I thought I would explore mirrorless cameras. Will they take over from DSLRs or are they just a jumped up compact camera?
I chose the Canon EOS M3 because it was on offer at a great price at Amazon and these are my notes. I am doing a lot of street photography and I wanted a camera that was discrete, and which I could use without raising it to my eye. The EOS M3 fitted the bill with it’s neat articulated screen. The camera is also so small that it is lot less noticeable than a big DSLR.
How did I get on.
- The 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor coupled with the EF-M 15-45 zoom lens capture excellent detail, as can be seen from the image above. Especially considering there has been some of cropping involved.
- A big plus is that there is an adapter that joins the camera to your big DSLR lenses so your investment in Canon glass is safe.
- The handling is easy, it is smaller than a DSLR but bigger than many of the compact cameras we have all used, so it’s size is not as big a deal as many commentators make out. I did not miss the viewfinder, although an external EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) can be bought separately which clips onto the hot shoe.
- I have big hands and the camera felt comfortable. The build quality is good and the grip was nicely proportioned.
- I loved the flippy screen, which articulates to 180 degrees. OK not much can be made out in strong sunshine, but it is convenient and covert enough for street photography.
- There has been criticism of the battery life, but I think that must be when used for video, I had no issues on a photographic shoot.
- Autofocus is an issue. Reviews complain that it is too slow. My reservation is about the inconsistency and accuracy. Often a shot would be brilliantly in focus, and then another would be off. Perhaps it was the complexity of a street scene, but even when I used the touch control on the screen it often did not pick up the focus zone.
- Another issue is the small buffer when shooting continuously in RAW, the camera almost starts to pant with exhaustion after a few shots.
- It is a bit unfair because the sensor is getting a bit long in the tooth, but the dynamic range is challenging. Digging for detail in RAW that just is not there in post processing.
So what is the conclusion. I like cameras this size and weight that can produce fabulous images just like those from a good DSLR. So I want to explore going mirrorless. My issue with the Canon EOS M3 is that it is inconsistent. I cannot guarantee good results in the quick fire arena that is street photography. However if you are thinking of buying a good walk about camera to record family and events, forget those little compact cameras with their small sensors and lenses and instead look no further. For less than £500 it is a steal.