A great starting place for those interested in a Small, Lightweight, Mirrorless Camera System.
I've put together this page of resources that I felt would be helpful for those of you who are just getting started using a lightweight, mirrorless camera system. Veteran photographers will also find some nice gear recommendations as well. Below you'll find my favorite picks and suggestions on some nimble, lightweight gear that'll get you up and shooting, creating beautiful images, in no time!
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Nimble Capture: Mirrorless Cameras
I own this camera (along with my X-T1) and it is one of my favorite cameras to use. It’s small, lightweight and VERY capable, making it an ideal companion for everyday photography and traveling. I use this camera and the X-T1 for my local professional photography work. The X-T10’s 16MP APS-C sensor turns out great image quality, and I love the classic styling. The manual knobs and buttons makes for a FAST, intuitive shooting experience.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 2
I own this camera. One of my favorites. The E-M10 II may be small, but this revamped Micro Four Thirds offering from Olympus packs big features and improved ergonomics over its predecessor. This nimble camera provides SLR options in a take-anywhere package with image quality rivaling many APS-C offerings. I love this camera for it's discreet, lightweight yet powerful features.
- 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ advanced processing up to ISO 51.200
- Wide 425 phase detection AF points, Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens
- 11fps continuous shooting to 269 frames at 24.2MP w/ AE/AF tracking
- 4K movie w/ 2.4x oversampling4, full pixel readout, no pixel binning
Panasonic Lumix GX8
- 4K imaging performance in both video and exclusive 4K PHOTO
- In-body image stabilization
- Worry-free splash proof / dustproof rugged body
- Fast and precise auto focusing tracks the subject
- 20.3-megapixel sensor
- Over 20 Interchangeable lens options available
Gear Transport Solutions: Packs and Bags
- shoulder bag
- sling 1
- sling 2
Think Tank Photo: Trifecta Backpack
One of my favorite mirrorless camera gear carrying solutions! This bag allows you access to your camera gear FAST like a sling or shoulder back BUT it’s a backpack so you get the stability and security that comes along with that! Here’s how it works: Think Tank designed 2 side zipper access ports on the SIDES of the backpack. This is where your camera gear, lenses, etc. are stored. When a photo op suddenly presents itself, you slide one shoulder strap off, leave the other one on, swing the backpack around, unzip the side port and BAM you’ve got your hands on your camera, ready to shoot!
See my video review of this backpack HERE
Think Tank Photo: Retrospective Shoulder Bag
I love using this bag. Few things are more traditional than a shoulder slung camera bag. But to go full retro, you’ll need the worn and weathered look of Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective line of Shoulder Bags. This is a good looking "Indiana Jones" bag (you know you were thinking that). The Think Tank Retrospective bag is a perfect fit for the lightweight mirrorless shooter who wants to tastefully blend in while having the functionality of a well designed bag on the go.
See my video review of this shoulder bag HERE
Lowepro Passport Sling (Budget)
This is a great, lightweight sling / shoulder bag for mirrorless cameras. It doesn't look like a traditional camera bag which makes it nice and stealthy. It's shape and design will allow you to carry a bunch of stuff and even has a zipper that allows you to expand it to hold even more.
Think Tank Photo: Turnstyle 20 Sling
LOVE this sling bag. It carries nicely. It's stylish. It lets me get to my gear by spinning the bag around to my front without having to take it off or set it down. I can use it to change lenses and even support my elbows to assist with a steady shot. I really like the quick release buckle for an easy on and off.
Illumination: Flash / Speedlights
Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlight
I LOVE this flash. I have many of them. I use them all the time. You'll only need one unless you plan to do multi-strobe lighting setups. Why I love it: It's inexpensive. (Compare it to the Canon version here). They look almost identical and have approximately the same "power" (guide number). They have almost the same features. And this simple flash just works. It'll even do some things that the Canon won't (slave mode triggered by any strobe-burst from any camera with a built-in flash). These have built in wireless receivers (see the YN560-TX Controller) for easy "off camera" flash use. Works with most cameras with a hot-shoe.
