Have you migrated from DSLR to mirrorless?

I’m looking to migrate from DSLR to mirrorless (same brand). Main reason is to reduce the camera load. Since the plan is to migrate to same manufacturer as my DSLR, I can use lens adapter to offset some of the cost in replacing all my lenses at once.

I’m looking for users’ experience for those who migrated or have a mirrorless as second body. Are you happy with your mirrorless in comparison to your DSLR? Do you miss any features not available on the mirrorless? Was it worth it?

thank you

Hi Isaac. I changed to mirrorless, though from Canon to Sony. I like the change and don’t miss any of the features. However, I haven’t seen a perceptible decrease in weight of the rig. My Sony lenses are just as heavy as the Canon and using the Canon requires the added weight of a converter. Also, mirror less tends to be a battery hog, so I’ve added the weight of vertical grips with dual batteries to my load. If it’s mostly weight you’re concerned with, you might want to consider the micro 4/3 cameras. It really gets the lens weights down and from what I’ve seen they have very good image quality.

I have been shooting mirrorless since 2013 and I can say that things have improved a great deal in that time, especially when it comes to the EVF. Comparing my Panasonic GH3 viewfinder to the G9 is like night and day. So much more realistic. That’s going to be the biggest change for you from a DSLR - to look at a screen rather than through the lens. Because of that, be prepared to go through batteries more as well.

Dennis brings up the point I was going to lead with - weight and size. The only way you’ll save on that is to go to m4/3. The bigger the sensor, the bigger the glass. My 70-200 f/2.8 lens literally fits in my hand and you can still see the tips of my fingers.

The bodies of many mirrorless cameras are going to be of an equivalent size and weight to a DSLR and for good reason - human hands haven’t shrunk. Ergonomics are important and that’s why I went with Panasonic rather than Olympus back in 2013 despite being an Oly shooter since 1985. I couldn’t handle the camera efficiently. It was too small, cramped and I hated the rear screen. Olympus has since abandoned the effort to make everything retro, and their ergonomics have improved. Their glass is as terrific as always, but I chose to go with all Panasonic lenses in my kit. Micro four-thirds mount crosses three manufacturers - Panny, Oly & Leica so the choice is very wide. Marry your lenses and date your camera.

The flagship models in either Panasonic or Olympus should give you a feature-rich camera with IQ that is a match for just about any larger sensor rig. That’s what keeps me shooting this format - I don’t have lenses the size of horses legs and I have outstanding IQ and features. The lenses in my kit are high-grade and super portable. The other day I had two lenses and the camera in a hip holster. Focal lengths from 24mm to 200mm at f/2.8 through the entire range. Can’t beat it with a stick. If all my gear fell in the river, I’d probably buy the same thing again. The G9 is a joy to work with and I love it to bits. Panasonic has just come out with a new camera in a different model series, and I expect that the G9 will get a replacement, too.

Oh and I promise I’ll shut up, but one more thing. Panasonic is great about releasing firmware with huge advances in technology. They developed some focusing improvements for their full frame line and some of that came over to the m4/3 line as part of a firmware upgrade. And they don’t charge for it - it’s free. They do it for lenses as well so I have to say that it’s a great way to extend the life of the entire kit.

Hops off soap box.


That is a big issue because you now have to use the battery just to compose your images. Another words you use the battery without actually taking a shot a great deal of the time. Most people use the viewfinder of the lcd screen for composition. I suppose you can make a cardboard frame as recommended by Ansel Adams but not many want to do that. I search out compositions with an iPhone now before getting out the camera.

I moved to Fuji when I went mirrorless. One of my recent discoveries is that the histograms provided actually measure the light of the jpeg that displayed on the lcd screen and not the raw file. Since the jpeg is a converted image the histogram readings at the high and low ends can be inaccurate for the raw file. I never encountered this problem before with DSLR cameras. Maybe I was just lucky. But I shot an image recently with the mirrorless that showed a good histogram and ended up with blown out highlights.

In my experience it’s best to purchase a How To book on your camera during the purchase because those manuals are not enough.

I did not find the mirrorless to be lighter than the DSLR but it is less bulky and therefore requires less space in the backpack. I went from full frame to medium format so naturally there is an increase in weight.

I have to echo @kris on the weight/size saving on the glass when using the m4/3 system. Below is an image of some of my equipment: Olympus OM-D E-M1 mII and three weather-sealed f/2.8 pro zoom lenses (equiv. 14-28 mm: 24-80 mm; 80-300 mm).

I started as a hobby photographer 3 years ago, so I have not any experience of changing from DSLR to m4/3, but in addition to what Kris stated here are some other technical issues to consider (I am not a tech neard, so I hope I have got things right!):

  • Shallow depth of field: For the same aperture, m4/3 gives a longer DOF than full format (corresponding to two stops change in aperture, I think)
  • Low-light conditions: For the same ISO setting, m4/3 will normally give you images with more noice. But in some situations that could be counteracted by the larger DOF. If you want to achieve at least a specific length in focus, you could use a two stops larger aperture for the m4/3, then also being able to reduce the ISO two stops compared to full frame cameras.
  • Dynamic range: Traditionally, it is said that m4/3 has a lesser dynamic range than full frame. Not sure if this is still the case. Taking severeal exposures and blend them together could to some extent solve this.
  • 20 MP sensor: If you are used to crop a lot during post-processing, this could maybe become a problem. But if you frame more carefully in the field, I have never found the MP count to become a problem. There are also processing techniques in some cameras that automatically take and merge several images to 50 MP or 80 MP images.

