Types of Cameras and What We (Should) Call Them

This is a little rant of mine. I’m not happy with the term ‘mirrorless’. Why in the world would you name a type of camera for what it lacks? I understand that the term is now accepted industry wide but still... Since the beginning of photography, most cameras are named after how you view a scene through it. Such as:

Single Lens Reflex because you viewed the scene through a prism, reflex mirror and the picture taking lens.

Because you viewed the scene through a dual image range (distance) finding device that allowed you to focus, without looking through the main lens like a SLR camera.

Twin Lens Reflex because you looked at a scene through one lens and exposed the film through another lens, both being of the same focal length. This allowed viewing the scene with the aperture open on the ‘viewing lens', irrespective of the aperture setting for exposure on the ‘taking lens’.

View Camera
Because you saw the scene exactly as the film would see it (direct view camera). Also called an Optical Bench Modular Camera and Large-Format Camera.

There are anomalies, of course:

Medium Format
Named after its film size (mostly 120 film). Some medium format cameras have a reflex mirror and some don’t. TLR’s are also medium format cameras.

Technical Camera
Mainly named for a lens and film/digital back interface body, sometimes with movements. The simplest ones are just a frame — but extremely precise frames. You provide the lens and digital back. Alpa cameras, for example, are technical cameras.

Compact Camera
The term refers to its raison d’être — its size. It has a fixed lens, which on some cameras collapses into the camera body. You also don’t need a lens cap for most compact cameras.

And so on. Today, we have the ridiculous term ‘mirrorless’. It was fine when it was first coined by Panasonic’s marketing department to quickly express the difference between their cameras and the prevalent DSLR’s at the time.

Why would you name a type of camera for what it lacks?

Today, all interchangeable lens cameras without a mirror is called a ‘mirror-less’ camera by manufacturers. Notice the hyphen — this is to make sure they aren’t using the Panasonic term of ‘mirrorless’. But this is a terrible idea because there are many cameras that lack a mirror (view cameras, technical cameras, compact cameras, rangefinders, etc.).

So instead of ‘mirror-less’, here’s what I suggest:

EVF Camera
Because you view the scene through an electronic viewfinder.

The Fujifilm X-Pro and X-Pro2 can be called a ‘Hybrid EVF Camera’ because it offers both an optical rangefinder-ish finder mode and an EVF mode. This works because it is a variant of an EVF camera, much like field cameras, which is a variant of the view camera. And if it doesn't have an EVF or Hybrid VF, then it should be called a LCD camera.