Ask G – Can You Use a Mirrorless Camera on a Pro Shoot?

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Our boy G is back, and this time he’s talking cameras.

Photo/Video/Hybrid Rock Star Giulio Sciorio ( answers a reader question about the viability of micro 4/3 cameras (in this case, an Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1) for semi-pro applications.

Is a mirrorless camera system good enough to use on a Pro Shoot? Giulio discusses your options for shooting on a budget, and the importance of integrating a hybrid camera into the mix.

My 2 Cents

G is a pioneer in the migration to mirrorless and it’s people like he, Will Crockett and Suzette Allen ( who are leading the charge into the era Hybrid Photography.  Giulio is one of the first Protogs to make a wholesale changeover to mirrorless cameras, ditching his Canon Gear in favor of (at the time) his Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1, as G noticed that he was getting great images from that little camera and it made shooting a lot easier and more fun.  He hasn’t looked back since, having added an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and now a Panasonic Lumix G5 and Panasonic Lumix GH3 to his camera repertoire.

Mirrorless sensor and processing technology has progressed faster and farther over the last few years than virtually any other category of imaging products.  When Giulio made his switch to mirrorless cameras, they weren’t quite on the same level of front line DSLRs.  But since that time, cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Sony NEX Series, the Fuji X-Pro1 and X-E1 and now the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and G5 are proving that the gap that once existed between DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras has virtually been erased.  Two recent examples – Both Consumer Reports and German Institute Stiftung Warentest rated the Panasonic Lumix GH3 as the top camera in their respective tests.  Stiftung Warentest also has the Panasonic Lumix G5 at number 2.  In many aspects, the smaller, lighter, less expensive but equally powerful and technologically superior mirrorless systems have surpassed their larger cousins.

The good news for consumers?…  The advanced technology from the flagship models is trickling down the lineups into less expensive and even entry level camera systems.  Witness the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 and PEN Lite E-PL5, both of which borrow their sensor and imaging processors from the flagship OM-D E-M5.

Just Shoot Baby!

Advanced mirrorless technology is now easier to use and more affordable than ever before, and as G says in the video, even the older models can produce spectacular results (That PEN Mini E-PM1 that he has is technically an “older” model and G has used it to shoot magazine covers).  No matter what your skill level or your bottom line, there’s a mirrorless camera for you.  So what are you waiting for?…  Get out and get shooting!

Here are some of our picks for the top mirrorless camera systems in varying price ranges… (from most expensive to least expensive)

Fuji X-Pro1 – Hybrid Viewfinder combined Fuji’s X-Trans Sensor and EXR Processing Technology deliver some of the best quality still photos you’ll get from ANY camera (35mm or smaller).


Fuji X-E1 – Same Sensor and Processing Technology as the X-Pro 1 in a smaller, more stylish frame.



Panasonic Lumix GH3 – Best in Class for both stills and video, Pro Level Lenses and Wi-Fi make this the Best Hybrid Camera on the Planet today.


Olympus OM-D E-M5 – Classic styling with top notch performance and revolutionary 5 point IBIS make this one of the breakthrough cameras of the last year.


Sony NEX 6 –  Hybrid Autofocus, Wi-Fi and most of the main features of the flagship NEX 7 make this the most advanced NEX camera yet.


Sony RX100 – fixed lens compact named by Time Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2012.


Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 – Same sensor and image processor as the flagship OM-D E-M5 have many calling this the OM-D Lite.


Panasonic Lumix G5 – One of the best mirrorless camera values today.  Advanced enough for a Pro, Easy enough for an Amateur. Delivers pro level features and performance at a mid level price.


Panasonic Lumix GX1 – Top level performance in a small, go anywhere body



Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 – Sensor and processor of the OM-D E-M5, now in mini form


Panasonic Lumix LX7 – One of the best fixed lens compact cameras ever made.  One of the best values available today.



Clive Cotton says:

Just to add another Lens to this list, and one that has been largely over looked, but I have found it to be a great lens and thats Sigma’s 30mm F2.8 EN DX lens, infact I would go as far to say that it renders skin tones better than both the Olympus and Panasonic lenses, I dont think I have taken mine off my G2 in the last 6 months, and in the UK at the moment you can buy this lens new for around £110.00 which is peanuts for a prime lens…

twalker294 says:

I would add the Panasonic 45-175 to that list as well. Maybe a bit over budget but the quality from it is fantastic.

Haseena says:

I am excited and dinsppoiated by this camera all at once. I was really hoping for some of the new AF technology in the Nikon 1 to show up in this camera. I don’t like this dual card slot configuration. 2 different cards? Not so good. I love the 2 CF card slot on the D3s. It makes a ton of sense to have 2 of the same card type. Pull a card, hand it off and keep shooting. Now you need more cards and more adapters to read them. I would have liked to see 2 of the same again. And cards are $$$. I am not sure if I want to run out and order one, or wait and see how good it is. I really like my D3s. So I want to see just how much of an improvement the D4 will really be before I jump. Face detection is really nice to use, if you want to use it. Much faster than moving points with the joystick. It will be really interesting to see how good the AF is with video.

Giulio Sciorio says:

Thats so funny! Using a hybrid camera can cause an ego flare up by some “photography mens club” type people. The type of people that are scared about what hybrid photography means are the same that fought the transition to digital. They’re operating out of fear from having to embrace something new. They’ll figure it out eventually.

Glad you dig my vids, just speaking from the heart.

jjustind says:

I really like that you’re extolling the virtues of mirrorless for real world use. I was on a shoot last weekend and I was approached by someone who was…annoyed? Angry? That I had a “camera like that” on my tripod.

Giulio Sciorio says:

Right on I’m glad you dig the videos. While I don’t have much experience with zooms my friends tell me these three are great –

Panasonic 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 Lumix G
Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm
Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm

jarhead262 says:

Love your videos, I had to sell all my nikon equipment this summer due to a illness and now I bought a e-pl2 with the kit lens. I am looking for a zoom lens in the $200-$300 price range what would you recommend? Thanks Tom

Giulio Sciorio says:

Depends on the perspective you want in your shots. The 17 is going to be a bit wider then the 25 but the 25 is more of a normal perspective. Both are solid glass.

iderren says:

thanks for the video, i’m going to buy myself a christmas present and i can’t decide wether to get the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 or the new Olympus 17mm 1.8 (when it comes out) mainly want it for street scenes day and night….what do you suggest??

Daz X says:

Thanks G double fonzie’s for you

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