Reasons I Changed To Mirrorless Cameras for Landscape Photography

"Mesa Arch Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

The Benefits Of Mirrorless Cameras

How does a photographer decide when to update and change camera equipment? What factors are involved in determining the kind of equipment to use?

A Little History

My digital camera journey has been a real adventure. Way back in 2007, I started out with a Nikon D210 DSLR, which was about 12 megapixels. My photographic journey began shooting wildlife as I love animals and enjoyed the challenge of finding them.

I soon realized my 80-400mm lens wasn’t going to cut it and that I would need the big 600mm glass. At that time, Nikon did not have image stabilization in their big lenses, so I switched to Canon that did. It was also at the same time Canon introduced the 1Ds Mark III with 21 megapixels! I was now in hog heaven, having the big lens with the best digital DSLR ever made.

I continued shooting Canon, eventually changing to the 5D Mark III, with a similar pixel count. Nikon came out with the D800 36 megapixel camera, and I had a severe case of pixel envy. I resisted changing, but I had begun my change from wildlife to landscape, and I really wanted those pixels. Nikon finally pushed me over the edge with the D810, which I purchased with a good selection of lenses.

I kept my Canon gear as I didn’t know what the future held and there were rumors of a high megapixel camera from Canon. They eventually delivered with the 5DS R 50 megapixel camera. Of course, I had to buy one since I still had all my Canon lenses. The shelves were getting way too full with gear, but I felt I was ready for anything.

Fast forward and Nikon releases the 46 megapixel D850, with its superior dynamic range, Sony sensor and other features, and it was time for me to make a serious decision. I purchased a D850, tested it and realized it was time to finally commit to one brand. I purchased a second D850 and traded in all the Canon gear.

"Gulf Coast Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

Enter the Mirrorless World

I had my two D850s, Nikon lenses, and I thought I was set for a long time. Silly me. I have nothing negative to say about any of the cameras I have owned. Technology changes, how I shoot changes, and I have had to make changes in my equipment in order to continue to produce the highest quality product.

I had read about the mirrorless cameras introduced by Sony and really didn’t pay much attention to it. After all, if Canon and Nikon weren’t offering them they must not be that worthwhile. I was already shooting the D850 from the LCD Screen in electronic mode with a three second timer. There was no shutter movement and images were razor sharp.

I did not see how a mirrorless camera was going to give me a better image. Changing all my gear to another brand, such as Sony, was just a leap too far. So, I pretty much ignored the whole mirrorless thing, but I did wonder about it from time to time.

After a while, Canon came out with its first mirrorless camera and Nikon introduced the Z7 with the same sensor that was in the D850. Now they had my attention. I was particularly intrigued by the much wider lens mount Nikon was using on the Z7. Canon always did have a wider lens mount on their cameras and lenses, which I felt gave them potentially sharper images in the corner, depending on the lens used.

To take full advantage of the wider lens mount on the Z7, I would have to change to the Z lenses as I felt using the adapter and the old F-mount lenses defeated the gain offered by the Z mount. So, I continued to avoid the inevitable. I was, however, very intrigued by the lightweight Nikon 14-30mm lens that could be used with standard 82mm filters.

My good friend, Jess Lee, had purchased a Z7, and I was sitting in his car on a trip, and he handed it to me with its 24-70mm lens to play with. Damn, I liked it. All my preconceived notions about electronic viewfinders and other negatives about mirrorless cameras were immediately erased. I wasn’t totally sure why, but I had to have one. I somehow knew I was seeing the future, and I needed to be a part of it.

"Wilson Peak" - Click on Photo to Purchase

Using the Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera

My first step was to purchase a Z7 and permanently attach a 14-30mm lens to it. It was time to begin my education. What I experienced could apply to Sony or Canon mirrorless cameras as well. They are all excellent cameras.

I took a trip where I went into a cypress swamp in a kayak and was going to have to shoot handheld. I used the Z7 with an F-mount 70-200mm lens with the adapter. I knew the camera’s built-in stabilization was going to be tested. As I paddled around shooting handheld and finding compositions, I was able to use the wonderful feature of the histogram in the viewfinder. The results were just incredible.

Freedom From The Tripod

For the first time, I was feeling that I could actually shoot without a tripod if I needed to. Of course, in low light, long exposure or focus stacking situations, the tripod is still a must. However, there are so many times where I may be just walking around looking for things, I now know I can leave the tripod behind.

I now own three Nikon Z7II camera bodies attached to different Nikon Z zoom lenses and am instantly ready for any composition. I can grab whichever one I need out of the bag and shoot away. This setup has also resulted in practically eliminating dust spots. Plus, I could not have fit three full size DSLRs with lenses in the bag.

I have no hesitation in recommending the use of mirrorless cameras to anyone. I would be happy to answer any questions there might be regarding my experience. Just drop me a note on my Contact page.

Join the fun revolution, go mirrorless!