Yongnuo YN560-TX Wireless Controller
This is a GREAT piece of photo gear. I LOVE this and ordered one right away. I use it all the time. It's a transmitter that works with the YN560 IV Flash. One of these will not only fire, but also CONTROLS the YN560 flash. That means I can setup my flashes for a multi strobe shoot and control each flash unit without having to walk up and adjust each one individually. I can remotely control both the power and the zoom of the flash right from my camera! Makes it easy to do off camera flash photography. SuperGroovy! Works with most cameras with a hot-shoe.
Here are a couple free resources for you. Video tutorials that I created to help you get started with Flash Photography!
Rogue Flash Bender: Light Modifier
This will modify the light coming from your flash. It is lightweight, nimble and versatile. It packs flat. Helps you control your light. You can use it to soften the light or redirect it light a snoot. Attaches pretty quickly and is very flexible and lightweight.
Mounted Stability: Tripods
Slik Sprint Pro II
It's 18.5 inches collapsed. Max height: 64 inches. 4 leg sections. Under 2 pounds. Has "speed-release" leg locks for easy setup. Padded leg wraps. Legs can be locked in several (wider) stances. A portion of the center column can be detached leaving a short column which will allow for the tripod to get down very low. Quick release mounting plate (which you can keep on your camera for quick on / off the tripod). When I want a light but versatile tripod, this is the one I grab and bring along.
Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom
A bit smaller than the collapsed Slik tripod (above), the flexible, bendy, prehensile and grippy legs of this octopus-like tripod allow you to bend and mold the legs to hold on to many supportive objects: tree branches, fence posts, stair railings, etc. Strong enough to hold an SLR camera (so no prob with a Mirrorless). Quick release, ballhead mount. Bubble level. Less than 10 inches tall. 8.5 ounces. Great if you want to go even lighter, but want versatility and enjoy bending things to grab onto other things.
Pedco Ultrapod II
Small. Versatile. Light. Remarkably sturdy hard plastic. This is SO small and easy to throw in your camera bag. You might forget you have it until you need it, then BAM. Nice. I've used this many times for low level, long exposure, night shots. You can also strap it to poles, trees, etc. as an added bonus. The plastic ballhead is remarkably effective. Mine is beat up (over 20 years old) and still works like champ.
The Platypod Pro is a 4mm thick rigid plate of aluminum measuring 3"x5". There is a 3/8 inch titanium screw which will accommodate most professional tripod ballheads. A second 1/4-inch bolt allows attachment to smaller ball-heads (which I use). This device does a surprisingly good job of holding up a camera. It'll support a DSLR, let alone a lightweight mirrorless camera. The kit includes a high-quality wallet case, 3 all-terrain spike screws, and a 1/4" to 3/4" female spigot adapter.
Induro Carbon Fiber
This is not a small tripod. It is not as light as my other tripods. It is not inexpensive. It is very well built and rock solid. If the situation arises where I don't mind the bulk AND I need the dependable, rock solid stability of a well made tripod, this is what I'll use. I love my Induro tripod. It's well made and built to last. I equip mine with a Manfrotto "Joystick" ball-head (see other tab)
Manfrotto Joystick Ball-Head
One of my favorite ball-heads. I use this on my Induro tripod. Here's why: I configured mine (pretty simple to do with an allen wrench) so that I operate it with my left hand. To use it, I grip it and squeeze the handle with my left hand while holding the camera, on the grip and shutter release button, with my right hand. Once I position the camera, I let go of the grip with my left hand and BOOM, it's locked in place. A plate screws into the bottom of your camera and makes for a quick on and off.
Davis & Sanford TR654C-36 Carbon Fiber
My current favorite tripod. A great combination of lightweight, nimble and stable. Dual control ball head with Arca-Swiss quick release plate, 8 layer Carbon Fiber Tubes, quick twist leg locks, 3 independent leg angles. Max height 65”. Folded 18.5”, 3.25 lbs.