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Old Jan 2, 2019, 8:19 AM   #1
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Default Mirrorless? 'Full Frame'?

First, while mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than dSLRs, that doesn't extend to their lenses, which are just as big and heavy as their dSLR counterparts. So the size and weight advantage quickly diminishes as your collection of lenses and accessories grows. Also, the shorter Flange Focal Distance of mirrorless cameras requires their lenses to bend light more in order to project an image over the entire image sensor, so those lenses are more prone to vignetting, chromatic aberration, distortion, and field curvature (soft corners). That is not to say that those flaws can't be overcome, but in order to overcome them, lenses must use more advanced and more expensive designs. Thus, most mirrorless camera manufacturers opt instead to process images in the camera to "compensate" for some of those image flaws. Unfortunately, that processing often simply replaces one image flaw with another, and worse, there is no compensation for the field curvature, and the compensation for distortion actually makes the corners softer. Further, mirrorless cameras are comparatively new, as are their lenses, whereas SLRs and their autofocus lenses have been around for decades, so a new dSLR can use many of the excellent lenses available on the used market at a greatly reduced price. And while dSLR lenses can be adapted to work with mirrorless cameras, use of adapters often introduces other problems in terms of both functionality and image quality.

Second, while 'Full Frame' cameras provide some advantages over APS-C cameras, those advantages are slight and not often realized. 'Full Frame' bodies provide images with slightly better dynamic range and slightly lower image noise, but the larger, more expensive lenses they require often don't provide comparable image quality for what you'd get from an APS-C camera and associated lenses. And while a 'Full Frame' body will allow you to capture images with a slightly smaller Depth of Field, smaller depths of field are more often an encumbrance than a enhancement.

If you absolutely, positively must have the highest quality images, by all means, get a 'Full Frame' dSLR with the highest quality lenses. But be aware: That will come at a significant cost.

So, in general, I'd say you should stick with a less expensive APS-C dSLR.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Jan 7, 2019 at 9:37 AM.
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