Will dSLR's be sustained only by nostalgia?

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,860
1,104
Southeastern USA
Just some pondering. I'm preparing to box up and sell my 5D IV and go totally miRRorless. I've been trying to avoid a big mistake by doing so, but I'm just not doing action and rough-weather photography at this time. (Wildlife has never been my bag, as I'm too impatient to wait for the critters to DO SOMETHING.)

So, naturally, I'm turning a personal decision into an industry existentialist dilemma, and hoping others will discuss what's the point of dSLR's as mirrorless catch up with performance specs.

With the electronics in the current generation of 5D bodies, and the further refinement coming with the 1DXIII, is there any belief that somehow dSLR's are "simpler" or more "reliable" than mirrorless?

Here's my main assertion: We only need a significant (not "revolutionary) improvement in EVF's, a little faster burst rate, and IBIS to see the nostalgic appeal of dSLR's give way to using what works best. I don't care how experienced a photographer, how flawless the technique, if, spec for spec a mirrorless approaches the performance of a dSLR, mirrorless will be chosen.

My reasoning (if that's what you'd be generous enough to call it)? It's simple. With mirrorless, exposure is as much a part of what we see in the viewfinder as composition. This translates into less chimping, less exposure bracketing, and generally more precise and faster results--with a significantly shorter learning curve.

At this point, mirrorless seems to be "winning" with precision AF; however, I understand Canon is putting out something new with the 1DX III, so we'll see. But, again, all other specs being equal, if we can see exposure as we compose, rather than achieve it based on skill, experience, and some guessing and chimping, (unless we like the personal challenge) why not go with what we see?

AFMA is a factor I'm not so sure about. Even with LiveView, I have a few lenses that benefit from a little AFMA tweaking on my 5DIV (which will probably be sold shortly). And now I'm reading that Nikon and Olympus do, in fact, offer AFMA on their mirrorless bodies. If it could happen behind the scenes, reliably and automatically, that would be better. But if the vast majority of lenses do not need AFMA on mirrorless, if it's the exception rather than the rule we see with dSLR's, it's still nice not to put as much time into AFMA.

I've mentioned before that selling the 5DIV feels like abandoning a faithful dog, but lately that dog has been staying at home nearly every time I take the new dog out. What kind of life is that?
 
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IcyBergs

I have a Sony...TV
May 31, 2016
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Thanks for starting this conversation, I think there is a lot we, who haven't migrated to mirrorless yet, are thinking about. Will I miss my DSLR? As you have asked as well as; Which body do I buy 1st? What's my EF to RF glass strategy?

If mirrorless was ready for the big time we wouldn't have seen a 1DX3, but for the vast majority of us who aren't exclusively shooting professional sports I think mirrorless is already there, and if it weren't for specs of other branded cameras (and a 2nd memory card slot) more Canon shooters would have already made the switch.

I was really turned off by the EVF when I put my eye on the 1st gen M cameras, I thought this would have to come a long way before I could stomach it. After having a look through the EVF of the M50, and subsequently the R cameras I felt so much better about it. To me that was the one huge drawback and has matured now to the point that as you've argued can actually be a benefit to the user experience. When you add in focus peaking capability when using fast primes and adapted or 3rd party MF only lenses there is added functionality above and beyond just live exposure.

One of the biggest draws for me has always been little/no AFMA required, which I've always lamented having to do. Another draw which I didn't see coming, and has really accelerated my timeline for migrating to Canon's mirrorless is the RF 70-200 and the weight savings versus EF. The 70-200 Lii is my most used lens and saving that much weight is something I really look forward to. I used to own a 100-400 but sold it in favor of a 2x3 ext because there would never be a scenario where I would want to carry both of those in my bag at the same time, nor would I have room for anything else in the bag if I could. And to think I was so disappointed when the RF mount was announced.

The reasons to switch now are so compelling that it's time. It's more of a question of how rather than when for me at this point.

I spent the last couple of year really getting down to my most used lenses so I don't have a vault of EF glass I need to offload, so I'm thinking I may grab an R and keep it as a second body, adapt my EF glass wait for the 1st price drops on the rumored R2 body then go all-in.

