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Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Switch To Mirrorless | DigitalRev

By Hanssie on February 1st 2016

The Canon/Nikon debate was so three years ago. Now, everyone wants to argue DSLR vs. Mirrorless. While there are positives and negatives for both camps, should you ditch your DSLR and pick up a mirrorless?

I did. Last year, I sold all my Canon gear and picked up a Fuji X-T1. I’ve never regretted the decision. Though I know a few who have jumped ship and come back again, I am not one of those. I love mirrorless, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.

[REWIND: SWITCHING GEARS: HOW TO SELL ALL YOUR USED CAMERA GEAR {AND BUY A WHOLE NEW KIT}]

Not everyone feels the same way, though. In this following video from DigitalRev, Kai gives us some reasons (six minutes worth) why you should keep your DSLR instead of picking up a mirrorless. The first reason is that the battery life stinks. Yes, I will concede that point. It is not good or even in the realm of good, but thankfully, batteries are inexpensive. If you don’t leave your camera on all the time (I’ve gotten used to shutting it off when I’m not shooting – even during a wedding day!), it does last quite a bit longer. I actually photographed a seven-hour wedding recently and only used 1.5 batteries the entire day.

Kai also brings up autofocus and image quality, and how mirrorless is inferior to a DSLR in both aspects. Among the remaining arguments is that size is often a factor for those switching camps – but the mirrorless cameras are getting bigger, the lens choices are lacking, and the EVF still isn’t as great as the OVF.

The video is made with DigitalRev’s usual cheekiness and occasional curse word, so if that kind of stuff offends you, don’t watch the video below.

After listening to Kai’s reasons for keeping the DSLR, do you agree? Personally, I think he has valid points on some (battery life, low light image quality), but for the most part, switching to mirrorless was the right choice for me.

Have you made the switch? Comment below on where you fall in the DSLR vs. Mirrorless debate.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. jd kizzo

    My first dslr was a Nikon d80 and each camera since I’ve bought smaller and smaller and shoot mostly with primes, again, to make smaller. My subjects are landscape travel and street with some occasional portraits. I have welcomed mirrorless with open arms. If I was doing events or sports I’d probably feel the opposite. 

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  2. Campbell Sinclair

    I’ll be sticking to my D750 and Nikkor 70-200mm for sports photography. mirrorless seem to be fine portraits and landscapes but fast moving subject ? Im not sure sure,. Also the battery time is poor on mirrorless . I’m out in the field all day and I dont want to be running out of batteries. Also Nikkor lenses such as the 70-200mm and 300mm f2.8 focus much faster

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  3. Carlos Robles

     I’d like to know how this  Little dude figures dad DSLR image quality is better than Mirrorless.   That’s a pretty general statement and an invalid one at that 

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  4. Ionut Adrian Bololoi

    Hey HANSSIE, wanted to ask you if you ever had the chance to test the 56mm 1.2 regular version with the APD one, side by side, would love to hear your opinion about it or anyone else who has tested the lens in the real world. I really wonder if the focus is that bad on the APD compared to the normal version. I typically shoot event photography and sometimes weddings so I am curious if anyone had the chance to try it out in that type of scenarios. Thanks in advance :D

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  5. Amir Sharafeh

    I went from canon rebel to 60d to 5D3 with a eos m for fun, but this year I switched to a6000 and a7s2. The former for photos and latter for video. A6k has more mp than the 5D and because I shoot mainly with off cam flash, I’m good. Quality is excellent. It also comes in handy when you don’t have to put triggers on a cam either. ;) And it is SOOO much lighter.
    Yes the a7s2 will be a little pain because of the adapter but I manually focus for vid. I never relied on auto for video because I never know when it comes down to critical focusing; no matter what type of cam is used. I am sitting in front of (arrived today) 10 Sony batteries for both cams. I already bought 5 for the a6k and the a7 gives you two, so I have a total of 17 batteries. I don’t mind swapping more often as long as I’m not breaking my back holding a heavier cam and giving me better performance. Now Canon wants to step up the game, after I switched systems with 4K recording for vid. :/ grrr. Hahaha.
    I will most likely get the 5D4 if it has 4K. Not getting rid of my canon lenses. And I will be content with the mirror less systems I have for another 3 years with minimal Sony lenses.

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  6. Sunil Anjaneya

    I have been shooting with A77 from Day 1 with EVF as an Pro Amateur photographer . Used Sony A7s for Europe trip and happy with the results. Now I am thinking of a slow jump into Professional shoots by buying FF camera but confused between Mirrorless Sony A7RII or established Canon/Nikon DSLR’s. EVF has helped me from Day 1. But OVF would be more like driving a Manual Car who has learnt driving automatic in the first place. Total Confusion.

