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#342600 - 18/02/2011 13:06 EVIL cameras
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens cameras eg. Micro 4/3rds, Sony NEX, Samsung NX.

Does anyone use one or have an opinion on these mirrorless cameras?

Thanks.
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342601 - 18/02/2011 13:23 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: pedrohoon]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Aww. I was expecting an EVIL camera to show you blood cover scenes or something equally vile.

My brother has a Lumix GF1C as well as a regular DSLR and he seems to be quite happy with it.

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#342602 - 18/02/2011 13:58 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: tman]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
I borrowed a GF1 from a friend and shot with it for a weekend. Honestly, it's a very nice camera. It's not as fast or precise as my D700 nor is it as compact and lightweight as my Panasonic LX5.

However, if I had to own precisely one camera, I'd take one of these EVIL things.

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#342607 - 18/02/2011 14:30 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12157
Loc: Sterling, VA
Heh, I hadn't heard EVIL as a term for these. I suppose it's as good as any, as I've heard that not all of these are "micro 4/3rds." I think many people have just been calling them "mirrorless."

Anyway, I have an Olympus Pen E-PL1. I think it takes good pictures, but I'm such a photo newbie it's ridiculous, and I don't have any experiences with full-on DSLRs.
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Matt

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#342611 - 18/02/2011 16:48 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: Dignan]
siberia37
old hand

Registered: 09/01/2002
Posts: 702
Loc: Tacoma,WA
I think this camera would qualify as the most evil looking one I've come across. As far as mirrorless DSLR's I think the new pellicle mirror Sonay A55 sounds way better than an EVF camera- an optical finder but without the mirror blackout or vibrations.

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#342627 - 19/02/2011 11:14 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: Dignan]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Heh, I hadn't heard EVIL as a term for these. I suppose it's as good as any, as I've heard that not all of these are "micro 4/3rds." I think many people have just been calling them "mirrorless."

Anyway, I have an Olympus Pen E-PL1. I think it takes good pictures, but I'm such a photo newbie it's ridiculous, and I don't have any experiences with full-on DSLRs.


I am not sure who coined the term first but it appears to be used quite widely now. The Oly PENs are rated very highly for out-of-camera jpegs.
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342628 - 19/02/2011 11:18 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: siberia37]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: siberia37
As far as mirrorless DSLR's I think the new pellicle mirror Sonay A55 sounds way better than an EVF camera- an optical finder but without the mirror blackout or vibrations.


The Sony setup sounds like a good idea in theory but I would think that it would have to reduce the amount of light available to both the sensor and the viewfinder since it is 'splitting' the available light?
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342629 - 19/02/2011 11:56 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: pedrohoon]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14119
Loc: Canada
Yup, that's the downside: not as much light reaching the sensor and something interfering in the path of that light.

Or do they use the main sensor for the EV ?

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#342632 - 19/02/2011 14:36 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 996
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
My wife likes the Oly E-PL1 (except she thinks it looks designed for old folks) and she's picky about output quality.

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#342645 - 19/02/2011 20:58 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: mlord


Or do they use the main sensor for the EV ?


I was going by Siberia37's comment that it had an optical viewfinder but according to dpreview:

Originally Posted By: dpreview

This is made possible by adopting an approach that has more in common with a mirrorless camera (like the Panasonic G2, for example) than an SLR by removing the bits that pretty much define such cameras: the optical viewfinder and moving mirror.

The designation 'SLT' stands for single lens translucent and it's the 'translucent' bit that's the key to what differentiates these new models both from conventional DSLRs and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The SLTs do have mirrors, but they're mirrors that let the majority of the light pass straight through to the sensor, rather than having to swing out of the way to allow exposure. As a result they are fixed in position, always reflecting a portion of the light emerging from the back of the lens onto a phase-detection AF array housed in the top of the camera. (A newly-developed 15-point array in the case of these two cameras).


So they do have an EVF (which I assume is fed from the image sensor) and siphon off some of the light for an AF sensor which still means that less light reaches the image sensor (and yes, something interfering with the path of that light).
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342667 - 21/02/2011 02:54 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
Originally Posted By: mlord
Yup, that's the downside: not as much light reaching the sensor and something interfering in the path of that light.

Or do they use the main sensor for the EV ?

The issue is autofocus. The slower systems, based on pixel contrast, can do the job purely from the main sensor, but if you want to do phase-detection autofocus (which all the big SLRs do, and which can give the focus computer magnitude and direction information for autofocus, thus yielding a faster lock), then you need a completely different design, where different pixels look at different parts of the lens.

Fuji has actually made a sensor that has phase-detection pixels stuffed amongst the regular pixels, giving you the best of both worlds without needing any sort of half-silvered mirror. (Instead, you get digital post-processing to fill in the blanks for the pixels that are used for focus instead of image capture.)

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#342686 - 22/02/2011 01:17 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: larry818]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12157
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: larry818
My wife likes the Oly E-PL1 (except she thinks it looks designed for old folks) and she's picky about output quality.

