The Economist article on mirrorless cameras

Started Jun 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Camley Senior Member • Posts: 1,661
Re: The Economist article on mirrorless cameras

Zeisschen wrote:

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

Yes, but the US is a major market with lots of people with high disposable income.

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.

I am going to regret this but I have to respond to the other points in your post.

Many people (not only oldies!) use both a mirrorless and a DSLR if they can afford it.

At the moment, the DSLR leads on all or nearly all performance parameters except weight and size. For most photography, I use my excellent and light Sony a7 and would not be without it, but for telephotos and action photography there is no contest. That's why pros use DSLRs for action shots including sports.

For example, when photographing aircraft I wait near the end of the runway looking though the viewfinder with the camera on standby for long periods of time - it's a miserable way to spend the afternoon but no pain no gain! When a plane appears I only have a second or two to half press the shutter, lock focus onto the plane and take a series of shots with focus tracking in operation. My old 7D does this with ease and there is no problem with the battery if I do this all day.

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

That is simply not correct. Good DSLRs (e.g. a Nikon D800E) easily beat the best mirrorless in all or nearly all performance parameters except size and weight. Don't forget that there will be next generation DSLRs as well as next generation mirrorless. Also, mirrorless cameras will never be much good at handling large telephoto lenses - they are too small and light. Some people like to use larger cameras.

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.

Yes many or even most people using either a DSLR or an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera never take off the kit lens but that isn't relevant. Hobby photographers don't need 200 lenses either but they need to find a specific lens which meets their needs for performance, price, size etc..

The more choices the better surely. Is it a negative to have a large system? As an example, if I want a macro for my 7D, I have a choice of 7 lenses from 50 mm to 180 mm. One of these lenses is the MP-E 65 f/2.8 which provides macro shots from 1-5x magnification. In any case, these systems are about a lot more than just lenses.

Zoom lenses are simply not as good as primes if say you have a 36 MP sensor. I can use the FE 24-70 f/4 lens on my a7 but it isn't as good a match on the higher resolution a7r. Now the FE 55 f/1.8 is another matter!

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.

Canon and Nikon are not run by fools. They will enter the market with fully competitive products when they feel it is in the best interests of their companies. Do you think that they are not developing mirrorless camera systems and watching which designs sell the best?

I hope and expect that DSLRs will be around for a lot longer than 5 years! Perhaps 20 who knows? Who knows if the mirrorless camera will survive in its current form.

Why is it necessary or important to have a "DSLR dead, mirrorless triumphs" situation? Is it my team versus your team? Let's concentrate on Sony's excellent mirrorless cameras and leave the DSLR alone.

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