Future transition to mirrorless

Started Aug 11, 2013 | Discussions
ogrec
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Future transition to mirrorless
Aug 11, 2013

The thread is about possible future transition to mirrorless by professional photographers and how lenses we currently have fit into that transition.

Right now mirrorless cameras have many drawbacks and are not taken seriously (apart from M9 and perhaps X-Pro 1). But with progress in technology its possible that drawbacks are solved and mirrorless becomes as good or even better then DLRs. I know a lot of people have strong opinions on the matter of mirrorless cameras, but lets try not to get them involved here too much.

Here are my thoughts on the matter:
- Canon will not design a new mount if mirrorless becomes a professional choice, they'll just make 1D series sized mirrorless bodies with EF mount, maybe slightly smaller and lighter, but roughly the same size for easier handling and better grip then small cameras have
- crop-sensor bodies will become noticeably smaller and lighter (except for the grip, again), but not nearly as small as eos M. 7D series will be the only exception and will retain larger size. Crop bodies will, however, use canon eos M mount; EF and EF-s mount will still be supported trough M to EF adapter, but no new EF-s lenses will be produced.
- i personally would not mind this kind of change as long as pro-bodies remain the same size, and mid-range/entry level bodies become more portable and have smaller lenses.

I'd like you to share your thoughts on what might happen to lenses now available if the transition happens sometime in the future. Canon once designed a completely new mount which made a lot of people angry. Do you think history will repeat itself or that they'll keep EF mount and lens design we have today? Right now i see no reason not to keep EF, even if DSLRs become think of the past, but i dont know much about technology behind it.

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Steen Bay
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

ogrec wrote:

I'd like you to share your thoughts on what might happen to lenses now available if the transition happens sometime in the future. Canon once designed a completely new mount which made a lot of people angry. Do you think history will repeat itself or that they'll keep EF mount and lens design we have today? Right now i see no reason not to keep EF, even if DSLRs become think of the past, but i dont know much about technology behind it.

Yes, I think that Canon will keep the EF mount. If the on-sensor PD-AF on 70D works fast and accurate enough (we don't know that yet), then Canon could theoretically have replaced the mirror/OVF on 70D with a good EVF. Maybe Next time.

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Keit ll
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

You are right to raise the issue of a possible mount change as has happened with the introduction of the short registration distance in the Sony NEX series. Sony have coped with some issues by also providing an an adapter which accepts older lenses.

It is always a problem for manufacturers when some radical new design feature is introduced , how do they retain compatibility with older cameras, lenses & accessories ?

In the short term Mirrorless has to compete with existing equipment or peacefully co-exist by providing some advantage in terms of size & convenience. Until now one drawback to Mirrorless has been relatively slow & less reliable  auto focussing but recent improvements may well narrow the gap.

The Mirrorless designs offer the possibility of smaller size & greater portability but small cameras do not provide a good match with conventional lens designs particularly in the longer focal lengths & for that reason small mirrorless cameras will never totally replace larger DSLRs in the short term but could establish a comfortable niche in the market until some revolutionary breakthrough makes smaller lenses possible.

If Mirrorless mimics the size & format of conventional DSLRs in order to increase compatibility with large lenses then they will have to stand up to a more ruthless comparison & any deficiency may well be seen as a deal breaker. In such a scenario existing conventional DSLRs will be seen as the de-facto standard & as such could have an advantage ?

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Steen Bay
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to Keit ll, Aug 11, 2013

Keit ll wrote:

You are right to raise the issue of a possible mount change as has happened with the introduction of the short registration distance in the Sony NEX series. Sony have coped with some issues by also providing an an adapter which accepts older lenses.

Sony also have the A-mount. Sony's next A-mount camera (the rumored A79) is expected to be mirrorless (with on-sensor PD-AF).

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Tom Axford
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

ogrec wrote:

I'd like you to share your thoughts on what might happen to lenses now available if the transition happens sometime in the future. Canon once designed a completely new mount which made a lot of people angry. Do you think history will repeat itself or that they'll keep EF mount and lens design we have today? Right now i see no reason not to keep EF, even if DSLRs become think of the past, but i dont know much about technology behind it.

Canon will not replace the EF mount unless there is a very good reason, because, as you say, it would make a lot of existing Canon users very angry because they would need to replace all their existing lenses.

