Canon and Nikon - Past Their Prime? by Kai Wong

The discussion on mirrorless is a great example of why the term slr is increasingly inappropriate. If you stuck a mirrorless mechanism in the 1dx, would it not be an slr? And, on the other hand, if you took the existing 1dx shutter mechanism and installed it into a rifle-shaped mount that had balancing weights to adjust for different lenses, would it not be an slr?

Um...the answer to both questions is: No!

The 1D X is ONLY an SLR so long as it is an SLR: Single-Lens Reflex. That implies a very specific design with rather specific construction to support the notion that the camera is a single-lens reflex camera...a camera that reflects light from a single lens to the viewfinder, allowing the operator "through the lens" framing. Take away the mirror box, and no matter what you end up with, it will never be an SLR. It'll be something else. A mirrorless is called a mirrorless, or an ilc, because it quite simply is NOT an SLR, and never will be because it can't be.

Great discussion. My personal opinion is that the slr market is severely hindered by our pre-conceived notion that a camera should look like an slr. In the future, I'd anticipate this model to be broken. Right now, some people think of it as a shutter mechanism, as the name implies. Most people think of it as the big "camera-shaped" hunk of metal and plastic that makes it look professional-ish. I don't think the shape is at all optimized, however, for taking pictures, except for the use of very small lenses.

As others have pointed out earlier in this thread, when digital SLRs first hit the market, they took on a variety of different forms and shapes. All of those shapes failed, and the DSLR took over.

Timeless designs don't become timeless for no reason. The basic SLR design has persisted for decades. Many, just as you are now, probably proclaimed just the same things when the film SLR was first phasing into the DSLR. Obviously some companies even tried to mix things up a bit. The the SLR design is timeless. The earliest forms of SLR came onto the scene, what, in the 1920's? That is about NINETY YEARS. That's a really long time for the same basic camera design to persist.

Why does it persist, though? I mean, as early as the late 30's/early 40's SLRs had taken on the form they still have today. The general concept of an interchangeable lens camera that allowed through the lens composition was solidified by the 40's at the latest. It persists today because it is the most convenient design. Your comment above, that "the model is broken", is either entirely naive, or simply baiting. Well, sorry for taking the bait, but the SLR design is the farthest thing from being broken. It persists because it is the best form people have found to assist them in serious photography.

Modern DSLR's, particularly from Canon, are highly ergonomic. Their shape fits the hand ideally. Their weight nicely balances against the average size of DSLR lenses. Their button placement allows for optimal efficiency when changing settings during operation, allowing for procedural memory to support operation without the operator ever taking their eye away from the viewfinder! The modern DSLR body is really the pinnacle of camera body design. It persists because it's the best. Not because it is broken.

"Most people" aren't photographers. Most people don't really care about photography...they care about snapshots and visual chit-chat and instagram. The DSLR wasn't designed for most people. It was designed for photographers. So long as photographers persist, the DSLR will persist. It best solves the problem of critical photography for critical photographers. Perhaps someday someone will simply remove the mirror from the DSLR, and replace the pentaprism with an EVF...but will leave the general DSLR body design alone. I predict that the first company to do that will be the hero of the critical photographer (for a while). I predict Canon will do it best, and maintain their dominance in the market of providing critical equipment for critical photographers.

Everyone else? The snapshotters (and also the critical photographers who want something in addition to their DSLR...so basically everyone), will go with whatever is most convenient...damn the quality, damn the capabilities...they just want something that will snap photos and do instagram. Having 36mp and extensive DR doesn't mean squat to the snapshotter...they are going to obliterate all that such fancy technology has to offer anyway when they pass it through one of those (sorry, gotta say it) hideous filters for exhibition on instagram.

