Fresh off the boat: Canon 5DSR and some early thoughts

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My Canon 5DSR arrived a couple of days ago. Surprise #1: it’s not a loaner. Surprise #2: I haven’t had time to shoot with it yet. For somebody who’s not known for having any particular interest in ‘the other side’, questions are bound to be asked. And I’m sure somebody will also mention the A7RII. But, there is a method to the madness – it’s not wanton equipment lust that I’ve fallen victim to, though my bank account will certainly need some time to recover from the shock of both a Leica Q and 5DSR within the space of a week. I would love to share images, but – see Surprise #2. Since early June, I’ve been back to back on assignments, the hanging, opening and related activities around my exhibition Connection in Hong Kong – during which we raised $2.4m for two charities in print sales, auctions and sponsorships – and I was back in Kuala Lumpur just long enough to attend the Q launch party, pick up the 5DSR and make sure my family still remembered me. Images will therefore continue to be forthcoming.

The D810 and 5DSR are a pair of cameras that represent an increasingly specialised niche – ultra high resolution DSLRs are not for everybody, and require an exponentially greater amount of care and optical quality to extract maximum performance from compared to say an entry level mirrorless camera and kit lens. Even though stabilisation helps immensely, as we’ve seen with the recent Nikon 300/4 PF VR fiasco, it’s not really a tripod substitute nor a guarantee of eliminating hand shake. At least it’s good to see the manufacturers taking vibration from moving elements seriously, though – both the D810 and 5DSR have redesigned mirror/shutter mechanisms and electronic front curtains specifically to address this.

Both cameras also present huge challenges to optics: they resolve far beyond the point at which 35mm film gave up the ghost, so lenses have to be redesigned accordingly – witness the Otuses, for instance. Traditional MTF charts that display a 50lp/mm line do not take into account the fact that a 5um pitch sensor is really capable of 100lp/mm – and both the D810 and 5DSR have smaller pixels than that. Interestingly, the lenses capable of resolving at this level tend to be a) manual focus and b) available on Nikon mount, which has the longest back flange distance of all the 35mm DSLRs; this means that c) they can be used on just about anything else with an adaptor. Since the absolute distances are relatively long, the tolerances involved aren’t quite so much of an issue as they might be with say mirrorless to mirrorless.

And I’ve already got a lot of these lenses – 55 and 85 Otii; Voigtlander 90 and 180 APO-Lanthars; the 2/135 APO. This means the entry cost for me to get back to 50MP (I sold the 645Z; we needed to buy a house after the new member of the family) would just be the cost of the body. And being 3:2, I’d have more horizontal pixellage than the 645 – though of course with a sacrifice in the way of pixel pitch (and attendant properties, such as noise, dynamic range and color accuracy). We’re looking at 7360px vs 8256px vs 8788px for the Nikon, Pentax and Canon respectively. For wide aspect ratio work – cinematic comes to mind – that gives the Canon a 20% linear advantage in print sizes; going from 20″ wide to 24″ wide is definitely noticeable. I also happen to have both the Hanoi Cinematic Masterclass and another assignment which will require cinematic style prints coming up – I think you can see where this is going.

I expect in real terms the difference in pixel size is going to mean a tradeoff between resolution and dynamic range – though it’s too early to conclude for sure. I do believe that the gain in printability – assuming lenses that are of sufficient quality – will be noticeable. I’m also curious about some of the other lenses for the Canon system that have no Nikon equivalents – the 17 TSE, for instance, and the MPE-65. The 24 TSE is also supposed to be better than the Nikon equivalent and have independently rotating axes. I did land up buying a couple of lenses in the end: the 40/2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good performer (if a little close to 35mm for my liking) and a useful always-on lens; the Contax Zeiss AEG 35/2.8 PC Distagon, which I’ve always lusted after but had nothing to mount on, and the Contax Zeiss 100-300/4.5-5.6 MMJ when I need more reach than the 180 APO-Lanthar and less weight or more quality than the 80-400 AFS. Finally, 36 vs 50MP makes a difference when for large stitched Ultraprints: 7 vs 10 shots may be the difference between a successful finished image at the same size, or one that could be printed 20% larger. I’ve had enough of the former situations to be frustrating.

Bottom line: I don’t see myself abandoning Nikon or switching entirely to Canon, but I think there are definitely applications for which the incremental body and lens or two are justified since they expand my shooting envelope and ability to deliver images to my clients. Despite appearances, I don’t buy cameras unless they enable me to do something I can’t currently accomplish. Unfortunately for my wallet, both the Q and 5DSR had to come along at the same time.

Already it’s clear to me that there are some things that Canon does a lot better than Nikon, and some things worse. For instance, the grip shape and button positions are surprisingly much more comfortable in my hands than the D810; having shot with much earlier (pre 5DII) Canons and 1D-series bodies, I did not expect this at all. Autofocus too is both so much more customisable than the D810 and appears to be significantly more precise, too. Manual focus is a disaster on both cameras; the finders are completely useless and we’ve got to resort to live view for anything critical. Not being able to swap the dial functions around (exposure comp, aperture etc.) on the Canon is somewhat annoying, but they feel different enough in position to the Nikon that I’m unlikely to get confused. The Nikon still does playback better, and feels somewhat more customizeable overall; you have full access to all functions and it’s generally faster to navigate. I wish the D810 had the Canon’s mode dial though: C1-2-3 positions, finally! Some things are also easier to access like the AF modes – it could again be muscle memory, though. Dynamic range does appear better than expected, but still not as good as the D810. I’ll hold off judgment until I’ve had time to do some formal testing. There are also things neither camera gets right: both could use a menu overhaul; it’s difficult find things in a hurry, and some settings are incredibly cryptic. Perhaps that’s just a sign of how complex modern cameras have become, though.