I can't see any reason good enough to get them to introduce a replacement for EF in the foreseeable future, but it is always rash trying to predict too far ahead. If we look at history, Canon have had quite a large number of different lens mounts in the past 70 years: S, R, FL, FD and EF. Even now, the EF mount is really a family of mounts in that not every lens is usable on every camera body (although it may be physically possible to mount it). I think Canon is much more likely to extend that idea as far as it can before replacing the EF mount with something completely new.

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Rod McD
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

I notice you're referring to Canon, but mirror-less is obviously wider than Canon.  It already includes every DSLR manufacturer.  I would expect every one of them to extract the maximum benefit from their existing mounts in order to contain costs and retain existing customers.  However, I would also expect them to shift to new mounts if there's a sound engineering and economic case for it.

There's no question of 'if' or 'whether'.   Sony, Fuji, Canon and Nikon have already made new mounts for their mirror-less products - the NEX, X, Nikon 1 and EOS M mounts respectively.  They'll offer still other new mounts in future if the potential for different diameters and registration distances makes their cameras more competitive.  (I'm not arguing their relative merits now - my point is that manufacturers are prepared to invest in new mounts for new formats if they need to.)

To assist the legacy glass user and to avoid short term gaps in their lens range, they can and already do offer adapters to take their own legacy glass.  Canon, Nikon and Sony have done exactly that for their EOS M, Nikon 1 and NEX systems.  Yes, the adapters sometimes have limitations.

Embarking on a new mount isn't a simple matter,  but don't under estimate their capability to design them and tool up to do so.  Nikon is running two mounts, Canon two still platforms plus video systems, Sony ditto, Fuji one still platform and multiple film & video systems, Pentax three still (and used to run four) formats.  They're all experienced at multi-format manufacture and they'll follow the business opportunities.......

My $0.02c worth,

Rod

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24hrexposure
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

If Canon were to create a full-frame mirrorless camera, I would put my money on a new mount. There is a big advantage with wide-angle lenses, which no longer have to be retrofocal if the flange distance is smaller. There's no reason they couldn't use the same electrical contacts, allowing a simple and cheap pass-through adapter to convert to EF.

I would expect that lens design would take a split with a new mount. Normal and telephoto lenses could be designed with EF mount, since you could use them with an adapter on the new mount. Wide-angle lenses made for the new mount would be smaller and better, but wouldn't work on EF. There would probably be a period where long lenses were made in EF and wide-angles made in both mounts, and as time passed and the new mount gained market share (or not!) EF lenses would become more rare.

This of course applies to other manufacturers as well; just substitute the appropriate mount type.

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Hemidart
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

Until the US market catches on to mirrorless, it is a dead end, or zombie system...at least here in the US.. Not only is the US a huge consumer market, it also has a huge pool of professional photographers. Now I am not saying the mirrorless is a bad system, as I love my Canon M and think it is brilliant. But I see SLR's holding on to the pro, simi pro and abvanced amature market and cell phones taking over the rest.

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Proud owner of the Canon 5D MkI Classic.

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ogrec
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to Rod McD, Aug 11, 2013

Rod McD wrote:

I notice you're referring to Canon, but mirror-less is obviously wider than Canon. It already includes every DSLR manufacturer.

I actually posted this in Canon SLR lenses forum as i wanted to start a discussion about Canon specifically, but the thread was moved here by moderators

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ogrec
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to 24hrexposure, Aug 11, 2013

So you're saying a completely new mount would be the best solution if we were to see full frame mirrorless cameras?It seems to me Canon invested a lot into EF mount and some of the EF lenses are absolutely spectacular. It would be better for both Canon and consumers, if the switch ever happens, if EF lenses would still be supported. Even if some kind of adapter is necessary, and it seems like Canon is inclined to do just that in case they switch to a new mount, M to EF adapter proves it. But you did rise a valid point why new mount would be better for mirrorless cameras.

I didnt get the reason, though, why ET mount would still be used in telephoto lenses. Couldnt they also be made smaller an lighter for mirrorless cameras? I'm asking cause you obviously understand technical aspect of lenses better then i do

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huksywolf
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to 24hrexposure, Aug 11, 2013

Does shorter flange distance have effect on good wide angle lenses? Or will they be cheaper to make? Nikon already has a very good 14-24mm and Canon also has fairly good TS-E 17mm and EF 14mm.

