Why I Went Mirrorless (But Still Rock my DSLR)

If you’re like me, you possibly enjoy making images as often as possible and you also like to travel. I love traveling and documenting my trips and, back in 2000, I traveled frequently because of my job and made the decision to practice photography again.

A Bit of Background

I currently live in Santiago, Chile but before I moved here I visited three times as a tourist. The first time, in 2002, I came here with two SLR bodies (Canon D30 and Elan 7E) and three lenses (22-55mm, 28-90mm and 75-300mm). My images were great but my back was not happy. The second time I traveled with one SLR body (Canon 20D) and two lenses (17-85mm and 75-300mm). The images were better and I felt better as well. The third time I traveled with a compact manual camera (Canon G12) and a medium sized flash (Canon 320EX). Images were amazing and I enjoyed every single day of the trip 🙂

I used a combination of a DSLR + Compact camera to work on different projects, mostly weddings and most of the time I was able to produce great images, but the compact camera sometimes felt a bit limiting so, by the time I decided to upgrade my compact camera I was looking for something more powerful. I first considered another compact manual camera like the Canon G1X Mk II or the Fujifilm X30.


I read a lot of reviews and watched many videos about both, later on I was able to handle both cameras but I kept finding limits in them, so I decided to come up with some requirements:

  • My budget was US$700 (a bit of an arbitrary number, but around the price of a G1X Mk II and X30)
  • I should be able to use it as a backup camera
  • Large sensor (at least, larger than the one in the G12 that I was replacing)
  • Lighter than my DSLR (Canon 5D Mk III) so I could travel with it.

If I wanted to use this new camera as a backup camera I probably needed a super zoom or really small DSLR. Mirrorless cameras have been in my radar since the Micro 4/3 system came out and I had considered a switch the Sony or Fujifilm at some point. After handling a Canon SL1 for a short while I then looked at the Canon M3 specs, which made me realise that:

  • It’s a trip friendly camera
  • It’s compatible with all my existing gear
  • The EF-M lens lineup is short but seriously capable and sharp
  • It has wi-fi!
  • It fits my requirements perfectly!
  • It’s not available in Chile :-/

The Stars Align

My vacation time was long overdue so, after running the numbers, I decided to take two weeks off in March, going to New York City for a week, buy the camera, go sightseeing, return to Chile and photograph FIDAE (the largest airshow in Latin America) the following week.

Canon M3 Kit

Canon M3 Body, EF-M 18-55mm lens, EVF and Battery Charger

I could tell you so many things about those two weeks, like how great a time I had shooting with the M3 but, the most important thing is that I was able to create great images, travel light and then cover an event while using a full frame DSLR and a mirrorless camera. A few weeks later, I did some demo shots for a hotel in Valparaíso, which I shot with the M3 and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which is *way* better than I expected.

At this point I think it’s probably better to show you some of the results of my decision 🙂

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