News & Opinions about the mirrorless camera market appear below, latest article first. Over in right column—bottom if you're reading on a small screen—you'll find the News/Views Archive, which lets you go back in time to look at articles that have trickled off this page. If you're looking for older articles, click here for the deeper news archive.

 If you want to read an article below without the sidebar and other distractions, just click on its title.

Fujifilm X Summit Announcements

Fujifilm's camera strategy still seems somewhat suspect to me. They appear to undercut themselves for no clear reason. Today's new cameras introduced at the Fujifilm X Summit in Sydney, Australia are excellent examples of that. 

bythom 2404

The new X-T50 replaces the X-T30, and basically is an all-new body with much of the X-T5's specs, including the 40mp sensor. The primary difference in the higher model lies in the Rear LCD adjustability, the higher resolution EVF, the larger battery, ability to use battery grips and fan accessories, and the inclusion of second card slot. Given the US$300 price differential, the changes in the X-T5 might not seem worth the money the some. In essence, the X-T50 undercuts the X-T5.

Meanwhile, the new GFX100S II becomes the lowest priced 100mp medium format camera at US$5000. With a US$1000 lower price the new version manages to get a few clear advantages over its predecessor: 8 stops IBIS, X-Processor 5 and all the abilities that come with that (including subject detection focus), a bigger EVF (5.76m dots), more images per charge, and a slight reduction in weight. Compared to the more expensive GFX100 II, what you really give up is a few Fn buttons, a CFe slot, and a few megapixels in the EVF (still upgraded from the previous model, though). Frame rate and buffer size is lower, and the video specs are also more modest. Again, an undercut. 

I suppose this is "build market share" strategy, but it has to come at a cost to gross profit margin, and I'm not sure that Fujifilm isn't hurting themselves. For example, we now have a number of cameras using the 40mp sensor, but one of those (X100VI) is in extremely short supply compared to demand. Unless Fujifilm has turned on the spigot for 40mp sensors, they run the risk of not being able to take advantage of the popularity of the cameras they've already introduced. Indeed, my guess is that X100VI demand is already dropping, even before Fujifilm has managed to meet backorders.

Fujifilm also announced two new lenses at the summit: the 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR for the XF mount, and the 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR for the GFX mount. The former becomes the new "standard" zoom lens for the APS-C bodies (X-S20, X-T50, X-T5), while the latter is a near 400mm equivalent telephoto for the large medium format sensor bodies.

Canon R1 Gets a Development Announcement

The roles have reversed. 

Back at the Tokyo Olympics (2021 due to COVID delays), Canon had a pro camera ready (R3) and Nikon had a prototype (Z9). For the Paris Olympics (2024, begins end of July), Nikon now has a top pro camera that's been reiterated five times (Z9), and Canon will now have a prototype (R1). 

bythom canon r1

Today Canon posted a Development Announcement for the R1, with the only substantive information being that there is a newly developed adjunct image processor (Digic Accelerator) and new CMOS sensor. Strong hints at changes to the focus system and what it can recognize were also given. 

A photo of the front of the new R1 allows comparison with the R3: the R1 is a little bigger and continues Canon's swoopy design ethos.  

Update: some retailers around the world briefly posted, then withdrew, some additional information: 

  • 30mp stacked image sensor
  • Fast readout speed allows 1/1250s flash sync
  • Frame rates from 40 fps (low compression raw) to 60 fps (higher compression raw), with a maximum of 240 fps (probably JPEG)
  • Increased dynamic range over R3

It's unclear if this information is accurate, however it was interesting that multiple stores seemed to have posted additional information and then withdrew it.

Does Anyone Have an APS-C Plan?

Before we get started, we need to recap where we are with APS-C mirrorless:

  • Canon — Basically re-iterated the bottom of their previous Kiss/Rebel idea, plus a topper camera (R7).
  • Fujifilm — All in on APS-C, but now with a proliferation of “different” cameras and similar primes.
  • Nikon — Had triplets and then stopped birthing anything.
  • Sony — The NEX to A6### story is one of decline. 

Full frame is not an issue for anyone: the entry, mid-range, and top cameras are there for all brands that participate—though Sony uses older models for low-end entry pricing—well defined, and now multiply iterated. One would conclude from examining Canon, Nikon, and Sony full frame mirrorless lineups that each has a plan, knows what they’re doing, and is deep in iteration of that. Panasonic has a mini-plan ;~).

Not so for APS-C. I’ve heard so many varying and confused explanations from Japanese executives about their crop sensor lineup now that I’ve come to the conclusion that they simple don’t know what to do. 

Fujifilm is probably in the best position with APS-C mirrorless, mostly because they skipped full frame and rely on APS-C for the bulk of their sales. But even with Fujifilm I get puzzling explanations of why their models are what they are, how they differentiate them and why, plus what they think a “complete” lineup actually looks like. 

To me, it seems like there are too many pet projects at Fujifilm, as well as some too-strongly held beliefs. I’m not sure why they think they need to make the X-T50 a 40mp camera, for example, or why a new X-TPro needs to be developed. It’s really difficult to say what the entry point is for the Fujifilm lineup (probably X-S20), and the top end in the X-H2S has virtually no sales energy in the market, meaning it was a swing and a miss.

