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The challenging market position of "mirrorless"

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by DeeJayK, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Today's "deal of the day" (a.k.a. Dealzmodo) from tech blog Gizmodo features the Sony NEX-F3 for $370 from Amazon.

    I don't have an opinion to share with regard to this particular camera or this deal, but I was struck by the editorializing on the entire mirrorless segment in the brief blurb on the NEX in the article (emphasis mine):

    A similar diminishment of "mirrorless" is implied by a remark in the same blog's review of the NEX-F3 which is linked quoted in this short Dealzmodo blurb which states "interchangeable lenses and compatibility with a digital viewfinder will appeal to an aspiring photographer with plans to eventually step up to a DSLR." This statement basically asserts that mirrorless is merely a sort of bridge between compact cameras (or cameraphones) and "real" cameras, i.e. SLRs.

    While I don't share this simplistic assessment of the photography marketplace, I do feel that the opinion that "mirrorless" (including :43:) is hemmed in by SLRs above and by smart phones below is widely held. That fact that the view is presented as gospel by a widely-read gadget-focused blog is concerning.

    I'm not looking to incite a discussion (such as this one) about what might or might not eventually happen in the marketplace, but rather to point out the perception of the mirrorless space and perhaps to discuss what you think the mirrorless players are doing or might do to combat this stuck-in-the-middle perception. What do you think?
     
  2. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    The single biggest issue, IMHO, is focus tracking. If :43: can do action with little work from the photographer, then it will own the entry level dSLR market.

    In general, the market overall is getting squeezed. The images coming off the oly XZ-1 are just as good as with my E-PL2 and kit zoom. The newer Oly and Panny offerings are up to entry level dSLR IQ, but they still fail in the focus tracking department. Cheap point and shoots are getting replaced by cell phones.
     
  3. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    We have to admit that we are stuck in the middle, is it bad? No the :43: and other mirrorless are giving a great solution for people on the move who need flexibility.
    Talking about :43: current cameras and lenses provide IQ sufficient even to pro photographer, but it will take time until the masses will dump their old gear and make new investment.
    In order to stimulate this the :43: need to step up their channel presence especially in the US. Marketing wise they are doing quite a good job especially Olympus with the OMd and we start to see good signs from Panasonic.
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Image Quality and meeting the standards of a pro photographer have absolutely nothing, zilch, nil, nada to do with whether a camera has a mirrorbox or not, lol! How is a mirrorbox supposed to improve IQ? And last I looked, the presence of a mirrorbox only limits technology which is useful to a professional photographer, not the other way around. The mirrorbox only gives one advantage, PDAF which leads to slightly (I'm talking milliseconds) faster C-AF (there's not even an advantage at all in S-AF, which is what most photographers use most of the time if they don't use manual!), whereas the advantages of a LiveView camera which are useful to so many professional photographers in so many fields is almost too much to list (such as live exposure, live color, focus aids, seamless video recording, unlimited lens compatibility, portability, and on and on and on).

    According to the blog, APS-C (which apparently means entry-level DSLR and not mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors. There must be another category called "Mirrorless APS-C" or something since they have worse IQ, lol) is "overkill for the web", but mirrorless is sufficient. I can't even begin to describe how ignorant that comment is!!

    The only thing that makes a DSLR more "pro" than a mirrorless camera at the moment is a greater selection of pro lenses. The reason for that is obvious - they've been around for much, much longer. That's all there is to it. Of course, even that point is completely moot when comparing entry-level cameras as this blurb is trying to do.
     
  5. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I agree that improved focus tracking would help attract at least a couple of big segments of the entry-level SLR market: new parents looking to capture fast-moving toddlers (often in low light) and parents wanting to document their kids' sports endeavors. While :43: is capable of doing these things in the right hands I agree that SLRs (even entry-level SLRs) probably do offer at least marginal advantages in these areas.
     
  6. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    That and worldwide pro support are what keep m43 from being accepted by a lot of pros as a viable alternative.
     
  7. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    Ned I was commenting regarding the :43: market position. The blurb is nonsense the NEX is APC-S like all entry level DSLR, this blurb was written by a sales person at site.
    The problem with :43: as with every new technology is to educate sale people.
    Part of increasing channel presence is to educate the channel sales force, this is the task that :43: companies channel marketing need to perform.
    for lots of people the sales person at Best Buy camera counter is the expert they rely on. When this sales person will know :43: camera capabilities and get will decent sale bonus from selling :43: gear then the :43: market share will increase. Till then we will see many more "expert" advice like in this blurb.
     
  8. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Yeah, I agree the Gizmodo comments reflect a great deal of ignorance. The problem is that seeing this sort of thing coming from a purportedly "techie" source which has many readers just reflects (and perpetuates) the fact that this sort of thinking is rampant. My question is: what can be done to counter these misleading viewpoints?
     
  9. joma

    joma New to Mu-43

    7
    Mar 23, 2013
    Toronto
    John
    I would also disagree with the Gizmodo comment. I don't see mirrorless, or more specifically micro 4/3, as a bridge between compacts and DSLRs. I owned a compact then went to a DSLR and have finally settled nicely into micro 4/3. I am happier with my current camera than I have been with any other camera I've owned.

    I always find it kind of strange that micro 4/3 gets crapped on for having a smaller sensor size that APS-C, but you don't often see APS-C getting crapped on for not being full frame. Medium and large format film shooters aren't generally online criticizing full frame digital cameras either.
     
