Speaking of hybrids, it’s a great time to be into cameras. In the digital era, there were only compacts (“Point-and-Shoots”) and dSLRs (“Big Iron”). Either you had a little consumer digicam, or a pro Beast.
No longer. All the names you’ve heard of now have something in between: the “mirrorless” or CSC (Compact System Camera).
Olympus and Panasonic: Micro Four Thirds
Samsung: NX series
Sony: NEX series (E-mount)
Pentax: Q series, and K-01
Fuji: X-Pro and X100
Nikon: J1 and V1
Today, Canon finally announced their EOS M. And the battle is joined.
The difference, of course, is that with a mirrorless/CSC/whatever, you can swap out lenses to improve detail and other factors for the situation at hand. Meanwhile, you don’t have the mirror box and pentaprism of an SLR, which are nowadays baggage from the era of film. I’ll go into detail on those later.
Then, of course, there’s the “Phantom Menace” of photography: cellphone cams. Since a cellphone cam is a real camera, the market has, technically, been completely upended. Cellphones with cameras not only outsell all other camera classes, but all other camera classes combined, dSLRs in particular. And they aren’t crappy, either. While there’s only so much you can stuff in a pocketable bar, the sensor arrays and optical trains have been around the block. Sure, the first camera phones were grainy and noisy, even in good light. No longer.
I’ll continue on why this is a big deal… longer.