Sony, as the original article that the OP quoted says, makes "cool technology", but has rather bland packages that they put that cool technology into. For a critical photographer, the technology is important, but the package is more important. The A7/r is an intriguing technological advancement...sensor wise and due to the fact that it's mirrorless...but it's package kinda sucks. Everyone, even Fred Miranda, has mentioned how it doesn't really handle AF all that well (even with Zeiss lenses), and that functionally it isn't on the same playing field as Canon and Nikon. And it's small. That might be nice if the most important thing for you is portability...but it would still be better if that amazing sensor was packaged in a better body. I'd take a Canon 5D III style DSLR body with a Sony Exmor in it every time over the A7/r. (Hell, I'll still take the 5D III with it's 22.3mp Canon sensor over the A7/r!) The bigger body is one of the things that makes the 5D III so appealing...it is an ergonomic masterpiece packed full of exceptional technology in addition to the sensor, built on nearly 90 years of refinement of the best camera body known to man.
 
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moreorless

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unfocused said:
I think the article raises some good points.

Sometimes Nikon and Canon remind me of that 50-year-old guy with a pony-tail and an earring cruising the bars trying to pick up 21-year-olds.

The trouble for Kai is though that the 50 year old guy is successful and loaded so gets all the girls whilst the 21 year old hipster goes home alone. ;D

To be honest the article and Kai's Df review to me are the point where I really lost interest in hearing him preach the mirrorless gospel, so much hypocrisy given his own comments about camera's like the Fuji's in the past. The reality is that outside of comedy video's he's pushing the same kind of agenda I could read from fan boys on any number of forums, "mirror bad" "mirrorless good".

I'd actually say the problem Sony have is that they seem to pay rather too much attension to the Kai's of this world who might be very vocal on the net but make up a very small part of the market. This viewpoint seems to fit far better into Sony's corporate focus as a whole to me, they've always pushed the boat technically but have also always been very "gadget" focused. The camera business is very different from a lot of other area's though as your dealing with users who expect products without serious flaws as well as continued support of systems.

The latest photography gadget might get more attention in the short term but it'll soon be forgotten when the next one is released whilst the 5D mark 3 will carry on selling.
 
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jrista

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moreorless said:
unfocused said:
I think the article raises some good points.

Sometimes Nikon and Canon remind me of that 50-year-old guy with a pony-tail and an earring cruising the bars trying to pick up 21-year-olds.

The trouble for Kai is though that the 50 year old guy is successful and loaded so gets all the girls whilst the 21 year old hipster goes home alone. ;D

To be honest the article and Kai's Df review to me are the point where I really lost interest in hearing him preach the mirrorless gospel, so much hypocrisy given his own comments about camera's like the Fuji's in the past. The reality is that outside of comedy video's he's pushing the same kind of agenda I could read from fan boys on any number of forums, "mirror bad" "mirrorless good".

I'd actually say the problem Sony have is that they seem to pay rather too much attension to the Kai's of this world who might be very vocal on the net but make up a very small part of the market. This viewpoint seems to fit far better into Sony's corporate focus as a whole to me, they've always pushed the boat technically but have also always been very "gadget" focused. The camera business is very different from a lot of other area's though as your dealing with users who expect products without serious flaws as well as continued support of systems.

The latest photography gadget might get more attention in the short term but it'll soon be forgotten when the next one is released whilst the 5D mark 3 will carry on selling.

+10k!
 
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tolusina

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Sella174 said:
Carburettors.
You spelled Carburetors wrong :p ........

Carburetors and Twin Lens Reflex cameras have both seen their day and have long been supplanted by Fuel Injection and SLRs.
As Fuel Injection systems have incrementally improved and evolved to the point where current EFI systems bear little apparently in common with the earliest systems, so have SLRs evolved into the almost magical DSLRs currently available.

In answer to Kai's question and the thread subject, "Canon and Nikon - Past Their Prime? ", the answer is no, at least regarding the state of the art of top level imaging gear, DSLRs.

Sure enough, they are failing among the Facebook set. I do wish they'd step up in that lower end market so they will be able to continue to develop, produce and market ever more marvelous DSLRs.
---
moreorless said:
The trouble for Kai is though that the 50 year old guy is successful and loaded so gets all the girls whilst the 21 year old hipster goes home alone. ;D .........
This ^^, and, in his own words, Fancy dress parties are hateful
Gee, so sorry Kai that you had such a lousy time at that fancy dress party that you felt the need to create such a poor analogy between dress parties and the imaging market.
 