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  7. Dan Yoates

    Just switch to fuji and I love it. Zero regrets.

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  8. Jim Hale

    I have no regrets about unloading all my mirrorless for full frame. I had a Panny GH-4 with the two “pro” lenses – 12-35 f2.8 and the 35-100 f2.8 and was pleased with their versatility in shooting video and stills. BUT – the first thing you discover is that f2.8 with micro 4/3 is a far cry from f2.8 full frame! The low light performance of the GH4 was just plain awful. After working a night event shooting stills, I gave up and could not be happier with my new Nikon D750 for it’s low light performance, battery life, and especially image quality. While I did manage to get some great looking stills with my GH4 in well lit situations, it was just not worth having to struggle to make the shutter click in low light. The difference was drastic. And, the whole weight thing is way overplayed IMO. The D750 with most of my Nikon primes isn’t that much heavier than the GH4. I actually like handling a more solid feeling camera. Now then, if I could afford the full frame mirrorless Sony A7sII…..

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  9. Jim Hale

    I have no regrets about unloading all my mirrorless for full frame. I had a Panny GH-4 with the two “pro” lenses – 12-35 f2.8 and the 35-100 f2.8 and was pleased with their versatility in shooting video and stills. BUT – the first thing you discover is that f2.8 with micro 4/3 is a far cry from f2.8 full frame! The low light performance of the GH4 was just plain awful. After working a night event shooting stills, I gave up and could not be happier with my new Nikon D750 for it’s low light performance, battery life, and especially image quality. While I did manage to get some great looking stills with my GH4 in well lit situations, it was just not worth having to struggle to make the shutter click in low light. The difference was drastic. And, the whole weight thing is way overplayed IMO. The D750 with most of my Nikon primes isn’t that much heavier than the GH4. I actually like handling a more solid feeling camera. Now then, if I could afford the full frame mirrorless Sony…..

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  10. Mark Romine

    I principally shoot weddings and for the last 2-3 years I have been looking for ways to reduce size and weight of the rig that I have in my hand all day long. I originally shot Canon 1D series and then I moved to Nikon full sized bodies in 2009. But after all these years they have taken their toll on my wrists and thumb muscles. So after reading photographer blogs and review sites for a couple years I fell in love with the Olympus OM-D E-M1. This camera is a piece of technological art. Built like a tank and the lenses that are available for it are amazing too.

    I thought that this would be the perfect camera to move to from my Nikon system. So I stated by renting one a couple times and taking it to weddings with me. Then I bought a used one that was in near mint condition along with a couple lenses. I love it’s EVF and the touch screen is remarkable! Being a micro 4/3 camera the IQ isn’t on par with my Nikon system but still very useable for weddings and I know lots of wedding photographers who use them for their weddings. So IQ was not an issue for me. Batteries are somewhat of an issue but since they so small and light as well as easy to change that is not a big issue with me.

    The three biggest things that are a draw back for me are:

    1.) The complexity of using the camera. I spend way too much energy and thought operating the camera. That’s not what I want to be doing. It needs to be intuitive to use. The Olympus menu architecture is complex and deep. I need to be able to use the camera fast.

    2.) Single card slot bodies. Even in this age of mature card technology where card failure has become rare, single slot card bodies still make me nervous.

    3.) Not many good choices for OCF for the Olympus

    So in the end I have relegated my E-M1 to a remote camera that I place on a small table top tripod with a wide angle lens on it to take shots from the back of the alter during the ceremony. Then I downsized my Nikon system from a D4, D3s, D3 to four -D750s. This is not where I ultimately want to be but it is part way there.

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  11. HJALMAR GUTIERREZ

    I have a good relationship with both systems. For good low-light AF performance, tracking action and high ISO I normally pick my FF DSRL, for travelling and back-up camera I have a Fuji X-T10 (before I had and sold the Sony a6000). Battery life is normally an issue with mirrorless cameras but I carry 2 spares with me normally because they are small size.
    I got a mirrorless cameras initially for travelling light, since DSRL + lenses are heavy but, later I have used with serious works and they have perform flawlessly, as long as you have available light.
    So, for my, I will keep both systems as they offer different benefits

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  12. Paul Nguyen

    I’ve switched from DSLR to mirrorless to DSLR to mirrorless and finally back to DSLR. I genuinely wanted to love mirrorless. Both times I used Fuji and their lenses were amazing and for most of my photography, they worked flawlessly. However, the biggest selling point for DSLRs, for me, is that they just work. Every mid-range DSLR upwards just works so well in all situations. My Canon 6D can focus in near darkness, can shoot shot after shot without locking up and its lens lineup is absolutely stellar. The way I see it is that mid-range DSLRs are like a family sedan, pro DSLRs are like SUVs. They’re tough, they get you from A to B reliably and without a hitch and you can rely on them to work in any situation. Mirrorless cameras are more like exotic cars, they’re new, have great appeal, they’re unique, quirky and fun to drive, but they’re not for getting from A to B every day, day in, day out.