I plan to publish a full review eventually, including comparisons to the D810 and EM5II in high resolution mode – since Olympus claims it can hold up. But perhaps more importantly, the review will be written from the point of view of a person seriously using the system for the first time – and objectively from a longtime user of ‘the dark side’. We are at the point where it’s clear that there is really no one-size fits all; certain tools are best for certain things and the only solution is to find a commercial justification (or get a large bonus) and use them all often enough that your fingers remember what control and button does what. Each of my current tools has a very specific role – the Nikon for flash and tilt shift work, on top of being general purpose; the EM5II for video; the Q as a documentary camera and supplement to every other piece of hardware; the 5DSR for maximising print resolution. But nevertheless, the question of switching still comes up often enough that perhaps I ought to address it as objectively as possible. This review is going to require a bit more testing and familiarisation than usual though, and my commercial schedule is packed so please bear with me for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned! MT

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here

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Comments

  1. You raised $2.4m in print sales for charity!! Holy cow bloody well done Ming you must have been over the moon!

  2. MajorLeeg says:

    Hey Ming,
    I’ve used many of the available Canon EF mount lenses recently on a 7D body, which as I recall has a pixel-pitch close to your new 5DSR body (though obviously on a smaller APS-C sensor).
    Based on all the reviews, and my own experience, I thought I’d recommend a couple additional lenses, though it sounds like you’re already pretty well covered w/ the adapted Nikon mount glass.
    Anyway, you’ve already mentioned the 17mm and 24mm TS lenses, and the 40mm STM. Here are a few other relatively afordable fixed focal lenses that should meet your very high standards, with some limitations:

    – EF 100mm f2.8 L I.S. USM Macro
    – EF 35mm f2 I.S. USM (I know, you prefer 28mm).
    – EF 200mm f2.8L USM, w/ Canon accessory tripod collar, if you need the AF.
    – EF 400mm f5.6L USM, if you ever need something that long.
    – Surprise, the Nikkor 55mm F2.8 Micro AIS w/ adapter is awesome for macro, and very cheap. Maybe the best of all these recommendations, along with the 100mmL Macro.
    – EF 50mm f1.4 USM, but only at or above f5.6. (I know,you have the Otus, but this is AF, and cheap) . Alternately, the new 50mm f1.8 STM, for all the same reasons, and w/ the same limitations. That one is really cheap, and should AF very accurately.
    -135mm f2L, if you need the AF.
    – The new Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art is also supposed to be excellent, if you need a 24mm non-TS.

    There are also the 300mm f2.8L IS USM , 200mm f2 IS USM and forth, which are awesome, of course, but I don’t think you want anything that heavy. They are insane performers, as I’m sure you know.

    Of course I left a bunch of things off, because of the great lenses you already have in your kit w/ the adapters, but I thought these might be helpful, and relatively affordable. (Of course that’s easy for me to say, when it’s not my money! 🙂

    Thanks for all the great articles and images.
    Sincerely,
    Matt

    • I tried the 100 and 35 at a recent canon roadshow actually. The 100 seems to have a lot of longitudinal CA. 35 not bad but not in the corners. The 135 was excellent but I already have a 2/135 APO. Thanks for the suggestions!

      • Matthew Leeg says:

        Sure, my pleasure. Yes, your observations there seem consistent w/ what I’ve read and seen, though I’d fogotten that about the 100L Macro.
        The real bargains I’d say are probably the 40 STM you have, the 35 I.S. (~$500 US), the 200 2.8L (~$500 US used), and then the 50mm 1.8 STM ($125 US), but of course that 50 would need to be stopped-down to f4 or 5.6 to deliver the corners you need.

        Yes, delivering in the center on a 4.3 or 4.2 micron sensor is one thing, but delivering also in the corners (of FF) is certainly a different matter, as you say. I was very happy with the performance of my 40 STM on a borrowed 6D, so that’s great to hear it will scale up to the 5DSr as well.
        Anyway, looking forward to seeing more of your work, and what you can ring out of that Canon sensor…and maybe even the occasional Canon lens!
        Sincerely, Matt

    • mukundsivaraman says:

      Hi MajorLeeg

      The Canon 7D sensor has a pixel pitch of 4.3 microns [1]. The 7D Mark II has a pixel pitch of 4.09 microns [2]. The 5DS cameras apparently have a pixel pitch of 4.14 microns [3]. To complete that, the Nikon D800 (and D810 also perhaps) has a pixel pitch of 4.88 microns [1].

      1. http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/digital.sensor.performance.summary/
      2. http://www.clarkvision.com/reviews/evaluation-canon-7dii/
      3. http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/canon-5ds/canon-5dsA.HTM

      The reason I’m posting this that the 7D Mark II (and most likely the 5DS too) seems to be in a different class when it comes to lenses and handling while photographing. For sharpness at pixel level (why else would you get the 5DS? :), such small sensor dot pitch sizes are very demanding.

      Mukund

      • The 5DSR makes things worse over the 7DII because those lenses that resolve fine in the centre at 24MP APSC may not necessarily resolve fine in the corners of full frame…

  3. Hi Mingthein,

    I read your blog since 3 years ago, thanks for sharing informative articles

    I notice you are using Otus on 5DSR. I know you are a Nikon shooter, so I guess you are using NIK-EOS adapter to mount OTUS ZF.2 on EOS camera. In my past experience , I could see the lens performance dropped on edge and corner when wide open at 1.4, even on top quality adapter on Sony body and Canon body. I also worried about heavy lens on adapter. But I didn’t try it on 5DSR. Do you have performance issues when using ZF.2 Otus on 5DSR camera?

  4. Sir Ming, you indicated that the Otus 85 appear to out resolve the sensor of the 810 even at F/1.4. Does it make sense for you to obtain/borrow a Canon-mount version of the Otus 85 to test with the 5DSR to check how well it resolves with that camera body?

    • No need. Still out resolves the Canon even with an adaptor.

      • Those are my type of lenses! I was initially interested in buying into the Olympus µ4:3 system. However, when I found out they were NOT going to develop ant swing & tilt lenses, I immediately thought of Canon’s 24/3.5 and 17/4.0 t&s optics. You got me excited over the Zeiss Otus lenses, although I am leaning towards the Canon versions at this point. I can see myself adding a µ4:3 system later on as Olympus fills out their lineup with more interesting lenses. And perhaps a take-anywhere point & shoot I can have anywhere I go.

  5. i’m late to the thread but i just wanted to add:
    Ming you might be one of a very small group that might actually be able to put those extra pixels to use as compared to the D810.
    IMO for the huge majority of users who have neither your shot discipline or print demands (over 99% of users i would guess) it really and truly does not matter (except for bragging rights and the fun of spending thousands of dollars) and the D810 is already overkill in terms of res. with your ultraprints and technical shot execution (and top glass)…it might actually make a slight difference.
    are you testing the canon with a nikon otus with an adapter?
    keep up the great work.

    • The difference is there but vanishingly small and not easy to extract consistently, I’m finding.

