Three Mirrorless Cameras That Are In Need Of A Refresh & What’s Next
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SLR Lounge as an entity.
Taking a look at the mirrorless market as a whole, with cameras like the a6500, A7rII, and now the A9; Sony is absolutely crushing it. With their no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to feature set, they justly earned their spot as number two in the interchangeable lens camera market (debate the specifics of that amongst yourselves…).
Some photographers scoff Sony’s variation between their flagship models, but it is this variation and predictable improvements year after year that has converted so many to the E-mount system. Granted, some other camera manufacturers cannot innovate as fast as Sony, no one can really, but that doesn’t mean they, themselves, should stop innovating. Looking at the current lineup from the top brands, there are a few mirrorless cameras that are getting a little long in the tooth. Here is a list of mirrorless cameras that many think could do with or deserve a refresh and/or update.
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The Lumix LX100 can be considered as Panasonic’s answer to the Sony RX100 series or possibly even the Fuji X100. Panasonic took their already great Panasonic LX series, added a larger sensor, and combined it with an outstanding lens. The lens alone can be well worth the price of the camera, given it’s a 24-75mm equivalent 1.7/2.8 with leaf shutter to boot, but when Panasonic decided to add the same Venus engine as the GH4, photographers got a stabilized 4K camera that they could fit in a pocket.
Why it needs an update
While still a venerable video camera, the LX100 leaves much to be desired with its stills function – it is the most dated aspect of the camera. The LX100 sports a 12.8-megapixel sensor (cropped from 16.8 MP) and for 2014 technology that was, in fact, quite good. However, in just three years it is really showing its age as images start to fall apart at around 1600 ISO. Not to mention the rampant dust issue.
Ideally, if Panasonic could keep the same lens, make the camera dust/weather proof, and add the sensor of the Lumix GX8 that would suit for an upgraded model. The aspect ratio dial is also a bit gimmicky and would be better served as a shooting mode dial or dedicate ISO dial.
The Olympus E-M5 Mark II was the sequel to 2012’s OM-D E-M5, offering great SOOC jpegs, Olympus’ classic and functional retro design, and excellent image stabilization all in an interchangeable lens camera.
Why it needs an update
Today, you’d typically find enthusiast-class cameras or above have the option to record 4K (unless they are made by Canon). Olympus may have been late to the 4K party but made up for it with their pro-level E-M1 Mark II. The E-M5, however, sits neatly in the enthusiast realm right behind the E-M1 and a few steps above the Pen series, and while in 2015 it was alright for some enthusiast options to omit 4K ability, consumer needs have quickly evolved along with tech and now 4K is a standard enthusiasts and pros alike have come to expect. Adding the 20 MP of the E-M1 Mark II while only keeping the contrast detect AF would be a plus as well, if wishful thinking.
A few other options that would be worthy of the Mark III moniker would be tighter dials, full one-handed operation, and dual SD card slots, but the latter is likely less an option given it’s small and enthusiast form-factor.
The Nikon 1 camera system was Nikon’s entry into the mirrorless uprising. Since the original NIkon 1 (V1), autofocus and continuous shooting speed have been outlying features. The Hybrid AF system, with a mix of contrast detection and phase detection points, is a staple across the entire current line up from the V3 to the J5, with the J5 is the only one for the group that shoots 4K, albeit at 15 frames per second.
Why it needs an update
Nikon, in their infinite wisdom, decided to develop the CX format for use in their mirrorless cameras. The format has a 2.7 times crop factor and is about half of the Micro Four Thirds system and a quarter of their DX format (the only smaller mirrorless ILC is the Pentax Q).
The whole mirrorless line provided by Nikon seems to be an afterthought and has all but abandoned the 1 Line, and this approach and mentality is even more evident when considering the decision to kill the highly-anticipated DL line. When the much lower priced Coolpix B700 can out resolve the V3 and includes an option to shoot UHD, you know there is a problem.
Nikon needs to adapt to stay relevant. They need to scrap the whole current line up and either join the Micro Four-Thirds conglomerate with Panasonic and Olympus (which they won’t do) or develop a serious mirrorless offering and that can compete with the Canon EOS M6 at the very least. My wish would have them develop a camera with similar styling to their vintage S rangefinders – with the tagline “I AM | Legacy”. One can dream…
As of right now, no one can beat Sony at their game; they are too ahead of the curve and a providing photographers and creatives tools they didn’t know they needed. It would appear the bigwigs at Nikon and Canon are too worried about the loss of sales in the entry-level DSLR segment that they often cripple what could be excellent cameras. Fuji has found their own niche in the market to thrive, despite their sometimes problematic cameras, and as for Pentax, no one wants to the be them right now. Now more than ever, the name of the game is adapt or perish and particularly in that space.
What would you like to see updated in mirrorless, and what do you think is the best mirrorless camera out there at a low and high price point?