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Wednesday, 19 March 2014


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"Think they ever will?"

Certainly not.

Yes, I think they should.

No, I don't think it will ever happen.

About a monochrome sensor.

Yes, I think Olympus should. In fact why can't it be designed as interchangeable with the standard color sensor.

No, I don't think Olympus will make a monochrome camera.(But someone besides Leica might)

I doubt it, i think they will stay with the APS sensor size cameras.

I have thought they should too. Would it be so hard to buy one of the 16mp m43 sensors from sony and put it in a nikon a or eos m body? Even half assing it would be interesting, just to open a dialogue of m43 to the larger companies.

It's definitely going to happen, the very next day after Nikon releases an EF-mount body.

First of all Canon or Nikon will not join micro 4/3 as long as mirroless sales is falling faster than DSLR sales.

Also Nikon already have the Nikon 1 system where very fast focus speed and small size is the main factor and Canon have the M-system with a larger sensor for potential better image quality, so I really can't think of a good reason why they would join 4/3.

No chance. Canikon's tepid forays into mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras thus far have clearly been intentionally limited to avoid cannibalizing their D-SLR sales. From their point of view, adopting Micro 4/3s would "legitimatize" the format and lead to customers experimenting with (and potentially jumping ship to) other brands. With so much reluctance to risk "eating their own lunch", they're not about to increase the chances of anyone else eating it for them.

Only if Micro 4/3s became dominant and one or the other of the big two were in big financial trouble would you see that happening. It would be an act of desperation.

My weirdest picture of how things will go has Nikon and Canon abandoning the DSLR market (basically, that market goes away). M43 will be the only game in town, with 2.5 body makers (somebody else will start making occasional bodies) but 5 or so serious lens makers, with most of the interesting quirky lenses appearing in M43.

I suppose one of N or K might survive making high-end professional high-res gear, kind of like Sinar in the film days.

The openness of M43 will be the only thing that keeps it going as snapshots become entirely a cell-phone thing (they'll get fast enough to even handle kids playing).

My guess is Canon and Nikon will never join µ4/3. Even large companies have limited resources and neither of these two are going to commit any resources to a whole new line of compact lenses, which they'd most certainly have to do.

I don't think they will. Nikon just won a suit for patent infringement against Sigma for the autofocus system. Nikon does not even share their raw conversion codec with Adobe. Does anyone think that company would jump into 4/3 that is geared to making any brand of 4/3 interchangeable with another? I don't think Canon is much different.
Should they? Nikon has the truly small interchangeable camera covered with the C mount. They cover the rest of the range with DX and FX as well. 4/3 is so close to DX there is really no reason to go there. It would be more of a duplication than an expansion as far as format. The first question if 4/3 were adopted is whether they should do away with DX. At least compared to Sony, they care about their customers. Nikon is still using the the same mount with DX and FX they used with their film cameras. Their C mount adaptor allows you to use autofocus with DX and FX lenses. Sony is on, what, their fifth lens mount in four years?
Then there is tradition. Look at an early digital pro camera by Canon or Nikon and the current one is in the same style tradition. When both companies issued APS digital cameras they stuck to the 2x3 format. No square, 4x3, 4x5. They like the 2x3 esthetic, as do I. I think it would really gall them move to 4x3.
And finally, why in the world should they join a format that sells a tiny percentage of the cameras sold? As far as I understand it only Canon and Nikon are making a profit. Unless you have a death wish you do not join two companies hemorrhaging money in their micro 4/3 experiment.

I think we'd be more likely to see someone for the outskirts join M43, like some Chinese brand nobody few people know of. In fact I think there's such a company using the Kodak name with an m4/3 mount right now. It's too bad Kodak didn't do more than create the 4/3 concept and manufacture the early sensors.

I agree it's highly unlikely Canon or Nikon will ever join the 4/3 consortium. But I cast another vote for Ricoh/Pentax. I would be the first in line for a micro 4/3 interchangeable lens camera with the Ricoh user interface - especially with a few Pentax primes to go with it.

