Recent Nikon and Canon Mirrorless Announcements–Anything Important for Real Estate Photographers?

September 13th, 2018

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching the announcements and reviews of the Nikon Z and Canon EOS R mirrorless to see if there was anything in the announcements that may be important to real estate photographers.

I don’t think there was! I think a primary consideration for someone just getting in the real estate photography business is to look for gear that is good for both stills and video because of the increasing importance of video in real estate marketing. My summary of the announcement is as follows:

  1. The Nikon Z mirrorless effectively seems to be a mirrorless D750.
  2. The Canon EOS R is just a mirrorless 5DMkIV. The EOS R does have an articulating screen but that’s not a must for real estate.
  3. There doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to even consider the upper-end announcements for real estate photography.
  4. The Sony A7III appears to be a better option for real estate than either the Nikon Z or the Canon EOS R.

So these announcements get Nikon and Canon in the mirrorless game but they both are still behind Sony; not a big surprise.

On Wednesday, 9/12/18, I watched the Apple iPhone announcements and was impressed by the quality of the iPhone Xs 4K video quality. It looks to me like the iPhone Xs 4K video is higher quality than both the Canon EOS R or Nikon Z 4K video quality. Tony and Chelsey Northrup talk about this same issue. I think Canon and Nikon are ignoring what’s going on with Smartphones at their peril.

What do you think of the announcements?

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11 Responses to “Recent Nikon and Canon Mirrorless Announcements–Anything Important for Real Estate Photographers?”

  • My take on this is they are both playing catchup as Sony grows stronger. Not that these are bad systems but their market is not Sony users. Their primary market is their own users.

    Now the problem with their “own user” market is that same market is eroding as the photographers in the whole market are getting younger. As you pointed out SMART PHONE CAMERAS! They take great photos and video and are accepted as the platform of preference for the younger crowd (new photographers). Todays young enthusiasts are captivated by subject matter and instant feedback not the platform. Any other additional equipment does not fit their lifestyle. These are systems and are bulky and expensive and a pain when this group compares them to a phone which is their only experience in cameras. That is the new baseline.

    That may be the same problem with the Sony base but Sony has Nikon and Cannon users to feed on. Sony’s current mirrorless platform is superior to the Nikon and Cannon recent entries so it is doubtful that the Sony base will move. The Nikon and Cannon systems, just like Sony, need new lenses. While there is an advantage to the old lenses through adaptors that just “helps” the existing bases of Nikon and Cannon users think they can use their existing lenses but it does not give them a compelling reason to buy a new body that is cumbersome at best using the existing SLR lenses.

    I’m seeing existing Nikon and Cannon users sticking to their existing platforms for the most part. I don’t see Sony users switching. I don’t see newer photographers moving to any Sony, Nikon or Cannon systems. I see them sticking to their Phones.

    We have seen the point and shoot and entry level Digital camera market collapse as the Smart Phone camera became so good and convenient. This has dried up the “new photographers” and leaves the pros and existing enthusiasts as “the market.” Pros will stick to their existing larger platforms. Newbies (those rare camera enthusiasts that are focused on equipment) will have no brand loyalty. They will more likely migrate to Sony,s more robust platform after they do they deep research that these young people now have at their fingertips.

  • Food for thought… perhaps the real winner in this mirrorless war will be the company that builds a phone into their camera and shrinks it to the size of a phone.

    Oh wait a second, it looks like we are headed there already but going in the other direction. That is putting a good camera in a phone.

  • While I looked at both the Nikon and Canon offerings and my impression was underwhelming. The needed to hit it out of the park and had advance input of what Sony users were complaining about…and failed to address them. Sony listened and designed new models with 2 SD card slot, Nikon didn’t, and actually downgraded from their DSLR and only offered one. Limited dedicated lens offerings at startup relying on bulky adapters and the list goes on.

    Next up is Panasonic, stepping away from the 4:3 and offering a full frame digital. With their strong pro video history (like Sony and Canon) and rumored to use the Leica SL mount, (expensive) lenses may be available at startup. Sept 25th should be interesting. Bypassing Canon and Nikon offerings should be low hanging fruit. Meeting/bypassing Sony will be what to watch.