On the lens side, we have a full range of Fujifilm primes that seem to be going through regeneration, while the X-H2S isn’t getting much of the lens support it really needed. There’s simply no clear hand guiding the Fujifilm offerings in a way that someone who doesn’t already follow Fujifilm would understand, which inhibits their growth. 

That said, Fujifilm looks like the gem in APS-C mirrorless world compared to the others. 

Dropping over to the other long-term player in APS-C mirrorless, Sony, we also find large potential for user confusion. The wide, deep, and quickly iterated days of NEX models are long gone now. The A6000, A6300, A6500 trio looked like a strong start to the post-NEX days, but things have been limping since, and are now confused with the ZV-E10 evolution. 

The A6100, A6400, and A6600 showed up as modest iterations five years ago, and since then, we’ve only seen the A6700 add to the iteration, so generations are taking longer, and no longer appear synced. 

We did see Sony produce a few more E-mount lenses, but mostly centered around the uses that ZV-E10 users would appreciate. 

What it feels like to me looking back at the Sony APS-C mirrorless history is that they started with great energy and excitement and quick responses, slowed some as they introduced full frame, and now are completely distracted with “other things.” 

Canon and Nikon, the late entrants, have taken different paths. Canon, for instance, seems to have taken their decontented model Kiss/Rebel idea even further in the mirrorless world, with the R100 being so basic even Canon doesn’t ever talk about it in positive terms. The R10 and R7 at the top of the lineup have had more success, but “success” in this instance doesn’t mean “strong seller.” 

Now it appears that Canon is ceding RF-S lenses to the third parties (Sigma has announced six lenses for Canon APS-C, Tamron one). Meanwhile Canon has just a total of four kit zooms, and hasn’t bothered to bring other M-mount lenses over to RF-S. Parental neglect, for sure.

Nikon is the worst of the bunch so far, having a five year old camera that they “iterated” by giving it cosmetic surgery to create a new body, twice. Somehow, the optical side of the company managed to give those three near-identical cameras five lenses, which is one more than Canon managed. Still, it’s a pretty limited, small scale offering from Nikon, with no clear indication what the future may bring.

One thing I see in all four APS-C players is that their engineering teams aren’t really giving their marketing teams a story, just a few random options to try to figure out how to explain to customers. Which the pathetic marketing teams in Tokyo can’t manage to do. 

/Sarcasm ON

Canon: We Made the Kiss/Rebel worse.

Fujifilm: Don’t Try to Use Two of Our Bodies Simultaneously.

Nikon: Choose a Body Style for Your Five-Year-Old Camera.

Sony: Sorry, but We’re Running Out of Gas.

/Sarcasm OFF

To a large degree, the Japanese companies see APS-C as the last defense line against smartphones. All retreated from 1/2.3” sensors. Most have given up on 1” sensors. So it’s APS-C where the line between smartphone image quality and dedicated camera image quality is being drawn. 

And the line is being drawn poorly. Heck, is it even a line? More like a dotted line in faint gray. If I squint I can almost see it. 

(I said Sarcasm OFF!)

This is a real problem. APS-C is the entry point for dedicated cameras now. But it’s not much of an entry point, and I don’t see any of the Japanese camera companies getting marketing messages out that are clear, direct, and define the expectations. 

As I’m wont to point out, all of the APS-C cameras still have issues with getting images to where the user wants them. I’ll give Fujifilm some credit for getting their camera-to-smartphone software closer to what is needed, but in general it appears that the Japanese companies are so afraid of smartphones that they don’t want to mention them, ever, let alone integrate with them. 

The sum of the parts (smartphone, camera) should be greater than the sum of the parts. Instead, trying to use them together today is a lesson in subtraction, not addition. 

Getting APS-C right should be a critical strategy at every camera company. None seem to be seeing it the same way that I do, so I’m predicting more customer erosion, not a growing customer base.

Catching Up For The Month I Was Away

Here are the mirrorless news bits that happened while I was off the Internet:

