Friday, May 18, 2018

“CaNikon” mirrorless coming up

Update: See the video on this page for a viewpoint on why mirrorless is so important.

So, it appears that next year, Nikon and Canon will finally get their act together and make a professional mirrorless system each.

I think they definitely will need to make a new lens mount and lenses, because keeping that huge old distance from lens to film is ridiculous. (The mirror necessitated that.) With a good adapter, people can use their old lenses for a while.

But, and this is important: I also think that for many of us, Full Frame is a dying system. It’s just too large and heavy, and unnecessarily so.
Already now, sensors are so good that the half-sized (linear) Micro Four Thirds sytem has plenty good enough image quality for professional use, and the cameras and lenses are the perfect size. (Small ones for casual use and hand-sized ones for professional.) And only half the weight of full frame gear.
And sensors are still getting better every year. In ten years, FF will be a dinosaur. Zat iz mi belif.

With the fastest lenses, you can get good background blur with M4/3 too, although of course not as extreme as with FF. But interestingly, with digital tools as in iPhone X, this can even be done in a phone. OK it’s not perfected yet, but I expect it will become so. And when it works well, it works surprisingly well!

“Canon has noticed the explosion of interest and progress in mirrorless cameras, and it’s trying to join the party before it’s too late. Nikkei reports that SLR sales dropped over 10% in Japan in 2017 while mirrorless sales rose nearly 30%.”
- Petapixel

Canon and Nikon has a huge amount of catching up to do now. They have simply been way too afraid of canibalizing their ancient (D)SLR lines. Fear keeps most companies from realising that if they don’t eat their babies, other animals will. That Apple is not afraid of this has helped make them the most profitable company in the world.

Not that I don’t think CaNikon won’t win back their share. The world is not often “fair” that way, it’s rarely the innovators who take the big harvest.


Bru said...

I'm a micro 4/3 user. However in the past year or so my phone photography has made great improvements. First was DNG workflow, second was custom camera profiles in Lightroom, and then recently a new iPhone. I still edit on a desktop computer, but I can see that phone and tablet editing tools for DNG images from phone cameras are improving.

In the near future, I think we'll see many phones with three sensors, one each at 28, 50, and 90mm equivalent. In 10 years, very few people will feel compelled to move up from their phone camera to a dedicated camera.

Those who upgrade will want current Hasselblad image quality in their dedicated camera. I think Sony A7 III video and image quality will be the floor of the market - that will be the worst dedicated camera you will be able to buy 10 years from now. What size and shape will that kind of image quality come in? That I don't know. I would guess that the camera would be ergonomically designed for video first, stills second.

David Evans said...

My Lumix TZ80 gives me 24 to 720mm equivalent focal lengths and an eye-level viewfinder (essential in bright light). It fits in a coat pocket. It will be a long while before I give it up for a phone.
Admittedly 28, 50 and 90mm would be very capable for everyday shooting. I wonder if 90mm will fit into the currently fashionable slim phones. Maybe a dedicated converter lens?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Funny: just yesterday a friend asked me for advice on a camera to buy and I recommended the TZ80!
I might even consider it for myself. Except I really want a tilting screen.

One way they might put longer lenses, and it has been done in prototype and in cameras, in phone is by putting them sideways and make them look through a prism! I’m looking forward to that (I hope it come in an iPhone soon), for apart from background blur for people shots, it’s really the last important downside to phone cameras. (OK, focus speed should pick up too.)

I agree, for me 28mm to to 100mm covers the great majority of all my shooting needs. I’ve done lots of my best photos with a compact with such a lens.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I agree with your evalutation.

After the millennium I predicted that by now we would have large-format quality in a pocket camera. And that has arguably happened.

A friend of mine sells prints of wildlife photos to hotels and big businesses for *good* prices, several thousand dollars per print. Those are 40x60 prints, and get this: many of them are taken with a Nikon 1! It has an even smaller sensor than Micro Four Thirds. But he says that they are even sharper than his pictures from full frame cameras!
And so I think that in a few years, it will be very hard indeed to tell image quality from phones and “real cameras”. (It’s already pretty hard now.) So pros will want real cameras mainly for the exchangeable lenses and speed and usability, and special manipulation. Sports for example may never be realistic on a phone. But a sports camera will probably only as big as it needs to be for good handling, nothing like the huge gear still used now. Especially since smaller sensors are wonderful for telelens use.

The same friend by the way rarely uses RAW. He says the difference is too small for the increased file size (he shoots hundreds in a shoot).

Bru said...

I had a TZ3, which was 28-280. Nice camera! - in it's time. Checking my focal lengths in Lightroom, I do have a significant number that are taken at the long end of the zoom.

