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Friday Fun: Choose a Mirrorless Camera

We've got four of the latest flagship compact system cameras in the office at the moment.

Which one would you choose to buy, and why? Let us know in the Comments section.

Published: Friday, January 31, 2014

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Reader Comments

  1. - Not the Olympus -> Bad movie
    - Not the Fuji -> No Flash
    - Not the Sony -> No Flash
    - Probably the Panasonic

    X-T1 sounds very promising. I think the future will definitively be sensor with phase sensor. But lenses price seems to take tendency to cost a lots (and just a few are available for the moment).

    I would wait for something good and fast with fast lenses (35mm equiv. ~100-300 ~f2.8) with good video and an incorporated flash at a good price :-).

    Eric Ouellet at 03:11pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  2. The A7 takes the price!

    rolli at 03:12pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  3. I would choose the X-T1 - best IQ (besides A7r).

    Already have a D800 and the A7r will be as hard to get non-blurred images with unless you are very careful.

    But otherwise there is no doubt that the A7r is king of IQ.

    Anders at 03:16pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  4. Fujifilm, absolutely. APS-C. Sony: bad IQ. No alternatives.

    Vesa Vauhkonen at 03:17pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  5. I purchased the Panasonic GX7 new with the 14x42mm
    kit lens for $800. Then got the Panasonic 45x150mm
    for $180. I am getting great photos. I think that
    this camera + lenses would be great for 80% to 90% of photographers at half the price of the others. It
    is quick and accurate and will do more much than I
    require.
    John

    JD Clark at 03:25pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  6. If someone was giving them away to me, I'd probably go wih the A7R but since I already have m43 gear, if I was buying, I'd go with the EM1 or GX7.

    Ajendus at 03:30pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  7. Choosing a camera is about trade-offs and bias, admit it. Although I prefer a camera with a flash albeit tiny, flash is far less important than it was in film days, so I would not penalize for an external flash. The full frame Sony is tempting until you look at how expensive and few the bulky lenses are. Expense and size do play their parts. What's the rationale. If you are not looking for small, with no price advantage, why go mirrorless at all? All four of these cameras have viewfinders, yay! I hate being outside in the sunshine without a viewfinder. Hmm. The game is small. Small-enough comes Tuesday. Exit the Fuji until Tuesday. The Sony in the Olympus is an excellent sensor. The Panasonic sensor is a tad less marvy, though far superior to last year's. It really comes down to lenses. Wouldn't it be nice if one [small] bag of lenses could walk out the door with either of two cameras? Today, I would go for the Panasonic if I was starting anew, and then spring for the EM-1 later. On the smaller camera, I would start with the M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 prime as well. What a great combination!

    Markus at 03:47pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  8. Sony for sure. Best IQ.

    Dave at 03:47pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  9. I guess I would choose none. They all require interchangeable lens, rather than a fixed and prime lens, which increases the challenge to be creative and reduces the reliance on multiple, distracting options.

    Richard at 03:53pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  10. Fuji FTW !! Great sensor size, pretty good lens choices, amazing IQ..

    Used to have a M4/3 camera (E-M5)...sold it...

    LlocQ at 03:55pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  11. The Fuji X-T1. It looks great, handles best with the dedicated knobs for aperture, shutter speed and ISO, best built quality, weather proof, and the biggest viewfinder.

    yip at 04:02pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  12. Picked up a floor sample Sony Alpha 3000 missing only the strap and box for $180.00. Works perfectly with no smudges on sensor or scratches on lens. Try topping that for "Bang for the Buck"

    Warren Lyons at 04:04pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  13. As a Panny user with various glass...
    GX7- redundant to have two tilty screens, should have had the fully articulated screen or fixed monitor.
    AR7- poor lens selection and FF just more than I'd ever need.
    Omd- very nice but high price, poor menu.
    XT-1 and Omd could have had popup flash for quick fill.
    XT-1- My choice for looks, size, value and especially jpegs and glass.

    earl at 04:06pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  14. I would choose the GX7, because I've always wanted a camera that doesn't look like a conventional (D)SLR but offers the same possibilities in terms of system accessories (lenses, flash units, etc.) and functionality. The GX7 is the perfect camera to me, as its autofocus is performant enough for my needs, its EVF is tiltable (I really like some low shooting angles), it has an exposure preview function and a wireless flash feature. I hope I'll be able to buy this really cool camera very soon (hopefully this year) and am looking forward to make some awesome pictures with it — along with the adequate lenses I plan to acquire succeedingly (Olympus 9-18mm, Olympus 40-150/f2.8 and some macro lens)...

