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Tuesday, 04 September 2018


Yes, it's obvious that from merely an engineering cost point of view that as soon as mirrorless camera systems (that is the internal camera systems) become good enough then there is little point in designing slrs. That time seems to have arrived.

Yep. The SLR is on hospice care right now. Give it a few years and they'll be like the few remaining film bodies still available. And it's a good thing. Sony has proven the capability and desirability of mirrorless, now Canikon needs to catch up or die.

I'm Scottish, born and bred! Sadly I will be of no use in providing a sound file as I am cursed by having almost no accent.

No accent to a British ear that is.

For a few years while I was working as a commercial photographer I got in with a client who had Language schools as clients. We had many days working together, and we got into a habit it of getting the people I was photographing to guess where I came from. It was a great ice breaker and gave everyone a laugh when they found out I should speak with the accent of Billy Connoly. That was until the day we came up against a native German speaker who was teaching at a school. She said please just talk to me for a bit. She listened, though for a moment and said "The structure of your language points to you coming from the West of Scotland"

I was gobsmacked, and to this day I am still not sure how she managed to pinpoint my home, when no British person can!

Gosh, I hope we don’t lose SLRs. Mirrorless cameras are great for many things (and I love my Fuji). But for my most serious work, I need the ability to see through the lens, unprocessed, unfiltered, that SLRs give me.

Hi Mike, I think using the term a ea-change may be a little strong, although it probably depends on one’s perspective. From a photographer’s perspective, moving from film to digital, now that was sea-change. Dark room to digital darkroom and home printers. Time delay between developing prints to chimping & instant feedback. With mirrorless, it won’t change the process of taking an image, reviewing, editing (as Kirk Tuck describes it), to producing the final image.
I agree that it is a significant change in terms of simplifying manufacturing and reducing costs. But will the consumer see cheaper bodies? I think unlikely. But then one can get into a debate about indirect costs to consumer through higher profitability per body being used to pay down the R&D from selling into a smaller market etc.

We are, absotively.

In the not too distant future economies of production will result in pretty much all cameras becoming ff, and as the electronics become more integrated, there will be a range of body types and sizes, from dslr to compact, just like in the old days of film.

If these new mirrorless cameras’ viewfinder refresh rates and resolution are adequate for the pros who need 9 fps; and if Canikosonic’s adapter solutions for existing lenses prove adequate as these demanding users transition to the “native” lenses for the new mounts, then the mirrored DSLR configuration is toast, and likely unlamented. Stick a fork in it.

Who needs a camera with a flipping mirror and why? The historical reasons, viewfinder blackout, slow auto-focus (maybe other things) are technological problems that can be fixed with faster CPUs and accompanying chip sets. I don't know why anyone ever thought otherwise. The fact that they are cheaper to build is just icing on the manufacturers' cakes.

There are so many advantages that it's almost silly to enumerate them but I'll mention a couple that you don't hear about much. One: 100% view thru the viewfinder. Remember all the whining about non-top of line D-SLR models not showing enough in the viewfinder? History. Two: greyscale previewing through the viewfinder with simultaneous RAW file save when shooting B&W. Once you experience that, you'll wonder how we did without.

This is a no-brainer. The only reason people still hang on to mirrors is because that's what people are like. Not many like change.

The silliest reason I've read on the interweb for keeping the mirror is that the view through the viewfinder shows you the "real" colours of the scene whereas EVFs and LCDs show interpreted colours. Ok, but the actual real live scene is right there in front of you, why not just look at it if you want to see the real colours. Who cares what the viewfinder shows, it's what saved in the file that matters.

It was only ever a matter of time, imo.

I am guessing from the leaked specs that Canon is entering the FF mirrorless market with an entry level camera and plans to release a mid-tier model later and a pro-level camera last. This is what they did with APSC DSLRs (Canon 30D) and FF DSLRs (Canon 5D).

Nikon´s approach is to own the mid-tier segment first. I have no idea if the next Z model will be up-market or down-market. Note how Nikon positions their mid-tier Z offering head-to-head with the A7 series, which most would consider pro-level cameras.

Yes, it's a sea change. Millennial Economists would call it a paradigm shift.

What I like about this the most is that they are all creating new lens mounts to take advantage of the possibilities of mirrorless cameras. I think that the last time that really happened was when m43 and then Fuji X came out, but not the big boys. I understand the desire of those of us who have bags of legacy lenses to maintain backward compatibility, but, maintaining compatibility with lenses designed for SLRs from years ago really constrained the innovation of cameras size and function wise. One of the reasons I switched to m43 and then Fuji is that my aging arthritic body really needs to carry less weight and use more compact designs. The more competition in this space the better.

