We always like to spot trends at Photoxels and see which direction the camera industry is heading. It’s a fun activity and, more often than not, we are not always right, but we did correctly predict that “The future is mirrorless” and that mirrorless technology would dethrone DSLR technology way back when mirrorless AF (auto focus) was still struggling, and the mirrorless EVF (electronic viewfinder) could not quite stand up to the DSLR OVF (optical viewfinder). DSLR technology was then at its zenith.
Why did we fearlessly (and in many eyes, foolishly) proclaim that mirrorless technology would eventually come out on top?
Simple: 1) With the improvements in image sensor Live View technology, we saw that the mirror had simply become redundant. While the DSLR mirror allowed the photographer to see what came through the lens (but not necessarily what the camera was capturing), the mirrorless image sensor Real-time Live View allowed photographers to not only see what was coming through the lens, but more importantly exactly what the camera was capturing. 2) Technology improvements in EVF, LCD and AF would eventually catch up and surpass DSLR technology. We knew it was just a matter of time before mirrorless technology would catch up with — and eventually surpass — DSLR technology. It has taken a good ten years, but that seems like only yesterday.
But that is looking back in the rear-view mirror. If we look forward to the trends in the camera industry, we believe that “The future is full-frame mirrorless.”
What trends? New models are increasingly full-frame models. Take the following two examples:
1) The full-frame Panasonic S5 (rumors) is slightly smaller than the MFT Panasonic G9, though about 56 g heavier.
2) The Sony A7c (rumors) is the entry-level “compact” rangefinder-style version of the A7 III. It is full-frame, not APS-C like the previous compact models are (e.g. the A6600). Interestingly, a new range of more compact and lighter lenses will apparently be introduced for this new model.
Yes, it’s still early in the game, and we are already predicting that Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and, eventually, APS-C will both become a thing of the past. Not that they would necessarily completely disappear — just like film has also never completely disappeared — but going forward, more and more mirrorless cameras would be full-frame models, until full-frame (FF) would once again become the de-facto camera standard.
Now, why do we say this?