Sensor size "battle" on Mirrorless cameras ? Who will win

Started Jul 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
AndyGM
Contributing MemberPosts: 692Gear list
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No company will win, and maybe only Nikon and Samsung will lose
In reply to antoineb, Jul 24, 2012

The issue with the Nikon 1 system is not (necessarily) having the smallest sensor (lets forget that Pentax thing for the toy it is). The issue with Nikon 1 is that it is auto everything. None of the lenses they have released so far have a focus ring, MF is so fiddly you are positively discouraged from it. Now it may be that the electrical contacts on the CX mount would allow later lenses to communicate a "by wire" focus ring to the body. So if Nikon replaced all the lens so far with new ones you could MF, sized up the bodies just a little so there was a decent grip, enough space for a few more button, and built in flash in every model, added a few s/w tweaks like adding bracketing, they could have a contender (with the N1 plus points of the best AF, best burst mode and theoretically most compact lenses). If they do not, this format looks sunk, frankly.

At the moment, the Canon EOS-M looks like where NEX was about 2 years ago, technically they are so similar (sensor size, mount diameter, register distance, lens size). The lens styling is almost identical too. I forsee these 2 trading blows for "best low light Mirrorless system", and going after shallow DOF freaks. NEX currently seems to have the lead on AF speed, but the Canon system has the potential to catch and overtake quickly.

Samsung seems to have lost the plot on marketing, and has the additional issue that Sigma, Tamron and Tokina are unlikely to ever make lenses for a camera from a Korean company, even if it did have a massive spurt in popularity. I think they will be in the same position Pentax is in with DSLRs, not completely out of it but with tiny market share.

And then there will be m43. Assuming Nikon will not see the error of its ways, m43 will be the only "more portable alternative" to the APS-C race between Sony and Canon. I don't see EOS-M or NEX ever being as small a "complete system" as m43, the lenses will always be larger. The size advantage, and being able to mix and match lenses and bodies from 2 companies, is more than enough of a selling point to keep it viable.

So I see 90-95% of the Mirrorless market in 3 years being split almost equally 4 ways.

I'm sure half of Mirrorless buyers will want the better sensor noise performance of the APS-C systems and don't mind that it means larger lenses. Before everyone starts throwing rotten fruit, it is just a fact, the APS-C cameras have a bigger image circle, so for the same relative aperture they are letting in more light. If the sensor is best of breed and can make best use of that light then they will just naturally have a sensor noise advantage. Those customers will find themselves in a tug of war between Canon and Sony that could get ugly.

The other half of Mirrorless buyers will value having smaller lenses for a smaller overall system, so will go with either Olympus or Panasonic, who are in a odd state of "co-opetition", working together but at the same time competing, so no dirty mud slinging will be seen on our side of the fence.

Sadly, I also see the Japanese 3rd party lens threesome continuing to make lenses that would fit as much of the market as possible, so they will still make APS-C image circle lenses. Which means us m43 users will continue to get some less than useful focal lengths!

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