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Dallas

Will 2016 be the year that mirrorless dethrones your DSLR?

  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Will you replace your DSLR with a mirrorless camera in 2016?

    • Yes
      3
    • No
      30
    • Already did that
      6


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I've been shooting exclusively mirrorless for over 2 years now and I have absolutely embraced the Olympus system I have. It does everything I need it to. I would like to try the Fujifilm cameras this year and am working on getting some samples so that I can do direct comparisons with my Oly gear. 

 

Will 2016 be the year that you switch over completely? 

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I don't plan to switch at all.  However, I'll be looking at the new Fujifilm XPro-2 with interest, since my early-in-the-series XE1 is stuck with laggy performance that can't be firmwared out of it.  If Nikon produced an F-mount 24x36 mirrorless that'd be of extreme interest also.

A Sony A7s would be a possible stop-gap solution for low light, where the functionality of the EVF devastates what can be done with OVF cams.  May the manufacturers keep innovating.

Edited by pluton

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An interesting question at an interesting time.

 

On one hand, the traditional DSLR has become a highly refined piece of technology, which I suspect has come close to its developmental peak.  On the other hand the new all electronic mirrorless upstart has matured very rapidly and is already less costly to build than traditional DSLRs (no matter how Sony and others might price their mirrorless offerings at this point in time). 

 

As the pixel count of sensors increases and AF systems become ever more sophisticated, it will become harder to get the DSLR mechanisms to keep pace with these developments, e.g. mirror systems will need to be further refined to support such developments, which will add to the cost base of manufacturing DSLRs.  On the other hand, as noted above, mirrorless systems are already less costly to build than DSLRs.

 

At the end of the day manufacturing costs will determine the fate of the DSLR and the dominance of mirrorless cameras.  Add to this the ever increasing sophistication of electronic view finder systems, on sensor AF systems, and electronic shutter advances and the future is clear.  That said, Canon and Nikon might take a while yet to make the switch in the instance of their mainstream professional offerings.  It is a great pity that they have not respectively promoted the Canon M and 1 Nikon systems.

 

Whenever the the big two make such a move, will signal the final death knock for the DSLR.

 

Two years for the big two to introduce their mainstream mirrorless options? 

Edited by Hugh_3170

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2016 won't be the dethrone year...

 

Neither will 2017, 2018, 2019, etc...

 

We have a generation of dslr users who will never switch...

 

If you count smart phones, the dslr has already been dethroned as an image making machine...

 

Rags

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LOL

Hard to beat the refresh rate of the optical viewfinder..

The "switch" is not going to happen anytime soon....

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LOL

Hard to beat the refresh rate of the optical viewfinder..

The "switch" is not going to happen anytime soon....

The EVF is both mirrorless' greatest feature, and it's worst.  Once they fix the delay...iF they can fix the delay...then the DSLR will begin to fade.

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*IF* my D800 dies, I'll get a D7200 or whatever equivalent top DX DSLR Nikon has at the moment, perhaps a mirrorless

 

if I was starting from scratch today I'll get a Fuji

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Dallas, if you are going to try Fuji, I recommend waiting until the X-Pro2 in a few months, or, hopefully, the X-T1 a little later.  This is not because they are not fine cameras, but because it would make more sense to test the latest gear, not the older stuff which is about to be replaced.

 

Also, you will probably find that Lightroom is sub-optimal for the X-Trans, at least until Adobe works out how to deal with it, which they have said they are trying to do.

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For the past three years I've been using the Fuji X system in parallel to the D800. I'm very happy with the Fuji system. I never really liked the D800 and I was still looking for a fast camera for weddings and events. Just before christmas I've replaced the D800 with the D750 which is much better for my needs. I'll be using both systems in parallel for the next years.

 

I was thinking of fully switching to mirrorless many times but have decided to keep both.

 

Nikon might bring a mirrorless system for the 100 year anniversary in 2017.

Edited by aerobat

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This piece of the mirrorless technology reminds me of the debate about the merits or otherwise of introducing AF systems into film SLRs back in the 1980s. 

