Isn’t the Point of Mirrorless Camera Systems to Have Lighter Lenses?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 3N product photo (1 of 1)ISO 1601-200 sec at f - 2.0

Years ago when the idea of mirrorless cameras and systems was pitched, the premise behind it all was that overall it would create a lighter and smaller kit. And for the most part, manufacturers have stuck to that statement. But at certain times, they really don’t seem to be sticking to it. This concern comes up now more than ever considering that Sony has a full frame mirrorless camera system.

Photographer Tom Northencold wrote a piece recently about why he’s sticking to Micro Four Thirds. The answer: the weight differences vs his Nikon system.

In his blog post, he states that,

“So you might ask what this has to do with why I am not interested in full-frame mirrorless. Again, it comes down to the lenses. Sony’s A7 line of full-frame mirrorless cameras have created quite a stir since they were introduced. However, if you stack the Sony lenses up against their closest comparable Nikon lens, you find that there is practically no reduction in weight. Yes, the Sony A7 body is lighter than my D700/800, but the comparable lenses are no lighter than the Nikon equivalents. For example, Sony’s 70-200mm f/4 lens weighs 1 pound 14 ounces. Nikon’s 70-200 f/4 lens weighs, you guessed it, 1 pound 14 ounces.”

julius motal the phoblographer sony 55mm 1.8-3

Indeed, he’s correct for the most part. But when we did more research into similar lenses, we looked at Sony’s 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 and Nikon’s 24-85mm f3.5-5.6 and the results showed Sony’s offering to be nearly half the weight. Similarly Sony’s 55mm f1.8 is lighter than Nikon’s 58mm f1.4–but that argument can be completely understood for that one.

As we collectively stated in our post on why the staff switched to mirrorless cameras, we’re happy with the overall smaller amounts of space taken up in our camera bags, and what can still be said is a major weight difference cut down. But to be fair, we’ve mostly switched to APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras. But as the future of camera and lens development goes on, all manufacturers are going to have to find ways to keep their lens weight down while pushing the technological limits.