    Mumbly at 04:12pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  15. XT1 without a doubt.

    ct529 at 04:21pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  16. I'd be torn between the A7r and the X-T1. The head says the Sony, the heart says the Fuji. I just have a sneaking suspicion I'd enjoy shooting the Fuji more. (I own a Fuji X100s and a Sony RX100, and the RX100 just doesn't make me want to take pictures for some reason.)

    Alex at 04:23pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  17. If people pick anything other than the A7 / A7R then they are insane

    Grey at 04:33pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  18. A weeks ago I had say Oly... but now Fuji... no dubt

    Alfredo at 04:50pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  19. 1st Fuji - great build and performance from DX sized sensor in very compact body. Backed up by brilliant lenses and customer supporting company.
    2nd Olympus - very close to Fuji in all respects, except possibly in overall picture quality, where 4/3 sensor probably loses out to larger DX sensor
    3rd Sony - great concept currently let down by lack of compatible lenses and apparent scatter gun approach to marketing strategy.
    4th Panasonic - don't currently know enough about this camera, but based upon other products from Panasonic can't match innovation and quality of other 4/3rd sensor cameras made by Olympus.
    If I was starting from scratch would consider either 1 or 2 above, as an alternative to my D7100, although I would miss the fast auto focusing and ovf.

    Patou at 04:58pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  20. Sony A7/A7R, never look on other brand, reason is quite simple, I was and still using Minolta SR-1S and own an SLT with several lenses and all full frame capable so I only need an adapter for E-mount.

    Kurnia at 05:16pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  21. I've got the Sony A7 and I wouldn't have any of the others. I've been through m4/3 but I would need to start again with lenses. I have Fujifilm X-E1 and X-E2 and I would not get the X-T1 primarily because the ISO selector is in the wrong place and has a lock on it and this would drive me mad. Besides I don't like the look of it and it has the same guts as the X-e2. If the X-E2 comes down in price I might trade in my X-E1 for another X-E2 which for me is the perfect camera but the Sony A7 is wonderful for my manual lenses.

    Nickspur at 05:52pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  22. Fuji by far. Great IQ, great lenses and fantastic, intuitive ergonomics.

    John Franco at 06:06pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  23. I would buy the Fuji.

    It looks really nice, like my Contax RTSIII.
    The lenses are excellent.
    I like fuji colour (having owned the S5 Pro, X100 and XF-1).

    That's my criteria in a nutshell.

    Chris at 06:10pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  24. a7r. low noise and legacy glass support killer features for me.

    jason at 06:14pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  25. I prefer the Fuji XT1, cannot resist the temptation, so I have made pre-order already. I have the X Pro1 already, IQ is incredible, I have the D600 too, hard to find big IQ between the D600 & X Pro1.

    Chris at 06:22pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  26. I think they are all superb cameras in there own right, we are fortunate to live at a time where there are few poor cameras. I think I would choose the Olympus because of the range of lenses and features makes it the most rounded and versatile system.

    Floyd Summerhayes at 06:44pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  27. A7 all the way! can't beat full-frame.

    mjw at 07:30pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  28. Well, I have the E-M1 :)

    Andreas Manessinger at 08:39pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  29. All of them are excellent. Since I already have Zuiko lenses and I like the reliability of Olympus cameras, I'll take the OMD EM1. The EM5's IQ has never disappointed me. I'm sure the EM1's improved ergonomics and rugged build would be a welcome upgrade.

