Are DSLR's soon to be a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mikeos, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. mikeos macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2011
    What are everyone's thoughts on the future of DSLR's?
    With the growing popularity of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and the quality and compact convenience they offer, do you thing that soon DSLR's will be a thing of the past.

    I know these cameras are far from taking over just yet, as most do not offer full frame options, as many lens's and electronic viewfinders still aren't up to scratch compared to optical viewfinders.

    However, I'd much rather use something like a fuji xpro/x100 or a Leica M9 (if I could afford one) rather than lugging a huge dslr around with me.

    When these cameras soon all become full frame, with hybrid viewfinders and a wide selection of lens, what would be the point of a dslr?
  2. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    It all depends on the quality you need, and in particular the resolution. Big sensors will always outperform little ones. There is a place for DSLRs just as there is a place for medium format and even large format (still is film) cameras. But are people satisfied with less quality these days? I think I read somewhere that the iPhone is the #1 camera. It's a great cellphone camera but realistically it isn't up to any DSLR, micro 4/3rd's camera, or even high end Point and Shoots.

    I thought I was seeing the day when DSLRs would be marginalized as usage of photos moved from prints to screens, however with the push toward higher screen resolutions, this might not be the case.
  3. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    The M43 stuff is getting better.

    However I don't see an end to DSLR anytime soon. Most people serious about Photography eventually want a Full Frame or large sensor camera.

    I see M43 stuff eradicating baby DSLR and basically providing a two tier structure.

    M43 cams for small portable size with good picture quality
    DLSR - larger sensor less portable.

    I see the market for low cost DSLR evaporating in the next few years but the mid and high level stuff (above $1k) will be owned by DSLR.

    My $.02
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I see this happening now, M43 and other mirrorless cameras are smaller and less expensive. I see entry level models withering, as mirrorless cameras increase
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I have no attachment to looking through a viewfinder... in fact, I find it rather archaic. However, until you can get the quality and high ISO capabilities of FF, reliable fast phase-detect auto-focus, and a broad selection of lenses in a mirrorless form factor, I won't consider it.
  6. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    After years of SLRs and then DSLRs a couple of weeks ago I entered into the new magical world of mirrorless cameras. I bought a Sony NEX-7 and three lenses. These are not replacing my Nikon gear, nor will they. That said, i am beginning to understand why the whole 4/3, MFT and mirrorless thing has "taken off" in photography. Lighter weight, easier to handle, what's not to love?

    That said, for instantaneous shutter response and high-speed continuous shooting, especially of BIF (birds in flight) and other wildlife I am still going to want a DSLR. Probably if I had the opportunity to shoot an ACIM or APIM (active child in motion, active pet in motion) I'd also be reaching for that DSLR, preferably with a fast lens and the ability to work well even with high ISO.

    The Sony NEX-7 and one of my Nikon DSLR bodies traveled with me on a recent trip to a family wedding. The DSLR never came out of the bag, the NEX-7 more than capably captured everything from rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding action, wedding itself, post-wedding, and reception.....and it also had fun with me in the George Eastman House (Eastman, as in, Eastman Kodak). I am still processing images now from the trip but am more than pleased with some of the results I got from that mirrorless camera and the lenses I used with it.

    My DSLRs still shine, though, when it comes to shooting rapid-fire and also for using longer, heavier lenses. I missed a few shots with the Sony that I know i would've gotten with the Nikon, as people's facial expressions change so rapidly.

    If I had been the one responsible for shooting the wedding (instead of being, as I was, a guest) I would've had the Nikon D3 in hand and appropriate lenses. Because I wasn't the primary shooter I was able to really enjoy myself with the smaller, lighter weight mirrorless camera and its lighter lenses.....and yet I still came home with very nice results.

