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Author Topic: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey  (Read 634 times)

jeremyrh

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Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« on: October 08, 2019, 08:56:59 am »

I have been a Nikon user since the D70. At the time I chose it over a similar Canon. According to my knowledge at the time, these were the only "sensible" choices. Why I chose it, I can't really remember. Maybe it felt better in my hands, or maybe it was the association with various photography heroes. Anyway, it wasn't very analytical.

For the reasons everyone knows, I stuck with Nikon through various upgrades, accumulating a large array of lenses, a number of speedlights and Nikon-specific triggers, and a D850.

Then mirrorless happened. The advantage in my eyes was size. I had a "travel kit" based on Olympus OMD-EM1, but I was always disappointed by the image quality (especially high ISO) and the "action" features didn't really make up for it. Various Sony models appeared but I didn't consider them very seriously, but then I played with a pre-release Z7 in my local shop and I was bitten - small and light; familiar ergonomics, D850 level sensor PLUS I could use all my old lenses and flashes.

Fast forward to now:  I have the Z7 body and a bunch of S lenses. The only F lens I use is the 70-200 f4. When an S series comes out I will buy it. I don't use my Nikon speedlights so much because bigger Godox ones suit my needs better.

So what? My point is that, at the end of all this is that my decision process to stick with Nikon was probably flawed, because in the end I don't really use my pre-existing kit with the new body. Don't get me wrong, I love the Z7 and I think it was the right decision for me, but that was based on the ergonomics rather than the other factors.  If it had been the case that some other system had been better for me, it would have been a better decision to buy into that system rather than stick with Nikon. In other words, my advice to someone getting into mirrorless would be to evaluate the different offerings IGNORING the kit you already own.

What do you think? Am I right? Does this match your experience?
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langier

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 06:38:59 pm »

That's swell, Jeremyrh.

I migrated to m43 six or so years ago, first to the Panasonic GX7 since I liked what I was getting with my LX5 high-end point-and-shoot. I still kept my Nikon system for much of my commercial work and still do love its image quality.

Sure, the image quality wasn't as good, but for travel I gained a lot, smaller, lighter, quieter, less threatening. It was liberating and I could accept the loss in resolution and the noise while shooting at outrageous ISO numbers. When I won an Olympus EM-5 mk II, I liked the images even better, color was better as was the video quality.

The lenses I have are superb and the pixel-shift on the Oly using a circular fisheye nearly met the image quality of the larger, heavier Nikon. All was well. But then Nikon came back into the scene... A little bit bigger bodies, a little bit bigger and heavier lenses and much, much better video with just a little bit of muscle-memory training from the DSLRs I still used.

When the 14-30 was available, it was time to make the upgrade. Besides, last year I killed one Oly stepping off a curve (along with tearing up a knee and bruising my thorax). Another body bit the dust and now the Oly repair estimates cost twice as much as I can find on eBay.

I gained a little more bulk & weight, but shed a lot of processing effort on the files, gained a couple of stops for my low-light shooting, shed a bunch more $$ for the upgrade, including the usual "hidden taxes" of needing new readers and cards, but now quite happy with the files and the video I'm getting. Most of the work are with a pair of lenses, the 14-30 & 24-70 along with the FTZ for the fisheyes, 70-200 and all the other legacy lenses. It's working. I didn't go the the Z7 since my D800s still produce lovely files just a little larger. My fingers seem to hit most of the right buttons now, too, and it didn't take too long.

I came close to doing the upgrade earlier this year but figured I take my own advice and not do it a week before a major trip across the pond and I'm glad I did. The transition to the Nikon Z is now about 15,000 images along and so far, everything is looking good.

While I was on the road, the man I mentor took his "beast" 850 & lenses to France. What he found was he wasn't wide enough and took a look at a Z7 in a Paris shop. He was hooked. When he got home with several hundred images, he too the plunge to a Z7, 14-30, 24-70 and now likes what he has. I don't think he's ready to pass along his 850 since he really likes his longer zooms with it, but now he can shoot in tight places like what he's seen me do for many years now.