      • and keep in mind if YOU as a perfectionist see it as vanishingly small, think about the vast majority whose standards on images are simply much lower. in most cases images are seen as web jpegs, and not even full screen, and even most prints under 2′ (not being ultraprints, and many not carefully shot) can barely distinguish. that said if i already had a ton of canon glass and a 22MP camera, and wanted to print bigger it would definitely be of interest, not a D700 vs D810 level of interest….but a level of interest to be sure.
        there is about a 0% chance i would invest thousands in an entire second system just to eek out those extra 14 megapixels at the cost of some DR (and maybe color depth?) but you will no doubt provide the ultimate comparison review so i’ll definitely be tuning in. for me to get to that next giant leap in quality the only thing that would really be eye popping would be 80MP MF….and that simply aint gonna happen. might be time for me to experiment w an old 4X5 and high res drum scanning for a modification in aesthetic…..
        keep on….and congrats on that book! exhibit looks impressive.

        • Absolutely. For most users, there’s really no point. The economics of 80MP MF don’t make sense since I can get 95MP if I shift-stitch two shots from the 5DSR at 1/10th the cost; it’s a decent trade off between impracticality of large stitches and ultimate image quality.

          • very logical.

            • forgot to add: stitching w most modern cameras D810 included offers almost unlimited MP. the problem as you have noted is that things move and light changes so the fewer shots to achieve a desired print size/detail the better. luckily i am not as demanding as you (at least not yet). a 36MP 20″ X 30″ viewed from a foot or so still looks ok to me so i’m not pulling my hair out over it.
              certainly you are right that it is a massive victory in bang for the buck by getting $50,000 resolution for $7,000 and a little extra work.

            • scott devitte says:

              ” very logical”. Ha Ha Eli, If you ever have the fortune of spending time with Ming, it is like being with Spock on steroids with an overlay of Billy Dee Williams. Complex, cool jazz… in the pocket.

  6. Megatron says:

    LOL the 40mm STM lens. I would love to see your review of it. It’s probably the best lens ever for the price. Tiny, sharp, 2.8, great AF and $150.

  7. Ming,

    Interesting… that you are taking a peak on the “other” side. I still love my (now ex) 85mm 1.2 II USM in Canon land 🙂

    Now something I keep thinking about which you also mentioned in comments someplace (about stitching).

    I also regularly stitch two 40mm (very sharp when closed to f/8) to get 28mm FOV (in Leica land) – I get almost 50MP equiv from 24MP cam. Even more so using 90mm for 50mm FOV.

    Here is the real question: For deliberate and slow photography of nature for huge prints (Ultraprints), why keep chasing latest high MP cam and highest quality lens? Why not stitch always? PS has come a long way in stitching algorithm.

  8. Martin Fritter says:

    I know there are frequent expressions of regret on the photo-specific posts (composition, technique, aesthetics) about how the gear reviews get all the action. However, I’m not sure there’s anybody else struggling on the leading edge of the technology like you are. Maybe Lloyd Chambers, but he costs money and I find you a more interesting photographer. Plus, you’re an actual working photographer. A successful one at that. Oh, you also have a very nice prose style! And a mind boggling work ethic. I certainly hope you have an assistant on assignments – and a chiropractor and trainer!

    • Hah! No assistants or medics…just me to do everything. There’s probably a simple reason why nobody else is doing it: it costs money, too. And most of the time, whatever the client accepts is good enough. I suppose I’m just a malcontent…it can always be better!

  9. “Bottom line: I don’t see myself abandoning Nikon or switching entirely to Canon…” Except that Canon has a very fresh native lens lineup that is evenly good at-all-apertures native and well built… While there is some lovely Nikon glass, they are a bit behind as a system (and you can argue, build) and the trend is not good (problematic 300/4 PF the only new lens last year?)

    Lifelong Nikon person looking to cut over with the 5D4.

    • Not everything has been refreshed. A lot of the primes won’t hold up to 50MP, and few of the zooms. I disagree with Nikon being behind as a system – there have been more refreshes of critical lenses in recent memory (the 20/28/35/50/85 f1.8Gs, for instance – I’m sure the 20 and 35 were released last year) than Canon. Long zooms aren’t that useful most of the time. I agree that the 300PF was a disaster. Canon doesn’t have a good PCE macro or flash consistency, for starters – hell, matrix metering consistency is so unpredictable I’ve reverted to centerweight and spot. No perfect tool as usual…

  10. Well, this is a surprise. 😉

    What’s the skinny on the sensor in this camera (aside from the megapixels)? It’s well-documented that Canon’s been recycling an in-house chip architecture that’s about 5-6 years old (and well behind contemporary Nikons since the D3 in DR and high ISO performance); I must presume this is a whole new design? And from Canon themselves?

    I wonder how this sensor will do on the DR and low noise fronts?

  11. God people, stop discussing mirrorless or not mirrorless and go to take some photographs out there!
    Oh my…

  12. This is all quite similar to the debate of 35mm vs medium format film cameras. Most consumers went 35mm as the image quality was good enough and the portability was a big selling factor. Pros (people making their primary income from photography) picked based on the needs of a given shoot or their particular genre (travel, advertising, event, etc.). Mirrorless is just the digital equivalent of good enough quality (for a lot of uses) and greater portability / convenience. What will be interesting is what happens to the Medium Format market when resolution isn’t as big a gap as it has been historically.

    • MF has to step up – there’s no reason why the pixel pitch of the current FF sensors can’t be scaled. I suspect we’ll eventually reach the same kind of equilibrium as film: the individual photosites (emulsion) are the same, but larger = more.

    • “Most consumers went 35mm as the image quality was good enough.”

      No, totally wrong. For consumers, 35mm was an upgrade from their roll film box cameras that produced dire quality. Pro’s also used 35mm extensively, and some of the world’s greatest imagery was shot on 35mm. So, what it boils down to is you need to qualify what you mean by “good enough”, a phrase which carries with it certain negative connotations.

      From experience I know that 35mm needs a far more critical approach to processing than medium or large format as errors are more noticeable due to the scale of enlargement the small negative requires. Whilst it is true, as the saying goes, a good big ‘un beats a good little ‘un, so in pure image terms, medium and large format are capable of better imaging than 35mm, but usually at the expense of portability and convenience in use.

      In the end, though, it is all about horses for courses, and one needs to select the camera (of whatever format) for the job in hand. And in this context there is really nothing to be gained in arguing the point. 35mm can do things other formats can’t, and vice versa.

      As for “Mirrorless is just the digital equivalent of good enough quality”, I’m not sure what you are getting at. Just because a camera is mirrorless doesn’t matter in terms of IQ as they have already shown that they have what it takes to compete with the best out there. Again, it is all bout choice and such perjorative statements as you’ve made here don’t stand scrutiny.