    Edwaste at 08:51pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  30. Fact is I had the E-M5 and before that the Nikon D300 and the E-P2. While the D300 already was "good enough", the E-P2 was not. The E-M5 in turn was at least on par with the D300 or slightly better, but feature-wise and in terms of size/weight it was a big improvement. The E-M1 does not add much image quality, but the EVF is incredibly good, ergonomics are better and ... well, you just have to hold it :)

    When I made the decision for MFT, Fuji had all sorts of problems, for instance with AF, and the lens lineup was meager and expensive. Today I'd probably consider the Fuji, though I guess because of size/weight of the lenses I'd still decide for the E-M1. And don't forget: the E-M1 is the pinnacle of an entirely mature line of cameras. There is nothing that I miss, and what is there is flawless. It's the most perfect camera that I've ever seen.

    Andreas Manessinger at 09:02pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  31. I bought GX7 for a while ago and are just so happy with it, so my choice is clear ......

    Jess Demant at 09:10pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  32. I have an EM-5 that gets fine results with an old Pany 14-45 (best of the kit lenses), but I lust for the higher ISO capability of the a7r as well as the fantastic sensor performance. Almost all my keeper shots have been between 28 and 80mm, so the new Sony 24-70 should fit the bill nicely for the landscapes I shoot. I will keep my Oly equipment for its versatility, but the a7r will help me take things to the next level.

    Arnold Miller at 10:02pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  33. Fuji XT 1

    Vivian at 10:03pm on Friday, January 31, 2014

  34. XT1 or EM1 cos Sony FF lens choice. Probably EM1 cos of Oly/Pany lens choice.

    Steve at 02:34am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  35. Fuji X-T1 for me. Love the controls, best EVF, design, IQ and good lenses.

    But they're all nice cameras.

    a guy at 04:41am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  36. fuji...iq

    indysteve at 05:00am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  37. Fuji, without a doubt. A GX-7 as a light carry around camera with some nice primes.

    alpcns at 07:43am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  38. have the GX7 since oct. 2013. like small size especially when used with 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. this lens is unbelievable for its versatility and sharpness. possibly the most under recognized lens out there, makes an powerful combination with the GX7 body and its not expensive compared to other top quality lenses.

    zenon . zen . billings at 08:06am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  39. I have GH3 and E-M1 so this is easy, for still shots: Olympus E-M1. Best lens option, best stabiliser and best look (to me at least). I like Sony body but down side is all good lens are big and heavy. I will never buy a Fuji because it's never giving me the right feeling, even though the image quality is good.

    Jim at 11:46am on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  40. I have the E-M1, but just preordered the Fuji.

    MY at 04:09pm on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  41. the panasonic, because is the smallest

    wyoming at 05:19pm on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  42. The best choice is the Panasonic GX7!

    Ribo Raicevic at 05:39pm on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  43. For the size advantage (sorry Sony), IQ, great viewfinder and choice of lens, Olympus E-M1

    BM at 07:31pm on Saturday, February 01, 2014

  44. I want the fuji cause it's gonna be camera of year '14 by miles unless A8 comes w/ibis.

    sony user at 03:56am on Sunday, February 02, 2014

  45. Fuji XT1.
    Hands down the best choice for serious photographer.
    Sony would be the second distant choice but it doesn't come close when it boils down to ergonomics, vibrancy of the sensor, lens selection and ... duh... price.
    Everything else shouldn't even be on the contender list.

    ML Photo at 03:05pm on Sunday, February 02, 2014

  46. The E-M1 for me. I've been to a few different sites and used various comparometers, and honestly, if you're shooting at ISO 1600 or lower, there's very little difference between these cameras except for DOF. They all take great pictures.

    KK at 07:06pm on Sunday, February 02, 2014

  47. All of them are great! It is up for the users which mirrorless camera they prefer. I love the The Nikon 1 AW1 though. I am always in the water and I want to shoot while snorkeling, rafting, skiing, or just splashing about in the water. So, this is great for my water activity.

