I came across this thought provoking article on Stuck in Customs today that makes a strong case to hold off too much investment in DSLR gear, and instead switch to mirror-less cameras like the Sony NEX. The author prefers to call such cameras 3rd generation cameras to prevent any bias.

The crux of the argument lies in the smaller size and faster shooting speeds of the new cameras, while the sensor size is an area where they seem to be lacking (Sony & Samsung cameras are APS-C sized though). Currently the big makers - Nikon & Canon - have practically no presence in this market (Nikon seems to be doing something with the V1). However, they seem to have slowed down the introduction of new entry level DSLR models over the last year as well.

So, as DSLR users looking to build and enhance their kit (there are many like me who've jumped the bandwagon over the last couple of years, and are just starting to build their kit), what are the advantages of sticking with the DSLR system rather than switching to the 3rd gen cameras?

IMO, one point that could cause a massive switch in the DSLR base would be if Nikon & Canon announced mirror-less models compatible with their current lens lineups, but that is a hypothetical scenario.

P.S. There is a similar question on mirror-less cameras, but that seems to be from the perspective of a person starting out rather than a person already invested in the DSLR system.

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    Regarding lens compatibility, it should be possible to make nearly any existing DSLR lens compatible with any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. A design advantage of being mirrorless is that the distance from the lens mount to the sensor can be smaller. The DSLR lens needs to be held out a little farther from the sensor, which can be accomplished with an adapter without any additional optics. The adapters may not exist yet, but they will appear if the market is there.
    – Theran
    Jan 9, 2012 at 7:00
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    Previous questions asking about the future have been shut down . Meta-disussion about whether that's what we want to do here: meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/1843/…
    – mattdm
    Jan 9, 2012 at 11:41
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    Another point that is not often considered in regards to the view-finder vs LCD debate is the additional stability gained when using the viewfinder.
    – ab.aditya
    Jan 9, 2012 at 13:25
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    Nikon has a mount adapter which allows you to use legacy lenses on V1. Jan 9, 2012 at 15:17
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    In a somewhat ironic twist, Trey has just announced he's buying a D800 :) stuckincustoms.com/2012/03/30/nikon-d800-first-photo
    – MikeW
    Mar 31, 2012 at 4:38

13 Answers 13


I don't see the DSLR going anywhere anytime soon. The advent of mirrorless cameras does not constitute a life-ending event for DSLR's, or any other type of camera design. The advent of mirrorless simply expands the available pool of camera types, diversifying the options and making it easier for each individual photographer to get the camera gear that best suits their needs and style. Mirrorless cameras certainly have their advantages, but they also have their disadvantages. No single type of camera can ever service every need perfectly.

The DSLR was the best option in most cases until now, and while I'm sure many photographers will leave them behind in order to progress onto newer technology, many more are sure to stick with them. In particular, I think people who regularly shoot a lot of action will find the very small size of mirrorless cameras (which is supposedly one of their supreme appealing attributes) a bit too small for the job. I recently upgraded from a 450D to a 7D. Aside from the amazing advancements in AF and improvements to just about everything else, the SIZE is one of its most appealing factors. It fits my hands so much better than the 450D, and its a lot easier to grip. Combined with the larger size of a telephoto lens, holding, panning, and zooming are very easy. I can't begin to fathom how one would hold and manage a camera system half the 7D size for capturing lots of action (sports, wildlife, birds) without particularly petite hands and considerable dexterity.

Smaller size also means smaller lenses, and smaller lenses mean smaller physical apertures. Physical aperture size is a very important aspect when it comes to image quality, particularly the quality of background blur. Anyone who has ever tried to use a basic point & shoot camera for serious photographic work where DOF was a critical artistic factor will understand how smaller apertures can pose a serious problem. Granted, mirrorless designs lend themselves to lenses with larger apertures than the majority of point and shoot cameras, however they will be a limiting factor in many cases.

Optical viewfinders are something you can't mimic. Electronic viewfinders are handy as they allow the mirror to be eliminated, but they have specific limitations. For one, achieving high enough pixel density necessary for being viewed so closely is currently impossible, and extremely difficult even with the necessary technology to achieve it. Compromises have to be made on that front...either using a resolution lower than would be idea, resulting in visible pixels, or using pixels that can emit all three primary colors (RGB) and cycling between the three colors on each pixel at a very high refresh rate. Both compromises reduce the final quality of what you see in the viewfinder. They are simply an option, and photographers who's needs don't demand what an optical viewfinder offers are likely to be quite happy with electronic ones.

