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Old Jul 7, 2003, 5:31 PM   #1
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Default can a digital single lens camera be mirrorless? shutterless?

Can a digital single lens camera use an electronic viewfinder and therefore be mirrorless? The viewfinder image would come from the sensor (like a digital compact, where the shutter is open until ready to expose, then closes and re-opens--I realize this adds delay, but so does flipping up the mirror) and eliminate the need for a mirror. Having a mirror makes SLRs big and bulky and makes the lenses (which must be retro-focus) even bigger and bulkier. Mirror shake would disappear as well.

Is this a good idea? Is it already in use somewhere?

Further, do digital cameras absolutely need a shutter? Can't the sensors just continuously receives images and just take a sample for a fraction of a second when you want to expose the shot?

Not sure if I know what I'm talking about here but I'm curious. Thanks very much.
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Old Jul 7, 2003, 7:45 PM   #2
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My camera (Canon Pro90) does exactly that, as do most digital cameras. Once turned on, I can use the camera as a "digital 10 X monicle".
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Old Jul 8, 2003, 12:55 AM   #3
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That is the way that almost all of the digicams with 5x, 8x, 10x or 12x lenses work. In fact, that is the way that ALL digicams that use an EVF (electronic viewfinder) work. Only the more expensive prosumer dSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses use mirrors like their 35mm counterparts.

Olympus used to make a few fixed-lens SLR digicams, the D-500, D-600, D-620 and C-2500 to be exact, that used mirrors but they used real image TTL viewfinders, not electronic viewfinders.

The list of EVF cameras is: Canon Pro 90IS, Fuji 6900, S602Z, HP 850, Minolta Dimage 5, 7, 7i, 7Hi, Nikon Coolpix 5700, Olympus C-2100, Olympus E-100RS, Olympus C-700, C-720, C-730, C-740, C-750, Panasonic DMC-FZ1, Sony MVC-FD91, FD95, FD97, CD1000, F707, F717, Toshiba M500, M700.

Did I miss any :shock:

And yes, many modern digicams use electronic CCD shutters and some use a combination of both mechanical and electronic.

-Steve
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Old Jul 8, 2003, 3:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: can a digital single lens camera be mirrorless? shutterl

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdstone
Further, do digital cameras absolutely need a shutter? Can't the sensors just continuously receives images and just take a sample for a fraction of a second when you want to expose the shot?
Some things you can't replace by another method. Cameras are a combination of lens opening and speed the lens is open for a reason. Although your suggestion will get the picture taken, it's the equivalent of a fixed opening camera which does nothing for depth of field (having everything sharp, or having the background blurred, see http://www.photonhead.com/exposure/simcam.htm for a demonstration of how lens opening can effect the picture).

Earlier digital cameras did have a fixed opening and automatic light metering, but photographers wanted more creative control so equivalent shutter speeds, electro-mechanical shutters, ISOs, focal lengths, were added.

You may not think this stuff is important, or think you can just let the camera decide on the settings for the best picture, but just the other day I had a photo club assignment to do, and I was in a hurry to get to my next destination that I set my camera to Program instead of Aperture mode. The camera decided that F2.8 (largest opening) was the best setting for the picture, while I should have set it to F8 (the smallest)...it wasn't until I got home that I saw the "damage"...the pictures were useless due to a small depth of field (the background was all blurry...the F8 setting would have had everything sharp).
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Old Jul 8, 2003, 12:08 PM   #5
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Default I guess what I really want . . .

is a digital camera without an internal SLR mirror but that has interchangeable lenses. Thanks for the responses.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 12:39 AM   #6
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No. The "R" in SLR means Reflex as in mirror action. All interchangeable lens digital cameras are true SLRs with mirrors and prism viewfinders.

-Steve
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 12:44 AM   #7
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I posted this article written by a buddy regarding this exact question a while back.

http://slashdot.org/~ObviousGuy/journal/26559

Theoretically there is no reason you couldn't use an EVF or LCD with an interchangeable lens system digicam. However, the image displayed on the screen is nowhere near as clear and clean as that of actual photons on the ground glass. Until the day comes that LCDs can display 11 megapixels in 1 square inch, the use of mirrors and prisms is going to be necessary on high end cameras.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 9:41 AM   #8
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Default so I have to wait . . .

Great article, thanks.

I guess I have to wait for technology to advance. SLRs seem like a bad compromise to me for film or digital. Someday maybe there will be something like a digital Konica Hexar RF with a high quality EVF -- I hope.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 9:48 AM   #9
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Default Thanks Steve, but

"All interchangeable lens cameras are true SLRs" ? How about the Leica M6 and M7, the Contax G2, the Konica Hexar RF, the Nikon S3, and the Voigtlander Bessa? This is the sort of thing I am talking about for digital, but with electronic through-the-lens viewing. I suppose you meant all current DIGITAL interchangeable lens cameras.

Thanks again.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 4:24 PM   #10
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Yes, of course I meant digital - what else is there :lol:

I went back and added that to my original text to make it clearer, thanks.

EVF's are OK but nothing beats a nice bright 100% coverage prism viewfinder. I'm sure that someday soon we'll see better resolution electronic viewfinders but for now they are nowhere near the same quality as a good prism finder.

-Steve
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