Mirrorless: who is winning

I see a lot in the press and the general internet chatter that Nikon is playing catchup.

Leica SL2

So who is winning the game for full frame mirrorless autofocus bodies.

Well on specs just looking at bodies one would say Sony is leading. The highest megapixel count. They already have a large selection of lens from themselves and third parties. Out of the box the autofocus feels faster then the other manufactures.

The reality is that any camera today is good, I always rate cameras with how they feel in the hand, how quick can you change a setting, especially with the camera to the eye. This is where Nikon and Canon come to the fore. Both have excellent handling but each follows there own preferences; a Canon user will prefer the Canon and the Nikon user will prefer the Nikon.

The handling on the Panasonic is less ergonomic than the big two but still beats the Sony, but in handling terms I would give Leica the points as best in this department. Leica is simple and straightforward.

Feature wise on the bodies, actually there’s not much in it, despite what you will hear, there are all quite close and with sensors with these megapixel counts the 16 MP lead the Sony has over the Canon means very little.

So on the bodies, feature set is about even, Sony have a slight lead on the megapixel front, but in handling its Leica, Nikon and Canon at the top. Fuji and Panasonic / Olympus take the middle ground with Sony bring up the rear.

Lets now look at lens. Sony has been in the mirrorless game the longest and there are plenty of lens to pick from. If cost is not an option the Leica L mount glass is simply in another league. The native Nikon Z glass, especially the S designation is simply outstanding and comes in at a price below that of the equivalent Canon or Sony glass.

For an all round camera I would say the Nikon Z range and glass takes the win. If price is not an option and the glass is key, pick the L system glass and pair it with the Leica or Panasonic. If you need the megapixels pick the Sony and pair it with their G series glass or Zeiss glass but again that’s putting it in Leica L glass prices. In recent tests the Nikon Z glass with the S designation topped many of the Zeiss glass lens.

So who in my opinion is winning? Glass its Leica then Nikon, body performance out of the box Sony, then Canon and Nikon ignoring ergonomics, but dive into the settings and customise, its a close call between Canon and Nikon. Trying to use the cameras its Leica, with Canon and Nikon joint second. As a Nikon fan ignoring cost its Leica who is top for pure usability and image quality, but you have to weigh in the fact that third party companies like Profoto are going to support Canon and Nikon first. I’ll give Canon and Nikon a joint lead on overall system, the Sony megapixel lead and their poor ergonomics is not enough.

I see on the internet and especially YouTube’s batting against Nikon hard. Those first models that hit the press were pre-production models, but any issues are now over, as a system camera its Canon with Nikon a hair behind. Out of the box without customising a Sony will focus faster but dive into the settings and Nikon will beat it. I would say if you’re a Nikon user pick Nikon, a Canon user pick Canon. If you are not already in a system with a collection of glass, then pick Nikon, the glass is better for the cost than the others.

So for the win in overall system terms, and value for money and performance, I give Nikon the win, Canon a hair breadths behind, the Canon body may be a fraction better but the better Nikon glass at lower cost gives the win to Nikon, especial with the over heating issues Canon has had.

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