Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Started Jan 23, 2012 | Discussions
Jeff Morris
Jeff Morris Veteran Member • Posts: 3,296
Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

I ask this question because I see technology going in a completely different direction.

With mirror-less cameras selling well. The introduction of new compacts with advanced sensors like the Fuji X-Pro1, and the Oly OM-D without mirrors and prisims can DSLR cameras be around in 4 or 5 more years? (As we know them)

I feel with video being implemented in today's DSLR's, Sony's efforts with pelical mirrors, seriously good EVF's etc. Is the current DSLR going to be able to keep up with technology?

Frankly, when digital cameras came out years ago, I was a little surprised they maintained the same form factor as compact and SLR film cameras. They had the opportunity to redesign from the ground up, but instead we were given a familiar form factor. In hind site, that may not have been the best decision.

I am reaching the point in my life that I truly do not want to lug around all of the gear any more. I want the performance of a D800 with my 14-24, 24-70, 70-180 and 70-300 lenses in a compact format. This is the first time in my life that I have felt that the SLR may go the route of the DoDo bird in the near future. I started feeling this way when I saw the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Nex 7 by Sony. I realize they can not perform as well as big DSLR's but the performance gap is closing very quickly.

When I see reviews of Apple iPhone cameras compared to Nikon D7000 I am shocked at how good the results are. (And I own a D7000)

Who feels as I do, or am I just being silly?

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Regards,

Jeff Morris / Homecinemaman

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Event_shooter Senior Member • Posts: 1,083
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Jeff Morris wrote:

When I see reviews of Apple iPhone cameras compared to Nikon D7000 I am shocked at how good the results are. (And I own a D7000)

Who feels as I do, or am I just being silly?

Well technology is always evolving so that will never stop. Who knows Nikon may break off and make a Pro Video camera. One never knows with technology.

I remember back in the early 70's when I saw a demo on a laser disc. Yes THAT long ago. The media was as big as a dinner plate, but it was actually playing movies. Remember, the BETA max just came out at the time and no was was yet buying cassette tapes and CD's didn't exist. Now look around? Hang on and enjoy the ride.

As far as the Iphone there is no real comparison between the two. Try shooting a critical picture with a iphone. Maybe just maybe three seconds after you push the button the iphone MAY decide to capture the omage - LONG AFTER the shot is gone.

Jeff Morris
OP Jeff Morris Veteran Member • Posts: 3,296
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

I don't mean to say that an iPhone can compare to a D7000 upon any kind of critical comparison. This was a test between a iPhone 4, 4s and D7000 set to standard out of box settings. When the three were compared, the iPhone 4s provided some fantastic results. Anyone who has used a good DSLR with a good macro on a tripod would be surprised by the performance I get with my little iPhone 4G when shooting macro/close ups.

But I really write about the path out EVF's, mirror-less cameras are going and the influence of video on DSLR's. I am concerned that video is going to force manufacturers to make changes well not want to our DSLR's.
--
Regards,

Jeff Morris / Homecinemaman

Adams, Gutmann, Steichen, Snoopy, Stigletz, Weston. they lead by example.

I hunt, I peck, I squint, all on a Dell M1330 13" laptop. So don't laugh, I'm happy there aren't more typo's!

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vandv Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Oh you are just being silly ...

Can a small form factor perform as well as a large DSLR? Sure, if it is a 5 year old DSLR and a new compact. And what about the lenses? You can't get the performance of a 24-200 or a 400/2.8 with small glass.

Bigger is always better when it comes to sensors and lenses, so while a small form factor camera can compete with 5 year old DSLRs in 5 years the larger DSLRs are still going to destroy the smaller cameras. Since cameras gather light and bigger sensors mean better result what you suggest is impossible. Now if this was computer chips where smaller means less distance travelled which means faster then it would be true. But these are not chips

Jeff Morris
OP Jeff Morris Veteran Member • Posts: 3,296
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Sorry about the typos, I am tired.

But I really write about the path that EVF's and mirror-less cameras are going and the influence of video on DSLR's. I am concerned that video is going to force manufacturers to make changes we well not want to see in our DSLR's.

-- hide signature --

Regards,

Jeff Morris / Homecinemaman

Adams, Gutmann, Steichen, Snoopy, Stigletz, Weston. they lead by example.