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Ivan Muller

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I wish Canon made a A7R equivalent. I wish they made an affordable 36+mp camera... But look at the numbers and the current economic climate and one will perhaps have a better understanding why they do what they do. Just look at Amazons top seller list and one will see what sells. Canon is not a small niche seller, because they just cant or wont, it doesn't really matter what the reason is, its just a fact...but the world is changing. I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses, I can buy a Sigma lens that is better and cheaper than a Canon...so whats there to complain about?

I just got a 6D last year and no matter what anyone says its a superb camera that gives fantastic image quality, handles well, and is relative small and affordable with tried and trusted ergonomics, image quality etc etc...just the camera I like using on paid assignments, with a wide variety very high quality lenses and accessories. It might not be as cute and daring as a A7R but I know it will bring home the bacon, just like the 5d2 did and my other ones before that...if we buy enough A7R's maybe they will change but in the meantime its not like I don't have choices right now...
 
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Sella174

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Ivan Muller said:
But look at the numbers and the current economic climate and one will perhaps have a better understanding why they do what they do. Just look at Amazons top seller list and one will see what sells. Canon is not a small niche seller ...

Well, I can't really agree with you. The Olympus E-M1, Sony A7 and A7R, and the Fujifilm X's sell very well; plus the Fujifilm X-T1 and Olympus E-M10 are really climbing the pre-order ladder at Amazon; plus the upcoming Panasonic Lumix 4K camera is probably going to be the definitive video ILC camera for quite a while. It is also interesting to note that the top-selling DSLR on Amazon is the (old) EOS 600D (or Rebel T3i); not the 700D or 100D or 70D or 6D camera. I wonder why?

Niche products? Yes, well, unless Canon dominates the emerging mirrorless market now, they might find that their own mirrored products are the niche products of the future ... which, incidentally, their EOS 1DX camera already is, as has all their 1-series cameras always have been in the past.

Ivan Muller said:
I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses.

Yip, this is the killer. From this point forward Canon can no longer rely on their excellent lenses to sell their cameras. The cameras must now sell themselves, alone. Plus, add to the mix what you said about Sigma lenses, which now places even more strain on the ability of the camera to sell itself to consumers.
 
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neuroanatomist

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Sella174 said:
Ivan Muller said:
I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses.

Yip, this is the killer. From this point forward Canon can no longer rely on their excellent lenses to sell their cameras. The cameras must now sell themselves, alone.

Perhaps…if you assume that the Sony mirrorless bodies meet your needs outside of the sensor. Do they focus fast? Do they track moving subjects well? How's the battery life?

I don't plan on using my 600mm f/4L IS II with a Sony a7R to shoot birds and wildlife anytime soon...
 
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jrista

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neuroanatomist said:
Sella174 said:
Ivan Muller said:
I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses.

Yip, this is the killer. From this point forward Canon can no longer rely on their excellent lenses to sell their cameras. The cameras must now sell themselves, alone.

Perhaps…if you assume that the Sony mirrorless bodies meet your needs outside of the sensor. Do they focus fast? Do they track moving subjects well? How's the battery life?

I don't plan on using my 600mm f/4L IS II with a Sony a7R to shoot birds and wildlife anytime soon...

Ditto.

Although, I might use my wide angle lenses to shoot landscapes with an A7r... It's the only really compelling option I see with that camera with Canon lenses. More resolution and more DR are the top two features that most affect IQ for landscape photography (well, maybe a TS lens is better, but thats the lens, not the sensor.) As much as I love Canon's high ISO performance and 600mm lens for wildlife and birds...I still want them to deliver a camera that will kick ass on the landscape front...and I'm still waiting...
 
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moreorless

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Ivan Muller said:
I wish Canon made a A7R equivalent. I wish they made an affordable 36+mp camera... But look at the numbers and the current economic climate and one will perhaps have a better understanding why they do what they do. Just look at Amazons top seller list and one will see what sells. Canon is not a small niche seller, because they just cant or wont, it doesn't really matter what the reason is, its just a fact...but the world is changing. I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses, I can buy a Sigma lens that is better and cheaper than a Canon...so whats there to complain about?