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  13. Mike Purdy

    Hey Guys, I’ll share my personal journey into, (and out-of) a mirrorless platform. Before I share, know that I love mirrorless platforms. When you read the pro’s and cons of my personal preferences and shooting styles, it wasn’t the final choice after much testing. All that to say, someone asked me about my experience, this was my detailed response:

    I was a Canon shooter, switched to A7 series for 30-days, now Nikon. Here is my experience:

    Background:
    I shoot mainly wedding photography with a lot of off camera flash. I shot with 1DX and 5ds, and MKIII. I used mainly 3-profoto B1’s and 4-canon 600ex’s. I bought an a7sII, A7II, A6000, and a7RII, 3x Mitros+ with ODIN. I’ve talked with Jeremy Chan with Jeza, (Sony Ambassadors), Mike Colon, and watched all of Gary Fong’s videos on Sony. Jason Lanier also endorses it. It really comes down to what you personally like. Here are my observations:

    SONY
    Pros (for Wedding Photographers):
    1. Lightweight, I carried 5 cameras in one think tank airport bag
    2. EVF, it’s great to see the ambient light before you take the shot. In backlit situations or white balance effects, very cool. Not as much chimping over DSLR setups.
    3. Fast and accurate focusing in most cases
    4. Sharp Zeiss glass, with incredible contrast
    5. Think of Canon as a muscle car, Sony as a Tesla. Technologically, Sony far superior but DSLR’s feel more responsive. This is subjective, hard to explain until you start shooting with it.
    6. I really liked the erganomics with the grip. Felt similar to a 1DX but now you’re not as mobile or lightweight. Better battery though.
    7. A full A7 setup with flashes is going to be cheaper than Canon or NIkon. This is in part due to the lens offerings but I found it cheaper.
    8. Smaller lenses. This is in part due to F4 glass but the 55 1.8 is one of the best lenses I’ve used if not the best. It’s small, fast, and razor sharp wide open.
    9. A7SII has a no shutter noise option. Not low shutter sound, NO shutter sound. Pretty cool.

    Cons (for wedding photographers):
    1. Not as robust and durable as prolevel DSLRS. If you’re hard on your gear, they will get beat up and may be in the shop more than a 1DX or D4s/D5.
    2. Not as weather sealed as 1DX/D4s/D5
    3. Noticeable shutter lag from 1DX/D4s especially when shooting off camera flash.
    4. Lighting limitations/manufacturers. Very few TTL options when compared to Nikon/Canon. If you are only manual, there are still not as many options. I used the 600ex’s and loved them because of the internal TX. I could not deal with the Mitros+ lag when fired. For many it may not be an issue but personally when compared to the responsiveness of the 1DX/600ex setup, it was noticeable.
    5. The low light ISO performance of the A7sII really doesn’t come as a benefit if you do OCF. I thought I would love it but it really is better for video.
    6. Local support not as available for pros. If you’re used to being CPS or Nikon Professional you just pop in for a repair or cleaning, not really as convenient with Sony.
    7. Battery Life. This didn’t bother me as much but you will need up to 10 batteries per wedding if you shoot around 3,000 images. I averaged 8.
    8. No TTL/HSS profoto support. Only manual. I had to sell all my B2’s and 3-B1’s because I just didn’t need them anymore. Even though I should mainly manual, there are times in fast action scenes or really quick shoots that you just needed TTL to just get the shot. I have since replaced my B-1’s.
    9. Only one card slot. This is a big one for me because I like the redundancy of cloning cards for events in case one of the cards fails.
    10. Most A7 lenses are going to be F4 max aperture (soon to change) if you’re a “zoom shooter”. Primes not much of an issue. You think that it’s fine because of ISO performance but it does make a difference with depth of field.
    11. If you use all cameras, the button placement is different for each A7 cameras so your muscle memory while shooting will have to change and it may slow the shooter down because they were used to the other camera button being in a certain location.

