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Best Mirrorless Camera?


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I've recently been roped in as a set photographer. I was using the ancient mirror-slappin' 5DM2 (with a decent collection of Canon lenses)... so no shooting during sound recording.

Until now I've paid relatively little attention to the mirrorless market for photography... the other set photographer was packing a Fuji XT something.

Is the Fuji XT (something) a smart investment on the road ahead. Lenses? Good video would be a bonus. Any thoughts?

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I'd suggest that as this isn't a critical application you consider an all-in-one like the Sony RX100 series.  Not because it's well suited (although it may be), but because once you've rejected it you'll know exactly what your needs and wants are (and which is which).

Starting with simplicity and work your way up based on real requirements will ensure you don't overcomplicate it :)

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I think your question is which mirrorless camera is best for silent shooting...??

The answer undoubtedly is the Sony A9. For silent shooting you need to use a fully electronic shutter and the Sony A9 is the only camera out there with a 'stacked CMOS sensor' that enables an incredibly fast sensor readout of 1/160th of a second for stills. By contrast the A7iii/riii readout is 1/30th (I think) and the Fuji XT is 1/15th (I think). 

A slow or slowish sensor readout causes 2 problems. First if there is reasonable movement when the photo is shot, you will see distortions in the photo (similar to rolling shutter in video). Secondly you will tend to get a lot of 'banding' from artificial light sources such as fluorescents which can mostly be avoided with the Sony A9.

To put things in perspective, I virtually never use the silent shutter on my A7riii (unless I am in a situation where I have absolutely no choice).

The Sony A9 is a good video camera - full sensor readout 6k downrezzed to 4k, no crop, 1080 120p, decent afc, ibis  - however it is missing Sony picture profiles.

The other problem is that the Sony A9 with its tech doesnt come cheap. New around US$4000 but used around US$3000 or so. A plus is that you can use your Canon lenses with decent af and functionality (for stills) with an adapter.

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All insightful and worthy comments folks... I expected nothing less.

Robert... you make a good argument for that A9's tech. But I'm not sure I'd be a fan of lens adaptors... or Sony lenses. And then there is that price tag you mentioned. But yes... it's fast and silent!

Somebody give Ironfilm a bottle of whatever he likes best.

Kai... I'd only be heading back to the camera store 20 minutes later.

Anyone else?

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13 minutes ago, mercer said:

I’ve heard a rumor that a lot of Hollywood cinematographers own Fuji mirrorless cameras for stills and casual videos... if this rumor is true... there’s probably a good reason. 

Yep Mercer, I'm thinking that the rumors could be true. As I mentioned, the other set photographer was running a Fuji XT(2?) and she's been on dozens of jobs... so I think she must have done her homework. She mentioned cost, size, weight and quality.

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

The best mirrorless camera is the one in your hand. 

I read that as "the best mirrorless camera is in your hand" and then got very excited, but was disappointed when I discovered it wasn't a fantastic camera in disguise, but was just as it appeared - a donut.

4 hours ago, mercer said:

I’ve heard a rumor that a lot of Hollywood cinematographers own Fuji mirrorless cameras for stills and casual videos... if this rumor is true... there’s probably a good reason. 

All else being equal, those controls are spectacular.  I've bitched about mentioned it before, but being able to see exactly what your settings are and to specify any combination of them is just fantastic.  The fact that I can't set aperture, shutter speed and auto-ISO on my XC10 is basically against the Geneva Convention.

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Are you going to hire, or buy? For the cost of an A9 body you could have a Fuji X body with a lens or three. If you're hiring, the A9 is a pretty easy choice, I know a guy who shoots on TV sets and loves everything about his A9. 

On the other hand this guy shoots Fuji on set:
https://www.fujirumors.com/behind-the-x-gear-meet-barry-wetcher-the-x-shooter-who-brings-fujifilm-to-hollywood/

For the record I shoot Fuji, but I don't do on set stills work. I pair my X-Pro2 with an X100F and it's great. The X100F is basically silent by default, the leaf shutter is barely audible, which is perfect when I'm shooting weddings and speeches and the like.

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33 minutes ago, jhnkng said:

For the record I shoot Fuji, but I don't do on set stills work. I pair my X-Pro2 with an X100F and it's great. The X100F is basically silent by default, the leaf shutter is barely audible, which is perfect when I'm shooting weddings and speeches and the like.

 Been wanting an APS-C P&S for ages, still kicking myself I didn't buy the Nikon Coolpix A when it was on a close out sale (under US$300 back in early 2015!!), so out of curiosity I went and checked where prices are for the X100 series on ebay. They've got about that low! However dunno if I'd want to spend that much for the older model which does 12MP / 720P in 2018 :-/ And of course the new X100F is a lot more. 


