Oct 13, 2018

Purchase a Mirrorless now or later?

I'm currently in a photography class this semester and I'm starting getting into mirrorless cameras, so I'm wondering which one I should purchase in the future. Right now I'm using a Sony Alpha a6300 which I'm renting from my university, and I've heard it is a very good mirroless starter, but I'm curious about other brands like Olympus and Fujifilm since I'm only familiar with Canon, Nikon, and now Sony.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is Panasonic's S series of cameras, which was just announced during the start of my semester. I'm very interested in the promises of better image stability and low-light settings, but I feel like it would release too late into the 2nd semester for me to start using one. This goes the same for Olympus which has been rumored to have similar benefits in hardware compared to Panasonic's 2019 line up.
So my real question is this: Should I go ahead and purchase a mirrorless camera now so that I won't have to rent another one for next semester, or should I wait for the 2019 line-up for their improved performance? Also, which brand should I go with based off of their features and overall quality, and which brand overs "semi-universal" lenses? From what I've learned, all I know is that Sigma offers lenses than can be used on Canon, Sony, and their own cameras.

I'd keep renting for this year and wait for the new ish to drop next year. If the new models are materially improved over what they're offering today, you can go for the new equipment. OR, if the new models aren't that much better, you may find that the lowered prices on this year's models make them a more appealing choice.
Also, for what it's worth, if I were buying now I'd buy Sony. I have an Olympus m4/3 setup and I love it, but Sony is killing the game on mirrorless and it's going to be an uphill battle for Olympus, Panasonic, or Fuji to put forward products that eclipse what Sony is offering. I wouldn't even consider Canon or Nikon in a mirrorless right now.
At the end you touched on the toughest part of buying a full-frame mirrorless today. New bodies are being rolled out by most camera companies this year, but they come with new mounts. Native mount lenses are going to be slow in introduction, so most users will be using adapters early and often. Sony has the advantage of being a player for some time now and have many lenses by them and by the usual third-party lens makers. But there is also strong support with adapters to use other manufacturer's mounts on Sony. Nikon will catch up, but it may be a few years. Canon arguably made some blunders in their own new mirrorless body and will have to do better with whatever they bring out next. Actually I like what Panasonic is showing on paper with their new body. But the lens mount situation with them is a negative. At least on micro four-thirds format, the mount is common and you can jump brands of bodies if somebody makes a better one.
I don't have a good recommendation. I'm not sold fully sold on mirrorless or electronic viewfinders yet. I shoot stills, not video. I'm still using older (Nikon) DSLR bodies, and don't feel particularly limited by them. I upgraded my lenses during the past 2 years and that is making much more impact on my photography right now. Renting another semester may be the more forward-thinking decision.
Edit: I actually just found this video today. The guy makes some refreshing points to contrast with the usual gear reviewers hyping the hot new features. https://youtu.be/RfPHPGxrN2U