Looks like Sony is doing all it can to push the growth of its full-frame compact camera system. On the 6th of April, 2014, the Japanese electronics giant has announced a new addition to its A7 camera line-up – the new A7s has joined the previously launched A7 and A7r. The difference between the original models was very straightforward – A7 was the cheaper one and had lower-resolution sensor (a still-plentiful 24 megapixels), whilst the A7r was the more expensive sibling (but not expensive per se when it comes to digital full-frame cameras) and featured a 36 megapixel sensor similar to that found in the Nikon D800. Both cameras, while very similar from the outside, are clearly distinctive enough on the inside. So what exactly makes the A7s stand out? Well, if the “r” in A7r’s name stood for “resolution”, the “s” in the latest camera’s title stands for “sensitivity”. The biggest party piece A7s has is its sensor and 4k video capability.
Nikon has just announced the Nikon 1 V3, an update to the existing Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera that was released two years ago. Unlike many of the recent camera introductions which have been relatively small improvements over previous versions, the Nikon 1 V3 is a substantial rework and renewal of the Nikon 1 V2 and frankly, the changes appear to be exciting. First, is a new sensor with more resolution (18.4 MP), better ISO sensitivity (12,800) and a new EXPEED 4A processor to accompany it. Second, there is an improved hybrid autofocus system which incorporates 171 autofocus points (171 points for contrast detection and 105 points for phase detection) for fast and accurate focus acquisition and tracking. For comparison, the V2 uses 135 focus points (135 for contrast and 73 for phase-detect). These alone would be nice improvements, but Nikon went further and improved the frame rate to a WHOPPING 20 fps at full resolution AND full autofocus. To put that into perspective, the new D4s which costs $6500 “only” shoots at the rate of 11 fps. Why stop there? How about a new tilting touch screen monitor with higher resolution than the previous V2? Finally, throw in built-in WiFi and you’ve made not just an incremental upgrade, but a totally new camera.
In this follow-up article to the mirrorless camera comparison, I will be comparing high-end options available on the market today from different manufacturers. While the mirrorless market has not shown healthy growth in the US and Europe lately, it is just a matter of time before the new technology makes its way into our daily lives and starts replacing lower-end/small sensor DSLRs. High cost is still an issue for now, but considering that mirrorless cameras use far less components than DSLRs, we will soon start seeing them at very attractive prices. In fact, many mirrorless camera models already have seen significant price decreases (remember the ridiculous Nikon 1 V1 $299 price drop?) and we will be seeing a lot more of that in the next few years. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing the top of the line mirrorless cameras on the market, specifically designed for professionals and photo enthusiasts that look for the best image quality, features, autofocus performance and a solid lens selection. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras and their published specifications.
|High-End Mirrorless Cameras #1||Fujifilm X-T1||Nikon 1 V2||Olympus OM-D E-M1||Panasonic Lumix GH4|
|* Denotes PL Subjective Rating|
|Lens Mount||Fuji X||Nikon 1||Micro 4/3||Micro 4/3|
|Announcement Date||Jan 2014||Oct 2012||Sep 2013||Feb 2014|
|Sensor Size (Diagonal)||28.3mm||15.9mm||21.7mm||21.7mm|
|Megapixels||16.3 MP||14.2 MP||16.3 MP||16.05 MP|
|Movie Recording||1920×1080 @ 60p||1920×1080 @ 60i||1920×1080 @ 30p||4096×2160 @ 24p|
|Native Lenses Available||12||11||16||19|
|Third Party Lenses||8||0||33||30|
|Image Quality (10)*||8||5||6||6|
|Autofocus Speed (5)*||5||5||5||5|
|Image Stabilization (5)*||4||4||5||4|
|Manual Focus (5)*||5||3||5||5|
|System Compactness (5)*||4||4||5||5|
|EVF Mil Dots / Quality (5)*||2.36 / 5||1.44 / 4||2.36 / 5||2.36 / 5|
|Build Quality (5)*||5||5||5||5|
|Design and UI (5)*||5||4||5||4|
|Manufacturer Link||Fujifilm X-T1||Nikon 1 V2||OM-D E-M1||Lumix GH4|
Sony is joining the rebates party with its own “Buy Together and Save” program at B&H. These lens savings are valid when purchased alongside either one of their popular full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 and A7r and in all cases are $200 off the price of each of the four available lenses.