That faithful dog just doesn't hunt like the new one does.
 
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Ian_of_glos

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
259
48
England
Just some pondering. I'm preparing to box up and sell my 5D IV and go totally miRRorless. I've been trying to avoid a big mistake by doing so, but I'm just not doing action and rough-weather photography at this time. (Wildlife has never been my bag, as I'm too impatient to wait for the critters to DO SOMETHING.)

So, naturally, I'm turning a personal decision into an industry existentialist dilemma, and hoping others will discuss what's the point of dSLR's as mirrorless catch up with performance specs.

With the electronics in the current generation of 5D bodies, and the further refinement coming with the 1DXIII, is there any belief that somehow dSLR's are "simpler" or more "reliable" than mirrorless?

Here's my main assertion: We only need a significant (not "revolutionary) improvement in EVF's, a little faster burst rate, and IBIS to see the nostalgic appeal of dSLR's give way to using what works best. I don't care how experienced a photographer, how flawless the technique, if, spec for spec a mirrorless approaches the performance of a dSLR, mirrorless will be chosen.

My reasoning (if that's what you'd be generous enough to call it)? It's simple. With mirrorless, exposure is as much a part of what we see in the viewfinder as composition. This translates into less chimping, less exposure bracketing, and generally more precise and faster results--with a significantly shorter learning curve.

At this point, mirrorless seems to be "winning" with precision AF; however, I understand Canon is putting out something new with the 1DX III, so we'll see. But, again, all other specs being equal, if we can see exposure as we compose, rather than achieve it based on skill, experience, and some guessing and chimping, unless we like the personal challenge) why not go with what we see?

AFMA is a factor I'm not so sure about. Even with LiveView, I have a few lenses that benefit from a little AFMA tweaking on my 5DIV (which will probably be sold shortly). And now I'm reading that Nikon and Olympus do, in fact, offer AFMA on their mirrorless bodies. If it could happen behind the scenes, reliably and automatically, that would be better. But if the vast majority of lenses do not need AFMA on mirrorless, if it's the exception rather than the rule we see with dSLR's, it's still nice not to put as much time into AFMA.

I've mentioned before that selling the 5DIV feels like abandoning a faithful dog, but lately that dog has been staying at home nearly every time I take the new dog out. What kind of life is that?
It is always interesting to see the reasons why other photographers have switched from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras. However, for me there is no sense of nostalgia about using a DSLR and the reasons why have not switched are all financial. I have already spent a significant amount of money on Canon DSLRs and EF lenses and there is no doubt that I would lose a significant part of my investment were I to switch to a mirrorless camera. Some of the new Canon R lenses are interesting, but they are also a lot more expensive than the EF equivalents and I don't think the additional cost is justified. By and large I am satisfied with the cameras and lenses that I already own, so for me switching to mirrorless would just be a rather expensive way of keeping up with the current trend.
All of my lenses focus properly and I have already completed any AFMA fine tuning that was required.
I do not judge my exposures by staring at the images on the back of my camera so seeing the final exposure in the viewfinder is of little value to me. In fact I would much rather view the scene I am about to photograph in the way that is closest to what I see with my eyes, without any form of electronic manipulation so for me an OVF is a better option than an EVF.
When mirrorless cameras first came out they were a lot smaller and lighter than DSLRs, but these days the Canon and Sony mirrorless lenses are just as big and heavy as my DSLR lenses, or in some cases they are even bigger so what is the point?
I am committed to full frame photography and at the moment my 5D mk4 more than meets my needs. The day I feel that I am getting too old for such a big and heavy camera, and I am prepared to sacrifice the benefits of full frame in order to have something smaller I think I would choose a camera that really is smaller than my 5D mk 4, such as the Olympus or Fuji systems.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
706
432
DSLRs will definitely be sustained only by nostalgia at some point. Someday we're going to get much faster sensor readouts, and mirrorless cameras will ditch not only the mirror, but the mechanical shutter too. It's definitely possible where we could see a camera body with absolutely no moving parts except maybe an IBIS actuator, which might even go by the wayside if they can figure out a good enough way to electronically stabilize images. An almost total lack of parts will be a game changer from a reliability standpoint. DSLRs are going to look like antiques from a technological standpoint in a decade or so.
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,493
5,128
DSLRs will definitely be sustained only by nostalgia at some point. Someday we're going to get much faster sensor readouts, and mirrorless cameras will ditch not only the mirror, but the mechanical shutter too. It's definitely possible where we could see a camera body with absolutely no moving parts except maybe an IBIS actuator, which might even go by the wayside if they can figure out a good enough way to electronically stabilize images. An almost total lack of parts will be a game changer from a reliability standpoint. DSLRs are going to look like antiques from a technological standpoint in a decade or so.
Unfortunately, at my age, another decade will probably see me through. So, I am making the best of what is available now.
 

