Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

As the market continues to swing towards mirrorless cameras, most people see it as a sign that DSLRs are on their way out. However, one camera company seems to believe that the mirrorless hype will be short-lived, with users flocking back to DSLRs in the near-future.

In a recent interview with Imaging Resource, Ricoh's Hiroki Sugahara (General Manager of the Marketing Communication Department, Global Sales and Marketing Center, Smart Vision Business Unit) discussed how mirrorless has affected DSLR sales and what he thinks of the future:

Currently, mirrorless is a newcomer, so of course, many users are very interested in the new systems; they want to use [them]. But after one or two years, some users who changed their system from DSLR to mirrorless [will] come back to the DSLR again.

Expanding on that, Sugahara said:

Because as I said before, each system has its own benefits or appealing points. The mirrorless camera is very convenient to shoot, because users can [see the] image before shooting. But, I believe the DSLR has its own appealing point, because users can create their own image from the optical viewfinder. People can see the beautiful image through the optical viewfinder, and then think how they can create their pictures — for example, exposure level setting, or white balance, or ISO — and then imagine how they can get [the photo they want]... So, the DSLR market is currently decreasing a little bit, but one year or two years or three years later, it will [start] getting higher.

Personally, I'm a bit flummoxed by this. While there is certainly a portion of photographers who are DSLR holdouts and don't see the need to switch to mirrorless, I have a hard time believing that any substantial fraction of those who are shooting mirrorless will choose to return to DSLRs. Furthermore, I find Sugahara's reasoning less than convincing. EVFs are getting better and better, and saying that people would prefer to guess at their exposures rather than see if they're correct in real-time seems a bit illogical. It's a shame, as I think Ricoh makes some great cameras; I loved the K-1 when I reviewed it and would have welcomed seeing those innovations in a mirrorless camera, but it doesn't sound like we will. 

What are your thoughts?

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Previous comments
michaeljin's picture

I thought you were done, clown. Go play with you Pentax with the other "Pentaxians" (LOL) still living in the 80's.

Kirk Darling's picture

And yet Pentax--who were even first with the instant-return mirror, TTL metering, and multi-coated lenses--have never been able to capitalize on their innovations to be anything better than an "also-ran" in the business.

«…have never been able to capitalize on their innovations.…»
How quickly we forget.

Pentax was on the high horse all the way until the digital era. When everyone was jumping into the DSLR, Pentax waited....

...And when they did jump in, what a jump it was! They did not enter until sensors had hit the 6Mpx range, (because Pentax don't make toys), and had more features for pros than most others. (I did not even consider going digital myself until cameras went 16Mpx. My first real consideration for a digital camera was the K-5).

This late entry into the digital era had caused Pentax to lose a great deal of the market. Their next failure was when Hoya bought them, and raised prices to CanKon level. That is what had caused a mass exodus from the brand, almost killing it.

Ricoh buying them has been a revival, but they had two problems. (1) Hoya bought Pentax for their lens fabrication facilities, and kept that in the sale. (2) Pentax/Ricoh made a deal with Tamrom to fabricate their lenses, but the largest shareholder of Tamron is a competing camera manufacturer.

This means that although Ricoh can develop cameras at whatever rate they want, but lens release cycles are not entirely under their control.

Yet, their base has grown since they were purchased from Hoya.

Follow the facts. They are no longer the market (sales) leader they once were, but they are still inovators, and yes, they were once the number one worldwide. Your claim of, "never been able," and, "also ran" are laughable.

Kirk Darling's picture

Pentax/Ricoh remains an "also ran," not a medal winner.

That is like saying that Donald Quarry is an “also-ran." Muhammed Ali is an "also ran.” Shirley Bassey is an “also ran."

Pentax defined as era. They formed the modern SLR. They continue to bring innovation to the industry. They were the first SLR company to make total sales of 1,000,000. They were the first to make 10,000,000.

Low sales today, after the Hoya debacle, does not, cannot, take away their medals, anymore than Brian Lara can make Garfield Sobers any less great.

Ricoh you wild 😂

Jeff Diffner's picture

And there we have Ricoh in a nutshell.

I believe this fellow was a Kodak Exec, or may he worked for the railroad.

Ryan Davis's picture

This digital thing is just a fad. You’ll come crawling back eventually, begging for Kodachrome.

Mirrorless is great for vlogger or video, i still shooting with dslr, i like the optical finder its bright and has no motion delay, i can manual focus very detail stuff in optical finder, those 1080 60fps screen just cant compare, i like the real shutter sound when you shooting for living people respect more

Mirrorless lens mostly are larger heavy and more expensive

dslr and lens in second hand market are very cheap, i can get a full frame nikond700 or nikond610 just $500 and these last forever

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Which DSLR do you shoot with? Considering you think the OVF is easier than an EVF I'm very curious to know, Considering i shoot pretty much exclusively manual and did so with my DSLR as well with the Zeiss ZF lineup.

