Generic Mirrorless Question - Daily Usage (Update NEW TOY!)

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Ken St John
We're planning a two week excursion late this month and early June to Utah, and Arizona. Lots of landscapes and family/friends along the way. Although very happy with my Canon 6D Mark II and current set of EF lenses (17-40, 24-70, 70-200, 50), I have been playing with the notion of maybe adding another body, a used mirrorless Canon R and the lens adapter for my EF lenses. Major upgrade is 40MP vs 26MP sensor ... and the other "mirrorless" advantages. It's those other "advantages" that I'm interested in. (Clearly, most folks here are not familiar with the Canon system, but I think the non-system related impressions would be similar.)

Maybe look at it from this angle - I used a D750 for many years (and find it ROUGHLY equivalent to my 6D2 in my usage). IF I still had my D750, what would I really gain on a daily basis if I went to a Z7 (roughly the same specs as a Canon R)? In other words, other than the sensor differences, what are the mirrorless "features" I would likely notice, and use, vs a DSLR?

Thanks in advance.

Ken
 
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I don't know the Canon system but let me offer some of the differences between the Z system and Nikon DSLR's:

IBIS with all lenses
Live histogram (sort of)
Truly silent shutter (with caveats)
EVF offers close to WYSIWYG and offers clearer view in low light
Enlarged view in EVF offers more precise focussing.
More precise focus of manual lenses
Need to carry extra batteries

I'm sure others can add more.

Whether any of these differences are relevant in any particular shooting scenario is an open question. I've said this before and I'll note it again. The Z system is more about the lenses, any one of which outperforms it's g level counterpart - often significantly. The Z system is about the lenses; the bodies are just how you get there.
 
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Congratulations on taking advantage of the ability to safely visit friends and family!

I'll merely issue the normal reminder that if you don't have time to use the new camera before you go on these trips enough to become fairly familiar with it, there is no need to rush your entry into the mirrorless world.
 
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I would like to contribute about the usability of the mirrorless. I took mine to Utah too. As I wanted to travel light, I left the Nikon gear, wildlife setup, at home. All I had at the time was the 17-55 kit lens. It more than met my needs for the trip. There were a few times where a longer lens would have been nice or where I may have made use of the 11-23 but the 17-55 would have been used most often.

As far as the megapixel, my CL has 24. I have printed shots at 12”x18” with no discernible grain. I am not sure how much better photos would provide you.
 
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Most things have been covered, but I will add my advantages and disadvantages of a ML. Most of these reasons are why I went with a Nikon Z7(now Z7II):
Small form factor - which translates into a smaller, lighter camera and lenses which is better for travel.
IBIS
WYSIWYG EVF
Quieter shutter if you use first curtain electronic shutter or silent mode.
The Z mount promised and delivered better lenses. The 14-24 f2.8S, 24-70 f2.8S are way better than their F mount counterparts and are much lighter and smaller.
Generally better focus accuracy.
Live histogram

Some of the drawbacks:
Less battery life - can easily be oversome with extra batteries
At the moment, AF for tracking BIF is not quite there with the Nikon ML cameras but the upcoming Z9 should fix that. Mostly there with the Canon and Sony top spec models.
Maybe the smaller camera doesn't suit you.

I had posted this in another thread, but may help you in your decision one way or the other:

When the first ML FF cameras came out from Sony, I looked at the EVF (one of the earlier A7 versions) and was horrified and nothing about the camera inspired me at all. I thought there is no was that I would sell my D850 to buy into the ML system even if Nikon made one. A year or so later, Nikon released the Z6/7 and introduced the Z mount and it's benefits for the lenses using this mount. At the time I was seriously looking at a small travel camera as I didn't want to lug around my D850 and large heavy F mount lenses and was almost about to press the button on a Fuji system but right at that time, Nikon announced the Z6/7. It's small and light form factor plus the promise of the benefits of the new Z mount sold me, but what really surprised me was how great the EVF had become and so, I purchased the Z7 and have loved the Z cameras ever since. I am now a ML lover and diehard, the Z7 is just such a lovely camera. I am a birder, wildlife and landscape shooter and dabble in other things.
 
