No, as you might have read, Nikon isn’t giving up on DSLRs. In a report released on July 12, Nikkei Asia said that it had “learned” that Nikon is going to withdraw from the SLR business. What’s interesting to note is that they said Canon would be following suit in the next few years. No doubt, significant publications picked up on it within hours of this article. Clickbait articles ensued because nothing translates to web traffic like the death of a production line of a prominent brand. Nikon was quick to dismiss this report as nothing but speculation. They’ve categorically stated that they will be “continuing the production, sales and service of digital SLR.”
DSLRs have been the mainstay of Nikon’s sales for the last few decades now. They’ve been the pioneers in a lot of professional camera technology. Among DSLRs, they were the first company to introduce a DSLR with video filming features. They may have been late to the party with a good mirrorless lineup, but the flagship Z9 is creating headline-grabbing market shares. For a reputed brand that’s been around for over 100 years, why are so many so keen to see its demise?
“There was a media article regarding Nikon’s withdrawal of SLR development. This media article is only speculation and Nikon has made no announcement in this regards. Nikon is continuing the production, sales and service of digital SLR. Nikon appreciate your continuous support.“NIKON
Do Publications Love To Hate Nikon?
I’ve noticed this tendency among publications and blogs for the last few years. I think it stems from the fact that Nikon is generally slower than its peers to adapt to trends. They were noticeably slower than Sony in joining the mirrorless revolution. Their firmware updates used to be less frequent than Fujifilm. You could argue that OM Digital Solutions gives you more bang for your buck in terms of in-camera features. Nikon has had a few hits and misses. The Nikon 1 range was an outlier, and the DL series that never came to production are a few notable ones. But at the end of the day, they have been an invaluable part of some of the most memorable images taken in history. So when a publication states without citation that Nikon isn’t going to make DSLRs anymore, why were so many others quick to jump on it and report it?
Competition Between Brands Is Beneficial To The End Customer
I might be a Nikon user, but seeing adverse reports about a competing brand doesn’t bring me any joy. If a brand has to shut down part of its production line, that can’t bode well for the camera industry as a whole. Camera manufacturers have been struggling to compete against smartphone cameras already. Compact cameras have almost become a thing of the past. DSLRs might well be on their way out, as we’ve reported many times of late. But seeing those articles yesterday probably sent across waves of panic among many Nikon DSLRs owners.
I still see many Nikon users in various photography forums preferring their DSLRs over mirrorless models. Whether this is down to ergonomics or otherwise, they would instead reach for their DSLR for a professional shoot. I can imagine many of them would have been worried yesterday about how much longer Nikon would provide support for their DSLRs. Nikon thankfully came out with a reassuring statement not much later. But this still leaves some lingering doubts – is it a question of when, rather than if?
What New DSLR Might Nikon Make?
The Nikon F6, its last flagship SLR, was discontinued nearly 2 years ago. But since they’ve said they’ll continue making DSLRs, what might we see come out of Nikon’s factories next? I’d like to see a much better iteration of the clunky Nikon Df. Retro styling still sells well in the camera industry. While the Df may not have flown off the shelves, it’s still a much sought-after camera among purists. Maybe a 36 or 48-megapixel full-frame DSLR that looks like the Nikon FM2 would appeal to Nikon fans. Much like how film cameras slow down your photography process as compared to SLRs, we might see similar comparison trends between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in the years ahead.
Let Brands Make Their Own Announcements
Nikkei Asia may or may not clarify the source of its article for now. However, I do think that brands should be allowed to decide for themselves when and what announcements they want to make. Nikon, for now, has given its DSLR users some relief by stating that they aren’t leaving them high and dry. I’m going to be keenly watching to see if Canon also comes out to contradict what’s stated in the same piece about them.