I hunt, I peck, I squint, all on a Dell M1330 13" laptop. So don't laugh, I'm happy there aren't more typo's!

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gonzalu
gonzalu Forum Pro • Posts: 10,412
I think the idea of an SLR is never going to go away. Think about it

all good photographers or those who aspire to be great photographers will always undoubtedly figure out they want to see what the sensor is doing in the most realistic way.

So I do believe the swing-out mirror will be gone... first replaced perhaps like Sony and Canon have done with semi-transparent jobs and then eventually just EVFs but I know I will always ant to see THROUGH THE LENS
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lightmagic Senior Member • Posts: 1,410
Kodak is dead

you get the message
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lnbolch
lnbolch Senior Member • Posts: 2,329
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Jeff Morris wrote:

I ask this question because I see technology going in a completely different direction.

[...]

Who feels as I do, or am I just being silly?

Not at all. Remember digital hit with the force of a supersonic freight train. I can not think of a more disruptive technology, and it caught the old and conservative camera companies and related industries off guard. I expect it had lots of people in middle management grumping and saying it was a fad and people would return to sanity and film in a year or so. The strategy was to pretend to work on digital until the fad passed, when life would get back to normal. It didn't happen and a lot of old brands paid the price for inaction.

Those who actually made the transition, did not have a clue how to build digital cameras, so they installed sensors into cameras they did understand. The D300 was the first camera that actually felt mature, while the D200 in many ways was a work in progress.

Now that they have learned to build cameras, it is a matter of moving gradually into different concepts. During the film era, there was a vast range of camera types, some very specialized, that helped one compete. There are a few specialized digital cameras too, but they tend to have stratospheric prices. At the consumer level, Micro 4/3s was a break with tradition, but it seems to be developing at a fairly slow pace and I have not really seen any startling innovation other than the format itself.

Enthusiasts sneered at it, because it was so clearly aimed at being every home's digital Kodak, but the Nikon 1 cameras were rich in fresh ideas. Embedding phase detection auto-focus into the sensor itself is monumental. There should be no further problems with front or back focus, focus is extremely fast and follow focus can continue at reasonably high frame rates. With this focusing system, the mirror becomes a bottleneck to speed. And speaking of speed, the Exspeed 3 is dual-core. If it is dual-core, it can easily be scaled up for more cores. Speed and function that were impossible a generation ago now may become possible.

I see the Nikon 1 as a preview of technology that will eventually spread through the whole product line. What is remarkable is that this technology is available for a bit over $600US. Imagine if the engineers are free to apply this level of innovation to a $6,000 camera!

EVFs have come a very long way since my high-end Coolpix 8400, but they still have a way to go before totally bettering an OVF. The EVF in my X100 is entirely usable, with little lag and quite high resolution at 1,440,000 dots. In low light, it is much brighter than the OVF. I see that Sony is now up to 2.4 million dots. This is an area where technology should be able to move quite quickly.

The F-mount is another issue. Nikon has a very thick body to clear the mirror, which of course would not be needed with a mirrorless design. Would it be best to start fresh with a new mount and new lenses? I see no reason why there could not be a spacer with full electrical/electronic connections for a transitional period. However, backward compatibility is of paramount importance.

Is there really a need for full-frame now, as there was five years ago? Sensor technology has come a long way since the D3/D700 were introduced, and development seems to be an area with loads of traction at the moment. Fuji totally abandoned the Beyer mosaic and thus disposed of the low-pass filter with the new X-Pro1. They claim full-frame performance from an APS-C sensor. The camera body is about the size of a Leica, and the weight of the body with all three initial primes (967g) is less than the weight of my D700 alone(995g).

So don't expect the D800 to be mirrorless, though I suppose it would be possible. I certainly would not bet the ranch on it. Perhaps when the D7000 or D300 is replaced. I don't think that Nikon is quite daring enough to rock the boat with the flagship cameras, until it is proved on a mid-level camera. The D5, probably not as well, but by the time of the D6, no one will question it.

In the meantime, many questions to be answered and much development to be done.

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fabgo Senior Member • Posts: 1,300
Medium format cameras are still around *shrug*

I don't see the SLR go away any time soon. That said, buy the tool that is right for you.

