Full-frame 35mm cameras. Medium-format cameras. Micro four-thirds cameras. These are formats. There are only two types of digital cameras themselves — Single Lens Reflex and Mirrorless.
The evolution of cameras has evolved over the past 100 years, and we’re about to enter a new generation, with Nikon and Canon both getting ready to reveal full-frame mirrorless camera systems.
While the mirrorless system has been around for 14 years, it has only recently started taking off. The first mirrorless camera was made by a company which is more known for printers (Epson). Since then, though, players like Panasonic, Olympus, Fuji, and Sony have marketed its mirrorless cameras to photographers.
While Panasonic and Olympus have embraced the micro four-thirds system, Sony has been the only mirrorless player to offer a full-frame system. And earlier this week, Sony announced in a press release that it had overtaken Canon for the top position in the U.S. for full-frame camera manufacturers.
While Canon has been quiet about its plans, Nikon has been much more vocal. Earlier this week, NikonRumors posted a piece with alleged photos of Nikon’s new Z6 and Z7 full-frame cameras. Rumor has it that the cameras will be announced on Aug. 23, 2018.
The fact that Nikon has been so vocal about its mirrorless plans bodes well for the company. Being a former Nikon user, I’m optimistic about what Nikon will come out with, and with the alleged photos that were leaked, I must say I’m excited.
NikonRumors also states that Nikon will come out with a 58mm f/0.95 lens, in addition to a 24-70mm f/4, 50mm f/1.8, and a wide angle lens.
What’s this mean for current mirrorless systems?
First and foremost, having Nikon (and eventually Canon) enter the mirrorless market shows that the top two DSLR brands are embracing new technology. Having them do this means the company knows the importance of the growing mirrorless market, and are ready to face it head-on.
But what about Sony, Panasonic, and Olympus, who already have come out with several iterations of mirrorless cameras for the past several years?
The number one thing that this means is that there’s more competition in the mirrorless market. This ultimately should mean cameras coming out sooner, and with more and more features baked in.
Secondly, it means that mirrorless is here to stay. Having Nikon go full-force into the mirrorless world, even though it means creating a new mount and new lenses, means that mirrorless will continue to evolve.
What about micro four-thirds?
To me, this discussion is much more interesting, especially since I am an Olympus user. I’m impressed with what I’m able to capture with my Olympus camera, and certainly don’t have any plans to switch over to Nikon’s new mirrorless offerings.
It means that micro four-thirds camera producers must continue to increase production, offering features that aren’t available on its full-frame counterparts.
Panasonic and Olympus have to be careful. While the micro four-thirds system is great, there’s something to be said for a full-frame sensor, especially for professionals. While neither company should abandon micro four-thirds, something has to be said for the possibility of developing a full-frame camera to compete with Sony, Nikon and Canon.