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For me, based on @MNglass's list:
  • + IBIS with all lenses
    • If you have older non-stabilized lenses, with IBIS you now have a stabilized lens. IBIS has stabilized my 1970s manual lenses.
    • If you don't have older non-stabilized lenses, this does not apply.
  • + Truly silent shutter, not just a kinda quieter mechanical shutter.
    • It's value depends on if you shoot at events where SILENCE is important, such as churches, concerts and plays.
    • Again, if you don't shoot in these venues, this does not apply.
  • + EVF offers close to WYSIWYG and offers clearer view in low light
    • For ME, this is one of the MAJOR benefits of EVF. When the lighting it difficult to meter, you can see and adjust the exposure in the EVF, in real time, before I press the shutter. With my dSLR it was, shoot, chimp, adjust, and repeat until the exposure is OK.
    • The Olympus EVF can be configured to show blow highlights. I don't know about Nikon and Canon.
      • So coupled with the WYSIWYG, I see the blown highlights, and can evaluate and adjust the exposure in real time, before I press the shutter.
      • With my dSLR, it was only AFTER I shot the image, and looked at the highlights screen would I see the blown highlights.
  • + The EVF is visible in the bright sun, whereas the rear screen on my dSLR is essentially useless, due to the glare.
    • What this means is, I can evaluate the shot in the EVF, whereas I cannot on the back screen of my dSLR.
    • I would have to go under a jacket or use some kind of hood/shade to view the rear screen of my dSLR in the sun.
  • - Need to carry extra batteries
    • This is a major logistical issue/consideration. Depending on the specific camera and lens, this can be a MAJOR issue.
      • With my Olympus EM1-mk1, I get up to 4 hours of continuous ON time. But with the 12-100 lens, I only get about 2-1/2 hours of continuous ON time. This means for a full day of shooting with the 12-100, I need up to FIVE batteries. And THREE chargers, to charge in TWO shifts at the end of the day. :eek:
      • For comparison, my D7200 will let me shoot all weekend + Monday, on a single battery on a single charge.
    • This is a major consideration if you are going camping, and thus away from AC power, where you cannot charge the batteries at the end of the day.
    • More batteries and chargers = more $$$
 
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Thanks so very much for your comments!!

* I had not considered the EVF and I can imagine that would come in very handy. On my 6D2, I can sort of do this using the "live view" on the rear display, but it's really hard to do outside or at night, so I really don't do this very often. Especially with some of the landscapes I'm planning (my third visit to Monument Valley), the EVF would come in really handy!!

* Luckily, the R uses the same batteries I use in the 6D2 so extra power should not generally be an issue!!

* IBIS also sounds quite helpful as I am sometimes not as steady as I used to be when not on a tripod!!

* Interesting comments here about the superiority of the Nikon Z lenses. I have not read as much about Canon's mirrorless lenses (RF series) being superior to the full frame EF series. Although Canon is dropping a lot of the EF line to concentrate on the RF series so over the long haul having the R would be "future proofing" my options. For now, I'm pretty happy with my lenses and everything I have read indicates they will perform as well, or even better some have said, with the R body plus the Canon adapter. Actually, the availability of the adapter is currently one of the long poles in the tent ... everyone is sold out and I can't afford to add a body AND new lenses to the kit!! Canon's own website was showing them as "in stock" and I ordered one, but currently the order page doesn't show my order as active. Hopefully their system is just running slowly ...

Congratulations on taking advantage of the ability to safely visit friends and family!

I'll merely issue the normal reminder that if you don't have time to use the new camera before you go on these trips enough to become fairly familiar with it, there is no need to rush your entry into the mirrorless world.

Yup we're fully vaccinated so the powers to be have granted me permission to enjoy the great outdoors!! (And the folks we are visiting are also vaccinated as well as being "alumni" of the virus!!)

I did download the R's manual, and I'm happy to report that Canon uses the same basic menu system on both the R and my 6D2. Differences, of course, based on differing features, but the structure and layout are the same. Should make any transition far easier. Many of the buttons and dials are different which will, of course, take a little while to get used to. Luckily I'll have some time before we leave to practice, IF I decide to finally pull the trigger!!

