Can a dedicated mirrorless shooter find true happiness with a DSLR?

val

Veteran
If I was doing studio or a shoot then I could easily use a FF DSLR (would love a smaller Df :( )

the right camera for the right time.
 

Ray Sachs

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Not too far from Philly
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you should be able to figure it out...
There's nothing immoral in being spanked by albino siamese-midgets wearing nurse uniforms...
Are you absolutely certain of this? :wink:

There have been a few posts more or less absolving me of moral turpitude in this decision. Which tells me I somehow communicated feelings of guilt or naughty behavior in my own descriptions. Let me assure you I meant nothing of the sort. I'm not feeling as though I've done anything wrong here, or need absolution of any sort.

I admit I've been somewhat surprised by my reaction to shooting with DSLRs (both the Df and now the D610) and that it crossed up my pre-conceptions about DSLRs. I'd shot with film SLRs as a young man and found THOSE (much smaller cameras than current DSLRs) burdensome when faced with carrying both small children and camera gear. Somewhere I made a mental connection with size and weight of the gear rather than the true conflict of the day, which was the level of attention paid to photography, which I needed to (and did) seriously de-emphasize, and more or less eliminated for many years. Upon my re-entry to "serious" photography 4+ years ago, I somehow came to assume that I'd be much happier with much smaller gear than I'd shot back in the day. I think that was a mis-apprehension and perhaps just faulty memory about what the issue had been that caused me to get out of photography (beyond the P&S level) in the first place. Now that I've tried and gotten comfortable with these full frame DSLRs, I realize I'd been choosing gear based on what turned out to be faulty criteria, at least for me.

But not to worry - I'm not feeling a bit of guilt or the need to justify this move. But in my surprise at it and it's seemingly flying in the face of my previous emphasis on "serious compacts", I figured it was worth explaining / discussing. But I'm cool with it. I don't need absolution or forgiveness - leave the priests and rabbis at home!

Now, about those albino siamese midgets...

-Ray
 

grillec

Veteran
There is nothing bad on using a DSLR.

Until now my decision is mirrorless or compact. My first "better" camera was a Nikon D80 followed by a D300s. But the real fun begun with the first NEX-5 and the possibility and necessity to use legacy lenses in combination with focus peaking.
And I could use my old well-build manual Nikon lenses on it. Even the fantastic pre-AI lenses like the Nikkor-P 105mm/2.5 (Sonnar), Nikkor-O 35mm/2 or Nikkor-Q 135mm/2.8, who could make problems on a body like D300s, made good images on a mirrorless body.
I quit to use the DSLR often and chose Fuji and A7 with legacy lenses and without regret.
Of course I had to quit searching for the lightweight plastic G-lenses of Nikon because lacking of a aperture ring.

I understand the feeling of a possible lack of IQ in the difference of FF and smaller sensor size, but this won't bring me back to use a DSLR more often.
 

mcentral

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cambridge, massachusetts
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mcentral
There will be occasions when I'll miss the flip up screen - of this I have no doubt. But while I used to use those a LOT for all types of shooting, I've lately gotten to the point of only using them for ultra-wide shooting when I want a really low perspective. But I've gotten less and less fond of ultra-wide over time - 20-21mm is wide enough for me in any day to day shooting and I only take my ultra-wides out on occasion just to have a play with them and see what I can come up with. But when I have the Nikon 20 or Fuji 14 in the bag, I've never found myself wishing for anything wider. And I find I don't use the flip screen for much at all in the past year or more. Since EVFs have gotten so good lately (starting for me with the RX1 and then getting better and better with the EM1 and XT1), I've found myself using them nearly all the time, something I wouldn't have predicted a couple of years ago. That's one of the reasons I decided this would work for me. In a perfect world, I'd have an OVF and a flip up screen, but so far nobody's making that. And given the alternatives, I'm happy enough with just an OVF and an LCD I might use the once or twice a year I pull out a tripod...

