The Economist article on mirrorless cameras

Started Jun 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Camley Senior Member • Posts: 1,394
Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras

nevercat wrote:

Camley wrote:

Zeisschen wrote:

A niche, yes, maybe in the American market. They forgot however, that America is not the center of the photography world.

Yes, but the US is a major market with lots of people with high disposable income.

There are about what? 319.000.000 Amercans? In europe there are 742.000.000 Europeans, and there are about Asians. What would you think are the major markets? Europe is not poor! And Asiais an upcomming market with many new rich people...

I never said (or thought) that the US was the largest market or that it was the center of the photography world, so I don't understand your point.

I am pretty sure that in 5-10 years we will look at DSLR as the transition technology between analogue and digital photography. Some collectors or oldies might still use them, like the rangefinder manual focus Leicas today, but the market will be 95% mirrorless. Why? Because in 2013 and 2014 the Mirrorless could catch up in terms of viewfinder, sensor size and finally AF speed.

I am going to regret this but I have to respond to the other points in your post.

I am regretting it now!!!

Many people (not only oldies!) use both a mirrorless and a DSLR if they can afford it.

At the moment, the DSLR leads on all or nearly all performance parameters except weight and size.

Well IQ wise there is no difference, so no leader between a DSLR and a mirrorless, I find that an important performance parameter.

Yes IQ is the most important parameter. As an example, compare the high ISO performance and the resolution of the D800E with the a7r.

For most photography, I use my excellent and light Sony a7 and would not be without it, but for telephotos and action photography there is no contest. That's why pros use DSLRs for action shots including sports.

And that is why Canon came with the Rebel SL1? Many people like small cameras. Long telelenses almost allways are used on tripods, I can see no reason why the camera must be big to be handling better then.

The SL1 is a neat camera produced in response to the mirrorless designs - I am sure it was to test market reaction. A heavy camera is a better balance for a heavy lens and a DSLR has bigger buttons and knobs that some like. Let me know when you see the pro sports photographers using a mirrorless camera.

I can see that you want to use light weight equiptment when you go in the nature, so you buy an expensive carbon fiber tripod, and oh lets use the heavy DSLR when a mirrorless could give more advantage their too...

I agree that if you are on a hike or travelling, a mirrorless camera is much more pleasant to carry. That is why I have one. If I am going to an air show I take my DSLR because it has better AF and focus tracking.

For example, when photographing aircraft I wait near the end of the runway looking though the viewfinder with the camera on standby for long periods of time - it's a miserable way to spend the afternoon but no pain no gain! When a plane appears I only have a second or two to half press the shutter, lock focus onto the plane and take a series of shots with focus tracking in operation. My old 7D does this with ease and there is no problem with the battery if I do this all day.

Yes that is when a OVF come in handy, but you could easely do it with a Nex 6 too. Focus tracking is very good now, Most of the time you can see the planes comming so you have some time for getting your camera out of the sleep mode etc. But I agree a DSLR will be a bit better there

I have to see the plane appear in the viewfinder and then half press the shutter button to wake up the camera. There really isn't time to get the camera started, find the plane using the EVF and lock onto the plane. This is one case where a DSLR is the only way for me to get the shot. So if the DSLR dies I will have to find something else to photograph. Note that there will be many cases where a DSLR won't be necessary to take shots of aircraft.

The Canikon DSLR systems are alomst technically obsolete, even more with the next generation of mirrorless to come.

That is simply not correct. Good DSLRs (e.g. a Nikon D800E) easily beat the best mirrorless in all or nearly all performance parameters except size and weight. Don't forget that there will be next generation DSLRs as well as next generation mirrorless.

Yes but look close to the new models from Canon and Nikon. Do these DSLRs have any realy new thing to want? Look at the Mirrorless, these cameras are fastly getting better, in a way they will go alongside and get better on most fronts (like focussing and IQ and video)

All I said was that currently the good DSLRs beat the good mirrorless. We will see what the future brings. I was responding to these words: "The Canikon DSLR systems are alomst technically obsolete, even more with the next generation of mirrorless to come". These words are simply not correct.

Also, mirrorless cameras will never be much good at handling large telephoto lenses - they are too small and light. Some people like to use larger cameras.

Where is the law that a mirrorlless camera can't be bigger? Look at the A7, it is almost as large as my first (film) SLR, nobody complained then that the large lenses were out of balance to the camera weight. The large cameras from now are just sold that they balance large lenses better...

You raise a fair point. As I remember, they were a bit heavier. I guess I have just got used to the heft of a bigger DSLR when handing telephoto lenses. When I used my 35 mm film cameras I never had the money to buy a long telephoto lens.

And lets face it, not that many people are using large telelenses! Not enough to keep DSLRs alive as they can be used on the mirrorless too!

We will see if that is the case. Let the market decide. Don't forget that most people only use the lens supplied with the camera, so interchangeable lens cameras are really only needed by a few percent of photographers.

Lens systems of mirrorless systems are grown up and already almost serve all needs of professional photographers. Nobody needs 200 lenses in a system any more in a world, where zoom lenses are almost as good as primes and speed can be compensated by incredible high ISO capability of modern sensors. The average user still only has the kit lens + maybe a 50mm and a wide angle.

Yes many or even most people using either a DSLR or an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera never take off the kit lens but that isn't relevant. Hobby photographers don't need 200 lenses either but they need to find a specific lens which meets their needs for performance, price, size etc..