jd7

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 3, 2013
795
160
My guess is it will come down to whether a sufficiently large number of people prefer an OVF over EVF, and whether DSLR's become able to AF with the accuracy that mirrorless cameras achieve such that even people who prefer OVFs are willing to put up with an EVF to get the AF benefit. Personally, I'd much rather look through an OVF than at a screen when I am taking photos. I spend way too much time looking at screens as it is, and I'm not bothered about seeing the exposure I've set in an EVF when I take a photo, so for me if all else is equal, I'd take the camera with the OVF (which presumably means taking a DSLR) over a camera wtih an EVF. Assuming all else is not equal though, the AF accuracy, and the ability to focus almost anywhere in the frame, are the things which get my attention about mirrorless - but I still weigh that against losing an OVF. And of course there are other differences which are only just disappearing, such as mirrorless having significantly shorter battery life and relatively poor AF tracking of moving subjects ... but it seems they will disappear if they haven't already.

There is also the issue of lenses too. The RF 70-200 f/2.8 IS is certainly a draw card to me over the EF versions, but could an EF version be made which is similar?

Anyway, I'm not saying I will never buy a mirrorless camera (that AF accuracy and ability to put an AF point almost anywhere would be fantastic!), but no matter how good EVFs get, if I ever buy a camera with an EVF it will be despite the EVF, not because of it.

Question is - how many other people have the same preference as me for an OVF? That I do not know.
 
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Nelu

5D Mark IV, 1Dx, EOS R
My guess is it will come down to whether a sufficiently large number of people prefer an OVF over EVF, and whether DSLR's become able to AF with the accuracy that mirrorless cameras achieve such that even people who prefer OVFs are willing to put up with an EVF to get the AF benefit. Personally, I'd much rather look through an OVF than at a screen when I am taking photos. I spend may too much time looking at screens as it is, and I'm not bothered about seeing the exposure I've set in an EVF when I take a photo, so for me if all else is equal, I'd take the camera with the OVF (which presumably means taking a DSLR) over a camera wtih an EVF. Assuming all else is not equal though, the AF accuracy, and the ability to focus almost anywhere in the frame, are the things which get my attention about mirrorless - but I still weigh that against losing an OVF. And of course there are other differences which are only just disappearing, such as mirrorless having significantly shorter battery life and relatively poor AF tracking of moving subjects ... but it seems they will disappear if they haven't already.

There is also the issue of lenses too. The RF 70-200 f/2.8 IS is certainly a draw card to me over the EF versions, but could an EF version be made which is similar?

Anyway, I'm not saying I will never buy a mirrorless camera (that AF accuracy and ability to put an AF point almost anywherw would be fantastic!), but no matter how good EVFs get, if I ever buy a camera with an EVF it will be despite the EVF, not because of it.

Question is - how many other people have the same preference as me for an OVF? That I do not know.
I agree with you on all counts. There are pro’s and con’s for both the EVF and the OVF. For this reason I can’t say I switched; I have them both. I’m not willing to spend more money on any EF glass though, partially because I have all I need and partially because the future is mirrorless.
 

docsmith

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 17, 2010
926
342
I am glad you are happy with the R. I’ll make the jump someday. Personally I think the biggest reason mirrorless will eventually win out is they (or so I have read) have a lower manufacturing cost compared to DSLRs.