What kind of work do you shoot?

Iam a poor photographer, I shoot with 2 d300 and 2 d700, i shoot all kind of event, singer performance, ballet performance, group photos sometime food photography. Optical view finder has no motion delay, no blurring, no blackout with strobe, combined with large aperture lens i can see through darkness with OVF

I been shooting full manual since i got my fm2 in the 90s, as iam getting older sometime i will use af as it has better tracking result then my hands

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Considering I 'v shoot with the D2X, D3 fully manual with OVF there really isn't any benefits for that kind of shooting you do in terms of precision for MF. In any case, today's EVF will be brighter and give you more precision for mf. You might not like them, and that's fine. But there simply is no argument for an OVF from the cameras you use that they would be more precise for MF.

As for strobes and blackout, could you give me a scenario where that would be a problem? I shoot a lot with strobes, mostly food, portraits, moco, etc and high speed. I've yet to come up with a scenario where I need to have full visibility when the flash goes off. I also very much doubt most people can see thru the OVF when the flash triggers..:-)

When shooting flash with OVF, the photographer does not see the flash, (as the mirror is up when it fires). With EVF, the sensor sees the flash, and, it may occasionally, produce a momentary whiteout condition, resulting in the photographer's eyes seeing white, followed by a retina rod-recovery from darkness.

This is especially noticed when using flash in lowlight situations, (as opposed to a fill-flash situation in brighter light).

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Okay, so that debunks the strobe blackout issue completely if anything it's the opposite OVF lift the mirror and the EVF let you "see" the flash. My point is it's a stupid argument, to begin with...

It is not debunked. It is a real thing. It is biology. You never had a light come on and off in a dark room before? The rods on the retina do not adjust well to sudden brightness. When that happens, they stop responding to low-light levels momentarily, then gradually ‘re-acclimatize’ to the low-light.

With an OVF, the photographer's eyes does not see the flash, and remains acclimated. With an OVF, if the EVF does not have "blackout”, then the flash-lit scene will be seen in the EVF, (depending on is refresh rate, etc.), and brighten the scene. The rods on the retina will get saturated, and stop responding to low-light, making the EVF appear darker than the pre-flash scene, and will slowly get acclimated again.

If one is taking several flash images, such as in a fast-paced fashion shoot, this can become a serious blackout issue.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

So let me get this straight, with your reasoning anyone who shoots with strobes (I'm referring to studio strobes off camera) would be getting blackouts due to the burst of light regardless if they look thru the EVF or not. Only by peeling your eyes thru the OVF can you avoid this.

This is of course not the case, I shoot moco scenes with flash sequence sometimes up to 700 flashes with 1-2 seconds apart, this 1200-2400ws packs. Unless you look/shoot straight into the light this will not be a problem.

Shooting highspeed photography using FD to freeze action requires pitch black studio, even in this scenario, it's not a problem unless you shoot into the light.

Shooting Speedlight on camera (which I never do) shooting multiple frames, just tested in a pitch-black room firing off 10-frames looking thru the EVF, still not being blind for any period of time.

So unless you shoot straight into a powerful flash/strobe it's not a problem unless you have issues with your eyesight.

The OP said strobes which for me is off camera studio strobes, a scenario where this simply isn't true.

[This is a correction, now that I realised that Tim Cool was referring to something else entirely.]

Okay, so MILCs do not make real shutter sounds when in silent mode, using an electronic shutter. In silent mode with electronic shutter, there is no blackout during non-strobe shooting (on some cameras).

However, an electronic shutter is not strobe compatible. Therefore, when using a strobe, (of any kind, OCF or ocf, flashgun or studio strobe), the camera goes into mechanical shutter mode. This requires each shot to cause a shutter close, (blackout begins), sensor read, (to clear the sensor), shutter open & close, (actual exposure with strobe), sensor read, (image capture), shutter open, (blackout ends).

This blackout is similar to mirror blackout on SLRs, but it can be more daunting due to EVF lag, and other issues. If it is a TTL strobe, then it may get more complex. Not sure how TTL works with MILC systems.

[EDIT To clarify what I posted….]

When a mirrorless camera with a CMOS sensor is being used, the mechanical shutter has to remain open during EVF, (or live view), (so that light can reach the sensor, obviously). When the shutter release is fully depressed, the mechanical shutter has to be closed, then any data on the sensor has to be cleared (by reading), then the image has to be captured by the mechanical shutter opening and closing for the specified exposure time, then the sensor has to be read to save the image data, and then the mechanical shutter can reopen. Things are different with a CCD sensor, but the last CCD sensor I am aware of, off the top of my head, is the Pentax 645D.

