In the full frame: the mirrorless market hots up

Camera tech

Wider view: full frame cameras offer a perspective once found only on high-end cine kit

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.

Canon's EOS R. Image: Canon
Canon’s EOS R. Image: Canon

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