Future of DSLR - speculate please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by neutrino23, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I'm curious as to what possible features may appear in DSLRs in the near future. I'm mostly interested in Canon but lets not limit the discussion to that.

    Because of the large investment everyone has in lenses I can't see that form factor going away. However, perhaps there will be an advantage to going mirrorless and making the cameras faster and quieter? Certainly the display will improve. How much better will the ISO sensitivity get? Is there room for improving image stabilization or is it currently maxed out? With the amount of computing power they can put in a camera now I imagine there is a lot more possible than we have now. Can we expect gradual improvement year by year over the next several years or are there rumors of radical changes in the near future? Thanks.
  2. Melizard macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2011
    All I know is that they will continue to become more and more affordable, and more people will be able to buy them. I'm also sure that the file size of the photos will always be getting bigger, but as long as harddrive space is cheap, it's not really a problem.
  3. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    I'd hope GPS chips start to get included. If they can fit one in my iPhone I'm sure they can fit one in a DSLR.

    High-ISO performance will just get better and better.

    Hopefully the megapixel race is over now.
  4. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Same here:
    • No mechanical mirror
    • High ISO, nearly flash free for those who want
    • WIFI build in able to connect to mobile hotshots for direct access to storage
    • GPS build in
    • keep CF as memory (no SD)
    • compatible with my lenses

    I don't want: Facebook or twitter in my camera ...
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think we are at the beginning stages of convergence.

    We are seeing smaller cameras gaining larger sensors, better lenses. At some point technology is going to improve to the point where most consumers will have a harder time justifying a DSLR over what is being offered.

    In a sense I think that's beginning now. Micro 4/3s and other ML cameras offer some features typically found in DSLRs (larger sensors replaceable lenses great view finders etc)
  6. Bear, Feb 26, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012

    Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    What I could see happening is that mirrorless technology shows up in camera bodies that have the same physical sensor sizes and take the same lenses as the current D-SLRs.

    After all part of the image quality has to do with the physical sensor size.

    My one question is how many pictures from a battery would 2 cameras get that are mostly identical with the main exception being one is mirrorless and one has a mirror.

    I think the thread on the future of Medium Format is relevant to the question that's being asked in this thread.

    For someone just buying camera gear, it's a wide open choice. How about for someone who has several lenses already? It would cost a ton of money to switch to a camera that uses different lenses. It would be less expensive to just buy new bodies as needed that use the lenses you own.

    Of course I'm basing this on replacing the camera body every 5 to 10 years and not every year or 2. My current D-SLR is 6 years old and I see no reason to replace it. The main thing it's missing is it can't take a movie. I have a camera for taking pictures and not movie clips so it's perfect for me.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I agree and I think any possible transition from DSLR to some other camera type will be a slow process.

    Take the nikon V1 as an example, not regarding the smaller sensor but Nikon's inclusion of the FT1 adapter giving photographers the ability to use their existing lenses. I think as non dslr cameras improve makers will be sensitive to those who have a large collection of lenses.
  8. peepboon macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2008
    cheaper is a bad thing :/ No one will pay for a pro photographer when they know someone with a 'big camera' :/

    Too many teenagers with an expensive necklace calling themselves photographers or under charging for what the service should be worth thus killing a real photographer's ecosystem.

  9. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    Hmmm.... When you say becoming affordable, are you speaking of Pro cameras or normal consumer devices? If you mean, pro cameras, you obviously have not seen the prices for the new Nikon and Canon flagship pro cams. File sizes have always been large in the medium format area, so this is not really an issue as it has already existed.


    You're kidding right? :)
  10. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    I agree for the most part. I was just gifted a Nikon J1 and while it has some great features that I have on my D3S, I would NEVER trust the J1 to something that is really important. I mainly like the convenience of the having the J1 for those times I do not feel like piling a large camera in a camera bag on my back. The J1 does have the ability with the T1 adapter of allowing me to attached my pro glass. It looks funny but for that very strange occasion where I might need a 70-200mm, f2.8 attached to my J1 I have the option to do it.

    Attached Files:

  11. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    I think I stepped on your post after I wrote mine.
  12. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    This is why the NEX-5N was so appealing to me.

    I agree with your list except for CF (large, bulky & expensive). SDXC is commonly supported in modern cameras and Mac hardware, it's also built into a handful of small NAS's.

    PS IMHO traditional flip up mirror DSLRs will become a strictly high end option in the next couple of years.
  13. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
  14. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
  15. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    <sigh> nr. 2 :(
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I Used the Nikon 1 as an example of where I think the industry is heading and how even with these new cameras existing lenses will work

    Specifically talking about Nikon, since they're making huge profits on DSLR, they purposely kept the Nikon 1 under spec'd so that it wouldn't cannibalize their entry level DSLR cameras.
  17. gaz81 macrumors member


    Feb 26, 2011
    Preston, UK
    I think once we start to see the mirror-less pro bodies time will start ticking for the DSLR (although it will probably never go away, Leica rangefinders for example).

    The OM-D looks promising, I would love to see this style in a full 35mm frame camera format.

    I'm not knocking four thirds, but the quality of the full frame sensor is just something else! The DOF on the larger format sensors is just so nice!

    Sony are moving that way with the fixed mirror cameras (although it has been done before with the Canon EOS 1N RS).

    I think for pros to move over to mirror-less the contrast AF needs to be as good as phase AF, the new Oly stuff is fast but can it continually track as fast as top end phase?

