Let me start this article by wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2019
Now that every brand has gone Mirrorless , choosing a system today is becoming more and more difficult. Let’s first agree that all cams are good today, and the choice of one system over the other is more a matter of brand Loyalty and Fanboy-ism over anything else.
The choice of one system over the other is more a matter of brand Loyalty and Fanboy-ism over anything else
Loyal users will choose the system they already have before adding a new mirrorless cam to their gear: not because it is the best cam on the market but because they are loyal to their brand. . Nikon and Canon came very late in the mirrorless world. They count mainly on the loyalty of their customers and reputation of their brands. No, they are not the best today, but might be the less costly option for a loyal Nikon and Canon users. Working in the same Ecosystem is a big advantage today.
I said it 5 years ago that the Future is mirrorless. Canon and Nikon Fanboys refused to believe in this. Now after they both took the Mirrorless route, some Canon and Nikon users (and I say some), started to believe that Mirrorless might be the Future, only because their ‘trusted’ brands decided to follow the same route. Well, I find that the only 2 DSLRs that still make sense today are the Canon 1Dx-II and the Nikon D5. Although the Sony A9 came too close to those.
Canon and Nikon are big names in the world of photography. And I think this will be in their advantage on the long run even if they came very late
The biggest surprise in 2018 was the launch of the L-Alliance. Everybody knew that Nikon and Canon were coming with FF mirrorless in 2018. Most people were still doubting Panasonic to follow them, even 20 days before the official launch !
2018: the year I left DSLR
I am (was) a loyal Nikon user since the late Nineties and started using mirrorless cams since 2009. All through these years I kept my Nikon system. Gradually I got rid of my D3s and D800E and kept my Dƒ with all my F lenses. It was only last year, few months after I got my Sony A9 with 24-70GM and 70-200GM that I decided to get rid of my Nikon stuff (I still own a Dƒ with a 24-120/4 and some AF-D lenses and will keep them mainly for the memory and nostalgia). All the G lenses are gone. Although I knew that a new mirrorless FF Nikon was coming and it will be compatible with F lenses, I decided to get rid of all my DSLR lenses.
L – Alliance : Panasonic – Sigma – Leica
The biggest surprise in 2018 for me and for many others were not Canon and Nikon. It was the L-Alliance between 3 Giants: Leica, Sigma and Panasonic. I find this alliance very promising for the future, although It might not sell as much as Canon and Nikon. The L alliance might interest more Leica SL users and professional videographers in the future.
Just a reminder that I used to be a Nikon users for more than 20 years: and I started to get disappointed with Nikon strategy in the last 5 years, Especially when I see the improvements Sony and Fujifilm did in that period. In my opinion, Nikon made an excellent D700 and D3(s). What came after was a bit disappointing for me, except the excellent D850. When Nikon introduced the 1 series I was among the first to adopt this system, and I did like it regardless of its shortcomings. Nikon 1 was over priced and Nikon decided not to evolve with this system as M43 did with their cameras. And then Nikon decided to discontinue the 1 !!! They were about to launch the most awaited DL line up and then decided they won’t. They introduced the Coolpix A that was commercially a Flop, maybe because of the high price. Ricoh did a better job with their excellent GR cameras: I still own the first GR and it’s still a great camera. Then Nikon introduced the KeyMission and they failed with this one too. Okay, You might say that all these are not serious or professional cams, well yes I agree, but this shows the questionable strategy Nikon chose over the last years. Not forgetting the problems and recalls of the D600 and D750 when they were first launched !
After years of bashing the Mirrorless market, Nikon finally found that they can’t ignore it anymore and gave us the Zs, claiming that they have a revolutionary mount that is 1mm larger than what Canon had for many years: 55mm against 54mm. with a flange distance that is barely shorter than the R mount (4mm shorter) .
Personally I was Happy for Nikon and Mad at the same time:
- Happy cos they finally forget about their arrogance (did they?) and admit that they can’t escape the mirrorless technology and because now they can match Canon with the mount size.
