Mirrorless vs DSLR

Started Nov 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
Greg Lovern Senior Member • Posts: 1,583
DSLRs with Hybrid OVF/EVF Viewfinders

Fujifilm already has some interesting hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinders in their X-Pro1 and X100. See:


You choose between them with a simple lever. You can go back and forth between them whenever you please:


These two Fujifilm models are hampered first by the fact that the OVF is simple viewfinder, not through the lens, and so has the usual framing accuracy issues, and second by an EVF that is not great. But I haven't heard of any reason why the technology can't be used in a DSLR, and of course with a better EVF. I would be surprised if it doesn't start showing up in DSLRs soon.

On a DSLR, when the user moves the lever to the EVF position, I'd expect that to mean the mirror locks up, so no mirror slap when taking the shot.

Once DSLRs start sprouting hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinders (with better EVF than Fuji's), I think the viewfinder argument will swing in favor of DSLRs, as mirrorless will never have through-the-lens OVF.

It could swing back to mirrorless if EVFs ever have higher resolution than the eye can resolve, and no lag or artifacts even in dim light with fast-moving subjects, and don't gobble so much more battery than OVF, but that could be a long while. And once DSLRs have hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinders, the pressure and incentive for manufacturers to develop such EVFs will be much reduced. Then the mirrorless market will chase buyers who value the compactness and don't value OVF, while the DSLR market chases buyers who value OVF and don't value compactness as much.

Once hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinders are common in DSLRs, will the mirrorless manufacturers with no DSLRs put loads of resources into trying to make their EVFs better than those in the DSLR hybrid viewfinders? I doubt it. It seems to me their money would be better spent working to differentiate themselves further from other mirrorless manufacturers. If one mirrorless manufacturer spends gobs of money trying to make their EVF good enough to lure away buyers who want hybrid OVF/EVF, while another mirrorless manufacturer spends the same amount making their mirrorless cameras better overall than other mirrorless cameras, I'd expect the latter to get more buyers for their money invested. At that point, investing a lot in making EVF better seems not very likely to impress those who prefer OVF, because most of them will still prefer OVF, and also not very likely to impess those who already prefer mirrorless, because today's EVF technology is already good enough for their needs.

On the other hand, in the very long run, it does seem likely that EVF will eventually get good enough that demand for OVF remains strong enough only for the largest and most expensive DSLRs, while the rest of the market goes to mirrorless.


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