High-End Mirrorless Camera Comparison

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 #1Fujifilm X-T1Nikon 1 V2Olympus OM-D E-M1Panasonic Lumix GH4
* Denotes PL Subjective Rating
Lens MountFuji XNikon 1Micro 4/3Micro 4/3
Announcement DateJan 2014Oct 2012Sep 2013Feb 2014
Sensor Size (Diagonal)28.3mm15.9mm21.7mm21.7mm
Megapixels16.3 MP14.2 MP16.3 MP16.05 MP
Image StabilizationLensLensBodyLens
Autofocus SystemHybridHybridHybridContrast
Movie Recording1920×1080 @ 60p1920×1080 @ 60i1920×1080 @ 30p4096×2160 @ 24p
Native Lenses Available12111619
Third Party Lenses803330
Weight440g337g497g560g
Weather SealingYesNoYesYes
Image Quality (10)*8566
Autofocus Speed (5)*5555
Image Stabilization (5)*4454
Manual Focus (5)*5355
System Compactness (5)*4455
EVF Mil Dots / Quality (5)*2.36 / 51.44 / 42.36 / 52.36 / 5
Build Quality (5)*5555
Design and UI (5)*5454
TOTAL POINTS*41344139
Manufacturer LinkFujifilm X-T1Nikon 1 V2OM-D E-M1Lumix GH4
Price (B&H)$1,299$796$1,399$1,698

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Nikon and Canon Rebates

Thanks to the tax season in the USA, manufacturers like Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic have been aggressively pushing their sales, offering great rebates for cameras, lenses and accessories. So if you are looking for a good deal, now is a good opportunity to save some money (I do not expect to see good rebates / savings until the end of the year). Let’s start with Nikon. The good news is, Nikon has extended its lens savings program until March 29, 2014 and is now offering more rebates for those that are looking for camera + lens combo savings. These combo savings include such cameras as Nikon D3100, D3200, D5200, D5300, D7000, D7100. D610, D800/D800E and Df. Most of these cameras currently already have instant rebates and if you combine them with some lenses, you can save up to $680 off. Unfortunately, the lens selection is pretty small and mostly includes DX lenses. There is only one FX lens offered (70-300mm VR), from which you can slice off another $200, bringing the price down to under $400. You can access the rebates through the “Buy together and Save” link.

Nikon Lens Rebates

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Recommended Nikon D800 / D800E Settings

After I published the article on the recommended settings for the Nikon D600 / D610, I received plenty of requests from our readers that asked me to write a similar article for the Nikon D800 and D800E cameras. Since I own and use both frequently, I decided to expand the series to other cameras (and I do have plans to publish similar articles for Canon DSLRs as well). In this article, I want to provide some information on what settings I use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of menu settings.

Nikon D800

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Recommended Nikon D600 / D610 Settings

One of our readers recently asked me to provide my settings from the Nikon D600 / D610 cameras that I use for my photography needs. While at first I thought that it was an odd request, it got me into thinking that many photographers probably get lost trying to dig through the many menu options. Since I have been shooting with Nikon for a number of years now, those settings are very easy for me to understand and I apply them over and over again for each camera that I work with. In this article, I want to provide some information on what settings I use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of menu settings.

Nikon D600

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Nikon D600 Service Advisory

As you may already know, we have covered and complained about the Nikon D600 dust issue quite a bit here at Photography Life, and we were one of the first resources on the Internet to discover the issue, as detailed in our Nikon D600 review. Unfortunately, Nikon failed to take action and issue a recall to fix the shutter problem on the camera, only partially acknowledging the issue and then silently releasing the Nikon D610, without even mentioning a word about why the camera was replaced in the first place. This led to many complaints from existing Nikon D600 owners that felt betrayed and lied to. I have received a number of reports from our readers that had bad experiences with Nikon’s service centers, which despite multiple trips and replacements of parts did not seem to address the ongoing dust issue. Well, some of those frustrated customers did end up taking action and filed a class-action lawsuit against Nikon on February 19th, 2014. It seems like the lawsuit finally did get some traction at Nikon, because today it released a service advisory for all existing Nikon D600 owners. It does not matter if you bought a brand new or a refurbished D600, or if the purchase was made over a year ago and the camera has no warranty – Nikon will repair your camera for free and will pay for all shipping expenses.

Nikon D600

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Nikon Refurbished Camera Deals

Our friends at B&H are selling some Nikon-refurbished cameras at great prices, so I wanted to share those deals with our readers. The Nikon D610 is already available at a great price of $1,749 for a refurbished model, as well as the Nikon D7100, which you can buy now for $939. As before, the Nikon D800 is also available at $2,399 and there are a few other options for refurbished lenses. Please note that a manufacturer-refurbished item means that the camera was returned by a customer (sometimes due to flaws and other times for no reason / dissatisfaction) and the manufacturer thoroughly re-inspected the item, fixed any potential issues and put it for sale it at a significantly lower price. Just like with any new item, B&H provides a 30-day warranty for refurbished stock, so you can return the item if you are not happy with its condition. In addition, there is a 90-day manufacturer warranty in case anything goes wrong, so you can send it back to Nikon for free repair. If you would like to find out more about refurbished gear, check out this article at B&H.

Nikon D610

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Nikon D4s Image Samples

Nikon has not yet updated its main site with the D4s image samples, but thanks to our readers, we have received links to other Nikon global sites that host high resolution image samples from the new Nikon D4s (see related posts). As we receive more sample images, we will be updating this article with those samples for your viewing pleasure.

Please keep in mind that the images are taken in RAW and simply converted to JPEG via Capture NX 2. No other editing has been done, including sharpening.

Nikon D4s Sample Image (1)

Link to download the image | Shutter Speed: 1/4000, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO: 250

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Nikon D4s vs D4

Although plenty of information was already provided in our Nikon D4s announcement post, many current D4 owners might be wondering how their cameras compare to the newly announced Nikon D4s. In this comparison article, I will provide information about both cameras, along with my analysis of the main differences. I do not yet have a review sample of the Nikon D4s to do more in-depth side-by-side comparisons, so I decided to write about differences in specifications between the two. More details about the D4s will be published in my upcoming Nikon D4s review.

Nikon D4s vs D4

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Nikon D4s DSLR Announcement

Although the Nikon D4s has already appeared at CES and other events earlier this year, Nikon did not provide official information, pictures, specifications or pricing for the camera until now. Today, the top-of-the-line Nikon D4s is finally released and we have the full details on the camera that we are happily sharing with our readers. Similar to the Nikon D3s, the D4s is an incremental update to the D4 with better low-light performance, bigger buffer, faster frames per second and other improvements highlighted below.

Nikon D4s

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G Sample Images

I have been playing with the new Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED FX lens for a week now and have taken it out a few times when the weather got a little better (it has been snowy and extremely windy during the past week here in Colorado). So far the lens seems like another winner. It is small, lightweight and is capable of rendering images with beautiful colors and high contrast. While I have not performed any lab tests, judging from the images I have captured so far, it seems to be very sharp optically, from the center to the corners at infinity:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G Sample Image (2)

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