Nikon Z7 teardown

LensRental, after doing it for the EOS R, tore down a Nikon Z7 to show what’s inside:

This is not marketing department weather resistance. This is engineering department weather resistance. Anything that can be sealed has been sealed. I’m impressed, and I will say for future cut-and-paste blurbs: this is as robustly weather sealed a camera as we’ve ever disassembled.

Remember this is a ~USD$3,500 camera body, which the build quality impressed.

What’s inside the EOS R

Lensrentals has a teardown of the Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera. Nicely engineered camera, albeit nothing out of the ordinary.

It was rather a boring disassembly, really, about what we should expect for Canon doing a Canon 6D Mark II quality mirrorless camera. It’s neatly laid out and nicely engineered inside. One thing that struck me is that it’s not very crowded inside there, or as we like to say ‘they left a lot of air inside’.

Leica M-10D

Leica just announced the M10-D a M-mount rangefinder digital camera, that doesn’t have a screen or other controls at the back. Sounds familiar? It seems the timing is in sync with the Pixii I talked about yesterday. Similarly, to control anything but aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation, you have to use the companion smartphone app.

The Leica M10-D is a stripped down version of the M10-P. Is it cheaper? No. Both have an advertised street price of USD$8,000.

Pixii

It is not everyday that there is a new rangefinder camera not made by Leica.

The French startup Pixii announced their camera.

The Pixii is a rangefinder digital camera (yes, an actual rangefinder) with an M mount for the lenses. Of course M39 screw mount lenses can be used with an adapter. There is not much known about the specs, neither the sensor size, nor the price. One of its key features is that it doesn’t have a screen, but rather just have connectivity to a smartphone.

From PetaPixel:

No word yet on pricing or availability. PIXII says those details will be announced in the coming weeks.

To be continued…

Yashica is not back

As I guessed a year ago, Yashica isn’t back. Petapixel has reports that Yashica’s ‘Unexpected’ Y35 Camera is Worse Than Anyone Expected

While the concept may be novel and fun for people yearning for the look and feel of film cameras while having the convenience of digital, execution appears to have been lacking.

I personally didn’t believe the idea was any good. It seems that it is not even good in its making.

Instax hacks

PetaPixel has two articles about hacks on top of the Fujifilm Instax instant camera.

An Instax Camera with the Leica M lens: a prototype using the SQ10 as a base, where the M lens mount replaces the lens, to produce square images. The hybrid model of small sensor and Instax printer make this work, as the coverage of an M lens is insufficient for even Instax Mini. Still the image quality is seriously limited by the quality of the sensor and the “printer”.

Combining a Hasselblad 500 and an Instax Mini 9: the Instax mini act as a film back for the Hasselblad.

We were really happy with our first tests. The full frame of the film is exposed and the images are sharper than we’ve ever seen on this type of film. There are still a few ongoing issues with light leaks and with focusing because of the slight difference in focal plane length.

Interesting to see the creativity in that area.

The future is mirrorless

There, I said it. The future of interchangeable lens cameras is mirrorless.

Olympus E-P1 camera

Let’s see why.

The SLR design date back from the film days. A design that allow precise framing using through the lens viewfinder, but that has a somewhat complex mechanical design, increasing cost and size. Today, the film being replaced by an electronic sensor, an instant image can be obtained through the lens. An electronic viewfinder will also be through the lens, with all the advantage of the SLR design, and more. Without the need for that complex and bulky mirror box, the camera can be designed to be more compact.

There are a few reasons why DLSR exists and are still somewhat the de-facto design: trade offs.

The first trade off is that you have to change the lens mount to benefit from a more compact design. This made moving from the older film camera to the digital one is not as easy unless you threw away your investments in glass. This was a perfectly valid point in the last decade, and since the move has happened, the problem persists, even for those that started with a DSLR.

The second trade off is the performance of the autofocus system. DSLR use a phase detection system with sensor located in the mirror box. Something that appear to be problematic on a mirrorless camera, and phase detection AF is more performant than the contrast detection system commonly used by mirrorless cameras. Manufacturers have worked out technology to improve the situation a lot. A small category of users that needs it really needs it still, but we are getting there.

But it is time to make the jump.

The market

Currently only 4 vendors still offer DSLR. Canon, Nikon, Ricoh-Pentax and Leica. Sony hasn’t released a DSLR in a while and given their α lineup (mirrorless), I don’t think they will, Olympus has made the switch to M4/3 a while ago already, Panasonic has been mirrorless only as well also with the M4/3 system, Leica is mostly betting on mirrorless and Fujifilm has been kicking it with the X- series, improving at each generation and the GFX medium format.

In August Canon announced the EOS R, their full frame mirrorless system, while they have a EOS M series that feature an APS-C sensor. They just announced new lenses for that system, so it might stay for a little while. And it is much more affordable as well.

Weeks prior to that, Nikon had just announced the Nikon Z, their full frame mirrorless system, after discontinuing the Nikon 1 which wasn’t really a sensible proposal with its miniature sensor.

As for Ricoh-Pentax life is tough. The Pentax K 01 wasn’t really a success, nor was the Pentax Q that disappeared as quickly as it appeared. And now that it is Photokina, it doesn’t seem that Ricoh had anything to announce in that product line.

If anything, the growth on the market for Sony as proven that mirrorless full frame can be a viable option. Sony is clearly the market leader for full frame and Canon, Nikon and Panasonic wants to try to catch up.

Is full frame the future? I don’t think it will be the only but it will be dominant. Panasonic just announced a full frame mirrorless, sharing the lens mount with the Leica SL, while still continuing with the M4/3, and Sigma who barely has presence in the camera body market has announced they were developing a body for the L-mount. I’m confident that Fujifilm can continue with the X-series without moving away from APS-C, with a more compact system that nails the image quality including in low light, at a price lower than the current full frame lineup. Sony will probably keep some of their APS-C mirrorless until they can bring down the price of the α series down enough.

The medium format has a future too for demanding users, but the price is steep. For example, the Fujifilm GFX 50, a “medium” format sensor mirrorless starts at about US$5,000.

The future

I predict that within 5 years, neither Canon nor Nikon will be pushing DSLR, except maybe in a few niche segments like top of the line sports. The Leica S might survive as Leica just announced the S3 just 10 years after the previous iteration but this camera is already in a very niche segment given it’s price. And some of the manufacturers won’t be left unscathed.