Why Nikon and Canon should build mirrorless as a second system – but probably won't
All rumors suggest that Canon and/or Nikon is going to get into the high-end mirrorless interchangeable lens camera market, in some way.
I don't have any insider knowledge of this, or I wouldn't be able to write this, but it looks pretty likely at this point. It also seems pretty likely to me that both brands will do everything to maintain compatibility with their existing lens mounts. Avoiding the need to design a whole new lens range, maximizing the value of the investment in the existing lineup and side-stepping the kind of anger that Canon generated when it abandoned its previous 'FD' mount (all the way back in 1987) are all major motivators.
Let's imagine what would happen if they decided to make a system that sat alongside their existing DSLRs, rather than heralding their obsolescence
Planning for a future, F-mount compatible mirrorless camera might explain why all of Nikon's recent lenses have finally abandoned mechanical aperture control from the lens mount, since it means they could be fully controlled by an adapter with electronic mounts.
So what's the alternative? Let's imagine they didn't tie themselves to their existing lens mounts. In fact, let's imagine what would happen if they decided to make a system that sat alongside their existing DSLRs, rather than heralding their eventual obsolescence.
What if they decided to make a system designed to be companion camera? A system that offers something your DSLR doesn't do, rather than trying to mimic what it already does?
A small camera, designed for enthusiasts and pros to be used alongside a DSLR or in circumstances where you don't want to lug a DSLR around. A street shooter's camera, a carry-everywhere photographer's camera. Let's think about the potential benefits.
|Canon's EOS M range has drifted towards the kind of camera I'm talking about, but doesn't have the lens range to match.|
It's not necessarily true that mirrorless promised to be smaller but, not least because it started with Four Thirds and APS-C sensors, that was one of the differentiators when MILCs first appeared. Yet the expectation that a mirrorless camera must replace a DSLR has resulted in an unfortunate convergence.
Demands (including from us) for more battery life, along with the need to handle and act as a like-for-like DSLR replacement has led to mirrorless cameras getting progressively larger. This has helped create a generation of cameras that are nearly as big as their DSLR rivals. And, with the exception of better video implementation and the mixed blessings of electronic viewfinders, little else to set them apart.
So what do you propose?
Essentially, I'm asking for a full frame, interchangeable lens Fujifilm X100. Ok, that might not sound much like an X100, but the common thread is of something relatively small, that by design, doesn't try to do everything. A camera that will sit happily alongside your existing camera (mirrored or not).
You can cover a lot of styles of photography with a couple of short-ish prime lenses. After all, it works for Leica
As with everything photographic, it quickly comes down to a question of lenses. This is the key element to it not being a DSLR rival: don't try to build a full lineup of lenses. I'd propose a camera with a limited number of lenses, starting with a 24mm, a 35mm a 50mm and a 90. And nothing longer than that.
This is because the size benefits that come from removing the mirror from between the sensor and the mount can only be realized with short focal lengths. Stick mainly to the shorter focal lengths and you can keep the camera and lenses smaller.
The lineup should be designed with the expectation that most people will only buy the one or two lenses that suit them. You can cover a lot of styles of photography with a couple of short-ish prime lenses. After all, it works for Leica.
Taking the long view
For me, telephoto lenses ruin mirrorless cameras. There, I've said it.
Telephoto lenses for mirrorless are just as long as their DSLR counterparts, so there's no size benefit to throwing away your mirror. Worse still, these long, heavy lenses demand that mirrorless cameras develop the bulky, bulbous grips that SLRs have evolved since the 1990s.
Creating a limited, dedicated set of lenses relieves a lot of pressure. It means you don't need to build an extensive, open-ended lens range from scratch. No tele zooms, no mid-price 24-70s. Hell, no zooms at all if you don't want to. This is something every mirrorless maker has struggled to do, both in terms of the time it takes to flesh-out a new lineup but also because mistakes get made in any learning process. Every mirrorless system has at least one lens that either isn't as optically good as you'd expect or that focuses much more slowly than you'd want.
For me, telephoto lenses ruin mirrorless cameras. There, I've said it
However, building a lineup of any size is better than building a camera with a full-depth DSLR lens mount in the name of backwards compatibility, since this condemns its users to carrying an empty mirror box around with them for eternity. And that's a punishment with a level of pointlessness right out of Greek mythology.
|Nikon's 300mm F4 'Phase Fresnel' or Canon's 'Diffractive Optics' designs provide a route to providing compact telephotos.|
Just produce a handful of great, dedicated primes that take full advantage of the new system without any compromises that come from maintaining compatibility with DSLRs. That way you don't have to split your R&D resources trying to keep two full lineups up-to-date.
