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Author Topic: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr  (Read 4441 times)

squarebox

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Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« on: January 12, 2012, 05:56:06 AM »
I keep reading everywhere that mirrorless cameras are awesome. That coupled with P&S released at CES with the same size sensor as my kiss x4, is there anything you lose from going to a mirrorless system?  To reiterate, would a mirrorless Kiss x4 just be better than a mirrored kiss x4?
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Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« on: January 12, 2012, 05:56:06 AM »

dilbert

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 06:26:35 AM »
It would seem to depend on whether you are a perfectionist or not because replacing the swinging mirror with a translucent mirror means that all of the photos suffer a small drop in IQ due to the translucent mirror being present.

However the choice about whether a Kiss X4 level system will be mirrorless or not rests with Canon. Their decision about that will be substantially different and include manufacturing costs, etc.

Gothmoth

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 06:53:35 AM »
as long as sensor based phase AF is not as perfect as todays phase AF in the optical chain you will have worse continuous AF on these mirrorless systems.

the optical viewfinder is still ahead of electronic viewfinders.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 06:58:59 AM by Gothmoth »

NormanBates

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 07:32:27 AM »
apart from optical VF vs electronic VF (where the gap is narrowing down quickly), the big difference is autofocus

as others have said, a mirror allows for phase-detect autofocus, which in general is better - but I'll add: not always: I don't care for speed if I don't have accuracy

if the choice is between phase-detect AF without microadjustment (as in today's entry level DSLRs) and contrast-detect AF (as in mirrorless cameras in the same price range), and I plan to shoot f/2.8 or faster, I'd definitely go for contrast-detect (or, even better if that's an option for the particular shot, manual)

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Maui5150

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 07:34:20 AM »
as long as sensor based phase AF is not as perfect as todays phase AF in the optical chain you will have worse continuous AF on these mirrorless systems.

the optical viewfinder is still ahead of electronic viewfinders.

I rarely use the screen.  I prefer the view finder because my eye sees more sharply, and use the screen when doing some distance where I can use live view zoom, in and then switch over. 

The moveable screen is a nice advantage especially when shooting in crowds where you can hold your camera up to help compose an image.

Gothmoth

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 07:40:00 AM »
apart from optical VF vs electronic VF (where the gap is narrowing down quickly), the big difference is autofocus

i don´ t see it narrowing down quickly.
none of them come close to a good optical viewfinder yet.

better resolution, yes that´s easy.. better response time.. not a big problem i guess.
but there are other things which are way harder to improve.

of course EVF have advantages also.

a hybrid viewfinder.. where you can overlay data like in a jetfighter HUD that would be nice to have in todays DSLR cameras.

i guess we will see sensor phase AF (as in nikons 1) improve faster then EVF.
with that i mean we will see this kind of AF earlyer on PRO cameras then a EVF.


« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 07:56:42 AM by Gothmoth »

funkboy

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 08:08:18 AM »
I keep reading everywhere that mirrorless cameras are awesome. That coupled with P&S released at CES with the same size sensor as my kiss x4, is there anything you lose from going to a mirrorless system?  To reiterate, would a mirrorless Kiss x4 just be better than a mirrored kiss x4?

Let's put it this way:

I'd rather have a very good EVF & very good digital MF assist than the crappy pentamirror optical viewfinder sans interchangable focus screen found on most entry-level crop cameras.

But look through the viewfinder on any modern FF DSLR (or better yet, an older pro-level MF SLR like the Canon T90) & you'll see that EVFs and associated ergonomics still have a very very long way to go before being close to the experience.

The Fuji system seems to be a nice compromise, but I haven't had the experience of actually using one yet.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 08:14:45 AM by funkboy »

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 08:08:18 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 08:55:32 AM »
a hybrid viewfinder.. where you can overlay data like in a jetfighter HUD that would be nice to have in todays DSLR cameras.

We're getting there. The 7D and and 1D X have a transmissive LCD that shows a grid and level on-demand.
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7enderbender

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 09:03:51 AM »
I keep reading everywhere that mirrorless cameras are awesome. That coupled with P&S released at CES with the same size sensor as my kiss x4, is there anything you lose from going to a mirrorless system?  To reiterate, would a mirrorless Kiss x4 just be better than a mirrored kiss x4?

The problem is that this exact question will be repeated by the marketing folks and by users who never actually used a real nice viewfinder until another remainder of the analog realm has disappeared and declared obsolete/too expensive/stupid/whatever.

I sure hope not. I'm still trying to get over the disappointment that even on full frame you are pretty much stuck with the compromises in the viewfinders due to AF technology. I never "upgraded" from my FD system to the EOS line exactly because of that. I still like the old viewfinders, manual focus and the build quality of the old lenses better. Call me crazy. Now with digital there is no other choice. If the camera manufacturers now decide to even take away the optical viewfinder on my SLR(!) - as mediocre as they have become because of the ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance. Moving things to a screen now would be even worse. Not interested.
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Canon-F1

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 09:13:17 AM »
ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance.

i guess you never photographing sports or anything that is moving fast then?
and please no "yes i do but i alway prefocus...".   ;D


 

motorhead

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 09:47:30 AM »
While electronic viewfinders will no doubt continue to improve, I don't see any that are up to the standard of silvered mirrors and proper optics YET.

Their day will come, but its not here right now.