I like the retro styling for the most part, except that it's sort of cheap retro styling. The EP1 actually had a more legit retro look...
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#342690 - 22/02/2011 03:11 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: DWallach]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2415
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Fuji has actually made a sensor that has phase-detection pixels stuffed amongst the regular pixels, giving you the best of both worlds without needing any sort of half-silvered mirror. (Instead, you get digital post-processing to fill in the blanks for the pixels that are used for focus instead of image capture.)

Interesting. I wonoder what is the impact of such a solution in terms of "image quality". Is that at all relevant? I guess it also depends on how many pixels are there devoted to AF.
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#342693 - 22/02/2011 11:14 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14119
Loc: Canada
It probably ends up not being a lot different than a "normal" sensor --> sensors nowadays likely have dozens, if not hundreds, of "bad pixels", that the firmware just maps out and replaces with averaged data from adjacent sensors. Not even the "raw" format files show them.

-ml

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#342699 - 22/02/2011 16:50 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: pedrohoon]
siberia37
old hand

Registered: 09/01/2002
Posts: 702
Loc: Tacoma,WA
Dang I was just assuming it had an optical finder because of the pellice mirror. A lot of camera companies seem set on the EVF lately, they seem to think the mirror is on it's way out. The SLR mirror does have some big disadvantages- it's expensive, mechnical, and it makes wide angle lenses harder to produce since it forces them to be "retrofocus" design. Also you can't do video with the mirror in the way etc etc.. hard to get used to those EVFs though.


Edited by siberia37 (22/02/2011 16:51)

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#342728 - 23/02/2011 12:41 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: siberia37]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
EVFs are improving, to the point where they offer a view that is as clear and bright as the OVF on an entry-level DSLR, albeit with some lag when following moving targets, and slight to complete blackout when shooting in continuous modes (depending on frame rate). They have the advantage of being able to overlay info on the scene and also directly show the effect of changes in exposure settings, although their colour accuracy is apparently not as good as an OVF.

I will stick my neck out here and predict that once Nikon and Canon enter the 'mirrorless' market, this type of camera will supplant the entry level DSLR, with mid level to professional DSLRs still using the current optical system. JMO!


Edited by pedrohoon (23/02/2011 12:42)
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342730 - 23/02/2011 13:38 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: pedrohoon]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
One of the blogs I follow, NikonRumors, tracks Nikon's patent filings, from which it's clear that Nikon is spending a lot of time thinking about EVIL cameras. They're otherwise doing an excellent job of keeping their future product plans quite secret.

I do agree that the mirrorless compact camera market seems likely to consume the low-end SLR market, both from a cost savings perspective (no mirror, no pentaprism, etc.) but more importantly from a UI perspective. To a consumer "stepping up" from a compact point-and-shoot or a smartphone camera (sigh), it's completely natural to use the rear-camera display as your viewfinder, and why would you want to stare through a silly little hole?

What I find really intriguing is that, for once, Canon and Nikon are behind while serious momentum is developing behind the Micro 4/3 standard. Yes, both Sony and Samsung have concluded that they must (must!) introduce their own EVIL lens standards, but perhaps Canon or Nikon will surprise us by supporting the Micro 4/3 standard. If either one jumped on board, that would be a remarkable turn of events and could lead to a true, honest, industry-wide standard.

On the flip side, the APS-C sensors used in current Nikon and Canon low-end cameras would be logical to carry forward into their EVIL cameras, reusing parts and expertise, versus the smaller Micro 4/3 sensor which is a totally new thing.

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#342731 - 23/02/2011 14:26 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: DWallach]
siberia37
old hand

Registered: 09/01/2002
Posts: 702
Loc: Tacoma,WA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
What I find really intriguing is that, for once, Canon and Nikon are behind while serious momentum is developing behind the Micro 4/3 standard. Yes, both Sony and Samsung have concluded that they must (must!) introduce their own EVIL lens standards, but perhaps Canon or Nikon will surprise us by supporting the Micro 4/3 standard. If either one jumped on board, that would be a remarkable turn of events and could lead to a true, honest, industry-wide standard.


You didn't mention the biggest reason why Canon and Nikon are trying to avoid Micro 4/3rds: Lenses. Lenses are a cash cow for them. Lenses don't become obsolete as soon as they are made, unlike DSLRs. They also don't decrease in value as quickly- in fact they tend to even increase over time a little bit. Ideal lenses have to be made specific to the sensor/image format they are intended to be used with. Otherwise you end up with the "crop factor" business that most current Canon/Nikon users deal with (unless they shelled out for a Full Frame Camera).

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#342732 - 23/02/2011 15:03 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: siberia37]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14119
Loc: Canada
The "crop-factor" has little or nothing to do with the lenses. It's about the sensor geometry --> putting a sensor smaller than 35mm film into a 35mm body with a 35mm lens mount.

Both makers have "format specific" lenses that one can opt for to gain wider angle coverage than with legacy 35mm lenses.