I think it is a seachange. I, for one, will be making a decision over the next few months which wagon to hitch on with for the next ride. I've been with Nikon for about 25 years. I have been dabbling in the Sony A7 world for about 6 months and Nikon may have caught me just on time. I am "happy" with the A7iii but even after months of use, I am still not completely comfortable. I think I would prefer to remain in the Nikon camp if the cameras and roadmap look positive for what I do. The next couple months will be interesting.

Yes, but the "sea change" is not the gadgetry. The gadgets are merely a reflection of the rapid convergence of still photography and video production which, in turn, is a reflection of the "sea change" in how imaging has become so ubiquitous.

Not only is the “little flipping mirror” headed to the slag heap but soon the shutter will follow. We’re already in the electronic shutter age and it won’t be long before it too is replaced by calibrated on/off sensors. Don’t ask how they’ll work but somewhere there’s a gnomish Canikony engineer toiling in the boiler room.

My take is that Nikon went after Sony with both barrels, and Canon will be offering the first of it's mirrorless FF camera on approximately (to use Keith Cooper's phrase) about the 6D level. He has an interesting article on his site.
It is almost as if Canon is less worried about Sony than Nikon appears to be.
The lenses are all L lenses and look interesting, and clearly suggest that this won't be the last FF Mirrorless we see from Canon.
He also raises a Mirrorless replacement for the APS-c 7D mk II

I did notice that the EOS R sports a crazy number of AF points (something I'm not to interested in) but also noticed that the camera can acquire focus down to Minus 6 EV ! This may be the coming into its own of the Dual Pixel Sensor (just a guess)

So to answer your question at the very least this is the beginning of the sea change. Only the speed of the change remains to be seen.
Economics will dictate that they can't continue to make everything at the same level of iteration as we have seen in the past. Nor will they be able to support new lenses for 2 systems. Something will have to give, and it will have to be the DSLR

The more desirable the new camera and lens systems are the faster we will see change (or Sea Change)
There could even be a silver lining for them if everyone decides they need a new camera.

I don't care. I'm 67, so I don't spend a lot of time thinking about future trends or products. I enjoy what's available now, especially gear that's in the downward stage of its product life. To me the most exciting aspect of the Nikon Z announcement was that it caused the prices of D810s on eBay to drop $200-$300.

The reason Nikon and Canon have waited as long as it did wasn't because they didn't realize mirrorless is the way forward but rather because it involved big upfront R&D and manufacturing investments in new camera system and new lines of lenses which would take a while to pay off and in the meanwhile will cannibalize into the revenue stream of existing product lines whose major R&D costs were sunk and repaid long time ago, so it's no surprise that they held off as long as they did and it probably meant seeing some hard evidence about losing market sony/fuji/m43rds for one of them to cave first with the other being obligated to follow.
The other thing is that dSLRs have hit an innovation and value ceiling about two generations ago, a dSLR bought five years ago in a given price point is about just as good as the current model - with a mirrorless at least the marketing departments will get a chance of trying to convince people that there is something essentially new here.
The real sea change will be when we start seeing entry and even midlevel dSLR product lines discontinued in favor of mirrorless.

" for the simple reason that it costs much more to build a camera with a flipping mirror than without."

Do you have a source for that ? - even for a per-unit marginal cost I doubt that's true.

Sure you loose the mirror and the prism but you add an EVF which costs money, consumes power and generates heat that needs to be dissipated that a mirror doesn't.

Mirrors and prisms are mechanical things that have been around for over two centuries - OLED EVFs are a decade-old or so tech.

In the entry-level cameras that use a pentamirror rather than a pentaprism the cost of the viewing systems is even lower.

Then there is the phase-detection AF which if goes on the sensor might as well add more to the sensor unit-price then having it as a separate unit, or it might not.

It is not the end
It is not the beginning of the end
But it is the end of the beginning.


Sea of change... yes, though I don't see the change from mirror to mirrorless as a revolution. But sure, it is change.
End of the DSLR - no, not necessarily. Just like you can still buy a rangefinder or medium format camera today. Just like you can still buy film today. Just because there is a new mainstream type of camera doesn't mean it has to be the only one. There is no reason why the DSLR cannot continue to exist, even if it's an increasingly niche market.

Not until the DSLR old-guard, who refuse to believe that an EVF can ever, ever, EVER be as good as an optical viewfinder, are all gone...

Hmmm, sea change:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

Willie Shakespeare, The Tempest

Although maybe the most beautiful verse about death and decomposition ever written, maybe not such a good omen for Canon and Nikon if true....