Note that Panasonic is the only company making serious small sensor compact long zoom cameras. By serious I mean with IS, RAW, and an EVF. Moving to 1" sensor long zoom, Panasonic is still all alone in the compact market. They have one competitor, Sony, in the more bulky 1" sensor long zoom category.

Huawei's P20 Pro smartphone has an 80mm sensor built-in, along with 27mm and monochrome(!) sensors. It also has Leica's name on the outside. It's the first phone I know of with a built in telephoto camera. Certainly there will be others. Note that I do not call 50mm telephoto, unlike Apple.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Ha, I agree, calling 56mm a “telelens” is a bit disingenous.

Indeed, I too find that on the rare occasion I do work with a long zoom, I do tend to use it a lot. You change your way of looking! So maybe I’ll look into that.

I’m interested in knowing more about compact long-zoom options. Good quality. Certainly good IS is necessary!
Though for me, RAW is not, and it does not have to be a 1” sensor. EVF is good, but a tilt-screen is more important to me.

Bru said...

You can plug your requirements into dpreview's camera feature search: long zoom range, tilt or swivel screen, maybe image stabilization. Then start sliding the weight slider down. You'll find one Nikon and one Canon that are not too heavy. You can then take your finalists to the camerasize website for comparison to what you already own.

Jon said...

I have long been a Nikon user, more than 40 years and have had and still have a great deal of their gear. I did not really get into mirrorless cameras as a serious entry because I considered the lag time between when you shot the shot and when it actually got taken too big a gap. Today that is almost non existent. I first got my "semi serious" Nikon mirrorless with their entry into the market with their "V" series. And I love them. I have four Nikon V2s, and 8 different lens for these cameras. They weigh nothing and take really good professional images. It is difficult to get a decent shallow depth of field with them unless I use their 70-300 MM long lens. And with this, is as good a combo as any I have shot on any camera system.

I became interested more so in them when I began to read about the new Sony systems. My biggest stumbling block was having to buy all new lens. That is much more expensive than the cameras, but the weight differentials are huge and ultimately, this year I will move to their full frame cameras. Not looking forward to all the new cost but I want the greater advantages which they will give me. I kept thinking Nikon would have one but alas, not so far. I can wait forever but if I do I might die first.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


It seems that the whole Nikon 1 system has been cancelled now! Before this week I’d have thought it was well deserved, because before I read your comments on it, Jon, I had only heard pretty negative comments on them. (Although I don’t recall which specific aspects people don’t like.) So now I consider it a pity, because as my readers know, I’m a big fan of compact cameras and I do believe that with sensors now and especially soon, full frame is wasted.
I admit though I was surprised that even with your big prints and professional markets, the Nikon 1 seems to work great. I had thought of that system as a “good amateur camera” at best...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Bru, thanks! I had not heard of that feature of dpreview.

Jon said...

I was not surprised when Nikon cancelled the V series. Their V3 was a total joke, over priced, used micro chip card and was in too many pieces. They went the wrong direction with the camera. '

Their lens for the system are very good. The cmos sensor is sony....hard to beat them. It takes excellent video, very fast focus, and as an all around travel camera it is incredibly good. Is it what I need for my future, no? But for what I do in towns and running around, it is an unimposing camera and allows me to get shots I could not get with an intimidating big camera. It is not all about the camera but rather what we do with them...and the purpose for what they are used. It does not have the best view finder...but the chip is great and the camera is very very sharp.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thank you, good comment.

Much as I dismissed the Canon and Nikon mirrorless cams as being too small at first, I now think it’s short-sighted for them to make a brand new full frame system. Many enthusiasts and pros have not realised how good small sensors have become.

I agree about Sony sensors, the amazing sensitivity of them is the one thing I’d love to have in my Olympus cameras.

By the way, you’re an excellent writer, so I wonder why you often use “lens” for “lenses”? Not that that’s important. :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Video here on importantce of mirrorless:

Russ said...

Interesting that you posted Kevin Raber's site, luminous-landscape. He's a self professed Sony fanboy. I have to agree with him in that Sony is killing it right now with regard to innovation and bringing to market many high quality mirrorless cameras. They are the big gorilla, the have a lot of resources and IMO it's going to be hard for Olympus and Fuji to keep up, especially on the advanced amateur and pro level cameras.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I don’t see anything wrong with what Kevin is doing or writing. He is and has always been using a ton of different cameras, from iPhone over Leica to Phase One. Currently he is using and writing a lot about Sony, and I see why.

Bru said...

Do you follow Ming Thien? He posted an article on format equivalence that I thought was very interesting.

Basically he's trying to answer the question, "What are each of the different formats good for?" He covers a lot of ground in a relatively short post.

Jon said...

This is an interesting review. It is also why Sony is leaving Canon and Nikon in the dust.

Joe Dick said...

A *mirrorless* CaNikon?! *boioioioioing*