  13. Barry Reid says:

    As a guy who just picked up a PC Distagon this last few days I look forward to reading your opinions. I don’t yet have 50mp to try it with (yet) and have only been able to make a couple of quick, artistically lacking, shots with it as a direct comparison with my Zuiko 35/2.8 Shift. Against which the PCD was slightly sharper, slightly wider, much more resistant to veiling flare and, surprisingly, slightly lower in contrast (to an extent that was easily visible on screen and in the histogram).

    • So far – I’m impressed with it, though you have to be careful with flare from certain angles, and extremes of shift aren’t as sharp as the centre (obviously). f8 seems to be the sweet spot cross-frame on the 5DSR, though the centre is already pretty good wide open.

  14. Gary Morris says:

    You state… “Each of my current tools has a very specific role – the Nikon for flash and tilt shift work, on top of being general purpose; the EM5II for video; the Q as a documentary camera and supplement to every other piece of hardware; the 5DSR for maximising print resolution.”

    So here’s the dilemma as I see (and experience) it… you’re out for a casual afternoon with the family and you’ve got the Q. Snapping happily away and suddenly you turn a corner and you see a scene that you know would work for an Cinematic-style Ultraprint. But the 5DSR is back at the home (or office) because you didn’t want to schlep 25 pounds of gear that afternoon. Are you disappointed that you didn’t grab the 5DSR on your way out? Does this begin some sort of process of disinterest in the Q the eventually leads you to sell it?

    Or the opposite… after a day of lugging the 5DSR + 24-70 f2.8, 5-pound boat anchor combo, do you wish you had just taken the Q and accepted it’s limitations (lack of Cinematic Ultraprint capability)?

    I understand the professional reasons for the variety of shooting tools… that makes total sense. But for the hobbyist or enthusiast… maybe a little less so.

    • That’s a different matter entirely. I personally look at both as objective-based: with the family, I’ll carry the Q and accept the compromises – since the primary aim is not photography to begin with. For an assignment, I’ll carry everything (last three days: D810, D800E spare, 5DSR, Q, three PCEs, 180 APO, 55 Otus, tripod) and not wish I’d brought less because I know I’d be compromising otherwise.

  15. Your seeing Digital Détente right here at MT folks. The next thing you know Sony will add lossless to the 56MP A9 and you’ll have 3 bodies in the shop 🙂

  16. Oh, wish you hadn’t sold the 645Z, was very curious to see the comparison between 645Z and 5DSR

  17. I think this is the most “controversial” posts to date, any thought processes to share when you were contemplating the 5D? Surely different system is always photographers’ boundary that one rarely crosses. Also, is the adaptor reliable at all for such high pixel body?

    • Put it this way: I’ve bought and tested a lot of adaptors. Not ideal, but when you’re using the lenses either very stopped down or wide open, it’s less critical because you either a) have only DOF sufficient for your subject or b) have enough DOF to cover everything.

      The thought process is pretty simple. I need large single capture resolution for a project that requires a lot of width (i.e. the 16:9 and 2.4:1 cinematic) and will be printed. This is a much cheaper way of getting there than going for >50MP medium format. Throw curiosity into the mix too…

  18. This is the Canon body I am most interested in. I am also very interested in the EOS 17mm F4.0 and 24mm F3.5 tilt & swing lenses for architectural/interiors work. I will definitely be looking forward to your review of the former and (hopefully later on) the latter two. Any other lens reviews of optics compatible with this body natively or via adapters would just be gravy!

    • I’m interested in those too – the Nikon 24 PCE leaves much to be desired, and there’s no 17mm. But I’m going to see if I can get a loaner first…those things are serious money here; a pair go for more than the camera!

  19. It will be interesting indeed to read your full review. Congrats on the exhibition and robust fundraising effort.

  20. Hope you enjoy your “other side” 5DsR! Was wondering if you were even going to review it, much less buy one. 🙂
    I look forward to seeing your images with it while I wait for my copy to ship. Not too inspired by all the early test shots of cats etc. and lack of nice landscape images, even from Canon website.
    I look forward to shooting all my Canon-mount only lenses like TS-E 17, 500/L, and Contax N 85/1.4 on my 5DsR as well as my Leica R 100 APO, R180/2.8 APO, and Otus 55 with adapter which I also shoot on my D800E.
    Have not been interested in Sony A7 line yet for same reasons as ypu mention but still love shooting my small but phenomenal IQ RX1!
    The 5DsR is my first upgrade to my 8 yr old 1ds3. Hoping the colors of the 5DsR are as good or better than my old 1ds3, and better than the more recent high iso focused 5d2&3. Guessing the focus screen is not replaceable? Are you going to modify yours at all?

  21. I want your leica q.

  22. Raphael Bruckner says:

    So in other words you have received the cameras and instead of actually using the cameras and grieving us really real world experience your just grieving us your thoughts…..I have shot with the Nikon d810 with my lens kit and found the images to be of the finest quality available. Stop with the talk and show us the work.

    • Excuse me? Have you read a single one of any of my other posts? When do I not post images when I have them at a quality I am happy with? If you want over filtered snapshots produced in a hurry by somebody with no experience or credibility, there are plenty of other sites.

      • Ming, you really shouldn’t spend your time answering those kinds of comments. Also, of course, it’s your blog, if you now and then want to speak informally to your readers or if you want to discuss your agonizing experiences while being held captive by aliens from Beta Centauri or share your new translation of the Iliad in Esperanto, you have every right to do so. Personally, I think your regular reflections on the philosophy and mechanics of photography are very good.

      • I agree with Earl. You shouldn’t be dignifying this with a response, you’re better off saving your time and avoiding the frustration of dealing with someone who clearly hasn’t the smallest modicum of courtesy.

      • When I opened my first casual dining restaurant 5 years ago, some guy posted a very negative and petty review on the web, going as far as attacking our choice of paper napkins! He was trying to hurt my then-fledgling business to prop up his neighbor’s restaurant several blocks away. I was so angry and upset. A quick google search turned up the guy’s name and address (he posted it on his website), plus a bunch of personal info: he was a failed novelist, successful only in posting hundreds of meaningless food establishment reviews (the perpetual talentless critic). He even self-published some lousy novel that no one picked up. I wanted to respond in kind but I held off, knowing that 1) I needed to stay focused on my business and not get distracted by losers and 2) karma would come around and take care of things in the end.