Now there's a question. I think it's too late now. Mirrorless technology started with a standard mount which anybody could join and enrich. The opportunity was there, or at least the remote possibility. But then, one by one the manufacturers fell once again into the proprietary trap. It's such a shame the old way of thinking (competition over cooperation) wins every time.
If m4/3 were supported by four of the manufacturers instead of just two it would be very hard for both manufacturers to resist jumping in. As it stands, they are both terrified to move. Therefore they will stick to their DSLR mounts, tempting everyone to take the Full Frame path and hoping that the mirrorless nightmare disappears the way it came.
It's a Greek tragedy that will surely end in tears.

What exactly do you mean, Mike, by "I think they should"? Why should they? It might be nice for photographers, but what good would it do them?

For the last half-century or more, nearly all the major camera makers have striven to balkanize the industry into little private gardens. Certainly since the start of the SLR era, Canon and Nikon have made no attempt to be compatible with each other or anyone else, and starting with the introduction of electronic signaling between camera and lens in the 1980s, neither have publicly released their own technical standards for anyone else to use. They clearly see it as being in their best interest to go it alone, and the fact that they have dominated the industry for the last few decades is a pretty good indication that this strategy has been working out pretty well for them to date.

Why would they? Hardly anyone is buying them, I just hope the current manufacturers actually turn a profit and stay in m4/3.

I would be more interested if either Sigma with their interesting sensor made one. The other makers I would like to see join it are Pentax, Cosina, Zeiss and it would be good if someone revived the Contax brand as a quality make. I would be interested in specialist body options one with extended infra red ability, a monochrome could be interesting though I probably not get one. Then there is the option to do say an 8mp clean to 10k Iso or a silly high res but only working at 25-100 iso. Though I could see none of these s being viable in the slightest.

As per the comment from Kalli, I'd be much more interested if Ricoh/Pentax joined. A m43 HD Limited range of primes would be very interesting indeed, and Pentax try a bit harder than the big boys to think out of the box a little.

My own hope is that Nikon would offer a full frame EV mirrorless. Like Sony they would offer adapters so we could use our existing (and buy more of their existing) lenses.

And I think they could do a fine job of adding a few lenses that would exploit the advantages of the more compact design enabled by the shorter back-focus.

I would replace my NEX-7 and a7 just to get EXIF data and other couplings.

Sony has proven that full-frame and APS-C cameras can be the size of M4/3, so what's the advantage?

I'm a Canon full frame and Olympus 4/3 user. I would like to see Canon or Nikon enter the mirrorless category with a 16:9 sensor. As much as I like my Olympus 4/3 camera, I don't like the 4:3 format. I would prefer not to throw away the pixels like I have to do with the 4/3 camera when shooting 16:9. Is a decent size 16:9 sensor compact mirrorless camera even possible?

In nikonland there is such a steady stream of complaints about it not supporting it's APS-C format (not enough lenses and no new pro-level APS-C camera) venturing into m4/3 territory would only irritate the Nikon faithful.

I don't think they will. They both have a fine tradition of making good cameras with cropped sensor cameras, and the advantages of going from there to 4/3 are minimal... and there are some disadvantages.

I would think that they would finally figure out how to do fine mirrorless bodies with the cropped sensors first - and try to catch up with Fujifilm.

Can someone explain why they should? I can't think of a compelling reason, from either side.

I have a Panasonic 4/3 converted to IR and it is OK. But, to be a real camera, a viewfinder is required. I shoot blind and bracketed most of the time because I cannot see the viewfinder if I am outdoors. There's nothing to join in the 4/3 movement because it is essentially, the point-and-shoot movement. No viewfinder, no real camera...case closed.

Little chance. I assume the reason they don't do it is that they figure they make more selling their proprietary cameras and lenses.

But I've read that Nikon doesn't have deep pockets, so seems if either were to do it, Nikon would be the one.

If either did, assume it would be a huge boost to µ4/3s.