  • 4/9 — Nikon Z30 and Z50 firmware updates. The Z30 firmware is now at version 1.11, the Z50 version at 2.51. The only published change has to do with encryption keys and passwords associated with the wireless connection.
  • 4/9 — Sony A6700 firmware update. The A6700 is now up to version 1.03, with the most recent update adding bug fixes, stability, and performance changes.
  • 4/11 — 7Artisans 50mm f/1.8 announced. 7Artisans announced their first full frame autofocus lens for the Z System (the lens had been previously available on the Sony FE mount). 
  • 4/11 — 7Artisans 27mm f/2.8 announced. This new autofocus lens is E mount (APS-C).
  • 4/12 — OMDS updated firmware for the OM-1 and OM-5 models. Not a big deal, just some stability improvements and some new smartphone security options
  • NAB — Sony 16-25mm f/2.8G announced. It seems a bit focal length challenged (not much range), but it does line up with the 24-50mm f/2.8G to produce 16-50mm in two lenses, if that's your thing.
  • NAB — Viltrox 16mm f/1.8 Z-mount announced.
  • NAB — Viltrox 135mm f/1.8 LAB announced.
  • NAB — New cards appear. A number of new storage cards have appeared, including Lexar’s new Armor series of SD cards (basically their version of Sony Tough). SanDisk, meanwhile, introduced a 4TB Extreme Pro UHS-I card, which pushes the SD capacity bar up one. OWC expanded their CFexpress 4.00 card series to Type A (not important to Nikon Z-mount users, but does show OWC’s full support for the latest CFe standards). ProGrade is also showing off both Type A and Type B CFexpress 4.0 cards with maximum and sustained speeds well above what the Z8 and Z9 require (and are rated VPG 400 for video). These new Type B cards are named Iridium and come in 400GB, 800GB, and 1.6TB sizes. Meanwhile, a new Gold 256GB card also is available with CFe 4.0 support. Exascend and Nextorage introduced Type A cards, as well.
  • NAB — Canon announced the upcoming termination of the free 10GB Image.Canon service, once again showing that the Japanese camera companies aren’t understanding the online/social networking connection necessary for cameras in the 21st century. Not that the service was all that useful to a Canon user, as it was effectively just “cloud storage.” If you’re using, you’ll need to download your images prior to October 31st, 2024. After that, Canon will be deleting them.
  • NAB — Video options proliferate. If you're into mirrorless video (as opposed to stills), Blackmagic Design, Freely, and Kinefinity all introduced updated products, including the new 17K URSA camera. Yes, 17K video, which is just a bit more than 8K video ;~). If you think pixel count/resolution increases will slow, you're wrong.
  • 4/17 — Z5 firmware updated to 1.43. The only changes apply to Nikon’s updated security keys for wireless communication.
  • 4/19 — TTartisan released the 56mm f/1.8 lens for Fujifilm XF and Sony E APS-C cameras. We're starting to get a log jam of APS-C prime lenses at the 23mm, 33mm, and 56mm focal lengths.
  • 4/19 — 7Artisans introduced a 50mm f/1.4 tilt lens. Again for Fujifilm XF and Sony E APS-C cameras, as well as m4/3.
  • 4/23 — Z8 firmware updated to 2.01. The new version applies Nikon’s new security changes for wireless communication, as well as five fixes.
  • 4/25 — Viltrox introduced the 40mm f/2.5 autofocus lens, 7artisans introduced the 50mm f/1.8 autofocus lens for the Z-mount, and Kate introduced the 200mm f/5.6 manual focus mirror lens. 7Artisans also launched a low cost 27mm f/2.8 autofocus lens for the Sony E mount.
  • 4/29 — Zf firmware was updated to versions 1.20. This update forces automatic white balance to remain the same for each image in a pixel-shift sequence, makes the security key changes of the other updates, and fixes three bugs.
  • 4/23 — Canon opened the RF-S lens mount to third party makers. Sigma announced six RF-S lenses starting with the 18-50mm f/2.8 Contemporary. This will be followed by the 10-18mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4, 30mm f/1.4, and 56mm f/1.4 Contemporary lenses (all previously available on other mounts). Tamron also announced that they will produce their 11-20mm f/2.8 for RF-S. 
  • 4/25 — 7Artisans launced an autofocus 27mm f/2.8 lens for the Sony E mount.
  • 5/7 — Viltrox announced the 16mm f/1.8 lens for the Z-mount. This lens is now one of two wide angle full frame autofocus lens prime lens available for the Z-mount that go beyond where Nikon has gone.
  • 5/7 — Hasselblad announced the 25mm f/2.5 ultra wide lens. A relatively fast 20mm equivalent lens for the XCD series that features a leaf shutter good to 1/4000. 
  • 5/8 — Megadap announced new Canon EF to Nikon Z adapter that supports autofocus. The EFTZ21 is now available for US$300.
  • 5/9 — Nikon announced fiscal year results. As expected, Nikon beat the last forecast it made for the complete year ended March 31, 2024, and that was true of the Imaging unit, as well. Sales were up 52.6% and profits up 4.3% year to year. ILC market share finished at 12.9%. The forecast for the coming year is an increase in sales of 7.2% in revenue and an increase in market share by about 1%, but a decline of 5.5% in profit. That decline in profit is partially attributed to the acquisition of RED, for which Nikon paid about US$85m. Be careful of the sites citing the RED purchase as "the deal of the century," as the actual sales, profit, assets, and liabilities of RED are still unknown, and you'd need to know those numbers to make a proper assessment. It's more likely that there was some distress within RED, which resulted in the lowish acquisition price. One likely problem, particularly given the interviews that have been given since the deal was announced, is that the investment cost of future silicon options at RED was starting to exceed their resources. Nikon provides deep pockets and shared tech that would help with that. For what it's worth, Nikon's Imaging forecast seems a bit unusual to me, with a strong year to year increase in sales for the first half of the fiscal year, but a modest increase in sales with a significant hit to profit in the second half. This would indicate a new camera (or more) before October, but some sort of big R&D cost after that. But also note that Nikon, like a number of other camera companies, shows a significant increase in inventory that's built up, too. To Nikon corporate's chagrin, Imaging is still the biggest pipeline of sales and profit at the company (39% of sales, and greater profit than the company overall). I say that because corporate just keeps saying "just sustain the Imaging business" while growing other businesses, with the Precision unit is still "expected" to be far bigger by 2026 (it won't be). R&D is forecast to go up for Imaging and down for Precision next year. Oops. Finally, it's been hypothesized by other sites that Nikon didn't need to release a new camera in Q1 of 2024 because sales were great, so they could delay any new camera. That's not evident in the data: while Q1/2024 sales were above last year, they were weakest quarter of the year, and below those of years where Nikon was said to be "in trouble." The reason Nikon didn't introduce a camera so far this year is that no new ones are ready to release yet. Nikon isn't alone in this; I've now gotten confirmation from three different companies that there is are still parts shortages that are forcing them to choose between producing existing models or new models. Given in Nikon's case that almost any new model they'd introduce this year is going to cost less than a Z8 or Z9, those parts are better used in the higher priced camera, even if you discount them some.
  • 5/9 — Fujifilm released year-end financial statements. The digital camera bits are up 20% year to year. However, I'd like to point out that as much as the Fujifilm fan clubs like to think they've caught Nikon, Nikon sold 279.7b yen worth of product to Fujifilm's 172.1b yen, or 62% more revenue. Both Nikon and Fujifilm have a ways to go reach Canon's 544.6b yen recent year number. That said, Canon hit their number with a near 50% market share, while Nikon did half that with a 13% market share. Which company do you think has a higher gross profit margin right now? (Fujifilm doesn't report profit or market share specifically for their ILC cameras.) By the way Petapixel, "Fujifilm's Camera Profits Soar..." is a headline not supported by the company's financial release; are you clairvoyant? 