If the camera also has an electronic shutter, the procedure is slightly different. On actuating the shutter, the camera starts reading the sensor from the top to clear the sensor data, (the electronic “first curtain”).. As soon as a row is cleared, it starts to capture image data. When the allotted exposure time has passed, the camera initiates a second read process to save the image data, (the electronic “second curtain”), regardless of how far the first read has progressed.

Generally speaking, it takes longer to read a sensor than the mechanical shutter speed, or flash sync speed. For this reason, most cameras with electronic shutters either cannot use a strobe in “silent shutter” mode, or switch to mechanical shutter when in flash mode. Here are excerpts for the flagship models of some of the current MILC makers, (in alphabetical order), from their own documentation.

Canon EOS R

Images of fast-moving subjects may look distorted.
Continuous shooting, AEB shooting, and flash photography are not available.

Nikon Z7/Z6

Enabling silent photography changes the frame advance rates
for continuous release modes and disables some features, including the flash, long exposure noise reduction, flicker reduction, and the beep speaker.

[Ironic that one cannot have “noise reduction” in “silent mode.” 😏😋😂😉 ]

Olympus OM-D EM-1X

Synchronization Speed ¹/250 sec*
*When using electronic shutter: ¹/50 sec. up to ISO6400, ¹/20 sec. for ISO 8000 and higher, and ¹/20 sec. for ISO bracketing.

Sony α9

A flash cannot be used when [Shutter Type] is set to [Electronic Shut.]. A flash can be used during continuous shooting with [Shutter Type] set to [Auto]. The mechanical shutter will be used.

Sony α7R III

If you shoot images under instantaneous lightning or flickering lights, such as the flash light from other cameras or fluorescent lighting, a striping effect may occur on the image.

You cannot select [Silent Shooting] when the mode dial is set to other than P/A/S/M.
When [Silent Shooting] is set to [On], the following functions are not available:
Flash shooting
Auto HDR
Picture Effect
Picture Profile
Long Exposure NR
e-Front Curtain Shut.
BULB shooting

The only one of these models which allow flash with electronic shutter, the OM-D EM-1X, has a relatively long sync time. This is due to the time required to read the sensor; a time which varies due to dual reading mode for high/low EI values.

The process would begin with a full sensor read to clear the data. As this read begins, image data is being recorded. Once the entire sensor has been read, (the electronic “first curtain” is “fully open”), the flash is triggered, flooding its light on the entire sensor. The image data is then collected with another sensor read, (the electronic “second curtain”). Due to noise reduction techniques used at higher EI settings, the flash sync speed for the e-shutter is even longer above EI= ISO 8000/40°


Paul Lindqvist's picture

You can stop making up issues now, I already told you there are no issues have you used an EVF with strobes?

What did I make up? Can your particular MILC take a strobe shot with the electronic shutter? What model specifically? (Genuinely asking).

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Answer my question, how many shots have you taken with strobes and EVF !?!

The EVF lag being an issue particular with strobes and "other issues" is what you are making up.

It's quite evident you lack experience in this field.

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̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶c̶i̶e̶n̶c̶e̶,̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶I̶ ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶s̶t̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶,̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶o̶b̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶C̶M̶O̶S̶ ̶s̶e̶n̶s̶o̶r̶,̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶m̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶r̶i̶g̶g̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶“̶c̶l̶e̶a̶n̶”̶ ̶s̶e̶n̶s̶o̶r̶,̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶s̶o̶n̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶s̶ ̶b̶a̶n̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶v̶i̶d̶e̶o̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶C̶M̶O̶S̶ ̶s̶e̶n̶s̶o̶r̶.̶

I have ignored what I know, and went to what the manufacturer´s say. See edit above.

If you know otherwise, give me a make and model, and make me eat my words.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Sorry you lack both experience and knowledge to even discuss this. So you can keep your theories. I'll go with first hand experience. Bye bye now.

…And you lack the knowledge to make the claim that I lack the knowledge or experience. The fact that I owned two models of mirrorless cameras prior to obtaining my K-3, is totally irrelevant to the facts I stated.

…But since you cannot accept the facts….

michaeljin's picture

Never had this with my A7RIII and never had it with my Z7 so I have no idea where you're getting this from. Could you name specific cameras where this phenomenon occurs?

michaeljin's picture

First of all, what's with the 4 camera bodies? Secondly, are you shooting professionally? If you are, I would highly suggest that you at least upgrade to a newer DSLR—particularly if you're shooting in low light.

Ah, hah! I just realised what you meant by no blackout with strobe. The fact that you mentioned "real shutter sound" is the give-away. That is a valid point.

There is shutter in mirrorless. Probably you like mirror slap sound.

Robert Teague's picture

Nikon Z series lenses are much lighter than their F mount counterparts. Prices don't seem to be high either, although they have only released a few lenses so far.

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