        So it’s my way of saying, stay the course and keep focused on the prize, whatever that may be, and don’t let the occasional troll get you down. For me, it has been the sweet satisfaction that my restaurant is still in business and that we get 4 to 5 stars from customers. And my wife says she can’t find that particular review anymore.

        BTW, I googled and found a Raphael Bruckner Photo on FB. You can make your own conclusions about his work, but for me, well I will mind my manners and not say anything as I have nothing nice to say.

        I also blame you for my newest Leica Q GAS attack!

  23. Rex Gigout says:

    It is, indeed, practicable to use both the Canon and Nikon platforms, in spite of the challenges to one’s conditioned reflexes. It helps to have a tactile clue on each camera, that tells the brain which system is in-hand. (I first learned this with pistols.) Learning two menu systems is my major challenge. I am glad to see you will be documenting your use of the 5Ds R, after first doing so with the D700, D800e, and D810, as I am contemplating adding both the D810 and 5Ds R, while presently using the 7D Mark II and D700.

    Thanks!

    • After the first day of shooting them in tandem, I didn’t have any major issues switching between them at all – which was quite surprising. I still don’t think either is perfect, but there are clear advantages to one or the other…

  24. Roberto says:

    You said the Canon seems to have improved dynamic range over the Nikon? That is not at all what I’ve read in other places.

    • My bad, I meant better than expected/the 5DIII. Definitely not better than the Nikon, not even close.

      • Roberto says:

        Ah. It wasn’t totally clear from the text, which is why I asked. It’s good to hear Canon has managed to improve the read noise from their sensors.

  25. From what I’ve seen so far, especially over at diggyllyd, the Canon R may have gotten on the MT roster for tryouts, but I predict it doesn’t make the final cut. There is a problem with ACR colors too. I also predict the A7RII gets a look as a possible replacement for video of the EM5II, here at MT. That stabilized full frame4k internal will just be too good to pass up 🙂

    • Color isn’t an issue because I can always profile it out. My biggest concern still remains dynamic range. As for the A7RII replacing the EM5II – almost nil, since I have no means to edit or view 4K video anyway.

      • I would be curious if the canon might actaully have better DR at high ISOs. I have heard that suggested anyway.Clearly the nikon fx cameras to very well at base ISO. But, with so many nicely sized wider canon lens I’ve always been tempted.

        • Not so far. It seems the Nikon still holds the DR advantage. Neither camera is the best thing to use at high ISO unless you plan to downsample…

  26. How comes, that many of your collegues, have switched over to SONY? That the EVF eats battery, is really an minor problem, not to be blamed to the camera, but more to the battery manufacturers!

    The really big problems Canon and Nikon have, ist the large number of existing lenses! Otherwise, I bet, that we would see soon an Nikon and Canon mirrorless camera! But this is an very costly aventure and risk, to change the whole camera and lens technics to an mirrorless system!

    No doubts thiss is the main reason!

  27. I’ll say now your review will get at least 400 comments when it appears…. Personally I think you proved with the “unknown camera review” you can get good shots from any camera, so Nikon vs Canon isn’t that important!
    One question though, if you don’t like 35mm, why did you get the Contax Zeiss 35?

  28. I’m surprised by your remark about not being able to swap dial functions, because it’s present on the 7D MkII (and most of the other Canon cameras I’ve had before), as well as the ability to change the direction of rotation if you wish it to match Nikon’s. It’s somewhere in the (admittedly cryptic) C.Fn 3 menu, and I bet it’s there on the 5Ds as well.

    • It isn’t. I’ve searched forums and read the entire 500-page manual and whilst you can change the rotation direction, you can’t swap functions – I’m not the only one complaining. And the 7DII is unique in being able to do so, for some odd reason.

      • Unless I misunderstood what you wish to do, I think I’ve found it (page 413 of the PDF manual, english version): custom controls. Select the front dial (2nd column middle row) and set Av, then select the rear dial (underneath) and choose Tv.

  29. Thanks for the info If you think the Nikon menu is hard to navigate, just add the items you use often to My Menu. I did that on my d810 and assigned the menu to the Pv button. Very useable.

    • Been doing that since it was an option. The problem is when you’re looking for something you need infrequently and don’t want cluttering your quick-access list…

      • Fully agree. Some of the options are also less obvious, I was looking for the option to shade the area outside the crop area when shooting in 1.2x, DX mode etc. On the D800 it is A5 (set AF point illumination to off) and on D810 it is a6. I simply could not relate that setting name (when turned off), to getting a shaded area outside the crop area 🙂

  30. I’m a D810 man myself but I must commend you on your two purchases, cutting edge indeed and also on the charitable work. We should all do more in that regard.

  31. Brandon says:

    I’d take an a7rii for free then sell it for one of these bad boys any day.

  32. Phukhanh Vu says:

    Why you bought it over the new Sony A7RII?

    • 1. Sony’s compromised raw files, which produce visible banding in the kind of images I produce especially in shadow and highlight transitions. 2. Their lack of professional support and policy to release a new slightly upgraded model every six months which means the price of the camera is effectively a write off. 3. Compromised ergonomics with the lenses that can actually support that level of sensor resolution. 4. I have shot with the A7, A7R, A7II and hated the shooting experience every time. It feels like a fiddly electronic gadget, not a camera. It is clear from both their marketing practice and design choices that these things were designed for consumers, not serious photographers.

      • Spot on, Ming. You only forgot the battery life.

        • Oh yes. There’s also their 100-150 shot battery life. There’s no point in having a smaller, lighter camera if all of that weight saving disappears again in spare batteries.

      • Phukhanh Vu says:

        Thanks Ming. I agree with you on the point #4. I am no longer using my A7R. Started selling it. Maybe I will go with the Leica Q.

        • Two completely different animals, but if you just want a wide…then it’s a good choice. I think you could sum it up this way: the Sony A7 series never made me want to go shoot with them beyond what was necessary. The Q makes me experiment and want to shoot more, which is a good thing for a camera…

          • Phukhanh Vu says:

            Thanks Ming. Enjoy your Canon 5DSR. Looking forward for your review on it. Happy Father’s Day to you if you’re celebrating one like me over here in the U.S.

      • I guess, there is more behind, als you have stated! Sony does’nt provide any support to you! Meanwhile, there are many pro’s, who have happily switched from Nikon and Canon, to Sony! WHY? Furtheremore, Sony does provides professional support, maybe not in your !

        The worldwide sales percentage of Nikon and Canon cameras, went drastical downwards! WHY!

