The rise of (serious) mirrorless: Sony Alpha 7 and Fuji X-T1

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,171
Re: What is definition of a mirrorless camera ?

BertIverson wrote:

What is the definition of a mirrorless camera? I always assumed mirroless had no mirror and used CDAF. Help me here,

Points & shoots have been mirrorless for a long time, but there have never really been point & shoots that weren't mirrorless (I vaguely recall Olympus having a couple fixed lens SLRs but those were anomolies). Oh, there was also a point & shoot from Konica Minolta that had a mirror, but it was on the front of the camera and was intended for selfies

The question isn't so much what the word technically means, but what use it serves - that is, what it distinguishes. It typically refers to reduced registration distance, interchangeable lens, live view cameras. So NEX (sorry Alpha ILC-E !), Fuji 'X', Nikon 1, EOS-M, micro 4/3. But not Sony Alpha DSLTs (which aren't even technically mirrorless, but don't use a mirror for viewing), usually not Leica (rangefinders are in a class by themselves AFAIC). CDAF is an attribute of most mirrorless and certainly early mirrorless, but not a requirement (more and more mirrorless cameras will use PDAF or a hybrid solution).

The sticky part will come when Nikon & Canon introduce mirrorless cameras for their SLR systems. Imagine a mirrorless Rebel. Kind of like a Sony DSLT, but without the fixed mirror for PDAF because it will have PDAF-on-sensor. Personally, I think it's useful to distinguish those from DSLRs, yet also distinguish them from the reduced registration distance systems listed above. So another term used for mirrorless is CSC (compact system camera). That might stick.

So, to me, mirrorless is usually used to refer to "compact system cameras" and not any camera that lacks a mirror.

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