Meanwhile, I found a number of rumors in my InBox that had a common theme: everyone is catching on that a "pro compact" camera—witness the Fujifilm X100VI—might sell and now has one in R&D. First out of the gate likely will be Panasonic (and with a companion Leica model). But if I'm to believe anonymous messages in my InBox (I don't always), three other companies will join in sometime in the next 12 months. 

#2 Second Camera: OM Digital Solutions OM-1 II

Next up in the CIPA release queue is the OM-1 II

bythom omds om1ii

Up front (literally) we have a name change. The original OM-1 had an Olympus name plate on the viewfinder front, while the new model gets an OM System replacement. 

In terms of what really makes this new model a new model, the list is short, but potentially significant:

  • The internal memory buffer has doubled.
  • An updated IS system improves the CIPA rating to 8.5 stops.
  • The camera is blackout free at slower frame rates.
  • The camera can now record in 14-bit raw in the high-resolution (sensor shift) mode.
  • A virtual graduated ND filter is available (computational, not mechanical), and regular ND can now be up to ND128.
  • The focusing system gains a full human recognition to its autofocus AI, and the focus system overall has been consolidated and improved.

Overall, the changes to the camera are welcome, but after two years with the original camera feel more like a firmware update than any real change (other than the extra memory). A significant update, to be sure, but still, some things I believe still need addressing aren't changed in this new camera.

bythom omds 150-600mm2

Along with the OM-1 II, OMDS also introduced two lenses, the 9-18mm f/4-5.6 II and the 150-600mm f/5-6.3. Both appear to be rebadging jobs. The wide angle zoom takes away the Olympus markings and replaces them with OM System ones as well as a newer external design ethos, but the optics appear to be the same as the original Olympus lens. The latter zoom is a bit of a controversial one in that the lens appears to be the Sigma full frame telephoto version in an m4/3 mount. The thicker OM filter layer on the top of the image sensor requires a slight tweak to how the focus is projected rearward, but otherwise this seems to be a Sigma optic being rebadged.

Commentary: When OM Digital Solutions took over the Olympus camera group I mentioned several issues with their naming decisions, and now you can see the result of that. If you accidentally type in in a Web browser instead of, well, you don't get the company making the camera. Heck, if you type in, you get a Go Daddy "get this domain" page; you need to actually type This is a bit of marketing 101 failure. 

The existing customers aren't going to have any real issues with this, as they've already re-pointed their Web browsers at the new pages, but for someone seeing or hearing the name for the first time, slight misses on what they type into a search engine aren't going to bring up the relevant pages. This is one of those things I call a "friction." In business, you want as few frictions as possible, as each tends to rob you of sales, and if you pile up enough of them, that could be enough to start a downward glide in your results.

Meanwhile, rebadging a Sigma optic means I need to come up with a new name. When Nikon did the same thing with some Tamron lenses back in the F-mount days, I began calling them Tamrikon. I guess now we have Sigmoms. (When I come up with these names, I first do a search to make sure that they're unique. Then it's fun to follow what happens next. You'll see that Tamrikon on Duck Duck Go brings up references first, then Internet fora posts, for instance. In other words, I can follow my word usage from my site to Web fora. A fun game for all. Well, okay, for me.)

Here's the problem with the Sigmoms just introduced: it's the same size and weight as the full frame version. In essence, OM Digital Solutions is saying this: we'll give you a 4:3 aspect 2x crop that's 20mp. Okay, but you'd get 26mp out of a Sony A7R Mark V with the same lens ;~). The question then becomes is the OM-1 body smaller and lighter than the A7R Mark V? Well, there's a 2 ounce (66g) advantage to the OM-1, but with that lens on the camera you're also at a minimum of 300mm effective. In other words, you get 300-1200mm at 20mp versus 150-900mm at 61 to 26mp. Oops. I'd rather have the Sony. I first warned about this problem back in 2003 with the introduction of the E-1: if the size/weight and capabilities are near identical, you don't want to be bringing the smaller sensor to the fight.  