I just got a 6D last year and no matter what anyone says its a superb camera that gives fantastic image quality, handles well, and is relative small and affordable with tried and trusted ergonomics, image quality etc etc...just the camera I like using on paid assignments, with a wide variety very high quality lenses and accessories. It might not be as cute and daring as a A7R but I know it will bring home the bacon, just like the 5d2 did and my other ones before that...if we buy enough A7R's maybe they will change but in the meantime its not like I don't have choices right now...

This is a much more realistic debate rather than the typical gearhead hipster self delusion that his latest niche gadget purchase will make or break the photography industry.

Nikon and Canon do seem to have clearly diverged here over the last year. You could argue the G1X is a bit of a niche camera I spose but besides that Canon have as you say stuck to the big sellers were as Nikon have released the likes of the Df, the Coolpix A and the AW1.

These cameras are all definitely niche but I'd say there is an argument that niche sales are becoming more important in a saturated market. The issue is IMHO making sure that you don't invest too much in a niche product, when your building an entire camera system with multiple lenses and bodies it needs to be more than a niche seller to make a profit.
 
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Sella174

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neuroanatomist said:
Sella174 said:
Ivan Muller said:
I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses.

Yip, this is the killer. From this point forward Canon can no longer rely on their excellent lenses to sell their cameras. The cameras must now sell themselves, alone.

Perhaps…if you assume that the Sony mirrorless bodies meet your needs outside of the sensor. Do they focus fast? Do they track moving subjects well? How's the battery life?

I don't plan on using my 600mm f/4L IS II with a Sony a7R to shoot birds and wildlife anytime soon...

jrista said:
Ditto.

Although, I might use my wide angle lenses to shoot landscapes with an A7r... It's the only really compelling option I see with that camera with Canon lenses. ...

Typical response from someone who only sees the present.
 
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jrista

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Sella174 said:
neuroanatomist said:
Sella174 said:
Ivan Muller said:
I can now buy a Sony that will fit all my Canon lenses.

Yip, this is the killer. From this point forward Canon can no longer rely on their excellent lenses to sell their cameras. The cameras must now sell themselves, alone.

Perhaps…if you assume that the Sony mirrorless bodies meet your needs outside of the sensor. Do they focus fast? Do they track moving subjects well? How's the battery life?

I don't plan on using my 600mm f/4L IS II with a Sony a7R to shoot birds and wildlife anytime soon...

jrista said:
Ditto.

Although, I might use my wide angle lenses to shoot landscapes with an A7r... It's the only really compelling option I see with that camera with Canon lenses. ...

Typical response from someone who only sees the present.

But the A7r IS the "present". When the A8r comes along in "the future" with better AF or some such, we'll discuss the merits of that then, in the proper context. ;) Otherwise, it's all just speculation and hearsay, without any basis in fact.
 
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neuroanatomist

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jrista said:
Sella174 said:
Typical response from someone who only sees the present.

But the A7r IS the "present". When the A8r comes along in "the future" with better AF or some such, we'll discuss the merits of that then, in the proper context. ;) Otherwise, it's all just speculation and hearsay, without any basis in fact.

+1

Besides, we all know "the future" is a fixed lens camera with ultrahigh resolution sensor and uber advanced image stabilization that shoots video with frame grabs for stills.

Canon showed us "the future" back in 2010, with their concept Wonder Camera. ;)

IMG_6986.png
 
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AvTvM

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Ivan Muller said:
I wish Canon made a A7R equivalent. I wish they made an affordable 36+mp camera... But look at the numbers and the current economic climate and one will perhaps have a better understanding why they do what they do. Just look at Amazons top seller list and one will see what sells.

Products that don't exist, will (typically) not show in amazon's sales stats, correct? So by looking at those stats, we only get some information how well existing products sell, but do not glean any information on how new products may sell.

