Moving Toward Mirrorless — Sensor Size

Thanks to the folks at Olympus, I get to test the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and OM-D E-M1X.

Both are called “micro four-third” sensor cameras. That means the sensor is 17.4 mm on the long side by 13.0 mm on the short side. Contrast this with a “full sensor camera” that has a sensor that is 35mm on the long side by 24mm on the short side. (Notice the sensor is the same size as a 35mm piece of film.)

The advantage of a “micro four-thirds” sensor is things appear closer.

The Canon Rebel T6i has a “cropped” sensor, or 22.3 mm by 14.9 mm, so the same object appears farther away.

The Canon 5D Mark IV is a “full frame” camera with a sensor 35mm x 24mm. Objects appear much farther away.

I took each photo above from the same place. Each camera had a 300mm lens with a 1.4x tele-extender. That means I was using a 420mm lens for each photo but the subject was more or less magnified based on the sensor size.

The Olympus “four-thirds” sensor would mean a bird would be larger in my photo. The “four-thirds” sensor would mean I might not have to crop as much since the subject would already be bigger in the photo.

Once again, thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Photo & Video for making this test possible.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as I continue to explore these cameras.

Moving Toward Mirrorless Camera

It’s inevitable that a mirrorless camera is in my future. I shot with Nikon film cameras for 15 years. Then I moved to Canon for digital SLRs and have been happy for 16 years. Will I make a brand shift when I go to mirrorless?

The nice folks at Olympus were kind enough to send me an OM-D E-M1 Mark II to test. (Thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Camera & Video for your help!) This camera retails at $1,699 with a 20.4 megapixel sensor and 15 frames per second shooting. Check, check, and check on price, file size, and shooting speed.

There were some other features that were intriguing. The camera can shoot 60 frames per second is silent mode which would be amazing for birds. It has in-camera focus stacking and in-camera time lapse. Both of these are important to me.

I’ve used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for a week and here are my initial impressions. (Check back tomorrow for more.)

  • Weight — Let’s get that out of the way first. I thought there would be more difference.
    • 4.9 lbs OM-D E-M1 Mark II with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
    • 4.9 lbs Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
    • 4.7 lbs Canon Rebel T6i with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
  • Size — Smaller than my DSLR camera by an inch.
    • 5-inches wide by 2.25-inches deep on the Olympus
    • 6-inches wide by 3-inches deep on the Canon 5D Mark IV
    • 5-inches wide by 3.25-inches deep on the Canon Rebel T6i

Set-up — I wasn’t looking forward to this step. I’ve taught photography for 25-years and know Canon and Nikon cameras well. The Canon R was intuitive right out of the box. Sony, Olympus, and Fuji tend to put things in different places and call them by different names.

The OM-D E-M1 forced me to go to the user’s manual. I was able to get the camera set to my liking with the help of the manual. Dials and Fn buttons have to do double duty since the camera body is smaller.

Once I got the camera set-up to my liking, the features I needed were easy to reach and adjust. ISO, exposure adjustment, focus points were at my finger tips and I could shoot.

But — What about the picture quality? So far, I’m impressed.

Check back tomorrow for more about this camera and the OM-D M1X. Once again, thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Photo & Video for your help with this loaner.

Canon EOS R: My Test Drive

Thanks to the folks at Hunt’s Photo & Video I got to test drive the new Canon EOS R.  This is Canon’s first entry into the full-frame mirrorless camera market.  I am highly impressed.

The camera has a great feel in the hand.  There’s plenty of room for your hand and right thumb giving a more robust feel than the Canon M-series cameras.

The swivel screen on the back of the camera is great for ground-level macro photos.

Hand-feel and ergonomics — give the camera an A+.  The electronic viewfinder is the brightest I’ve seen.  The touch screen on the back is quick and responsive.

Yet, how about the photos.  Last year, I pushed the Canon M-series camera pretty hard when I gave it a test drive so I thought I’d do the same with the EOS R.

Notice in the photos above that there’s no fringing on the leaves when the photo is enlarged to 200%.  The grain structure looks good.

Let’s try another test.

Above is a twilight photo with the Canon EOS R on a tripod.  Enlarged to 200% on the right.

Same scene but photographed with a Canon 5D Mark IV.

In low light I can’t see any difference between the photos taken with the Canon EOS R and the Canon 5D Mark IV.

A simple comparison of photos.  The photo taken with the Canon EOS R is on the left.  Canon 5D Mark IV on the right. Both are enlarged to 100%.   I can’t see any difference in quality.

I like starbursts in my photos.  How does the EOS R’s 24-105mm lens work in the starburst category?  Not bad!

Conclusions:

  • The Canon EOS R is a “real” camera on par with the Canon 5D Mark IV.
  • There does not appear to be any differences in the picture quality between the two cameras.
  • This is not a point-and-shoot or lower quality camera.
  • The Canon EOS R is going to make a lot of people rethink their mirrorless options.
  • First-time camera owners might skip the DSLR body in favor is this mirrorless.

I’m impressed with the Canon EOS R on static subjects.  How does it handle action?  Stay tuned.

Check out the great deals at Hunt’s Photo & Video on Canon EOS R and other products.

Here’s a video I created on the Canon EOS R.  Take a look.