 

Many manufacturers, including Nikon got the technology working, but it was Minolta that eventually bit the bullet as it were and introduced it into their Maxxum 7000 camera in 1985.  From there on AF in SLRs became well accepted as real world photographers got to use and appreciate the benefits of the technology.  Another example of an issue going away is that of the shutter delay that was present in the first digital cameras and how it got less and less as each technology refresh came along.  I expect that EVFs will go through similar journeys until  they are perfected.  That said, the EVF journey to acceptance and technical maturity is likely to be a a much faster one than it was for AF in SLRs. 

 

As for the EVF delay being fixed, I expect that it will be resolved in accordance with a timeline dictated by the the so called "Moore's Law" - with the delay being roughly halved with each technology refresh from the manufacturers.

 

 

pluton, on 04 Jan 2016 - 03:51, said:snapback.png

The EVF is both mirrorless' greatest feature, and it's worst.  Once they fix the delay...iF they can fix the delay...then the DSLR will begin to fade.

Edited by Hugh_3170
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I'd probably still be using both if Nikon hadn't treated me with utter arrogance and contempt over a faulty D600. It takes an almighty shove to get me to go cold on a product line I had been happy to use for nearly a quarter of a century, but Nikon sure succeeded spectacularly to the point that I was willing to lose literally thousands of $$$ in divesting myself of my Nikon outfit.

 

Having thus forced my hand (and even before the arrival of Fuji's X-T1 on the scene), I was reminded just how easily one adapts to the equipment one has at hand at the time - indeed, for months I managed just fine in my daily work with an original X-Pro1, four lenses and an adapter for the bevy of AI-s Nikkors I had hung onto after ditching all the AF-S and AF-D lenses along with the DSLR bodies. In fact I took some of the best shots I had ever taken.

 

By the time the X-T1 was announced I was already well and truly weaned off the bulk and weight of DSLRs, and with the lenses released by Fuji during 2015 now filling my bag I consider DSLR just another past phase and fading memory of a photographic career which is now entering its 46th year. Even the AI-s lenses are sold and gone, the only vestige of Nikon days are an old F4 body that is unsaleable (I do have a PB-4 bellows, but I bought that specifically to use with the Fuji cameras - it's never been used on one of my Nikons).

 

My backpacks are now also all retired, a LowePro Tech Vest & belt or a small KATA shoulder bag are all I need to carry whatever I might need, and I have a camera and lens system that consistently produces results that are superior to my last full Nikon pro outfit (D3s, AF-S & AF-D lenses). Just yesterday I did something I had not done ever - I carried three mirrorless cameras (including 7 lenses) in a small shoulder bag for a 10km hike without getting uncomfortable or sore anywhere. That alone makes me feel good about ditching those Nikon instruments of physical torture, truth be told.

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The weight saving associated with mirrorless cameras is a blessing indeed.  I am reminded of this every time I use my Olympus E-M1.

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AF tech is still not there for me in all respects in mirrorless, so my Nikon gear lives on for me and still has a place at my side for certain things.  Do I need it for everything, no - the majority of my work can and will be shifted over to Olympus.

 

I'm also looking at, oddly to some, analog options - specifically instax delivery. That kind of thing is starting to take off in a big way here for things like events and weddings.  I'm trying to decide if I want to go with a bunch of Fuji SP-1 units or if the lomo options like the Diana f+ instant, Lomo Belair, and lomo'instant wide might be worth it.

 

So, definitely not a "traditional" switch.  For me 2016, will be the year that I need to find that thing that differentiates me from the rest of the group.  I'm finishing up a lot of business restructuring and figuring out how to hit the business milestones I've set.

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How do we define "dethrone"? I take it to mean that mirrorless has a higher market share than DSLRs as measured by the CIPA production and shipment figures. I don't think that will happen in 2016. The mirrorless market share will continue to increase, I think.

The EVF refresh problem is more of a sensor readout problem than an EVF problem. Note how the refresh rate drops in poor light. That's the sensor causing that, not the EVF. Move the data quickly enough off the sensor and process them fast enough, and the DSLR will be a thing of the past.

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EVF refresh isn't going to get that much better anytime soon....

It's hard to read the image from the sensor, move the data and present it on a display in any rate that will approach the speed of light that is the basis of an optical viewfinder.

Data rates are not going to improve that much....especially if you are trying to REDUCE power so you can get past the abysmal shots/charge problem....

 

There may be progress....but there's a long way to go.....