  • The question was “Anything important for Real Estate photographers?”

    These new cameras, or really anything we might expect in the near future, are not changing the nature of deliverables to clients.
    Better video? Even compromised 4K is overkill for a web delivered video.
    Better DR? It will be quite a while before anyone delivers one shot perfection.

    The reality of our market, no matter how much we make declarations of undying passion for craft and art, is that technical sufficiency was reached several years ago.
    The limiting factor in our images is our compositional skills, our PP skills and the facts of the property and budget.
    The truth is that a lot of us love gear for itself. It is fun to fantasize about what cool shot we might get with that new lens/body/tripod/slider/jib/drone.
    The gear seldom changes our work unless it adds a whole new dimension such as a drone.
    These cameras, even if they fall short of expectations, deliver results far in excess of what even the most demanding RE client might ask for.

  • About the phone comparison – the iPhones have a 28mm equivalent focal length, making them useless for interiors. You can put an aux lens on them, but you have to spend a lot to get a lens without barrels distortion and other unwanted optical flaws. They also continually over-focus so that the camera becomes a way-too-obvious feature of the video. The Sony cameras have a feature that allows the user to slow the autofocus way down, so you can’t even tell autofocus is being used. No comparison, IMO. I have used the phones for supplemental b-Roll clips though, and for instant slo-mo of water or fire. They do have some slick features for certain shots.

    While Nikon has never been known for reckless paced innovation (like Sony), what they are known for for very predictable meat & potatoes gear. So, the Z doesn’t come with bells on, but it appears to be a solid performer in a bullet-proof body, which is what Nikon users count on, and that makes it a great investment. I have a D610 that hasn’t aged a day after 5 years of usage.

    The Canon R is a mystery to me. I’m not sure what they were aiming for. By all accounts, it’s a mirrorless 6Dii. It’s priced too high for average users, but doesn’t pack enough features or advantages to appeal to pros, especially considering it’s price point.

    In the end, I agree with Larry… sort of. 🙂 The Sony’s are probably the best suited to RE work. But really, the A7iii isn’t the best value. The A7ii is. After using an a7ii for a week now (already at 3000 frames), I can say it’s amazing for RE work, and it’s half the price of the A7iii.

    Finally, the camera you choose isn’t about your customer’s expectations, or the ability to produce a photo for MLS. It’s about YOUR expectations of a piece of gear you are going to use for hours every day. It has to meet or exceed YOUR expectations for IQ, ease of use, durability, weight, and versatility. This is about how you want to spend your day, your quality of life – it’s got very little to do with your customer.

  • I started a blog to keep life interesting this coming winter. I started life as a Canon snob, I have three 5d mk ii’s sitting on the floor in the corner. The new Sony mirror-less stuff looked interesting but I didn’t want to invest in the a7’s because I was a Canon snob, so I bought an a6000 and after a while learned to get around it’s limitations (mostly) so I added a 6300 and then another 6300. Now I have 3 Canon’s on the floor and 3 Sony’s in the car.

    I started this with the blog, it’s about food, and I needed photos. The Canon’s where in the house so I found I would have to build a corner studio to get what I wanted from them, so I set up the 6000 and it was better. Smaller, quicker and had the same issues as the Canon’s. Those being limited DOF because there where being used hand held in a kitchen with kitchen lighting. So I unclipped the Pixel 2 xl and tried it.
    I has greater DOF, less blur than anything else (blur because I am not the rock solid super dude I once was) and it has better awb than the Sony or Canon. It just doesn’t look very professional on a tripod with some Realtor writing you a check.

    Oh, the blog, if your into life’s little stories and some good food. http://jonesingfood,com

  • Regarding the recent camera announcements; it looks like Nikon has really stepped up their video chops in the Z cameras, which would be important for RE photogs in the Nikon world looking to produce better video content. The Canon R looks like a low-end 5D Mk IV with slightly better video capabilities, not necessarily a bad thing… Being mirrorless, both cameras would allow RE photogs to preview exposure before shooting, saving on time and memory card space. But yeah, nothing particularly ground breaking at this time.