- Mad cos it was a late, very late move, at least for me who waited and trusted Nikon for years. One might say : Better late than Never, But sometimes late is very later. Nikon claim that they reinvented mirrorless. I am not sure what they did reinvent, seriously.
Some says: Better late than Never, I say: sometimes late is very late
Although I didn’t try the Zs yet, I find that they are still at least one generation behind Sony in term of AF speed and buffering, at least from what I followed from users over the net. They might be ergonomically better than Sony, yes I believe they are and they are better built and Nikon service is known to be better. But seriously I was expecting much better from the giant Nikon after all the waiting !
Nikon claim that they reinvented mirrorless. I am not sure what they did reinvent,
I never was a digital Canon user (I still have my older Canon AE-1 and A1 from the day of film though). but as I see it today Canon did a great move with their R system. They introduced professional lenses with a very basic EOS-R camera: 24-70mm f2, 50mm f1.2 are dream lenses for many. But that 1.7x crop in 4K Video Mode is very disappointing especially from a company known to have very good video capabilities.
They introduced professional lenses with a very basic EOS-R camera
I am quite sure that Canon will introduce a more advanced Camera in 2019. Nikon might have introduced more advanced cams with Z6 and Z7 especially with IBIS but they launched with them ‘basic lenses’ : 24-70mm f4, 35/1.8 and 50/1.8. I believe those 3 lenses are excellent across the frame. But what about the revolutionary S mount that permits to design f0.7 lenses !!! Well, Nikon promised that they will launch a 58/0.95 Manual Focus lens which is rumored to be priced at $6000 (seriously???). Where is the 50mm f1.2 AF lens Nikon ? You have the larger mount today , why not introduce the Zs with this lens ? Do you still want to test the market and have doubt that the Zs won’t be a success ? Personally I think (or at least hope) it will be a success, at least in 5 years from now, when Nikon will have better Z cams and a complete lens lineup.
Fujifilm did a great job in 2018. First they introduced IBIS in the X-H1, then they almost perfected the APS-C and topped this market with the X-T3. And they launched the Medium Format GFX-50R that I am eagerly waiting to test as soon as it’s available. Although I find Fujifilm strategy a bit confusing with the so many choices they have, I believe choosing to go Medium Format and not FF was a wise choice. Time will prove if they made the right choice though.
I believe choosing to go Medium Format and not FF was a wise choice
I really hoped that the X-H1 and the X-T3 were 1 camera instead of 2. They introduced the X-H1 as the Fujifilm video cam and then gave us an X-T3 with 4K 60p without IBIS : Oh boy, What were they thinking? And what about giving us a better battery . You could have used the GFX battery in the larger X-H1, why didn’t you ?
What I really wish for Fujifilm in 2019 is to:
- Give us a new larger battery (both Sony and Olympus have larger batteries)
- Introduce IBIS in all their cams. Sony have IBIS in the very compact A6500 and Olympus have it in almost all their cams today. And to be honest Olympus is still the king of IBIS, mainly because of the smaller sensor.
Sony and Olympus will strike back in 2019
I do believe that Sony and Olympus will strike back soon this year. Sony should launch an A7sIII to top the videographers needs and an A7000 to compete with Fujifilm X-T3.
I hope Sony will improve in terms of :
- Give us a top LCD a-là X-H1, Z6/7 and EOS-R
I believe they will. They have to . Sony are not the most enjoyable cams to use that is for sure: I do find myself using my Fujifilm and Olympus more than the Sony in terms of Ergonomics and Fun factor.
I am quite sure Sony will keep being ahead in terms of sensor technology and Auto Focus algorithms
On the other hand, Olympus should stand still against all the larger sensor mania in introducing am EM1-X with:
- More advanced technology
- Better and Better IBIS
- Better Video
- Better overall performance especially in C-AF
A smaller sensor have many advantages over larger ones, but that is another talk
With all those system around today, I am preparing an article about wich system I find the most ‘balanced’ in terms of size, price, image quality and reliability.