The Economist article on mirrorless cameras

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Digital Nigel
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The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
2 months ago

The latest issue of The Economist business magazine has an article on mirrorless cameras:

http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21603182-photography-mirrorless-digital-camera-aimed-people-who-want-take-more

It's quite well-informed, though it probably doesn't cover anything that we don't know here. Sony does get a mention, but it's not about any one manufacturer. It covers developments like hybrid focusing and growing sensor sizes, but some people here may be unhappy with the last sentence of the article. This is the last para:

"As for sensor size, mirrorless cameras started off using mostly the Micro Four Thirds format, with an area 30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras and smartphones. While Panasonic and Olympus have stuck with Micro Four Thirds, most of the other mirrorless makers have now migrated to the bigger APS-C. Sony and Leica now sell mirrorless cameras with a full-frame sensor (ie, the size of old 35mm film). Canon and Nikon have put a toe into the mirrorless market with some products. But unless they embrace the technology wholeheartedly, the big innovation in photography is likely to remain stuck in a niche."

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Zeisschen
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Digital Nigel, 2 months ago

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

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.

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

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.

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bugeyed
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Digital Nigel, 2 months ago

I hate it when people mix math values like "30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras". It is no way to make a comparison.

kev

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Jesper Frickmann
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Digital Nigel, 2 months ago

Interesting read, thanks for the link! I think that mirrorless is the logical future of serious cameras. But I also find that it is only recently that we have seen products that are ready for prime time. NEX-6 was close, but is held back mainly by the poorly designed firmware. I still love my '6 though. A6000 completely closed the gap to a prosumer dSLR IMHO. I expect that sales will continue to improve. As for pro cameras, the A7 range is the first stab at that segment. They still need to improve AF speed and get many more lenses developed. In one or two generations, I believe that they will be very competitive in the pro segment as well. CaNikon and Pentax better have something good and mirrorless in their pipelines, or they will go the same way that Kodak went...

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bluevellet
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to bugeyed, 2 months ago

bugeyed wrote:

I hate it when people mix math values like "30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras". It is no way to make a comparison.

kev

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I just think that things should work the way I expect them to.

Suggest a better comparison. Cell phone sensors tend to be smaller.

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bugeyed
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to bluevellet, 2 months ago

bluevellet wrote:

bugeyed wrote:

I hate it when people mix math values like "30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras". It is no way to make a comparison.

kev

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I just think that things should work the way I expect them to.

Suggest a better comparison. Cell phone sensors tend to be smaller.

My point is, one should use the same values when making comparisons. Either % or multiples. Mixing them does not make for a good comparison IMO. Item A is 30% smaller than B, but 8 X larger than C. Leaves my little brain needing more information.

kev

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rashoop
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to bugeyed, 2 months ago

bugeyed wrote:

I hate it when people mix math values like "30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras". It is no way to make a comparison.

Just remember, 4 out of  3 people don't understand fractions.;-)

I do agree  that, for non-technical folks, mixing percentages with multipliers doesn't easily give you a clear idea of the difference. "30 % smaller than... but 900% bigger than..." might be easier to understand.

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Bob

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bugeyed
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to rashoop, 2 months ago

rashoop wrote:

snip

Just remember, 4 out of 3 people don't understand fractions.;-)

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Bob

Ha Ha..... That would include almost everyone....

kev

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Dandrewk
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Zeisschen, 2 months ago

Zeisschen wrote:

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

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.

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

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.

I totally agree.  Canon and Nikon will be seen as lens makers who still manufacture a few dinosaur DSLRs for the die-hards.  They better get their mirrorless acts together, because Sony is already 1+ generations ahead.

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WoodWorks
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Zeisschen, 2 months ago

Zeisschen wrote:

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

Are you aware that The Economist is an English publication, with its main offices in London?

David

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wb2trf
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Business press gets technology only in hindsight
In reply to Jesper Frickmann, 2 months ago

The business and general press is clueless about technological drivers. They see technology only in the rear view mirror.  For that matter, photographers and this site aren't very good about it either.

The best experience base to come from in looking at cameras today is the cellphone and computer businesses.  So, lets try, "Touchscreen phones won't matter to business users unless Blackberry adopts it." That's about what they are saying.

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Riquez
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to bugeyed, 2 months ago

bugeyed wrote:

bluevellet wrote:

bugeyed wrote:

I hate it when people mix math values like "30% less than the standard APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras, but nine times greater than those in compact cameras". It is no way to make a comparison.

kev

-- hide signature --

I just think that things should work the way I expect them to.

Suggest a better comparison. Cell phone sensors tend to be smaller.