#1 First Camera Announcement: Hasselblad

I wrote earlier that the run up to CP+ was going to be full of announcements. First out of the gate is something that at first glance looks very familiar:

bythom hasselblad 100c

Even though it's quite compact, that's really two separate pieces you're looking at: a thin 907x "camera plate" containing pretty much just a mount, coupled with the new CFV 100C back that has all of the control functions. (You can also use older Hasselblad "backs" with the CFV 100C body instead of the 907x plate, but you lose autofocus and end up with a far bigger product with those.)

The CFV 100C packs quite a bit of high-end capability into a really small unit that weighs less than two pounds (27.5 ounces, or 780g with battery and card, but not lens). If you purchase this combination you'll likely be using XCD lenses, of which we currently have fourteen. While I mentioned card—one CFexpress Type B slot—the CFV 100C has 1TB of built-in storage. Out back you have that tilting touchscreen, at 3.2" and 2.36m dots. As usual with the classic Hasselblad designs, there are add-on grips and (Nikon style) hotshoe adapters you can add. But modern features are present, too, including 10-bit HEIF support.

Price for the combo is US$8200.

Commentary: Hasselblad went through a "not sure what to do next" period that included rebranding some Sony cameras with odd body style changes before DJI acquired them and settled them back down into what they do best. 

Personally, I like this new camera better than even the X1D, as it returns to something that was valued in the studio (and to some degree, in the landscape photography world). That, of course, is not hiding the photographer behind the camera. In the studio with the old look-down finders, a Hasselblad user could stay in eye to eye contact with their subjects, only occasionally glancing down to check composition. If you use a camera with an eye level viewfinder in the studio, you have to take the camera from your eye and ready-to-snap position to engage your subject. 

In terms of landscape work, I also prefer composing on a larger screen than a small screen at my eye. There's something about looking at a larger surface further from your eye that's more akin to the way a photo will eventually be hung on a wall that I can't quite explain, but I noticed back when we got Live View on our DSLRs. Moreover, I photograph really low much of the time with nature and landscape work, so having a screen that tilts up is preferable to me laying on the ground to see how my composition looks. Coupled with how small the CFV 100C is and it's big 100mp capture, I'll bet I start seeing more and more of these in the field. 

Yearly Site Update

As usual each year around the holidays, I do a bit of maintenance and updating of my sites. It's taken me much longer than usual to get this done this time around, as the number of changes in the mirrorless market last year coupled with some inattention on my part made quite a few bits and pieces needing some loving attention. A quick summary of what's progressed so far:

  • The 2021 and 2022 news/views has been archived into a sub-folder. Pre-2021 news/views lives here. That's 12 years' worth of news that needed to be dealt with in a more permanent home that doesn't clutter the top menus.
  • The Articles section has been gone through, and I've updated comments and recommendations to be up to date. That includes the System Guides for the five major mounts, as well as my small travel camera recommendations.
  • The Cameras section has been updated, with new charts and information where needed. Some missing Z System reviews have been brought over from 
  • The Books section has been simplified, with the Z System books all now pointing over to the site where their information is maintained on a more regular basis.
  • About Sansmirror got a bit of editing and fixes.

Which leaves me with...

Lenses. I've got a lot of work to do to bring this section up to my standards. We've got a dozen years' worth of collected information, some of which is no longer accurate (e.g. lens no longer made, change in specifications/price, etc.). What I'm doing is going through all the autofocus lens databases and making them "current" one by one. Unfortunately, some of the lens makers have been "fiddling" with available lenses/mounts, changing prices with currency fluctuations, and in some cases, finally providing full details on a lens. So I've got a lot of work to do on these sections, and it will take me awhile to do it. My priorities in updating this section are: (1) camera maker lens data, (2) autofocus third party lens data, and (3) manual focus third party lens data. I also need to take another pass at the articles in the lens section. I'll let you know when all this work is complete. For now, I've updated the Canon RF, RF-S, Fujifilm GFX, Nikon Z (DX and FX) sections, and am currently working on the Fujifilm RF section. I'll probably tackle one section each week, but that's at least three months work.

Once I've completed getting most of the lens section up to snuff, I'll start adding new reviews to the site. 

State of the Mirrorless Market

Here at the start of 2024 we now have a full set of players, and a fairly full set of product from each. That started to become true in 2023, but now it's a reality. It's important to understand a few things if you're just entering the mirrorless world (and probably even if you're already in it). 