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I think the answer to your question, DeeJayK, lies in elavon's post. Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Fuji, Samsung, and anyone else who has a stake in mirrorless technology needs to better educate sales people. I've done that job before of educating camera sales staff. I've worked as a representative for Olympus cameras on a nation-wide project to educate staff at all various stores such as (in my area) McBains Camera, Dons Camera, Vistek, Futureshop, Best Buy, etc. The result was that the entire team was laid off across the nation due to cutbacks from Olympus. When I was representing this city for Olympus, this was the one place where sales staff actually knew the difference and the sales showed it.

    On the other hand, Sony only taught their representatives how to fight against competitors in the same market, namely Olympus and Panasonic. All their representatives taught was how Sony was better than Olympus and Panasonic because they have a "50% larger sensor". They did nothing to teach the staff what actually makes a camera tick, what these cameras are actually capable of, or how to apply this knowledge to making an educated choice in camera selection to meet the needs of the customer not the media.

    It's unfortunate, but the manufacturers are not taking serious steps in the education of their retail clients. That's really all that is needed.

    As far as you and I, there's really nothing we need to do except continue to shoot with our cameras and enjoy the wonderful technology which we have in our hands! Personally, I'm a full-time professional photographer and run a downtown photo studio as my day job. I use :43: bodies (not lenses unfortunately, but once we have a better lineup that can change) almost exclusively and my clients see that and respect that. I don't need to say jack all about it. ;)
     
  11. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I could be wrong, but I believe that the single biggest issue has nothing to do with the hardware. I'd say the single biggest issue is the total lack of any dealer support by Panasonic and the nearly total lack of dealer support by Olympus. By the way, I'm in Boston. Not New York, Chicago or LA, but not a small town, either. YMMV.
     
  12. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I'm not sure there's anything conclusive to be decided about mirrorless and whether the current designs and companies survive.

    However, the trend towards less moving parts and more electronics suggests mirrorless will eventually dominate as technologies converge.

    At one time, the technical limitations of SLR film cameras kept their widespread adoption suppressed and I'm willing to bet somebody somewhere had a conversation like the one we're having here about how SLR's were in a "challenging" position and wondering whether that type of design could ultimately supplant the dominant rangefinder, viewfinder and TLR designs.

    Personally, I think mirrorless IS the future and the only question is: is it the future yet? lol
     
  13. RK777

    RK777 Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jan 22, 2013
    Texas
    Robert
    Giving credence to the missives of a barely post-teenage Gizmodo hack does a disservice to hacks everywhere. As if one needs any evidence that Gizmodo will publish anything generated by anyone, regardless of knowledge of the subject or any understanding of the subject matter whatsoever, just check out the authors resume on LinkedIn. I'm still looking for any indication that he has any photography knowledge at all, apart from shooting cat photos with his iPhone.


    Kif Leswing | LinkedIn
     
  14. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    I dont know about this. The soccer mums I know wouldn't know what AF-C is, if it ran over them. They turn their dials to the little green square, hold their arms out like a chicken trying to escape the coup and then upload their out of focus jpegs on Facebook for all of us to enjoy. I don't see AF-C as the saviour of mirror less or the thing that's holding it back.

    Gordon
     
  15. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    The biggest problem, obviously, is the perception that DSLR's are real "pro" cameras and that everything else is inferior.
    So where does that perception come from? Think about the times an average person sees a "pro" photographer. Typically it will be at a wedding, watching a sporting event (either in person or on TV) or in a studio setting. What do those guys use?? Overwhelmingly, a Canikon DSLR. Until that changes any other format is going to be fighting a very tough uphill battle for mind share.
    I thought the Sony TV ads for the Nex 7 were smart. They showed the camera in a professional setting (a fashion shoot) and highlighted the ease of handling of a smaller, lighter package. Don't know how bottom-line effective they were, but it seemed smart to me.
     
  16. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I'll bet he got the photography merit badge on the way to Eagle scout. Does that count?
     
  17. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris
    sorry guys im just sick of this type of discussions were "we" users need to defend mirrorless.

    the typical excuse nowadays seems to be "mirrorless cant do action" for ****s sake! (cause they already lost their battle about inferior IQ, camera speed, or size, or EVF´s). what action are we talking or comparing to?. Ive shot, moving cars in traffic, ive shot birds in flight, ive even seen serious sports shot with mirrorless and m43 all over flickr and in here as well. Whats and wheres the action this camers cant do? which also is a necessity so big that would make you NOT buy a mirrorless camera? to shoot a moving bullet being shot from a gun?. really? I dont even own a gun in the first place. jeez!

    :horse::horse::horse:
     
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I think this is where Canon and Nikon make their biggest profits. This is the reason they haven't fully invested, especially Canon, into mirrorless.
     
  19. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I don't care how much Panasonic or Olympus push their cameras or market them or dealer support they have. Will it follow my kids? Will it follow my kids sporting action? No?

    Not everyone has those needs I understand. I also agree that Panasonic and Olympus should do a better job of dealersupport. Part of that support is that professionals require it, especially those who make their living off of it. Even if they did have that support, would pros be more interested? Probably not.
     
  20. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    335
    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Dan
    But even the DSLR's won't document those toddlers in low light...expensive glass is needed. In my experience most parents taking pics at the kids sporting events miss that moment not because of the camera, but their inability to time it.