SLR versus mirrorless - the gap is closing fast.

245

Comments

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    So when it comes to reliability; what do you trust? A mirror box system and mount, that you have been been using for 50 years or the latest "must have" which, in theory, is more reliable

    Yes, if I went back to doing weddings; I would feel very uncomfortable shooting with only one body , but otherwise I only use one
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • ggbutcherggbutcher Posts: 335Member
    @sevencrossing:
    So when it comes to reliability; what do you trust? A mirror box system and mount, that you have been been using for 50 years or the latest "must have" which, in theory, is more reliable
    Neither. I'd have two of each, to achieve at least single-fault-tolerance.

    Interestingly, each has its own failure dynamics. The mature-design 50-year-old mechanism may just be one cycle away from wearing through some crank or guide (normal wear and tear) that renders the whole thing inoperable. Conversely, the shiny new electronic system may have a latent design defect not yet discovered, well, until you find it at an inopportune moment. For a particularly vexing electronic failure mode, google "tin whisker", and cringe whenever you see a RoHS label...

    One of the activities in aerospace design is "failure modes and effects analysis", in which a design is carefully picked apart to identify as many possible (not probable) failure modes as can be divined by the engineers. That list is then considered in a subsequent iteration of the design to mitigate or avoid as many as practical. Simply based on component count, a mirrorless camera will have a shorter list of failure modes than a DSLR. Sure, mirrorless is less mature, but it heads in the right direction from a reliability standpoint.

    Even after all that, the manufacturing process continues to vex all makers of complex mechanisms. Thom Hogan has some good recent discussion of this relative to Nikon at his website. This is another advantage to electronics: fewer human-influenced assembly operations. I've lived too many "forgot to put the washer on" incidents to ignore the virtues of the automated nature of electronic "assembly" (ref. wafer etching).

    @WestEndFoto: Yours is a very astute customer.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I love the discussions which are so wonderfully just opinions. Is it possible, the folks on the Forum who are say, over 50 years old, and certainly those who were extensively involved in photography when the SLR replaced the rangefinder as the primary professional camera, is it those folks who see the mirrorless body as a natural evolutionary change in photography?

    Many of us have captured images with cameras from Minox (Google Minox 1960's) to 11" x 14" Ektachrome. We have seen the digital capture take over, the professional news camera go from 4"x5" to 35mm format, lenses that resolve beyond our wildest dreams, and final images from 35mm format absolutely be mind blowing in quality.

    it is this experience that suggests to me, the mirrorless body is the next generation of camera. And, those who do not fully believe this may find themselves in the same condition as Eastman Kodak who developed the first digital image capture techniques in 1975 with black-and-white images at a resolution of 10,000 pixels (.01 megapixels). But, because they did not at that time believe digital would replace film, they made decisions in their corporate strategies which later placed them in bankruptcy.

    Oh, yes, Ernst Leitz was in the same position with the rangefinder and almost went out of the camera business due to an almost compete loss of sales to the SLR folks.

    I certainly hope Nikon is reading history and fully on board with mirrorless camera technology. If not we may find Nikon being swallowed up by someone bigger..... and I really do not want to shoot a Canon....
    Msmoto, mod
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    @msmoto

    Interesting comment. It strikes me that in my primary profession which is software development, there is a tendency for people to view the ascending technology at the time they enter the profession as the 'end of invention '. Folks like me who as I like to say, started when 'computers were made of wood', and have moved through mainframe batch systems (s360,370 Univc 1108), mainframe sort of online (VM, IMS-DC), mainframe pseudo conversational online (greenscreen) (CICS, Tuxedo etc) , Assembly languages, COBOL, PL-1, C, C++, Java) and now Apache or dot net structures are more ready to embrace change.
    I am regularly exhorting associates to 'give up their dinosaur ways' , and embrace change, and they are usually 30 years younger than me.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    , is it those folks who see the mirrorless body as a natural evolutionary change in photography?

    not me
    The change from glass plates to roll film was a big one, it changed the way you worked
    so did the change from rangefinder ( Leica )to reliable SLRs( Nikon F)
    I just don't see, changing from an OVF to a EVF is going to change the way I work
    I do see completely getting rid of the viewfinder and composing a shot, with a something akin to Google glasses, a game changer

    @haroldp when someone brings out technology ( that I can afford ) that blows the socks off my D800. the way the D800 blew the socks of off my D700. I will be first in the queue


    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member

    @haroldp when someone brings out technology ( that I can afford ) that blows the socks off my D800. the way the D800 blew the socks of off my D700. I will be first in the queue
    That is certainly one of the reasonable standards for when one should change, and you are the only valid judge of what matters to you.

    I have no opinion as to what should matter to other people enough spend their money, or even to climb a learning curve.
    I have avoided digital MF primarily because the learning curve to actually benefit from it's capability is too painful to me for the limited circumstance in which it would be an advantage to me.

    On a technical level, I am merely trying to say that EVF and focusing technology will evolve to where their is no longer a compelling reason to put a mirror in a digital camera. We are not there yet.

