How Mirrorless Cameras Are Changing the Game for Photojournalists

How Mirrorless Cameras Are Changing the Game for Photojournalists

One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is their ability to shoot totally silently thanks to the lack of a mechanical mirror. That feature turned out to be a great boon to a photojournalist at the recent Democratic debate, allowing him to shoot in a position where others couldn't.

The Sony a9 is known for its electronic shutter with fast readout and no viewfinder blackout, which allows photographers to shoot in complete silence. For New York Times photographer Doug Mills, that became a great advantage at the recent Democratic debate. It turns out that the sound of the DSLRs used by other photojournalists was picked up by the broadcast microphones, leading NBC to tell them to only shoot during audience applause. When Mills was brought to the side of the stage for his turn, he was told he couldn't shoot, but he quickly explained that his camera didn't make any noise, leading the NBC tech to remark that such cameras should be standard for all photojournalists. If you've ever listened to any live political event, you've probably heard the constant clatter of DSLRs, so surely, an eventual migration to mirrorless cameras would be beneficial in that sense. Nonetheless, press companies are deeply invested in Canon and Nikon cameras and lenses, so such a change won't happen overnight. 

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This explains a little more about this issue as well as a hack which is required because Sony decided to override the custom setting the user sets:

I think the a9 is not used by "so many amateurs" who would "freak out"

Please stop apologizing for Sony when it comes to taking away user choice and that old nikon DSLR technology did not show the exposure in its OVF.

Kind of supports my position that amateurs and this pathetically uninformed "pro" are baffled by the feature. His "solution"? A custom button. What a huge injustice for his poor little brain having to RTFM! Imagine! They actually have a solution available to those "sophisticated" enough to actually set up a custom button.
So yeah, it keeps the noobs from freaking out.
And your Nikon NEVER shows the exposure ever in its OVF.

Interestingly, Canon R does not do this so I guess it doesn't suck in the way Sony does.

Not sure what you mean Indy. Do you know another way to get live display to display the ambient exposure in the evf/lcd monitor from when you put on a sony flash?

The configuring of a custom button is NOT a workaround it IS the way one can easily change a setting. The default configuration is set to display the setting effect when attaching a flash because they know the average person buying almost any camera is an amateur with minimal skills and will become frustrated with having to go through their manual. An enthusiast will do the work and set up the custom button to switch back and forth.
Default settings on all cameras are made to work for amateurs. The controls available allow a person to change what they need to the extent they need it.

So yes, Robert Hall is ignorant and shows his three hours of experience as a "pro". This is what you get for watching fools in YT.

Hi Indy, first off the a9 is not a camera aimed at the amateur market. The a9 should not be overriding the user set custom function when you put on the flash and your explanation of Sony’s idiotic override is equally ridiculous. Hopefully Sony will rectify this issue as they finally did with overflow option from card 1 to 2. Or do you think that they held that option back so long because amateurs would freak out that their images were missing from card 1.

Mirrorless is a new tool. As such it has its strengths and weaknesses. For me the real strength was ALWAYS silent shooting and exposure simulation with an EVF. The AF accuracy for me was a huge bonus. (I don't shoot super tele).
Weight is nice but lens adaptability and video features are things that have no value for me.
I have shot some PGA events and the silence of the ML is perfect.The fact that one can now shoot on the backswing is great. Rolling shutter is not an issue for the bulk of the golf shots as so many are at the top of the backswing or follow through. Swimming and tennis can work well also.
As for the lag, it is true that you cannot be certain as to what you got but then shooting at 10fps with a DSLR will require chimping to see what the last blast got.

Eric Salas's picture

We all get it Jan, you hate Sony and you get your friends to count Sony cameras at events.
This is probably the tenth comment you’ve made using this same argument, change it up a bit and keep us on our toes will ya?

Changing systems is expensive whether you are an individual or company. Probably why canon and Nikon have been slacking on mirrorless: they know the cost of switching is often prohibitive and therefore they are kind of holding hostages to the ancient dslr technology. It will be interesting to see how many people choose to stick to dslr in five years when the canon and Nikon produce a pro mirrorless camera. I hate having to boot up my a9 if something happens suddenly.

Brent Soule's picture

Shot the LPGA last weekend and guess what the tour photographer had. A Z6 and a D5. When Canon comes out with their mirrorless 1d next year for the olympics, they all have one of those and a 1D whacha bet. And it will do it without locking up like others do.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

In a racing environment, what percentage would require silent shooting: .001% or .003%?

Was your friend there to shoot or to reaffirm his brand's diminishing dominance?

Did he happen to notice any Fujis, Panasonics, and Leicas there: No or Nope?

Who is this "professional motorsport photographer" who goes to a race and spends his time counting sony bodies instead of doing his job. WelI I have a friend who is a "professional parade photographer" and he counted only 2 canons yesterday but he was too busy shooting so that doen’t count of course.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Lol, after seeing the post below from Eric, me thinks these "friends" of yours don't exist.

I'm sorry...but, you're trolling because you're lonely. I can't help you. Canon can't help you. Sony can't help you.

dale clark's picture

LOL....50 years of two major brands for journalists (yes, back in the film days Olympus, etc were major players as well) and now we are counting camera systems at events to measure the success of something newer. "I only saw one Tesla at the Motor Trend parking lot...If the auto writers don't drive them, why should I take Tesla serious"....hilarious!!

Eric Salas's picture

See, I told you he uses the same, “I know someone professional” line to cover up his bias.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

--"Sony camera's are toys for boys." this not you? Yes or Yep?

Michael B. Schuelke's picture

I have the D850; it is a wonderful camera, but I was recently given a Sony a9 with a 24-70 f 2.8 lens and a 70-200 f 2.8 lens (generous patron) and love many of the features with this camera. The silent shutter was so helpful for a wedding. Twenty frames a second was useful for shooting osprey diving for fish. I kept the D850, but am thankful for the a9, great camera.

Jacques Cornell's picture

It's not just press events. Event work particularly benefits from silent shutter. I can shoot a corporate board meeting in a small conference room, standing just a foot or two from the participants, without disrupting the proceedings a whit. I can stand right behind someone at a table and shoot right over their shoulder toward the folks on the other side of the table. After a minute, they forget I'm there. Been doing this for years with Micro Four Thirds. With even a "quiet" mechanical shutter, these shots simply would not be possible.

Russell Stubbs's picture

An optical view finder is not better than a digital one. That idea just doesn’t fly anymore. An EVF has no black out in burst shooting, you can see your exposure and depth of field before taking the shot, You can view a lot more data about your camera and its settings in the EVF, etc. Your silent shutter is NOT the same as mirrorless.

I recently shot an event with a D810 and a D610, both with battery grips. NEVER AGAIN! From now on it is 2 XT3sOne with a wide zoom and the other a medium zoom,. It is a night and day difference unless you absolutely need full frame.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Um, you know there are 35mm-format mirrorless cameras with silent shutter, right?