He's in his late-mid 70s and so I think he'll be very please with the reduction in weight during his international travels so that's another bonus for him. For me, the Z is less intimidating looking than my the rest of my FX Nikons, just as silent as the Panasonic and Olympus m43 and the image quality and ease of processing the files well worth the upgrade tax.

Another little bonus is that with another cheap adapter, I can use my collection of Leica M lenses and one of my favorites is a Summarit 50 1.5 with lots of fog and decaying balsam between the elements. It puts a nice glow that can't be duplicated in PS. Some of my other 1980s vintage M lenses are also quite nice. The only issue is that with the cheap adapter they still only focus to about 3 feet. Otherwise, it's sort of fun to use these on a new digital platform without paying the price of a hefty down-payment on a used car.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 06:51:37 pm »

I would agree that it may be best to look at mirrorless systems for their own strengths and not to overplay the value of legacy glass.

I have considered carefully both Sony and Nikon what I had to choose, and decided to go the Nikon route because:
- I believe that the mount is superior and the lenses released so far have IMHO proven that
- The only real advantage of Sony at the moment is AF, but the gap isn't huge and Nikon has proven till date their ability to get AF more right than anybody else on DSLRs, so I think that the current gap will be closed quickly (the algos are what matter) and what is going to remain is the value of the lenses
- I can adapt Sony glass to the Nikon but the opposite isn't possible
- The Nikon just felt better in my hands
- The transition is easier thanks to the possibility to use existing glass
- Some essential glass for my usage, such as T/S and 200mm f2.0 are still missing on Sony side

Cheers,
Bernard

langier

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2019, 07:57:42 pm »

+1.

Having a bunch of Nikkor lenses was another factor for the transition.

I liked the size of the Sony, but it just wasn't the right tool for me and I'm glad I stuck it out.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 03:54:23 am »

Indeed ergonomics and familiarity with a system plays a big part. I have used Canon EOS film plus digital for more than 20 years. The thing just worked for what I needed, and to this day, no other camera feels as right to me as the EOS 1V (possible exception - Fuji X-H1).

I never needed many lenses, fluctuating between 3 and 4 - often just travel with one lens. So, when transitioning to MILC to reduce size and weight, I had no big legacy.

KLaban

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 06:04:46 am »

Over the last few months I've been switching from Leica M to Nikon Z. Apart from one 'character' M fit Zeiss lens and an ancient AIS macro, I never had the intention of using my existing lenses on the Z, which of course made my decision all the easier. The switch when complete will mean I have more money in the bank than I did: not often I can say that!

I must admit the switch filled me with dread. I was going from one of the simplest digital cameras to one of the most complex. Also I had never used a DSLR - I don't count my ancient Hasselblad H, it couldn't have been further removed from modern FF cameras. In reality the switch was fairly painless, aided as it was by a comprehensive third-party manual.

Would I have gone with Nikon Z had I had much in the way of existing Nikon F lenses, yes, but my needs are simple and I would have sold some if not all and replaced them with Native Z lenses.

How do the Leica M and Nikon Z systems compare? Well, they could hardly be more different. Image quality? File size/resolution apart, similar.

Regrets? Apart from wishing the primes were smaller, none. A compact and fast 35mm pancake apart, I have all I need. The handling, ergonomics, haptics - call them what you will - are superb and the lenses exceptional. For heaven's sake, I've even fallen for a wide zoom! The competition? None that appealed.

Oh, I forgot to add, I'll never go back to an optical viewfinder!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 06:45:32 am by KLaban »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 01:23:50 pm »

I used mostly Canon when shooting SLR from 1982. A few detours into Nikon and Konica and so on. DSLR I ended up with Canon after years on Kodak from the mid 1990ís 

About 4 years ago I bought a Sony compact for the fun and then followed up with a A6000. Shortly after that I decided mirrorless was the future and really as a professional tool Sony was the thing. I dumped all my Canon gear, and I had a lot of it. There were some challenges. It was also really interesting. Another change. I wouldnít look at legacy glass if deciding to move to mirrorless. Choose the system that suits you best and go for it.