I doubt that they would. I think there will be one smaller-than-FF system, and that will probably be m4/3, although there's no guarantee. As I've said over and over and over, the only reason to go for m4/3 is size of the bodies and lenses. FF quality is clearly better, at least for larger prints; but it's unnecessary for any web use, or most ordinary uses. The real lure for m4/3, though, is the small size of the system. I think price will become less important -- I'd expect to see the first sub-$1,500 FF body sometime soon, which would get it down in the price range of the more expensive m4/3 offerings.

This would probably never happen, but it would be interesting if Nikon and Canon set up their *own* consortium, with small lenses and bodies, and perhaps a sensor a bit different, but roughly the same size as the m4/3 sensor. I think that would blow m4/3 out of the water, and we'd be back to the duopoly that everybody (including Nikon and Canon) seemed comfortable with.

I don't think anybody is much interested in the small Nikon system -- I'm surprised it's still being sold. It doesn't offer the compactness of something like the RX100, and not much more in the way of image quality. That was clearly a misstep.

If I thought one additional maker seas likely to join m4/3, it'd be Pentax/Ricoh. I think that could save their butt, and aslso add a lot of weight to the m4/3 system.

I would like to chime in with Sigma. They still haven't released a mirrorless body... With them bringing a Foveon sensor to m43rds along with their Art lenses that would be the most interesting development.

Having another traditional camera maker produce another m43rds body, or duplicate lenses doesnt seem to make sense, but a high res Foveon studio/landscape m43rds from Sigma may do very well. (Well I would buy one)

Don't Nikon (especially) and Canon currently force third-party lens makers like Sigma to reverse-engineer their electronics just to make compatible lenses (and then make minor changes to make those third-party lenses incompatible)? Why would they enter the shrinking m43 market where others already have multi-year head start in making (and selling) lenses that would be compatible with their cameras?

Nikon already has three lens sizes (CX, DX, FX) using two separate mounts, a compact line up and an APS sensor, fixed-lens mirrorless that was a flop. Canon is in a similar situation. Again, adding another lens size and another mount (where several smaller competitors are already established) makes no business sense whatsoever.

I think it is only a matter of time (1-2 years?) until the lower-end cropped sensor Nikons and Canons become mirrorless. Then you'll have APS sensor mirrorless cameras using the existing mounts from Canikon vs. m43 sensors from the others. Assuming they are capable of executing that right, wouldn't that be a smarter move for the big 2?

Probably too late - I very much doubt Canon would produce competitively priced gear to compete with Olympus and and Panasonic.

However if either were to address the current weak points of m4/3 (the AF performance and lenses required for say birders and sports photogaphers) they may find a niche.

But realistically I think Canon/Nikon have both relied to long on serving up warmed over cropped sensor models and have missed the boat.

I am a little surprised that the latest m4/3 bodies have not had a bigger impact on the cropped DSLR market, but I think this is just a matter of time.

I don't see any incentive for N or C to add a new format sensor. Especially with high res full frame, its easy to crop to any format you like. The only advantage 4/3 has is smaller cameras, and there are APS-C and full frame available just about as small. Given the high cost of implementing a new format sensor and the limited advantages and limited market, I doubt that they ever will.

Why on earth should Nikon or Canon validate a format well-served by Panasonic and Olympus?

And it's difficult to adapt to rapid changes in technologies when your head is buried in the sand.

Both Nikon and Canon seem profoundly fearful of doing anything that will cannibalize their DSLR cash cows. Nikon's strategy seems purposed to drive photographers to more expensive 24 X 36 mm sensor bode... or towards tiny cameras promoted by movie stars. Canon seems rudderless and even more insular than Nikon. Magic Lantern makes a great living adding features and improving the data stream and features of Canon's products. It it reasonable to think Canon will out inovate the m4/3 consortium members?

The DSLR systems have a huge amount of momentum and that momentum is a blessing and a curse.

Cheers Mike,

My sense is at least the bigs (we know who they are) suffer greatly from not-invented-here syndrome and would rather drink powdered chalk than join the µ4/3 consortium. It's clear from their tepid efforts (and Nikon certainly has done better than Canon in this regard) they consider mirrorless to be a distraction to the business of building DSLRs--obviously superior form of camera. Right? Right?!?