-Ray

The flip up screen touch screen is big for me, I think I would be lost without it. I mostly use an EPL5 with 45mm lens, in conjunction with the Ricoh GR, and I like that particular set up for "street"*because you can hang back a bit from the scene and look down into your LCD to take your photos. So use the GR for up close (sometimes from the hip, which never works for me but I keep doing it - and sometimes using an OVF). And the EPL5 with 45 for everything else. That's been working for me, but I've had the feeling that I wanted a little bit more IQ overall. So I've enjoyed reading about your experimentations over the last few months, and I thank you for so thoroughly documenting your decision making. Big change indeed, doing to FF Nikon! As you explain it, this last move makes a lot of sense to me. A D610 with a 24-120 f4 and a small D prime or two makes sense to me. But I don't really have the budget for that unless I liquidate my M4/3, and I'm not really sure I want to do that. Very interested to know that you aren't bothered by the size of the D610. I can't quite picture if for myself, but then I, believe it or not, have never once held a DSLR of any sort (except an SL1 for about a second), so what do I know? Everyone I see on the street looks like they're holding a big ole volleyball of a camera up to their face, and I just can't see having something that big as my only thing besides the GR. I think I need to get to a brick and mortar and see if I can try out some cameras and see if I agree with you on the size.
Can I ask what your take is on the IQ on D610 files after a heavy crop? That's one way the set up could work for me. FF with a short telephoto prime, then cropped a lot.
 

pniev

Student for life
Ray, congratulations with your new camera!

Interestingly, my wife said when she looked at the photos of our recent vacation that she liked the results of the Nikons (D200 and D800) better. There is a certain richness in Df photos that is hard to beat, even at lower ISO levels. This (the richness) is also why I like the DP Merrills so much. Having said that, to me the Zeiss lenses (and probably Leica lenses as well) bring something extra that helped me wait with purchasing another a second set.

It is not the weight that kept me from going Nikon again and invest in Zeiss instead. It is the better manual focusing capability of the X-T1 (which loses its attractiveness in bright sunlight), tilt screen and the controls-layout of the X-T1. Nevertheless, I am constantly tempted to buy a FF DSLR (for example, to check how the zeiss 135mm performs with such a body). What has helped me resisting the temptation, is comparing similar shots from the x-pro1 and the nikon D800E. I honestly cannot see much difference in DR, tones, details etc unless I go 1:1 on my 30 inch screen. I've also found that the recent addition of the fuji-camera-profiles are very helpful too.

The Df is different story... I am also curious how the D810 will perform. But right now, I am more focused on completing a lens lineup that is limited yet complete before investing in a new camera system.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Location
Not too far from Philly
Real Name
you should be able to figure it out...
The flip up screen touch screen is big for me, I think I would be lost without it. I mostly use an EPL5 with 45mm lens, in conjunction with the Ricoh GR, and I like that particular set up for "street"*because you can hang back a bit from the scene and look down into your LCD to take your photos. So use the GR for up close (sometimes from the hip, which never works for me but I keep doing it - and sometimes using an OVF). And the EPL5 with 45 for everything else. That's been working for me, but I've had the feeling that I wanted a little bit more IQ overall. So I've enjoyed reading about your experimentations over the last few months, and I thank you for so thoroughly documenting your decision making. Big change indeed, doing to FF Nikon! As you explain it, this last move makes a lot of sense to me. A D610 with a 24-120 f4 and a small D prime or two makes sense to me. But I don't really have the budget for that unless I liquidate my M4/3, and I'm not really sure I want to do that. Very interested to know that you aren't bothered by the size of the D610. I can't quite picture if for myself, but then I, believe it or not, have never once held a DSLR of any sort (except an SL1 for about a second), so what do I know? Everyone I see on the street looks like they're holding a big ole volleyball of a camera up to their face, and I just can't see having something that big as my only thing besides the GR. I think I need to get to a brick and mortar and see if I can try out some cameras and see if I agree with you on the size.
Can I ask what your take is on the IQ on D610 files after a heavy crop? That's one way the set up could work for me. FF with a short telephoto prime, then cropped a lot.

