Last Saturday, I was invited by Samsung to conduct a workshop at Courts Megastore (Tampines).Over the next few weeks, I will publish excerpts of the workshop materials in this blog.

Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera System: Do We Really Need Another New Format?

Photography, as we know decades ago, requires expensive and specialised optical devices called the camera, that only the trained can operate and afford. Single Reflex Lens (SLR) camera systems are the most portable imaging system that offers the best quality and versatility. Till today, digital SLR is the choice for professional imaging.

Featues of the DSLR:

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Fast shooting performance
  • Large image sensor
  • Professional image quality
  • Clean high-ISO images

Decades ago, compact film cameras began to popularise photography, thanks to its lightweight and ease-of-use. Naturally, the compact format evolves into the digital form and today, almost everyone carries an imaging device. While the compact camera can never replace the DSLR on the image quality, there are other features that consumers are willing to trade-off for.

Features of the Point-and-Shoot Compact Camera:

  • Compact
  • Easy to Operate
  • Live View Display
  • Video Recording

I’ve included the last 2 points here because while many DSLRs have these functions, it is still not considered a “de-facto” feature.

Now, where does this new hybrid camera come into place?

The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera has the best of both worlds!

Thanks to the mirrorless design, the hybrid camera can be smaller yet contains the same image sensor as a DSLR.

Easy to Operate
The hybrid camera comes with user interface that is as easy to use as a compact camera. It also has shooting modes to help the user capture the images automatically, and plenty of hardware buttons to allow advanced users to control the settings quickly.

Live View Display
Just like compact camera, the hybrid camera’s live view display shows what you are about to capture. The NX10 also comes with the electronic view finder (EVF) to mimic the DSLR. On-screen display shows important shooting information. The screen sharpness is important for the user to do manual focus. Good thing NX10 uses 3″ AMOLED screen.

Interchangeable Lens
Nothing more to say about the ability to interchange lens. This has got to be the most important feature to the consumers. Previously, compact cam users do not worry about the lens attributes. Maybe they would be concerned about the no. of times of zoom factor. Now with hybrid cameras, users need to understand the 2 important attributes: focal length and aperture. I will explain these 2 attributes in future.

Fast Shooting Performance
Indeed, one major drawback of a compact camera is laggy shooting performance, and it’s not just the shutter lag. With the hybrid camera, the start-up speed is very fast, the focus speed is zippy, and the shot-to-shot is also speedy. Now, in no way will hybrid camera be as fast as DSLR, but I dare say no compact camera comes close.

Image Sensor
Again, no compact camera’s image sensor comes close to a hybrid camera. With a large image sensor means hybrid cameras are capable of producing professional quality images. The high ISO images are also cleaner than any compact cameras in the market.

Video Recording
Video recording on a hybrid camera presents more filming controls than most compact cameras, and matching only the top-end DSLRs with video capability. On a hybrid camera, you can certainly zoom around with a zoom lens, perform manual focusing. Some models like NX10 also allows manual exposure override and aperture setting.

Final Word
Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera is a long-awaited next generation imaging solution, offering the compactness and easy of use of a compact camera as well as the image versatility and quality of a digital SLR. I’d say that any consumer who is intending to getting a low-end DSLR should seriously consider the hybrid camera, because it is smaller and its operation is closer to a compact camera. Price is very competitive, and you will be spoilt for choice below $1200.


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