EVF hybrids the DSLR replacement of the future?

In 2003 I posted and article in rec.photo.digital predicting that digital SLR was a passing phase and would be largely replaced by sometime like EVF (electronic view finder).

The posting caused quite a bun fight with some idiots totally missing my point, miss-quoting me and being very rude and obnoxious. It was so upsetting I didn't even read all the replies. I think I even left the forum.

Some of it is can still be found at these sites.


I don't have the original post but I think I predicted DSLR would peak within this decade (ie before 2010) I may have said within ten years.

Note that I said "peak" not "die" SLR may hold a niche for some time yet but I doubt they will continue to sell in large numbers indefinitely.

BTW, we learned to use 4*5 press cameras and view cameras in college (1976) they probably still have a niche somewhere but you sure don't see them around any more.

I think most people who read the original post got my point but those who come in later got miss-quoted garbage from a handful of dickheads. Thanks go to those people understood me and defended my views.

My web page on the subject (august 2003) can be found here http://www.eddiem.com/camera/rant/slrrant.htm

I don't think I specified whether the peak was in dollars, units sold or percentage of market share. I think the latter is the obvious choice but it isn't all that important.

This is the last year of the noughties so how is it going?

To tell the truth I don't follow camera sales trends so I don't really know what the official numbers are. I do know that my 300D doesn't get used any more expect on rare occasions to shoot gliders. I've bought two Dcams since that and they aren't SLR. I know more people with EVF cameras that SLRs but they aren't quite what I was talking about.

Last year canon released the first EVP camera that I'd want to own - the PowerShot SX10 IS. If I hadn't bought a A650-IS last year I'd grab one.

The SX-10 looks like a fun toy but it isn't the camera I was talking about in 2003.
My dream camera from 2003 has large image sensor and interchangeable lenses (with real focus and zoom rings).
With a zoom of 20:1 the SX-10 doesn't need extra lenses. This is largely because it has a small sensor. A similar lens for a full frame 35mm sensor would be too large and heavy.

The other reason you won't see a (affordable) 20:1 zoom on a large sensor (for now) is that the higher sensor quality will show up the flaws in the lens. Video camera can have much higher zoom ratios because the sensors are quite low in resolution compared to most DCams on the market.

Small sensors can take wonderful images but only at low ASA/ISO settings - pros and serious amateurs often want something better.

I was just about ready to concede that "my" camera would never be made because the convenience of a small camera with a non-removable lens has more appeal than a larger 35mm SLR like camera.

There was also some progress made with SLR makers adding video capture and LCD viewfinders.
In 2003 I wrote "A dual mode camera could be built were the mirror can be locked up and then uses the primary sensor for everything - choose the mode to suit the situation."

This seems to have happened and is probably the best for those of us who like SLR and don't mind the negatives of SLR technology. I doubt we will see EVF that is as good as SLR viewing optics for quite some time but we make compromises.

Today I googled "EVF interchangabe lens" and found this along with other articles on the topic.

A quote from the web - “We estimate that the hybrid digital camera market will be over 20% of the global digital still camera market by 2012,” said Sang-jin Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company.

The web is now full of talk of IL-EVF (interchangeable lens EVF) aka hybrids.
I looks like several hybrids will hit the shops this year.

The camera makers have been a little slow to take up the challenge but I think a couple of short-sighted fools on rec.photo.digital own me an apology.

It is 2009 - What now?

I've seen wonderful progress in the still camera technology in the time since I bought my first Dcam (a power-shot G2).
DV has progressed as well but I only have one of those and can't comment too much on that.

Many so called still cameras are also able to do impressive video. Mine lack to audio quality or the ability to zoom when shooting (unless you hack them). The sensors resolution is so good people are wondering if it is worth going any further. We also see optical image stabilizers in many cameras and I find it works wonderfully well in mine - my tripods don't get used anymore.

What next?

With more people feeling financial uncertainty we may see a demand for lower prices instead of improved features. This is likely in the computer industry as well.

Open source cameras?

