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 Post subject: Mirror or not to Mirror
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 4:39 pm 
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I thought this arcticle by Thom Hogan was worth sharing...
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Mirror or No Mirror?
May 18 (commentary). With Panasonic's introduction last week of the US$599 16mp G3 camera body, the question that's coming soon is this: D3100 or G3? (Substitute the latest low-end Rebel if you're a Canon user.) In interviews at the G3 introduction, Panasonic executives made a number of points. For example: while the interchangeable lens camera market is still expanding, traditional DSLR designs are flat in sales and Panasonic expects them to collapse by as much as 30% in the not to distant future.

In Japan, m4/3, NX, and NEX cameras are continuing to gain ground. As much as 40% of the interchangeable lens camera market there is no longer traditional DSLR in any given month. There are other pockets around the world where similar things are happening. But one comment struck me: the Asian markets prefer the slim non-finder versions such as the GF2 and NEX-5, while the American and European markets prefer viewfinder-equipped cameras, such as the GH2 and G3.

Anecdotally, I find that to be true. It's one reason why the E-P1 through E-PL2 and the GF1 and GF2 didn't get the same response in the US market as in Japan (it's not the only reason, though).

With the G3, which has a viewfinder, we're now down to really only two questions that determine DSLR versus the EVF cameras: (1) focus speed? and (2) EVF quality? The differences between a DSLR such as the D3100 and an ILC such as the G3 are getting smaller. The G3 has the GH2's very fast contrast AF system, which is good enough for most people for most situations. And the G series has always had a competent viewfinder that's brighter than some of the dark pentamirror systems in low-end DSLRs. So suddenly a metal body, 16mp, positionable LCD, interchangeable EVF camera at US$599 that's also smaller than a traditional DSLR seems fairly competitive. Of course, here in the states Panasonic would actually have to fix their distribution, sales, marketing, and support systems to sell anything ;~).

But what I started predicting a few years ago is coming true: cell phones kill compact cameras from the bottom, EVF interchangeable lens cameras marginalize compacts from the top and cannibalize DSLRs from the bottom. To compete, DSLRs need to be reinvented. Soon. Substantially.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 5:06 pm 
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Nothing particular new there. Other than the G3 of course.

I'm still wondering who is buying mirrorless. How many are people buying it *instead* of DSLR? How many are buying it in *addition* to DSLR? Even if DSLR sales have a moderate growth, it'll never compete in growth with a new category so by definition, DSLR market share will reduce. It can't do anything but that. They key will be looking at DSLR like for like sales over time. The question then is where the market balance will lay after mirrorless matures. Can it kill low end SLR?

Personally I still don't feel "big body" mirrorless makes a huge amount of sense. The G3 is getting towards ok, apart from the stupidly large bulge on the top to accommodate the EVF. That negates any size advantage they try to give it. Small differences in size compared to low end SLR are not significant, so they have to compete on feature set. Truly small bodies are a significant differentiator from SLR. The GF form factor is ok but they're not putting in all the toys the G/GH series are so making them feel second class.

It is quite possible the smaller non-internal EVF models will attract a different market from the built in EVF models... e.g. the former might attract top end compact sales, the latter challenging low end SLR. I think at worse low end SLR might be sidelined by mirrorless, but it will be a long while before mirrorless can compete against mid to higher end SLR. It would take something a lot more radical than today.

Also note we haven't seen Nikon's entry yet. And we don't even know if Canon are even going to bother joining in.

Edit: since this is in the Sony forum, I suppose I should at least mention the NEX :D Erm... I like it, and if I haven't already got the E-P1 I think it would be my system choice today.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 5:59 pm 
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"Personally I still don't feel "big body" mirrorless makes a huge amount of sense."

I can see lots of advantages to having a hybrid VF, not to mention getting 10fps for under $700. The (upcoming) A77 may be the test mule for this technology and at it's infant stage.
Not that long ago, people thought a flat screen plasma television was a strange concept.


Last edited by WestCoast on Wed May 18, 2011 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 6:32 pm 
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The A77 isn't mirrorless though. It just decides not to move it around like SLR. Or do you mean it will be a technology tester which may eventually filter down? Don't think I've heard anything of hybrid VF either.

I don't recall anyone finding plasma TV strange in the early days. Hot and expensive definitely...

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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
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 7:13 pm 
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"The A77 isn't mirrorless though. It just decides not to move it around like SLR. Or do you mean it will be a technology tester which may eventually filter down?"

Your right, should have said "fixed" and I'm going off topic.
I guess I'm in high anticipation of the A77, without the benefit of actually knowing anything about it's practicality or if it will have any relative impact on the mirrorless advancements or lack there off.
There have been "rumors" of a hybrid VF in the last while also on what could be a professional nex7 or nex9? (mirrorless).
Mind you there have also been rumors of me getting a contract to shoot super-models on a beach in Fiji as well.
:D

edit. highlighted "may be" in previous thread.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:17 pm 
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The 'getting 10fps for under $700' part is already addressed by the A33 & A55...though it is a special mode, it still does so with tracking focus, so they've already gotten past the speed hurdle. The sticking point for some is still that 'slideshow' display of last frame taken rather than real-time image delivery - some don't mind it, some do. I do.

As for the 'who buys mirrorless' question...I'm thinking like Popo mentioned that at least in the western world there are a whole bunch of people who buy them to either supplement a DSLR system as a second body, or to replace P&S cameras for people who weren't in the DSLR market to begin with. I don't feel like a large portion of mirrorless sales are going to people fully replacing DSLR systems with mirrorless - those that do clearly didn't actually NEED a DSLR to begin with. Those that selected DSLR systems for their specific advantages have no other options at the moment - mirrorless cannot replace DSLR when it comes to focus speed, battery life, panning/tracking needs, low light focus, buffer size, and for many, ergonomics with large lenses. If they do make mirrorless cameras that do address these issues, they would have to fully equal or exceed all of those issues to make them a worthy replacement for a DSLR for avid users.

I love my NEX system...but it doesn't replace my DSLR. Too much of my shooting specifically cannot be done with the mirrorless system despite a sensor capable of identical image quality. Focus speed, buffer size, battery life, continuous shooting/focus tracking all still fall behind. And an EVF solution, though helpful compared to an LCD only for certain types of shooting, still don't address the live-view EVF blackout/slideshow effect during burst shooting, as evidenced by the A33/55.

The A77 could be interesting if they figure out how to do a hybrid OVF/EVF, especially for the view lag and panning lag issues - obviously they could also address battery, ergonomics, size, EVF resolution, and overheating issues too given a larger body. So I'm curious about it, to say the least. But I won't commit to it until I can confirm if it requires no compromises over a DSLR. If it does...then I'll likely need to stick with OVFs for now.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Not sure how this stat represents any "world trend", but in Japan mirrorless is gaining ground.

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