Ken
 
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I was just editing some lacrosse pics that I shot with my dSLR.
ARGHHH. The white jerseys were blown out, and many of the faces were over exposed. The sun was too harsh and the meter was not able to see that, vs. the rest of the image. And I could not see the rear screen in the sunlight, so I was shooting blind, just like in the film days.
I would have seen that immediately in the EVF of my Olympus, and could dial down the exposure.
 
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About the battery.

My experience with the Olympus mirrorless (and what I've read online about other mirrorless) is that mirrorless battery run time is more related to power ON time, than number of shots taken (as it is with a dSLR).
  • I've shot over 2,000 shots in less than 2 hours, and had plenty of battery power left.
  • I've shot about 700 shots in 4 hours and drained the battery.
  • On vacation, I was reliably changing the battery at approx 11am and 4pm. The time was consistent over two weeks, the number of shots did not matter.
I suggest you give the R a WORKOUT. Run it HARD, just like YOU would on a trip, till the battery goes empty. The closer you can duplicate how you would use the camera on vacation, the more accurate the run time. That will give you a real idea of how long that battery will last YOU. Then, you can determine how many batteries and chargers you will need to bring with you.

In my case I did not do that, in advance. I did that during the vacation, and came up with that 4 hour average time. I was regularly changing the battery at approximately 11am and 4pm. And the 3rd battery was almost empty at the end of the day. Luckily I had 3 batteries (and 2 chargers). If I had only had 2 batteries, like I had originally planned, I would have been in real trouble. At the end of the day, the 3rd battery was almost empty, and could have gone empty at any time. So I really needed 4 batteries. I bought battery #4 as soon as I came home from vacation.

Then I got the power sucking 12-100 lens that dropped my run time down to 2-1/2 hours. That caused me to buy battery #5.
 
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For general photography I doubt the difference between 26 and 40MP will be too noticeable. One advantage of the higher MP is cropping ability, good for changing your composition in post. The downside is the larger size of the files.

There is something about the images done with the larger sensors, particularly where there is a lot of fine detail.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy using a mirrorless body. The EVF is generally suitable for the majority of genres, and LV is just as handy, particularly when using a tripod.
 
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Hmmmm....
The only thing I'd say is don't get caught up in the shooting to the point where you miss the vacation! :)
Exactly. As a 6 week new Nikon owner, I spent a week on a Caribbean cruise with only the Z6 and kit 24-70/4. It was great! No thinking, no backpack, no lens swapping, just point/compose/click.
 
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Exactly. As a 6 week new Nikon owner, I spent a week on a Caribbean cruise with only the Z6 and kit 24-70/4. It was great! No thinking, no backpack, no lens swapping, just point/compose/click.
Interestingly, my EF 24-70/4 L is on my 6D2 probably 95% of the time. I’ll have the others with me … but 24-70 is sure a sweet spot!!

Ken
 
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On my Z cameras I can change all my settings in the EVF. That eliminates the need for me to have a pair of reading glasses. It's really a huge positive for me. I have one of the front buttons programmed to bring up the menu items I've saved to my menu. I also have memorized where the "I" button is located. I can easily hit these buttons and change menu options without ever moving the camera from my eye.
 
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Thanks all ... I went ahead and pulled the trigger and ordered one. Also found the adapter I need for my EF lenses on Canon's site and ordered that as well. B&H has shipped the camera, but Canon hasn't updated my shipping status. Would be "cruel and unusual punishment" if the camera arrived with no lens adapter!! (Budget doesn't allow any RF lenses [native for mirrorless]. My lenses are all in excellent condition and from everything I've read, with Canon lenses, there are no visible differences with the mirrorless bodies, and I've read several who swear the EF lenses produce better images than the RF lenses.)

Pluses: as I see it, the larger sensor and the EVF will be the biggest improvements. This past weekend, I had several places where in a forest where I think the EVF would have been a big help. I'm excited to see if that's true. The sensor is supposedly based on the 5D Mark 4 and everything I have read says that's a better sensor than the one in my 6D2. We'll see, as I've never had any complaints about my sensor's performance!!