I am on the waiting list for Panasonic GX1. I will also buy the D800, and maybe a D4. I like the idea of mirror-less and smaller formats but I also know what the drawbacks and limitations are.

I plan to mount an optical viewfinder on top of my GX1. As far as I can tell, EVFs are still miles behind optical viewfinders, especially in low light.

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Fabian

James Bligh Senior Member • Posts: 2,356
DSLRs will be around for a long time but

Jeff Morris wrote:

I ask this question because I see technology going in a completely different direction.

With mirror-less cameras selling well. The introduction of new compacts with advanced sensors like the Fuji X-Pro1, and the Oly OM-D without mirrors and prisims can DSLR cameras be around in 4 or 5 more years? (As we know them)

Yes, DSLRs will be around for a long time but people will use DSLRs less and less for their daily use. I carry compact or micro 4/3 most of the time and my DSLRs are sleeping in the bags. Most people may not use DSLRs in the future or they will use DSLRs for special occasions and people who use DSLRs on a daily basis may be limited to professional/commercial photographers.

I am reaching the point in my life that I truly do not want to lug around all of the gear any more. I want the performance of a D800 with my 14-24, 24-70, 70-180 and 70-300 lenses in a compact format. This is the first time in my life that I have felt that the SLR may go the route of the DoDo bird in the near future. I started feeling this way when I saw the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Nex 7 by Sony. I realize they can not perform as well as big DSLR's but the performance gap is closing very quickly.

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lnbolch
lnbolch Senior Member • Posts: 2,329
Re: Medium format cameras are still around *shrug*

fabgo wrote:

As far as I can tell, EVFs are still miles behind optical viewfinders, especially in low light.

Very true—in the past. When I can no longer see with the X100's OVF, the EVF gives me enough added light that I can get down to the shutter speeds that no longer allow hand-held sharp pictures due to camera movement. An advantage—if you could call it that—of 2.0-3.0EV. In the lowest of light, the EVF is considerably brighter than the OVF or the human eye-ball.

At that point, it is of little relevance. Even a surgeon would have trouble hand-holding at ¼ of a second even with leaning against a wall or supporting elbows on a table.

They are behind because they need to refresh and thus there is a small bit of lag. They are behind because they are "only" 2.4 million dots—slightly above the resolution of HDTV with Sony's recent cameras. Unless you are supershooter, your reaction times are slower and your vision less than the EVF offers. A temporary problem at most.

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CriticalI Senior Member • Posts: 1,777
Of course - and more than you think

As well as loosing mirrors in favour of EVFs, video lenses will be introduced with multi-speed power zooms and focusing. Focusing will be "damped" to stop it swinging wildly during a pan and basically make it pretty useless as a still lens.

Canon are already making video lenses for EF mount and more will follow. Panasonic have two power zoom lenses for G cameras and now Nikon have a dedicated video lens for the 1.

But on the up side, there are more cameras coming out on the fringes to pick up the slack. Fuji are saying that sensor PD focus will come on future Xpro models, and looking at the specs these are not video-biased in any way. Ricoh are apparently planning some interesting new ventures with Pentax, and I suspect the new OM will appeal mainly to the stills crowd.

If any significant demand for "traditional" cameras emerges (the X100's popularity caught Fuji completely by surprise) then I suspect other makers will be forced to follow suit.

That does not mean they wont support video at all, only that it won't detract from the function of the stills camera.

Jeff Morris wrote:

Sorry about the typos, I am tired.

But I really write about the path that EVF's and mirror-less cameras are going and the influence of video on DSLR's. I am concerned that video is going to force manufacturers to make changes we well not want to see in our DSLR's.

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Steve

Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Jeff Morris wrote:

I ask this question because I see technology going in a completely different direction.

Here is a link to an article about a CES interview with Nikon Europe's Lars Pettersson.

http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/nikon-committed-to-optical-viewfinders-1055036

...the company will be sticking with the traditional technology for the time being. However, he conceded that EVF technology has improved greatly recently and if that pace of change were to continue Nikon may review its position in a few years time.