    Conclusion:
    There are other notable pros/cons, these are just the ones that came to mind. I dream of going more lightweight but going lightweight comes at a cost. If you only do available light or video, the Sony/Olympus/FUJI offering is amazing. If you want more off camera lighting solutions, need more durability/weather proofing, shoot commercial, need more support, the mirrorless offerings may not be the best choice for pro-wedding photography but again this is subjective. Camera’s are really like relationships, if it works for you and you like the end result, that is all that matters. As for me, I’m shooting Nikon with 2x-D4S and a D810. Back to profoto, heavy, but loving the results. I just bring a lighting assistant to help with gear and setup. Will look at the Sony/Mirrorless options when profoto offers a Sony Air Remote, more lighting options, faster zoom glass for a7 series, more durability, additional card slots, etc. There is no point in going the A99, A77 etc direction because now you are back to larger setups. Again, a lot of this is subjective, it may be a dream come true for you. If you do decide to switch, use it as a backup camera first program it similar to your canon setup then migrate slowly. Don’t go cold turkey…you’ll find yourself overwhelmed under stressful situations if you do weddings. Hope that helps! -MP http://www.StudioPurdy.com

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  14. Gabriel Rodriguez

    Wow…Im still lingering with the idea of having one as a backup, but after reading some of these comments, well..maybe not.

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  15. Ben Perrin

    I bought the a7r2 after cancelling a pre-order for the 5dsr. I had my camera for over 6 years and I was going to upgrade. I don’t regret buying a mirrorless camera, especially since I can just use my old dslr whenever I need to. There are many things about mirrorless that I prefer but I’ll also list some downsides that I don’t see as many people talk about.

    Lag – reviewing images is so much slower compared to a canon dslr
    Sensor dust – I need to clean the sensor every time before a shoot. Haven’t needed an official cleaning on the 5d2 yet.
    Less reliable autofocus – not only is it slower but it doesn’t work well for the longer focal lengths on 3rd party lenses. People will say that’s not Sony’s fault but their lack of lenses drives people to use 3rd party alternatives.
    Weird artefacts/issues – especially when shooting in silent mode or over 30 seconds.
    Slow start up time – No where near as snappy as a dslr.
    Doesn’t work with many flash triggers – or the options are limited compared to Canon/Nikon.
    Less reliable – The weather sealing isn’t as good and with the metabones it’ll occasionally lock up for about 20 seconds.
    I thought the battery life would be an issue but so far it’s been fine.

    But for me there have been just as many upsides as there has been downsides. I think of it as a different tool, not necessarily a better or worse tool.

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    • Andrew Leinonen

      Interesting. Those responsiveness and dust challenges sound like Sony specific issues, they certainly aren’t present on any of the M4/3 mirrorless cameras I’ve used.

      The weird artifacts on the silent shutter are not accidental or unusual. Electronic shutters read out from the sensor sequentially, so you get rolling shutter artifacts. These are not possible to avoid with current technology (until we get global shutters), so any camera that has this capability will show the same issues. Any DSLR that used an electronic shutter for Live View capture would experience the same problem.

      I’m also not sure it’s fair to blame the Sony for issues associated with a 3rd party electronic adapter. Use native lenses and that’s unlikely to happen.

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    • Ben Perrin

      Don’t get me wrong there are many upsides too. It’s just that people don’t tend to mention many of these things when reviewing the camera. I’m sure different mirrorless manufacturers have different strengths/weaknesses as well. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but there are still many good things coming from these companies.

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  16. Peter Nord

    Why does one have to switch. I have some Canons and some Nikons. I seem to have collected some mirrorless ones too. Some fit in my pocket and some are big and heavy. I sold my working film cameras. Then a friend said let’s have lunch, brought a bag of film cameras saying he was sure I’d like them. Geesh. Then sometimes I think maybe I ought to get a roll of 220 for my old film holder and fire up the Speed Graphic.

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    • Dave Haynie

      I agree… do you really need to switch? I had my old Olympus OM System, my Leica/Canon screw mount rangefinders, and my film-based Canon EOS stuff all at the same time. I didn’t necessarily expand all systems simultaneously — the OM System was fairly complete by the time Olympus threw in the towel, the m39 stuff was usually whatever I could find in used camera stores, flea markets, etc…

      I did sell off my APS Canon gear when I got into the Olympus OM-D system… just more “stuff” than I needed, and I had been pretty much moving to full frame on the Canon anyway. I also have a couple of Fujifilm X P&S models, which are nice for what they do.

