Nikon D5 and D500 Push the Boundaries of DSLR
It's worth emphasizing here something Nikon clearly emphasized in their press conference: one of the true advantages of a DSLR over current mirrorless cameras is the lack of viewfinder lag and the true view of the scene - at least in between mirror blackouts - compared to the typical stop-motion sequence of last-shot images most mirrorless cameras exhibit during fast bursts. This simply makes it easier to follow action with an optical viewfinder than with a mirrorless camera, which is why in the video screenshot above, the photographer was able to maintain the center AF point over his subject with the D5, while missing the subject with the 'mirror-less' camera example on the left. It's worth noting though that Nikon's own 1-series cameras provide a live feed even during continuous shooting, which actually circumvents this shortcoming of mirrorless (hint: that's how mirrorless cameras will undoubtedly address this issue in the future).
DSLRs have also been optimized to make quick phase-detect AF measurements in between those quick mirror blackouts, allowing cameras like the D5 and Canon's 1D X to acquire AF almost instantaneously even during 12 and 11 fps bursts. Impressive to say the least. That's not to say mirrorless cameras aren't catching up - in good light, Samsung's NX1 can often successfully continuously refocus at 15 fps. Which means, yes, we do have to call out Nikon for suggesting that all mirrorless cameras have 'soft and slow AF': we can't help but wonder if in that particular video sequence, the Sony Alpha series camera were left in AF-S, as cameras like the a7R II can, in fact, successfully refocus on approaching subjects (and when it can't, the box doesn't remain green as it does in the out-of-focus example in the Nikon press conference video - unless the focus mode is left in AF-S).
Regardless, though, with mirrorless cameras you're still left with the issue of difficulty in following the subject without a live view during bursts.
Video: Matt Granger
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