Which is the Best Mirrorless Camera – Which one should you get?

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The race is on and we are only ten days into year 2012. The battle between camera manufactures is officially on. With only ten days into year 2012, we have already seen the announcements of  Nikon D4, Canon G1 X and Fujifilm X-Pro 1. All these were in addition to Canon’s 1D X and Nikon’s V1 announcements back in late 2011.

This is the year of digital cameras,  the temptation is so great  that most likely you will end up buying something nice for yourself, perhaps the Nikon V1? Canon G1X or the Nikon D4? You can order them at B&H Photo Video

Ever since the introduction of micro four thirds system from Olympics (EP series) and Panasonic (GF series) back in  2008, digital mirrorless has been growing fast  with all manufactures joining the battle. Sony has the NEX (2010), Pentax has the Pentax Q (2011), Ricoh GXR from Ricoh (2009), Samsung has the NX (2010), Nikon later joined with their 1 system (2011), Leica with their M9 (2011), Fujifilm with their sleek X-Pro 1 (2012) and now with Canon completing the list with G1 X (2012) though it is not an interchangeable lens system , but  is equipped with a bigger sensor (20% smaller than DSLR APS-C sensor).

The question is then which one should you get? This is the battle of mirrorless cameras.


                                               Sony NEX-7 (24MP, APS-C)                                                                            Fujifilm X-Pro 1 (16MP, APS-C)

                                            Canon G1X (14MP, 1.5” CMOS)                                                                                  Leica M9 (18MP, FF)

                                              Olympus E-P3 (12MP, m4/3)                                                                          Samsung NX200 (20MP, APS-C)

                                                  Pentax Q (12MP, 1/2.3”)                                                                                 Panasonic GX1(16MP, m4/3)


                                             Ricoh GXR (12MP, sensor size depends on lens)                                         Nikon V1 (10MP,  13.2 x 8.8mm)

images from dpreview.com

If you are looking  to compare the specs, then you are out of luck, it will take forever to compare them. Personally, I don’t think it is all about specs when you are buying a compact/mirrorless camera. Half of your decision will probably be based on the ergonomic design, how awesome it looks on you, how it  fits in your hands, are the buttons at the right place, and how much can you afford?  It is quite different to choosing a pro DSLR where you will look into every details of its specification.

Honestly, apart from the Pentax Q, there are not much differences between the cameras in terms of performance and image quality. Some aspects that need mention thou:

  • Nikon 1 has an awesome AF system and the lenses are smallest.
  • M9 is really expensive but equipped with a FF size sensor. It is a Leica rangefinder !! 
  • Canon G1X uses a fixed lens with an aperture from f/2.8-f/5.6 which is faster than most kit lenses, but is very slow to zoom in and out.
  • Fujifilm X-Pro 1 looks really retro with a rangefinder look, but it won’t be cheap ($1700 USD). Fujifilm announced some stunning fast prime lenses for the X mount.
  • Sony NEX-7 has a whooping 24MP, twin dials and the largest grip of all. It you want something simpler, smaller and cheaper, check out the NEX-5N here, here and here.

If you are a pro photographer, most likely you will be thinking about either the M9Fuji X-Pro 1 or the NEX-7.

If you want a high end camera in place of a DSLR, you can’t go wrong with either the Fuji X-Pro 1, NEX-7, E-P3, GX1 or Nikon 1.

If you are a sport shooter, consider the Nikon 1 system with an awesome AF.

If you want the most travel friendly camera, get the Nikon 1.

If you want the cheapest, get the Canon G1X.

If you shoot under low light mostly (indoor), get an APS-C sensor camera like the NEX-7, Fuji X-Pro 1, Canon G1X. or M9.

If you are a DoF addict, get the NEX-7, Fuji X-Pro 1 or M9 if you have the money.

If you own a DSLR already, you probably want one that travels light and  looks the best on you, consider the NEX-7, E-P3, GX1, G1X or Nikon 1.

For myself I chose the NEX-5N (review here) as my travel/casual camera, simply because I am a DoF addict and also at the time, the Nikon 1, Canon G1X and Fuji X-Pro 1 were not announced yet. You could say I was lucky not to have to make such a difficult decision back then.

Whichever one camera you decided to get, please show your support by purchasing your camera at  B&H Photo Video.

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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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