Well, it's all a matter of personal preference and where you're coming at it from. I grew up shooting with twin lens reflex cameras and I loved the flip up screen when I first had one, because it sort of simulated that experience. But I just found myself using it less and less over time, to the point that I wouldn't mind having one, but it was easy enough to give up.

In terms of size, I have a Nikon A, basically the same size as the GR, and love it as a street / pocket camera. Like the GR, it's amazingly great for what it is and on some days, it's a huge part of my kit. I've used an EPL3/5 and did OK with them, but my sweet spot has always been bigger - closer to the EP5, XE2, even X-Pro 1 or EM1 size, which is notably larger but I find gives me more room for controls that I can get to a point of second nature with. I ended up with an EM1 and XT1 for their various capabilities and from there, the D610 is larger but it's not a huge leap and I just found it really easy to adapt to. It's larger but soooo well laid out and easy to hold it's a pleasure to use. I'm sure to some I probably do LOOK like I've got a big ole volleyball up to my face, but the key point is it doesn't FEEL like that to me. It just feels like a camera. It's heavier but not enough to be a negative to me at all as long as I keep the lenses under control.

The lenses are the deal maker or breaker for me. The 24-120 is not a particularly large lens, but it's not small and the D610 with that lens is a pretty beefy, heavy combination. I'm happy enough carrying it around for a few hours if that's ALL I'm carrying, or almost all. But carrying a bag with multiple lenses of that size would get really old, really fast. Some DSLR shooters have a lot of the best, fastest glass, not to mention bodies that are a lot larger than the D610, and that stuff get's really big and really heavy and is outside of my tolerance level. My big lenses are that one, the Rokinon 14mm, and a Nikon 70-300. The 14 and the telephoto are specialty lenses that I don't carry around or use often - if I want to go do some shooting with that specific lens, I take it out and do it, but they're never part of my walk around kit. The 24-120 usually isn't either, but when it is, that's gonna be pretty much the WHOLE walk around kit because it is a small tank...

I'm much more likely to be carrying the body with a few primes, mostly quite small "D" lenses, which are slightly larger than m43 lenses, similar to or smaller than Fuji primes. I have one larger prime, a 28mm f1.8 "G" lens, just to have one really good, pretty fast lens at my favorite focal length that'll handle the lowest of low light. It's not huge or unweildy (similar size and weight as the Olympus 75mm), but it's notably larger than my other primes. I won't take that out all the time (it's usually either a 24 or 28 in the bag, not both) but it'll be a staple for low light shooting. But I have (or soon will) 20, 24, 50, and 85 "D" lenses, all quite small and light, and a bag with 2-4 of those is still quite acceptably small and light. The 20 and 24 are f2.8, the 50 and 85 are f1.8, more than fast and narrow enough for me with full frame. The D610 with up to 4-5 of these primes (or up to 3 and the Nikon A) all fit very easily in an Ona Bowery, my favorite small bag lately and a good assurance that anything that'll fit in it I can carry comfortably all day. Any combination that won't fit in that bag doesn't come with me for an extended photo outing...

As long as I don't get sucked into the large lens syndrome, it's a really comfortable package. If I was big user of zooms or telephotos, I wouldn't have gone this route because full frame zooms and telephotos are generally just BIG. But for what and how I like to shoot, I like the feel of it. And the files are simply sublime, which was what got me here in the first place...

-Ray
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Location
Not too far from Philly
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you should be able to figure it out...
Ray, congratulations with your new camera!

Interestingly, my wife said when she looked at the photos of our recent vacation that she liked the results of the Nikons (D200 and D800) better. There is a certain richness in Df photos that is hard to beat, even at lower ISO levels. This (the richness) is also why I like the DP Merrills so much. Having said that, to me the Zeiss lenses (and probably Leica lenses as well) bring something extra that helped me wait with purchasing another a second set.

