Nobody can argue that 2018 was the year that mirrorless cameras well and truly established themselves as genuine alternatives to DSLRs. Nikon and Canon got in on the party with the Z6/Z7 and EOS R and even Panasonic, the brand that co-launched the Micro Four-Thirds mount, announced the development of the full-frame S1/S1R models, which are expected in just a couple of months. Mirrorless cameras are everywhere so why, in 2019, am I choosing to use DSLRs?
Well, before we go any further, let me take you on a quick guided tour of my kitbag and explain what I use the gear for. I shoot a lot of corporate videos, so use a Canon set-up made up of a C100 MkII, plus two DSLRs [5D MkIV and 7D). For stills however, which is around 90% landscape photography and 10% corporate portraits, I use Pentax DSLRs (K-1 MkII and K-P). The only mirrorless camera I own is a Ricoh GRII, which is a pocket-friendly premium compact that is perfect for jetting into the city when scouting locations.
As a photography journalist, I get to test a lot of equipment, so have got my hands on pretty much every new camera released over the last ten years, and there are some truly amazing mirrorless cameras out there. I have no problem with mirrorless and can see the clear benefits the system offers – in fact I particularly admire models like Fuji’s X-T3 and Panasonic’s GH5. So why do I stick with DSLRs when the photography world has pivoted towards mirrorless? Well, when it comes to kit, the most important thing to me is owning equipment that does it’s job in the field. I make my living creating images and video so I want to feel comfortable with the gear and know it will produce what I need, whether it be in sub-zero frozen landscapes or under the hot lights of a high-pressure boardroom.
In short, whatever camera works best for a particular job is the one to pack into your kitbag and, for the jobs I’m shooting, that system just happens to still be DSLRs. My Pentax kit offers high-capacity batteries, along with insanely tough build quality and weather-sealing; I have used it in some horrendous conditions including snow blizzards and torrential rain showers and it’s never missed a beat. Conversely, the 5D MkIV compliments my C100 MkII perfectly and means I can swap EF-mount lenses between the cameras when shooting with a two-camera set-up.
Don’t worry about keeping up with what other photographers are using, just shoot with what works for you. Lots of websites and blogs are predicting the end of DSLRs, but I don’t buy into this and believe the two systems will co-exist for many years to come. Photography shouldn’t be a kit competition between you and the person next to you, nor should it be a race to buy the newest, most expensive gear either. Find what works best for you and enjoy it!