      Cameras are tools, and I wouldn’t expect a single one to do all jobs, any more than I could do woodworking with a single hammer, screwdriver, or saw.

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  17. Kristopher Galuska

    I actually went from mirrorless (micro 4/3) to dslr (nikon 610). And I never realized how mad the mirrorless battery life was untill I moved to a dslr.

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  18. Alex Petrenko

    As for the quality – it really depends what you compare with. I don’t believe Sony full frame is worse in terms of quality than any FF DSLR out there. Fuji – for sure, but it is APS-C.

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  19. Liam Doran

    Great vid…I shoot DSLR’s mostly because my subject demands it. Skiers moving 40 mph through deep snow and heavy snow falling…catching sharp images in these conditions is one of the hardest things for a camera system to do. My 1DX and even 7DMKII pull it off extremely well and for that reason I still can’t switch to mirror less.

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  20. Andrew Leinonen

    In general, unless you’re a wildlife photographer sitting in a photo blind all day with your eye to the viewfinder poised to take the one great shot of a snowy leopard or golden eagle striking, the battery life issue is pretty simple to workaround. The sleep/resume function on my Panasonic cameras works really well, just press the shutton and the camera will be awake and ready to shoot before you’ve even been able to bring it up to your eye to compose. And of course, the batteries are very small and light and several spares can easily be tucked into any pocket if you have a long day ahead of you. Other mirrorless cameras may be less responsive or have worse battery life, so I can’t comment on them.

    The easiest and best way to prolong your battery life is simply to not review your photos afterwards. The EVF makes chimping totally unnecessary. That requires a bit more discipline when using a DSLR, but of course does yield dividends if you absolutely can’t carry a spare battery for some reason.

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  21. Dave Haynie

    Battery life is certainly an issue, but it also can be manageable, depending on the camera. My Canon 6D gets around 1000 shots on a battery (CIPA rating 1050), and that’s 1,000 shots no matter what (well, as long as WiFi and GPS are off).

    So my mirrorless, the Olympus OM-D E-M5II, gets around 300 shots (CIPA rating 310) out of the box. But if I flip the back screen around, just use the viewfinder, and set the eye detection mode (when I look away, it sleeps, when I’m looking again, it wakes up), then set Quick Sleep mode (shuts down very quickly when not used), and you got to 750 shots (CIPA). Then add battery grip, and technically, that grows to 1500 shots, and it’s still smaller and lighter than the 6D. Quick Sleep can be annoying, but at least there’s the option.

    Of course, actual battery life is based on how you’re shooting, and if you were to put a battery grip on an Sony A7, without any special power savings modes, you’re still far short of a DSLR on battery life, and now also heavier and bulkier.

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  22. Jean-Francois Perreault

    I also agree about battery life. For me, it’s by far the most annoying problem on my X-T1. I too keep shutting it off as soon as I’m done. Although I always carry along 2 spares, it bugs me like crazy.

    My other problem is with tracking. I don’t know how it is on a Sony A6000 (in videos, tracking seems really good) but on the X-T1, I find it really, really bad. Those devilish focus squares seem to have a mind of their own.

    Other than that, I’ve never regretted the switch. I can bring it everywhere, it doesn’t look intimidating and I love the image quality.
    But I can certainly understand how it’s not for everyone.
    In the end, both types have their pros and cons. It really only depends on what’s more important for you.

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    • Hanssie

      On the same vein, I wish they would make switching those focus points just a bit easier. The two button push gets me every time…

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  23. Alex Kartashov

    When I first used a camera, my biggest fear was the battery running out. I would constantly turn it off if I don’t use it for more than 10 seconds just to squeeze extra shots from the battery.
    Now I have a D750 and I can keep it on for hours without even having to glance at my battery indicator.

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    • Hanssie

      Yeah…I miss those days. Haha My little Fuji sucks battery like no other…but I still love him.

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  24. Yael DeFaye

    I agree with the battery issue (though I took 1200 pictures with only 2 batteries on my Sony Nex 6) and AF under specific condition and for specific scenes. The amount of lens depends of the brand you are using, Sony is still lacking but they are working on it, as well as Fuji and Olympus/Panasonic. Also you can use any old 35mm lens on your mirror lens, yes it’s not for everybody but it’s still a huge collection available out there. Regarding quality I completely disagree, they share the same sensors as DSLR including low light.

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    • Hanssie

      I love my Fuji lenses, and I think the X series has really stepped up the game. I will concede the in low light my X-T1 is crap. Utter crap…

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