Mirrorless is a new name in the interchangeable lens camera game

Mirrorless is a new name in the interchangeable lens camera game

Mirrorless is the new name of the camera category that has evolved over the years with many different names that mean essentially the same thing. Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras are a subset of interchangeable lens cameras that do not use mirror technology.

The Consumer Electronics Association’s Technology Glossary now lists the following:

Mirrorless (short for Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras ) is a subset of ILC (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) that does not include a mirror mechanism.

The CEA also defines the other two varieties in a familiar way.

DSLR (short for Digital Single-Lens Reflex Cameras) is a subset of ILC cameras that includes a mirror mechanism.

ILC (short for Interchangeable lens Cameras) includes both DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. By definition, they have Interchangeable Lenses.

That is a thankfully simple way of expressing the concept that has evolved over the last 10 years or so with a variety of names and accompanying acronyms like Compact System Cameras (CSC), Mirrorless System Cameras (MSC), Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM), Digital Interchangeable Lens System Cameras (DILSC), Electronic Viewfinder with Interchangeable Lens (EVIL) and even some combinations of the above such as simply Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILC).

Journalists and retailers generally took the lead of the manufacturers as a guideline for what to call individual models or brands, or if writing generically, adopted their own favorite reference. It was massively confusing to everyone and now it is over. And not a moment too soon.

A press release from Sony quoted positive trends surrounding the mirrorless market from both the NPD Group and InfoTrends.

According to The NPD Group, overall mirrorless camera revenue shot up 16.5 percent in the past 12 months, while DSLR sales declined some 15 percent over the same time frame.

Interchangeable Lens Camera Growth 2013 - 2015 (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics)
Interchangeable Lens Camera Growth 2013 – 2015 (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics)

The release quoted Ben Arnold, NPD’s executive director as saying, “Growth in the mirrorless segment shows this new technology and form factor are resonating with consumers. Going forward, mirrorless will continue to command a greater share of the interchangeable lens camera category.”

In addition, InfoTrends’ customer surveys indicate that mirrorless cameras attract a younger and more photo oriented customer: More than 61 percent of first-time ILC buyers are under 35, up from 54 percent two years ago, the group found.

First-time ILC Buyers (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics)
First-time ILC Buyers (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics)

“First time buyers in today’s ILC market will play an integral part in future growth of the segment, especially considering the increasingly younger customers that are buying into new systems,” said Ed Lee, InfoTrends’ group director of consumer and professional imaging.

Mirrorless. Say that three times fast. Because it’s easy.

➤ ‘Mirrorless’ Now the Official Name of the Camera Market Dominated by Sony

Read next: Dropbox for Business introduces tiered admin controls

Read next: 3 common UX mistakes killing good design