My point is, one should use the same values when making comparisons. Either % or multiples. Mixing them does not make for a good comparison IMO. Item A is 30% smaller than B, but 8 X larger than C. Leaves my little brain needing more information.

kev

-- hide signature --

I just think that things should work the way I expect them to.

Things like 10.3" are often used & it's bizarre to me. Inches already have a scale 1/8th, 1/16th etc. so why mix decimal in there which cannot be logically resolved using imperial measurements. It's like saying "6 miles & 0.2 km."

either use an imperial measurement or a decimal, put please not both in one number!

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JonTafferOfPhotography
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Dandrewk, 2 months ago

Dandrewk wrote:

Zeisschen wrote:

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

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.

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

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.

I totally agree. Canon and Nikon will be seen as lens makers who still manufacture a few dinosaur DSLRs for the die-hards. They better get their mirrorless acts together, because Sony is already 1+ generations ahead.

when canikon finally make their full frame mirrorless move, I think all others will be left in the dust.

primarily including sony.

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

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Dandrewk
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to JonTafferOfPhotography, 2 months ago

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

Dandrewk wrote:

Zeisschen wrote:

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

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.

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

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.

I totally agree. Canon and Nikon will be seen as lens makers who still manufacture a few dinosaur DSLRs for the die-hards. They better get their mirrorless acts together, because Sony is already 1+ generations ahead.

when canikon finally make their full frame mirrorless move, I think all others will be left in the dust.

primarily including sony.

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

That is almost verbatim what was said regarding Apple when they introduced the iPhone.  "Just wait until BlackBerry does the same, it will be all over".

If Sony continues its technological edge over its rivals, it will continue to be the market leader in this segment.  As time goes by, that becomes more and more locked into reality.  How many former Canon/Nikon users are now Sony users?  How about people new to photography?  How likely would they start with a Sony mirrorless and then go to DSLRs?

Regarding your last paragraph, that "several years" is already here.  I guess you haven't been paying attention.  The A7/r is already the equal of it's DSLR rivals in low light performance.  The A7s blasts them clear out of the water.  An EVF has it all over DSLR in low light compositions.  And the $600 a6000 -outperforms- Nikon's flagship DSLR in autofocus.

The future is already here.  Nikon and Canon are squarely behind the curve.

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Jerry Fusselman
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to JonTafferOfPhotography, 2 months ago

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

Which DSLR performs as well in low light as a Sony alpha a7s?

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Jerry Fusselman

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Donny out of Element here
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, 2 months ago

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

Which DSLR performs as well in low light as a Sony alpha a7s?

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Jerry Fusselman

None!

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JonTafferOfPhotography
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Dandrewk, 2 months ago

Dandrewk wrote:

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

Dandrewk wrote:

Zeisschen wrote:

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

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.

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

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.

I totally agree. Canon and Nikon will be seen as lens makers who still manufacture a few dinosaur DSLRs for the die-hards. They better get their mirrorless acts together, because Sony is already 1+ generations ahead.

when canikon finally make their full frame mirrorless move, I think all others will be left in the dust.

primarily including sony.

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

That is almost verbatim what was said regarding Apple when they introduced the iPhone. "Just wait until BlackBerry does the same, it will be all over".

If Sony continues its technological edge over its rivals, it will continue to be the market leader in this segment. As time goes by, that becomes more and more locked into reality. How many former Canon/Nikon users are now Sony users? How about people new to photography? How likely would they start with a Sony mirrorless and then go to DSLRs?

Regarding your last paragraph, that "several years" is already here. I guess you haven't been paying attention. The A7/r is already the equal of it's DSLR rivals in low light performance. The A7s blasts them clear out of the water. An EVF has it all over DSLR in low light compositions. And the $600 a6000 -outperforms- Nikon's flagship DSLR in autofocus.

The future is already here. Nikon and Canon are squarely behind the curve.

textbook false analogy. cellphones are not systems. please think before you post.

maybe we are talking about 2 different types of users, because of the dozens and dozens of my professional colleagues, zero have switched to mirrorless. amateurs may love them, but in my eyes they are just a gateway drug to DSLR. And for the amateur folks who "switched" from DSLRs, they probably owned cheap plastic crop sensor POSs and 2 slow kit zooms anyways. no one who depends on the camera for a living (in low light) can comfortably shoot mirrorless right now.

mirrorless EVFs do not perform like DSLRs in low light. if you took photos in low light with flash to pay your bills, you'd already know that.

i own and love the a6000, my 4yo nikon d5100 focuses better in low light by a wide wide margin, especially accuracy in AF-C.

sony a7/a7r are amateur systems, that's why we see all the slow glass. that said, you can shoot "pro" landscape/portrait on just about anything. so yeah, fauxtographers like trey ratcliff are pretty happy right now (because he doesn't care about adapted lens corner performance).

when canikon make their pro systems they will have us in mind. we saw this same thing happen with film vs. digital, but for other market segments. canikon moves painfully slow, but they have the long view. and when they move, it will be their mirrorless systems you will lust after.  you can plug your ears and hum "nuh-uh" all day and night until you realize this.  mark my words.