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JoePhoto
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to huksywolf, Aug 11, 2013

Does shorter flange distance have effect on good wide angle lenses? Or will they be cheaper to make? Nikon already has a very good 14-24mm and Canon also has fairly good TS-E 17mm and EF 14mm.

Just adding a comment here that "zoom" UWA lenses are not a replacement for a prime unless they have as short a minimum FOCUS distance, (ala less than 6").

One of the options with a CLOSE-FOCUSING UWA is shooting very close to things like hood-ornaments and the perspective-distortion of the car behind it. (Or making someone's hand/foot look hugh.)

I used to use a (FF) 14mm in food-photography for restaurant advertisements. With close-focusing on the "key-item" (steak, prime-rib, lobster, etc.), I could "highlight" that item, but still show the other condiments on the plate behind it. But I was only 6" from that key-item.

I fear we are losing that with the new prolifiration of "zoom" UWA without <6" focusing.
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24hrexposure
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

ogrec wrote:

So you're saying a completely new mount would be the best solution if we were to see full frame mirrorless cameras?It seems to me Canon invested a lot into EF mount and some of the EF lenses are absolutely spectacular. It would be better for both Canon and consumers, if the switch ever happens, if EF lenses would still be supported. Even if some kind of adapter is necessary, and it seems like Canon is inclined to do just that in case they switch to a new mount, M to EF adapter proves it. But you did rise a valid point why new mount would be better for mirrorless cameras.

I didnt get the reason, though, why ET mount would still be used in telephoto lenses. Couldnt they also be made smaller an lighter for mirrorless cameras? I'm asking cause you obviously understand technical aspect of lenses better then i do

Pages 43 & 44 of the lecture notes on optics from the Stanford photography course have diagrams that explain telephoto and wide-angle lenses better than I can. But I'll give it a try.

The basic reason is that in a simple lens, the distance between the glass and the sensor is the focal length. So a 16mm lens would be 16mm from the sensor; clearly not possible with a DSLR. A more complicated combination of lenses is necessary to increase the physical distance without changing the focal length. Allowing the lens to be physically closer to the sensor gives more leeway in the lens design.

For normal and long lenses, the focal length is much greater than the flange distance, and it's less likely that a useful lens design would benefit from the extra space.

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Wayne Larmon
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to JoePhoto, Aug 11, 2013

JoePhoto wrote:

Does shorter flange distance have effect on good wide angle lenses? Or will they be cheaper to make? Nikon already has a very good 14-24mm and Canon also has fairly good TS-E 17mm and EF 14mm.

Just adding a comment here that "zoom" UWA lenses are not a replacement for a prime unless they have as short a minimum FOCUS distance, (ala less than 6").

One of the options with a CLOSE-FOCUSING UWA is shooting very close to things like hood-ornaments and the perspective-distortion of the car behind it. (Or making someone's hand/foot look hugh.)

I used to use a (FF) 14mm in food-photography for restaurant advertisements. With close-focusing on the "key-item" (steak, prime-rib, lobster, etc.), I could "highlight" that item, but still show the other condiments on the plate behind it. But I was only 6" from that key-item.

I fear we are losing that with the new prolifiration of "zoom" UWA without <6" focusing.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm
Minimum focus distance: 9.5" (24 cm)
Dimensions: Approx: 3.3x3.5"
Weight: 13.6 oz. (386g)

Canon EF-M 11-22mm IS STM
Minimum focus distance: 5.91" (15 cm)
Dimensions: 2.29x2.4"
Weight: .49 lb (~8 oz. 220g)

Note that the mirrorless EF-M lens has image stabilization while the larger, heavier EF-S lens does not. I have the 10-22mm lens but don't have the 11-22mm lens, so I can't compare image quality. I live in the US...

I got an EOS-M + 22mm lens + EF-M to EF adapter a few days ago. The adapter works great with all the EF-S and EF lenses I've tried. My EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens seems to AF sharper on the M then it does on my 60D. (Wonder if Canon will release firmware to add micro-AF adjusting to all the DSLR bodies that doesn't have it.)

I just popped the lens off of my M and it looks like the mount just barely supports the Canon crop sensor. So it doesn't look like EF-M will work for FF. But this is probably just as well. A mount big enough to support FF wouldn't allow bodies as small as the EOS-M body is (unless the mount was taller than the body.)

