June 22


Mirrorless Cameras and the Legacy of Photography

By Dan

June 22, 2015


Last week, I went out shooting with my friend Ryan Greeff, who lives here in Anchorage. He also likes to photograph outdoor adventure subjects and sports like mountain biking. He’s only been shooting for a few years, but he’s got a great eye and as much enthusiasm for photography as anyone.

I first met Ryan a couple years ago when we were both shooting a cyclocross race. He drew my eye because he had the same orange Lowepro Photo Sport 200 pack that I often use, and over the past couple of years, we’ve enjoyed talking about photography whenever we get together. And although he shoots simply for fun and not money, Ryan doesn’t seem love photography any less than I do. I feel that’s the case with just about every enthusiastic photographer out there. We all do it because we love the craft.


Anyway, one evening last week, I flew us out to the Knik Glacier in my little yellow Cessna, where we spend the tail end of the day hopping around on the icebergs and shooting photos out in this incredible, rugged environment. In short, just two dudes with cameras exploring photography, just for the sake of fun and creative experimentation.

I had my new Fuji X-T10, which is an amazing little camera (read my full review here) he had his new Olympus OM-D EM-1, which he recently upgraded to from the Nikon D90. (Olympus just released their brand new OM-D EM-5 Mark II as well.) In many ways, the Fuji X and Olympus OM-D series cameras are so similar, and so it was cool to check out each other’s gear, compare features and share creative and technical ideas.

Although I’ve spent my entire photography life shooting Nikon and Fuji, I’ve always thought very highly of Olympus, and I’m impressed by their mirrorless cameras.

In my mind, Both Fuji and Olympus are running on the same track- they both are well-established camera companies who have a long legacy with traditional photography, and they’ve both transitioned very well from the film era into the digital age with capable, high performing cameras that retain this legacy and yet continue to inspire with modern technology and a host of creative features.

Both have worked hard to retain a traditional look and feel. However, this is not just a retro-marketing thing. Camera design has evolved over many decades, and some of these designs and features have been retained for a reason- they work and they make sense, both ergonomically and mechanically.

Although mirrorless cameras are largely software based inside, the design of these cameras is still based on fundamental mechanical principles that were established decades ago by companies like Zeiss, Contax, Asahiflex, Praktica, and of course, Leica, Nikon and even Kodak.

The same can be said for DSLRs. Although they’re starting to lose some ground to mirrorless cameras, they’re still solid, well designed photographic tools that can help you explore your creativity in endless ways.

It’s a very exciting time to be a photographer right now, and no matter what camera you’re using, whether it’s a Fuji, Olympus, Sony, Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, etc…

So if you came from film, or if your photography life has existed entirely in the digital age, you’re holding a great deal of history in your hands and you’re part of a wonderful legacy that continues to allow for a world of fun and personal expression.

Enjoy it. And Enjoy summer. And check out Ryan’s Instagram feed.

Flying in the #littleyellowcessna with pilot and photographer Dan Bailey. @danbaileyphoto

A photo posted by Ryan Greeff (@akgreeff) on


A photo posted by Ryan Greeff (@akgreeff) on

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About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 25+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

  • Hi Dan

    Congrats on the new book.

    I’ve been following your blog off and on for some time now but I’ve not caught up on your recent postings. I have a question re the X-T10: Is there any reason why you would pick the X-T10 over the X-T1 for adventure/outdoor sports photography? Apologies if this point has been covered in a previous post, but as I said, I’ve not caught up on your recent posts.


  • Hi Joe- thanks for your comments. The best reason to pick the X-T10 over the X-T1 is for weight. If you’re looking for an ultra lightweight, yet capable camera for travel or the backcountry, the X-T1 does almost everything the X-T1 does, in a smaller, lighter body.

    While there are a few design/knob/menu differences, in my mind, the only major performance differences between the two are that the X-T10 is not weather sealed, and it has a smaller internal memory, which means in RAW, it can only fire about 6-8 frames on CH before stuttering (10-12 in JPEG), whereas the X-T1 will fire 30+ frames in RAW before slowing down. You can still shoot action with the 10, just can’t spray and pray as much or shoot long action sequences as you can with the 1. Also, the X-T10’s EVF is slightly smaller, but it’s the same resolution, so it still looks great when you look through the viewfinder.

    Under the hood, it’s the same sensor, image processor and AF system, so you’re getting the same image quality and AF tracking performance. If you don’t need weather sealing (I’ve used my X-T10 in light rain with no issues), and you don’t shoot tons of super fast action, then I’d consider the X-T10. It may come down to buffer size: Adventure/outdoor camera- X-T10. Hardcore sports/action camera, or if you have big hands – X-T1.

    Hope that helps.

  • My first camera was a Canon AE1, grteeast camera, technologically and ergonomically. So when at first saw this one, i had to rub my eyes because it felt like I was dreaming. Those who owned one can recognize the feeling one felt having this camera in your hands as you bring it close to your eye and prepare your photo, a feeling that scapes words. And here is just like a phoenix coming out of the ashes: simply gorgeous. Canon AE 1 had a very advance focus system which thanks to it, I discovered that I suffer from Keratoconus, I had to quit photography until the recent coming of digital technology. Keep my address and contact me when pre-orders are accepted. Masterful and well crafted design.

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