But to speculate a bit, just imagine for a moment, there WAS a Canon FF mirrorless camera available for sale at amazon today. Same 36 MP sensor, same specs as Sony A7R, same price [USD 2298 / € 2069] ... :)

  • now what sales rank would such a "Canon A7R" likely occupy in amazon's list?
  • and if there was also a "Canon A7" FF sensor MILC @ USD 1698 ... what rank might that one be at
  • better or lower than the Sony A7 and A7R

Do you think, it would qualify as a "niche" prduct only selling in very small numbers? Or might it be a top 10 seller? :p 8)
 
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The funny thing about this is the perception issue:

Canon and nikon being the old men putting on a hip costume and saying some buzz words they heard on TV, Pretty Rad man.

So what, Canon and nikon aren't the cool guys. If were going to personalize it like this, I'd say it like this --- if you want a good beer, you find the cool guy. If you want the sexy outfit, you find the cool girl shop. But if you want your taxes done, do you go to the 26 year old with a leather jacket and a motorcycle, or do you go see the 55 year old guy wearing a sweater vest and glasses????

LOL!! If you need a heart transplant, do you care if your doctor is cool and knows the hip buzzwords of the day, or, do you want a freaking surgeon!

Being "cool' works for some professions, but, for my pro camera needs, I will take the praqgmatic financially conscious geeks!! thank you very much!
 
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jrista

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AvTvM said:
Ivan Muller said:
I wish Canon made a A7R equivalent. I wish they made an affordable 36+mp camera... But look at the numbers and the current economic climate and one will perhaps have a better understanding why they do what they do. Just look at Amazons top seller list and one will see what sells.

Products that don't exist, will (typically) not show in amazon's sales stats, correct? So by looking at those stats, we only get some information how well existing products sell, but do not glean any information on how new products may sell.

But to speculate a bit, just imagine for a moment, there WAS a Canon FF mirrorless camera available for sale at amazon today. Same 36 MP sensor, same specs as Sony A7R, same price [USD 2298 / € 2069] ... :)

  • now what sales rank would such a "Canon A7R" likely occupy in amazon's list?
  • and if there was also a "Canon A7" FF sensor MILC @ USD 1698 ... what rank might that one be at
  • better or lower than the Sony A7 and A7R

Do you think, it would qualify as a "niche" prduct only selling in very small numbers? Or might it be a top 10 seller? :p 8)

I honestly think the answer to that question would depend on what OTHER features the camera ALSO offered. You only mention sensor capabilities. I think that is one of the great fallacies of camera fanatics today: They only ever look at the sensor.

The Canon 5D II and 5D III both have been exceptional sellers. The 5D II, at the time of it's release, had the worlds best DSLR sensor. However, I don't think that was the primary reason it sold...the primary reason it sold was it's integrated video capabilities. The 5D II MADE DSLR cinematography a reality on the grand scale it now exists today. THAT is what made the 5D II sell. The sensor was really just an added benefit, and secondarily it attracted a lot of landscape photographers.

The 5D III brings to the table the best suite of DSLR features you can really find in a professional grade DSLR these days. Lots of megapixels, excellent AF, reasonably good frame rate, excellent IQ, wonderful ergonomics, quiet shooting that actually lives up to the name, etc. So, what happens if we have the option of adding the Exmor 36.3mp sensor to it as an alternative to the 22.3mp sensor? Does it sell better? Probably. Again, I think that would particularly attract landscape photographers, although there are already a whole hell of a lot of landscape photographers who already use it...so actual growth in sales from additional landscape photographers probably wouldn't be statistically significant. It might attract some studio photographers as well, however it's the same old debate...do studios generally prefer MFD these days? Maybe an uptick in sales for studios. But...it's already largely saturated in other markets. It already is one of the best wedding cameras money can buy. It's already used by wildlifers and bird photographers. It's already used by low-budget DSLR cinematographers. It's already used by almost everyone who demands the best quality and will only settle for FF except those who went with a D800, and except those on a very tight budget...where the 6D and 7D fill in.

I really don't see the 5D III gaining significant sales numbers if it suddenly had it's 22.3mp sensor swapped out for a 36.3mp sensor. If Canon were to suddenly offer a mirrorless high res, high DR camera with the same kinds of features and functionality of the 5D III, I think it would sell about as well as the 5D III...but because it was a COMPLETE solution with all the features and functionality people expect from Canon wrapped in an ergonomically exquisite package, not just a cool sensor wrapped in an "eh" package with "eh" features.

