Got MILC?


By MENG YEW CHOONG star2@thestar.com.my

THE mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) is fast gaining popularity in the marketplace. This new type of digital camera may even one day replace the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) as camera of choice among serious phorographers.

In Japan, more than half the total number of digital cameras sold there last month were MILCs. Industry observers believe that most of those purchases were by consumers upgrading from compact cameras.

Unlike the DSLR, the MILC does not have a mirror box. This means the camera can be made smaller and lighter, increasing its portability.

Manufacturers claim that there is no difference in photo quality between the two types. MILCs first came out in 2008.

Compact cameras, on the other hand, are much more portable due to their petite sizes, but their lenses are not interchangeable — an important feature for professionals and the serious photography buffs.

Many brands of MILCs were on display at the Camera & Photo Imaging Show (CP+) in Yokohama, Japan earlier this month.

With the exception of Canon and Casio, nearly all major camera makers have jumped onto the MILC bandwagon, with the most recent example being the Nikon 1 system, which comprises the V1 and J1 models. (Bytz is in the midst of reviewing the V1 and J1, so keep reading us to find out what our experts think of these new cameras.)

Most camera manufacturers have their compacts at the entry-level segment, with MILCs in the middle, and DSLRs at the pinnacle.

“For us, the mirrorless is in a class of its own. You can’t rank it in order of importance,” said Tetsuya Morimoto, Nikon’s general manager for communications.

Meanwhile, Olympus tantalised show visitors with its weather-sealed MILC, the Micro Four Thirds OMD E-M5.

In the meantime, more DSLRs and compacts are being introduced into the market.

Nikon showed off its D800 full-frame DSLR that can capture up to 36.3-megapixel images. Sony declared that it is working on a replacement for its full-frame A900 DSLR.

Fujifilm also gave visitors a preview of its X-Pro1, which marks the start of an all-new rangefinder camera system, with a brand new mount and lens system.

And there were lots of new compact cameras to be handled during the show.

Some models were equipped with GPS (global positioning system) feature, to more easily show where in the world your photos were taken. More than 65,000 visitors attended CP+, which was held smack in the middle of the Japanese winter, with temperatures hovering around 6°C. CP+ was organised by the Camera & Imaging Products Association and sponsored by the Japan Photo and Video Accessory Association.

For more information on the show, go to www.cpplus.jp/en/.

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