Cameras, in general, come in two mainstream categories, DSLRs and compact cameras. The defining features of each exist at opposite ends of the spectrum. The most apparent thing DSLR cameras is their size, mainly due to the large lens attached to the body of the camera and the internals also possessing a different structure than compact cameras, which, as their name suggests are relatively miniscule and size and as such have to pack a lot of electronic and imaging hardware into a relatively constricted space. DSLRs direct the light entering their huge (and modifiable) lenses into a somewhat complex mechanism whereby a mirror directs the light through to a viewfinder. Compact cameras are known as digital cameras for the reason that the view captured in the lens does not go to the physical viewfinder at all, but instead is directly aimed at the digital sensor/electronic viewfinder. Both these systems have their own pros and cons and the trade-offs and benefits need careful weighing to decide which camera is best for you.
However, there exists a middle path now. These are a very recent development In the field of photographic equipment known as EVIL cameras. EVIL here stands for Electronic Viewfinder with Interchangeable Lens. These cameras combine the compact body of point and shoot cameras along with their ease of use with the benefits of high quality interchangeable lenses that can be employed to get the best possible photo in a variety of situations.
Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages that such a hybrid camera presents.
1) Size: These cameras are smaller than DSLRs and while not as pocket-able as a compact camera, they are still quite handy to use and are much easier to carry around.
2) Imaging: They offer better photos than even the best single body point and shoot cameras can offer while providing a level of simplicity in use that is closer to compact cameras than the potion rich DSLRs.
3) Physical Advantage: They enjoy an advantage over their smaller cousins by having the option to change between different lenses for optimal photography and over their larger kin by the fact that they are sturdier and quieter because of having less moving parts.
1) No TTL Viewfinder: The electronic viewfinders are a defining feature of these cameras and this kind of viewfinder is never as good for serious photography as compared to a through-the-lens (TTL) system.
2) No Legacy Support: EVIL cameras do not support the old format lens mounts that are used by other interchangeable lens cameras already available of the market.
3) Value: It is possible to get a cheap DSLR at the moment for a price equivalent to that of the offerings that incorporate this new hybrid design. This will make most but those bent on buying big lens cameras with mall bodies to ask themselves whether a purchase of this sort would really be the best way to invest their imaging oriented dollars.
Middle of the road and not quite anywhere or a jack of all trades, these cameras are bound to be a strong talking point among and between both casual photographers and the big camera photo geek community. Try one for yourself before you make an opinion on these. Who knows, you might even find these everything you want and nothing that you don’t.
Brian Anderson is the author of this guest post. He helps people buy digital cameras by understanding their requirements and provides tips to take a perfect picture through his articles.