There is more to cameras than the sensor. Canon knows this. THAT is why Canon sells more cameras than anyone else.
 
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Rienzphotoz

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Chuck Alaimo said:
The funny thing about this is the perception issue:

Canon and nikon being the old men putting on a hip costume and saying some buzz words they heard on TV, Pretty Rad man.

So what, Canon and nikon aren't the cool guys. If were going to personalize it like this, I'd say it like this --- if you want a good beer, you find the cool guy. If you want the sexy outfit, you find the cool girl shop. But if you want your taxes done, do you go to the 26 year old with a leather jacket and a motorcycle, or do you go see the 55 year old guy wearing a sweater vest and glasses????

LOL!! If you need a heart transplant, do you care if your doctor is cool and knows the hip buzzwords of the day, or, do you want a freaking surgeon!

Being "cool' works for some professions, but, for my pro camera needs, I will take the praqgmatic financially conscious geeks!! thank you very much!
Good one! Well said.
 
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Badger said:
How about we take the sensor from the Sony A7R and slap it into an SLR body?

At the end of the day, its all about ending up with the best picture possible but many of us are so comfortable with the SLR form factor that any other form, makes us uncomfortable. We also "look" less than professional if we show up with a "smallish" camera that looks like the same camera everyone else has :)

isn't that the d610 and d800????---

I firmly believe that once this whole, make it smaller thing is dropped then canon and nikon can do what i bet they actually want to do ---make a mirrorless option that fits with their current ecosystems of lenses ---.

It's funny that many say slr's are dying, but what i see is a mirrorless market that has no identity. Oh we want to be smaller, but not really small, we want to be user friendly for all, but not really, we want to be as good as an slr but need 10 more years to make appropriate lenses, but dang it to do that we're making something the size of an A7, which isn't all that much smaller than an slr, snor does it really weigh significantly less than an slr, and once you toss the adaptor on there and use standard lenses, it's the same size and barely and less weight.

Even for travel, if i still have to have a camera bag and multiple lenses and batteries then how does that size factor really help? Eventually the market will figure this out and either drop the whole idea of mirrorless or, integrate into the existing ecosystem.
 
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Rienzphotoz

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Chuck Alaimo said:
Badger said:
How about we take the sensor from the Sony A7R and slap it into an SLR body?

At the end of the day, its all about ending up with the best picture possible but many of us are so comfortable with the SLR form factor that any other form, makes us uncomfortable. We also "look" less than professional if we show up with a "smallish" camera that looks like the same camera everyone else has :)

isn't that the d610 and d800????---

I firmly believe that once this whole, make it smaller thing is dropped then canon and nikon can do what i bet they actually want to do ---make a mirrorless option that fits with their current ecosystems of lenses ---.

It's funny that many say slr's are dying, but what i see is a mirrorless market that has no identity. Oh we want to be smaller, but not really small, we want to be user friendly for all, but not really, we want to be as good as an slr but need 10 more years to make appropriate lenses, but dang it to do that we're making something the size of an A7, which isn't all that much smaller than an slr, snor does it really weigh significantly less than an slr, and once you toss the adaptor on there and use standard lenses, it's the same size and barely and less weight.

Even for travel, if i still have to have a camera bag and multiple lenses and batteries then how does that size factor really help? Eventually the market will figure this out and either drop the whole idea of mirrorless or, integrate into the existing ecosystem.
I partly agree with you, except for I've what I've marked in Red font ... to me those comments suggest that you have not used an a7 or the a7R with or without an adapter. I have been using a7+metabones adapter+EF primes for over a month now and I can tell you that there is a significant weight and size difference between my 5D MK III and the a7 with the adapter. One of the best things about the a7/a7R is how quick and accurately it focuses even with manual lenses, using focus peaking. I prefer Canon eco-system and the Sony a7/a7R only compliments it ... people who travel a lot and still like to carry some of their good lenses will understand and appreciate the size/weight advantage the Sony a7/a7R provides.
 
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