    Maybe in another five years the DSLR will be something used only by professional photographers -- wedding photogs and studio photogs -- while the rest of us play happily with the latest iteration of MFT or mirrorless cameras, but in the meantime we are not quite there yet. My D3 isn't going anywhere, as I still value and want to use that full-frame capability. My hunch is that more than likely I'll be offloading my DX camera bodies and lenses in favor of adding to or updating the mirrorless stuff while still hanging on to the full-frame camera body and lenses for quite a while......
  7. AlexH macrumors 68020


    Mar 7, 2006
    I've switched to M4/3, and with the right lenses, it's an excellent system. BTW, that's one of the current benefits of M4/3 over other mirrorless system right now, they have a more mature lens lineup.
  8. Pikemann Urge macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2007
    I don't agree with that. I'll put up with a bigger camera if I use film, but not if I use digital. DSLRs will always be around but only for niche uses like sport and very, very low lighting.

    I agree with that completely.

    I suppose some people have equipment anxiety - how they'll be perceived with a 'little' camera. Or the superficial desire for a DSLR simply because they think that's what they should have.

    Perhaps, but hopefully users will see sense and not overspend. In the next few years, mirrorless will be so good that the DSLRs won't be worth the extra money, no matter how good they are.

    No, I think your original reasoning is sound. Mirrorless cameras are still going to give you excellent results on retina displays. And they still give excellent prints, too, but there are, of course, other variables than mere resolution.

    I'm an NEX user and I have to say that you are right. The SLR zoom lenses that I can fit on an NEX body (via adapters) don't always handle well. And the ones with appropriate focal lengths don't always have aperture rings. But for adapted prime lenses, it's all good.
  9. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    The future are binocular EVIL 3D cameras, possibly with wireless glasses.
  10. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Well, nothing stays the same, in the hi-tech world of photography (though it always amazed me just how closely the DSLR aped the film-based SLR in terms of design, ergonomics, controls, etc. All the digital gubbins was shoe-horned into a piece of kit that was little different to my Nikon FEs of years ago).

    Last week I was taking pictures on one of the passenger boats on Lake Windermere. Lots of tourists, especially Japanese people, and they were taking pictures of anything and everything; barely a moment went by unchronicled. DSLRs, ‘bridge cameras’, point & shoot, cameraphones. People want images: but millions of them, indiscriminately. Different formats are proliferating; there’ll be winners and losers in the ‘format wars’.

    Photography is a lifelong passion for me... rather than just a job, or just a hobby. My Nikon film cameras lasted me 20 years. They didn’t wear out, they were just replaced by the only digital camera I’ve ever owned, a Nikon D200, the camera I use now (though I’ll be upgrading within the year). What I need is full control of my photography, so I’ll sacrifice convenience for quality every time (that’s my I shoot with a tripod). The DSLR might become a niche product, for professional photographers. I don’t know. But I’m certain about one thing: fretting about equipment is the very opposite of creativity!
  11. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 20, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    I shoot a little of everything - digital and film. Love all of my SLR/DSLR cameras and lenses and will continue purchasing and using them. Recently though, I bought into Nikon's ridiculously high priced, rough at the edges, slightly quirky mirrorless system because I wanted something that I could travel with but which allowed more manual control over the camera's settings. In addition, I would be able, with some limitations, to use my existing Nikon glass.

    It changed my world, I have to say! Image quality is terrific in many situations, the crop sensor gives a great field of view for longer lenses and is therefore great as a walkabout wildlife kit. No mirror slap to contend with and the particular variant I have has a decent obviously non-optical viewfinder. It has a long way to go before it can replace my other cameras but is definitely my travel camera of choice. Right tool for the right situation. DSLRs aren't going away anytime soon, but the great thing is that there are now many more ways to practice your craft!
  12. mikeos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2011
    Some interesting points made so far.
    Perhaps I was a little short sighted in thinking they could completely take over DSLR's... But I totally agree that they are already starting to replace these low end beginner slr's that come with a kit zoom.
  13. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    I'm thinking of selling all my eos kit for a nex 7. For the photos I take nowadays I want the convenience of the Nex series.
  14. jamin100 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    I sold my d90 and decent fast 2.8 lenses last month and brought a fuji x10

    Which is basically a point and shoot on steroids.

