Of course, this would all be moot if the major governmental regulatory bodies would tell the camera industry to come up with universal mounts for APS-C, FF and MF (analogous to micro 4/3). When consumers can freely interchange bodies and lenses from different vendors, we'll have market pressure to push advances very quickly.
Oh, I certainly hope that does NOT happen.
Notice that I'm not saying governments should dictate the standard, just tell the companies to set one. I don't see how setting a physical connection standard and an interface standard would impede innovation.
Have you ever been involved in a standards body? I worked for a large educational company for about five years. I had to participate in a number of standards bodies on standards that rapidly grew well out of proportion for the original purpose they were intended to serve. Once standards (inevitably) grow that large, you end up with deadlock and lagging progress, since no one can agree on what features to include where, how they would interact, then you have extensibility which is the bane of every technical software standard...bleh.
Standards, which always require a standards body to describe, far more often than not result in stagnation, rather than innovation. There are a few times when standards bodies do well, but it is a relatively rare occurrence. The W3C is a great example of a standards body that causes standards to lag, and eventually forced the industry that depended upon their standards to simply change how they viewed and used them: Perpetually evolving recommendations, implement what you can, when you can, according to the standard, and ignore what is too convoluted or overbearing to deal with (could you imagine THAT for a camera mount standard?!?!
And again, there is more than simply impeding innovation...if governments mandate that companies get together and build a standard mount, governments are forcing companies to break their own standards, many of which have established histories decades old, compatibility that stretches back 60 years or even farther. It would take years for any such new standard mount to become useful, during which time customers who have established collections of lenses for one mount or another (or even a few) are in limbo, stuck buying adapters that may only partially work, may not work well at all, or may incur some other penalty such as the loss of infinity focus.
Then, you have to deal with the inevitable case of modifying the standard to support improvements. Additional communications or power channels to support some innovation company X wants to apply. You have to go through the whole process again, spend all the time and effort bickering over minutia, all the while Company X is stalled on their attempts to provide value to their customers, and...YES...gain a competitive edge. By the time the standard finally reaches a ratified stage, quite possibly after years, is it still even a valuable improvement? Or, by that time, have they devised a newer and better way of achieving the same thing? Did they simply work around he problems of the existing mount? Did they semi-proprietize the mount for their own purposes, utilizing existing features in a non-standard (but nonetheless not disallowed by the standard) manner to achieve their goals? Bleh.
The benefit? That you can use lenses on different brands of cameras. That's pretty much it, although as it stands, for most mirrorless cameras, and on Canon DSLRs in particular, that ability already exists, and some fairly refined adapters for a number of popular and/or very old & established mounts exist (assuming someone actually really wants that ability...I'd offer that people are probably far more concerned about dynamic range than the ability to easily interchange lenses across camera brands.)
Whether it is governments defining the mount, or simply governments demanding that companies develop a standard mount, I think it is unnecessary, and MIGHT only result in some good things after a very long, drawn out, complicated process of standards discussion, debate, gridlock, and eventual production of something that could very well not be as effective or efficient as brand-specific mounts were before.
Well, I'm rather passionate about this subject. I've had experience with standards bodies, and not even one single experience was good. Standards bodies are just a 'nice' name for "inevitable gridlock" and "excessive complexity machine". I've seen the disaster that too much or improper government regulation can be (good example would be the energy crisis of California around 2000, and the expanding disaster that is Obamacare, and god, I could get into so many others...)
I agree, a hybrid O/EVF is a good stepping stone. Personally, I'd prefer that a hybrid is where the buck stops...I don't ever want to lose my optical viewfinder, even despite some of the benefits of an EVF. So long as I can switch between the two at will...forever, I'd be a pretty happy guy.
My pet hope is that the antiquated mirror assembly will be replaced by a trichroic prism so we can have triple-sensor modules. That would eliminate the need for a Bayer filter and its problems (light loss, loss of spatial resolution)
Trichroic prisms and three monochrome sensors would be intriguing. I know that has been tried in the past with CCD sensors for video cameras. Did the technology fall out of grace for some reason? I think there may be more innovative ways of solving the light problem. Was it Panasonic that designed a microprism splitter to replace color filters? They gained a considerable amount of sensitivity that way, and increased resolution by a about 50% (instead of three pixel types, you only have two.)
I've also read about LCTF, or liquid crystal tunable filter, usually used in more advanced and inevitably manual endeavors, like high end color calibration or professional deep sky astrophotography. I've wondered whether the technology could be adapted to the nano scale, allowing full spectrum sensitivity at every pixel without the need for a prism. For any given exposure time, simply allot one third of it to each of the primary colors and do a read after each third's exposure (or, hell, you could even support more than three primaries, or alternative primaries, or shift the filter to infrared, whatever.) A prism is only going to give you about 1/3rd of the light for each independent sensor anyway, so I don't think there would be any different in light gathered per color channel, and you would still gain the benefit of capturing all wavelengths at every pixel...so you get your full resolution.
Even if we increase true sensitivity by a stop, that still wouldn't be enough for an EVF to be effective in true low light situations. During summer, I like to photograph the herons and other night birds at some of the local watering holes. With night adjusted vision, I can see pretty well to frame my subjects with the OVF. Live View is riddled with extensive noise over what is largely a black scene (ISO 3200 and fraction of a second shutter speeds.) Here is an example (I love this time of day...it's usually absolutely still, very dark, but still light enough to see a little by, VERY quiet, except for the occasional splash of a Black-crowned Night Heron nabbing a fish):Night Heron at Night: Canon EOS 7D + EF 600mm f/4 L II | 1/6s f/5.6 @ ISO 3200 | Lifted by 1 stop (and +50 shadows) in LR
Similarly, with night adjusted vision, I can find and frame stars with the OVF on my 7D (which is admittedly a fairly DIM OVF...the FF 5D III has a much brighter OVF) with relative ease, where as with live view, I might only be able to pick out a few of the absolute brightest stars...I can't even see the Pleiades with live view, so I can't imagine an EVF (being much smaller with less light emitting power and dynamic range) being any better. While they are fewer than the situations where either an EVF or OVF will do, there are still plenty where an OVF is the only way. Hence my intrigue with a hybrid...it wouldn't limit me in any way.