Compact System cameras

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CSC stands for Compact System Camera and refers to a relatively new type of compact interchangeable lens camera. Sometimes called “Mirrorless” cameras, CSCs are designed without a mirror and optical viewfinder making them far more compact and lighter than their DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cousins but with the same advantages of lens interchangeability and high picture quality.

CSC Manufacturers & Sensor Sizes[edit]

Nearly every camera manufacturer makes CSCs, the first of which appeared in 2008 from Olympus and Panasonic. They share a lens mount called Micro 4/3rds which uses a smaller sensor than mainstream DSLR’s. In January 2010 Samsung introduced the NX10, the world’s first CSC to use an APS-C sized sensor, the same size as mainstream DSLR cameras. Sony, Fujifilm and Canon now also produce APS-C sensor-based CSC’s. Leica and Sony also make 35mm “full frame” mirrorless cameras and are the only camera companies yet to do so. Nikon’s “1” system and Samsung’s “NX mini” system utilize a 1-inch type sensor; the latter being not much larger than a compact point and shoot camera. The Pentax Q-S1 uses the smallest sensor of them all; a 1/1.7” chip but the camera is still larger than the Samsung NX mini.

CSC Camera Styles[edit]

There are two main styles of CSC’s. The first look like miniaturized DSLR’s and include eye level electronic viewfinders (EVF).

The Samsung NX30 is designed to look like a mini DSLR.

The other style looks much like rangefinder film cameras, some of which also include eye level electronic viewfinders.

The retro styled Fujifilm X-E2

As the CSC category matures so do the camera offerings. There are base models, mid range models and now even CSC’s professional photographers are using.

Samsung’s NX1, announced at Photokina 2014 in Germany has a spec sheet that rivals much larger and far more expensive professional DSLR’s.

Sony’s full frame A7s CSC has given the far larger Canon EOS 5D Mark III some strong competition among video enthusiasts.