Mirrorless Cameras – A Boon for Travel Photographers

October 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Going Mirrorless

I have been using my trusty Canon 5D DSLR for several years.  I have taken it to many journeys and I have captured some memorable images, including several published in National Geographic travel books, features in National Geographic’s stock library and National Geographic Traveler websites. 

An example is “Alhambra at Sunset”, published in National Geographic’s World’s Best Travel Experiences book (2012).

Alhambra at Sunset (Canon 5D, 105mm, f/11, 0.5s, ISO 200)

Sunset at AlhambraSunset at AlhambraAlhambra just after sunset with rain clouds and last colors in the sky. There is some early snow at the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain in the background.

This image was published in National Geographic's World's Best Travel Experiences book (2012), and is also part of NationalGeographicStock.com (Picture Id: 1414718).

 

I have been using a mirrorless Fujifilm X-E1 camera for travel photography for the past year.  So, why change from something that works?  Short answer is very good image quality in a smaller and lighter system.

Is it a complete replacement to DSLR?  I don’t think so, but it gives the DSLR a serious run for its money. My images are mainly related to travels and the mirrorless system is a great fit.  I suspect for many hobbyists and enthusiasts, the current mirrorless system (e.g. Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Fujifilm) would suffice.  For those more advanced and professionals capturing images of high-speed action, sports, wildlife, etc., high-end DSLRs will likely continue to be the preferred choice for now.

Here are a couple of images from the Fujifilm mirrorless camera.

 

Roman Forum at Dawn (Fujifilm X-E1, 18mm, f/11, 10s, ISO 400)

Rome at DawnRome at DawnEarly morning at Roman Forum, the center of public life in ancient Rome.

 

London at Twilight (Fujifilm X-E1, 55mm, f/8, 9s, ISO 400)

London at TwilightLondon at Twilight

National Geographic Traveler recently published a feature entitled “Top 10 Compact Cameras for Travelers”; all the cameras listed were mirrorless cameras.

The photographic systems are undergoing rapid changes with great choices to consumers.  The traditional giants of DSLR (Canon and Nikon) are facing great innovation challenges from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and Fujifilm.  I think the trend towards smaller, lighter system is beneficial to many photographers.

Overall, I'm enjoying the Fujifilm X-E1 for travel photography.  Come to think of it, I have not used my Canon 5D DSLR for over a year.  I still have a collection of Canon L lenses.  Hmm...

In my next article, I'll share some experiences of using a manual fisheye lens with the Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless camera.


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