While I may challenge the assertion they're free to place their bets, but I'll speculate that demographics are going to catch up to them and the results aren't going to be pretty once DSLR sales fade away and the form becomes a niche tool rather than the go-to "serious" camera.

It's also possible that the camera as a standalone device is doomed, but I'm sufficiently far down life's path to not actually care.

I can see Nikon doing DX mirrorless in the near future with the existing F-mount and flange distance, along with in-body image stabilization and a line of more compact, unstabilized DX lenses. This would explain what some folks see as their abandonment of the DX lens line. It would also fit well within their historical support of backward compatibility.

There's just not enough difference between the APS and M43 sensor or lens size to justify a move that would most certainly alienate users that are invested in their system. I suspect Canon would do something along the same lines.

Huh. Thom Hogan just wrote about the corner that Nikon has painted themselves into:


Short version is that Nikon is already making too many cameras, and needs to pare its offerings down urgently. They can't even support the lines they've had in production for a decade. (Why no DX wide-angle primes? That omission right there got me looking at other options, and eventually led to m4/3.)

Many, many photographers now have in their hands a high enough quality DSLR to last them the rest of their lives. Further increases in pixels and speed aren't needed for 90% of what people actually shoot. The wild upgrade ride is over, and so is the habit of mindlessly upgrading to every single new body that comes out.

The only "way out" for N and C is to convert their aps-c line-up to mirrorless. They didn't miss the boat, they missed the entire fleet on mirrorless and m4/3!

Oly and Pana are miles ahead of them in that sector, Fuji is catching up fast. Sony tried, but messed it up badly with a lineup that is confusing - and I'm being generous...
I'm a mirrorless m4/3 convert from day one: in the digital age, the insistence on a mechanical mirror setup to see what the sensor sees is totally demented! And don't get me started on the focusing instability the mirror introduces!

Given finite and limited engineering resources, Canon chose to move upmarket by developing a family of cinema cameras and lenses which I understand are quite successful. If they believe that one of their important and sizeable DSLR markets – wedding photographers for example -- is moving toward smaller sensors in smaller less expensive cameras they might decide to make a micro 4/3s camera and a new series of lenses. But this would be a major and expensive proposition not taken lightly. Has anyone seen an important DSLR market moving toward micro 4/3s? In recent history, manufactures that are not Canon and not Nikon have been small players.

I don’t see Canon or Nikon making micro 4/3s cameras.

For average people like me and for general use, 1" sensor is good enough. See how many voices are singing the image quality from iPhone? There is little reason for Nikon to join the m4/3 club if image quality is one of the main considerations. The most important thing is how they build the box housing this sensor and how much they want from you for the box and the lenses.

I don't know if they will or not. And frankly my dear, I...errr... no longer care.

Mike, is that you with pursed lips and a protrusion in your cheek, commonly known as tongue in cheek?

I doubt very much that Nikon would ever join the m4/3 group. Nikon makes cameras with proprietary mounts, and forces third-party lens makers to reverse-engineer the electronics to make compatible lenses. It is part of Nikon's business strategy. I just cannot see Nikon being part of an open standard. They are having enough trouble filling out lens lines and usefully updating cameras with the three sensor formats they currently make cameras for (CX, DX, and FX). Why would they need to worry about building cameras and lenses for another lens mount and sensor format?

I'd like to point out that although one of the advantages of M43 (specifically Micro Four Thirds and not Four Thirds), perhaps even the main advantage and selling point, is camera size, it's lens size that is at least as important.

The only DSLR system I can think of with a selection of really compact lenses is Pentax's K-mount.

Even with one of the larger SLR style M43 cameras (with an aftermarket grip attached), one can do this with a kit of a wide angle prime (14/2.5), a normal prime (20/1.7) and a short tele prime (45/1.8):


No, because the serious photographers they cater for know you need FF to be accepted in their ranks. Now that a micro 4/3 is just as capable in 99.9% of all situations (ugly shallow depth of field 0.95 Noctilux shots aside) and that a smaller sensor means more DOF which is welcome (99.9% of the time) at the same aperture thus drastically reducing the need for high ISO is known to them as well, and yes they also love the backaches they get from lugging 12 kg bags of long telephotolenses. But micro 4/3 will always be a toy camera and Nikon and Canon do not produce toys (only professional camera equipment, right).