Ricoh GR tends to be even more oricy than the Nikon Coolpix A on eBay (which is still higher than that sale price in 2015! Crazy). 

So guess I might wait a little while longer, see if prices come down even more on APS-C P&S cameras (Fujifilm X70 has been out for a couple of years, and is now discontinued, and it was the cheapest of them all at launch. So maybe soon we'll see a tumble in its price on eBay). 

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For pure image quality, the Sony A7/A9 series (A7 Riii, A7 III, A9) is objectively the best, simply because it offers the best sensor technology and, in combination with Zeiss lenses, top-class optics. Only digital medium format (Fuji GFX, Hasselblad) is better.

For handling/shooting experience/ergonomics, the Fuji X series is the best IMHO.

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Lots of good insight here folks, thank you for your patronage.

There are as one can imagine, many variables. In going forward, I venture to say that:

- I'm going to have to try and get a sense of just how much upcoming work there might be before buying. Hard to know at this point, or ever.

- I've already got a fairly decent collection of Canon FF L glass, but if Canon arrives with a silent mirrorless body (beyond their current limited offerings), will this same glass be compatible, me thinks not without an adapter.

- It would be great if the potential camera was as much of an all-arounder as possible - stills and video.

- I think everyone would agree that it would be smart to move towards an upgrade path that will hold for some years... many of us are quite fed up of having to change out cameras every 2-3 years... part of me is somewhat elated that I've gotten as much time out of the 5DM2 as I have... but the future is knocking hard and fast.
 

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Don't be afraid of adapters as even the non manufacturer ones like Metabones and Kipon can be almost native in use and they are a long way from simple dumb adapters these days.

Even decades ago, there were adapters that allow auto focus with manual focus lenses from several makers for several mounts but the latest ones are excellent.

As for silent shooting, that just gets better with each generation with the first gen cameras ( I had a GX7 and still have an A7s) it is very useful but with some limits.     The lastest Sony cameras it is better (as said A9 in a different league).

My guess would be Canon will need an adapter for EF lenses on its mirrorless but there will be little problem with that.

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9 hours ago, User said:

- I've already got a fairly decent collection of Canon FF L glass, but if Canon arrives with a silent mirrorless body (beyond their current limited offerings), will this same glass be compatible, me thinks not without an adapter.


Canon would be insane not to have a high degree of compatibility with their existing 100+ million EF lenses and their new mirrorless pro body. 

But who knows? No one can predict the future perfectly. 

 

 

9 hours ago, User said:

many of us are quite fed up of having to change out cameras every 2-3 years...

Buy sound gear instead ?

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16 hours ago, IronFilm said:

 Been wanting an APS-C P&S for ages, still kicking myself I didn't buy the Nikon Coolpix A when it was on a close out sale (under US$300 back in early 2015!!), so out of curiosity I went and checked where prices are for the X100 series on ebay. They've got about that low! However dunno if I'd want to spend that much for the older model which does 12MP / 720P in 2018 ? And of course the new X100F is a lot more. 

Yeah the X100F is really expensive, but the more I use it the more I love it, so I don't regret buying it. Could do with a better lens though, I'd love to see the next version of the X100 with a better lens, bayonet rather than screw mount wide and tele converters, and dual card slots. Even if it costs more I'd buy it for those extra features. 
 

15 hours ago, cantsin said:

For pure image quality, the Sony A7/A9 series (A7 Riii, A7 III, A9) is objectively the best, simply because it offers the best sensor technology and, in combination with Zeiss lenses, top-class optics. Only digital medium format (Fuji GFX, Hasselblad) is better.

For handling/shooting experience/ergonomics, the Fuji X series is the best IMHO.

I wouldn't go so far as to the say the A7/A9 is "objectively" the best, if for no other reason than that "best" is subjective :) (at least when it comes to image quality) . But it is very very good, though Fuji has just the most beautiful colour. I used to think that if you shoot in RAW it really doesn't matter, and that still 98% true, but Fuji RAW files just has something about them that neither Sony nor Nikon nor Canon can do. But like you say you'd have to look at medium format for better image quality, and for someone else's money nothing at all beats Phase One. 

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5 hours ago, jhnkng said:

I wouldn't go so far as to the say the A7/A9 is "objectively" the best, if for no other reason than that "best" is subjective :) (at least when it comes to image quality) . But it is very very good, though Fuji has just the most beautiful colour.

I used the term "objectively" referring to objective measurements like resolution, low-light capabilities and signal/noise ratio. Nothing beats Sony's modern full frame sensors in that respect. And, yes, Fuji beats them in the subjective departments, but their sensors are the same that Sony uses in its APS-C mirrorless cameras, only with a different color filter and a different (better) JPEG engine.

If you use Raw converters (like RawTherapee and DxO) that can use 100% their own color science on a raw image, color rendering differences between two camera manufacturers are nearly invislbe.

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