    What might be a real benefit to RE photogs in the longer run is the new lens mounts. From what I understand, the larger diameter & shorter flange will open up the possibility to have significantly better lenses, particularly on the wide angle side of things. This is where Sony might find themselves struggling in the future as their mount was really an APS-C mount originally and doesn’t offer the same wide diameter.

    However, what the new lens mounts (including Sony) allow for that IS a benefit to RE photogs RIGHT NOW, is the ability to adapt all kinds of lenses they might not have had access to previously. I work with a pro architectural photographer who regularly uses his Canon tilt-shifts on both Sony and his Fujifilm GFX.

    Speaking of Fujifilm, the X-T3 appears to have radically better video capabilities than all of the cameras announced from Canon & Nikon. Maybe even better than Sony (it can do 4k 60FPS). The fuji sensors are razor sharp and have incredible dynamic range, which would be very useful in RE photography.

  • I’m not so sure Nikon is behind Sony. Different? Yes, but not behind. If the initial reports are accurate, and let’s be honest, that’s all any of us have to go on, the Nikon Z7 could be great for real estate. Possibly a game changer! One body that could produce great pictures AND videos!

    The Nikon D850 is generally regarded as the best DSLR money can buy. I shoot a D810, reportedly 97% of a D850, and have been looking to get better with my videos. Rather than buy a whole new ‘system’ for video, I’ll be able to add the Z7 and use all of my existing gear. For less than an additional $4K I’ll have it all! The reality is, it’s not just about lenses. It all the rest – filters, lighting, etc.

    The Z7 provides all the benefits of FF, has IBIS, is weatherproof for those crap days, and the videos look excellent. It has better focusing capabilities than anything else out there. It may not have “eye” focus, but it does have single point (more useful for RE) and 493 single points! It has 4K if you need it, great EVF, and for me, has a menu system I know and like.

    For me to do video properly, the alternatives are – The Panasonic GH5 or a Sony system. The GH5 has focusing issues, uses a much smaller sensor, and would cost a lot to get ‘everything’ required. I’d then be carrying two complete systems. Going to Sony would again require a whole new system and I’m not convinced Sony can provide anything better than the Z7. While they did better video before the Z7 came along, the reports I’ve read say the Nikon Z7 is now better.

    When the Nikon mirrorless cameras were first introduced I was more than a little skeptical. The more I read, the more I like them.

  • I delivered 5 sets of still images this week extracted from matterport tours. Customers loved them. Bottom line – shoot what you want but deliver what the customer needs.

  • I’m still using a crop sensor camera that is a few generations back that lets me make images that my customers love. I am using the body in manual mode for interiors and aperture priority for many exteriors. No fancy focusing, no stabilization, nothing. The homes I shoot don’t move very fast so even with really long shutter times I don’t get any motion blur. If you just need a camera for RE work, going fancy and spending a ton of money isn’t going to automatically increase quality, decrease the time per job or make customers substantially happier. If you do work where the extra features make sense, you may still want to have a separate set of gear for RE work that isn’t as expensive.

    There are some realities that have nothing to do with image quality. Service is key in the PFRE business. Nail that and your images can be two notches down and you will still be busy (if agents can even see the difference). Excellent lighting and composition will swamp out technical perfection. Even if a phone is technically good enough, showing up to a job with it as your tool and using it will kill your credibility. The benefits of mirrorless bodies such as smaller frames and less weight aren’t such a big deal in RE.

    Video? Get a video camera built for the purpose. When it makes sense to offer video in my area, I’ll invest in a video body. Since I use Canon for stills, I have lots of options for video cameras that use Canon’s EF mount if I don’t get a Canon model. The internal software, controls and provisions for accessories are all designed for capturing video on a video camera. You can pound nails with a wrench, but if you plan to frame a house, get a hammer (or nail gun), not a fancier wrench.

  • I agree that Nikon Z7 is a great pro-level camera, but I still can’t get passed the single card slot fiasco. One can argue the card failure is pretty rare, but the bad publicity that Youtubers and reviewers will give these cameras will kill Nikon (and similarly Canon). Moreover, the resale value of these cameras will not be good when their dual-card slot successors hit the market. Are these companies completely disconnected with the photographers community, and how sensitive they are about single-card slots?!

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