        • Sony doesn’t provide support to anybody in Malaysia unless they are their ‘brand ambassadors’. If you are unfortunate enough to use them for your professional work, your service needs go into the consumer queue – with all of the delays that provides. Or you can buy another body that will be worth nothing in six months while waiting. Part of that is not understanding the professional market, part of that is because they have staff here who are frankly shortsighted idiots.

          Sales went down for N and C because of price and consumer markets, and on top of that, a really disappointing lack of innovation from those two brands. But that doesn’t mean new for the sake of new produces a better tool. I don’t want to worry about shutter shock, or banding in my files, or batteries that last 100 shots. I’ve experienced all of that and frankly I don’t want to take the professional risk nor do I want the personal frustration. I have no problem investing in something if it extends my capture abilities – I just bought a Canon DSLR after 12 years of Nikon and dozens of lenses, for crying out loud – but until then, I’m also not wasting money or time in forcing a square peg into a round hole.

        • Worldwide, 3-4 times as many DSLR cameras are sold as mirrorless cameras. Canon and Nikon share nearly 90% of the DSLR market.

          http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/13102/camera-sales-april-2015-data-triumth-of-hermaphrodites/p1

          • Sony has been recently conquering mirrorless by dropping prices to get more consumers in…

            • Yes, but there’s a limit as to how low they can go. Also, they struggle against hundreds of millions of lenses that are native to DSLR cameras. When I ask people why they bought a certain brand of DSLR camera, the reason is very often “My father used Brand X, so we have a box full of lenses”. Those old lenses often end up not being used for the new camera, but the buying decision has been made, and now his younger brother and his girlfriend will also buy Brand X.

              I used to drive Citroën cars when I still lived in Europe. Many of their technical solutions were arguable better than the competition, but they were different, and didn’t catch on. They built front wheel drive cars in the early thirties, something that took almost 40 years to really catch on, with some exceptions. Sony has a long, uphill battle ahead of them.

              • Citroen still hasn’t really caught on – too bad, because I agree that some features like their suspension were extraordinary. High servicing costs outside Europe probably don’t help either…

        • plevyadophy says:

          Rainer, I am gonna chime in here.

          First let me get the Disclaimer outa the way first. I have gone from being a Sony lover to a Sony hater. I owe my steepest “photographic learning curve” to Sony ( one could argue that I still don’t know a damn thing about photography! 🙂 ) having bought a Sony 505V as my first digital camera. And my experience of Sony doesn’t end there; I had, and still have, the first, and in my view best ever, serious touch screen smartphones ( the Sony Ericsson P series, just a damn shame about the crappy software development! 😦 ) bought at a time when the iPhone was still a Steve Jobs wet dream. So I know, unfortunately, Sony very well.

          Let’s get one thing straight. Sony do NOT, I repeat do NOT offer professional services for stills photographers, that is on a par or even remotely similar to Canon CPS or Nikon NPS, ANYWHERE in the world.

          EVERYTHING Ming said about Sony is correct. They are a God awful company to be involved with unless……..you are sponsored by them or a famous photographer using their gear.

          They NEVER EVER put right flaws in their gear unless the flaw is something that should be working according to their own spec sheet. So for example, all the features work as they should but perhaps that leads to an unforeseen anomaly; will Sony issue a firmware patch to address the issue? Hell no?!!

          They have a hardware problem, do they correct it?? No!

          The lens mount on the Sony a7 is known to be a pile of crap, so much so that a third party company ( Fotodiox ) recently produced a replacement mount for the camera ( something that Sony ought to have done themselves!!! ).

          Now, in case you think I am unfairly beating up on Sony, just go take a look at the advertising blurb for their new cam; you’ll see that they mention a new reinforced lens mount. That right there is a tacit admission that previously their lens mount was a pile of sh!t ( not able to do the basic thing of reliably support the weight of 35mm format lenses). And look how many A7 series cams they made before bothering to fix the issue.

          Sony’s approach has ALWAYS been to pretend a problem doesn’t exist and then to cycnically fix the problem later, not by firmware update or repair, but by cheekily offering you a new model “six months” later with the fixes built in ( often merely software fixes!!).

          Right now, only two leading photogs come to mind as regular Sony system users. One of them, David Kilpatrick, pretty much has no choice in the matter given his world renowned blog, Photoclubalpha, depends on him having expertise in the Sony system; and the same goes for Gary Friedmann ( a really knowledgeable and lovely guy) of the USA who makes a living from, amongst other things, selling tutorial manuals for Sony Alpha cameras.

          Sony have ALWAYS come to market with sensational headline grabbing features and tech ( in cams, laptops, phones, TVs etc ) but that is ALWAYS accompanied by a MAJOR flaw lurking in the background waiting to bite you in the backside ( the a7 lens mount being a good recent example ). One buys Sony with fingers and toes crossed; my advise is always to “NEVER buy a Sony Version 1 of anything, and for anything else wait for 2 or 3 years and buy it used or from NOS ( new old stock ) by which time you’d learn if a bit of kit was a dog e.g. dodgy lens mount )

          In my view, a pro stills photographer, especially one who does a lot of foreign travel, would have to be bonkers to rely on Sony gear for his livelihood. The new headline grabbing a7R II already has a problem doesn’t it?: LOSSY raw format! 😦

          • You have used a lot of words, trying to tell what is wrong with these Sony cameras! Sorry, I can’t confimed it, because I am an happy Sony user!

        • Peter Bendheim says:

          I couldn’t agree more. Aside of the new model every few months, customer support is dreadful. Sony have just pulled out of South Africa entirely, leaving thousands of customers literally stranded. The second hand shops are full of lenses and bodies. What an awful company to deal with; I cannot figure out the current Sony craze, I don’t much like the files, the appliance like bodies and corporate ethic. I can only imagine it to be price related.

          • Sadly it’s almost always price related in this industry.

          • Being intrigued by your comment I did a bit of googling and learned more about Sony’s decision. Far from the very negative manner in which you have reported their exit, all is not as you say. Sony, whether you believe them or not, has confirmed it will continue to service and honour warranties. Just my two pennyworth to set a balanced, and not entirely biased, alternative view.

      • Alex Carnes says:

        Sony claim to be working on a lossless RAW format to be delivered via a firmware update – hopefully to the existing alpha line, not just the A7RII. Battery life is claimed to be better than the A7R (about 340 shots), and the MkII’s sensor and IBIS should be a dream. Add in some stellar new glass from Zeiss and that’s me in, the D750 and lenses are going. As for servicing, there’s not much in a mirrorless camera TO service! I’ll keep my 7R for backup.