Thank you for your thorough feedback. I really didn’t expect 4/3 to be in the running but based on your everyone’s comments, it doesn’t look like it would be a huge benefit to go to full frame mirrorless. Although the battery issue is not a deal breaker for me, some of the other issues mentioned are food for thought regarding 4/3 cameras. I really love the idea of carrying a smaller pack, big load off my shoulders.

As an FYI, my Nikon histogram also measures the jpg and not the raw image. I also have a Fuji X100v as my compact street camera and love it.

Thanks for the feedback. I’m very impressed with the size of the your gear. Mirrorless will not be that compact under any situation. Your technical points are spot on. Although these points are very obvious due to the smaller sensor, I wouldn’t have thought about them until I started using the camera. There’s a lot to think about here, might be worthwhile to rent it out and give it a try before I decide.

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Thanks everyone, definitely a lot to think about. 4/3 cameras weren’t even on my radar but there are some good point here.

Since it’s so easy to rent gear these days, that might be a good way to test drive a system before committing. If it would help I can put a similar shot of my gear up for sizing. Judging from what I see in Ola’s picture, the bodies and long telephotos are of a size, but my other lenses are more compact.

I went mirrorless a year ago, from Canon 1DX2 and 5D4 to the R5. All my old EF-mount lenses work fine with adapters but the new R-mount 100-500 has better AF for action than the EF 100-400. There are a lot of features that I didn’t have on the previous bodies and I LOVE it. I think similar features would be on the m4/3 bodies mentioned above. But it’s not significantly lighter or smaller than the 5D-series.

It uses the legacy 5D series batteries and I have had no problems – I just carry an extra or two in a pocket. I will often be on a tripod and keep the viewfinder and AF active for a long time waiting for a some fast action like bird to take off.

There isn’t a camera that can read a histogram from a raw file – in the case of mirrorless it is from the live JPEG that is displayed in the viewfinder. Same as looking at the JPEG after shooting with a DSLR, just a lot faster.

Oh and I forgot that Sigma makes lenses for m4/3 as well.

@Diane_Miller is one of the experts on this but Igor, I think this is always true even with DSLR. The histogram is always of the JPEG. So, its accuracy also depends on the color space that the camera is set to. That said, my understanding is that JPEG’s histogram on the bright end is conservative. If the highlight in the JPEG is not blown out, it will not be blown out in the RAW file.

The Fuji system allows you to apply profiles to the jpeg image you see on the lcd. It also provides a Dynamic Range adjustment which can raise the black and lower the highlights. A histogram on such a jpeg can be inaccurate for the resulting raw file. I did not experience this issue on the D810 nor the 6D. I think there was less image manipulation available on my DSLRs. Anyway, I consider this to be a gotcha because the manuals don’t state it and the whole thing was a mystery until I read about it in a handbook in a chapter on ‘exposing to the right’.

If I’m reading you right, I think my G9 does this as well. It has a little icon that looks like a curves adjustment tool and it can create a classic S-curve in camera or a reverse S-curve or variations on those. I use it occasionally to adjust ahead of time what I think the luminosity range will need. Sometimes it’s boosting shadows and lowering highlights, sometimes it’s the reverse.

Quite handy when I think of using it. I’ve added the function on a pull out menu in my Tripod custom mode if that makes any sense. It’s a little tray of features that can be customized within the custom mode function or in regular old Manual or Aperture priority mode. Keeps menu functions more readily accessed.

Here are two images, the raw and the jpg it was created from using the high dynamic range feature. One has blown out highlights and the other does not. The histogram showed inaccurate information, I can’t recover those highlights in the raw file.

Hi Igor. It’s been interesting reading your comments since I just moved from Nikon full frame to Fuji medium format also. A GFX 50sII and 32-64mm lens was delivered just yesterday so I haven’t given it a test drive yet. Which camera body do you have and where did you get the user’s guide? I’ve looked everywhere for a guide for the 50sII but can’t find one. I suspect the camera is too new and there just haven’t been any published yet but I agree with you in their usefulness. I always get a guide for new cameras…so much more info than the manufacturer’s manual. BTW I’ve been enjoying your work for quite awhile…good stuff. Happy shooting.

I have the GFX 50R. As you say there does not appear to be a user’s guide for this camera. The nearest thing I could find was - Fuji X Secrets: 142 Ways to Make the Most of Your Fujifilm X Series Camera.


From what I’ve seen and heard, I think in-camera histograms have always been dicey for highlights. My only solution has been to set the lowest-contrast profile and not push highlights very far. When in doubt, shoot an HDR set.

The profiles @Igor_Doncov and @Kris_Smith refer to sound very interesting for giving a better idea of what the raw file will look like, but of course they are only viewfinder (or back screen) previews for the JPEGs displayed there and don’t affect the raw file. There is no curve for a raw file, just exposure.

Mirrorless lenses from Canon, Sony, and Nikon are as heavy as the lenses for a DSLR camera so no weight reduction in moving to mirrorless. There are clear advantages to mirrorless cameras for shooting video but that is not something I am doing. If I was then I would also be considering serious video camera like the ones from RED.

Want to lighten your load then go to the Olympus MFT cameras and lenses which are pro grade and the bulk and weight of your kit will be half that of any full frame camera and lens collection.

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Quite true about size and weight, but the other side of the coin is that a smaller sensor has a cost in the number of pixels (at 1/4 the image area for Micro 4/3), noise and dynamic range. If you only post on the web that’s probably not an issue. There are many advantages I’m enjoying after moving to the R5 from the 1DX2 and 5D4 that I don’t have time to list right now. Mirrorless is about a lot more than video.