What are Mirrorless Cameras?

Sony's NEX system is part of a new category of camera that boasts DSLR sensors and image quality and interchangeable lenses but, thanks to the omission of the DSLR's mirror assembly which greatly reduces the lens to sensor distance

Sony NEX-5

Along with Olympus/Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds and Samsung's Hybrid system, Sony's NEX system is part of a new category of camera that boasts DSLR sensors and image quality and interchangeable lenses but, thanks to the omission of the DSLR's mirror assembly which greatly reduces the lens to sensor distance, in much smaller compact-style bodies. The category was created to satisfy what research has shown to be gap in the market for people wanting to upgrade from compacts to something offering more creativity and better quality, but who find DSLRs too big and intimidating. They also appeal to DSLR users wanting something smaller to carry around al the time. No collective name has been agreed for this sector, though popular choices include Micro System camera, Compact System Camera and Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera.

Below: Mirrorless system cameras from Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung

Olympus EP-2 angle | News | What Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1C product shot with 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens

Samsung NX10