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Which of the following fits your current view best?
I use a compact system camera as a main system and don't need anything else. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I use a compact system camera as a main system and supplement it with other systems e.g. SLR. 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
I use a SLR as a main system and compact system camera as a second system. 43%  43%  [ 15 ]
I use a SLR and compact system camera about equally. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I use a SLR and have no interest in a compact system camera. 37%  37%  [ 13 ]
I am waiting for compact system cameras to get better before buying. 11%  11%  [ 4 ]
I mainly use other imaging systems. 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 35
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:13 pm 
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Recently there has been a bit of talk from Olympus and Panasonic on compact system cameras, micro FourThirds in their case, making SLR type cameras obsolete in the near future. Sony are also seeing decent of sales of NEX compared to the performance of the Alpha line.

The question then is, what happens next? Is it just wishful thinking on their part, or will compact system cameras really take over DSLRs? How quickly? Who is buying them now and why?

That leads me to this poll, which is intended to get a snapshot (pun not intended) of what people here see how they fit. Answer for what you feel right now, not what you think you might do in future.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Bigger is better, the days of "compact" micro technology is on the way out, flat screen TVs, laptops, those Iphone thingys, as well as anything gas efficient is on it's last breath.... mark my words
DinoDad.
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But seriously, I do believe that today's huge BRICK type cameras are in need of a revolutionary update as their size and weight are more of a hindrance rather than convenience.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:02 am 
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Olympus DSLRs will be obsolete in a few years,but the other brands,no way. still,for vacation purposes,compacts cameras with APS-C sensors will be the best solution ever.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:52 am 
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I really like the idea of a more compact camera with similarly high quality and just as nice user interface and ergonomic as a modern DSLR. I think this is something the camera business has lost over the years, especially when looking back at older film SLR's which are fairly small compared.

I also think DSLR are going to disappear, even in the high end section. When EVF's, contrast based AF and CMOS (less power consuming) gets better there just isn't any point medling with all this mechanics.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:54 am 
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As there will always be a certain percentage of camera users who "put quality first", it's difficult to see at least what are now midrange and up crop-DSLRS, and the full-frame DSLRs, vanishing. Until the laws of light/physics are repealed, sensor size and focal path design will require those "types" of cameras, even if the external shapes are "modernised".

However, at the current DSLR entry-level, and maybe a model or two up, per Brand, there's already user-pressure on size, shape, and ease of use - the 4/3s amd M-4/3s wouldn't exist if there wasn't. I still don't think that entry-level DSLRs will vanish - they suit some people, and those intending to go on to the higher DSLRs eventually - do have to start somewhere.

But the situation where the Big-Name Brands each have several "Entry" and "Entry-Plus" models, at low - fairly-low - mid-low - and almost-low, prices, could well change. While the "sales volume" is there, of course it's well worth their doing that.

And while the "4/3s" type cameras haven't quite yet reached the point where on ease of use and pricing, they're giving better quality images than P&S, but at prices, bodies and lenses, lower than Entry DSLR, but little more than the higher end P&S cameras - that time is coming.

The Chinese, who are not at all silly, and have a custom of getting into just about any business that has a volume market, so is profitable, haven't yet proceeded into the Chinese-designed, Chinese-built, camera market to any great extent, yet.

As the P&S market is swamped with many brands, each with many models, and the DSLR cameras tend to sell on Brand-Name - one area where the Chinese might surge into is that gap between higher-end P&S and lower-end DSLR.

At present that's the area of the 4/3s / M-4/3s - but those cameras do need improving, they also need some healthy price-reductions, particularly on lenses - and a larger range of lenses. There's "marketing space" there for enterprising folk with very adequate development funding.

A nicely packaged Micro-4/3 (or something new, but very similar), with very easy to use "Auto" abilities, but also some advanced modes and controls, with soft-case, strap, a couple of cards, 2 batteries and charger, and 3-lens set - close zoom, mid zoom, and a compact 35mm prime - all for US$499.00 or under - including the full 3-Year Warranty - would sell rather well, if the quality was there.

Impossible? Not if the Chinese saw a market for that.

Dave.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:41 am 
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My next camera will be mirrorless - even if I were to purchase one tomorrow.

Panasonic have gone mirrorless and I'd guess Olympus has ceased further development of their DSLR line.

Sony will be next and will eventually be followed kicking & screaming by Canon & Nikon. Pentax will probably go the way of Minolta.

It's not if but when SLR will die out. Their will be a few vestiges of users holding on like they have done with film cameras, but not enough to make it a financially feasible market to service.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:38 am 
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Interesting perspectives...

