Why people still choose DSLR's over Mirrorless

All sorts of pieces coming out how mirrorless cameras aren't taking over the photographic world and as in a piece I wrote a while ago, it seems DSLR's are still popular and if anything are taking back mirrorless sales. Surprising? Well no actually, its not surprising at all when you take account of the simple fact that is staring all these companies in the face, and they seemingly choose to ignore.


Panasonic and Olympus have just released what are minor updates (ignore the hype - thats just what they are) with the EP-5 and GX7 and yet they choose to price them higher than a Nikon D7100, which is a superior camera in almost every way. So to the people who walk into the camera store looking for a new and better camera, the deal they are presented with is as follows. They buy a camera that has less megapixels, with a smaller sensor, will have a poorer resale value and is smaller and yet they pay the same or more than for a Nikon or Canon DSLR. Think of the same situation when you're buying a new car and you will see my point. £820 / $1000 / €1000 is a ridiculous price for the GX7, truly ridiculous. To start with it almost completely demolishes what m4/3 was supposedly about in the beginning. Its just unrealistic pricing and there is no justification for it. 

So what makes me such an expert? Well today my wife and I paid off our mortgage and now own a house worth £300,000 outright. We still have money in the bank and live pretty comfortably. How are the electronic giants doing? To be honest what goes on with the suits in planet boardroom mystifies me. The people who run these companies and decide on their products and more importantly their pricing seem to have completely lost touch with reality. Did they miss the world wide economic downturn and recession? Did they miss the fact that when they drastically reduce the price of their cameras they fly off the shelves? What do they think the reason is for declining sales of mirrorless cameras? Sunspots?

In the UK currently you can buy a Nikon D3200 + 18-55mm, 55-210mm and 35mm f/1.8 lenses for a little over £600. Price up an equivalent mirrorless system and then decide which is the more attractive for a customer who doesn't live on the photographic internet and just wants a good camera. They again get more MP's and they get a Nikon that looks just like the ones the professionals use. It would take a pretty good salesperson to convince them to leave with a Sony RX1 instead. Coming on to the RX1 there is also this conceit that these companies that make toasters, computer games and nose clippers can somehow charge ridiculous sums of money for something that most people would think was a cheap compact.

And yes mirrorless cameras are small and light and have apps and wi-fi. Whoopee! Isn't it pretty obvious by now that those members of the camera buying public who want to take their photography a little more seriously just don't care, and in fact would probably think that buying a camera that looks just like the one they are getting rid of but costs 10 times more was not exactly what they were looking for. 

In the article above there is this :-
Panasonic manager Darrin Pepple said “In the U.S. at least, [DSLRs are] still what they know and what they understand. We’re continuing to innovate in the way of lenses, size, form factors, trying to find the magic bullet.” Panasonic has found that DSLR-style feature sets are more attractive to Americans, and simpler mirrorless models failed to find an audience.

This made me laugh out loud. Did Panasonic really think that the country with the biggest cars, the biggest steaks and the biggest buildings would flock to get rid of their Nikons and Canons and buy a GF-6?

So most of the above is written to raise a smile, but its also written to make a serious point. I'm not shy when it comes to spending money on cameras, far from it, but £820 for a GX7 body, no way. I got my Fuji X-E1 + 18-55mm zoom for not much more than that. £2500 for an RX1 with a fixed lens and no viewfinder? I may be a camera junkie but I'm not crazy. One day this will be realised by camera and lens manufacturers who seem to forget the primary reason people choose one camera over another, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

I'm sure at some point somebody will mention I own a Leica, but as I've pointed out many times, when my tax allowances are taken into consideration after I've sold my previous Leicas I've actually made a technical profit. I had my Leica M9 for two years and that still happened. Anybody want to buy a two year old Panasonic G3 for roughly the same price I paid for it? I thought not. 

Mirrorless hopefully will have a future and it may be the case that I may again soon be DSLR challenged, if my ebay prices aren't too high, but surely enough is enough. Its time for companies like Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Nikon with their 1 system, which though I like it a lot was cuckoo land pricing when it appeared, to get real. Its now become obvious that people won't fall at their feet everytime they make an even smaller camera. In fact, it probably has the opposite effect. It may have crossed the mind of some potential camera buyer that did they really want to be seen taking pictures at sports day with a camera people might mistake for a mobile phone? And it may eventually cross the mind of the manufacturers that cameras are not only bought by techno schooled gear head teenagers who like nothing more than fiddling around with their thumbs all day and acknowledge no reality if its not on facebook. Cameras are bought by real people, with real jobs, real families and real responsibilities. And above all with real budgets to manage. And if they do allow themselves the luxury of upgrading their camera, is it not beyond the realms of possibility that they might like to buy something that actually looks like one? And more to the point gives value for money.

P.S. If you really don't think camera companies grip on reality is loosening, check this out.

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