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... willing to lose literally thousands of $$$ in divesting myself of my Nikon outfit...

Economic reasons - more like explaining it to my wife - are exactly what have kept me from adopting a mirrorless system

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How do we define "dethrone"? I take it to mean that mirrorless has a higher market share than DSLRs as measured by the CIPA production and shipment figures. I don't think that will happen in 2016. The mirrorless market share will continue to increase, I think.

The EVF refresh problem is more of a sensor readout problem than an EVF problem. Note how the refresh rate drops in poor light. That's the sensor causing that, not the EVF. Move the data quickly enough off the sensor and process them fast enough, and the DSLR will be a thing of the past.

 

This is history, speaking from the point of view of my X-T1. Just to confirm I just did a fast pan with my lens pointing into a dark room (indicated exposure 5 seconds @f/4, 800 ISO - so it is dark) and there was none of the jumpy lag that was endemic in the gen1 EVFs & processors as in my X-Pro1 and Sigma DP Merrills. Sure the pilot LED on the turned-off TV streaked rather than panned the dot a bit in the viewfinder, but jerkiness through slow refresh? - not any more. Anyhow, if one pointed a DSLR OVF into the same room with an f/4 lens attached it would be a strain to even see the subject matter at all, let alone pan with anything moving. With EVF I could easily see the subject matter, even if it was a bit noisy and fuzzy. No-one is seriously going to expect to turn in results of moving subjects at those settings anyway.

 

There is a partial way around this if afflicted with a slow refreshing camera, and that is to disable the feature of the viewfinder simulating the final exposure and let it display unamplified. OK, it'll be as dark or darker than an OVF in that situation, but the refresh rate will be back to its 1/200sec norm.

 

The assumption that there are no mirrorless sensors/processors that are sorted well enough to be usable in low light with moving subjects isn't really correct. Given its lockout of ISO above 6400 when shooting raw, the X-T1 at least is capable of perfectly acceptable EVF performance in the lighting levels that this ceiling dictates.

 

I can't talk about other brands as I only have Sigma Merrills which don't even have a viewfinder and using the LCD to pan in low light is not somewhere I'd contemplate going at all, particularly with cameras that have no real use in colour above 400 ISO.

 

Even though the Fuji will allow three stops more ISO as jpeg only, the in-camera processor hammers the image with so much NR that the resulting image becomes pure mush and totally unacceptable in my book. Whoever decided that a bit of luminance noise was so objectionable as to require that much NR needs to have their approach to photography seriously re-examined.

However AF in low light is less than proficient, no argument there. I have no doubt that gen3 AF will be the main focus of mirrorless development, probably first surfacing with the X-Pro2, but in even further improved state with the X-T2 further down the track. Fuji (and no doubt Olympus, Sony and Panasonic) are certainly well aware of the legitimate customer concerns with regard to that aspect of mirrorless.

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When you're working as a photographer and need to produce acceptable images for a job, I honestly don't think that things like EVF refresh rates, high ISO usability, size of depth of field or autofocus speeds matter as much as we think they do. We always tend to over amplify differences that in reality don't matter all that much and then reject a system on paper before we have even had a chance to try it in the field. 

 

For instance, in my paid assignments I very seldom have a need to shoot at higher than ISO 3200, or track fast moving items, or produce razor thin depth of field. Those are all specialist areas where specialist cameras would be the correct option, but I have been getting by just fine for over 2 years using the Oly E-M1 and some terrific lenses. Most amateur photographers will have even less specialised needs to mine, so they really ought to be looking at specs that matter, not those that don't. Sports photographers need fast AF-C and concert photographers need high ISO. Not too many amateur photographers in those fields. 

 

I have a feeling that this year either Nikon or Canon will introduce a serious mirrorless camera and that will shake up the industry where more and more people will begin to look at the mirrorless as the future of photography for the masses. Provided of course that they see the benefit of using an ILC instead of a smartphone.

 

The big problem that the two big names face in getting their mirrorless systems going is whether they build them around their legacy lens systems, or if they start from scratch with a new mount and a new lens line. I think that Canon are probably in a better position to pimp up the EOS M mirrorless than Nikon are to pimp up the DX line. Who knows? 

 

Going to be an interesting year! 