But, as I’ve read about this or that, I’ve tested my 5DVI. “Better AF”, well I’ve shot a number of functions at f/1.4 to f/2.8 and, after review, I am completely satisfied with my hit rate. Really I didn’t miss many at all. I wouldn’t mind better AF point spread. But my point is pretty simple: photographer dependent, for me, there really is not much of a reason to make the switch.

If some tech from the 1DX3 filters down to the 5Dv, there could even be less of a reason to switch.

So just like I did not feel any of the Sony’s made the 5D4 obsolete, I do not feel Canon has made it obsolete now that they have a mirrorless system. The 5D4 is still a technical marvel and more than capable for what I shoot. So, I guess I have every intention of taking this “old” dog out for walks as it has yet to disappoint.
 

unfocused

EOS 1D MK II
Jul 20, 2010
5,469
2,311
66
Springfield, IL
www.mgordoncommunications.com
The title for this thread betrays your bias. The implication seems to be that DSLRs are old and "nostalgic." While mirrorless are new and "hip." I don't think that's the case at all. Rather, different form factors have different strengths. At some point one form factor may be able to do everything, but we aren't there yet with mirrorless. And, as much as I enjoy shooting with the R, I'm not optimistic that we will see sufficient improvements in the next generation or two to fully replace DSLRs.

On the other hand, it is possible that DSLR improvements, previewed in the new 1Dx III, could mitigate at least some of the main advantages of mirrorless. For example, the new control pad button that allows the photographer to move the focus point tactilely.

In fact, a parallel question could be: what mirrorless features will Canon be able to incorporate into future DSLRs? After all, if a DSLR were to come on the market with the ability to select autofocus points by touch (which it appears may be the case with 1Dx III), had a wider spread of autofocus points and could AFMA lenses through internal software, all the while keeping the "always on" viewfinder and more responsive autofocus of DSLRs, would mirrorless still have sufficient advantages to attract customers?

This is a fascinating time for the development of camera technology. But, it's risky to make future predictions based on past performance. We have no idea what the next decade will produce and we have even less idea of where the market will be 10 years from now. Although the current trends are pretty disconcerting.

Rather than worry about which format may dominate in the future, I'm more concerned about whether or not camera manufacturers will have the resources and incentive to innovate, particularly as their user base gets older and smaller.
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,482
424
Davidson, NC
If I wanted nostalgia, I would get out my SLR, clean the battery contacts, put in a new battery, and buy some film.

There is not really anything I need done that my 6D2 can‘t handle. I have a good selection of lenses for it. I like having an OVF, so would not give that up lightly, certainly not just to follow current fads. I would like to try a TS lens or two, but probably as rentals. If I lived where I was handy to doing pseudo-Ansel Adams landscapes, I’d probably buy one.

For less serious photography, mainly for travel, I do use a mirrorless camera. I have a G7X II that I have replaced with a G5X II. I did look briefly at an M50, but chose to stay with pocketable instead. I find the popup viewfinder on the new 5 to be quite useful for composing in bright light in lieu of the screen.
 

Ian_of_glos

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
259
48
England
My guess is it will come down to whether a sufficiently large number of people prefer an OVF over EVF, and whether DSLR's become able to AF with the accuracy that mirrorless cameras achieve such that even people who prefer OVFs are willing to put up with an EVF to get the AF benefit. Personally, I'd much rather look through an OVF than at a screen when I am taking photos. I spend way too much time looking at screens as it is, and I'm not bothered about seeing the exposure I've set in an EVF when I take a photo, so for me if all else is equal, I'd take the camera with the OVF (which presumably means taking a DSLR) over a camera wtih an EVF. Assuming all else is not equal though, the AF accuracy, and the ability to focus almost anywhere in the frame, are the things which get my attention about mirrorless - but I still weigh that against losing an OVF. And of course there are other differences which are only just disappearing, such as mirrorless having significantly shorter battery life and relatively poor AF tracking of moving subjects ... but it seems they will disappear if they haven't already.

