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  1. #1
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    Mirrorless Professional cameras

    The following article from the BBC was very interesting:

    Mirrorless cameras: Photography's new decisive moment - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45627055

    I use a Canon 60D DSLR with mirror and love the camera. I also have a Panasonic FZ100 bridge camera with a digital viewfinder. I've never been that happy using the digital viewfinder, and tend instead to use the rear screen.

    I can see the advantages of a digital viewfinder for things like eye tracking for instant focus points, the ability to overlay other information over the image within the viewpoint, plus other advantages such as no mirror reducing space needed inside the camera body meaning the lens can be closer to the sensor. But I personally would always prefer a traditional style SLR camera because you will never match being able to bypass anything digital and see directly through the actual camera lens to manually adjust focus, depth of field etc.

    What are your thoughts on this?

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  2. #2
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    Additional thoughts.

    I can see why Canon and Nikon are doing this and exploring mirrorless cameras. With the popularity of smartphones, now with very good cameras built in, there is limited need for smaller consumer digital cameras anymore, which was always a large income for the big photography manufacturers. Plus because of the quality of smartphone cameras many no longer see a need to even buy a more professional camera for general photography. So utilising digital viewfinders allowed them not to just add to the viewfinder's abilitied, but to explore features that are harder to add to a standard SLR, such as cheaper really larger MP sensors and full frame sensors.

    Regarding smartphone cameras. They have definitely come a long way in the last couple of years. My Samsung S8 creates some very nice images, and my wife's new Huawai P20 Pro has a really nice 48MP 3 lens camera which creates the best smartphone images I've seen to date, with some nice depth of field, focal range, sharpness and very good colour range. However I still do think they can't match or compete with a real professional image. My Canon might still only be 18 MP compared to the P20s 48MP images, but it proves there is more to a camera than just pixel count because I can still easily see the difference. The 18 MP SLR images scale up far better than the smartphone images. The main reason is the quality of each pixel within the image. This is partly due to sensor size in a DSLR vs a smartphone, plus the one area you will never be able to match and that's the physical camera lens. As great as the phone lenses have become they are really small and fixed. Compare with a proper pro slr lens with proper optical manual focus and zoom with a propee blade based aperture and you will never get the same optical quality. For this reason there will always be a market for a full sized camera with optical lenes. But the market is definitely shrinking as less peels see a need in the investment to obtain nice images.

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    I'm inclined to say that mirrorless is definitely the way forward.

    I've not used one so can't really comment properly, but I'd certainly like to try one, and if I were to go for a new camera setup, I'd probably go mirrorless.

    I find the viewfinders in modern SLRs to be pretty rubbish. Most are small, and don't have proper focusing aids like you'd get on an old-fashioned SLR. There's also the issue of eyesight. I don't have particularly good eyesight, which makes using the viewfinder even worse.

    I expect that if electronic viewfinders are big, high resolution, and quick to update, they'd be good. Its not uncommon that I use Live view on my EOS 500D for focus-critical shots.

    As for eye controlled focussing, it will be interesting to see how that works out. A couple of years ago, I got a Canon EOS 30 (film camera), from about 2001, which has eye controlled focussing. Apparently some people really loved this feature at the time, and were surprised that Canon didn't bring it over to their DSLRs. I've tried to use it, but it doesn't work with me wearing my glasses, so its pretty much useless to me. It kind of worked without the glasses, but I couldn't see properly anyway. I think opinions on this kind of feature will vary depending on the individual user.

    Although I say mirrorless is probably the future, I doubt DSLRs are going away quickly. Many people will already have a good investment in SLR cameras, and more importantly, SLR lenses, and may not wish to change systems.

    I can't comment on cell phone cameras having never really used one. From seeing other people's though, I can say they are a damn sight better than they were ten years ago.

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    I can tell you that smartphone cameras are far better than they were only 3 years ago. There has suddenly been a huge leap in the quality of the images produced, as well as the features available in the camera apps.

    The phone I currently have, the Samsung S8 was quite revolutionary in terms of image quality. Interestingly it didn't increase the pixel count, instead it dropped from the 16MP my S5 had, to 12MP. A bit confusing to see that spec but in reality the S8 camera takes much better images. Why? One reason is they realised that MP size wasn't the most important aspect of creating great images. Reduce the pixel count, but keep the sensor the same size, and each pixel is larger, allowing each to catch more light.

    But another manufacturer came up with a different idea. Huawei created the P8 smartphone which included 2 camera lenses. When an image was taken it utilised both lenses to combine and create the final image. The results were very good, but I couldn't tell a huge difference between its results and the S8 camera. But Huawei have now released the P20. This smartphone has 3 lenses. One of which has a real 5 times optical zoom which is something very unusal in such a small camera body. The other 2 lenses are different too. One is a fixed prime lense and the other a telephoto lens. When images are taken it utilised all 3 lenses to create a 48MP image. The results are very nice and probably the best I've seen from a smartphone with some great depth of field and rich colours. However I still don't think it matches those from an SLR with a proper camera lens.

    Regarding viewfinders, I understand what you mean. I also wear glasses and it can be a bit annoying with some camera's viewfinders. Better cameras have larger viewfinders and can be focused. I am short sighted but my eyesight isn't too bad and with my Canon 60D's viewfinder I can focus it so I don't need my glasses.

    Regarding digital viewfinders, I've used a few and I haven't found one yet where I can't notice thr pixels or the refresh rate. Much like live view modes on a rear screen. I personally don't think you can replace a true optical view directly through the real lens. Saying that, I've used lots of camcorders over the years with digital viewfinders without issue, but video is quite different.

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    What are camera phones like in low light?

    Generally speaking, I've found outdoor photos to be pretty good from phones, but indoor ones with low light can still look terrible.

    My EOS 500D and EOS 30 both have diopter adjustments in the viewfinder, but I don't usually find them helpful. I normally use my left eye for cameras, and my left eye has astigmatism which the viewfinder adjustment doesn't correct for. Hence I need to wear glasses. My right eye, however, only has a little bit of astigmatism, and can use the viewfinder with its built in adjustment.

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    In general an SLR is setup more for the left eye due to how you hold it with the release on the right and the barrel in your left hand, so I can see your problem.

    Low light was always an issue, but both my current S8 and my wife's P20 Pro both handle low light and even night dark shots really well. Having larger pixels within the sensor really helps with this, as does larger lenses that are closer to the sensors.

    The one area I find they still struggle with is backlight compensation. I've yet to find one that can handle this when you are trying to take a picture of someone with a bright background behind them.

    One thing that is great these days is the ability to save images as both jpg and raw, just as you have been able to for a few years with SLRs. Having the RAW sensor data file is really useful as you can create a far different image to the one processed by the camera itself and saved as a jpg.

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    Eyefinder for me is important.
    Size of camera is not a important thing for me.
    I prefer the camera a bit big, so I can use big lens and overall weight is balance. Tripod also likes it.
    Looking at a screen to see what I am about to shoot it is not satisfying. I need tradicional eyefinder.
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    Same for me. And like you I also offer a larger camera body with a bit of weight. I hate very light cameras.

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