Whats the difference between....

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Mirrorless and not?? I've been wondering this for a while. Why would a person want the Mirrorless verses the other?

Thanks in advance! :)
 
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In the mechanical age of cameras, the only way to view the image coming through the actual image forming lens was:
- view camera where the film pack was removed and a ground glass was inserted to view, focus, compose the image.
- SLR where a mirror wold be placed in the light path and directed into the viewfinder. The most common implementation was to use a mirror that is pivoted in and out of the light path. The other method is to use a fixed, semi transparent mirror.

All mechanical, optical finder focus systems require high precision parts and assembly alignment. They can also go out of alignment from wear or impact. In addition SLR's with moving mirrors need space in the camera for the mirror to move, and this makes the camera bigger. This also creates a longer distance between the back of the lens and the image capture device (film/sensor) and effect the design of the lens; often making it larger. This is the reason why film rangefinder cameras can be smaller than SLR's.

Digital cameras make it possible for the image capture sensor to also be used for framing and focus. The advantages are:
- In terms of focus and framing, it's the first time one is looking at the image that will be recorded.
- Fewer parts in general and doing away with high precision, expensive viewing system.
- smaller, lighter camera
 
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Well-explained, Bruce!

The biggest shortcoming with any mirror-less camera is the AF speed as it is based on a passive system, unlike that of a DSLR where active AF is employed, and, as we know Nikon have motors in all of their newer lenses (AF-S) and that enhances AF performance even further.

I do often wish I had a smaller camera or a system when I don't need the lightning-quick response I get with my DSLR bodies and lenses, life is full of compromises...
 
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One other plus for mirror less, much quieter. No noise from the mirror going up and down. This also has the advantage of the mechanical bits not causing any vibration. The mirror also has an effect on how fast you can shoot in Continuous mode.

In the "old days" Canon made a DSLR with a Pellicle Mirror, I believe this is what Bruce was talking about with the semi-transparent mirror.

Upshot is that if I was shooting weddings for a living, or anything else requiring silence, I would love to have a mirror less system with all the other advantages of, say, a D4 or D800 for IQ.

As to AF speed, look at the Nikon V-Series. This is an area that is being improved.
 
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35mm is the new medium format; which is why it's now called "full frame" and not "small frame" as it used to.

When it was introduced the format was considered (and likely rightly so) to be too small to deliver professional results. I remember that MAD Magazine made fun of it in the late 50s or early 60s. But the best camera is the one you have with you.

FX and DX DSLR's are now in that same position. That's not saying they'll become a niche item like MF cameras are right now, but you'll save the big machines for when you go on a photography mission. If, on the other hand, you want to go out and have a good camera with you, mirrorless will be a good choice. Maybe technically not as advanced as the "real" DSLR, but pictures tend to come out a lot better if you're carrying camera and lenses with you, as opposed to "leaving all that %%%% at home because it's too big and heavy when going for a walk."
 
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Well-explained, Bruce!

The biggest shortcoming with any mirror-less camera is the AF speed as it is based on a passive system, unlike that of a DSLR where active AF is employed, and, as we know Nikon have motors in all of their newer lenses (AF-S) and that enhances AF performance even further.

I do often wish I had a smaller camera or a system when I don't need the lightning-quick response I get with my DSLR bodies and lenses, life is full of compromises...
I don't think that's a completely accurate representation of the state of affairs - the current u43 cameras focus blazing fast - what they can't do very well, compared to the phase detect focus system of the DSLR, is track a moving target.
 
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The biggest shortcoming with any mirror-less camera is the AF speed as it is based on a passive system, unlike that of a DSLR where active AF is employed, and, as we know Nikon have motors in all of their newer lenses (AF-S) and that enhances AF performance even further.
I didn't mention this, because it is not inherent to a mirrorless design. The difference in AF methods is not passive vs. active. It is the method for determining AF which is: Contrast Detect AF (CDAF) and Phase Detect AF (PDAF). Most mirrorless cameras use CDAF, however PDAF sensing has been incorporated into some sensor designs. Nikon (1 Series) and newer Fuji X series cameras use PDAF.