It is not the weight that kept me from going Nikon again and invest in Zeiss instead. It is the better manual focusing capability of the X-T1 (which loses its attractiveness in bright sunlight), tilt screen and the controls-layout of the X-T1. Nevertheless, I am constantly tempted to buy a FF DSLR (for example, to check how the zeiss 135mm performs with such a body). What has helped me resisting the temptation, is comparing similar shots from the x-pro1 and the nikon D800E. I honestly cannot see much difference in DR, tones, details etc unless I go 1:1 on my 30 inch screen. I've also found that the recent addition of the fuji-camera-profiles are very helpful too.

The Df is different story... I am also curious how the D810 will perform. But right now, I am more focused on completing a lens lineup that is limited yet complete before investing in a new camera system.

I can't honestly say I see a huge difference in the finished product between Fuji and the 610 either at any normal sizes as long as I don't push the ISO or the processing too far on the Fuji. What I do see is a really big difference in the malleability of the files, which I was first blown away by with the RX1, which has the same sensor. So I'm able to do more with the files from the D610 and I really enjoy that a lot. And so I take the processing different places than I would with the Fuji, which I really enjoy. But staying within their somewhat different limits, the finished products are pretty similar quality unless you like to pixel peep foliage. Of course, that's also true of m43 and even the RX100 and other 1" sensor cameras. The key is where the limits are and they do get higher with each increase in sensor size. Just a question of how much that matters to each of us. It didn't matter to me until I got spoiled by it and then it did.

As for the difference between the D610 and Df, it's just slightly different tradeoffs. The Df is simply sublime at higher ISOs, with more DR and better colors and detail at really high ISO. But I actually kind of prefer the increased resolution and dynamic range of the D610 / RX1 up to about ISO 3200. The sensor's incredible DR is what seems to allow it to hold up to processing so incredibly well. The Df was no slouch in that department, but that's where the D610 has it's advantage. Above 3200, the Df has a very clear advantage as it maintains more detail and DR into the ISO stratosphere. BUT, that's at the pixel level - if you don't do huge prints and downsample the D610 files down to the same size as the Df, the difference is really quite small. Since I prefer the D610 for the bulk of my shooting (which is at 3200 or below) and since its still so damn usable up around 6400 and 12800, it's a better set of tradeoffs to me. It was the RX1 files that opened this whole can of worms for me in the first place - I was very VERY happy with smaller sensors until I spent some time with that camera. So it feels right to go to the same place with a DSLR. Not that I wouldn't have been thrilled with either!

-Ray
 

Amin

Hall of Famer
I agree with most of what you said Ray. Though I ended up with a few zooms anyway, most of what you describe is why my initial dabbling with a D600 eventually turned into a full fledged Nikon setup. I can definitely understand how you could be convinced to go the opposite route in your journey.

I understand where you went with this as well, Ray. I still think you should get a loaner Leica M and 28mm Summicron from B&H though :daz:
 

retow

All-Pro
I understand where you went with this as well, Ray. I still think you should get a loaner Leica M and 28mm Summicron from B&H though :daz:

The M & 28 Cron do not offer any weight advantage over a 610 or DF & Nikkor G 28 lens. The M is more compact but the lack of a grip makes it ergonomically inferior imo, not a camera one wants to carry casually with one hand.
 

Ray Sachs

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you should be able to figure it out...
I understand where you went with this as well, Ray. I still think you should get a loaner Leica M and 28mm Summicron from B&H though :daz:

Some things I don't try because I'm pretty sure I won't like them. Some things I don't try because I'm pretty sure I will. :wink: A Leica M oddly falls into both categories. I really don't think I'd like an all manual focus camera (except for very specific types of shooting), but the most frightening possibility is that I might. Either way, it's a loser for me.

Pretty much ANYTHING I like to do, the D610 does very VERY well. The only thing it can't do is be small and silent - which is only very rarely an issue. For that I have the Coolpix A, which excels at both.

