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New Full Frame Mirrorless Systems

New Full Frame Mirrorless Systems!

There were quite a few new gear announcements in the last couple of weeks! There are new full frame mirrorless systems from Nikon and Canon, and a new camera body from Fujifilm. Keep reading to know more about them.

Before you keep reading, there are a few things you need to know right away:

  1. I’m not a fan of Nikon, because of many compatibility issues within the system
  2. I shot with Canon cameras for close to 20 years
  3. My main camera nowadays is a Fujifilm X-T2
  4. I have not operated any of these new cameras or lenses myself, I’m writing this opinion based on specs only

Mirrorless cameras have gained popularity and market share, little by little, over the last 10 years. However, the two main camera manufacturers didn’t seem to take it seriously. In the meantime Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus quietly lured users away from big DSLRs into their systems, which got better and better over time

That’s why, in 2017 the executives from both Nikon and Canon confirmed they were developing full frame mirrorless systems. The first one to launch was Nikon’s Z system.

Nikon Z

Nikon introduced two camera bodies based on a new mount, the Z6 and Z7, as well as three lenses, and an adapter to use F mount lenses on the new, Z mount.The Z6 is 24Mpx and the Z7 is 45Mpx, and both cameras are great at color reproduction, sharpness, ergonomics and video capabilities. They even have In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)! Both cameras are great! However, the same can be said of many other cameras in the market today, and for the last 10

Nikon Z7 Front
Nikon Z7 Front

The disappointing portion of the launch came in the details of the system. The lenses are not too exciting, with a slow 24-70mm, a terribly overpriced “nifty fifty” and an overpriced 35mm.

Nikon S-series lenses
Nikon S-series lenses

You can mount any F-mount lens on the FTZ adapter, but not all lenses will have full communication with Z cameras, because of the compatibility issues I mentioned in the second paragraph.

Nikon Z7 with FTZ Adapter and 28mm f/1.4
Nikon Z7 with FTZ Adapter and 28mm f/1.4

A lot was said about the new Z-mount, which is larger and allows new lens designs with wider apertures. Nikon’s product roadmap even mentions a 58mm f/0.95. However, those designs are not new (Leica Noctilux, anyone?), they are available right now from third party manufacturers (Mitakon 50mm f/0.95), even for smaller mounts.

Canon EOS R

The next ones to introduce a new system were Canon, in the form of one camera body, four lenses and three adapters. The camera body is great too, using the sensor from the 5D Mk IV with many customization options. This is, probably, the most customizable camera body I’ve seen from Canon.

Canon EOS R Front
Canon EOS R Front

The lenses are awesome, too! The 28-70 f/2L is super fast and sharp, same as the 50mm f/1.2L. The 35mm f/1.8 Macro seems like a great walk around lens and, finally, the “full frame kit lens” is the 24-105mm f/4L. All of them have an additional, customizable, ring which can be used to operate many different functions like aperture, exposure compensation and more.

Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L

One of the adapters was pretty much as expected, allowing you to use EF lenses on RF-mount cameras. However, there’s an adapter which adds the customizable ring to any existing EF lens, and another one with which you can add filters to the back of any existing EF lens, ending the need to buy filters for every thread size.

Canon Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R
Canon Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

In the end I’m more excited about the new Canon system than the Nikon. However, I don’t think any of these new camera systems will bring new users to either, Canon or Nikon. These systems seem to be aimed and retaining users.

A lot has been said about the lack of a second card slot on both systems. I do prefer it and has already saved my work a couple of times, so it’s critical for me and the kind of work I do. However, I think it’s an important feature, but not a deal breaker, for most photographers.

Battery life is more or less expected, but still disappointing. Mirrorless systems always charge the sensor and activate at least one screen (LCD or EVF), so they consume more power. If you use the same battery of a DSLR, you’ll get less shots. That is pretty much the case with the Z6, Z7 and EOS R, which use upgraded battery packs from DSLRs, except they are rated for 1800+ shots on DSLRs vs 350 shots or less on the Z and R systems. Six times less shots. Seriously?

Fujifilm X-T3

The latest announcement came from Fujifilm, who launched its X-T3 camera body. It replaces the X-T2 and it’s now the second step down the flagship camera in the X-system, the X-H1.

Fujifilm X-T3 Front
Fujifilm X-T3 Front

The X-T3 has a new sensor and processor, which allows it to handle more focus points covering all the frame. It also helps address issues from the X-T2, like the high frame rate when shooting in Continuous mode or the 30 minute recording time. These were only possible with the battery grip on the X-T2, but they are regular features on the X-T3 body.

Oh! It has two cards slots, just like the X-T2. Just sayin’!

I think I will upgrade to the X-T3 but not right away. It has very nice new features, especially considering that I’m doing more video these days, but the X-T2 has received so many upgrades over the years through firmware, that it’s already a very capable camera.

Of course, the X-T3 is not perfect. I think the main weakness of the Fujifilm X-system, is its battery performance. It has been improved, but it seems to have reached its peak performance and Fujifilm needs a new battery design to keep up with the users’ power demands.

Fujifilm X-T3 with Battery
Fujifilm X-T3 with Battery

I do think the X-T3 can and will bring new users to the X-system. It’s very attractive considering the image quality, user experience, available lenses, camera features and long term cost of ownership.

These are exciting times in photography! Let’s see what the future brings.

What do you think of these new systems and camera? Please, leave a comment below.