You’d be forgiven for thinking that DSLR cameras were slowly but surely being replaced by mirrorless cameras. That is, if you like to pay particular attention to stats dished out by compact system camera manufacturers anyway.

While we take such evidence with a pinch of salt, there’s no denying that there are more and more mirrorless models taking up market space, and perhaps, fewer and fewer DSLRs – especially in certain sectors.

To that end, we wondered how companies like Nikon believe that the bulkier form factor of a DSLR remains relevant in a world where small is king. So we asked them.

Jordi Brinkman, Nikon’s European Product Group Manager, speaking to us at Photokina said the key could be found in optical viewfinders, which DSLRs have but mirrorless cameras do not. Some compact system cameras don’t have viewfinders at all – while many have electronic finders.

“Electronic viewfinders are improving all the time, but still looking through an optical viewfinder gives much more clarity and a much clearer view.

“You don’t get tired using one like you do looking at an electronic screen. In the pro segment, where photographers are using the camera all day, we don’t really see people using an EVF – when you look at an EVF all day you get a headache. That’s the major advantage of an optical viewfinder.”

There are of course still many pros out there who can’t imagine ever using an electronic viewfinder, but with advances in technology over recent years doing wonders to improve quality, we can’t help but wonder if there will come a time when an optical viewfinder seems like a quaint throwback to the past.

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