I understand that back in the days when cameras captured images using photographic film instead of image sensors, the SLR design was a major innovation. It let you see through the viewfinder exactly the light that would be passed on to the film. Assuming you care about accurate photography, that's kind of a big deal.
Nowadays, however, cameras that use film are essentially specialist/niche products, and the vast majority of photography is done using digital cameras. And with a digital camera, you don't need a hinged mirror as you can show the user exactly what light will be captured by just routing the sensor output to an LCD display. Having a mechanical component that needs to be able to move around in a very precise manner and can break or fail seems like a very large liability. That leads me to some questions:
- Why do manufacturers continue to build SLR mechanisms into their digital cameras, particularly at the top-end of their product lines?
- Why do photographers seem to heavily prefer DSLR cameras over digital point-and-shoot models that offer the same features but without the SLR mechanism (there are, for instance, full-frame point-and-shoot interchangeable lens cameras available, though it's not clear if they're very popular among photographers), to the point where "DSLR" is almost synonymous with "serious photographer's camera"?
- Is there any significant benefit to having an SLR mechanism in a digital camera? Particularly in terms of a benefit that's large enough to make up for the liability of adding a mechanical part into a design where a solid-state alternative is available?