the-way locales over rough terrain, every ounce and cubic inch saved helps. A mirrorless body weighs much less than even an entry-level DSLR, much less a mid-range or pro model, and a kit based around a mirrorless body weighs less and takes up less space than one based around a DSLR body, even if you include a supertele DSLR lens in the kit, because the mirrorless body, its native lenses and accessories are all smaller than their DSLR counterparts.
All mirrorless models provide viewing via their rear LCD or OLED monitors, which can be convenient for landscape and macro shooting. Many offer tilting and even rotating monitors, making odd-angle shooting, such as ground level and above one's head, simple. Touch-screen monitors let you focus anywhere in the frame merely by touching the desired spot.
For landscape and macro work, the zoomed live-view image is a great aid for manual focusing. Some cameras even provide focus peaking, where in-focus areas are highlighted with colored lines. This works best when the camera is used on a tripod and, yes, mirrorless cameras have tripod sockets like DSLRs. While some may think carting a tripod around negates some of the benefit of the compact mirrorless camera, it's easier to carry a tripod and a compact camera body/lens system in the field than a tripod and a much bulkier DSLR system.
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