Mirrorless, for short
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Mirrorless, for short

Nobody really used the term 'mirrorless' before the G1 so no, your smartphone, 20-year-old compact or fifty-year-old rangefinder can't be retconned to count as 'mirrorless.'

The early running made by the Micro Four Thirds system nearly saw it get adopted as the generic name for all mirrorless cameras (it would be over a year until Samsung introduced the second mirrorless system, with its NX10).

As you might expect, the existing forum favorite: EVIL (electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens), wan't exactly embraced by the industry. The almost painfully literal 'Compact System Camera' faired a little better, but arguably isn't the best way to describe the far-from-compact GFX 50S.

We stuck with 'Mirrorless' as shorthand for 'Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera,' a decision validated by a reader poll in early 2011. 45% of readers chose MILC, making it nearly two-and-a-half times more popular than 'Interchangeable Lens Compact,' which polled second.