Olympus OM-D E-M10 (another long name lol!) is the latest mirrorless offering from Olympus. It is very similar in design and specification compared to E-M5 but with some key specifications removed in order to make it cheaper. It has only 3-axis image stabilization instead of 5-axis and looses weather proofing, but it has higher resolution LCD, gains built in flash and WIFI and newer image processor which should result in even better images.
Although mirrorless cameras got a firm grip on the market in the last several years, DSLR sale numbers are higher still. They are bigger, heavier and do not offer better image quality than comparable mirrorless with APS-C sensors. So what’s the catch? Why are they still more popular on global market? I tried to figure it out testing the latest entry-level Nikon DLSR: the D3300.
When it was announced, I thought of the Nikon Df that it would be a dream come true. Classic styling, external controls for just about anything and superb full frame sensor from the flagship D4 camera should make any photographer drop their jaw and involuntarily grasp for their credit card. Even more, Nikon build the tensions with several “Pure photography” teaser videos so the expectations were quite high. Expectations are one thing; reality another. Df might just be the biggest disappointment of the last year. Find out why.
A5000 is the latest mirrorless camera from Sony. Don’t be confused by the new naming scheme, this is just another ordinary NEX camera. Sony said they implemented the new naming scheme in order not to confuse customers, but the generally accepted opinion is that the confusion is now even worse. NEX name was well accepted and it was easy to distinguish cameras, but now you have one name – ALPHA for all Sony interchangeable lens cameras and some of them are E-mount, some are A-mount. For a novice or a non-gear head this is a nightmare. A5000 is actually the successor to NEX-3N which replaced the NEX-F3 which replaced the NEX-C3 which came after the original NEX-3 in 2010. Five models in three and a half years. What for? God only knows (and maybe someone from Sony).
Sony RX100 raised a lot of dust since it was announced year and a half ago. Besides all the bells and whistles that are expected of the advanced-level camera like a full range of manual settings, programmable controls and excellent build quality, RX100 got praises for its image quality and this is what matters most. Never before was there such a small camera with such image quality and the main reason behind it was a “huge” 13.2 x 8.8 mm CMOS sensor with 20 megapixels paired to excellent Zeiss branded zoom lens.
Both Nikon and Canon are very traditional companies. If it was up to them, mirrorless cameras would not even exist. But it is not up to them (luckily). Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji are putting all their effort in mirrorless concept and there’s a lot of customers who ditched DSLR and gone for smaller mirrorless form factor. In order to keep up to competition, Canon and Nikon released their own mirrorless cameras but there’s a catch. They didn’t want those models to compete with their own entry level DSLR models so they made them worse than they could be. Canon EOS M has dead slow AF, Nikon used too small sensor size and both were too expensive from beginning. So (almost) nobody bought them. What a surprise.
In order to compete with far more advanced NEX, OM-D and Fuji cameras, you need to have something that makes you special. After two years, Nikon finally realized that so now we have AW1. Detail that makes it different is waterproofing so this little camera can go 15m (49ft) underwater, can withstand drops from 2m (6.6ft) and will happily work at -10°C (14°F). And all that without the need for special underwater case and you can still change lenses. Now we’re talking!
Samsung has been a player in mirrorless market almost since the first mirrorless cameras arrived. It has released a number of cameras and a range of lenses in the last few years but it seems it cannot grab a hold of significant market share nonetheless. The new NX2000 is positioned at the bottom of the Samsung mirrorless lineup and I was anxious to see what it has to offer.
Sony is on rampage. Right next to A7 and A7R, the company released another beautiful and capable digital camera – the DSC-RX10. It’s a camera that really has no direct competitor. With the big 8x zoom lens it could hardly be called as ultra zoom, but it looks like one. The main feature that sets it apart from other ultra-zooms is the sensor. It is the same unit used in RX100 II camera; smaller than APS-C sensors in mirrorless cameras, but still significantly bigger from those found in other ultra-zooms. The result is exceptional image quality. Besides that, RX10 can record in RAW format, has a high level of customization and it could actually be the only camera an advanced amateur could need. No fuss with exchanging lenses and all of the manual controls at the fingertips.
Finally, I had the opportunity to play with some new Sony gear. Yes, it’s the new A7 I’m talking about. Mirrorless and full frame at the same time, A7 is the camera many photographers dreamed about for a long time. Full frame cameras are around for years, but not until recently all of them were either big and heavy DSLR models or insanely expensive Leica. Just around last Christmas, Sony released RX1, a full-frame compact with fixed 35mm F/2 lens. Nothing like this was produced before and it became apparent it is only a matter of time Sony would release full frame mirrorless cameras. So now we have A7 and A7R which are very similar models. A7 has 24 megapixels, 117 phase detect AF points on the main image sensor and can shoot 5fps. A7R has 36 megapixel sensor with AA filter removed, 25 contrast detect AF points, shoots at a bit slower 4fps and has more magnesium parts (dials, back plate…). Both cameras are weather sealed, have tilt LCD, 2.5 million electronic viewfinders, 1/8000 shutter speed and records videos up to 1920 x 1080 @ 60p. Impressive.
Canon EOS 70D is the latest model that stands in the middle of current Canon DSLR lineup. You could call it a sort of advanced amateur or semi-professional camera, but there’s no such thing in real life: it is the photographer who defines how and for what purpose the gear is used. Theory aside, 70D distinguishes itself from more affordable 700D by many features like higher burst frame rate, more focus points and by the physical size and control layout. Also, there is a new 20 megapixel sensor inside, pretty impressive live view focusing system and a superb swivel LCD with touch control.