There is also the issue of lenses too. The RF 70-200 f/2.8 IS is certainly a draw card to me over the EF versions, but could an EF version be made which is similar?

Anyway, I'm not saying I will never buy a mirrorless camera (that AF accuracy and ability to put an AF point almost anywhere would be fantastic!), but no matter how good EVFs get, if I ever buy a camera with an EVF it will be despite the EVF, not because of it.

Question is - how many other people have the same preference as me for an OVF? That I do not know.
This is a very good summary and I think it reflects the way that many of us feel about the DLSR vs mirrorless debate. For the record, in my opinion the EVFs on the recent Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras are very good, but even so I still prefer an OVF if it is available.
However I have one question - is the focussing system on a DSLR so inaccurate that it justifies a move to mirrorless? I have been examining some of my recent shots and I am finding it difficult to spot any focussing inaccuracies. Where a shot is out of focus or focussed in the wrong place it was always caused by the idiot taking the shot, who was either in too much of a hurry or couldn't be bothered to move the focus point to the place where it should have been.
The choice of lenses is a different matter and one day a lens will be released that might force me to reconsider my decision.
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,493
5,128
I am glad you are happy with the R. I’ll make the jump someday. Personally I think the biggest reason mirrorless will eventually win out is they (or so I have read) have a lower manufacturing cost compared to DSLRs.

But, as I’ve read about this or that, I’ve tested my 5DVI. “Better AF”, well I’ve shot a number of functions at f/1.4 to f/2.8 and, after review, I am completely satisfied with my hit rate. Really I didn’t miss many at all. I wouldn’t mind better AF point spread. But my point is pretty simple: photographer dependent, for me, there really is not much of a reason to make the switch.

If some tech from the 1DX3 filters down to the 5Dv, there could even be less of a reason to switch.

So just like I did not feel any of the Sony’s made the 5D4 obsolete, I do not feel Canon has made it obsolete now that they have a mirrorless system. The 5D4 is still a technical marvel and more than capable for what I shoot. So, I guess I have every intention of taking this “old” dog out for walks as it has yet to disappoint.
Not many of us follow the optyczne.pl site but it is a mine of information on camera tests - scroll down to section 3 and you'll see at the bottom the measured reproducibility of focus. The 5DIV is even better with the EF 35/2 than is the R. https://www.optyczne.pl/413.3-Test_aparatu-Canon_EOS_R_Użytkowanie_i_ergonomia.html https://www.optyczne.pl/351.3-Test_aparatu-Canon_EOS_5D_Mark_IV_Użytkowanie_i_ergonomia.html
I find the 5DIV has excellent consistent AF.
 

Joules

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 16, 2017
677
675
Hamburg, Germany
I find the 5DIV has excellent consistent AF.
When people talk about the advantages of a mirrorless AF system I think it relates more to the accuracy of the actual focus point position. A camera that tracks its subject and consistently places the AF point on that subject might yield more keeps than one that reliably focusses on what ever single point the photographer has selected. If you manually have to keep that point in the eye of a moving person or animal, it is to be expected that there are a lot of 'not quite perfect' shots.

As Canon just showed with the 1DX III, even the most sophisticated OVF AF can't accurately tell where it has to focus in order to nail the subjects eye - while in LiveView it has that capability, and based on the spec sheet significantly outperforms the R in this regard.
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
248
The EVF limitations and disadvantages that leave some preferring OVF are of the type that inevitably (and rapidly) are solved.

No one really actually prefers OVF. They prefer the benefits they get (no lag, resolution, depicting the actual scene). Those are readily solved.

The notion of pushing the lens away from the sensor by more than the image height to make room for a flipping mirror will seem as anachronistic as steam engines and rangefinder viewfinders that approximate what the camera sees.

It’s not a matter of if. It’s merely a matter of when. And my prediction is: “much sooner than you think”. One day you’ll wake up and realize the DSLR era has passed. (In my opinion it already has).
 