I think some people struggle with the change because for a lot of people photography has always been 135SLR and itís digital offspring. I have shot from 126 to 120 and 4X5, 8X10 and TLR. Pentax 6x7 and RB67. Sinar, Horseman, Linhof and on and on. Mirrorless was just another thing I guess. I have had a lot of cameras without mirrors. Itís not new.

Iím happy with the Sony. Remind me a bit of the old Minolta SRT 101 and 303. Something in the styling. I liked those old Minoltas. I still have 4 old Rokkor lenses I use on the Sonyís.

EVF is great for me. I liked the old OVF on SLRís but never felt any sense of attachment to DSLR OVF, I thought them pretty ordinary.
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armand

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 02:06:49 pm »

I started with Nikon D50, was a close call to the Canon. It felt better in hand and was cheaper, the Canon screen looked sharper. The fact that in many movies I would see photographers using Nikons did help  :D

Years later, disappointed with Nikon's APS-C lenses release I looked for a change. Another close close between Fuji and m43. I went with Fuji for the much better kit lens.

Few more years and I wanted something lighter for hiking, so I tried m43 thinking the grass is greener. Great selection and good weights, I've been fighting with the files in postprocessing a little too much.

Wanted better quality (the times when Fuji postprocessing required more effort) so I went back to Nikon, the D750 now. Great files, ok lenses unless I was going with quite heavier lenses. Never did any extensive hiking with the full frame Nikon because of the size/weight. In between I was adding mostly to the Fuji kit.

Again few more years and I want better quality from time to time. Another close call, I went with Nikon because of the FTZ adapter and having few full frame lenses. In retrospect I don't really use my old lenses on the Z7, mostly the manual focus Samyang 14mm F 2.8. Rarely the Nikon 70-200 F4. So I could have gotten any other system without feeling a big difference. It is however nice to be able to go with the D750 and Z7+FTZ: use the Z7 for highest quality, use the D750 when I only need good enough or when there is a distinct danger to the camera.


Now I'm still looking for a lighter highest possible quality kit for hiking.
Candidates:
- the new E-M5iii with 12-40 F2.8 or 12-100 F4; will see how the new Oly works
- Fuji X-T2/3 with the new 16-80 F4; so far the reports have been underwhelming
- continue with the Z7 and 24-70 F4; it gives me similar or better quality as the Fuji up until 100 mm equiv or so
- Sony A7Rx with the 24-105; another system to deal with, would rather not

In the end I have yet to settle on a system and have everything that I want (not necessarily need). If you want full frame and want to start from scratch I still think that Sony has the upper hand if you are ok with the ergonomics.

scooby70

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2019, 03:40:29 pm »

I stuck with film when many were going digital but after mounting disappointment with what was coming back from processing (I assume they were cutting costs to compete with digital but for whatever reason quality nosedived to the bottom and stayed there) I bought a Fuji S602 pro zoom which was awful (very laggy) so I switched to a Canon 300D and went through 10D, 20D (I had that over 7 years) and 5D. I was never happy with the bulk and weight of DSLR's and when the Panasonic GF1 came out I bought one with the 20mm f1.7. I liked the concept but I couldn't get on with back screen shooting so I changed to the G1 and I was mightily impressed. It wasn't pocketable like the GF1 but it was small enough not to bother me like the Canon DSLR's did and the first time I went out with it I actually had to keep checking the bag to make sure it was still there such was the saving in weight. The files weren't great at ISO 1,600 when pixel peeping but they were useable with care and in fact with care IMO the G1 threatened my 5D at times.