At a very "today" level, what is holding back a compact camera system compared to DSLR?
1: tracking AF performance - while static or slow moving AF is now probably "good enough" for most, will contrast systems every get up to SLR levels of performance for moving subjects? Personally I don't think what we know as contrast AF can ever deliver that. Some new system needs to be found to enable SLR matching AF. So right there, that's a deal breaker for a lot of photography types.
2: sensor size. So far, Leica rangefinders excluded, you can't get anything bigger than APS-C. If you want shallow(er) DoF, there is no choice. Possibly the modular Ricoh system might offer a path there.
3: body sizes - in my opinion, they're still not small enough yet but they're getting there. Why not big bodies? Bang goes the size advantage over SLR.
4: lens sizes - for a given sensor size, you'll end up with a general lens size for a given field of view. Big sensor means big lenses, so you're never going to get tiny lenses across the whole range.
5: price - they cost as much as SLRs. Do they deliver the value?
6: lens availability - of course this will be resolved over time.

Nikon are rumoured to be announcing their system in the not too distant future, and last I heard they will be using an even smaller sensor. Personally I think that is a big plus overall. While it might slightly impact shallow DoF shooting and low light performance, it will deliver smaller bodies and lenses, and may well aid the lower cost too. Assuming this rumour comes true, I think they have to be congratulated for embracing compact camera systems for their potential, rather than try to make them into SLR clones.

This all goes back to my original question: who is buying these compact system cameras, and why?

P&S upgrader - I'd have to guess this will be the biggest market opportunity. These people wouldn't consider a SLR system anyway so wouldn't impact SLR sales directly.
SLR user full convert - I think numbers of these will be comparatively small and if it happens will be much later on as the systems need to develop a lot more.
SLR dual system - I think this will be a significant niche that I've already joined in, although smaller than the "compact upgrader" group.
One final group... not sure what to call them, but they're more serious than the P&S upgrader which historically would have gone to entry level SLR but now might be tempted by the compact camera systems. This is the biggest "attack" on SLR sales I think, and is pretty much limited to the low end only.

In the medium term, these compact system cameras will impact low end SLR sales, but they have a very long way to go to start dreaming of competing against mid range or higher SLRs. It is my belief that SLRs will be pushed into a smaller niche than it is today, remaining mostly on the mid to high end. But we're probably looking at 10 years + before that happens. In a similar way, medium format exists to serve where SLRs can't go.

Whatever will obsolete SLRs will also obsolete compact system cameras at the same time. I'm thinking true 3D systems imaging systems here, not the stereoscopic toys of today.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:54 pm 
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something else to think about is the improvement in video cams, then just pick the frame you want?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:12 pm 
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I know I don't like taking pics by holding a camera away from my face, to see the image on an LCD screen; I want a viewfinder. Moreover, being left-eye dominant, compact cameras with viewfinders tend to block my right eye when I hold the viewfinder over my left eye, preventing me from smoothly locating/tracking a subject, as I can only see what is in the viewfinder. This limits me to static subjects, or perhaps, re-training myself to use a viewfinder with my non-dominant right eye, while tracking a subject with my left eye.

So, presently, I much prefer DSLRs. When I want a more compact digital, I use a Canon XTi/400D. Macro photography is important to me; do any P&S cameras peform well with macro photography?

That being said, such cameras as the Fuji X100, with an APS-C sensor, and a viewfinder, in a compact body, certainly do have my attention.

Edited to add: I recently handled some compact Panasonics and Olympus PENs, and the ergonomic factor became obvious. When things become too small, handling qualities diminish. One "improved" Panasonic was much worse than its predecessor; I was afraid I might drop it if I didn't hold it with two hands. If I recall the models correctly, the GF1 handled well for me, while its GF2 successor seemed always ready to fall from my grasp.

In another of my hobbies, pistol shooting, a parallel situation exists: A pistol which fills one's hand is easier to shoot fast and well than a tiny one which must be carefully held "just so" in order to hit one's target. A larger, service-sized pistol is actually easier to shoot one-handed than a compact pistol. To pick cinematic examples, familiar to forum members world-wide, James Bond's Walther PPK is a compact pistol, actually quite difficult to grasp properly while deploying it from a holster under stress, and comparatively more difficult to shoot well, than say, the Colt Government Model, wielded by Sergeant Major Plumley in the film "We Were Soldiers." (Pistol shooting is more than just a hobby for me; I work as a police officer in southern Texas.)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Quote: "something else to think about is the improvement in video cams, then just pick the frame you want?"

One aspect of digital video is that each individual frame is not such a good, clear image, compared to a still shot. These images require enhancing to make a good still. If this enhancing could be done in-camera, that would be a real improvement.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:21 pm 
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A friend bought what he pretty much thought was an slr, instead it was a micro four thirds camera that looked like slr. He is not happy wants to buy a real SLR. Main problem is speed at focusing and taking pictures.

Having just shot some road cycling I really see the need for a fast focus (as even SLRs have proble,s focusing fast enough).

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Late to noticing this thread...but it is something I now have a bit of inside perspective on, having just joined the ranks of compact system owners.