Improvements in firmware are cheap and the canon hacker kit should be an embarrassment to canon because it adds features which should have been standard. I've always found almost bundled software and most firmware in consumer products sucks badly.

Given the opportunity 3'rd party programmers will write better software than the manufactures. They should put their resources into making and selling the best possible hardware and open the specs to amateur and professional 3'rd party programmers or software firms. I'm not saying this will happen but it could. We already have open sourced mobile phones for example.

Better EVF.

We might see less spent on improving sensors more money put into improving electronic viewfinders. Organic LED (OLED) looks like a good candidate at present but we may see some other technology come forward.
We have a long way to go before we can match a SLR ground glass image. EVF can never have zero time lag like SLR or optical finders but once we have 100hz response I think people won't complain any more.

Low noise sensors.

I don't really think we'll see much happen here but you never know.
There is no substitute for sensor area. There are only so many photons hitting the sensor and this is a physical limit to how noiseless the signal is.

Sensors are already quite efficient, most photons which reach the sensor are captured. Even if we find a way avoid loosing photon due to the colour filtering we need to do and we make the sensor %100 efficient you aren't going to get more than (say) a four times ( 2 f-stops) improvement in signal.
This is well worth having but we will never see high res and low noise action photography by starlight.

On top of this we also have thermal noise and we may find new ways to reduce that.
We already know we can do this by cooling the sensor and this is already done in astronomy and other low noise imaging.
Traditional cooling methods are too bulky and power hungry for our needs but there are claims that people have made thin thermo-electric devices which may work here - these claims could be fraudulent but time will tell.
Cooled sensors improve long exposure images but it is unlikely to interest the majority of people.

A few days after I wrote the above slashdat/newscience wrote this..
"For years, consumers have been sold digital cameras largely on the basis of one number - the megapixels crammed onto its image sensor. But recently an industry bigwig admitted that squeezing in ever more resolution has become meaningless. Akira Watanabe, head of Olympus' SLR planning department, said that 12 megapixels is plenty for most photography purposes and that his company will henceforth be focusing on improving color accuracy and low-light performance."

RGB forever?

Maybe not forever but RGB (RGBG) bayer matrix seems to be here to stay for a while. Companies have dabbled with fovion sensors, hexagonal packing, complementry coloured filters, mixes of primary and secondaries and who knows what else. It doesn't look like RGB is going to die any time soon.

Video/still convergence?

Still cameras can take video and video cameras can take stills but we still have to seperate classes of cameras. With the resolution of mid to high end stills so much higher than video a combined camera is a compromise. A lens for still won't have the zoom range of a video camera and a video camera lens won't have the quality for still work. Video controls (zoom) must be quiet so they are heard on the audio track.

I don't see any reason for the different shapes for the two type of camera. I think it is just a legacy from the days of needing to house real (reel) film in there.

I think a camera like the sx-10 would meet most of my still and video needs as long as it could zoom and refocus on the fly without too much noise. I don't want to carry two or more cameras around. I'm not sure how this will pan out.


Universal chargers for phones have been a long time coming but look like they are on their way. It is time we have universal chargers not only for cameras but other small rechargeable devices as well. It is absolutely ridiculous that almost every gadget you buy comes with yet another plug-pack. We may still want special chargers for fast charging or other special needs but in general most small devices could use a common standard. Cameras with USB connections should also be able to charge via the USB connector - perhaps slowly but slow in better than nothing.

We may see lithium phosphate batteries come into use. They are a little heavier the LiPo but have a long service life and are less dangerous.

There have been recently reported breakthroughs in fast charge Lithium Phosphate batteries.

My a650-is uses AA batteries. I use NiMH which are heavier than the equivalent LiPo but I find the convenience of being able to carry spare batteries when I'm away from power sources a big plus.

I think it might be time a new battery standard came out for 3V batteries (rechargeable Lithium). Putting 3V lithium in (say) an AA size case would be a disaster. Maybe they could make a 3V double-AA size (like two AAs side by side) - this would give the option of also using standard 1.5V AAs if need be.
Don't confuse this with existing AA lithiums - they are 1.5V and not rechargeable - they are a waste of money in my opinion.