-Ray
 

pniev

Student for life
I have been thinking lately about switching back to fullframe DSLR. In my case a Nikon D810 and/or a Nikon Df with a bunch of lenses (perhaps completed with a small compact with fixed lens). There are three main reasons:

1. I read that the Fuji "supertele" (120-400?) will not arrive before the end of 2015. And I need such a lens for wildlife trips. A manual focus lens is not an option for such photography, at least not for someone with my skills.
2. . The Fuji X's are great but there is something about fullframe that is hard to describe but is there.
3. I do have difficulty using the EVF in bright sunlight (perhaps because I am wearing glasses).

But what about size an weight? I definitely want to avoid the big 10-24, 24-70, and 70-200 lenses and use a bunch of lightweight primes instead. The difference in size and weight between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera becomes less important with bigger lenses. Lenses such as the Zeiss 135mm f2 APO are huge on their own and feel more balanced with a larger camera.

I am trying to convince myself I shouldn't do it: the X-T1 makes nice photos, has a tilt screen (which is such a great feature) and has controls that makes shooting fun. Why don't I add another X-T1? Even the write-off does not keep me from thinking "how would the Zeiss 135mm perform with the Nikon FF?".

So my Fuji X-T1, 5 fuji lenses and the Zeiss 50mm may be on the market soon! unless I am strong and convince myself I just want to have something new...
 

Ray Sachs

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you should be able to figure it out...
2. . The Fuji X's are great but there is something about fullframe that is hard to describe but is there.

But what about size an weight? I definitely want to avoid the big 10-24, 24-70, and 70-200 lenses and use a bunch of lightweight primes instead. The difference in size and weight between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera becomes less important with bigger lenses. Lenses such as the Zeiss 135mm f2 APO are huge on their own and feel more balanced with a larger camera.

I am trying to convince myself I shouldn't do it: the X-T1 makes nice photos, has a tilt screen (which is such a great feature) and has controls that makes shooting fun. Why don't I add another X-T1? Even the write-off does not keep me from thinking "how would the Zeiss 135mm perform with the Nikon FF?".

So my Fuji X-T1, 5 fuji lenses and the Zeiss 50mm may be on the market soon! unless I am strong and convince myself I just want to have something new...

Yeah, "there is something about full frame that is hard to describe but is there". There's a side of me that wishes I'd never picked up an RX1 - until then I was always very happy with APS and m43, between wihich I never saw more than a tiny difference. But the RX1 wrecked me for shooting with less. I happily still use my APS Nikon A for street work, but my other two cameras now are full frame. And there's just something about the files that will spoil you once you spend some time with them.

The size and weight with cameras like the D610, Df and Canon 6D are not necessarily much bigger or heavier than APS, depending on lens selection. I won't even consider the "holy trinity" because of size and weight, if not because of cost and that I don't like zooms very much. I do have a 24-120 f4 zoom that's incredibly amazingly useful for some types of shooting (I find that 70-120 range to be pretty indispensable for making a zoom useful in my world) and f4 goes a pretty long way with a camera like the D610 or Df. BTW, I also have a 70-300 which covers my limited telephoto wants or needs. I ultimately chose a Df over the D610 - I mentioned it elsewhere but guess I never updated this thread regarding that. Close call - both great.

But with small-ish zooms, it's really not a cumbersome package at all. I have the 20 f2.8 (the Fuji 14mm gets a clear win here - the Nikon isn't bad, but it's not as good as the Fuji), the 24 f2.8 (the f 1.4 version is a non-starter for both size/bulk and cost), the 28 f1.8 (my one concession to a bit of size just to have a great low light option in my favorite focal length), a 50 f1.8 (rarely touched, but for $100, why not?), and an 85 f1.8. All of these are D lenses except the 28, which is a G lens. I'll probably get either the 135 f2.0 or the 180mm f2.8 for a short/mid telephoto prime, portrait lens extraordinaire, but that probably won't happen for a few months. Oh, and I have a Rokinon 14mm to cover the ultra-wide end - pretty great lens for $300-350. I bought most of these lenses used (the Rok 14 and 28mm f1.8 are exceptions) and I don't think I paid over $400 for any of the used ones except the 24-120, but I saved a good chunck on that too. And none of this gear is too heavy unless I try carrying all of it at once, which I don't...