This also has the advantage that you can sell your camera to photographers with commitments to other systems, because you're not forcing them to choose. But it still gives your existing, faithful users the benefits of full compatibility with your flash systems and other accessories, along with familiarity with your menus.
A small, self-contained system solely aimed at a subset of photographers, rather than trying to be all things to all people. A camera that complements, rather than competing with the existing lineup.
As I say, it'll never happen. But it'd be nice, wouldn't it?
|As well as the desire to mesh with the existing lens lineups, the other reason we won't see the camera I describe is because Fujifilm has already effectively invented it|
|Astronomical Clock in PRAGUE by stadros|
from Your City - Clocks
|Glassball on a perforated metal plate_3 by harubux|
A statement following internal investigation by DJI alleges a number of employee were part of an internal corruption scandal that overcharged DJI for parts and materials.
Astrophotography fans will be treated to the sight a rare super blood wolf Moon this weekend, and lots of helpful people are offering advice on how best to photograph it.
Accessory maker K&F Concept is offering a range of adapters, allowing the use of non-Nikon as well as Nikon F lenses on the new Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.
Lens maker Tamron has confirmed that new firmware issued at the end of last year to make certain lenses compatible with Nikon’s Z7 camera will also work for owners of the Z6.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has captured a photo of Earth that's being compared to the iconic 'Pale Blue Dot' captured by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990.
GoPro has updated its Fusion ecosystem with new firmware for the Fusion camera and updates to the Fusion Studio software as well as the Adobe Premiere and After Effects plug-ins.
The Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 is a compact and light-weight lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs. We took it on grand tour of Seattle's top tourist spots and found it makes a pleasant, albeit wide, walking around lens.
Olympus has published the third teaser video for its upcoming sports-oriented mirrorless camera, due for release next week.
Fujifilm has announced its new GF 100-200mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR tele-zoom lens. The lens, equivalent to 79-158mm when mounted on a GFX camera, has image stabilization (with a claimed 5 stops of shake reduction), a linear AF motor and weather-sealing.
Amongst all of the camera news yesterday, Sony also announced its new Imaging Edge mobile app, which replaces PlayMemories Mobile. Three desktop applications have also been updated, adding support for time-lapse movie creation.
We've been busy shooting with Sony's newest mirrorless camera, the mid-range a6400. Have a look at our initial samples.
Adobe has taken the new year as an opportunity to introduce an updated Behance with improved user profiles and more prominent project pages.
OPPO's 5x zoom prototype never made it into a production unit but now the company is about to release an even longer optical zoom for smartphones.
Our intrepid team is in San Diego, for the launch of the new Sony a6400. In this short overview video, Carey, Chris and Jordan talk through the main specifications of the new camera, and what they might mean for photographers and videographers.
After further testing, Sigma has updated its lens compatibility notice to highlight what lenses work with Canon's EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera.
The Sony a6400 is the company's new midrange mirrorless camera, whose standout features include an advanced autofocus system, flip-up touchscreen LCD and oversampled 4K footage with Log support. Learn more as we go hands-on with the a6400.
OWC has released the Helios FX 650 eGPU, a modular chassis that works with macOS and Windows computer over Thunderbolt 3.
Adorama has announced the availability of a new studio flash head from its own Flashpoint range.
Instagram has quietly added the iOS-exclusive ability to post images or videos to multiple Instagram accounts at once on the same device.
Sony has announced major firmware updates for the a7R III, a7 III and a9. All three cameras gain improved Eye-AF, the ability to recognize and focus on animals' eyes, and timelapse capability. The a9 gets more sophisticated subject tracking.
Sony has announced the a6400, an updated 24.2MP mirrorless camera with a flip-up rear touchscreen and the processor and autofocus system 'borrowed from the a9'.
We're live blogging at Sony's launch event in San Diego, where the company is rumored to be announcing a new mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor.
The latest CamFi model lets you tether your camera wirelessly to your computer and transfer images directly into 3rd-party apps such as Capture One, Lightroom or EOS utility.
United States Transportation Secretary Eleain Chao introduced a proposed rule change that could make it easier for commercial operators to use drones at night and above crowds of people.
SmugMug Films has released its latest film from its award-winning series. 'Framing the Journey' follows photographer Karen Hutton around the landscapes and cityscapes of Slovenia.
Timelapse+ has announced its VIEW intervalometer now offers support for select Fujifilm and Panasonic camera systems.
The Miami Beach Police Department is using a camera blimp to get around a drone surveillance ban that went into effect in 2015.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its excellent video quality and faster performance make it an impressive camera at a considerably lower price.
What do you get when you combine an iconic camera brand from the past with a crowdfunding campaign for a 'rangefinder' camera? The Yashica Y35, that's what. Watch Chris and Jordan try to make lemonade out of a lemon.