Two more nails in the DSLR coffin...what is left?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
MoreorLess
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In reply to Dennis, 6 months ago

Dennis wrote:

bigpigbig wrote:

But I really believe that the mirrorless camera will replace the DSLR (eventually).

So the one thing that never seems to get discussed in the whole DSLRs-are-going-the-way-of-the-dinosaur/no-they're-not discussions is whether the mirrorless implies reduced registration distance. And when is a DSLR not a DSLR ?

Nikon and Canon have each sold close to 100 million lenses. Some old, sure, but there are an awful lot of Nikon & Canon users out there. Sony has already gone (nearly) mirrorless with its SLR-mount system (the SLTs). PDAF-on-sensor would allow them to ditch the interim SLT technology and go all mirrorless. Nikon and Canon could easily follow, even if only for a couple of models in their lineup. They could easily offer a system that gives consumers a choice of a couple mirrorless bodies and SLR bodies. But even if they did go all mirrorless (even if the EVF was satisfactory to everyone, the AF was satisfactory to everyone, and battery life was no longer an issue for everyone) ... is that what you mean when you say mirrorless will replace the DSLR ?

I think it's a far more likely scenario than the DSLR being replaced by reduced registration distance systems ... unless Nikon and Canon both go the Sony/Olympus route and develop FF and APS-C mirrorless designed to work seamlessly with old lenses via adapters.

As I mentioned, there are tens of millions of lenses out there in use by people who have no desire to replace them. And SLR systems have dozens and dozens of lenses that manufacturers have no incentive to abandon and replace. Think about the investment Nikon and Canon have recently put into some of their high end glass, from super teles to the 58/1.4. Why would they want to stop making them to guide people to a new system, when it basically doubles the investment on their part ? Sure, they need to avoid losing market share to the upstarts, but that doesn't mean throwing away an old system and restarting from far behind.

Back to the cameras, aside from reliable, fast AF tracking and EVF quality, you have battery life and "night vision" issues (where the EVF clobbers your ability to see in the dark) ... issues to some. Then you have the need for bigger bodies with substantial hand grips, and vertical grips that support extra batteries and big flash units. All of which suggests to me that there's a sizable market out there for larger bodies, so that even if photographers see benefits in mirrorless technology, they'll be more than thrilled to own it in larger cameras that work with their existing Nikon & Canon lenses and accessories.

Then you have interesting options that could be available to DSLR manufacturers. We're talking theoreticals here ... the day that PDAF-on-sensor and EVFs are satisfactory to all photographers. So how about a DSLR that provides LV in mirror up mode and offers interchangeable VFs, like old film SLRs did ... one optical and one electronic. The electronic one might even be upgradeable with higher res models.

So in summary, I see little chance of existing SLR mount systems going away, and so long as those systems continue to exist, no reason for the DSLR itself to entirely go away, even if part or most of a manufacturers lineup goes mirrorless. Canon and Nikon might offer 1 or 2 DSLRs and a few mirrorless models. Those might be native SLR mount bodies or reduced registration bodies with adapters. There are really lots of options here and no reason for any technology (other than Sony's SLT !) to go away.

I think you really get to the core of the issue nicely.

Its only very recently that I think we've seen mirrorless camera's that really aim to replace higher end DSLR's. The viewfinderless camera that I'd imagine make up most of the business in the core far eastern markets are IMHO not really targeting the same market.

Personally my feeling is that ASPC maybe more likely to switch over to a smaller registration distance than FF for a number of reasons...

1. Fewer lenses would be given up - Canon and Nikon have decent lineups of ASPC lenses but really nothing close to FF, you could probably service most of the market with a dozen releases or less.

2.Balance less of an issue - With ASPC your dealing with smaller lenses with naturally balance with a smaller body. Add up a big grip, a big battery, a top plate LCD and lots of controls and a FF camera needs to be a decent size.

3.Light angles less of an issue - The larger the sensor becomes the more problematic a small registration distance becomes with digital sensors. Leica had serious issues with a much longer 27mm registration distance and we've seen the Sony FE lenses tend to need to be longer than DSLR equivlents, likely to correct this. If your getting a thinner body for a longer lens is it a worthwhile tradeoff?

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