Should Sony Release an A99 III or Are DSLRs Dead to Them and Others?

A recent gaffe about a potential Sony A99 III sparked a frenzy in a website’s comment section, and it makes us wonder about the situation DSLRs find themselves in.

The debate about whether or not DSLRs are on their way out seems to be getting louder and louder with every passing day. It’s almost impossible to visit message boards without seeing someone proclaim that Mirrorless is the new king and that DSLRs are dead. However, a recent error on a post about a potentially new Sony A9 II (which was soon fixed by the website) whipped up a frenzy in the comment section there. The title read The Upcoming A99 III, instead of A9 II, and the reaction in the comment section got us thinking about the current situation regarding DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. Let’s talk about the issue after the break.

We’re sure the hearts in the chests of Sony A-Mount fans started beating a little harder when they saw the error in the title that Mirrorless Rumors made accidentally. The last DSLR that Sony produced and sold is, of course, the Sony A99 II. This beast of a DSLR hit the streets back in November 2016. The camera was ahead of its time and a powerhouse that was packed to the brim with tech. The 42.4 Megapixel sensor produces gorgeous images, it can shoot off 12 frames per second, and it has fantastic autofocus performance. The A99 II could record 4k video, and it had Sony’s 5-axis in-body image stabilization tech too. The future of Sony’s DSLR cameras looked bright, but things have gone awfully quiet on the A-Mount front since 2016.

sony a99 iii

It has been a long time since Sony announced any new A-Mount lenses. Heck, it has been a long time since Sony has even mentioned or acknowledged that the A99 II exists. The error in the headline showed us though that there is a still a clamoring for DSLRs. The voices of those wanting an A99 III was energetic and enthusiastic, but I think we all have to agree that a Sony A99 III will not be happening. Sony’s future in the camera world is firmly planted in the Mirrorless and E Mount realms. To Sony, DSLRs and the A-Mount seem to be as dead as the Dodo, and there is almost certainly no chance of a Sony A99 III. Sorry folks.

There are other players in the market who are still pushing out DSLRs though. Canon recently announced the 90D, and Nikon recently announced that they are working on the D6. Just like in the comment section, where photographers were excited about a potential Sony A99 III, photographers around the globe have been equally excited about these two new DSLRs. It appears that there are many photographers who still want DSLR cameras despite the best efforts of marketing departments and YouTubers telling us that Mirrorless is the best.

There is no doubt that Mirrorless is the future, but it does not mean that it has to be the present. I personally still prefer DSLR cameras over Mirrorless options. I happily use a Pentax K1 II. It does everything that I need it to do. It has an excellent sensor, it has IBIS, it has a great selection of lenses, and it is built to last.

Just because Mirrorless cameras are here, it doesn’t mean that DSLR cameras are obsolete. Cameras like the Nikon D850, the Canon 5D IV, the Pentax K1 II, the Canon 90D, the Canon 1DX Mk II, the Nikon D5, and the upcoming D6 all still have a role to play, and they play it very well. DSLR’s are tried and true, and photographers know what they are going to get from them. For professionals in the field that is so incredibly important.

Mirrorless cameras are great. The technology they have is fantastic, but they still have their problems. Battery life is still a significant concern. Yes, it has improved since earlier models, but they still can’t touch DSLR battery life. Mirrorless cameras I have used have had buggy software that at times caused the cameras to freeze. My X-T3 had this problem, and it took a while for Fujifilm to address it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets headaches from using EVF’s as well.

These may seem like minor gripes, but to the professionals out in the field, these issues could be the difference between nailing or missing the all-important shot. This is why you still see so many pro’s (especially sports photographers and photojournalists) using DSLR bodies. They are reliable and dependable. Canon and Nikon know this. They are smart enough to see that Mirrorless cameras are still in their infancy. Sure, they have been around for a while, but there is still a long way to go before they really kill off DSLRs. Sony never had a massive DSLR userbase, so their decision to move on from DSLR’s is probably justified. Canon and Nikon, on the other hand, have tens of thousands of DSLR users in their ranks. Killing off DSLR’s would be like committing suicide for them.

EISA Awards best full frame camera

So, are DSLR’s dead to all camera manufacturers? Not by any means. As I said above, Mirrorless will be the victor down the line, but for now, both platforms can co-exist. Canon, Nikon and maybe even Pentax will continue to push out DSLR cameras for a little while yet. Until Canon and Nikon are 100% sure that Mirrorless cameras are ready for prime time, they’ll support and release DSLRs.

To those who say DSLR cameras are dead, perhaps they are to you, but to many they aren’t. These cameras are still capable of producing the same amazing pictures in the hands of photographers that they could when they were launched. To those who think Mirrorless isn’t the future, you’re wrong, but doesn’t mean that you have to jump over to them now. DSLR’s are here for a while yet, but Mirrorless cameras are getting closer in the rearview mirror, and eventually, they will leave DSLR’s in the dust. For now, let’s all just enjoy what have, and make stunning images.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.