FWIW, I like the M camera but it does take a different mindset than using DSLRs do. Just as using a rangefinder or view camera takes a different mindset. Personally, I'm bullish on mirrorless and I hope that Canon releases new EOS-M models. We know that Canon has a killer sensor (70D) that should take care of any AF complaints. The only wild card is that we don't know if they also have killer EVF technology hiding in the wings.

If you look through the DPReview EOS M forum, you'll see that *most* users seem to love their Ms. And a high proportion of M users are also 5D and 7d users.

Wayne

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Wayne Larmon
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to Wayne Larmon, Aug 11, 2013

Wayne Larmon wrote:

JoePhoto wrote:

Does shorter flange distance have effect on good wide angle lenses? Or will they be cheaper to make? Nikon already has a very good 14-24mm and Canon also has fairly good TS-E 17mm and EF 14mm.

Just adding a comment here that "zoom" UWA lenses are not a replacement for a prime unless they have as short a minimum FOCUS distance, (ala less than 6").

One of the options with a CLOSE-FOCUSING UWA is shooting very close to things like hood-ornaments and the perspective-distortion of the car behind it. (Or making someone's hand/foot look hugh.)

I used to use a (FF) 14mm in food-photography for restaurant advertisements. With close-focusing on the "key-item" (steak, prime-rib, lobster, etc.), I could "highlight" that item, but still show the other condiments on the plate behind it. But I was only 6" from that key-item.

I fear we are losing that with the new prolifiration of "zoom" UWA without <6" focusing.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm
Minimum focus distance: 9.5" (24 cm)
Dimensions: Approx: 3.3x3.5"
Weight: 13.6 oz. (386g)

Canon EF-M 11-22mm IS STM
Minimum focus distance: 5.91" (15 cm)
Dimensions: 2.29x2.4"
Weight: .49 lb (~8 oz. 220g)

Note that the mirrorless EF-M lens has image stabilization while the larger, heavier EF-S lens does not. I have the 10-22mm lens but don't have the 11-22mm lens, so I can't compare image quality. I live in the US...

I got an EOS-M + 22mm lens + EF-M to EF adapter a few days ago. The adapter works great with all the EF-S and EF lenses I've tried. My EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens seems to AF sharper on the M then it does on my 60D. (Wonder if Canon will release firmware to add micro-AF adjusting to all the DSLR bodies that doesn't have it.)

I just popped the lens off of my M and it looks like the mount just barely supports the Canon crop sensor. So it doesn't look like EF-M will work for FF. But this is probably just as well. A mount big enough to support FF wouldn't allow bodies as small as the EOS-M body is (unless the mount was taller than the body.)

FWIW, I like the M camera but it does take a different mindset than using DSLRs do. Just as using a rangefinder or view camera takes a different mindset. Personally, I'm bullish on mirrorless and I hope that Canon releases new EOS-M models. We know that Canon has a killer sensor (70D) that should take care of any AF complaints. The only wild card is that we don't know if they also have killer EVF technology hiding in the wings.

If you look through the DPReview EOS M forum, you'll see that *most* users seem to love their Ms. And a high proportion of M users are also 5D and 7d users.

Wayne

I left out some important lens specifications: the EF-M 10-22m is f/3.5-4.5 and costs $759.00 at B&H.  The EF-S 11-22mm is f/4-5.6 and would cost (I think) in the neighborhood of $400 (if it was sold in the US.)  The EF-S lens is faster, which accounts for some of the increased size and weight, so the lenses aren't strictly comparable. But I think that the EF-M's shorter flange distance must have helped the design.

But I would have chosen the EF-M 11-22mm lens if I was making the choice right now.  An UWA lens is specialized and I'd much rather have a smaller and lighter lens for something that isn't my main lens.  Even if it isn't as fast and doesn't go as wide.  I usually shoot my 10-22mm lens at f/8-f/11 anyway, so the speed difference isn't meaningful to me.  (10mm vs. 11mm is significant, but I'd probably let this go.  As the price for smallness.)

Wayne

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Richard Frederick
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Re: Future transition to mirrorless
In reply to ogrec, Aug 11, 2013

A full-frame, mirror-less mount can accommodate smaller, rangefinder type normal and wide angle lenses.  However, as the rear element approaches closer to the sensor plane the "rays" of light impinge on the sensor at extreme angles at the edges.  Currently this eliminates the possibility of an AA filter.  Even without that filter it is difficult to pull off an acceptable result.  Even Leica has had difficulty here.

Of course i am considering only current technology.

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Dick Frederick

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