When the Sony A7 came out I was an early adopter. I'd have been happy if the image quality matched the 5D but thankfully it did more than match it and instead smashed it completely. Native lens wise I have the Sony 28-70mm kit lens, 35mm f1.8, 35mm f2.8, 55mm and 85mm f1.8's plus Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 and 40mm f1.2. I aso have quite a few film era primes, mostly Minolta Rokkor, Olymus Zuiko and Canon FD with a few Nippon Kogaku and others.

So, the Canon DSLR kit all went and I also gave away my beloved Nikon SLR which I'd used for over 20 years and sold or gave away my RF's. I'm digital and mirrorless now with the A7 and also Panasonic GX9 and GX80 and a range of lenses which I still use now and again but mostly I like the A7 but the Panasonics come in handy especially when I want a long lens or when I want to shoot silently as my A7 doesn't have an electronic shutter and longer lenses are big and expensive.

I've pretty much got everything I could want now but I may be tempted to the recently announced Voigtlander 50mm f2 apo as it could be a very nice lens indeed.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 03:53:14 pm by scooby70 »
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2019, 03:27:20 am »

Many years ago I was the proud owner of a Practika, but then went to Canon.  The 10D was my first plunge into digital.  Even though only 6MP, I printed A3, and still have a print on the wall. Canon was the only choice as I did not want to change lenses. As I did landscapes, I was happy, and did not need to use high ISO. Then came the 40D, but with envy of full frame I succumbed to a 5D2, then 5D3, which I still have. 

When Fuji announced the X-E1, I was attracted to a lighter system particularly for travel, so got the 18-55 and 55-200, still my go to travel lenses.  I am now a great fan of Fuji.  I graduated to the X-T1, and now have both a T2 and T3, plus a selection of primes.  I have no desire to go back to full frame, and print up to A3+ (13"x19") which is the largest I want.  For people, events, and landscapes, it all works for me.

My only problem is that I now do wildlife and I wanted a 100-400 lens. I looked at both the Canon and Fuji ones when I had 16MP Fuji, and decided on the Canon.  With the 5D3 it gives great results for me, but is heavy.  I wish I had the Fuji.  I do not use the Canon other than with the 100-400. I am on the cusp of selling the body, 24-105, 105 macro, and 100-400 and using the money to get the Fuji 100-400. I will then be fully mirrorless.

I love the wysiwyg of mirrorless, the screen info, and most of all the lighter weight. The quality of the prints is all I want, and I like the film simulations in LR.  If I did get anything more, it might be an iPhone11 pro max on the basis that the best camera is the one you have with you, but the price is off putting. 

I think I will stay happy with what I have for some time, and use any money on going places and photographing rather than new kit.

Best wishes,

Jonathan
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2019, 09:28:49 am »

... Regrets? Apart from wishing the primes were smaller, none...

Ahmmm...

kers

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2019, 09:54:31 am »

Ahmmm...

but ...the bigger, the better...  optically
Let the photos speak...
and then... it is kind of cheap
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 09:59:02 am by kers »
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armand

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2019, 10:52:54 am »

Ahmmm...

One combo is half the price of the other ... and probably triple the weight (somebody with more free time can enlighten us on the exact number)

John Camp

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2019, 12:25:07 pm »

Ahmmm...

And, of course, both the Nikon lens and the body/sensor are better than the Leica. If you're gonna pay that much for either, might as well have the best.
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2019, 12:35:35 pm »

Yes, Slobodan, the Fuji 35mm f2 is a real dinky little lens that weighs only 170 grammes (6 oz), and I like it.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Upgrading to mirrorless - one person's journey
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2019, 07:39:22 pm »

And, of course, both the Nikon lens and the body/sensor are better than the Leica. If you're gonna pay that much for either, might as well have the best.

Not to mention the fact that you actually stand a chance to get photos in focus with the Nikon thanks to live view, IBIS and... more lens inertia.

The way I look at it, be proud and show yourself as a photographer! The Nikon is king! ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
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