Mirror-less cameras are great. Just about every mirror less system out there matches, or in some cases surpasses, the image quality possible with more-traditional DSLR systems with APS-C sensors, while forwarding a fraction of the weight and bulk. In Japan and many other geographic locales, mirror less system cameras are catching on rather well, but the American market has been lethargic to its purchasing patterns despite the clear advantages.
One reason for this phenomena might be that the bulk of the American photographic market sees no particular advantage to a smaller camera. Or, perhaps more accurately put, the bulk of the American camera buyers experience no inconvenience from a larger camera. America is a big country, so big cameras are part and parcel. In Japan, space is a much bigger issue, so a smaller camera for the same job is a huge boon.
Samsung poignantly demonstrated another key factor with their “I Am Smart” video: the American market, or at least the majority, immediately assumes that there is a direct correlation between camera size and image quality, specifically that the larger the camera, the greater the image quality. For those who haven’t seen the particular video, Samsung took two identical rangefinder-styled nx cameras and placed one into a dummy body which looked like a small DSLR. They then asked passers by which one produced better images. Most people said the larger camera, despite the results being identical of course. The demonstration concluded with many shocked onlookers as the Samsung representatives opened the dummy camera to reveal the other’s doppelgänger. The point here is that American camera buyers largely don’t take the time to research and understand the technology, opting for the easy “bigger is better” approach, which leaves them with a big camera that most will never fully implement or understand.
Segway to point three: the market often doesn’t understand mirror less cameras and the marketeers at the big companies often don’t understand how to market their products despite their clear advantages. Big stores like Best Buy or Adorama usually don’t care to educate their customers, which doesn’t help the situation. I overheard a Best Buy sales associate a while back who was helping a customer with what sounded like a first serious camera purchase. He went straight for the DSLRs without even mentioning the lovely Sony NEX display just a few feet away. I would guess that DSLRs offer higher profit margins, though I don’t have solid information on that.
Over time, I think people will gradually catch on. It will definitely take some time though. What do you think? Will mirror less systems eventually become the American mainstream for “serious” cameras?