First up, is that the various makers have some divergent strategies now:

  • Canon — Canon is highly focused on market share, much as they were in DSLRs. Canon's financial fundamentals start to become problematic—owning, maintaining, and updating their own sensor fab, for instance—without that 50% market share they seek. 
  • Fujifilm — Fujifilm is mostly focused continuing their slow gain in market share in the APS-C arena, while keeping their GFX (medium format) cameras a tempting option for high pixel full frame users.
  • Leica — Leica continues the M, Q, SL iterations and tweaks that appeal to their high-end customers.
  • Nikon — Nikon is focused on bringing the highly acclaimed and successful Z9 technology downward in their FX lineup at the moment, and have had three hits in a row now doing that. The question everyone is asking is whether any of this will make it to DX lineup, too, and if so, when.
  • OMDS — OM Digital Solutions is the one company I don't have a good read on. They've tolerated a significant ILC market share decline while mostly rebranding the original Olympus gear they inherited. 
  • Panasonic — Panasonic has surprisingly resurrected their m4/3 line, bringing back products that had appeared to go off market. Meanwhile, their L-mount lineup seems to be chasing the same pot of gold at the end of the mid-level full frame as before. I've always felt that they needed more integration with the Pro Video side of the company, and now that these divisions have finally been merged, perhaps we'll see it.
  • Sigma — The Foveon sensor seems to be lost in fab space, leaving Sigma with just its oddball fp models. But let's face it, Sigma has always been an oddball with their cameras. They simply march to a different rap beat.
  • Sony — If you haven't already detected it, the video side of the Sony Imaging group is fully driving the car now. Alpha models seem more like "mailed in" efforts lately, but the video side keeps expanding and exploring. This has to be strategic: Sony is seeing video as more important in the future than still photography. 

Second is my usual proclamation: if you've been using Brand X in the film and DSLR era, there's really no clear reason to move to another brand in the mirrorless era. Canon and Nikon, in particular, have been relatively faithful in moving their long-established UX (user experience) into mirrorless. 

That said, the place where that logic starts to break down is with crop sensor cameras. Nikon has fumbled their DX lineup. Sony seems to suffer from a lack of imagination (and energy) in theirs. OMDS seems intent on saying "m4/3 is for the birds" (small, light, and lots of reach). Only Canon is continuing to be the rebel and powering on much as they did with DSLRs (see what I did there?) When Fujifilm re-entered the interchangeable lens market after a long DSLR hiatus, they did so pretty much targeting crop sensor, so they're not surprisingly the ones with the fullest, most interesting crop sensor lineup now. 

(Disclosure: I currently perform my professional work with Nikon FX cameras, the Z8 and Z9. When I want a smaller, lighter, casual approach to fool around with, I use a Fujifilm X-S20 at the moment. Why did I pick those cameras? For the reasons stated above: the full frame Nikons because that's the UX I know best, and the Fujifilm for APS-C because, well, Fujifilm seems to be the only one trying to build out fully competitive products, including lenses, in this space.) 

Way back in 2006 I wrote "if you can't create a good looking image at the maximum size the top desktop photo printer can produce, it isn't the camera that's the problem." Even though that maximum size has increased a bit—was 11x17" when I wrote that, now it's basically 13x19"—the same thing is even more true today. That's why understanding and mastering the UX for a camera is so important. You can take great photos with pretty much any mirrorless camera on the market today, but to do so means you have to understand how it works and make it work. 

It's easy to get caught up in the specifications. This site has hundreds of pages of camera and lens specifications. But I believe all those numbers and factoids are mostly meaningless now, except for specific tasks or requirements. If you have those specific needs, the camera that will cater to them will isolate out of the noise pretty darned fast with just a bit of looking.

Someone, somewhere is going to tell you that dynamic range or focus ability matters. Not really on any current camera. As I've proven before, they can pretty much all focus just fine once you master them, and it's going to be rare that you find a dynamic range that stops you from doing something (assuming, of course, that you know how to set exposure properly). I don't obsess about those things now. Well, okay, I do obsess about them, because I obsess about everything in my own work. But I mean in terms of recommending one camera over another to others, no, it's rare that specifications and performance issues come into play. 

We're probably at or near Peak Mirrorless here in 2024. Not necessarily peak in sales volume, but more in terms of breadth and depth of options available on the market. If there's something I want to do photographically, I'm pretty sure there's a mirrorless camera available today that will let me do that. That's a pretty remarkable statement, if you think about it. 

For me, 2024 will be more about extending my personal abilities, not finding a camera with more abilities. 

Some Don't Understand the Sony A9 Mark III

(Disclaimer: I haven't yet been able to do more than quickly handle an A9 Mark III, and that's probably all I'll be able to do until it becomes generally available later this year. However, for the purposes of this discussion, I don't need to have an extended session with the camera.)

Now that dpreview has given credence to all the measurebators' fears (lower dynamic range) and provoked even more misinformed discussion, it's time to adjust people's views.

Simply put, the Sony A9 Mark III buyer would not typically be all that worried about maximum dynamic range. Never was, never will be. 

The primary technology change in the A9 Mark III is the global shutter. Global shutters have basically three benefits at the expense of two drawbacks, all else equal:

#1 Benefit: No rolling shutter, LED banding, or display line mismatch effects.
#2 Benefit: Potentially higher bandwidth (higher frame rate).
#3 Benefit: Flash sync at any shutter speed.
#1 Drawback: The extra electronics involve decrease well capacity, which triggers a gain adjustment that increases base ISO.
#2 Drawback: The same changes basically lower dynamic range compared to a non-global shutter version, due to noise.