So-So's: Most of the other specs are close to my existing 6D2 so I'm not expecting too much of a difference.

Known Minus: I like to geotag my images, and the 6D2 has a built in GPS that works perfectly. Unfortunately, the R does not. The accessory GPS is both expensive and hard to find. Supposedly, the R can tap into the GPS on my phone through Canon's app. We'll see how that works ... in theory that sounds OK. But, the manual indicates that every time the camera shuts down, the connection needs to be reconfigured. Hopefully, that's an easier process than it sounds!! (I just hope it doesn't need to be reconfigured during "sleep" times. Only when switched off. If that's the case, it should be OK as I rarely turn the power switch off when out and about.)

Again, thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts. Really helped!!

I'll report back on how it goes.

Ken
 
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I like to geotag my images, and the 6D2 has a built in GPS that works perfectly. Unfortunately, the R does not.
Congrats on the decision - I think you'll be glad.

Like you, I have been geotagging all of my images for some time. Unlike you, I have never owned a camera with onboard GPS. If you wear or carry any GPS-enabled device, there are many excellent solutions to geotag after the fact. Even if you don't, it is possible to geotag by grabbing coordinates from Google Maps and associating them with images. I'm happy to share more info if you have interest.
 
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Well, the new Canon R arrived today as did a substitute EF lens adapter from Amazon. I have the "real" one on order and I sure hope it arrives before Amazon's return window closes for this one!!

Initial thoughts: Few things I need to get used to and/or adjust: Don't like the rear LCD being on all the time unless looking through the viewfinder. Images are coming out a little bland, of course the weather today is not much help!! (Maybe some tweaks of the "standard" picture control or select one of the others control options.) Shutter is really quiet!! Much lighter weight than my 6D2, will have to get used to the balance with a lens on. The "AF ON" hold button is dangerously close to where my thumb goes naturally. Most of the menus and so on look very familiar in layout, but a lot different functionality.

Bad news: Nothing yet!!

Good news: Paired it with the Canon app on my iPhone and walked around .... GPS coordinates transferred just fine, and totally seamless. Yeah!!

Here's the R:
IMG_0316.jpeg
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IMG_0318.jpeg
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IMG_0317.jpeg
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And here's image #1 (and boy, is it boring!!)
EOS R Day One-1.jpg
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One of my wife's flowers... (handheld so a little soft ... I may have been moving slightly!!)
EOS R Day One-8.jpg
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A screenshot of a 100% crop of the same image from my 4k monitor
Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 2.15.42 PM.png
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Looks like it will work out well. I'll take advantage of the second body to send my 6D2 into CPS for a thorough maintenance and sensor cleaning. Hopefully it will be back before we leave on our trip so I can have both bodies in hand.

Again, thanks to all who have commented and provided information. Really appreciate it!!

Ken
 
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Congrats on the decision - I think you'll be glad.

Like you, I have been geotagging all of my images for some time. Unlike you, I have never owned a camera with onboard GPS. If you wear or carry any GPS-enabled device, there are many excellent solutions to geotag after the fact. Even if you don't, it is possible to geotag by grabbing coordinates from Google Maps and associating them with images. I'm happy to share more info if you have interest.
One of the first things I did was test the connection between the camera and my phone for geotagging. Must admit it's as seamless as having an internal adapter like my 6D2!! Although, I imagine that it will eat a tiny bit of battery life from my phone. I generally do not have issues with running out of power, so I don't expect that to be a big deal.

Thanks for offering to help ... who knows, I may still need some ideas if problems crop up!!

Ken
 
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Good news: Paired it with the Canon app on my iPhone and walked around .... GPS coordinates transferred just fine, and totally seamless. Yeah!!
It sounds like Canon's capability in this area is better than Nikon's. I did not suggest that method because it has not reliably worked for me, and on the rare occasions that a connection can be established easily, the batteries in both the phone and camera get depleted very quickly.
 
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