I'm really happy to "deal with" a "crop factor" --> my camera is smaller and more versatile than a "full frame" behemoth, not to mention much much cheaper. smile

And when I do use "full size" lenses, the sensor uses the "sweet spot" middle area, giving better image quality than normal for a given grade of lens.

Cheers

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#342735 - 23/02/2011 18:01 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
siberia37
old hand

Registered: 09/01/2002
Posts: 702
Loc: Tacoma,WA
Originally Posted By: mlord
The "crop-factor" has little or nothing to do with the lenses. It's about the sensor geometry --> putting a sensor smaller than 35mm film into a 35mm body with a 35mm lens mount.

Both makers have "format specific" lenses that one can opt for to gain wider angle coverage than with legacy 35mm lenses.


And in fact that's the only way you are going to get a true wide-angle lens with a smaller sensor- a specially designed lens for that smaller sensor. Unless you start using semi-Fisheye designed full frame lenses, which are expensive.

Quote:

I'm really happy to "deal with" a "crop factor" --> my camera is smaller and more versatile than a "full frame" behemoth, not to mention much much cheaper. smile


Sure it works fine, but a Micro 4/3rds camera with Micro 4/3rd designed lenses would be smaller and lighter still...

Quote:

And when I do use "full size" lenses, the sensor uses the "sweet spot" middle area, giving better image quality than normal for a given grade of lens.


The sweet spot is true for Wide Angles but not really for Telephotos so much, see the graphs regarding aberations in this article. A cropped telephoto lens is fine but telephotos is also where saving on the size and bulk of the lens would really be nice. So it's arguable that the advantages of the sweet spot are really enough to justify carrying a bigger lens.

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#342736 - 23/02/2011 19:14 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: siberia37]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
A lot of ink has been spilled on the topic of cropped sensors and their impact on lenses. I think the interest bits seem to be that:

- You can build a physically smaller lens for less money with comparable image quality when you make the sensor smaller. Or, correspondingly, you can build a lens for a small sensor that does more things at the same price point. (Notable example: all these tiny cameras with their 30x superzoom lenses.)

- Micro 4/3 is becoming a legitimate cross-vendor standard. You can put a Panasonic lens on an Olympus body and it will actually work.

- If Canon or Nikon wanted to get into the Micro 4/3 game, then there would be correspondingly more competition, both for lenses and bodies because they would all interoperate nicely.

Will that actually happen? I really doubt it, but it sure would be sweet.

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#342738 - 23/02/2011 19:42 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14119
Loc: Canada
Yeah. Neither Canon nor Nikon have ever bothered making lenses to fit each other's cameras, and I don't see that policy changing just because of Panasonic or Olympus.

Cheers

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#342752 - 24/02/2011 11:20 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
IMO the ideal situation would have been an open standard for a lens mount to suit an APS-C sensor due to it being the best compromise of size vs image quality (again IMO).

Sony have shown that it is possible to create a very compact camera around this size sensor with the NEX3/NEX5.

Also most existing lenses would fit with an adaptor (possibly even retaining AF/aperture adjustment) due to the reduced flange to sensor distance, as they currently do for m4/3.

While there is a lot of momentum behind m4/3, I personally am left feeling that it is a 'test run' to refine the mirrorless system for a future larger sensor. Look at how little love there is for the original 4/3 standard. However if Canon or Nikon back it, it will certainly become the default standard but as was previously stated, the 'big two' will want to try to lock users in to their own lenses only so them backing m4/3 looks unlikely.
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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342864 - 26/02/2011 10:55 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: DWallach]
pedrohoon
enthusiast

Registered: 06/08/2002
Posts: 333
Loc: The Pilbara, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: DWallach


I do agree that the mirrorless compact camera market seems likely to consume the low-end SLR market, both from a cost savings perspective (no mirror, no pentaprism, etc.)


After seeing the attached schematic of the mirror mechanism in a DSLR, I am even more amazed that they are priced as low as they are. (From here about 1/4 way down the page).


Attachments
ZSHUTTERMECH.GIF

Description: DSLR mirror schematic


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Peter.

"I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted." - George Best

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#342866 - 26/02/2011 11:26 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: pedrohoon]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14119
Loc: Canada
That's what more than half a century of continuous improvement can do for ya!

Pretty amazing still, though.

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#342870 - 26/02/2011 13:44 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
Amusement: if you had a Nikon F3 in the 1980's, you were running the best kit any photojournalist could ever want. The standard motor drive attachment ran it at a whopping 3 frames per second. (Wikipedia says there was a limited-edition half-silvered mirror that let the camera shoot at 11 fps.)

Today, just about any consumer DSLR will happily give you 3 fps and the pro cameras are 8 fps or more. Clearly, they've done amazing things by evolving the mirror mechanism, but it's also an obvious target for elimination to save costs further in low-end cameras.

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#342874 - 26/02/2011 19:09 Re: EVIL cameras [Re: mlord]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
Not just improvement of the mech, but improvement of the manufacturing process too.

Still, It's not going to survive the revolution.
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