Since the newest camera in Fujifilm’s lineup, the X-T1, has already been compared in terms of specifications to the flagship X-Pro1 model, it seems only fair to finish this marathon of comparisons by seeing how it measures up against a model positioned slightly lower in the range. That is, of course, the Fujifilm X-E2 – arguably the best camera overall in the Fujifilm’s range, at least until X-T1 showed up. Naturally, the X-T1, being newer, packs the latest technology, but the X-E2 isn’t exactly old and, considering that $300 price difference, is a serious rival for the higher-end model.
Fuji’s latest cameras have been so good, they rival each other almost as much as other systems. And as we saw in our X-Pro1 vs X-E2 comparison, the oldest current model in the X-mount compact camera system, the X-Pro1, already struggled against its lower-end sibling. In this article, we will compare it against the newest member in Fuji’s line-up of mirrorless cameras, the weather-resistant, DSLR-style Fujifilm X-T1.
Thanks to the rise of the mirrorless camera market, manufacturers are now creating more and more segments in their camera lines. With the introduction of the X-T1, Fujifilm now boasts a total of 5 different cameras, all targeted at different segments. Today Olympus also extended its line of mirrorless cameras by introducing the new Olympus OM-D E-M10, a budget version of the OM-D premium mirrorless cameras. Next to the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M5, this is now the third premium camera designed to appeal the enthusiast crowd. It borrows most of its guts from its bigger brother, the OM-D E-M5, but in a smaller and lighter package. Priced at $699 MSRP, it is significantly cheaper than other OM-D series cameras. In a way, it is a confusing release, because it is even cheaper than the PEN E-P5 (currently at $799). Since all PEN series do not come with a built-in electronic viewfinder or weather sealing options, they are technically inferior to OM-D series. Now with the the OM-D E-M10, it is hard to say exactly what market this camera is targeted for, with its features and price range in comparison. Let’s take a look at the camera in more detail.
Key Specifications and Overview
While the Olympus OM-D E-M10 has a 16 MP sensor, it is slightly different than the one used on the OM-D E-M5. First, it has a little less resolution (16.1 MP vs 16.3 MP) and second, it features boosted ISO 100 (Low), similar to what the E-M1 does. Its image processor is the same one as used on the E-M1 (TruePic VII with Fine Detail Processing II). The first major difference between the E-M10 and its bigger siblings is the somewhat limited in-body stabilization. Both E-M1 and E-M5 have 5-axis image stabilization, while the E-M10 has 3-axis stabilization. Another difference is the slower speed of 8 fps in single mode and 3.5 fps in continuous mode (the E-M5 is 9 fps / 4.2 fps and the E-M1 is 10 fps / 6.5 fps). Shutter speed is limited to 1/4000 and the viewfinder is the same 1.4 million dot EVF found on the E-M5. The LCD screen has not changed, it is still a high resolution 3.0″ tilting one.
The Internet has been buzzing with details about the new Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera, yet we are still excited to see it officially unveiled. Slotting between the flagship X-Pro1 (see our review) and the capable X-E2 (see our review), the new model takes a formerly vacant spot in the line-up of attractively designed, innovative cameras from the Japanese manufacturer. But it is not just the price tag of $1,299 that differentiates the X-T1 from its siblings. Its design and ergonomics also hint at, possibly, new priorities.
HandeVision has also published a few sample images taken with their new IBELUX 40mm f/0.85mm lens (a pre-production unit, I assume). The image samples, taken with Sony NEX-7 and FujiFilm X-Pro1 mirrorless cameras, are, unfortunately, of low resolution, so it is hard to judge optical performance of the lens. Aesthetic properties (or “character” of the lens, if you like), on the other hand, are visible to a degree. That’s a start. The first four images were taken with the lens mounted on the Sony NEX-7 camera (although EXIF says Lunar), the latter five – when mounted on Fuji X-Pro1.
It is always interesting to see new manufacturers emerge. Mostly because the only way they can actually make an impact on a highly competitive market such as that of digital cameras and lenses, is by producing something truly innovative and new. They need to surprise the market. Break a few rules. HandeVision, a new lens brand that is a result of German and Chinese collaboration, aims to do just that by introducing a 40mm lens with the fastest aperture of f/0.85 for mirrorless cameras.