When travelling and experiencing amazing places around the world, we want to capture those moments to remember for the rest of our lives and share them with friends and family back home. For a long time, travel photographers had to choose between the image quality and flexibility of a DSLR — they can be quite heavy and awkward to take on vacation — and a compact point-and-shoot camera, which often sacrificed flexibility for size and weight.
The advent of high-end mirrorless systems now provides uncompromising quality at a size that is easy to travel with. Here are some reasons you might want to take a mirrorless camera with you on your next big trip:
Smaller, lighter and thinner than a DSLR
High-end mirrorless cameras are built from the same high-quality materials that go into DSLRs but the camera bodies are usually significantly smaller (often by 25 per cent over comparable DSLR systems). The thinner, lighter systems are much easier to carry on long trips, while some even offer similar levels of weather sealing and protection from the elements as their DSLR counterparts.
Mirrorless cameras use newer developed mounts than DSLR cameras, which can result in smaller and lighter lenses that don’t compromise quality. Most mirrorless cameras also have adapters so that you can still use your older DSLR compatible lenses. For instance, the new Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 series of mirrorless cameras are approximately 25 per cent smaller, lighter and thinner than comparable DSLR cameras like Nikon’s D850. This makes it easier to pack and carry on those action-packed trips. However, it doesn’t compromise quality and still offers industry leading ISO capabilities for the 45.7 megapixels on the Z 7 and 24.5 megapixels on the Z 6. They also offer the same weather sealing you would expect from pro Nikon cameras. The new Z-mount is future-ready, providing exceptional optical performance on new lenses while remaining compatible with older F-mount lenses with the FTZ adapter.
Vibration Reduction on the Sensor
One of the biggest travel advantages of mirrorless cameras is having vibration reduction on the sensor. This enables you to drag the shutter to get movement in waterfalls and rivers but also get great shots in many lighting situations without the need of a tripod.
I find that even your everyday exposures are sharper because it dramatically reduces any camera shake, which can be more noticeable at high megapixels. These cameras make taking handheld stabilized video in bright light conditions easy, letting you shoot while looking through the electronic viewfinder.
The main difference between mirrorless systems and DSLRs is the absence of a mirror, which reflects light to the viewfinder and allows us to see the image. When the shutter is pressed on a DSLR, the shutter and mirror flip up, which allows light to hit the camera’s sensor. This produces the audible “click” when taking a picture and in some cases, that noise can be quite loud and disruptive (think about taking wildlife pictures or even inside a quiet building like a church).
Mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders which mimic what the lens sees and can enter completely silent modes, great for capturing performances and places where you don’t want the clicking sound of the shutter to be a disturbance. Some mirrorless cameras have both a physical and an electronic shutter, so you can get the best of both worlds. This is also great for time-lapse, where you can set up your camera and have it shoot silently over several hours.
Connectivity and customizability
Some modern mirrorless camera systems are compatible with mobile phone apps, allowing you to wirelessly connect your camera and phone. This connectivity provides a number of benefits while travelling, such as the ability to wirelessly control your camera, allowing you to set up the perfect shot with a tripod. It also helps when sharing pictures with friends and family back home, allowing you to see your pictures on your device and quickly share them on social media.
Most new mirrorless cameras touch screens and more customizable features than ever before. For example, some models feature switchable user settings that can be set up for different settings like landscape, portraits and in-camera HDR. This could be very useful when travelling for quickly switching between interior and exterior setups.
The electronic viewfinder on the mirrorless cameras are amazing because you get real-time feedback on your exposure changes, white balance and more along with customized overlaid information like virtual horizon or histogram all while shooting. All of this results in feeling more connected than ever to your camera, which speeds up shooting and helps you capture tomorrow with a higher level of excellence.
JUST THE FACTS
Bogner reviews Nikon’s Z-Series mirrorless camera:
I've been using the Nikon Z 7 since pre-production and for reasons I explain in the article, it has quickly become my favourite camera. Here are a few more reasons why it’s a great choice for travel photography.
Vibration reduction on the sensor: added stability allows you to get sharp images at 1/15 exposures handheld without a tripod. The Z 7 stabilizes video while looking through the electronic viewfinder, making it easy to hold and work in bright light.
SnapBridge: this smartphone app lets you use the Z-series wirelessly to control camera functions and download images. This lets you quickly share photos with friends through social media.
Lens compatibility: Nikon created the FTZ adapter, allowing previous Nikon lenses to be used with the new Z-series bodies. This opens up a vast library of compatible lenses and means you can use your favourites lens immediately.
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