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Though the refresh rate sinks in poor light with my Sony camera, that is still better than seeing little or nothing in an OVF.

I'm sure I can find the setting to change this, in the menu system somewhere....

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Dallas - why do you harp on legacy lens mounts as the impediment to Nikon or Canon going mirrorless?

 

Those mounts would be fine for a full-frame mirrorless.

 

I think the real reason are these:

1 - dropping the mirror would force the loss of the CAM focus modules which would limit capability across a large span of lens speeds.  This can be somewhat mitigated with in-field phase detectors, but we've yet to see a large, high-IQ sensor developed with those imbedded.  I believe their are IP issues with usage.

2- Lag will never be appropriate for sports shooters ... look at what the flagship is (D5) and it's target usage and apply trickle down marketing and engineering...low-lag is important in "pro" bodies at least in the minds of Nikon and Canon designers/planners.

3 - Massive power consumption that will not be overcome and contributes to lower IQ due to sensor heating.

4 - NO UPSIDE over DLSR except low-light viewing of static subjects and a less mechanically complicated (not necessarily lower cost) manufacturing process.  Live-view overcomes the former while the later is Nikon's business call.

 

So -- sure,  they can go there, but why?  

 

Stay the course with what they know and spend their limited R&D dollars on lenses and sensors

They have enough work to do making new (or refreshing) lenses with newer lens technology.

 

The DSLR is a well honed machine....sure it taken the HW oriented companies a while to get the SW right (better), but it works well now and they know how to crank the bodies out for cheap by the millions.

 

Why re-tool all that for huge cost and little upside - remember, consumers expect mirrorless camera to cost less than DSLRs.

How many MORE will they sell or how better is the margin that they will be money ahead with the change?

 

Too much to loose and nothing to gain....when they have a near-automatic home-run in a D400 sitting there and they can't/don't execute on that, there's no way mirrorless pencils out in the corporate offices of at least Nikon.

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Though the refresh rate sinks in poor light with my Sony camera, that is still better than seeing little or nothing in an OVF.

I'm sure I can find the setting to change this, in the menu system somewhere....

 

when you find it please share :)

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Short answer, no.  For certain types of shooting Mirrorless is better, for some things it is even but for fast action, particularly fast , quickly changing action... not even close yet.

Just my 2 Rupees

Tom

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It's simple.

 

Here's a simple, manual focus, manual exposure film SLR (Nikon F).

DSLR-Digital-single-lens-reflex-camera-d

 

Here's a digital SLR with AF, AE and digital capture (Nikon D4 - mirror/viewfinder screen is a similar size to the Nikon F, which shows just how big and bloated DSLRs have become).

8022529974_d827f7391e_b.jpg

 

It's evident that the latter is just the former with an electronic imager replacing film, with ancillaries and battery to power it and the other associated stuff expected these days, such as AE and AF, as well as a rear LCD. The bit in the middle and at the top is, in actuality, totally redundant. There is no need to protect the capture device from light other than at exposure time, which is the sole reason for the mirror and prism in a film SLR, and it has no required purpose in a digital camera.

 

Here's a mirrorless digital camera, which can be seen to be a completely different ground-up design, being specifically for a camera that both views through the taking lens and uses a digital sensor to capture the light (and in this case using a viewfinder displaying information directly from the sensor, and in no way intersecting the actual optical path, its prism-like placement is purely one of convenience and could be anywhere on the body) - there is no quarter given to any use of film in the design.

xP85Lj0.jpg

 

So the end predictions in all this will boil down to how long people will be happy to use what is basically a converted film camera design, or how long it takes mirrorless improvements in the electronic side of viewfinding and auto focus directly off the sensor through EVF to eclipse that old converted film camera design completely to the satisfaction of even the staunchest naysayer.

 

It's not "whether", but "when".

 

At that stage those systems designed to utilise the mirrorless form factor will have a distinct head start on those which persisted with converted film camera platforms, something the likes of Canon and Nikon are no doubt sweating on rather profusely at the moment, because while some still feel the old form is superior, its days are definitely numbered, just the same as passenger planes commonly now use jet engines and not piston props, or trains use diesel-electric propulsion and not steam.

 

My money is on Canon taking the first plunge of the two as they have already proved in the past that they hold no regard for customer loyalty by rendering entire lens ranges obsolete with a new lens mount at their own convenience.