    I've switched cameras a fair few times over the years so I've been privileged to try a few:

    Olympus OM-1 (35mm film)
    Olympus OM-2n (35mm film)
    Zorki 4 (35mm rangefinder film)
    Zeiss Nettar (medium format 6x6 film)
    Mamiya 1000s (Medium format 645 film)
    Mamiya C220 (medium format 6x6 film)
    Olympus E500 (four thirds)
    Canon 350D (APSC)
    Canon 30D (APSC)
    Canon 5D (Full frame)
    Canon 1D Mk 3 (APSH)
    Panasonic G1 (Micro four thirds)
    Olympus EP1 (micro four thirds)
    Sony NEX 3 (APSC)

    My favorite (by this I mean a joy to use for my own personal work) is a toss up between the OM-1 and 5D.

    When trying to photograph a newly wed couple on the dance floor in very low poor light while moving the 1D was the king, thats why when it comes to paid work the 1D was the best.

    So, if I could have an OM size body, with a full frame sensor combined with a EVF that doesn't go crap in low light and the focus system and durability of the 1D then there wouldn't be much of a reason to to go mirror-less :)

    All the above is IMHO though.... so everyone might disagree :)
  18. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    Backwards lens compatibility is a real bonus. I am looking forward to trying our OM-1 50mm on the OM-D when it comes out. It certainly makes adding or transitioning to a compact mirrorless camera less painful.


    That would be a camera that would have my attention.
  19. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    EVIL designs will mostly take over at every size. Lots of megapixels, but also better ones to where there is virtually no noise.

    These wil come in forms from very small to huge, in medium format and view cameras.

    Technical quality will no longer be an issue. Every photo will be focused and exposed perfectly, unless you over-ride it.

    "Automatic" is going to be just super.

    Modes and menus, in cameras and cars and everything, will go away to be replaced by analogue controls. If alive, I will promote a national holiday when this happens.

    Big changes in lenses. Since cameras will have all sorts of lens corrections built in, and even pretty severe cropping will be just fine, lenses will be simper and cheaper. Of course there will be Leicas and such, but even now the powers of super computers makes it possible to produce cheap lenses that are "almost" as good.

    If damn near technically perfect photos pop up on your screen, post processing will be simpler and certainly the software has a very, very long ways to go.

    Finally, I see huge improvements in printing. It is an absurdly nerdy, messy and expensive process now. Ink jets work, miraculously, but are pretty darn intolerable at best. Some new technology has to come along. Please, make it soon.

    In the end it will be subject, composition, lighting, the chosen depth of field and all that.
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Lower priced DSLRs are doomed... I can hear the bells tolling....

    It's not that phone cameras have the full range of capabilities of a DSLR - but phone cams can take photos that - for the average use of posting to the web - have 80%+ of the quality for 10% to 25% of the price. Or free, if you have justified the cost of the phone for actually making phone calls.

    Phone cams must be affecting the sales of the cheaper of the DSLRs.... Flickr announced that the iPhone was the most popular camera posting images to their service. At some point the Nikons and Canons will have to abandon the lower priced markets segment as phone cams get better and better. And cheaper.

    This means that the Nikons and Canons will offer more full featured cameras, but at a higher price. They will need to tap into the market of people who will need a proper DSLR at any price, and will price their cameras accordingly. But the cameras will be better since they won't have to skimp on quality in order to compete on price with phone cams.

    imho, of course....
  21. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2011
    And then, the sensors themselves will morph into some kind of organic, light-sensitive gel that will be simply coated onto a plastic carrier sheet.
  22. pedrocasilva macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2010
    I doubt it. (in case you don't want to click and/or download this I'll just say... Nokia Phone with a 41 megapixel sensor coming out this year)

    Lytro capabilities and Kogeto lens might come into play in the race though; but they're also reliant on the ammount of megapixels the camera does (Lytro currently takes 2 megapixels photo's, and they've stated breakthrough's in the regular camera's like Canon's 120 Megapixel sensor could help them a lot), and Kogero lens need dewarping so of course the less resolution available the less end quality it'll have.

    Then we have the usual catchphrases like mirrorless stuff, more AEB modes/options, HDR, better at higher ISO's, GPS tagging, stereoscopic 3D photo's, wireless transfer/capability to sync with stuff like dropbox whenever it get's a wifi signal.
  23. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    I agree and disagree. Camera phones are advancing quickly and you're right in that they posses enough quality for the majority of consumers, the shoot and upload to facebook type.

    But where I disagree with you is that is replacing any level of DSLR sales. Camera phones are replacing the point and shoot, not DSLR. The people buying DSLRs (at any price point) are looking for more in a camera package. A camera phone is not going to fill that void.
  24. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I hate to be an old geezer, but there is so much irreverent stuff in modern DSLRs like video and on-chip image processing that I would like to see a camera devolve.

    What I need is now easier to state than what I don't.

    High ISO
    Manual/Auto focus
    Image stabilization
    Aperture, shutter and manual modes only
    RAW only, no in camera processing
    Metering with multiple selections
    Shot selection (single or multiple shots per press)
    And a few other things like multiple lenses and the ability to see the shot before I hit the shutter and a histogram preview. I would like to see the histogram before the exposure. That's new, I guess.

    Dale from the stone age of B&W film and view cameras...
  25. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but everything you've listed is already available in most current DSLR models, including the histogram preview.

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