Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
bosjohn21 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,743
Re: Is mirrorless the worst of all worlds? and FF the best?

jcharding wrote:

I would reply, but there is too much, so I will sum up.

Mirrorless is popular because for many end uses of many end users the image quality is more than sufficient.  Not all end uses or users (you pointed out a few) but some.  However, the corresponding size and weight advantages can be rather large (sure you still have to carry a bag, but it weighs dramatically less and is much smaller).  Where a photographer is in this spectrum depends entirely on their uses and needs.  What works for you or me should not be presumed to be the case for everybody.

I find the cost complaint about mirrorless gear (or any gear really) to be a strange argument.  IMHO mirrorless gear is generally fairly priced.  Moreover, complaining about price IMHO never makes sense.  I've always wanted a 200-400 VR.  I can't afford one.  Complaining about its price is nonsensical.  People aren't meant to buy everything, and for a new system mirrorless products do not seem to me to be out of whack.

Continuous AF usually sucks, sure.  But single AF can be very good for some products.  Your statement is far too broad.

Ultimately, people need to use what fits their needs.  But I don't think mirrrorless is fueled by GAS or a need for change.  IMHO it fills a nice gap.  Since I've seen a lot of serious DSLR users buying mirrorless products to supplement, or in some cases fully replace, their kit than that appears to be a pretty strong confirmation of the utility of the product lines.

while I essentially agree with you I am a bit amused that somehow mirrorless finder has been translated into smaller 4/3 cameras and the ilk. There is a full frame camera with an auxilliary electronic finder. So the discussion is really about which is the best kind of finder regardless of the sensor size. For many many years the quintisential slr used a flip up mirror and a pentiprism for its viewing system This system requierd a fairly large pentiprism and mirror box and a sealing baffels for the mirror when down etc. not to mention drive gear to activate the mirror.

There were a few exceptions canon did a pellex finder which instead of a mirror used a half silverd mirror that was fixed. however the view in the finder was dim. the cheaper dslrs and slrs went to a mmirror system instead of the pentiprism to orient the image correctly in the eye piece but again these finders are dimmer than a pentiprism finder. So the major advantage of the pentiprism mirrorbox finder is a bright image ( the brightness will depend on the maximum aperture of the lense your using) and a big image in there. The original OM 1 made you thing the image in the finder was bigger than the camera.

but the drawbacks of the pentiprism mirror reflex finder are many. They require a somewhat large pentiprism and the bigger the  better.  They require a lot of moving precision parts extra light baffles and add a great deal to the cost of manufacturing the camera. Even with very little r and d now being done for pentiprism finders their cost is a big chunk of what your paying for the camera.

Another downside of the pentiprsm finder is it seriously limits how close the lens flang can be to the sensor plane thus requiring lens makers to jumb through hoops in designing retrofocus lenses that can accomodate the long distance from flang to sensor plane and still be fast. This gives us wide angle lenses with elements the size of dinner plates and makes all the lenses much bigger than for a given ff camera with no mirror box. One only has to compair the zeiss cosina and leica primes for ranger finder cameras to get an idea of just how much bigger the dslr lenses have to be.

but the finder has some great strengths along with the to date better image and bigger image than the average electronic finder it is the easiest design for digital sensor design. Because of the large sendor to flange distance the light path of any lens on the camera will be stricking the sensor at the same angle an angle that is veries little from center to edge. This make sensor design easier and low light performance easier to achieve than say the leica range finder or other cameras with shorter sensor to lens flange distances using electronic finders when compaired to mirror cameras with the same sensor size.

another not very well known disadvantage to the pentiprism mirror finder is the black out and all that mirror slapping around in there takes away about a stop of handholdability from your mirrorless cameras.

There are some advantages to the electornic finder beyond the obvious size savings. The most noticable is low low light viewing is incredible really way to bright but of course full of noise. Non the less it is much easier to frame and see your subject in very dark places however fuzzy the image.

another advantage of mirrorless is the huge advantinge in allowning a shorter sensor plane to lens flange distance allowing for much simpler and smaller lens designs but requiring more software to correcto for fall off from center to edge as Leica did in using offset sensor lenses.

Ever eletronic finder I know is one hundred percent which on paper sounds great but in practice not necessarily the best for every one.  The head honcho at seiko once quipped when asked why automatic watches are set in the factorys to error on the fast side if there was to be any ere "would you rather be a couple minutes early for the train or a couple minute late for the train?" so for our finders being slightly less that a hundred percent will give you a bit of insurance around the edges just in case. So for some one hundred percent is the grail for others maybe not so much.

but bottom line is it wont matter much what we think because the electronic finder is here to saty and  all but the highest end dslrs will retain their pentiprism finders.

Tis a matter of economics pure and simple, it is much much much less costly to make an electronic finder than it is a petiprism mirror finder. thats it just as it is much much less expensive to make a nice  lcd view panel on the back of your point an shoot than to make an optical zoom finder howver squinty they are because the optical zoom finder has mechanical moving parts which cost more to manufacture and assemble.

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John aka bosjohn21

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