I really don’t like how companies market CSCs (compact system cameras) as a middle ground camera technology. It’s not. The idea seems to be that they are intrinsically better than “point and shoot” cameras, but intrinsically inferior to DSLRs. It’s not.
I’m going to call “point and shoot” cameras “compact cameras” because I think it’s a better description and less derogatory to a class of cameras that has some real contenders like the LX5 from Panasonic (soon to be the LX7) and the Powershot S100 from Canon.
The primary difference between compact cameras and CSC cameras is the “s” in the acronym. It’s a camera system, not a standalone product, and that is their biggest advantage over compact cameras.
But intrinsically inferior to DSLRs? No. The technology is just different. Really, at the core, it’s exactly the same. If you take Canon’s new EOS-M system, it uses almost exactly the same technologies as the 650D (Rebel T4i). The only significant difference is that the mirror box is removed to reduce the flange back distance.
So it’s smaller. Does that make it worse? Definitely not. There are times when a smaller camera is exceedingly advantageous. GoPro anyone?
Mirrorless technology is just a technological shortcut to make the same camera smaller. It has some other implications of course, but that’s the core of it. The biggest difference is the removal of the optical viewfinder system. Of course some shooters absolutely must have their optical viewfinders, but for those that can do without, the same camera is available in a smaller, more convenient size.
There’s an exciting potential there. Mirrorless full frame anyone? Mirrorless medium format? Yes please.
That definitely would not be mid-level.