        • They also claimed similar numbers for the A7II. I was lucky to see 100. There’s no way that would pass on a job; for documentary work several thousand a day is normal. A D810 will usually get through on one battery. The 5DSR looks a bit worse for the moment. The Q will manage 500+. There’s no way I can carry twenty batteries for the Sony…I won’t even be allowed on the plane!

        • Battery life of the A7R II is worse than the A7R, 290 against 340 shots according to dpr. That makes sense since the sensor, the processing will use more power due to more pixels. Add to that IBIS and improved AF which also use energy.

          • Sony claim a similar number for the A7 II, but in practice I never saw much more than 150; more like 100 if you’re not aggressively turning off the camera after every shot.

      • I agree! from what my friend tells me that uses an A7S and A7 II, I am currently transitioning from a Leica M 240, and back to Nikon, was a hard decision to make, love my M, but I do mostly events and a DSLR zoom would help me greatly. Seriously considering the A7R II, but I can’t get used to looking through an EVF, battery life, and the lack of lenses on the E mount side. Now do I go D810 or D4S, hmmmm. Love the D810s lack of AA but love the D4S’s ergonomics.

      • Guy Incognito says:

        1) Eventually Sony will address the lossy compression issue (there is a rumour they might be). They aught to do this before there is other competition in the full-frame mirrorless segment.

        2) Absolutely true on professional support. Even consumer support is not great. In fairness i think Sony has been the weakest offender of ‘slightly upgraded model every six months’ within the A7 range:

        October 2013: A7/A7R – First full-frame mirrorless spare leica
        April 2014: A7S – high ISO work & videography, silent shutter
        November 2014: A7II – IBIS
        June 2015: A7RII – IBIS, bump to resolution

        Aggressive yes; yet, markedly different from the pointless body churn in the NEX line. I would say each camera has occupied a specific region of the shooting envelope or offered more than a ‘slight upgrade’ in the new model. Do these upgrades mean a better camera? From a technology point of view yes. From a user perspective not necessarily, which brings us to:

        3-4) Ergonomics and UI would be the biggest concern for me if photography was my job. The difference between 99% and 100% percent can be all the difference when it affects your bread and butter – particularly when the visible output from camera A or camera B is indistinguishable for ‘the job’. You can’t fix ergonomics or user frustration in post production or with a firmware update.

        Ask not what Sony can do for me. Ask what Sony is doing for itself! They are clearly trying to dominate the full-frame mirrorless market. They have done relatively little in their APSC/DSLT product lines of late. Seems to me they are targeting the affluent/serious hobbyist with their new technology. I am sure it is a bigger and more profitable market than the professional market. Once the dust settles we might see some professionally oriented cameras. They also might start investing in the 1% changes that make all the difference.

        I am sure the majority of Sony customers are either willing to accept compromises on their products or simply dont know/care. I also think it is fair to say the A7 range is beyond the point of sufficiency. They are capable of producing a compelling image (because any camera is). Most of Sony’s market will not be stressing the cameras beyond their limits.

        Knowing this… while Sony (and the A7 range) might not be what I want them to be… I am not so sure I would necessarily have a significantly different market strategy if I were in their position? It seems like a good short/mid-term strategy. Too early to say what the long term outlook is :p

        • They may well *eventually* make a product that works. Until then, sorry, they don’t get my money. And it’s not because I haven’t already invested time and money in trying because they had some unique tech. As you point out – the difference between 99% and 100% may well cost you a job.

          • Guy Incognito says:

            Exactly.

            I guess to reiterate my point. There is no money in point-and-shoots any more, smartphones have displaced them. M4/3rds is dominated by Oly/Pana. APSC is saturated by everyone. The pro-market is dominated by Nikon/Canon and hard to break into. Sony is doing what is profitable by dominating and appealing to a specific niche.

            The A7 cameras are a high-end consumer camera with very interesting tech. They are not a professional camera and shouldn’t be considered as one:

            – Poor professional support
            – Lossy RAW
            – Questionable ergonomics
            – No dual cards
            – Poor battery life
            – No weather sealing

            Why would you buy one? Joe consumer might though!

            • Alex Carnes says:

              Lossless raw is coming, they are weather sealed, the economics are much like any other mirrorless camera, but I’ll grant the battery life is poor.

              • Guy Incognito says:

                I am aware of this (see point 1. above). But that rumour could be subject to any outcome – including it just being a rumour. Until you have it in your hands (firmware), it is only as good as the current reality of lossy compression.

                Ergonomics are in the eye of the beholder. Sony can draw from their DSLT range or Minolta past and ‘fix’ this. As a hobbyist, the ergonomics of the A7 range does not bother me much. If I were to spend 7 hours a day using an A7 with a 1kg lens, I’d almost certainly feel differently (see points 3-4). I rather suspect the A7 will keep the same general design and at some point a separate model with bigger handling surfaces will be released.

                I think the biggest ‘risk’ for Sony is their UIs – they have always been quirky!

              • peterharvey says:

                The A7 Series’ battery life is poor because it is only 1000 mAH capacity. By comparison, a regular NiMH AA size battery like a Sanyo Eneloop is 2100 mAH. Most mobile phones use 3000 mAH capacity batteries. My Nokia 1530 has a 3300 mAH battery capacity.

                • You also have to consider voltage when calculating total energy. The Q uses a 1200mAH battery but still manages to last five times longer. There’s no excuse…especially for a company that makes batteries.

                  • Alex Carnes says:

                    I’ll be interested to see how much longer the batteries last in the A7RII with the IBIS switched off. I’m equally interested to know how Leica pulled off that stellar 500+ shots/charge with the Q. I might buy one yet, I feel very strongly drawn to that camera…

            • Because for some inexplicable reason most of my readers expect me to do so to review? 😉

      • Bu….bu….bu…buuut the Sony is MIRRORLESS!!!!

        • Alex Carnes says:

          Whichever way you slice it, DSLRs are on borrowed time.

          • True, but also not as we still haven’t had a really credible mirror less replacement yet.

            • Alex Carnes says:

              If Sony start offering lossless raw, like they should’ve done years ago, battery life will be the only real grumble. And the Zeiss glass is top notch, and not all that expensive either for the performance on offer (apart from the lamentable 24-70!).

              • There’s also ergonomics and overall shooting experience.