7enderbender

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 10:17:43 AM »
ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance.

i guess you never photographing sports or anything that is moving fast then?
and please no "yes i do but i alway prefocus...".   ;D

:-) Sure, that's why I said "rarely". This is one of those rare occasions where it is useful (though still a bit of luck involved and the faster frame rate of a modern camera may actually be contributing more to having a few keepers). In my case this is limited to my son's soccer games. Sports is not really my thing so trading my old viewfinder for the one on my 5DII still feels like a bad deal all things considered. For portraits and anything in low light (such as concert photography) I find that I'm better off turning it off - at which point the flimsy imprecise focus rings even on L lenses become more of a nuisance.

Don't get me wrong, I like my new camera gear and it can do stuff that my old film gear can't do. But there are also a few things where it is clear that sometimes things are being sacrificed in the name of progress. If only the Leica M9 and appropriate lenses weren't so insanely expensive. And even that is not the same as a really good SLR viewfinder.
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archangelrichard

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 08:44:30 PM »
NO! At no time will EVF's approach the quality / resolution of Optical. They Can Not. They are manufactured pixel by pixel and glass has no pixels, transferring ALL the detail

Could they become a useful compromise? Well, yes but always a compromise, the issue is that far too many amateurs are taking pictures without focusing - letting the camera do all the work, so a viewfinder is used for FRAMING, and you don't need much detail for that. You really need to focus manually for things like Macro, etc. and you can't do that reliably with just a viewfinder, it hasn't the necessary resolution. Think of putting a DSLR on a microscope then a EVF - you can't focus clearly enough with the EVF, not enough resolution for a clear focus

This is kind of like the people who claim that you can print a 16 x 20 print from a DSLR with the same quality as film; B.S. You can do a 300 dpi (yes that is a limit of 300 dots per inch) print, my printer does 9600 dpi and film is even higher density / resolution than that. Yes you can make a 300 dpi print from a 18 MP file, the ink will smear such that it is hard to see the difference but any experienced photographer will know the difference in Quality

But the question you asked was is there an advantage to having a mirror on a DSLR - TRY having a Digital Single Lens Reflex without one (Reflex equals MIRROR!) There is no way around this, the question demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the subject asked

What you really meant is is there any advantage to a DSLR vs a Digital Single Lens Non-Reflex? Try this one, in a DSLR the mirror moves out of the way so ALL the light hits the optical viewfinder until you click the shutter then ALL the light hits the sensor; in a DSLnonR there is either no mirror so you are using the sensor all the time (and the Mean Time Between Failures is .....OOOPS! Not to mention the isue of contrast in video which fades with age) or there is a mirror that is electronically charged (a la the old Canon Pellix) so there is always some extra piece of glass / mirror in front of the sensor reducing resolution / clarity / contrast and reflecting up to video sensors

There is a disadvantage to having a mirror - if it isn't cushioned well the movement will move the camera enough to blur the image so you are more sensitive to that movement in long telephoto or macro and need to lock the camera down on a sturdy tripod; then again you wouldn't put a long telephoto on an EVF / EVIL anyways

But the biggest fail in this concept is that thees cameras are in different markets; the EVF / EVIL is in between superzooms like the SX40 HS and DSLR's; it just isn't built for the use a DSLR can be subject to (as in a 5D, 1Dx, etc.) it's just not in the same market

You must have missed that point

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 08:44:30 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 10:18:57 PM »
All point and shoot cameras are mirrorless and have been since day one.  They are very slow to operate because they cannot focus quickly.  Many do not have viewfinders, requiring you to use the LCD on the rear to compose, and in bright sun, this can be a challange.

Several things have happened to improve the P&S cameras.

1.  larger sensors means better IQ and light sensitivity

2.  Some have interchangable lenses which makes them more flexible over a wide range of focal lengths

3.  Novel methods of improving focus speed have appeared, embedding focus elements in the sensor, or using a pellicle mirror to pass most of the light to the sensor, but part of it to the viewfinder.  Pellicle mirrors decrease the amount of light going to the sensor, which bothers some, and reflections off both surfaces of the pellical mirror can cause a effect called ghosting, a faint second image displaced slightly from the main image.

4.  Electronic viewfinders - they are getting better every year, not perfect, but have advantages as well as disadvantages.  They are certainly better than no viewfinder at all.

So, what we are seeing is the industry trying to incorporate all the best attributes of a DSLR without the moving mirror, which is something out of the stone age of cameras, as well as innovating with features not possible or at least not available in DSLR's. 

So far, they are a compromise, but good enough so that many will prefer them to DSLR's for ease of use and smaller form factor.  They will improve each year as innovative ideas are incorporated.

I haven't yet found one good enough to replace my 5D MK II, or my 7D either.  However, as a second or third camera for walk-around or use where a big DSLR can't be used, they fit in very well.

wickidwombat

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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 10:23:14 PM »
ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance.

i guess you never photographing sports or anything that is moving fast then?
and please no "yes i do but i alway prefocus...".   ;D

:-) Sure, that's why I said "rarely". This is one of those rare occasions where it is useful (though still a bit of luck involved and the faster frame rate of a modern camera may actually be contributing more to having a few keepers). In my case this is limited to my son's soccer games. Sports is not really my thing so trading my old viewfinder for the one on my 5DII still feels like a bad deal all things considered. For portraits and anything in low light (such as concert photography) I find that I'm better off turning it off - at which point the flimsy imprecise focus rings even on L lenses become more of a nuisance.

Don't get me wrong, I like my new camera gear and it can do stuff that my old film gear can't do. But there are also a few things where it is clear that sometimes things are being sacrificed in the name of progress. If only the Leica M9 and appropriate lenses weren't so insanely expensive. And even that is not the same as a really good SLR viewfinder.
i just got some EG-s focus screens for my 5D2s I havent installed them yet but once i've got em in and had a play i'll let you know how they go, I'm hoping it makes MF easier
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Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 10:23:14 PM »