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11-09-2019, 01:52 AM - 1 Like   #1
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That's a damp squib

We're now well into 2019, one year after the full frame mirrorless frenzy of Photokina 2018 where five new camera models (Z6, Z7, S1, S1R and EOS R) were introduced to the public, along with the death of DSLR prophecy.

Looking at the trend of activity on forums around mirrorless, looking at images posted in Flick and 500px, as we more forward in time, the FF mirrorless revolution sounds more and more like a "damp squib" (also known as "Pétard mouillé" in French), a metaphore that illustrate very well what's happening, in other words: a failure to revive camera sales.

Like a lot of fads, market research reports always predict from the present moment that the future will be bright , showing exponential growths in MS Power Point bar charts. A year later, we have photographers like Matt Granger pulling out his gear on a table: two D850, two old Nikon apsc DSLR, a bunch of fast Nikkor lenses designed for DSLR that have no equivalent Z mount lenses, along with a Leica manual focus camera from a few years ago with a kit of old Leica lenses.

So it seems the famous mirrorless revolution has kicked-off like damp squid in a globally depressed camera market. The mirrorless buble slowly deflated to a point were the perceived advantage of mirrorless over DSLR is now insufficient to entice DSLR owners to replace it with a mirrorless model. And since state of the art mirroless models aren't able to produce better imaged than previous generation DSLR, things don't even look good for 2020.

Camera makers will have to re-consider their understanding of the market in order to come up with a better idea to make us upgrade our current systems....

11-09-2019, 01:57 AM   #2
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They've burned a lot of cash, BE, Nikon are actually going to make a loss this year.

But they can't go back, it's mirrorless or bust for them.

11-09-2019, 02:08 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
They've burned a lot of cash, BE, Nikon are actually going to make a loss this year.
MILC isn't that risky for Sony, since their have built up their FE lens lineup for a long time, there is a know number of FE mount lens users out there that Sony can rely on to sell new camera models. However, making a U turn from DSLR to full MILC lineups is a super risky decision for Nikon and Canon. If Nikon and Canon fail to get market traction for their new product lineups (Z and RF mounts), they'll be in serious trouble. Canon and Nikon may end-up badly hurt and completely behind Sony in terms of revenues and earnings. Ricoh can keep Pentax on the back burner, observe how sales are doing, and decide what to do once the fog dissipates, they'll have taken zero risk.
11-09-2019, 02:17 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I have always been against the bandwagon mentality*. I'm not sure of the apparent unwillingness to join in the mirrorless rush that pentax has shown is a sign of a wise leadership, or just more of the same lackadaisical marketing from pentax.

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
If Nikon and Canon fail to get market traction for their new product lineups (Z and RF mounts), they'll be in serious trouble.

I have yet to see any of Canons offerings in my professional studio environment, I have seen some of Nikon Z mount, some Fuji X and GFX cameras, Leica has always had a strong presence with S and M mount cameras.



* And I find quixotic mirrorless evangelists irritating in the extreme. People who refer to DSLRS as dinosaurs forget that mirrorless cameras have been around for much longer.


Last edited by Digitalis; 11-09-2019 at 03:07 AM.
11-09-2019, 04:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I have always been against the bandwagon mentality*. I'm not sure of the apparent unwillingness to join in the mirrorless rush that pentax has shown is a sign of a wise leadership, or just more of the same lackadaisical marketing from pentax.




I have yet to see any of Canons offerings in my professional studio environment, I have seen some of Nikon Z mount, some Fuji X and GFX cameras, Leica has always had a strong presence with S and M mount cameras.



* And I find quixotic mirrorless evangelists irritating in the extreme. People who refer to DSLRS as dinosaurs forget that mirrorless cameras have been around for much longer.
I think Pentax has said that they have two reasons for not joining the Mirrorless Revolution yet. First of all, they don't think that EVFs are "there yet." That is they do not give as good an experience in many situations as a high quality OVF. The other thing that they have stated is that they believe the market is in down turn (which it clearly is) and now is not the time to release a new line of products.

Overall, I think Pentax is in a different situation from Nikon and Sony. Ricoh has been so slow at releasing new camera bodies and lenses that when they actually do release something, Pentaxians are relatively quick to purchase it. I expect this to be true with the K3 sequel next year. On the other hand, Nikon and Sony are constantly trying to boost sales by releasing new and better cameras when people are pretty satisfied with their current cameras. This feels like a recipe for poor sales.