First question to answer is: No, I don't feel they can or will replace DSLRs, or make them obsolete. The general form factor, including crucially the size, make larger DSLR systems much more advantageous to certain types of photography. There might be a second question, which is whether 'DSLRs' themselves will still be around, or will have morphed into something else, such as Sony's EVF/fixed mirror hybrids or some other hybrid...however the mirrorless compact class will remain just that - a separate class of camera. I can possibly foresee where something along the lines of Sony's SLT system, in a much more advanced and evolutionary form than current, might be the predominant form factor for larger, pro-type systems, while the mirrorless class stays compact and continues to expand in its own niche, probably stealing away entry-level DSLR sales.

As for who's buying them...I can answer that question for myself - a DSLR user who wanted a 2nd system to use as a landscape/wide shooter when I'm out with the long lenses on the DSLR, as well as occasional replacement of the DSLR when I'm in situations where it's less convenient to use or carry. I also have an ultracompact P&S I use for emergency-only use.

What I've discovered surprisingly is that they are pretty well formed already. I expected to find lots of niggling little issues I wasn't happy with, but would accept for the form factor - most notably lack of good manual control intuitively. This was even more of a factor for me, since I was choosing the Sony NEX system - cool, small, nicely built, but seemingly a more obtuse menu driven functionality with only 2 buttons and a wheel for all controls (the Oly and Panny options look to have better external control layout, but I was particularly drawn to the APS-C sensor for the better high ISO abilities, which are crucial since I actually will be using this camera regularly at ISO1600-6400).

However, none of the fears panned out, primarily because of Sony's firmware #3 which seriously overhauled the controls to answer complaints about the menus and buttons. Most importantly, the 4-way controller pad actually has 5 direct buttons (center, left, right, up, and down), as well as the rotational ability for settings. So right off, you actually have more direct controls available than you might expect, with EV, drive mode, flash modes, and Display around the dial. The firmware allowed the center button to store 3 user-customizable settings rather than the default stuff - so now ISO, focus area, and white balance can all be placed there for direct access. The upper of the two body buttons still accesses the menu, for any other settings, while the lower of the two which used to be wasted with 'shooting tips' help screen, now can be user-selected to accomodate the function of choice - I use DRO/HDR settings there. The camera placed in Aperture Priority mode becomes surprisingly quick and easy to control manually - focus can be manual on the lens ring, aperture adjustable by simply rotating the wheel on back, EV, ISO, Drive mode, metering mode, focus area, and white balance all are direct-button accessible, then rotating the wheel to adjust. Half pressing the shutter always saves the settings you just changed and restores the camera to shooting mode, so no setting acknowledgements need to be made. I'm glad Sony made the firmware update, as there is no way I'd have been happy with the original menu/button settings (I bought the camera without the firmware update, so I had a few hours to try it before the change).

So if it shoots equally well at high ISO, excellent res at low ISO, and is surprisingly good for manual controls and intuitive layout, why can't it replace my DSLR all the time? Well, focus is slower. Focus cannot track any motion faster than a person walking. Focusing manually not easy in low light. EVF/LCDs have too much lag and refresh slowness in low light and with fast motion. Shooting stance is less stable/comfortable without an optical finder, large grip, and camera to face. Camera would not be comfortable/stable with long lenses. Battery life can't come close to a DSLR. Lens selection tiny compared to any DSLR system (growing, but will take a long time to catch up to DSLR lens collections which have been around 25+ years). Adapters can be used to work with any lens ever made - but aperture control only on lens and no AF possible...even with newer AF lenses on other mounts. Just to name a few issues.

On the other questions? I'd say on body size they are small enough - but that's me. I don't want anything smaller than the NEX3 as it just wouldn't be comfortable with any lens but a basic pancake. I like how small the NEX3 can be, but can still reasonably be handled with a lens 3-5 inches long. I agree the bodies shouldn't bother to get bigger though - no size advantage over DSLRs, and also likely losing the advantage of the mirrorless design in accomodating other lenses through adapters due to the registration gap being so small. Price-wise - they can be competitive - at least on sale. My big temptation for getting the NEX3 was the fact that I could get the camera and 18-55 stabilized lens for under $500.

Though to answer one thing about taking photos with the mirrorless cams, as far as stance. As REX said, I also don't like the stance of holding a camera away from my face and looking at the LCD. However, I have found the NEX, with the tilting LCD pointed up, becomes a surprisingly comfortable and good waist-level shooter...which is primarily how I've taken most shots with it - good for landscapes, candids, etc.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:26 am 
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Apparently Nikon's new mirrorless system is coming sometime in April, within a few days. This should be interesting, as this camera will probably be targeted towards pros.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:34 pm 
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I am going to be paying attention to the Nikon mirror less system announcement, and anticipating a Canon response. Being able to use existing Nikkor and Canon lenses would be a blessing, as I have some decent Canon glass, and my first Nikkor glass is en route.

I have been trying to like the Sony NEX system, as it can use other brands of lenses, with adaptors. Perhaps because I am left-handed, I feel as if I am always about to drop the NEX, the same as with all too many other compacts I have handled.

Really, the more I look at various compacts, the more I am drawn to the Leica M system. I am used to manually focusing, anyway. Now, to determine how to afford Leica......

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