Where Mirrorless is Headed in 2019 by an author (Sans Mirror)

Mirrorless had a big year in 2018, with many full frame entrants (4, or 10% of all cameras introduced), plus some good energy on either side of that size from Fujifilm. Lenses came in droves for mirrorless this year. I count 27 significant mirrorless-only lenses introduced this year (plus things like the Sigma Art series in FE mount adds quite a few more). 2019 is likely to be more of the same: lots of new lenses now that Canon and Nikon have to get their mirrorless foundries up-to-speed to match Sony.

Clearly, all the camera makers—other than Pentax, who's still wandering around in the woods somewhere seeing if trees make noises when they fall—are going to be executing significantly in the mirrorless realm in the future. We're now clearly into the DSLR-to-mirrorless transition period. How long that transition will take depends upon how fast the camera makers move.

My predictions are:

The whole camera market is moving up-market — just like the iPhone X line. We’ll see more capable, but expensive mirrorless camera bodies and better quality lenses. We’ll pay more but we’ll get a better product.

The low-end consumer cameras are dead. Advancement in smartphone cameras with AI will put a nail in that coffin. The market will refocus on the advanced amateur -- amateur is defined as one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession -- and professional market.

We have cheap bicycles for people who like to ride on cool spring/autumn days and we have more expensive (and capable) bicycles for cycling enthusiasts who ride 50–60km (one way) on the weekend (just because they can).

I was looking forward to reviewing this camera but upon removing it from the camera bag and holding it in my hands I knew that I wouldn’t like it. It's TOO small. Using the tiny buttons and touchscreen controls while holding the camera is frustrating. I'm not a large man. I have small hands. Yet, I could barely use this camera. If it weren't for the $750 price tag I might think that Panasonic designed this camera for children. Wealthy children.

The 12-35mm Lumix lens was equally disappointing. It has no manual focus ring. I had no way to test the quality of the focus peaking feature. This is my fault. Lensrentals.com offers other µ4/3 lenses that do have a focus ring. But I suspect using manual focus while holding this tiny camera would be frustrating. Did I already mention, I think the camera is too small?

Panasonic Lumix GM1 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-23 F3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec at &ƒ/5.6

I spent almost 30 minutes online trying to figure out how to configure the Wi-Fi functions. Panasonic has three iOS apps in the iTunes store. At first, I couldn't figure out which one I needed until after reading a few online forums. But once I got the right app it took me a lot of attempts before my iPhone successfully connected to the camera. The software is slow. The performance was jerky.

Panasonic Lumix GM1 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-23 F3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec at &ƒ/5.6

I used the app to control the Lumix GM1 but after an hour I still didn't know how to shoot an image and wirelessly transfer to my iPhone or iMac. I had this figured out on the second day of the rental but by then I was so frustrated with the GM1 I didn’t feel like using it for anything except snapshots.

Panasonic Lumix GM1 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-23 F3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, ISO 200, 1/1250 sec at &ƒ/8.0

I had the whole weekend with the GM1 but my first feelings never went away. This camera is TOO small. I'm not sure why Panasonic made this. It feels too much like a point-n-shoot. On the upside though, the GM1 does capture high-quality images. The ones shown here were taken last Sunday while my son and I picked up our produce from the Honey Brook Farm CSA in Pennington.

Panasonic Lumix GM1 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-23 F3.5-5.6 @ 32mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec at &ƒ/5.6