When Nikon released cameras that their photographers were actually asking for (the D850 and D500 come to mind), their sales were really robust.
11-09-2019, 04:43 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
(...) I'm not sure of the apparent unwillingness to join in the mirrorless rush that pentax has shown is a sign of a wise leadership, or just more of the same lackadaisical marketing from pentax.

(...)
It's first and foremost the lack of money (to spend on R&D) that has given them this 'wisdom'. The same lack of money that caused the Q series to be discontinued and is causing the 645 series to be slowly fading away.
11-09-2019, 05:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think Pentax has said that they have two reasons for not joining the Mirrorless Revolution yet. First of all, they don't think that EVFs are "there yet." That is they do not give as good an experience in many situations as a high quality OVF. The other thing that they have stated is that they believe the market is in down turn (which it clearly is) and now is not the time to release a new line of products.
Ah, thanks for clarifying that - all of which are valid points. Having looked at a few EVF's in my time I know what a bad EVF is like - I have really yet to see one that clearly surpasses a decent OVF*. I was pretty certain Pentax had simply decided not to join in but it seems to me they are considering which corner of the playing field the others haven't covered just yet...a good move.


QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Nikon and Sony are constantly trying to boost sales by releasing new and better cameras when people are pretty satisfied with their current cameras. This feels like a recipe for poor sales.
I feel, this pretty much sums up the entire industry at the moment - camera model changes are becoming so incremental the biggest differential between the brands is the lens selection. And Sony[R.I.P Minolta] has had a good head start on everyone in that regard...Fuji does too come to think on it.


QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
It's first and foremost the lack of money (to spend on R&D) that has given them this 'wisdom'
That is certainly a motivator for a more cautious approach, which I think is justified considering how cut-throat the industry is especially at the high end.

* Contax ST, Contax RX,Leica R7, Pentax ME Super,Pentax LX,Nikon F3,Canon 1D - these cameras are the standards for what I consider to have excellent viewfinders.

Last edited by Digitalis; 11-09-2019 at 05:42 AM.
11-09-2019, 07:38 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
* And I find quixotic mirrorless evangelists irritating in the extreme. People who refer to DSLRS as dinosaurs forget that mirrorless cameras have been around for much longer.
Their behavior makes sense given that bandwagons are social movements, not technological ones. And as a social movement, members measure their self-worth by the popularity of their choice. In the minds of the insecure (and it is the insecure that find the safety-in-numbers of a bandwagon so comforting), anyone who refuses to join the bandwagon is an outsider and an enemy.

For camera makers, bandwagons are seductive for their potential for high-margin sales but dangerous in that as a social movement, the bandwagon can fall apart or take a sharp turn in a different direction. If "the cool kids" suddenly decide photography is "soooo-2019," they'll jump to some other status-signalling hobby like kite surfing or skiing and leave last-year's MILC to gather dust in a box.

11-09-2019, 07:42 AM   #9
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I have been considering adding a MILC to my kit for a light weight travel option. Being me, I made a big spreadsheet of all my possible options. For APS-C, mirrorless saves me around 200g in a 2 kg travel kit vs my K-S2. Not enough really to justify the cost. M4/3 saves more, but I don’t see that option as compelling.

The truly lightweight MILC kits include poor performing collapsible lenses. The better lenses end up erasing the mythical weight advantage.
11-09-2019, 07:45 AM   #10
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Taking a car metaphor on the whole mirrorless hype, does Aston Martin need to release an SUV to keep selling cars?
11-09-2019, 08:10 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Their behavior makes sense given that bandwagons are social movements, not technological ones. And as a social movement, members measure their self-worth by the popularity of their choice. In the minds of the insecure (and it is the insecure that find the safety-in-numbers of a bandwagon so comforting), anyone who refuses to join the bandwagon is an outsider and an enemy.
I agree. I also think the 'small world' mentality is a factor, with many people assuming everyone else must think like they do. So, if they have adopted mirrorless
then it seems logical to them that others would reach the same conclusion and therefore those DSLRs >must< be obsolete.

