Mirrorless or DSLR?  That is the question.  With a myriad of mirrorless options available many photographers are beginning to wonder if it’s time to make a change.  Loweprofessional Kt Miller recently decided to take the mirrorless plunge and shared her experience with us.  Enjoy!

Photo by Kt Miller

Ive been pondering the idea for years. The field of photography I specialize inski photographyhas unique requirements and demands on equipment; it must be durable, it must be able to repel moisture, it needs to be fairly mobile and easy to put in a backpack, and it needs to be able to freeze very fast action while producing sharp images.

Photo by Kt Miller

Beyond general ski photography, my niche is even more specific. I specialize in human-powered backcountry ski photography, and in many ways I am just as much a skier as I am a photographer. So, for me, weight is a BIG deal. We will often ski 10+ miles and up to or even beyond 6,000 vertical feet (human powered) day after day. As you can imagine every pound counts.

Photo by Kt Miller

So, Ive been wanting to go mirrorless to save weight, but was waiting for reviews on cameras that showed an improvement in auto-focus tracking and overall speed. There are now a few options available (the Olympus OM-D-E-M1ii being the breaking point for me) that supposedly have very fast auto focus tracking and extremely high shutter speeds. So I went for it. Ive been shooting my new Olympus now for about two weeks.

Photo by Kt Miller

My new mirrorless rig is about half the weight of my DSLR (significant!). The quality is quite high, and its FUN to shoot. It has a bit of an old 35mm feel to it. It just feels nice. Im far from being able to give it a fair comparison to my DSLR as far as quality. My initial impressions are that it isnt quite on par, but its good enough. The files are a bit smaller, its very sharp, its auto tracking focus is quite good, the speed is more than sufficient (Ive been fondly calling rapid fire mode, the machine gun mode), and Ive had to work on color more in post. But with some more fine-tuning, it very well might meet the mark. Last night I was equating it to a horse. Theres no denying Im riding a smaller steed, but the capabilities of the animal are yet to be tested and provenand sometimes its the small and agile guy that rises to the front of the pack.

Photo by Kt Miller

I do, however, believe that smaller and lighter is the future (with ski equipment too). And I can tell you that I dont think my DSLR will be making the cut for many more ski outings. The weight savings is just too significant.

Photo by Kt Miller

I was told by a mentor once that, The best photographer is the one who goes to the craziest places.The camera is just a tool. The best pictures are the ones you take. And as I may carry my new camera to places where the old one wouldnt make the cut (too heavy, too bulky to have out front while skiing a steep couloir), perhaps this new rig will be a better tool.

Right now Im using a LowePro Toploader Zoom 45 AW for the new rig. Excited to figure out what other bags will work best with this new tool!

Jessica Medina

About Jessica Medina

Jessica Medina is the WW Marketing Communications Manager for Lowepro. You can reach her at jmedina@daymen.com