Four Reasons Why We’re Thinking About the Death of DSLRs All Wrong

Read any consumer publication or self-proclaimed guru on the web and they will tell you that the death of the DSLR is coming. With the heralding of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras combined with exceptional image quality, fast focusing, and lots of features in a smaller package, why wouldn’t one think that the DSLR has reached the end of the road?

Allow me to smack you in the face while you pretend to know what you’re talking about.

Editor’s Note: This is a very opinionated piece, but sometimes an Editor needs to speak from the heart.

Most Consumers Don’t Know What They’re Talking About

First off, most of these publications target audiences that are simply none other than fanboys. And to say that a DSLR will die to a fanboy is absurd when most of those people will sit there pouring over lab tests all day instead of going out and creating photos. I’ve seen them when people post our reviews in forums and complain about vignetting as if they can’t move a slider in Lightroom a couple of levels to the right or desaturate a certain color to get rid of fringing.

And these people will also probably never buy a camera.

Shot with film

Most people sitting there saying, “I want to the Canon 5D Mk III” are sitting there only fantasizing. The Mk II is still an excellent and formidable camera that took other manufacturers years to catch up to.

And sometimes, it seriously pisses me off that marketing machines do just that: confuse customers into thinking that they will never be able to take better photos unless they buy their product.

Mirrorless Cameras Can’t Catch Up in Sports

Most of said consumers will watch to capture sports, their kids running, their dogs, etc. Ever try doing that with a mirrorless camera? It’s not easy. Even the Olympus EP3 has a tough time getting objects extremely sharp and it can’t compare to the focusing algorithms in the Canon and Nikon DSLRs (60D and D7000 and above.)

And when someone says, “We’ll get there” the focusing algorithms in a DSLR with a mirror and pentaprism will turn the world upside down on its head.

As one technology goes up, so does another one proportionally.

Real Viewfinders

Think about it: people love cameras right now. They’re in love with them, in fact! Students in college will be trained on old cameras with real viewfinders for years and years to come. And they’ll become used to those old school viewfinders. Indeed, I can use both EVFs and OVFs. But an OVF’s experience can’t be topped by an EVF. Even the Olympus VF2 and Sony TruFinder still can’t beat it.

DSLRs Could Become Novelty Items

Let’s think about it: people love mirrorless cameras because of their sexiness (partially.) And one can easily argue that a DSLR is ugly.

Okay, that’s a fair accusation. But can you really tell me that a DSLR can’t evolve to become a sexy novelty item with excellent imaging capabilities?

Then there is the argument that it is too big.

I want you guys to feast your eyes on the Hasselblad 500C: loved by Lomography lovers everywhere and actual photographers plus those that love novelty items. This thing is larger than most other DSLRs out there (though it is in fact a film SLR). Why is it loved though?

– Built like a tank

– Exceptional image quality

– Cheap

– Easy to Use

– Reliable

– Common item to find

– Shoots a large negative

With all that said, owners of the camera have no problem lugging one around. In fact, I’d buy one if I can.

Now who is to say that a DSLR can’t have an all metal build, be kept relatively light, be built like a tank, and also not shoot exceptional images? If one was made, it would probably be a big hit amongst all the consumers and magazines alike.

Think about it: we’re focusing too much on the mirrorless and not thinking about how the DSLRs will evolve proportionally. It is bound to happen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a discussion via the comments.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.