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Mirrorless Digital Cameras

2011 is shaping up to be the year of the EVIL mirrorless cameras. It started two years ago with the Panasonic G1 using Micro Four Thirds system jointly developed with Olympus. Since then, progress had been slow until 2010. One reason was that the cameras and lenses are quite expensive compared to conventional digital cameras. Now competitors are available from other companies such as Sony with their NEX 3 and NEX 5, and Samsung with their NX10 and NX100. In the meantime, Pansonic have upped the game with the GF2, G2 and GH2, and Olympus have just introduced the ELP-2 as an upgrade to its popular ELP-1. Pentax has just recent introduced the Pentax Q system and Nikon has followed suit with the Nikon 1. The share of mirrorless cameras have gone up substantially as a result and industry watchers are waiting to see how Canon will respond. This is definitely going to be a very interesting year.

Mirrorless cameras can be divided into two design classes.

1. Have a traditional SLR appearance with a built in electronic viewfinder in the pentaprism. Examples of this include the Panasonic G1, G2, G10, GH1, GH2, and the Samsung NX 10. On the whole they offer more features and performance but they are just smaller in size than the smallest tradditional SLRs

2. Have a compact camera appearance that takes inspiration from traditional rangefinder cameras like the Leica M series. They do not have a built in electronic viewfinder although one can usually be purchased at an additional price. They are now much smaller and portable than traditional SLRs. Examples include the Olmpus PEN series, Panasonic GF1 and GF2, Samsung NEX 100, and Sony NEX 3 and NEX 5.

On the whole, it is the second smaller group that is much more popular than the first. This is the group of cameras we recommend.

Digital Cameras Guide 2018