The video above is a brutally honest review of the new Canon T5i by theCameraStore’s Chris Niccolls, and he does an excellent job pointing out that there’s really nothing new to see here. I mean really, what has Canon done here other than to slap “T5i” where “T4i” once resided on what is basically the same camera body. While this is an extreme example and is in now way indicative of DSLRs as a whole, Chris’ review does illustrate a point…
The Innovations in Mirrorless Cameras have surpassed those of DSLRs by leaps and bounds
Case in point: About the same time that Canon launched the T4i last year, Panasonic also launched the Lumix G5, and it can easily be asserted that each of these cameras targets the same group of photographers – enthusiast shooters looking for a high quality camera at a mid-range price level. While the T4i did offer some modest upgrades over the previous model (the T3i), the G5 represented a complete overhaul from it’s predecessor (the Lumix G3), complete with a new sensor and body, and Panasonic did a wonderful job addressing many of the shortcomings of the G3 – which is why the Lumix G5 is one of our favorite cameras of the last year (and was picked as our sleeper camera of 2012).
Fast forward to today. Canon Launches the T5i, which is basically the T4i with a new name tag and higher price tag.
Meanwhile, Panasonic have just announced the new Lumix G6 and although it’s predecessor, the Lumix G5 is a great camera, the new model represents a significant improvement over it’s predecessor in several areas. The Lumix G6 stays true to the G5’s pedigree as a top notch still photos camera, but brings quicker autofocus speeds, even in low light due to an all new Venus Processing Engine. It improves on the G5’s burst mode – increasing from 6fps to 7fps (or 5fps in AF tracking mode), has maximum ISO 25,600 (extended), 19 creative filters and adds focus peaking (It’s the first Panasonic Camera to be so equipped)! The G6 also adds Wi-Fi for instant sharing of images to the web or smart devices, as well as remote control with your smart device via the Free Panasonic Lumix Link App, and it has NFC (or Near Field Communication), which allows you to instantly pair your camera by touching it to another device that also has NFC capability. Finally, there’s a new Clear Retouch in-camera editing feature that allows users to remove unwanted items in an image by tracing a finger over the item in question and remove it without affecting the overall photo.
In video mode, the G6 represents an even bigger improvement over the previous model. Both can record up to 1080/60p video in AVCHD or MP4, but the G6 also incorporates new video modes including a 24p video mode that will allow you to create a film-like effect when shooting full HD videos. The G6 also records stereo audio and is equipped with a 3.5mm external microphone input that was lacking on it’s predecessor. The G6’s Live and Touch autofocus functions allow “professional-like rack focusing” (moving focus from one item within your frame to another on the fly), and there’s also Timelapse and Stop Motion modes. This is quite a laundry list of significant improvements as well as innovations.
Are DSLR Companies playing it safe?
While it’s true that there have been some significant advancements in DSLR tech over the last decade (most notably, the Sony a99 – which MC Contributor Will Crockett calls “The DSLR perfected”), it’s also true that there have been many more advancements in mirrorless technology since the birth of the category in 2008. Since that time, mirrorless systems have come much further much faster, progressing from being purely hobbyist camera systems and evolving to include some first rate pro level systems like the Panasonic Lumix GH3, the Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji X-E1, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the top tier Sony NEX Systems. The image quality gap that once existed between mirrorless systems and their DSLR cousins has largely been erased, and mirrorless systems now surpass DSLRs in several key aspects, such as autofocus speed, video performance and new and advanced features, for example – the Olympus OM-D’s 5 Point IBIS, and wireless connectivity, where mirrorless systems are leading the charge.
Despite the fact that mirrorless camera systems are becoming more mature, it appears that the big DSLR makers have not yet taken the category seriously as both Canon and Nikon have released less than inspiring mirrorless offerings. Yet instead of drawing from the deck of innovation, the big two seems to be content with the cards they already have in hand.
DSLRs… Mirrorless… Today, all have excellent camera systems to offer, but the mirrorless systems are now poised to pass the old pros. The next 12 to 24 months should prove very interesting indeed.