    It offers full manual control, has a fast f2 - f2.8 zoom and performs pretty well in low light up to about 1600 ISO

    It's not perfect but it's very very good. I don't think it would replace a dslr for most people but for what I use it for its great
  15. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2006
    I wondered that too for a time...coming from a DSLR and adding a Leica M9. However, my D800 can do things that my M9 (or any other mirrorless camera) could never do. Need super fast telephoto lenses? Get a DSLR. No, adapters + the NEX system aren't the same sorry. It's fun to use both types though.
  16. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I love my Sony NEX, I dragged it all over Paris & London recently. Took great photos and didn't weigh me down.
  17. danahn17 macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Agreed that the baby DSLRs may be replaced by micro 4/3 cameras. I've tried a bunch of micro 4/3 (Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, Samsung, Nikon) and I'd rather take any of those than an entry level DSLR on my travels.

    But until you can create a micro 4/3 camera with full frame sensor, low noise (at high ISO), and with a wide selection of good glass, the higher end DSLRs will probably be here to stay for the foreseeable future. There's no way I could trade in my D700 for any of the aforementioned micro 4/3 cameras, especially when image quality--even in tough lighting situations--is of utmost importance (like say wedding in a dim church). :)
  18. colour macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    DSLR's will always be used by those that require that kind of control and scope in a camera, perhaps more on a professional level. People will still carry around flashes and lenses if they are avid photographers so really only the body will become smaller.

    I see the smaller cameras, such as the ones you mentioned, becoming more affordable and there is a market for it, but most people will opt for whatever will be in their mobile phone which I'm sure will become incredibly sophisticated in the next few years.

    camera sales are down.
  19. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    I suspect that long before the DSLR is dead in the water, P&S cameras will have disappeared.....cell phone technology is rapidly developing to the point where for many people, the cell phone in their pocket can easily replace and in even in some cases be superior to the P&S in the drawer or the closet. I think that DSLRs will remain around for a long time but that mirrorless cameras and native lenses for them will continue to be developed to the point where they are the tool of choice for many hobbyists, casual shooters and enthusiasts.
  20. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Until EVFs have near-nonexistent display lag, correct representation of color and exposure and don't give me headaches and fatigue, my OVF and DSLR are staying.
  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What's happend in the last 10 or so years is that people have been giving up quality for easy of use and low price. For most people "photography" means a few vacation snapshots or maybe their kid's birthday or a phot to put on Craigslist and they don't give a hoot about the image as long as they can make out who's face is who's. That describes 99.999% of the camera market. Most people are happy with their cell phone camera.

    At the other end or some fine art photographers who likely will never go near a DSLR. If you have ever seen a large format or even 6x6 medium format transparency you know why.

    So the DSLR is really only suitable of the remaining 0.00009% of the population. But with nine billion people on Earth that is still a huge number.

    Actually the biggest market for DSLRs is "want-a-be" photographers who buy then and never use them, just keep then in the closet while they use their cell phone camera.
  22. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Or keep them on full auto and complain when the built-in flash ruins their photos :D

    This quantity-over-quality issue has been bugging me. Any loss of quality, I'm against it, unless it's really really practical. PNG > JPEG, ALAC > MP3, APNG > GIF, RAW > JPEG, DSLR > iPhone camera.
    The only practical usage where lossy compression is acceptable would be HD movies. I'd rather have a 7GB file than a 50GB raw Blu-ray rip...
  23. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    I really don't get that. For your photography you are pretty much against non-raw imaging, but you'll put up with it in video. The same problem exists for both formats; garbage in = garbage out.

    BTW, Blu-ray video is compressed. One has to wonder how much more compression artifacts are added and visible when you compress that 50GB file down to just 7GB, or even less. :eek:
  24. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Because once the frames blur together at 24fps, you really can't notice the noise unless you encoded it badly.
    With stills, it's one stationary frame that you observe with detail.
  25. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    Good optics is what matters, and as of today SLRs (analog and digital) outperform the micro four thirds cameras.

    Honestly, it sounds you have little experience shooting. Through the viewfinder you get better composition, and better focus since your eye receives the proper amount of light. Your histograms will be good and will confirm your use of the viewfinder.

    With out a viewfinder is like reading on an iPad under direct sun light at the beach. Not to mention during a concert or while metering light on night photography.

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