Mirrorless cameras are transforming video production in a way the industry has not seen since Canon launched its 5D Mk II, just over 10 years ago.
Canon’s full-frame DSLR changed the practicalities and economics of video. The camera brought the full-frame look and interchangeable lenses of high-end cinema equipment to film makers, at a lower cost than most camcorders.
Since then, the market has shifted. Canon introduced its Cinema EOS range of dedicated, Super35mm video cameras. But Panasonic and Sony took a different route, developing mirrorless camera systems with increasingly effective video functions.
Panasonic adopted the Micro Four Thirds system with its GH range of cameras. Sony, for its part, opted for the full-frame, 35mm format. Sony’s a7s was the first video-optimised, full-frame mirrorless compact systems camera. The A7s brings together a full-frame 35mm sensor with a highly adaptable lens mount that’s simply not possible on a DSLR.
The a7s is still available, and its low-light performance and small weight has won it plenty of friends on productions. But Sony now faces stiff competition from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic: all three companies now make full-frame mirrorless cameras, aimed at least in part at the professional video market.
Next: Mirroring market share