The Mirrorless Cam­era

Camera - - BACK TO BASICS -

The mirrorless cam­era is a pure dig­i­tal-era de­riv­a­tive of the D-SLR, main­tain­ing the ver­sa­til­ity and flex­i­bil­ity of in­ter­change­able lenses. How­ever, the adop­tion of an elec­tronic viewfinder (EVF) en­ables the elim­i­na­tion of the re­flex mir­ror and, ob­vi­ously, the pen­taprism-based op­ti­cal viewfinder. This not only al­lows for a more com­pact and lighter­weight cam­era body, but also po­ten­tially faster shoot­ing speeds and near-silent op­er­a­tion.

An­other ben­e­fit of elim­i­nat­ing the re­flex mir­ror is a lens mount with a shorter flange back dis­tance which gives more scope for de­sign­ing wider-an­gle lenses. With the need to adopt a new mount, a num­ber of cam­era mak­ers have also taken the op­por­tu­nity to give it a wider throat di­am­e­ter which, in turn, al­lows for the de­vel­op­ment of lenses with faster max­i­mum aper­tures.

Ini­tially the em­pha­sis with mirrorless cam­eras was on mak­ing them as small as pos­si­ble and a num­ber of sys­tems adopted smaller sen­sor sizes to help achieve this. Over time there’s been a re­turn to the larger sen­sor for­mats com­monly used in D-SLRs and while mirrorless cam­eras are still more com­pact than a com­pa­ra­ble re­flex body, the other ben­e­fits of the de­sign are now be­ing ex­ploited (such as faster con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speeds). Mirrorless cam­eras are also called com­pact sys­tem cam­eras (CSCs), but the generic “mirrorless” is be­com­ing more widely used given the less­en­ing em­pha­sis on body size alone. Mirrorless cam­eras are now avail­able with Mi­cro Four Thirds, ‘APS-C’, full-35mm and medium for­mat size sen­sors. There are ba­si­cally two body styles which are of­ten re­ferred to – a lit­tle con­fus­ingly – as ei­ther “SLRstyle” or “rangefinder-style” due their shapes which, in turn, are largely dic­tated by the lo­ca­tion of the elec­tronic viewfinder.

▲ This cut­away shows how elim­i­nat­ing the re­flex mir­ror and op­ti­cal viewfinder al­lows for a more com­pact cam­era body.

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