Greets, Ed.

Never say never, but... if ever the two of them, or one of them, takes on mirror less seriously, it will not be with a 4/3 sensor. Why? Canikon are perceived as cameras used by the pros, and 4/3 is perceived as something for amateurs. Very simple.

P.S. It is tiring reading how about Canon are only making "boring" cameras these days. I think that boring cameras are a good thing, they do not get in the way of taking pictures, they are reliable, and they do what they are supposed to do. KISS principle always works.

Hi Mike

I know I'm being a bit thick but I've never really been able to understand why 'full-frame' cameras are so darned enormous compared to my old 35mm Pentax - something to do with a decision made when they first invented autofocus maybe? Anyway, I really hope the big boys don't join in, they'd make it all so darned boring...

Sorry not a big fan of m4/3. I have a GF1 w/20/1.7 which stays neglected inside my car glove box. I'll give it to my sons when they get little older.

It's not for me so it doesn't matter to me.

I'm having my doubts that the "bigs" will even be joining mirrorless!

I've been saying since I first started testing M4/3rd's, that mirrorless is going to be the way to go. The advantages of multiple formats (easily viewable on the back or in the finder), and face recognition, with small body size, are just too nice to ignore. The fact that Fuji is expanding with an APS-C traditionally based body is certainly a huge paradigm shift in thinking. Failure for Nikon and Canon to at least not take a dip into mirrorless, regardless of lens format, may be a fatal mistake 15 years from now.

As my videographer/cinematographer friends told me, when the video stuff went to flash-drive: "...doing away with the last moving part (the tape transport, which was always the part that broke), and replacing it with solid state storage, removed the last weak link in the camera..." Ditto for eliminating the shutter and mirror box. Eliminate it, and you've eliminated virtually the last thing that ever gets broken while jetting around the world...

Fujifilm proved that starting off with a completely new proprietary mount is feasible (profitable??) with their X-mount. They could have joined M4/3 and lose their identity. They chose to have their own line of X-mount lenses and in a couple of years, grew it into quite a complete line. The X-mount lenses are quite different, and is good enough to entice new customers to lock in to the brand. Whether there's enough customers to be profitable, time will tell. The mount is a camera maker's most treasured asset. Nikon and Canon WILL come up with mirrorless cameras that take their "regular" mount and thus all the legacy lenses.

I would agree with most folks here that the likelihood is very low.
I can't think of a single business reason why either the m4/3 group or the Canon Nikon group would want to do it.
The m4/3 group has a niche to exploit , they have made some fine cameras that appeal to a small but dedicated group of photographers. The last thing they would want is more competition for a small user base. I don't believe that any m4/3 camera group turns a profit so it's clearly not attractive as a business right now, but there is a small chance that could change.
Nikon & Canon are more interested in protecting the traditional camera where they make their money. I don't know if that is a wise long term strategy, but it is clearly what they are doing.
In Nikon's Case they already have 3 sensor sizes and 3 lens lines, and their Nikon 1 has been a sales disaster, only really selling at steep discounts. m4/3 in their lineup would only complicate things further for them .
Canon's little M was a nice Idea because it could easily use Canon lenses, but it couldn't focus quickly and had no viewfinder.
I'm sure they knew that but launched it anyway to check the compact box.
It seems to me that the Nikon Canon Sony take is to ignore m4/3 long enough, and it's spnsors will get tired of losing money.
Even though they realize that EVF's may be the future of all cameras. They have also responded by offering very capable 18-24MP Compact and lightweight DSLRs that are often cheaper than the m4/3 offerings.
Protectionism is rarely a good strategy against the onslaught of technology. But while All camera sales are down, last I saw, traditional cameras were down least outside of Japan.
But what cameras they choose to make is less about Photography than it is the bottom line. The business needs to be viable or it goes away.
All this is happening at a time when virtually every enthusiast camera made is capable of superb results, so fewer and fewer people feel a real need to upgrade as frequently as in the recent past.
The Pie, at least for a while is getting smaller. It needs a compelling reason that the average person will notice to grow again.
An iPhone type phenominon tht changes the definition of 'Camera'

