Trey Ratcliff recently posted his view that the future of high end digital photography doesn’t lie with DSLR cameras, but rather with the new breed of mirror-less cameras that many of the major manufacturers are starting to produce. If you haven’t do so already, his post is well worth reading.
I agree with the general thrust of his argument. Namely that the mechanical nature and form of modern DSLRs owes more to their film heritage than the manufacturers’ desire to make the most of the digital medium.
To be quite frank I don’t need a mirror in a camera. If you follow my blog you’ll know the problem I’ve had with a DSLR mirror and my views about what I wanted from the next Canon Pro camera. What I need is a digital camera that gives me the image quality and control I need for my work. At the moment that really means a DSLR, and a Canon one at that. Not because I think Canon are necessarily better than Nikon or the other major players, but rather because I’m heavily invested in lenses and other Canon related paraphernalia. To switch formats for me is more expensive than just buying a new camera.
Where do I believe the future is though? I believe its in mirrorless cameras. Excellent sensors, optics and electronic viewfinders/screens combined with masses of CPU power will create a camera revolution over the next 5, 10 and 20 years. It’s happened in consumer electronics and computers, and as cameras are a combination of both now I see it as inevitable.
So, the question is, will my 5D Mk II, be the last digital SLR that I buy? The simple answer is I don’t know. I’d like it to be the last, but that is only going to happen if a viable alternative is released. Canon make enormous amounts of money from their high-end DSLRs and more possibly importantly, their lenses. I can’t see them wanting to let go of this just yet. But, they and Nikon are not calling the shots anymore. If they don’t embrace this electronic future and do it quickly they’ll be left behind by the the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Fuji etc. They know this better then me, so I fully expect to have an alternative ready in a couple of years – just when I’ll be looking to switch!