The Coming Full-Frame Mirrorless Rumble

Nikon Film SLRs, Precision Camera - Austin, Texas

Nikon Film SLRs, Precision Camera – Austin, Texas

After years of speculation, Nikon has confirmed that they are working on a next-generation full-frame mirrorless camera. There are also rumors that Canon is working on a similar camera. It looks like the camera giants have finally woken up. Yes, DSLRs will be around for a while and will probably never completely disappear. But, those cameras are the past, like rangefinders. The computer controlled future belongs to mirrorless.

Sony is getting a lot of attention these days as the only full-frame mirrorless manufacturer. Do they have enough of a lead to dominate this next cycle? Will Canon or Nikon reclaim the attention and erase any doubts of being industry laggards? Let’s get ready to rumble. The full-frame mirrorless arena is being prepped and it’s going to be fun to watch.

Is there going to be any spillover to the other smaller sensor mirrorless players? How will Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifulm do?

One thing is for sure, Nikon does have years of experience making cameras. Great cameras with nice user interfaces. Ditto for Canon.

If I ever decide to add a full-frame mirrorless to my collection, which would it be? Sony, despite all the recent excitement, has not enticed. Would Nikon and Canon fare any better? I have full frame Canon lenses for my 6D. Would an EOS lens adapter work well on the Canon mirrorless?

So many unanswered questions. So much fun. For me, this is better than sports.


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6 thoughts on “The Coming Full-Frame Mirrorless Rumble

  1. The sleeping giants are finally starting to wake up. Yawn. I’m sure they’ll come up with something to get brand devotees to open their wallets but I wouldn’t hold much hope for any real innovation with both companies being so late to the game. If they are smart they will make it easy to adapt legacy glass. Sony makes a big deal of it but I’m not sure how relevant full frame is these days. Smaller sensors deliver results that most people can’t discern a difference and for the professionals looking for a bigger differentiation there’s medium format. Think I’ll watch some hockey while the big two stumble into the mirrorless market like a couple of drunks late for the party.

    1. I think it will be interesting to see if they truly make competitive systems or still try to hold back in some way. That would indicate how serious they are about mirrorless.

  2. I haven’t been holding my breath waiting for either Nikon nor Canon to produce a mirrorless camera. After all we’ve been hearing about this for as long as Panasonic and Olympus have been producing micro four thirds cameras. The advantages of mirrorless have been plain to see for well over a decade, and both Olympus and Panasonic have been working diligently to implement systems that exceed all expectations. And yet, the noisy Internet keeps pontificating over “full frame” as the only One True Format, ignoring everything else. And that seems to lead to two continuing trends with manufacturers: more edge features that are seldom used, and a subsequent boost in the price.

    Sorry, but calling a $2,000 body-only a7III a bargain or low-end camera is nuts. But then I guess it is if compared to higher-end a7 bodies or the a9.

    I’m biased, quite biased, towards micro four thirds. I’ve purchased a number of Olympus bodies over the years starting with the E-P2, and I now use a Pen F primarily. I’ve also got a Panasonic GH4 for video, which I picked up earlier this year when the price dropped to about half its initial offering. Even then I had to think twice because it was still an impact on my budget (the Pen F was also purchased at discount). My two workhorse lenses are both zooms, the 12-40mm PRO and the 12-100mm PRO (again, both purchased when on sale). When I add up how much money I’ve got tied up between those two bodies and those two lenses I really have to stop and wonder why I even do this any more. All of the gear is lovely to work with and the Pen F helps make photography fun, but at the prices I’ve spent I’m truly done purchasing equipment, let alone switching brands.

    Except for the over-the-top grousing about certain manufacturer’s menu systems (and I’m looking over at you, Kirk Tuck), there’s no real need for “full frame” bodies and attendant weight and cost. Especially cost. At 65 I remember many decades using film and film cameras, and today’s digital cameras that aren’t “full frame” (including those going back to 2010) so exceed film performance and capabilities that it makes me wonder what anyone is really complaining about.

    I don’t know what Nikon and Canon will produce, but I can count on this; it will be most expensive when it’s finally released. Nikon will indeed compete with Sony, especially on high-end pricing. If you want a Nikon full-frame mirrorless, then you’re definitely going to pay for the privilege. Same with Canon. And in both their cases, they’ll deliberately be missing key features they shouldn’t be missing at the price points they want to establish because of marketing, not engineering.

    So good luck to everyone waiting for Nikon. I hope it’s delivered, I hope it meets your expectations, and I hope it has no initial quality issues. But for me, I’m settled until such time as the bodies and/or lenses I have suffer failures, at which time I’ll just switch over to my smart phone camera.

    1. Excellent points, Bill.

      I shoot mainly with my micro 4/3 Olympus, but I’m starting to shooting a lot with the even smaller sensor Canon G7X Mark II.

      I have my full frame Canon 6D, which I almost never use. And, if I ever buy a full frame mirrorless, I wonder if my usage of that system will increase by a large amount. I think, in reality, it will be a niche system for me.

      For travel and all around shooting, in an interchangeable lens format, it’s hard to beat micro 4/3 for versatility.

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