I stand corrected. The question came up the other day (in the discussion of the new A99II) as to what "reflex" means in camera terms. I always thought it meant a mirror that moved out of the way—that is, that flipped up out of the light path of the lens. Several readers disagreed.
They're right and I'm wrong. I contacted our friend Todd Gustavson, Curator of the Technology Collection at George Eastman Museum in Rochester (you've met Todd before). He says it's simple: "If it uses a mirror for image preview, composing, and or focusing, it’s a reflex camera." It doesn't matter how many lenses are involved or whether the mirror moves or stays put.
So, technically, Sony's "SLTs" (SLT stands for single lens translucent) are still SLRs. Furthermore—how cool is this—the first camera, the Giroux daguerreotype camera, used a mirror for focusing, so it's a reflex camera too.
Todd is one of the pre-eminent experts on cameras in the world, the author of many books including the must-have Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital. He shoots with a Nikon Dƒ himself.
(Thanks to Todd)
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