    Existing DSLR's will continue to provide good service to many for a long time after that threshold is reached, and many, perhaps most will see insufficient benefit to themselves in switching. I regularly used a Leica M2 (1957) next to a Nikon F100 (1997). The Leica M2 used no batteries, and the F100 uses 'AA's. My film cameras of the 90's using proprietary batteries are now bricks. Current DSLR's will likely continue to work until neither batteries nor flash memory formats are available for them.

    All that being true, does not mean that manufacturers (like Nikon) will have any reason to produce new SLR models when they no longer have advantages over non SLR, and have some disadvantages.

    I was also agreeing with msmoto's observation that those who have already been through many changes are often more comfortable with change.

    If anyone interpreted anything I said, as a judgment of other peoples criteria for change, that was certainly not my intention, and I would apologize for not clearly articulating my meaning.

    ... H

    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    I would apologize for not clearly articulating my meaning.

    ... H

    Absolutely no need to apologise to anyone. You make excellent , articulate, arguments, clearly backed up by years of hands on experience

    I know DoX rating are not the be all and all but they do give a starting point
    The latest Mirrorless from Sony The A7II scores overall below the D610 the D750 and the D810
    the gap may be narrowing
    I will think about mirrorless when the gap is the other way round
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The only real problem with this thread is that some of us may forget what we said the day previous....LOL

    If I could have my druthers, I would probably shoot my old "F" bodies, manually focus, and in some scenarios, grab the 500c Hassy. All of these were ground glass only manual focus, and I remain of the opinion, this was in many situations superior to the focusing on my D4 or D800E.

    The main issue or advantage is the ability to focus at any point on the ground glass I like and push the release when I "see" what I want. The current limitations of having to pick a spot for focus remains frustratrtong.

    However, when the ability to focus on any point of the screen we desire, as in focusing across 25 pixels, e.g., then I may find myself able to get excited about what I do believe will be the next generation of small format photography.
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2015
    and I remain of the opinion, this was in many situations superior to the focusing on my D4 or D800E.
    If the camera is on a tripod and the subject stationery I would agree with
    but these days I rarely use a tripod and my subjects , have a tendency to move


    How do mirrorless cameras cope with flash AF assist
    can they focus continually ?

    image

    New years eve party D800 SB900 with AF assist 1/30 f 5.6, ISO 800, 24 -120 f4 vr f@78mm
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator

    How do mirrorless cameras cope with flash AF assist
    can they focus continually ?
    My V3 has a very nice AF assist lamp, and of course, will focus continuously if you put it in the right mode.
    The two flashes that Nikon makes for the N1 system do not have AF assist integrated, however one of the flashes will operate as a continuous light source, which will also greatly assist autofocus.

    Another thing I have noticed is that the AF on the V3 focus in near total darkness. I have shot airplanes in flight at night, no problem. The PDAF is amazing, and you get almost 100% frame coverage with the 171 focus points.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited January 2015
    One issue that i worry about in the mirrorless system that I have not seen mentioned anywhere, is ,lack of a better term, "sensor snow blindness". I dont really know how much of a problem it is but I would think that it is a problem. For example we all know not to look at the sun when photographing solar eclipse our eyes will be burnt!. With an normal DSLR its not really an issue bec the mirror and shutter protects the sensor till the time of exposure. but with mirrorless the sensor is exposed to the full power of the lightsource. I also heard that some lasers can also damage sensors and eyes. wouldn’t mirrorless be much more susceptible to these kinds of damage?
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    SLR's (D or otherwise) are also vulnerable. Not the sensor, but exposure metering components that are part of the optical system can be overloaded and take from minutes to hours to recover. In extreme cases, particularly if the camera is powered up, damage can be permanent.

    I imagine a long enough exposure could heat up the focal plane shutter, but I have not personally ever heard of such a case.

    It is a bad idea to point any optical system at the sun, unless you are planning on, and equipped for solar photography

    .. H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    Solar eclipse was just an extreme example. But I would think "normal" sunset photography would be an issue for the mirrorless systems.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Not so far. I photographed the sunset every day last week and it was fine. This was from about 10min before sunset until it disappeared into ocean. All cell phones are basically "mirrorless" and I'm sure we would have heard about this by now if it were a serious issue. Semiconductors are pretty tough, usually good to 90° C (200° F), before they shutdown or temporarily stop functioning. Permanent damage would require almost double that, and silicon doesn't melt until like 1400°C. I think the camera body would melt long before any permanent sensor damage would occur.

    Let's try it! Who's got an old camera they don't want anymore...
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited January 2015
    I dont think its heat that is the main issue. wasn't there an issue where laser lights fried some sensors some time ago?