I still think mirrorless technology will someday supersede the reflex/OVF platform even if it can never exactly duplicate the experience. Surely many here
remember the endless arguments from 15ish years ago over whether digital would ever be able to match the resolution of a 35mm negative. Well, digital
has achieved that and then some. Digital is a different solution than film, better in some ways yet incapable of exactly replicating what it replaced. And best
of all, there really is room for both. I'm certain it will be the same with mirrorless, just not yet.
11-09-2019, 08:18 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robin Quote
Taking a car metaphor on the whole mirrorless hype, does Aston Martin need to release an SUV to keep selling cars?
They are one of the few who haven't, but quite a few manufacturers who certainly didn't need to enter that market have done so.

An aside: my wife was gifted a BMW X3 a few years ago when her beat up Honda accord was on the last. She hated the X3, even
if it offered many creature comforts lacking in her Accord, including reliability. I drove her X3 and even though I encouraged her
to keep it, I too hated it. Shoddy interior build quality, poor visibility, high center of gravity that you could readily feel. She quickly
sold the X3 and bought a '92 Volvo 240 with no AC and no radio and she is much, much happier.
11-09-2019, 08:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
I agree. I also think the 'small world' mentality is a factor, with many people assuming everyone else must think like they do. So, if they have adopted mirrorless
then it seems logical to them that others would reach the same conclusion and therefore those DSLRs >must< be obsolete.
Exactly!

QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
I still think mirrorless technology will someday supersede the reflex/OVF platform even if it can never exactly duplicate the experience. Surely many here
remember the endless arguments from 15ish years ago over whether digital would ever be able to match the resolution of a 35mm negative. Well, digital
has achieved that and then some. Digital is a different solution than film, better in some ways yet incapable of exactly replicating what it replaced. And best
of all, there really is room for both. I'm certain it will be the same with mirrorless, just not yet.
I, too, see room for both. Both designs has respective advantages and disadvantages.

For example, I doubt EVFs will ever reach the DR of an OVF. I was shocked when looked through the OVF of the M-1, noticed that my eyes could easily resolve details on both a lit lightbulb and shadowed black-fronted appliance and that those two surfaces were 17 stops different in light level! The human eye has about 20 stops DR but an EVF is limited by the DR of the sensor, processing, and display.

The parallels between the film vs. digital and DSLR vs. MILC battles seem tenuous. Film and digital really are very very different beasts as far as shooting, processing, and output are concerned. In contrast, DSLRs and MILCs aren't that different -- they use the same sensors, have the same resolution and IQ. Can anyone look at an image and tell if it was taken with a MILC or DSLR? And when you realize that a DSLR can act like a MILC but a MILC can't act like a DSLR, it seems strange to think that the camera with less flexibility is superior to the one with more flexibility.

What will be superior is a hybrid VF.
11-09-2019, 09:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Exactly!

I, too, see room for both. Both designs has respective advantages and disadvantages.

For example, I doubt EVFs will ever reach the DR of an OVF. I was shocked when looked through the OVF of the M-1, noticed that my eyes could easily resolve details on both a lit lightbulb and shadowed black-fronted appliance and that those two surfaces were 17 stops different in light level! The human eye has about 20 stops DR but an EVF is limited by the DR of the sensor, processing, and display.

The parallels between the film vs. digital and DSLR vs. MILC battles seem tenuous. Film and digital really are very very different beasts as far as shooting, processing, and output are concerned. In contrast, DSLRs and MILCs aren't that different -- they use the same sensors, have the same resolution and IQ. Can anyone look at an image and tell if it was taken with a MILC or DSLR? And when you realize that a DSLR can act like a MILC but a MILC can't act like a DSLR, it seems strange to think that the camera with less flexibility is superior to the one with more flexibility.

What will be superior is a hybrid VF.
In most cases, I lift the camera to my eye only when I am ready to shoot, so all I personally need is to see my aiming points. I have tried both the Canon M50 and the Nikon Z-7 {big difference in price, but both are examples of modern EVF}, and I am convinced that I could
work with that, but Pentax has given me no reason to switch.
11-09-2019, 09:36 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Their behavior makes sense given that bandwagons are social movements
A kind of "groupthink", Groupthink - Wikipedia , I've discovered that term recently.
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