2017 was a brilliant year for technological advancements in the Mirrorless Camera industry. Sony jumped out of the gates with their A9, which is not only the first mirrorless camera to introduce 20fps, it‘s the first full frame camera to output these speeds. Panasonic pulled out all the stops with the GH5 in order to create a serious contender in the videography category by creating the first camera with unlimited video recording capabilities (memory card determined). And Fuji, well they just decided to make the beast that is the GFX 50s and then position it at such a reasonable price (considering format) that it may alter the whole Medium Format market.
So here is what you need to know about the biggest and best Mirrorless Cameras released in 2017:
Lightweight body with excellent video quality & autofocus
Pro’s: Extremely good video quality, excellent autofocus, 180° flip screen, lightweight, 22 creative filters
Con’s: Manual video recording lacking, No viewfinder
While the Panasonic GX850 was not the biggest camera of the year, it does house some impressive features inside a tiny body. With the inclusion of 4k, a 3-inch touch flip screen and an excellent autofocus system thanks to Panasonics DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology, the GX850 is a reliable CSC. Aimed at vloggers and travelers this is the perfect camera for those looking to travel light and record yourself in the perfect landscape, whether in 4k video or simply to capture great shots of you and your friends/family together.
A video camera in a still camera’s body boasting unlimited 4K recording
Pro’s: Unlimited 4k video recording, Dual UHS-II card slots, 3,680 Dot Large OLED LVF, option to add XLR inputs (accessory sold separately), 4:2:2 10-bit recording
Con’s: AF is not great during video (most will use manual anyway), No top LCD
With the introduction of the Panasonic GH5 , this has changed the way we look at the video recording capabilities of traditional still cameras. It is in fact hard to think of negative aspects of this camera. As far as a still camera goes it may not be ground breaking, but remember, this is designed as a video camera in a stills body. The GH5 includes an extraordinary 10-bit colour depth (over 1 billion colours), excellent weather sealing, option for 6k photo mode and even professional sound capabilities with additional XLR adapter. This camera, although small, is aimed directly at the professional market as either a compact main shooter or back up for professional videographers.
Excellent camera for begginers and enthusiasts inbuilt creative filters.
Pro’s: Same great sensor as X-T2, fast frame rate, film simulation modes, Wireless control via free Fujifilm App
Con’s: No in-body stabilisation, no weather sealing, lack of flip screen, small front grip
The Fujifilm X-T20 is an excellent little beginner/enthusiast camera that gives users great functionality with the built-in creative filters, all the while allowing for growth with the excellent manual controls. A large bright viewfinder coupled with the 3” tilting touchscreen means you will be able to shoot in any and all conditions. Fujifilm have raised the autofocus points in the previous X-T10 from 49 up to 91 and alongside 14fps, giving users the ability to shoot action and wildlife photography with excellent sequences. Ultimately the Fujifilm X-T20 is designed as a quiet street shooter, as the camera allows you to capture those natural moments without disturbing your subjects.
A groundbreaking camera turning people to the medium format.
Pro’s: Most affordable medium format digital camera in market, excellent sensor resolution, impressive highlight and shadow detail, brilliant high ISO performance
Con’s: Obviously it is a big camera, not a fast camera, still a limited lens range (only 6 so far), no 4k video recording
There are numerous features you could rave on about with the Fujifilm GFX 50s from image sharpness right through to price point. The camera has a 50% larger sensor pixel area over the Nikon D850 to help the low light performance. While the size may be off putting at first, any professional photographer or serious hobbyist will find they adapt relatively fast to the new system. If your shooting style does not need to be flat out, then this camera will do the job especially as it lends itself more to shooting landscape, portrait and product photography. The GFX 50s is a ground-breaking camera that will make many people consider the leap to medium format.
An action/wildlife photographer’s dream camera
Pro’s: Massive 20fps with subject tracking, exceptional AF system that covers 90% of frame, low light performance
Con’s: Two SD slots with only 1 UHS-II compatible, high price point.
In a DSLR-dominated category The Sony A9 was released to combat the Canon 1DX MK II and Nikon D5…and they have done a great job. Filling the missing high-end professional camera from their line up, the A9 has cemented Sony as a serious brand. The A9 has an electronic shutter that allows for zero viewfinder blackout and also adds the option for a silent shutter perfect to not disturb the scene you are shooting. This camera is aimed directly at the action/wildlife photographers who will be smiling from ear to ear with these features and it would be no surprise to start seeing these pop up at weddings.
Becoming a real competitor in the introductory range of cameras.
Pro’s: Good grip considering small build, Easy to use layout, improved processor (same as E-M1 MK II)
Con’s: Could have been greater changes from previous model, drop in max shutter speed
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK II has been released with a few significant upgrades over its previous model. With 4k becoming the norm, the E-M10 MK III has added this in and it works beautifully with the sensor shift stabilisation built into the camera. The TruePic VIII processor has been given a much-needed improvement to lowlight performance and autofocus has been pumped up to 121 points instead of 81 points. A new interface has helped make this camera friendlier to operate and overall the E-M10 MK III has become a real competitor in the introductory range.
Improved autofocus and ability to shoot in a beautiful rangefinder style
Pro’s: Improved autofocus, same sensor as top end models, comfortable to shoot with beautiful rangefinder style, 4k video
Con’s: No image stabiliser, touchscreen could be slightly better
The Fujifilm X-E3 was the last in the X line up to receive the CMOS X-Trans III sensor and it’s a welcome addition. An excellent camera to use for street style photography as it is small, inconspicuous and feels great with the digital rangefinder. Even though it outputs in 4k and the video quality is great, it still leans more towards a stills camera. There isn’t any in-body stabilization, so you’ll be better off on a tripod when recording or using a gimbal for handheld shots. As with all the X series cameras the X-E3 produces some incredibly accurate colour that is pleasing to the eye, great for Jpeg shooters who don’t want to mess around with post process much.
Perfect camera for Sony users wanting full frame quality images with a supurb autofocus system
Pro’s: 10fps with full AF, touchscreen (perfect for first time Sony users), superb autofocus system, ability to push RAW files
Con’s: No top display screen, build quality not quite the same as professional DSLR
Getting stronger in the Full Frame Mirrorless market, the Sony A7R III assures Sony will remain as one of the big players. You could make a strong argument that this was the most anticipated camera of the year and it has not disappointed. There are new improvements on the A7R II in numerous areas like a better AF system, fps increased 200%, less noise in low light, wider dynamic range etc. The list goes on and on. This will be the camera that will other brand-aligned professionals scratching their head and asking the question “Is it time for a change?” Only time will tell.
After one of the most fruitful years in mirrorless camera evolution, 2017 has cemented itself as one that will go down in the history books. All the brands came to the table, altering the direction camera technology is heading for the years to come. Now it remains to be seen whether 2018 can pull out the stops and make another huge leap forward… either way the mirrorless future is a bright prospect!
What mirrorless cameras do you want to see released in 2018? Let us know in the comments below, or come in store for a chat with one of our photographers.