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Glossary Terms

See the category Japanese digital system cameras for examples of "EVIL" models.

EVIL is the somewhat joking acronym formed from "Electronic Viewfinder (or Electronic Viewing); Interchangeable Lens." This term arose after Panasonic's 2008 introduction of the Lumix G1, which started a new camera category: Those offering a system of interchangeable lenses, but whose viewing method was exclusively electronic, streamed in real time from the camera's image sensor. This is in distinction to cameras using some form of optical viewfinder, such as digital SLRs or rangefinder cameras. As the G1 was joined by models from Olympus in the "Digital Pen" series, it was unclear exactly what the industry would call this new class, and in this vacuum the term EVIL gained a brief prominence[1].

It seems that the first use of "EVIL" in this sense may have been a series of forum posts by Charlie Davis[2], discussing a prototype camera design he had developed. The term EVIL was always polarizing within the photographic community. Headline writers loved it; but industry representatives and the more sober review sites shunned it entirely. The website Imaging Resource tried SLD (for "Single-Lens Direct view")[3]; and some preferred "compact system camera" (even though that could apply just as accurately to a 1963 Olympus Pen F). Despite the controversy, some argued[4] that EVIL was still the most concisely accurate term.

Eventually, the joke of "EVIL" lost its appeal, and by 2011 MILC (for "Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera") seemed to be the term gaining the most recognition[5]; however CSC was more often camera manufacturers' first choice in naming this new market segment.


  1. "Poll: Are these EVIL cameras?" poll posted NOVEMBER 2, 2009 on gadget-blog Crave from CNET; click the link "View Results."
  2. DPReview.com News Discussion forum, "The EVIL Camera Design Project update...", thread begun October 30, 2007 at DPReview
  3. For example, in a Sony Alpha SLT-A33 review, dated 10/29/2010 at Imaging Resource.
  4. "An Nameless EVIL" at Petavoxel
  5. Discussion here and here of an online poll posted 15 April 2011 on DPReview.com.