The performance differences between different technologies is more dependent on the design execution than inherent advantages of a particular technology. One of the common limitations of mirrorless cameras are their small size, which limits the size of the battery and that limits how much processing can be devoted to AF calculations.

In terms of design execution, PDAF systems are often designed for speed, at the expense of accuracy. CDAF, because the determination of focus is done base on the actual image, gives more accurate focus.

Putting the focus motor in the lens does not inherently make it focus faster. Having a high torque focus motor, that can move the lens elements faster, makes a lens focus faster. Nikon pro lenses have high torque motors and are often used with D# cameras, or cameras with add-on battery grips, where more battery power is available for focus motors. All AF mirrorless cameras lenses have motors in the lens. The batteries aren't big, but the lenses are small, there is less mass that has to be moved, and many of them focus very fast.
 
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Here's a more simple explanation!

Mirrorless Cameras =
Pros: Great quality, smaller camera/lenses
Cons: Not so good with moving subjects, more battery drain

Mirrored Cameras =
Pros: Great quality, much better for moving subjects
Cons: Bigger camera/lenses, more bulk
 
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I didn't mention this, because it is not inherent to a mirrorless design. The difference in AF methods is not passive vs. active. It is the method for determining AF which is: Contrast Detect AF (CDAF) and Phase Detect AF (PDAF). Most mirrorless cameras use CDAF, however PDAF sensing has been incorporated into some sensor designs. Nikon (1 Series) and newer Fuji X series cameras use PDAF.

The performance differences between different technologies is more dependent on the design execution than inherent advantages of a particular technology. One of the common limitations of mirrorless cameras are their small size, which limits the size of the battery and that limits how much processing can be devoted to AF calculations.

In terms of design execution, PDAF systems are often designed for speed, at the expense of accuracy. CDAF, because the determination of focus is done base on the actual image, gives more accurate focus.

Putting the focus motor in the lens does not inherently make it focus faster. Having a high torque focus motor, that can move the lens elements faster, makes a lens focus faster. Nikon pro lenses have high torque motors and are often used with D# cameras, or cameras with add-on battery grips, where more battery power is available for focus motors. All AF mirrorless cameras lenses have motors in the lens. The batteries aren't big, but the lenses are small, there is less mass that has to be moved, and many of them focus very fast.
Another well put answer Bruce
 
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Sorry this may be off topic, but here is my thought after I attempted to enter the mirrorless system.
I think IQ from compact mirrorless system is nice, but its responsiveness, AF speed, handling.... need more time to catch up those of DSLRs.

After buying then getting rid of Sony Nex 5N, Sony RX100, Fuji X100... I think I'm stick with DSLRs, at least couple more years.

I always want something small, light weight, but I still need it fast in actions. Unfortunately, seem like we don't have both for now.
Sony NEX is so good at AF speed, however, I don't like colors.
Fuji is so good at colors, JPEG, but AF is TOO slow. I could not imagine how slow it could be.

I think I'm going to buy D3200 to use with my Nikon 28mm 1.8G as a "compact system" :smile:, or a Canon SL1, world smallest DSLR for now.
 
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After buying then getting rid of Sony Nex 5N, Sony RX100, Fuji X100... I think I'm stick with DSLRs, at least couple more years.


Fuji is so good at colors, JPEG, but AF is TOO slow. I could not imagine how slow it could be.
The problem is people try to use the Fuji X line as SLRs when they are in fact rangefinders.

The Fujis work very well with focusing if you use time tested techniques such as pre-focusing.
 
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The problem is people try to use the Fuji X line as SLRs when they are in fact rangefinders.
It's a common misconception today, the recent Fujis may ressemble rangefinders but they are in no way a rangefinder camera at all as they have no rangefinder mechanism like the Leica has.
 
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It's a common misconception today, the recent Fujis may ressemble rangefinders but they are in no way a rangefinder camera at all as they have no rangefinder mechanism like the Leica has.
You are speaking of a parallax rangefinder Julien. There are other kind of rangefinders - defined as devices that determine distance - as well. Any kind of autofocus uses a rangefinder, usually optical/electronic. Back in the 1970s Polaroid made a sound based rangefinder.

That said, Leica has perfected the optical parallax rangefinder. Focusing those cameras is sweet!
 

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