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Joules

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 16, 2017
677
675
Hamburg, Germany
No one really actually prefers OVF. They prefer the benefits they get (no lag, resolution, depicting the actual scene). Those are readily solved.
No EVF will be able to actually display the entire DR your eye could perceive when looking at a scene through an OVF. And an EVF will alway consume far more power than an EVF.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for WYSIWYG but there simply are some properties that go with each technology and that some may perceive as a downside.
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,493
5,128
The EVF limitations and disadvantages that leave some preferring OVF are of the type that inevitably (and rapidly) are solved.

No one really actually prefers OVF. They prefer the benefits they get (no lag, resolution, depicting the actual scene). Those are readily solved.

The notion of pushing the lens away from the sensor by more than the image height to make room for a flipping mirror will seem as anachronistic as steam engines and rangefinder viewfinders that approximate what the camera sees.

It’s not a matter of if. It’s merely a matter of when. And my prediction is: “much sooner than you think”. One day you’ll wake up and realize the DSLR era has passed. (In my opinion it already has).

No one actually prefers OVF
!? If you use a camera plus lens to stare at wildlife between photographing it, then you may well change that sweeping comment! The DSLR has passed already!? Maybe mirrorless is already better for some aspects, but the vast majority of mirrorless are behind DSLR for rapid action of wildlife.
 

Nelu

5D Mark IV, 1Dx, EOS R
No one actually prefers OVF!? If you use a camera plus lens to stare at wildlife between photographing it, then you may well change that sweeping comment! The DSLR has passed already!? Maybe mirrorless is already better for some aspects, but the vast majority of mirrorless are behind DSLR for rapid action of wildlife.
I very much prefer the OVF for wildlife photography. I don't understand how some would prefer to look into a tiny little electronic screen instead of the OVF for this kind of photography.
 
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IcyBergs

I have a Sony...TV
May 31, 2016
114
229
The EVF vs. OVF argument reminds me of the physical keyboard vs. no physical keyboard with smartphones about 12-13 years ago. I was one of the holdouts who said I'd never be able to type on a screen without the tactile feedback of physical keys.

It's been at least 10 years since I've touched a phone with physical keys on it.

I presume a similar outcome will happen with ILCs, 95% of all offerings will be equipped with an EVF in 3-5 years, and 10 years from now the OVF will hang around mainly in niche products.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,482
424
Davidson, NC
I don't shoot JPEGs except with my phone. Seeing a preview of a JPEG rather than the full dynamic range my eye can see would be less helpful in previsutalizing the shot. I realize that some of this is habit. I've been looking through the lens for 50+ years. Could I adapt to extrapolating from JPEG previews, sure. I get good results from my G5X II. I look at the screen for composition (or the popup finder when the light washes out the screen) and I look at the scene over the top of the camera to get an optical view.

I've never needed to calibrate the autofocus for any of my lenses. Maybe if that were an issue, I might react differently. Also, if I want to focus on something back in the woods rather than the branches and such in front of me, most of the time I find it quicker just to focus on it manually rather than messing with setting the focus point. And, yes, that is not always practical, so then I set the focus point. I never tried one of those cameras with true eye autofocus, where it senses what you are looking at in the viewfinder. That must not have been so foolproof, or they would still make them.
 
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Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
248

No one actually prefers OVF
!? If you use a camera plus lens to stare at wildlife between photographing it, then you may well change that sweeping comment! The DSLR has passed already!? Maybe mirrorless is already better for some aspects, but the vast majority of mirrorless are behind DSLR for rapid action of wildlife.
I was being provocative to make a point. You “prefer OVF” simply because of what you see and its comparative benefits. You don’t really care what physical elements provide those benefits.

It’s like saying “I prefer film to digital” when it used to mean that one preferred rich colors and the lack of visible pixels.

My point is that when (inevitably, and soon) EVF provides all the qualities you like in an OVF, you’ll happily switch. It’s not the technology you prefer it’s the performance.

And if you still disagree on you own behalf I shouldn’t quarrel, except to note that Canon’s market data likely (in my opinion) suggests that EVF tech that closes most of the gaps that matter to you will satisfy most of their customers leading to a wholesale switch to mirrorless and a virtual abandonment of flipping mirrors similar to film.
 
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