I was really happy with the Fuji gear until I shot full frame for a while. Then, even when I went back to Fuji, I just couldn't get the full frame monkey off my back, and now I seem to be deep into it, with Fuji and m43 falling by the wayside. So if you go that way, I'm at least one person who will FULLY understand... Good luck and have fun, whatever you decide to do...

-Ray
 

serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
You can check also:
Crop or Crap: Zack Arias Takes a Real-World Look at the Crop vs Full-Frame Debate at petapixel

I came from FF to mirrorless, so I ended up w RX1/A7R. However for wildlife I prefer apsc, even more m43 for the 1.5/1.6 to 2x multiplier... But still mirrorless is weaker on that side due to limited lenses. If you want the FF dof for portraits, you can also use Metabones adapter... Manual focus is much easier w/ mirrorless esp if you are looking for Zeiss lenses...
 

robbie36

New Member
Interesting thread.

I have just taken the first tentative steps into FF with an A7r to accompany my beloved EM1. I agree with Ray that the ability to really push raw files in post is what I really like about FF as well as the extra detail at wider angles.

I didnt even consider a DSLR and I am pretty certain I wouldnt like them. I have never actually owned a DSLR with the EM5 being my first interchangeable lens camera. But when I have used them, I really miss the EVF with all the electronic gizmos that come with it that I rely on pretty heavily. I also find dials and aperture rings pretty useless. The A7r has an EV compensation dial which I find pretty irritating (what is with that anyways?). My feeling is that especially as of today, if your first camera is a mirrorless, it is unlikely you will want to move to a DSLR.
 

pniev

Student for life
Congrats with the Df. That would (probably) my first choice too. Although it's probably the total package of sensor, lenses, and engine that determines the "hard-to-describe-differentiator", I read somewhere that a larger pixel size results in better light capture. That might also be the reason why I did not see much difference - other than detail at 1:1 - when I compared the raw files of Nikon D800E (high MP/large sensor) and X-pro1 ("low" MP/smaller sensor): pixel size is almost the same.

When I go Nikon, I will probably opt for the 1.8G lenses because they share great optics with light weight and manageable size.

I guess I have to rent a Df or D810 and compare it with the X-T1. Or stay strong. ;-)


Yeah, "there is something about full frame that is hard to describe but is there". There's a side of me that wishes I'd never picked up an RX1 - until then I was always very happy with APS and m43, between wihich I never saw more than a tiny difference. But the RX1 wrecked me for shooting with less. I happily still use my APS Nikon A for street work, but my other two cameras now are full frame. And there's just something about the files that will spoil you once you spend some time with them.

The size and weight with cameras like the D610, Df and Canon 6D are not necessarily much bigger or heavier than APS, depending on lens selection. I won't even consider the "holy trinity" because of size and weight, if not because of cost and that I don't like zooms very much. I do have a 24-120 f4 zoom that's incredibly amazingly useful for some types of shooting (I find that 70-120 range to be pretty indispensable for making a zoom useful in my world) and f4 goes a pretty long way with a camera like the D610 or Df. BTW, I also have a 70-300 which covers my limited telephoto wants or needs. I ultimately chose a Df over the D610 - I mentioned it elsewhere but guess I never updated this thread regarding that. Close call - both great.

.....

-Ray
 

Kin Lau

Regular
Just came back from vacation and the camera list was 5Dm2, 7D, GF3 and FZ200 plus the GH's for video. A 400mm is always mounted to the 7D, 9-18mm on the GF3 and 24-105 on the 5D. Just use what each is best suited for.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Real Name
bart
Just came back from vacation and the camera list was 5Dm2, 7D, GF3 and FZ200 plus the GH's for video. A 400mm is always mounted to the 7D, 9-18mm on the GF3 and 24-105 on the 5D. Just use what each is best suited for.
wow! What kinda pack did you have for carrying all that?
 

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