Sometimes Large companies see all of this and keep their plans hidden until after the competition has succombed to the shake out.
Sometimes they see it but can't change fast enough -like Kodak.
And sometimes they don't see it at all.
We'll have to wait and see. The more people who wait and see, the faster the shakeout will occur.
In the meantime, we should 'Love the one we're With'

Several have said it already - no, of course neither Nikon or Canon will build something for micro-4/3. There is no real advantage for them in doing so and several disadvantages.

In technology (and make no mistake, these are consumer technology products), "standards" (and while micro 4/3 technically isn't a standard - it is a consortium, the concept applies) are often used by less dominant players to compete against more dominant players.

While it would suit consumers to have the dominant players enter that portion of the market, both have already done mirrorless offerings already - without 4/3. Not to say those are *good* offerings ...

In short, no logical *business* reason to believe Nikon/Canon would or should join the consortium. Nor will Apple - which in some sense is becoming the biggest camera vendor of them all ...


By providing closed and licensed lens mounts Nikon and Canon gained a comfortable duopoly position in the DSLR camera markets. So far they feel quiet comfortable with their sales, even though their mirrorless ILCs are less popular than the Micro Four Thirds cameras. Perhaps, this bothers C&N, but not to the point of giving up their own mirrorless lens mounts. Sadly, the most important, it would be against the C&N corporate policy to join any shared-by-few lens mount systems, such as MFT system.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to continue using Panasonic, Olympus, Leica, Voigtländer, SLR & Black Magic, Samyang, Sigma, Tokina, Kowa, JK Imaging and others MFT compatible products.

I use cameras from more than one brand. I would become interested in considering for the first time a 4/3 camera if it were monochrome only, ala the Monochrom. Assuming the features matched my needs and whims :)

I agree with Thom's central points, but I don't think he's right about aspect ratio being a barrier to Canon or Nikon joining m4/3. As I understand the 4/3 system spec, it defines the image circle not the aspect ratio. Accordingly, a manufacturer could make a camera with a native 3:2 sensor. Previously, Panasonic did make the GH1 and GH2 cameras with oversized sensors offering native 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 output, but for reasons that are unknown to me that capability has been dropped in more recent GH series cameras—strange, especially considering Panasonic's emphasis on video in those cameras. I think it would strengthen the system if 3:2 or 16:9 cameras were again available, for (as Thom rightly points out) some photographers are out off by the squarer 4:3 aspect ratio.

That said, part of the appeal of m4/3 to me is the squarer aspect ratio. I shoot heavily in portrait orientation, for which I find 3:2 too narrow, and tend to prefer 4:5 or 4:3 (or sometimes 1:1). When I want a wider aspect ratio, I want at least 16:9, if not wider. 3:2, for me, is just an awkward in between, evoking memories of bad snapshots taken with unprofessional miniature format cameras. :-)

What motivation would Nikon or Canon have for giving legitimacy to a format that is dying on the vine?

Once touted as the lingua franca, it's now just another proprietary format that two manufacturers happen to share. Why should a big guy give a boost to a format that is already struggling? There is zero business motivation.

Arguably, Nikon and Canon are selling more mirrorless together than Olympus and Panasonic are in most markets.

This is a battle for survival. Why would the big boys throw a life line to their competitors? Micro 4/3 is untouchable from any other manufacturer probably forever. And the question is how much longer Panasonic will participate in the money losing format.

The micro 4/3 format- indeed, all mirrorless- was launched because the makers could not make it in the DSLR world, so wanted to create a new segment. That's fine.

But of course the big boys got involved also, because why leave money on the table?

Look at the trends in most markets, and if anybody has been successful in picking up market share in mirrorless, it has been Nikon and Canon, certainly not Panasonic.

None of this has anything to do with the value of the cameras produced, that's a whole different topic.