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JonTafferOfPhotography
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, 2 months ago

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

Which DSLR performs as well in low light as a Sony alpha a7s?

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Jerry Fusselman

so you are saying your EVF doesn't lag in low light?

really?

what about the difference in AF speed in lowlight?  it's pretty huge compared to the difference for a DSLR.

these are just facts,  don't be a fanboy.

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Donny out of Element here
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to JonTafferOfPhotography, 2 months ago

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

Dandrewk wrote:

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

Dandrewk wrote:

Zeisschen wrote:

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

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.

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

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.

I totally agree. Canon and Nikon will be seen as lens makers who still manufacture a few dinosaur DSLRs for the die-hards. They better get their mirrorless acts together, because Sony is already 1+ generations ahead.

when canikon finally make their full frame mirrorless move, I think all others will be left in the dust.

primarily including sony.

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

That is almost verbatim what was said regarding Apple when they introduced the iPhone. "Just wait until BlackBerry does the same, it will be all over".

If Sony continues its technological edge over its rivals, it will continue to be the market leader in this segment. As time goes by, that becomes more and more locked into reality. How many former Canon/Nikon users are now Sony users? How about people new to photography? How likely would they start with a Sony mirrorless and then go to DSLRs?

Regarding your last paragraph, that "several years" is already here. I guess you haven't been paying attention. The A7/r is already the equal of it's DSLR rivals in low light performance. The A7s blasts them clear out of the water. An EVF has it all over DSLR in low light compositions. And the $600 a6000 -outperforms- Nikon's flagship DSLR in autofocus.

The future is already here. Nikon and Canon are squarely behind the curve.

textbook false analogy. cellphones are not systems. please think before you post.

maybe we are talking about 2 different types of users, because of the dozens and dozens of my professional colleagues, zero have switched to mirrorless. amateurs may love them, but in my eyes they are just a gateway drug to DSLR. And for the amateur folks who "switched" from DSLRs, they probably owned cheap plastic crop sensor POSs and 2 slow kit zooms anyways. no one who depends on the camera for a living (in low light) can comfortably shoot mirrorless right now.

mirrorless EVFs do not perform like DSLRs in low light. if you took photos in low light with flash to pay your bills, you'd already know that.

i own and love the a6000, my 4yo nikon d5100 focuses better in low light by a wide wide margin, especially accuracy in AF-C.

sony a7/a7r are amateur systems, that's why we see all the slow glass. that said, you can shoot "pro" landscape/portrait on just about anything. so yeah, fauxtographers like trey ratcliff are pretty happy right now (because he doesn't care about adapted lens corner performance).

when canikon make their pro systems they will have us in mind. we saw this same thing happen with film vs. digital, but for other market segments. canikon moves painfully slow, but they have the long view. and when they move, it will be their mirrorless systems you will lust after.

About Canikon move... too little too late. Canikon is already a 2 generations behind in sensor tech. there is simply physics and common sense - they won't be able to catch up for a long time now. And the gap is only growing.

And one more thing. About lenses. If you look closer - no one wants to use DSLR designed lenses on mirrorless cameras, and Canon will have to start over again to build a nicer lenses with new concept in mind. Fun times ahead.

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forpetessake
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Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras
In reply to Jerry Fusselman, 2 months ago

Jerry Fusselman wrote:

JonTafferOfPhotography wrote:

that said, I think we are several years (3-8 years or more) away from mirrorless cameras that perform (viewfinder/AF) in low light like a DSLR.

Which DSLR performs as well in low light as a Sony alpha a7s?

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Jerry Fusselman

The A7s looks similar to Nikon Df or that Canon sensor, that was announced a year ago, which was able to shoot in very low light. Why do you think it will perform any differently? The raw sensor performance of all of those cameras is pretty much the same as any other modern FF sensor. I'm sure A7s raw files won't be much better in terms of noise than A7 or A7r, unless Sony cooks them. You can't violate the laws of physics, all modern FF sensors are less than 1 stop from the physical limit (an ideal sensor). Their low light capabilities are all about the noise reduction.

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