With mirror-less cameras selling well. The introduction of new compacts with advanced sensors like the Fuji X-Pro1, and the Oly OM-D without mirrors and prisims can DSLR cameras be around in 4 or 5 more years? (As we know them)

Mirror-less cameras have been around since the beginning of photography. The vast majority of consumer cameras have always been mirror-less. From the Kodak Brownie to the Instamatic to the Nikon 1, mirror-less cameras for the consumer have outnumbered professional cameras. Don't consider the numbers of the Nikon 1 sales as an indicator that SLR is dead. Mirror-less will have to meet all pro needs before SLR is abandoned.

I feel with video being implemented in today's DSLR's, Sony's efforts with pelical mirrors, seriously good EVF's etc. Is the current DSLR going to be able to keep up with technology?

Not forever, but for awhile, at least.

Frankly, when digital cameras came out years ago, I was a little surprised they maintained the same form factor as compact and SLR film cameras. They had the opportunity to redesign from the ground up, but instead we were given a familiar form factor. In hind site, that may not have been the best decision.

I was surprised, as well, but the technology just wasn't there for a complete revolution.

I am reaching the point in my life that I truly do not want to lug around all of the gear any more. I want the performance of a D800 with my 14-24, 24-70, 70-180 and 70-300 lenses in a compact format. This is the first time in my life that I have felt that the SLR may go the route of the DoDo bird in the near future.

It could be that the DSLR has gone the way of the Dodo, for you, but it still has years to go before it is truly extinct.

When I see reviews of Apple iPhone cameras compared to Nikon D7000 I am shocked at how good the results are. (And I own a D7000)

I recall seeing a British sci-fi TV series called Star Cops from 1987 (I probably saw it a few years later) about international police in orbit (lots of industrial space stations). A reporter held up something the size of a credit card while interviewing someone. This card was broadcasting live video to the world below. At the time, this was barely believable sci-fi. How things have changed.

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Phil Flash Veteran Member • Posts: 4,238
The mirror will go the way of the dodo.

But I think Canon and Nikon have such huge systems and so many pros use them that the DSLR will be around for a while. The mirror may go, but the form factor will be the same.

Ordinary users and enthusiasts may break mirrorless, for Nex-like systems. A whole generation of people will become photographers without the usual pre-conceptions from the film world, which will make them very open to mirrorless.

To my mind, Nex and M43 are the first systems that take advantage of digital in terms of a real size reduction.
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bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 21,602
"There is no excuse for cubic inch displacement"

Point and shoot cameras have ALWAYS outsold SLR cameras long before digital was invented.

Digital did not change that. Mirrorless cameras are more capable than point and shoot cameras.

Mirrorless is the same way. They are just smaller cameras that are meant to be easier to handle and use. One day, they will be very capable of doing everything a DSLR does in a professionals hands today. Of course, buy that time DSLR cameras will be even better. Larger sensors wil allow for better light to signal ratio OR more pixels with signal strength the same.

It's kind of like the old hot rod days. There is no excuse for cubic inch displacement. Anything you can do, I can do better.

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bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 21,602
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

Jeff Morris wrote:

I don't mean to say that an iPhone can compare to a D7000 upon any kind of critical comparison. This was a test between a iPhone 4, 4s and D7000 set to standard out of box settings. When the three were compared, the iPhone 4s provided some fantastic results. Anyone who has used a good DSLR with a good macro on a tripod would be surprised by the performance I get with my little iPhone 4G when shooting macro/close ups.

Then, why don't you make some copies of paintings and print them at full size for artists with your iPhone? Remember, it was your comparison.

There is NOTHING the iPhone can do, that a SLR can't do much better, except fit in a pocket and transmit.

THAT is the real challenge for the camera. Become as functional and conventient as a phone. I said it before and will say it again. The first CAMERA (a real camera with good image quality and functions) with 4G wireless, GPS, telephone, Apps, bluetooth, PDA functions etc. wins. Oh, and a hands off view screen built into sunglasses/eyeglasses, too.