Yes and when a system has those lenses it is good enough for them. Many of the Canikon lenses are duplicates or triplicates of other lenses in their lineup.

In terms of focal length perhaps but no two lenses are identical in terms of performance, price, aperture etc. Each lens is unique.

The more choices the better surely. Is it a negative to have a large system? As an example, if I want a macro for my 7D, I have a choice of 7 lenses from 50 mm to 180 mm. One of these lenses is the MP-E 65 f/2.8 which provides macro shots from 1-5x magnification. In any case, these systems are about a lot more than just lenses.

And you know what? All these marvelous lenses and many more from other brands and times, can be adapted to the mirrorless cameras!

But if DSLRs die perhaps these big systems will go with them and that would be a pity. Also, not everyone is prepared to give up fast AF using an adapter. I use my Canon lenses on my a7 but own native lenses for better AF.

Zoom lenses are simply not as good as primes if say you have a 36 MP sensor. I can use the FE 24-70 f/4 lens on my a7 but it isn't as good a match on the higher resolution a7r. Now the FE 55 f/1.8 is another matter!

But do we need all those millions of pixels? Most of the time not!

But what is the problem in having these MP so you can use them when you want to? Hard drives are cheap and computers are fast. Anyway, zooms are nice to use and you can always sacrifice some resolution for the convenience if you have a high MP sensor. My comment came from the DxO test of the FE 24-70 f/4 where they said that the lens resolution did not match the resolution of the a7r and it was perhaps a better match for the a7.

My last I sentence:

Canon and Nikon better play the mirrorless game serious, their DSLR systems might be niche and obsolete in less than 5 years.

Canon and Nikon are not run by fools. They will enter the market with fully competitive products when they feel it is in the best interests of their companies.

Yes the EOS-m camera shows that. It is not compatitive, it is not supported by Canon with native lenses etc, In the "major"marked (the US) they did not come wiht one of the lenses and not with the new version of their camera!

They haven't seriously entered the market yet. Why be sarcastic about the "the major" US market again? Remember I said "a major".

Do you think that they are not developing mirrorless camera systems and watching which designs sell the best?

Personaly I think that they are watching the mirrorless market closely. In the beginning they thought it was going away soon. Then came more competitors (like Sony, Fuji, Samsung, Pentax) and they saw that the3 mirrorless market was there to stay! Now Sony and Olympus are on top of the mirrorless market, with very good cameras and is mirrorless the only growing market in camera land... Now the leaders at Canon and Nikon have to think how to catch up. And they forgot to innovate in the last 5 years, a totaly different pictures is out there at Sony and the other mirrorless brands...

You assume that they are not developing cameras and lenses. I believe that the sales of both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are unfortunately declining. That is the future we and the manufacturers face.

I hope and expect that DSLRs will be around for a lot longer than 5 years! Perhaps 20 who knows? Who knows if the mirrorless camera will survive in its current form.

Oh but it will, rangefinders are around still too, but it will be a niche market, with very little development and choices.

You seem to look forward to that day. Why? The more choice the better surely.

Why is it necessary or important to have a "DSLR dead, mirrorless triumphs" situation? Is it my team versus your team? Let's concentrate on Sony's excellent mirrorless cameras and leave the DSLR alone.

People are looking at the future, allways. There will be winners and loosers. In industry comanies that did not innovate got in problems, they who did gat a chance to win (and many did). Look at Canon and Nikon, how much innovation did they show in the last 5 years? Canon came with the very nice PDAF on sensor thing, but forgot to put it in the camera that could bennefit most from it, the EOS-M!

The losers at the moment seem to be the entire camera industry at the hands of the cell phone.

Nikon came with the 1 series, with very fast focussing system, and did a good job developping it. There is one down site on this system, the chip size, it is very small compared to m43 and APS. They will get a marketshare with it, better then Canon with the EOS-m, but the cameras are not that much smaller then the M43 smallest, so why compromize?

But the argument of the m4/3 folk is that the size of the lenses separates their small sensor from APSC or FF mirrorless. So, when the 1" sensor can deliver good enough images (now?), the lenses can be made smaller and wider aperture than m4/3. In other words, the 1" sensor is just where m4/3 was a few years ago and it will be a smaller system. Perhaps Nikon has picked a winner!

My forcast is:

1. Sony and Olympus will lead the mirrorless bandwagon for now.

Agreed if Olympus doesn't sell out to Sony. Panasonic and Fuji users may not agree. Sony is clearly the current leader in camera technical innovation. It's a pity they can't write a decent manual!!

2. Canon will come withnew mirrorless cameras in the future, but they will find that these cameras came to late, they will have less native lenses and they will havenot the features the others have developed in the past few years.

Canon and Nikon will come out with fully competitive cameras and lenses when they want to. Canon owners will be happy to switch to such a system just as Olympus owners were. Canon is not an evil force. They, like Nikon have provided excellent service to photographers for decades.

3. DSLRs will get a smaller and smaller market share as many people who now use a DSLR will switch in the near future to mirrorless as they find out they can still use their lenses, and the mirrorless system is still better for them, as it has the lenses they want, and the features they need, and all for a good price...

Unfortunately, the market for both DSLR and mirrorless cameras is shrinking. That is the worry - not whether mirrorless will destroy DSLRs. Our cameras will cost a lot more and there will be less choice. Probably higher end cameras will be the survivors as cell phones improve and take the lion's share of the imaging market.

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