Olympus E-PL2 with 20 mm lens in Ireland
The word “apocalypse” has been used for “disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception.” The future is not always clear and it is often hard to see it through a lens, especially when it is raining so hard, but here is what I see coming … the apocalypse or reduction in sales of large DSLR cameras with mirrors and the rise of mirrorless, smaller cameras.
Lots of new cameras have been, or are being announced, and most of them are mirrorless and smaller. We can look forward to the new Canon PowerShot G1 X, the Nikon J1 & V1, and the Fujifilm X10, X100, & X-Pro1, the Sony NEX-7, the Panasonic DMC-GX1, and the rumored Olympus OM-D as well as others. (You can click here to read about them as they are announced.)
They have a range of sensor sizes, and thus lenses, and it appears that they are all trying to establish a niche with a camera and lens system that locks the buyer into their product. While all the new cameras look great they are all still compromises, and while the image quality of the APS or larger size sensors have better high ISO performance, they still have large lenses which make a large, heavier kit for carrying. And thus, while the end of the larger DSLRs with mirrors is most likely coming to an end, if cameras still stick to the APS size sensor, they will have large ungainly lenses on smaller bodies … and that doesn’t interest me, nor do I see that to be a good solution for the hobbyist. If you are a pro and are relying upon selling pictures for a living, go with the largest size sensor that you can manage.
For all the rest of us, I still see the micro 4/3 cameras to be the optimum compromise with very good image quality and small, high quality lenses; i.e. the optimum carry-with-you size camera for travel, street, and general all around use. Most of the manufacturer’s excursions above and below that size are being driven by marketing and the desire to establish a unique niche. From research & technology, ergonomic, and cost viewpoints, I see my future to be with micro 4/3 cameras with better image quality, the best affordable lenses, and the best size for handling and carrying.
If you wish to follow this transformation in cameras and make your own decision, I suggest you read (click on) the following bloggers, all photographers of renown. They are/were larger camera owners, mostly for professional use, and have switched to smaller cameras for all other uses.