    DSLR Cameras Review at 06:03am on Monday, February 03, 2014

  48. Fortunately I held them all in my hands last days...

    For me it would be definetely the E-M1 for some reasons.
    * Amount of lenses you can choose from
    * more accessory
    * good In-body SR
    * dust and splash proof
    * external control-layout and
    * high degree of customization
    * fast AF

    All of them have good sensors, are built sturdily and have at least good EVFs if not class leading ones. But the differences are off delivering pure image quality. I always look for lenses which suit me best in capturing portraits like (FF equivalents) 35, 50, 85, 135mm and maybe some zooms like 24-70 and a long zoom for some seldom needs. All of them I can get from the mFT-system: 17/1.8, 25/1.4 (soon also as 25/1.8 available), 45/1.8, 75/1.8, 12-40/2.8 and 75-300 or 40-150. They maybe don't match exactly the equivalent focal lengths but nearly do so and they are all of good quality. The only teardown is the 4:3 ratio. I like it a lot but you can't let them print everywhere in the size you want. 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 is much more common (unfortunately).

    Why I do not even think of the others:
    Fuji:
    * AF
    * handling (working with wheels and buttons on that camera is really no joy)
    * lens selection (at least these days)

    Sony:
    * lens selection
    * AF
    * price

    GX7:
    * not that good EVF
    * bad implemented IBIS
    * tiny bit too small for serious work (gripwise)

    So far!
    Paul

    Paul at 08:27am on Monday, February 03, 2014

  49. The Fuji without a moments hesitation. I already use XPro1's as part of my wedding kit. Not having a flash is a small setback, but is mitigated by the camera's low light performance. Besides, I normally use off the camera flash if i need it anyway, so fire it from a radio trigger on the hotshoe. The XPro is a brilliant piece of kit, If the new one is as good and weatherproof, it's the winner for me hands down.

    Mark Hillyer at 09:52am on Monday, February 03, 2014

  50. From the time I got my Sony A7 with the kit 28-70 there is nothing else for me. I am the happiest man in the world. I do travel and architectural photography for demanding clients, and have the usual arsenal of Nikons D800 and D600 and Canon 5DIII. Those are fine but gathering dust in my closet. Those cameras are clumsy compared, and have designs that belong to another era. The lightness and ergonomics of the A7 are fantastic. I feel more productive with the far easier handling of it. The shots are unbelievably sharp. The colors are right on, indoors and out (Fuji skies come out cyan, not the perfect color of Sony). The proof of the pudding is that my clients are happy with the shots and keep me traveling with new assignments. I am definitely getting the A7r when the right lenses for it appear.

    Jaime at 10:42am on Monday, February 03, 2014

  51. Just went through this, and actually bought the A7R.

    It has a small selection of lenses, but they are absolute crackers. Just need a good compact wide angle and I'm done.

    The Fuji and Olympus would have given me equivalent quality to my (now traded-in 5DMkII), but the Sony & Zeiss combo is a huge step up.

    It's an adjustment after many years of Canon ownership, but the prints are astonishing.

    Craig Arnold at 11:04am on Monday, February 03, 2014

  52. It baffles me why Sony, Olympus and Fuji have put a pentaprism housing atop their cameras when there is no pentaprism.

    Surely the whole point of mirror-less cameras is to get rid of the mirror and pentaprism to make them less bulky than dSLRs?

    So if these are the only cameras on offer in this Friday Fun, I guess it would have to be the Panasonic.

    Anaxagoras at 01:34pm on Monday, February 03, 2014

  53. SONY A7

    great value for FF camera with fantastic dynamic range and ISO + I can use heaps of old legacy lenses without problems!
    Lovin' it

    radissimo at 01:48pm on Monday, February 03, 2014

  54. Either the Olympus or the Fuji. Olympus for 5-axis stabiliser and great choice of really compact lenses, Fuji for IQ and greater depth of field options. Difficult one to call.
    The Panasonic looks a bit cheap and toy-like alongside the others (unfair I know), and the Sony is just too much for my needs and requires a tripod to get the best out of it.

    Androo at 02:27pm on Monday, February 03, 2014

  55. The Sony is too small and light relative to its lenses, has too small a battery and a poor selection of lenses at present. The Panasonic is not weather and dust sealed. The Fuji looks good, but only has one weather sealed lens at present. The Olympus is the most complete camera and sysyem right now of the four.

    Liam O'Donohue at 11:56pm on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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