                • Alex Carnes says:

                  True but that’s subjective. I quite like them, speaking for myself! The shape works for me and they’re so customisable that you can set them up to work pretty much any way you want. That being said, I’m unusually adaptable and can work with anything provided it isn’t a complete disaster!

          • Sorry Alex, but I don’t see DSLRs are on borrowed time in the near future. There has been a lot of DSLR-bashing around ever since the first 4/3 cameras appeared. I got the EP-1 and later the EP-2 with an external view finder out of curiosity. But for what they delivered (besides the small size) they were far, far too expensive. The same is more or less the same story today, maybe except for Sony, where it is possible to get FF mirrorless like the A7 for a very reasonable price. Yes, I know Ming, Wong and others get remarkable results out of EM1 etc. But they would (and do) get remarkable results from any camera on the planet.

            • But the A7 series is not cheap. The way Sony is churning out new models, the cameras are losing 50% value in a year. Even Sony’s own A900 keeps it value better. Much better.

              But Sony’s biggest challenge will come up the day Canon and Nikon come up with full frame mirrorless cameras. Nikon has shown with the V1/2/3 that they understand the technology. A larger V3 with a 35mm sensor will already be a major challenge to any Sony Alpha. If it’s modular, like the V3, they will own the market from day one. My guess is that they are holding their horses as long as DSLR cameras are dominating the market. No reason to fire the big canons just yet.

              • Both Canon and Nikon have so much invested in their lenses. I have no doubt that they are eyeing the FF mirrorless sector, but their current range of lenses precludes a smallish body owing to the flange to sensor distance, so the question must be what would be the advantage of their coming out with a mirrorless body that uses these lenses, over a dslr? Then, does the same argument apply as to the speculation why Leica did not make the Q with an interchangeable mount as it would impinge on their M cameras?

                Remember when 4/3 was first launched by Olympus and Panasonic? The cameras were large because Olympus wanted to ensure its extensive range of film camera lenses could be used, albeit manually, via a simple adapter, so as to keep their film user base happy. Then, when m4/3 came along, camera bodies were smaller but still allowed use of the now discontinued 4/3 lens range. However, whilst the bodies were smaller, the adapter became an encumbrance. I’m sure this would be something Canon and Nikon will be taking into consideration as well.

              • I got the A7 including the kit lens for around $75 less than the EM1 body when Sony has a special discount last year. Today the ordinary price has been lowered, and it is still around $50 cheaper than the EM1 body. So the A7 starter kit is cheap in my opinion, but the Zeiss lenses for the A7 are too expensive. It is completely insane that for instance the slowish 35mm f/2.8 is so expensive. Luckily the kit lens is quite good and with an adapter I can use all my Nikon lenses.

                • Alex Carnes says:

                  The 35/2.8 offers stellar image quality though, and it’s very light and compact. It’s not a budget lens but as high end optics go it’s keenly priced. If you’re into 35s then don’t hesitate.

                  • I am a fan of the 35mm FOV, but an f/2,8 lens just doesn’t cut it for many reasons such as speed/DOF/bokeh/etc.. Just about ANY modern short slow f/2.8 prime should be compact and have better than good image quality–it’s f2.8 after all! But make that a well corrected f1.8 or 1.4 and Sony’s purported size advantage evaporates, just like most of Sony’s purported mirrorless advantages. Yes it is smaller, but not when paired with comparable DSLR lenses. Yes it’s smaller, but I also missed more photos because the cameras just didn’t focus quickly, or the EVF didn’t wake up in time, or the battery dies at the worst time.

            • Frankly, I’ve done a 180 degree turn regarding mirrorless over the last couple of years. Whilst it’s adequate for most uses, it isn’t adequate for what I (and my clients) now expect. I cannot be alone in this. That can only mean the DSLR is not dead for now…

              • Absolutely Ming. Mirrorless is waaaay overrated. Panasonic, Olympus, Fujifilm, and even Sony, lose their millions of dollars every year. Canon and Nikon, keep making money.

                • Actually, I think nobody is making money in this game at the moment…

                • It’s not about ratings. It’s about horses for courses. When it comes to flat out performance in the widest array of possible circumstances, a pro DSLR still reigns supreme. You can toss it in the bag and know that it will handle just about any assignment you throw at it.

                  However, mirrorless cameras bring their own benefits. Aside from the obvious size and weight advantage (Sony somewhat excepted here), the state-of-the-art EVFs are becoming more and more advantageous in showing realtime information and doing so comfortably under both low and overly bright light. And that’s just for starters. Expect them to become adopted more and more as the technology matures, yes, even by Nikon and Canon (hint: mirror assemblies are one place to reduce costs).

                  Granted, a pro DSLR’s dedicated phase detect autofocus module is still far more accurate than a mirrorless camera (particularly when tracking fast moving subjects under difficult circumstances). That said, DSLRs lack the absolute precision of mirrorless’ contrast detect system, which is extremely precise in focus plane.

                  I could continue weighing pros and cons, but you get the idea.

                  Re profitability, yes, Canon, Nikon, and Leica are apparently the only camera manufacturers that are profitable right now. Sony and Olympus are widely reputed to be losing money on imaging, though I have been told that this year Fujifilm’s X-System is actually now operating in the black.

              • You are not alone and I’ve read several other accounts of pro photographers going back to DLSRs.. I too sold off my mirroless equipment after months of frustrating use; the compromises inherent in mirrorless cameras make using them far too difficult and fraught with much uncertainty.

          • Sure, because you say so, I’ll believe it. Meanwhile mirrorless camera companies move closer to the brink every day, not turning a penny of profit in YEARS.

            • Again, this is a very, very generalized statement. The true state of who’s profitable, and who’s not (and what profitability actually means — particularly when factoring in Japanese accounting systems) is extremely complicated right now.

              I can promise you this much: Neither Fujifilm nor Ricoh/Pentax are anywhere near the brink, largely because their imaging divisions account for a relatively tiny percentage of their overall business. Nikon, meanwhile, may be an 800lbs imaging gorilla by comparison, but imaging accounts for close to 90% of its business. A catastrophic downturn in cameras will hurt Nikon a lot more than it will hurt Fujifilm. In my opinion, Nikon will survive, but they are going to emerge as a dramatically smaller company than they are now; perhaps back to late seventies / early eighties size.

        • Bu….bu….bu…buuut the Sony is MIRRORLESS!!!!
          And so are all DSLR with their mirror up, mr.RastaBasta

      • Hmmm. All points that were omitted from Steve Huff’s review of the Sony A7 cameras. How could that be, I wonder?

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