But no, the only two manufacturers who are profitable selling cameras have zero motivation to enter a new very risky segment.

As ginsbu says FourThirds and microFourThirds specs don't specify an aspect ratio though they don't guarantee all lenses will cover the whole image circle though you can be sure that 4:3 and 16:9 rectangles that fall on the image circle are covered by all of the microFourThirds lenses.

Both Canon and Nikon already have mirrorless lens mounts and they have no business need to move to FourThirds. Doing so would confuse their already confusing line up. If they need a smaller sensor (as Nikon 1 already has and a future P8xxx may well use) it would be type 1". As Thom has said they need to reduce the number of products not increase them.

The Nikon CX lens mount is oversized for type 1" sensors and will fit an APS-C sensor. It seems that the designers of the mechanics of the mount thought about this for a possible future scenario. I think that's Nikon's Plan B (or Plan A in the next 5 years). Then they end up with two types of lenses on the CX mechanics (EX?) just like the DX/FX lenses sharing the F mount mechanics.

The next mirrorless cameras you will see from Nikon and Canon will be "mirrorless DSLRs" (I know, a contradiction in terms) that include the mirrorbox but replace the reflex finder with an EVF. They will get smaller cameras when they do this (part of the mirror box will become a standoff like the "too thin" Panasonic GM1).

Both Nikon and Canon have a huge investment in their current lens mounts which they won't want to devalue. The hole in this argument is neither company has supported their APS-C sensor cameras with a good range of native lenses. They expect to upsell everyone to 35mm sensors. This still seems like a short sighted strategy to me as APS-C sensors are more than "good enough" for most people and will always be much cheaper than full frame sensor. Perhaps Canon and Nikon have their eye on the extra profit from 35mm sensor cameras.

Ricoh/Pentax are an interesting case. Ricoh tried and failed with the lensor GXR system. Will they replace the GXR with another mirrorless system? It's getting rather late in the day for "yet another mirrorles lens mount". Would Sony let them into the E mount system and let them make E mount cameras too? After all Pentax does make lenses. Or would they see that as too much of a threat? It would seem to next logical step to select microFourThirds especially if they envisige a 35mm DSLR/"mirrorless DSLR" future too. That would give them two ILC systems "two stops" (x2) apart which is a rather good trade off for size/DOF. Almost like "35mm" and a "medium format" pair of system cameras.

The other alternative for Ricoh is to go "old school" drop AF and use the M mount. After all they do tend dance to the beat of their own drum and make "unique" cameras like the GRD, GR and GXR.

It's not about the sensor size. It's about the mirror. Look at the Olympus and the Sony offerings. They abandoned the mirror because it is a compromise developed back in the sixties. First we had rangefinders, then twin lens reflex cameras, and finally the SLR. The advantage of the SLR was that what you saw in the viewfinder was what the film/sensor would capture. The mirror also has some disadvantages. First is the mirror box makes the cameras much bigger and heavier than their mirror less counterparts of the same format. The increased lens flange to film/sensor plane distance requires the lens to be much larger and heavier. Additionally the newer on -chip auto focus systems and live view functions doable the reflex finder in all the DSLR's except Sony's STL Alpha DSLR's.
The OLED video viewfinders and screens on my Sony A7& and A7r are incredibly sharp. The other advantage is I have focus peaking which lets me nail the most critical manual focus. I also like the fact that as I look through the viewfinder in manual mode I can actually see what the exposure and DOF look like in real time. No more chimping. The biggest reason I just traded in all my canon bodies and 5 L lenses was because of the size and weight. I have cut the weight of my gear 60% and have 36mp of resolution on top of that

From a business perspective it makes no point for them. Whether it's a good long-term strategy depends on whether Pana/Oly can actually stay in this game long term. It's a war of attrition right now. Ironically, we live in an age where new exciting cameras are being produced but it takes a very informed customer to actually care - this is, I think, one of the biggest issues. It's been a while since I met anyone actually wanting to buy a camera - let alone contemplate the differences that seem a bit geeky for the Average Joe.

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