Portability v Quality are we obsessed by size?

Started Jan 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
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In reply to ianbrown, Jan 10, 2013

ianbrown wrote:

Going back over 10 years you had to buy a DSLR if you wanted anything like good IQ, however recent improvements in technology has given us the opportunity to gain better performance out of much smaller cameras, but at what cost?

For instance convenience appears to be at the top of many peoples priorities, just look at how many images are taken on the iphone for example. Yes there is nowhere near the IQ but for many an acceptable quality is good enough for the discreet photographer looking for convenience.

Now the edges get very blurred when you come to choosing a new camera in 2013!

The option of going for a small compact system (OMD-EM5 or FujiEX1) for example against say a Canon 6D or similar is still a tough decision for me.

The compact camera systems tend to lack AF speed, high ISO performance and focus tracking etc, but weigh a fraction of the big cameras, whislt the DSLR's give you the ultimate control and performance.

So in an age where we (including me) are obsessed by getting the very very best images out of the smallest system, is it really worth sacrificing 1 pound in weight for lesser quality?

The only camera that comes close to ticking the boxes is the Sony RX1 but then its a fixed lens and optional EVF.

I would be interested to hear from people who have had a dilema about protability and quality and have either:

1. Kept two systems, compact and DSLR and if so is there not a dilelma of which one to take with you?

2. Gone with a compact system and love or regret it?

3. Kept the DSLR because the compact system still not quit as good?

I guess it much depends what type of photography you take and this will most likely determin if you can get away with a smaller package.

For exapmle why use a wired hammer drill for drilling a small hole to hang a picture, I guess you would use a cordless drill!!! different gear for different jobs.

...FF mirrorless.  The RX1 is priced right in the current market (RX1 = $2800, 6D + 35 / 2 IS = $2950), but it's an ILS (interchangeable lens system), which is a huge, huge, huge minus when you're dropping that kind of money.

New on-sensor PDAF will likely give mirrorless the same CAF of DSLRs, and the next-gen EVFs might just be good enough to persuade people to leave OVFs.

The main problem with FF mirrorless is that you will need a new suite of lenses to take advantage of the smaller size.  So, when FF ILS mirrorless debuts, they need to have full compatibility with current lenses, on-sensor PDAF, and a few lenses ready to go that shows they're serious about supporting the system (e.g. 17 / 1.8, 24 / 1.4, 35 / 1.4, 50 / 1.4).

The reason I list all wides is because a huge advantage of mirrorless FF is the lenses do not have to be retrofocal, which means they will be substantially smaller for wide lenses (think rangefingers).

Myself, I think it will take two generations.  That is, I just got a 6D, which I expect to last me 5 years.  In that time, I'm not convinced FF mirrorless will be up and running, so I'll get either the 6D2 or 5D4.  However, after that, FF mirrorless will be way to go.

Of course, for some, size is a "testament" to skill and quality, so DSLRs will still be around.  Indeed, many professionals may feel that they need the larger DSLRs to get paid ("You're going to do the shoot with that tiny thing?  How much are you charging?").

However, while the image of professionals drives the market, the purchases of consumers is what fuels it.  So long as FF mirrorless is compatible with current FF lenses, so that the photographer can ease into the new system, assuming on-sensor PDAF works as advertised, and assuming EVFs are "good enough" (or even preferable), FF mirrorless is the future of the system.

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