Have You Seen the New Mirrorless Cameras?

Have you seen the new mirrorless cameras out on the market? I have what I consider to be one of the best, the Olympus OMD EM5. What does it mean that it’s mirrorless?

After years of carrying around a minimum of about 20 pounds of camera equipment, I love the fact that I’m now carrying around a much lighter weight camera bag as well as a lighter weight tripod!  The other thing that’s amazing about my Oly, is the quality and consistency of the pictures.  Look at the difference in size between the Cannon DSLR and the Olympus OMD EM5.

Mirrorless Camera comparison

The Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) is a fairly new class of digital system cameras. It has an interchangeable lens mount unlike a compact digital camera, and unlike a digital single-lens reflex camera, a MILC does not have a mirror-based optical viewfinder. This means that the camera itself and the lens attachments are able to be much smaller and lighter weight without sacrificing quality. I switched from a standard size pro DSLR to this Olympus mirrorless and am blown away by the quality of the images.  All of the images on this blog I have taken with this camera, except for those posts talking about my other favorite camera, my iPhone.  (You can read more about my iPhone here.)

If you want to move up from a point-and-shoot to a more powerful camera, but you’re not interested in the size and price point of a high end DSLR, a mirrorless camera may be just the thing for price, features, and portability.hero_omd

If you need some help and advice with your camera purchase, I’m here for you.  Just drop me a line with some of your questions, I’m happy to help.  Just don’t get wooed by the advertising of XX megapixel this, and XX Zoom that, there’s a lot more to a camera than megapixels and zoom distance!

Then come on one of my workshops at Jansen Photo Expeditions, and I’ll walk you through all of the menus and get you up and running in no time!


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Holly Higbee-Jansen

Co-Owner and Workshop Leader at Jansen Photo Expeditions
I am a passionate photographer and workshop leader, and I have been exploring my fascination with light since I was a young child. As a co-owner and guide for www.JansenPhotoExpeditions.com, I love taking our small groups of clients to beautiful places to help them explore their photographic creativity. Join us on one of our photographic workshops in the American West, Iceland and Central America: www.JansenPhotoExpedtions.com or take one of our online photography classes.  Live life creatively!  Reach me by email at:  hhjphoto@gmail.com
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  • Very cool! I wonder what the price point is on these new cameras? Do you recommend waiting because prices may drop as they become more popular, or do you think the investment is worthwhile (assuming they are more costly than the traditional mirror-based SLR)?

    • They run around $1200 with a 12-50mm lens. I’ve had mine for a year and the price has actually gone up. A lot of professional photographers are switching to this camera, as a an option from the heavy DSLRs. Let me know if you get one.

  • Obviously I do not know anything about cameras…did not know that most had mirrors.

  • In my case, my requirements for a camera boil down to pottery, flowers, and cats (these three items account for seventy-five percent of the pictures that I take).

    • Well then, you could create 3 very interesting coffee table books! Can’t wait to see!

  • I loved this post. Fascinating to hear what a difference it has made to your professional life….may it continue to do so!

  • Julia Hayes

    Holly, wish I’d known before I bought my Canon EOS. Just the very weight of it stops me taking it along sometimes. The quality is high though. Thanks for the information.

    • We tend to buy and sell our equipment pretty regularly. (Not my Olympus though!) There is a market on Ebay and Craigs List for used camera equipment that’s in good shape. Just an idea…

  • Julie S

    One of the great things about the DSLRs is the size of the sensor inside the camera, which is usually much larger than the sensor in a prosumer P&S camera. (I own and use a Canon SX20is) How do the mirrorless sensors stack up against a DSLR camera’s sensor? I’ve also started noticing lens distortion in everyday types of shots recently; whereas before I shrugged and ignored it, the optics on the SX20is are increasingly starting to bother me. I’m wondering how the lenses available for these new cameras measure up, too.

    Explanation: I’m starting to itch for a higher level/quality camera than my current one, & don’t want to move laterally to a more expensive system without getting the benefits of the larger cameras (altho, I have to say, the fact they’re SO MUCH lighter than a traditionally built SLR is hugely appealing!)

    I’m taking a look at your workshops right now: I need to sharpen my skills!

    • Holly Higbee-Jansen

      What’s your budget? In the Canon SX20is you are not going to get the quality you get with a DSLR. The quality of the glass in the advanced Digital SLRs make a big difference in your output.

      We can recommend a camera for you based on what you want to do with it. Are you mainly using the images for internet, printing 8 x 10s, or do you want to print out murals the size of a house? I am extremely happy with my Olympus, but it’s bit getting the quality that my husband gets with his top of the line Nikon (he prints out large format murals for commercial applications).

      Take a look at this website too. This is a client of mine who recently started shooting with the OLY and she took it to Cuba because she didn’t want to take her full frame Canon. She has sold the Canon since coming back from Cube. She rocked it. http://www.inancyimages.com/cuba#h54be8b92

      Happy to help you through this maze of info.

  • Hey I am loving the advice in your blog!! I am currently looking on getting my FIRST real camera!!! I dont want to spend too much but I am expecting to spend a few hundred. I like the ease of pulling my iPhone out and taking pictures. This is why I have not purchased an actual camera. I love taking pictures of scenery, my kids, and whatever else I find interesting. I do not want to be carrying around yet another bag full just for a camera (Two dipaer bags and a baby on my hip are more than enough. Think you can help me out?

    • Holly Higbee-Jansen

      Hi Sarah! Honestly, if you have a couple of hundred dollars to spend, I would keep it and use your iPhone. Much to the dismay of local camera shops and manufacturers, the iPhone is taking over the compact camera market with a vengeance. If you have the 4 or the 5, you are in great shape for creating creative, fun, easy images. I do blog about it frequently, and if you want an online course on iPhone apps and editing, I offer that too! Can you tell that I absolutely love it? http://jansenphotoexplorations.com/online-classes/beginning-iphone-photography-class/

      Here’s my instagram page as well to get an idea of the types of images you can create: http://instagram.com/photographyexplorations

      Keep in touch, I’m happy to help.

      • Thanks you.. I am constantly upgrading my phone so right now I have the 5 and am looking to get the 5s. lol. I have the most memory on the phone and back up with google plus and facebook.
        I added you on instgram and I am now following your blog!! Thank you so much