 

It's Nikon that historically made a big deal of sticking with their F mount, even though their initial two pro digital cameras (D1*, D2*) were hamstrung for lack of wide angle AOVs owing to their APS-C format which was something that Nikon took ages to address, and then only with a limited range of DX lenses. Sticking to that F register distance now just so their customers can continue to use lenses they've already paid for will result in compromises to their mirrorless design that may well prove to be a dead end, and will not sell any new lenses for Nikon's balance sheet. Change the lens mount and people will be forced to buy new lenses. If both Nikon and Canon do this at the same time, well - what choice?

 

The first phase of the digital camera revolution - the conversion of film to digital capture - is all but complete. The second, using cameras and lenses specifically and entirely designed for digital capture is following hard on its heels.

 

As someone who has been using the new form factor solely and full time since late 2013, I often read the Internet Experts telling me how disadvantaged I am with my camera that can't AF in a hurry, can't follow focus, has viewfinder lag, has a lousy shoot/battery ratio, and whatever else it can't do, to all of which my reaction is "meh". If these things are a huge problem, well I just haven't noticed that at all in my day to day shooting. My previous full-time camera was a D3s, and I reckon without a moment's hesitation that the X-T1 is a better camera to use, and by a decent margin at that. Of course I'm on drugs to be saying this because it contradicts what the Internet Experts have decreed, but no matter, that is surely my problem and hallucination to deal with. So well may the trumpets of Armageddon sound disaster and mayhem every time I turn the camera on, I just have failed to notice or hear them.

 

The current situation reminds me exactly of the introduction of stage one of digital in the late '90's, early '00's, when many of us film users point blank refused to entertain digital as being a viable alternative to film and stuck with our Hasselblads, RZ67s, F4s and F5s, bought new lenses for those cameras and swore blind that there was no way these horrible DSLR things with their lousy image quality and stilted dynamic range would ever replace our expensive pro film gear. And I say "us film users", because I was one of the hold-outs.

 

Five years later we couldn't sell our film gear for anything other than a token fraction of its purchase price, clients were demanding digital files directly and refusing to even entertain anything on film. Prepress switched rapidly to Quark and InDesign, finished art studios became computer monitors and the cut-and-paste desks and Agfa Repromasters ended up in land-fill. Film became a hindrance, not an asset. Digital was no longer a free choice - we had to shoot raw, not film.

 

Another five years further on there was simply no common commercial or amateur market for film other than faddish stuff like Instax and Holga. Kodak had gone broke and was rescued in another form, Agfa disappeared and Ilford failed and was bailed out in limited form by its employees taking over. Pro film labs all but disappeared from the face of the earth, and image processing became the realm of the home PC or workstation in a studio ante-room.

 

Personally I chose to jump early rather than later this time (having dallied too long before even buying my initial D70s first time around), but whenever that jump is made by others, rest assured that it will happen to nearly everyone, and probably sooner rather than later at that. The DSLR is dying, the only question is the date of the funeral, and whether or not the mirrorless camera joins it on the pyre.

 

The variable to this outcome is whether the phone invasion that's also happening at the moment triumphs ultimately, and whether or not still photography survives at all as anything more than a similar fad to what the Instax and Holga are now. I won't hazard a guess at that outcome, but indications for still photography as a future permanent display medium larger than 2560px are not good at present. So whether the jump is from DSLR to mirrorless, or DSLR to iPhone** is yet to be determined, and only time will tell which wins out.

 

The trend for photographs to be taken, uploaded, viewed once or twice on a monitor or phone screen and then deleted or simply forgotten is too prevalent to dismiss as simply a passing fad, and one doesn't need either a DSLR or ICL mirrorless camera to do that.

Edited by Alan7140
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Couldn't have said it better, Alan.

If a DSLR was a better option for me, I would be using one. Truth is, I don't think I could ever go back to one now. Every time I pick one up I am instantly disappointed in the feel of it because I have to shoot, see and adjust instead of see, adjust and shoot.

Fred, the F mount is an impediment to the underlying principles of mirrorless. Sure, they could make an F mount mirrorless but why? It would be a kludge. As Alan says, the new mirrorless cameras are designed from the ground up and not around redundant legacy engineering.

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