DSLR Killers – Chase Jarvis Blog Lists Their Favorite Mirrorless Cameras

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Chase Jarvis Blog lists their favorite mirrorless cameras and muses that they could mean the end for the DSLR (at least in some respects).  Chase and his staff handle and use just about every camera you can imagine, and it looks like their picks are pretty much right in line with our picks for 2012.

Here are the picks from Chase and Co.

Olympus OM-D E-M5OMD

The Good: Fast Autofocus, excellent low-light performance, fantastic in-body 5-axis image stabilization.
The Bad: Not much. Continuous Autofocus tracking is a bit on the unreliable side sometimes.
Who it’s Ideal For: Outdoor enthusiasts and photojournalists. You can use Panasonic’s 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses and have an effective 24-200mm range covered. And in a package that is much smaller and weighs much less than, say, a Canon 5D Mark III body with 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses.

Buy It on Amazon


Fuji X-E1 and X-Pro1xe1-xpro1

The Good: Fantastic image quality, cool retro design.
The Bad: Weird sensor design means RAW compatibility with Lightroom/Aperture is slow to arrive and doesn’t work as well.
Who it’s Ideal For: Portrait and landscape artists will love the high image quality, rich colors and the Fuji film profiles like Velvia and Provia baked into the JPEGs. Street photographers will like the retro rangefinder look and feel, which seem to put people more at east than a large DSLR and bazooka-sized lens.

Buy the X-E1 or the X-Pro1 on Amazon



What’s Good: Great image quality, low-light performance, small size.
What’s Bad: Needs more native E-Mount lenses.
Who it’s Ideal For: Pros looking for a small, compact shooter with performance to spare. Also, anyone shooting Sony’s DSLRs who wants to leverage their existing lenses via adapters on a smaller body.

Buy It on Amazon


Panasonic GX1panasonic_gx1

What’s Good: Excellent lens selection, small, relatively cheap.
What’s Bad: Controls are cramped and a bit clumsy, not the most innovative industrial design.
Who it’s Ideal For: Beginners looking to step up to a camera with room to grow. Also, given the plethora of adapters for MFT cameras to adapt everything from recent Nikkor lenses to ancient M42-mount optics, it’s a nice step up to give that old glass a new lease on life.

Editor’s Note:  This is a phenomenal camera, and at $449 USD ($499 with Lens), it’s one of the best bargains out there.

Buy It on Amazon


Leica M9LeicaM9

What’s Good: Built like a tank, fantastic image quality, remarkable glass.
What’s Bad: It’s a Leica. I’m not allowed to say anything bad about it (but if I were, I’d say the high-ISO performance isn’t good and the buffer is tiny).
Who it’s Ideal For: Besides Henri Cartier-Bresson? Well, surprisingly, a number of types of shooters. From street photographers (natch) to landscape and portrait artists, to travel photographers and photojournalists, the Leica can work for just about anyone looking for high-end optics, tank-like construction, and a camera with a deep and formidable history.

Editor’s Note:  The Leica M9 is an expensive camera, but then…  a Mercedes is an expensive car.

Buy It on Amazon



Mirrorless cameras are coming on strong, and they are rapidly gaining ground as people stop thinking that a great camera with a large sensor has to look like a DSLR. The image quality from cameras like the Leica, the Fuji and the Olympus are allowing the classic manufacturers to come back with a vengeance, while the newer kids on the block, like Sony and Panasonic, are putting out some incredible technology into the field of photography.

Will mirrorless cameras become the predominant cameras out there? I don’t know. There may be certain types of photography that these diminutive devices will always be unsuited for (sports photography comes to mind). But for many of us, mirrorless cameras may well become de rigeur for all kinds of everyday shooting. Just as the iPhone and other phone cameras are slowly replacing point-and-shoots for many uses, so too might the NEX–6 replace the D7000 for many uses. The cameras listed above are just the start; the product pipeline in this class promises to be even more exciting in the coming years.  (Read full article on ChaseJarvisBlog – Video above from Vance Sova)

My 2 Cents

Mirrorless Cameras have come a LOOOONG way over the last few years.  Incredible advances in sensor and processing technology along with the introduction of new and better lenses have closed the gap in image quality that once existed between the top mirrorless systems and DSLRs.  In my opinion, mirrorless technolgy has been and is advancing much faster than that of their larger, bulkier and heavier cousins, and it won’t be too long before the DSLR goes the way of the Twinkie.





Adam says:

so between the NEX-6, OM-D, and XE-1, which is the best overall camera? which would you buy?

Great question, Adam!
All these cameras are great, so you can’t really go wrong with any of them. Generally speaking though, I’d put the OMD and the X-E1 a notch above the Sony simply because there aren’t many good lenses for the NEX lineup. There aren’t a lot of lenses for the Fuji either, but the ones they have are killer (and they’re relatively inexpensive). Of these 3 cameras, the OMD is the best all around camera in my opinion, but if your goal is just to shoot still photos then give the Fuji a long look.

I would also throw the Panasonic GH3 into the mix – it’s the best Hybrid Camera on the planet today. If you don’t have the budget, then look at the Panasonic G5.

You can find out more about all these cameras on my 2012 Year in Review >> http://mirrorlesscentral.com/mirrorless-camera-hybrid-photography-2012-year-in-review/



Paul Gero says:

I think the OMD is a great camera…and would be the perfect compliment to the great Olympus primes…especially because you’ve got Image Stabilization with the body.

I really think when buying a mirrorless you have to consider image or lens stablization….I’ve been using a 75 1.8 Olympus on a Panasonic GH2 and I *really* need Image Stabilization. The smaller sensor and larger magnification just shows more lens movement.

The GH3 is awesome and the zooms are awesome (12-35 f2.8, and 35-100 f2.8)…

Ideal kit for me would be the GH3 with the zooms and the OMD with the primes….


Great Advice, Paul!

Image Stabilization is key… and although you can use Olympus Lenses on Panasonic Cameras and vice versa, be aware that Oly cameras have In Body Image Stabilization whereas the Pannys rely on Optical (In Lens) Image Stabilization. That’s not to say that you can’t use the Olympus lenses on a Panasonic Camera. In fact, the Oly 45mm 1.8 is one of my go to lenses on the Panasonic. Just be aware that you’re going to need a stable surface (i.e. – a tripod or video stabilizer rig) when shooting a Panny with a lens that doesn’t have OIS.

For the record, if I could only choose 1 camera, it would be the GH3 followed closely by the OMD.

Paul Gero says:

Scott…I would agree about camera choice, as well…I think the GH3 is a real go-to mirrorless..

Paul… You know what they say about great minds 😉

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