Thereís one main thread running through-out the new camera announcements this year: and that's interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras.
Panasonic using Micro Four Thirds system led the way to these cameras, which have become very accepted with professionals and serious amateurs alike who want great photos but donít like hauling around a huge DSLR. Sony has gotten into the act with the Nex 5n and Nex7 along with 7 lenses.
Samsung has entered the game with its NX format plus eight lenses released in less than two months
All of this this is good news, although where does that leave those DSLRs, which have been the quickest growing segment of the camera marketplace for years? In the resent past. a DSLR was the only game in town if you were looking for a big sensor camera with a plausibly responsive shutter. The other big advantage, interchangeable lenses, arguably only exists for more serious photographers. Look around the next time you find yourself in a tourist location and youíll notice
practically all sub-$1,000 DSLRs with kit zooms still attached to the front.
Now, those camera buyers can get something like the the
Olympus PEN Mini (E-PM1) or the Sony Nex 5N and find everything they need contained, in a very condensed package. This by itself is enough to rattle cages. However the adapter above, plus similar editions will also coming for Micro 4/3s cameras, are even more threatening to the current marketplace. You can now mount just about any lens ever built onto a newer digicam.
Above, is a Sony NEX-7 mid-range mirrorless compact with a lens adapter which lets you mount any lens manufactured by Nikon, Sony, Canon, Leica and other brands on the front of mirrorless cameras, and still maintain autofocus. The adapter may turn out to be the most changing force to the camera market.
Lens adapters have been available for many years, although they never worked too well. This extra distance they added on to a lens implied that the lens would be placed too far away from the camera body, and would not focus at infinity. However because these new type of cameras donít contain mirror boxes, their lenses are placed much nearer to the image sensor. Therefore adapters, place DSLR lenses more distance away, the very reason they function so well mounted on these small cameras.
As a tradition, you never really purchased a brand of camera. You procured a lens range. And after you had several thousand dollars worth of
Canon glass, you were not going to go out and get a
Nikon body. Now, depending upon the adapter you don't even have to to give up automation, or for for less money and giving up certain automation you can mix and match as many lenses as you feel like. Now for an enthusiast, this result in bringing old cheap manual focus lenses from the past. And you can expect used prices to go up.
Does this bring a death blow to the Canon/Nikon alliance? Not at all. Both companies are sure to soon release mirrorless cameras, and they will have one huge benefit. All they must do is create their own adapters allowing their legacy lenses to communicate with the new bodies, providing aperture and autofocus. That by itself would make me get a Nikon mirrorless camera in a hot second (You can tell I have a number of Nikkor lenses).
The DSLR is not going to die. But it could turn into a niche product, becoming a specialist tool for professionals.
Sep 3, 2011