Why Mirrorless: The Future of Photography
As photographers, it’s easy to get high on tech specs. So before we get wrapped up in the specifications of this particular camera, let’s generically discuss why mirrorless is important.
Why this mirrorless camera thing is a big deal. Why this camera, over all other cameras, is a huge turning point in the market.
The first time I used a full frame mirrorless camera was when I shot the Leica SL in London. Bringing that full frame electronic newsletter to my face instantly changed my perception on what I thought at the time was a trend — a photography fad. But when I looked through that electronic viewfinder, I immediately understood the value of a mirrorless full frame camera, and simultaneously understood that I was holding the future.
One of the problems with DSLR's is that you don't see exactly what you're shooting as you shoot. There's a mirror that sits in front of the sensor and reflects light from the lens into a prism that you're looking into via the viewfinder. The limitation here is that the camera can only display a limited amount of information to the photographer through a small heads up display built into that prism. Furthermore, you are seeing a reflection of light through a mirror, not what the sensor will see. As a result, you are, in some regards, guessing what the sensor will capture based on your experience with that particular camera and the limited information available in the heads up display.
With mirrorless, you get the benefit of seeing exactly what you're photographing at the instant the camera takes the image. You spend less time having to look at the rear LCD screen to review the exposure and the quality of your image, and spend more time actually composing and creating photographs.
In other words, if your image is going to be underexposed, you can see that through the viewfinder before you take the image. You no longer have to remove your face to look at the rear LCD screen or browse a menu — you just see it.
The other noteworthy advantage of a mirrorless full frame camera is that the flange distance between the lens and the sensor is significantly reduced. This sounds highly technical, but it’s worth understanding why a shortened flange distance is so valuable to a photographer.
Flange distance is the distance between the sensor and the front bayonet coupling, where the lens and camera body meet. In most DSLR’s, the flange distance is somewhere in the range of 50-60mm; however, on a mirrorless full frame camera, that flange distance can be somewhere between 10-20mm. The result of this greatly reduced flange distance is that light enters the camera with less reduction.