Doug Mackenzie Dodds - Images | The DSLR. 1985-2018. RIP.

The DSLR. 1985-2018. RIP.

March 21, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

A year or so ago, I blogged about my 'return' to "FULL FRAME photography" with my purchase of a second hand Canon 6D but people that have known me and been brave enough to have listened to any of my opinions on the future of cameras per se, will know that I've been of the firm opinion for at least five years that the day of the DSLR was almost over. (The DSLR being the type of camera with a mirror in front of a sensor and an optical (rather than electronic viewfinder), which flips up to expose the camera's sensor when the shutter is opened, rather than a mirrorless camera).


I think we're pretty well there now.

I think the (mirrored) DSLR will die this year. (2018)

Perhaps completely.

Perhaps forever.


Since getting 'back' into photography about 10 years ago, I've always said that Canon and Nikon are primarily GLASS manufacturers (or were I suppose) and the real BIG boys on the camera bodies and electronic fronts would be firms like Panasonic, Samsung, Sony etc. That's primarily why I chose a Panasonic bridge camera to start my journey back into photography with - an electronics firm making my camera body but partnering with Leica, one of the top lens manufacturers, for the glass on the body.

I, as you may know, then bought into the Canon ecosystem (with an APS-C 40D and now a full frame 6D mk I) but I was always very aware of the rise of Sony in particular - with their alpha cameras.

This year, Sony, with the recent release of the Sony A7iii (which comes on the back of the Sony A9 and Sony A7riii - and just before the Sony A7siii) have effectively killed off any hope of reviving the big DSLRs from any camera manufacturer I think - including of course, Canon and Nikon.

The Full frame Sony A7iii is billed (almost tongue-in-cheek?) by Sony as a "entry level camera" but this entry-level camera blows top of the range full-frame cameras from the big two (Nikon and Canon) out of the water I think - plus its a few thousand quid cheaper than them!

It's pretty simple for me.

If I had £5000 to blow on a camera, I'd blow it on the performance Sony (the A9). 

If I can somehow gather up and blow £2000 on a camera, I'd (IN A HEARTBEAT) buy a Sony A7iii NOW. I may find a way to do so even now!

It's full frame.

It's light and small.

It doesn't overheat (old bugbear with mirrorless cameras).

It has an excellent battery life (another old bugbear for mirrorless cameras).

It has focus points covering something like 93% of the frame (rather than the 5% at the centre like most DSLRs).

It has almost uncanny autofocus (AT LEAST as good as much more expensive DSLRs, if not MUCH better).

It has a backlit sensor and is the new king of low light (high ISO) photography.

It can be silent (WONDERFUL for wildlife photography or weddings etc - unlike the tommy gun DSLRs).

It even takes 4K video including slow motion footage.

Finally - with a Sigma MC-11 adapter, it can even work with Canon lenses (but not Nikon though - I won't bore you with the reasons why not).

It's EVERYTHING I've ever needed or wanted in any camera. And its only 2x the price of my (now) dinosaur, the Canon 6D.


I cannot now think of a single reason why Canon owners in particular would want to remain using a Canon DSLR  body with their Canon lenses.

Nor can I think of a single reason why Nikon owners would want to remain with Nikon at all any more.



There may be one reason.

Both Canon and Nikon will this year HAVE TO release their own full frame mirrorless cameras. 

If they don't.... they will die - at least as far as camera body manufacturers are concerned.

And even if they do release their first proper full frame mirrorless cameras - AND those models are a success - this will STILL mean the end of the big, stone-age, noisy, heavy, slow, expensive DLSRs.

Oh alright then.

The other reason might be that Sony, with the release of their A7iii, have effectively halved (or worse) the value of my and everyone else's currently-owned Canon/Nikon DSLRs  - we won't be able to sell them to upgrade to Sony!


There you have it then.

The first proper DSLR was the Minolta Dynax Maxxum 7000 in 1985.

We had 21 odd years of DSLRs before Sony bought (Konica) Minolta in 2006 I think.

And 12 years after that, now... in 2018... laydeez and gennelmen, Sony (who bought the company that made the first DSLR) have jussssst about killed the DSLR off for good.

Perhaps the rumoured 5DX will be the last DSLR of significance made by Canon at least.









NB. I perhaps should point out (in case of any confusion) that I don't think the demise of the DSLR is a bad thing. Far from it in fact. Read my post again.




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