That's really it. For general purpose photography, the two drawbacks would make it unlikely that you'd buy an A9 Mark III. For particular use cases, particularly in sports and wildlife photography, the benefits might make it so that you do want an A9 Mark III.

Here's the thing: if I were a full-time working pro sports photographer running from venue to venue, that #1 benefit would easily outweigh the two drawbacks. That I'd also get that #2 benefit might come into play every once in awhile. The #1 drawback isn't really a drawback, as I'm rarely at base ISO for this type of work. The #2 drawback might come into play in a few situations (ironically, including when LED displays are backlighting the action on the field, so instead of a scrambled display I'd get a blown out display). 

Putting on my hat as a full time wildlife photographer, benefit #2 starts to become more interesting, though with small birds in flight I could see some benefit to #1 when it comes to wing tips. Unfortunately, the #2 drawback starts to come into play, particularly as a lot of my work these days happens in very low light (and no direct light) but high contrast conditions. 

I'm still trying to figure out just how much of a benefit #3 actually would be to anyone. Granted, flash sync at 1/200, as it is on the Nikon Z9, is too slow. I encounter plenty of situations where I need that to be higher. However, even being to sync at 1/500 would be enough, and I'm sure that's coming soon in a non-global shutter camera. (Actually, coming again. We had 1/500 flash sync during the early DSLR era with CCD image sensors.)

Dpreview's test results aren't surprising. As I wrote when the A9 Mark III was announced, this was definitely a technology play by Sony, and one that seemed timed and presented in a way that suggested more than it was. The A9 Mark III is going to have customers, for sure, but it's a fairly small subset of the market. Nikon's Z9 followed by the Z8 has taken quite a bit of wind out of Sony's sails (and sales), but I'm not sure the A9 Mark III really gets them to the mark in first place.

I wrote that we need to adjust some folk's views. That's very true with all that I see from the comments that are proliferating. 

For example, that dynamic range thing. Basically, we measure that from some "noise floor" to saturation. I've already noted that the extra electronics at the pixel level reduce the maximum saturation, so the noise floor starts to become very important. Almost everyone (including dpreview) that I see commenting about A9 Mark III noise tendencies seems to be doing it from "what I see." Have you tried measuring their samples? In particular, use a largish area on one of the ColorChecker patches and observe the standard deviation. Curiously, the Sony A6600 has a slightly lower standard deviation in every same ISO sample I took. But then again, that 24mp APS-C sensor in the A6600 was essentially Exmor state-of-the-art, so I don't find that surprising. 

The question is whether the A9 Mark III has enough dynamic range for its intended use(s). My answer in looking at others' results so far is, "yes if the image is properly exposed." All sports venues are lit, for instance. Sure, some of that lighting is low in value and has a fair amount of fall-off from the central point, but it's direct light. If you're accounting for the difference in images taken, say, in the far corners of a poorly lit soccer field versus the center field with your exposure, you should be fine with the A9 Mark III. About as fine as you'd be with the A9 Mark II, which I don't hear any of my pro friends complaining about. Moreover, there's the issue of frequency with some lighting, and the global shutter is going to deal with that, too.

The fact that a lot of pro sports output is JPEG means I'd be looking at how Sony tweaked BIONZ for the A9 Mark III, too. Judging from dpreview's examples, that seems to be fairly strong JPEG noise reduction with only modest edge softness at ISO 12800. Indeed, with those settings, the standard deviation is now lower than the A6600, and the A9 Mark III seems to be retaining edges a little better. I also look at the A9 Mark II results against those from the Mark III, and see similar things, so I'm just not seeing that the intended audience for this camera is likely going to be disappointed in it. 

The Week I Dread (But You Don't)

We’ve left the traditional summer selling season and are now starting the upcoming holiday one. One thing people are trying to figure out is which cameras are actually be offered by which companies, and what should they consider.

As you probably realize, I’m aggressive in labeling cameras “current” or “older.” If a new model of a camera is launched (e.g. Mark III), then the older model data (e.g. Mark II) gets moved to the older camera folders on this site. 

But a number of camera makers overbuild products during their product cycles, and thus leave those older products on the market. Some keep making older cameras but reduce their price just to have lower cost products on the market. Figuring out what is actually truly considered truly available and not just an unsold relic that your dealer still has sitting around. 

So to answer that question, I did some homework for you. By brand, here are the models the manufacturer is still selling. In the bullets, below, I also indicate what I believe to be the true “current” models in bold. I’ve added parenthetical comments about likely inventory status and any real holiday discount as I write this.


Canon is all about generating market share, so they often keep older models on the market at low prices.

  • EOS M (APS-C)
    • M50 Mark II (mostly just creator kits with a US$100-130 discount)
  • EOS RF-S (APS-C)
    • R100 (US$50 to US$100 off)
    • R50 (US$80 to US$100 off)
    • R10 (US$100 off)
    • R7 (US$100 to US$200 off)
  • EOS RF (full frame)
    • RP (US$100 off)
    • R3 (US$1000 off!)
    • R5 (US$500 off)
    • R5C (US$500 off)
    • R6 (US$300 off)
    • R6 Mark II (US$200 off)
    • R8 (US$200 off)

As if to further confuse you, the model number in the RF-S line goes down as the camera gets more advanced, but for full frame a higher model number indicates a less capable camera.