Oh, and here's my favorite version, I believe this is the wonderful Custer LaRue singing:

'I believed more than a decade ago that eventually the SLR would go the way of the dodo, for the simple reason that it costs much more to build a camera with a flipping mirror than without.'

Hmmm...So why are all the new mirrorless cameras MORE expensive than the SLRs? I can see arguments for mirrorless over SLRs but so far at least, cost ain't one of them!

My take is you're gonna be able to score some used 5D IV's and D810's for a sweet price in the coming months as people jump ship.

I'm sure this is the future, but one can certainly afford to shoot with some of the best photographic tools ever made for the next half a decade without sweating much.

Mirrorless EVF vs DSLR OVF

There will likely be a niche community that prefers/needs an OVF. Astrophotography and astro-landscapes, for example, are easier to compose using an OVF. An EVF results in loss of night vision.

However attractive the new FFM systems from Canikon may be, the factor limiting a massive shift to the new models will be all the legacy lenses attached to perfectly functional DSLRs owned by regular shooters, the weekend warriors who cannot ante up $5,000+ for a new kit.

Elimination of the mirror is just step one IMHO. Next, the mechanical shutter will be replaced with an electronic, universal shutter. Finally, mechanical lenses will be replaced with flat light gathering devices that use AI to construct an image at any desired focal point.

As mechanical elements disappear, the image will become a construct of the software in the camera. We can see this happening already in smartphones.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.



All these excellent choices for FFM is great for let's call them advanced amateurs or pros earning a living. I do think APSC DSLR's will still be around for quite some time, the prices will drop and will appeal to the weekend photographer for the kids soccer games, football, organized youth athletics, etc.
I do think that micro 4/3 may be eroded fairly soon, so I think that Olympus and Panasonic should respond if they plan to survive in this market. FFM has arrived with a Bang, a single body with a decent 24-70 or a 24-100 range is all I need and the bag is still fairly portable.

"Full fadom five thy father lies; / Of his bones are coral made; / Those are pearles that were his eyes; / Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange. / Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: [Burden within. Ding-dong.] / Hark! now I hear them, - Ding-dong, bell." (W. Shakespeare, The Tempest.

The full frame mania is so advanced that Adorama's mailing about the newly-announced Fuji X-T3's Subject is:

"Just Announced | The New Fujifilm XT-3 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera"


For some photographers, patience is an affordable luxury as much a virtue. Many have camera bags too heavy with EF’s or F’s to walk away from (or very far with, sometimes). Their lenses are not an investment; they’re an expense they don’t care to repeat. For those reasons, the latest mirrorless offerings from Canon and Nikon are opportunities for people who can and will wait for lighter, full-frame mirrorless bodies that meet their needs rather than dump their good lenses for the temporary advantages of the other camera brands. Sooner or later, our guy – no matter who he is – catches up with the other guy. If we wait, we get to see change.

"Who needs a camera with a flipping mirror and why?"

I do. EVFs bother my eyes - no matter how fast the refresh rate. And I don't like looking through an EVF.

"who refuse to believe that an EVF can ever, ever, EVER be as good as an optical viewfinder"

It is not belief, it is about one's comfort level. I used and owned enough mirrorless cameras to know that I won't willingly subject myself to EVFs as long as I have the option to use an OVF.

A reply to Ian Goodrick.

She almost certainly deduced where you are from the way she said: by the structure of your language. In other words she did it from your grammar, not by the phonetics of your speech.

I am not an expert on Scottish English, but I'm English and lived in Scotland (Edinburgh/Leith) for 20-odd years, much of which I spent hanging out with linguists & NLP people who taught me a fair bit about grammar (in the useful descriptive sense rather than the stupid, bullying, prescriptive sense).

One example of something which is grammatical in (some? perhaps east coast lowland only?) Scottish English dialects but not in (southern) English English is an infinitive form with an auxilliary verb like 'need', 'want' &c: in Scottish English (caveats as before) you can say, for instance 'the computer needs rebooted', but in English English (caveats...) this would need to be 'the computer needs to be rebooted'. I suspect the form with 'to be' is ungrammatical in Scottish English, although almost all speakers would recognise it but flag the speaker as English/non-Scottish. There will be many other grammatical subtleties, many of which will be regional within Scotland (and elsewhere of course). Good linguists can pick up on this structure pretty quickly.

(Note the distinction above is quite specific. In both English and Scottish English, I think *'the computer must rebooted': it must be 'must be' (sorry, could not resist the referential game).)

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