When I started using mirrorless cameras during my classes and workshops I assumed that the new generation of mirrorless cameras would appeal to newer photographers. I thought that folks with no big investment in lenses or accessories would jump at the chance to use gear that makes great images with less weight and bulk. I figured that experienced photographers with big DSLR systems would be much more resistant to switch to a different system.
So far my students have proven me completely wrong.
From my experience, beginning photographers and many advanced amateurs figure that having the “best” equipment will help them make great photos. This (naturally) means that one must strive to achieve a “full-frame” camera. As an added bonus, they will look like they know what they are doing and let their friends know that they are serious about their photography. Unfortunately most of the search for the “best” camera or system tends to happen on the internet, where you could read fifty “reviews” of the latest camera or lens and hear fifty different opinions about the equipment.
My students who have adopted mirrorless cameras the fastest have been my most experienced clients. These folks have been lugging around tons of heavy cameras and lenses for years because they knew that they needed that gear to make the best quality photos. They are not willing to sacrifice image quality for convenience. They do not invest in a new camera system on a whim. They want to SHOOT the cameras and lenses. They want to see the files for themselves, not just read about them online.
When these photographers see that they can make the same photos with a mirrorless system that they can with their big DSLR’s, they’re all too happy to get rid of the bulk! I’ve seen several students (along with me personally) sell thousands of dollars worth of CaNikon bodies and lenses in favor of (mostly) Micro Four Thirds setups. They have the experience to see the benefits of smaller equipment that can produce beautiful images, and they are way beyond the desire to “look like a professional”. Their images do the talking.
I’m not saying that YOU shouldn’t buy a DSLR. I’m suggesting that you TRY a few of the alternatives before you buy into a system. Don’t take the internet’s word for it. When I try a new camera, I take it out and shoot what I normally shoot. I don’t baby it or change the way I shoot to accommodate a small body, different sensor, etc. If I look at the images and they meet my image quality standards, I’m stoked. I honestly don’t care how it compares to another camera, as long as it does the job I need it to do.
If you want to stay hung up on sensor size, be my guest. Me and a LOT of other experienced photographers will be out shooting our “small sensor” cameras. We’ll be making quality photos, having a great time and carrying a lot less weight!
One more thing: you don’t have to “go mirrorless”. Yeah, that’s right… you could actually keep your DSLR AND get a mirrorless camera. Just try it out and hang on to your DSLR for your “real photography” or for those times when you “need a full-frame”. Maybe you’ll find, as I did, that the DSLR hardly leaves the bag. Then maybe it will be time for you to “go mirrorless” too!