What would I consider buying this holiday? The R7 and R10 are interesting APS-C cameras, though they need more lens support. The R6 Mark II and R8 are both comfortably in the state-of-the-art mid-range for full frame enthusiasts.


Fujifilm for awhile was cycling new cameras constantly, but is currently slimming down their lineup while pushing more up-scale for awhile:

  • XF
    • X-H2S (US$200 off)
    • X-H2 (US$150 off)
    • X-Pro3 (has been discontinued, but may be still available)
    • X-T5
    • X-T4 (discontinued, but may be still available in places)
    • X-S10 (US$100 off)
    • X-S20
    • X-T30 II (official status unknown, back-ordered most everywhere)
  • GFX (medium format)
    • GFX50S II (US$800 off)
    • GFX100 II 
    • GFX100S (US$1600 off)

What would I consider buying in the Fujifilm line? Well, I actually bought one recently, and it was the X-S20, a really solid basic APS-C camera. I'm less enthused about the 40mp cameras, the X-H2S still doesn't equal a D500 in focus performance in the hands of a trained user, and I've just had and seen in others too many inconsistencies (bugs, sample variation, etc.) that tend to take away the gains of the medium format cameras over a full frame one.


Nikon is relatively easy. At this point the original Z6 and Z7 are officially gone, which leaves a lineup with all current models:

  • APS-C (DX)
    • Z30
    • Z50
    • Zfc
  • Full frame (FX)
    • Z5
    • Z6 II
    • Zf
    • Z7 II
    • Z8 
    • Z9

For Nikon holiday pricing, see this article on My recommendations are also on that site.

Micro 4/3rds

The two m4/3 companies are a mix of old and new:

  • OMDS
    • OM-1 (US$300 to US$400 off)
    • OM-5 (US$200 off)
    • OM-D E-M10 Mark IV (old Olympus product, likely on its way out)
  • Panasonic
    • BGH1
    • GH5 Mark II (US$300 off)
    • GH5S (US$300 off)
    • GH6 (US$500 off)
    • G100 (US$250 off)
    • G95 (US$300 off)
    • G85 (made a comeback, but low stock, US$150 off kit)
    • G9 (US$400 off)
    • G9 II 
    • G7 (US$150 off)

It was strange to see the Panasonic m4/3 lineup sort of resurrect. I'm not sure what happened there, but the lineup is once again full. If you're looking for performance in an m4/3 camera, you have two choices now: OM-1 or G9 II. The problem with the "I want small" choices that remain is that they're not state-of-the-art in many ways, including autofocus.

Panasonic Full Frame

  • S5 (US$800 off)
  • S5 II (US$300 off)
  • S5 IIX (US$100 off)

In some ways, the S5 II is the Oldsmobile of the full frame mid-range choices. A bit different, basically good, but seemingly not a choice most would make. It's a highly competent camera. It's holds up well against the Nikon Z6 II and Sony A7 Mark IV, and may even slot in between those two. At discount, it becomes a camera you should consider, particularly as the L-mount lens set keeps growing.


Sony’s is one of the worst offenders in keeping products around. In particular, several older A7 and A7R models are malingering on the market. Moreover, there’s a sneaky bit hidden in plain sight: the new models were increased in list price, thus making any sales markdowns on the older ones look even more tempting.

  • APS-C 
    • A6100 (US$200 off)
    • A6400 (US$150 off)
    • A6600 (US$200 off)
    • A6700 
  • Full Frame
    • A1
    • A7C
    • A7CR
    • A7 Mark II (US$600 off)
    • A7 Mark III (US$500 off)
    • A7 Mark IV (US$200 off)
    • A7 Mark IIIA (US$200 off)
    • A7R Mark IVA (US$200 off)
    • A7R Mark V (US$400 off)
    • A7S Mark III
    • A9 Mark II
    • A9 Mark III (new camera available at end of February)
  • Vlogging
    • ZV-E1 Mark II
    • ZV-E10 (US$100 off)

Personally, I'm less thrilled by Sony's lineup than I used to be. There's nothing wrong with most of them, but Sony now has the old Nikon problem of lineup inconsistency and too much model generation hangover. I can recommend an A1. I can recommend an A7 Mark IV. Once I've completed testing, I'd probably recommend the A6700. From there we get into handling choices (the C and E type models), and speciality use. The one thing I'd tend to recommend against is buying any of the non-bold models. They might have been state-of-the-art when they first appeared, but all of them are now well behind that. I'd need even more discount than Sony is given to consider them.

That’s basically the current camera situation. I’d characterize bold entries as “safe to buy,” while non-bold would be buying at the tail end of a product’s life cycle. There’s nothing wrong with buying at the tail end of the lifecycle, but you should be getting a significant discount for doing so, in my opinion.  

Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: | general:| Z System: | film SLR:

sansmirror: all text and original images © 2024 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2023 Thom Hogan
All Rights Reserved — the contents of this site, including but not limited to its text, illustrations, and concepts, 
may not be utilized, directly or indirectly, to inform, train, or improve any artificial intelligence program or system.