    PS: ok found a page .. http://laughingsquid.com/examples-of-how-laser-light-can-destroy-a-dslr-camera-sensor/
    and another http://photofocus.com/2013/09/14/beware-lasers-can-kill-your-cameras-sensor/
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    The sun isn't a laser :-) The lasers used by professionals at a concert are very high powered, and the reason they damage your eye or a camera sensor is due to heat, specifically at the point of the laser, it will burn your retna, or physically damage the sensor, which is why it takes out a whole row at a time.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited January 2015
    Solar, laser, I am wondering what the difference is between mirrorless and DSLR when shooting in these conditions. Of course, if one points a camera at the sun, it better be sunrise, sunset or have one of these over the front end of the lens:

    http://thousandoaksoptical.com/solar.html

    Maybe someone needs to start a thread on solar photography.......or astrophotos, or "Shooting the Sun"....LOL
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 980Member
    I am pretty sure that all cameras will be mirrorless in a few years. It just seems easier and it adds new possibilities.

    One thing I don't understand, do we still need mechanichal shutters with mirrorless cameras?
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    Mechanical shutters are needed with mirrorless because CMOS sensors are read one row at a time and it takes a finite amount of time to do this, currently as much as 1/10 to 1/15 th of a second. The faster the in camera processor, the faster this processs goes, but if the shutter remains open and the subject is moving, odd distortion effects can happen. This is the video 'rolling shutter' problem.

    As in camera computers get faster and can do this in subject stopping speeds, this problem goes away.
    The Nikon D70 which had a CCD sensor, which is turned on and off all at once, used a digital shutter for speeds faster than 1/60 sec and was great for outdoor flash fill since it did x-sync at 1/500th.

    A mirrorless problem I worry about more than any of this is that the sensor being open much of the time has more opportunity to attract dirt.

    I was hoping, that not having mirror geometry do deal with that the cover glass could be moved 3-5 mm further from the sensor, moving any dirt further from the plane of focus.. Maybe they do this and don't bother to tell us.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 980Member
    @haroldp: Thank you for a great answer about the shutter! Is it a known problem with current mirrorless cameras that they collect dirt on the sensor? I have not heard about it.
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    edited January 2015
    hi all, sorry i havent been on for ages, i havent been keeping up with cameras as much, and i havent been doing much photo work. but, im gona do a little bit of video this year, so this topic has been on my mind this past month as the lack of video on my d700 has finally demanded its replacement (though i still love it, and if I was richer if keep it just because it is still excellent for most of my needs).

    i have been deciding whether or not to keep my lenses and just get a new nikon body, or sell everything and get a sony a7/s? maybe.

    let me just say that for some purposes dslr is still king of the hill by a long way, all those buttons and settings for easy studio setups, lightspeed focus for action/sports ... there is nothing else to compete with that.

    however, for my needs, it seems that mirrorless can do what I want, and ive been waiting for an awesome small camera for a couple of years now. the sonys look so good, i feel its time to jump over, and im almost decided to ebay my nikon gear ;(. with the money i can get a sony a7s and some nice m mount glass, maybe just voigtlander, maybe some leica, maybe even some sony, ive read some of them are good.

    i dont care too much about the lack of autofocus, im more of a slow setup shooter anyway, and nevertheless it surely possible to get used to manual with practice, especially with focus peaking. i often manual focus my nikon in live view when shooting anyway, autofocus is great at times dont get me wrong, but peaking and m glass just seems to be a really viable and fun option for the kind of stuff im doing these days.

    lastly, i do think the dslr will become a much smaller market, perhaps specialist. it will become obsolete at some point, 5,10, 20 years? who knows, but it may be sooner than we think. and i want to sell my nikon stuff while it is still desirable, and move over to a smaller lens system that i think has more future. long after the nikon d*** or the sony a** have been replaced i think that decent small lenses will still be mountable and useful on cameras much longer into the future. ive always wanted to invest in a little bit of leica glass, but ive never wanted an m9. these new sonys have plugged the hole ive been waiting for.

    i know many of you cant give up your dslrs, you need them for your work, but for me it feels like the right time to move my cash into the smaller systems. im actually really excited about it.
    Post edited by mikep on
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 980Member
    I shot at my brothers wedding yesterday. The light was troublesome and I thought about how nice it would be to see the histogram in the viewfinder, or to get live burnout warnings. With a DSLR you have to constantly look at the screen to get that information.

    @mikep: Good luck with your desicion. It would be nice to hear your pros and cons after using your new gear.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @mikep, why not just get a dedicated video cam? Have you looked at the video output from an a7?? Mirrorless isn't quite there yet, I think a year or two will make a big difference. You are going to get pennies on the dollar for your nikon gear on eBay. For the amount of money you are going to lose, you can get something like this:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909744-REG/sony_hdr_pj650v_b_hdr_pj650v_hd_handycam_camcorder_black.html
    image
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,428Member
    I shot at my brothers wedding yesterday. The light was troublesome and I thought about how nice it would be to see the histogram in the viewfinder, or to get live burnout warnings. With a DSLR you have to constantly look at the screen to get that information.
    DSLR's could easily show this information, if one of the DSLR makers took hints from Fuji's hybrid finders. The current models could do it easily, if the camera makers took advantage of the LCD/OLED screens in the viewfinders. That only downside could be that the finder might not be as bright.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
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