Of course, it will still be a carry around camera and not a precise tool for doing professional work.
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Layer 1: Control your bike (Don't fall or collide with others)
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Layer 3: Use Lane position (Discourage other drivers mistakes)
Layer 4: Hazard Avoidance (Avoid other drivers mistakes and road hazards)
Layer 5: Utilize passive protection (Use protection when all else fails)

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Ilkka Nissilä Veteran Member • Posts: 4,107
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

I feel with video being implemented in today's DSLR's, Sony's efforts with pelical mirrors, seriously good EVF's etc. Is the current DSLR going to be able to keep up with technology?

So tell me, which mirrorless camera outperforms a D3X or D3s in image quality, versatility, and reliability? Perhaps the question should be: will there ever be a mirrorless camera that can be taken seriously as a general purpose photography instrument? Will they ever make fast zooms, will they ever make a set of telephoto primes, will they ever put half-decent sensor size (e.g. 24x36) in them?

In fact apart from the small size and potentially quiet operation (again only the V1/J1 are truly silent and that only when aperture is set to maximum value and electronic shutter is used) what state-of-the art features do these cameras have? Features that result in images that could not be better shot with DSLRs?

Nikon has already shown the solution to the video AF issue in the phase-detect AF sensors embedded in the main imaging sensor. This is what other manufacturers will copy / license if they want well-functioning autofocus in video with large sensor cameras. And Nikon will put it into future DSLRs as well.

Frankly, when digital cameras came out years ago, I was a little surprised they maintained the same form factor as compact and SLR film cameras.

This form factor is what works well for still photography. It has nothing to do with film.

I am reaching the point in my life that I truly do not want to lug around all of the gear any more. I want the performance of a D800 with my 14-24, 24-70, 70-180 and 70-300 lenses in a compact format.

And how exactly do you suppose that will happen? The larger the sensor, the higher the image quality. Large sensors large lenses. The dropping of the mirror box out of the camera will reduce the weight of an FX camera maybe by 10-20%. Those long lenses will be 0% smaller or lighter if you use an FX sensor in the camera. And no one has yet made anything remotely approaching the 14-24 quality level in any mirrorless camera system. So, when the performance (speed and image quality) of actual, available on the retail shelves mirrorless cameras actually starts being better than that of DSLRs like the D3X, D4, etc. then let's talk again.

No one has yet made any f/2.8 or faster zooms for mirrorless interchangeable cameras. That illustrates how the manufacturers don't even think it will be used for professional or advanced amateur work, the foundation of which today is the fast zooms.

This is the first time in my life that I have felt that the SLR may go the route of the DoDo bird in the near future.

I don't think so. The optical viewfinder is great.

When I see reviews of Apple iPhone cameras compared to Nikon D7000 I am shocked at how good the results are. (And I own a D7000)

Try mimicking a 300mm FL shot made with the D7000 using an iPhone.

Jeff Morris / Homecinemaman

So, you're really a videographer? I see.

beshannon Veteran Member • Posts: 4,216
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?
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msu79gt82 Senior Member • Posts: 1,115
Re: Are we about to see the death of the DSLR as we know it?

vandv wrote:

Oh you are just being silly ...

I disagree, he's not being silly at all. I have no desire to ever own a D3/D4 size body. I am OK with a D300/D700 size body, but I'd prefer an OM-2n size body.

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fabgo Senior Member • Posts: 1,300
Re: Medium format cameras are still around *shrug*

lnbolch wrote:

fabgo wrote:

As far as I can tell, EVFs are still miles behind optical viewfinders, especially in low light.

Very true—in the past. When I can no longer see with the X100's OVF, the EVF gives me enough added light that I can get down to the shutter speeds that no longer allow hand-held sharp pictures due to camera movement. An advantage—if you could call it that—of 2.0-3.0EV. In the lowest of light, the EVF is considerably brighter than the OVF or the human eye-ball.

At that point, it is of little relevance. Even a surgeon would have trouble hand-holding at ¼ of a second even with leaning against a wall or supporting elbows on a table.

They are behind because they need to refresh and thus there is a small bit of lag. They are behind because they are "only" 2.4 million dots—slightly above the resolution of HDTV with Sony's recent cameras. Unless you are supershooter, your reaction times are slower and your vision less than the EVF offers. A temporary problem at most.

I agree that the best solution might be a hybrid viewfinder. I wish more manufacturers would offer this. I'd like to point out though that even 2.4 million dots = 0.8 megapixels (XGA resolution).

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Fabian

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