In the full frame: the mirrorless market hots up

Camera tech

More sensors, more choices

Panasonic S1 mirrorless camera 3/4 view
Panasonic’s S1 is just one mirrorless camera model available in video and stills-optimised versions. Image: Panasonic

By offering two models, the mirrorless cameras makers can go after the pro stills DSLR market, without the penalties in low light performance and video quality that result from a higher pixel density and the need for downscaling.

There is another advantage: the lower-resolution models are also cheaper. So video professionals gain from better video features, as well as a lower-cost camera body.

So far, as well as Panasonic’s GH5, and video-oriented GH5s, film makers can choose between Panasonic’s S1 and S2, the Z6 or higher-resolution Z7 from Nikon, and Canon’s EOS R. Canon also offers the EOS RP, although this has more limited video capabilities. And, from Sony, full frame options include the A7Sii, A7Riii and the increasingly popular A7iii.

The low cost of mirrorless cameras coupled with full frame sensors and 4K video capabilities have been key to the shift away from DSLRs in pro video. This is likely to accelerate with the entrance of Nikon, Canon and Panasonic into the full frame mirrorless space.

“Canon is in a particularly strong position within the pro video market and gained significant credibility the significant uptake of the original ‘convergence’ models such as the 5D MKII and 5D MKIII. Canon’s EF mount lenses for DSLRs and Pro Camcorders are already compatible with its RF mount lenses via an adapter and will please existing Canon device owners. Canon also just announced its RF lens roadmap that includes six new lenses,” says Futuresource’s Gill.

“Similarly, Nikon has an FTZ lens mount adapter that allows compatibility of F-mount DSLR lenses on the new mirrorless system. Nikon’s partnership with Atomos provides a RAW video workflow and gives it an advantage in attempting to adopt pro video users.”

A strong lens range is essential for any camera system, and manufacturers naturally want to keep their existing users on board through adapters and backward compatibility. But for film makers and producers with no loyalty to an existing system, the new CSC cameras offer an attractive range of features and functionality.

Next: Video features