When it comes to frame rate, there are limits to whats good. The article mentions a 60fps frame rate. Could you imagine how much memory card space you would need to capture sequence after sequence of RAW images at 60fps?!? Its astounding how much disk space you can use with a mere 8-10fps and 18mp RAW images...the 500-600 photos per card that I'm used to literally disappears in a tiny fraction of the time it took when I was limited to 3fps. Thats nothing to mention of the fact that 60fps is more than twice the frame rate preferred for most cinematic-quality video and movies...24fps, and double that of standard television at 29fps. It may be intriguing that cameras with electronic shutters can capture images that fast, but from a practical standpoint, a lower frame rate is more useful.

In the end, the SIC article comes across as a little naive, given the facts. Film SLR's are still fairly widely used today. Medium format film cameras are still fairly dominant in that format. Large format view cameras, based on one of the oldest camera designs since the advent of the camera (and the probably 1st generation cameras), are a staple of many of the worlds best landscape and studio photographers, and the industry for brand new large format cameras is quite large and profitable. The DSLR will probably diminish, both in growth and total usage, over the coming decades, but it will never disappear. It will likely remain as a primary option for photographers alongside "3rd generation" cameras, and whatever rises up in the future as a "4th generation" camera (can anyone say Lytro?)

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    a lower frame rate is more useful makes no sense, perhaps you actually meant a lower frame rate is more than sufficient. Although I had to add that if you can reallly capture an image at 60 fps, that means you can potentially have the flexibility to retime the capture, which can be lifesaver when capturing fast-moving actions. I don't know if any camera actually does that (since it'll take lots of disk space to store what is basically going to be a very high resolution short movie); but the possibilities are there.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jan 9, 2012 at 12:22
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    Excellent points (+1) but I do disagree on one thing - mirrorless cameras are actually ideal for low DoF. Low DoF is all about low F-stops, which means aperture and focal length is important. Removing the mirror shortens the focal length, which in turn means lower F-stop for smaller apertures. I think speedy lenses with a portable camera is what the mirrorless designs are all about.
    – Keith
    Jan 9, 2012 at 12:47
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    @LieRyan: No, I explicitly meant more useful. In all honesty, who wants to sift through hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of RAW images, all of which have such minor differences that you would be extremely hard pressed to see them with your own two eyes? A 60fps frame rate for shooting action is not useful, in my opinion...its FAR too much. A 20fps rate might be useful, since, as you said, it gets you most of the way to "real-time", without consuming an ungodly amount of space nor wasting an ungodly amount of time in post.
    – jrista
    Jan 9, 2012 at 17:04
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    @Keith: The maximum size of a blur circle is directly related to the PHYSICAL size of the aperture. While the thinness of DOF is indeed related to the relative aperture (F/#), that has little to do with the quality of the background blur. If you only care about getting super thin DOF, you can do that on pretty much any camera with a sensor around APS-C size or larger. If you care about the ultimate quality of the bokeh, then smaller is not necessarily better, and the smaller you get, the less likely you are to get top-notch quality background blur.
    – jrista
    Jan 9, 2012 at 17:07
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    @jrista: still makes no sense, even if the technology allows you to capture 60fps, that doesn't mean you always have to use 60fps, you'll always have settings to tune them down when you know you don't need it. While if the technology only allows 3fps, you're stuck with just that.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jan 9, 2012 at 23:39

they said rangefinders were going to go the way of the dodo when SLRs were introduced.
They said SLRs were going away when point and shoot cameras were introduced.
They said black and white was dead when colour film was invented.
All are still with us today.

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    IMO, even color film is pretty much dead by now and black and white is only heard on stories; it's true that there are people on the fringe that shoots film, but does that count?
    – Lie Ryan
    Jan 9, 2012 at 12:33
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    @Lie: because it can much more easily be developed at home, I think B&W will outlast color.
    – mattdm
    Jan 9, 2012 at 12:56
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    @mattdm: how many percent of the population shoots in B&W film compared to the population that have some type of digital camera (DSLR, point & shoot, mobile camera, etc)? I don't have any hard data, but I guess the number probably is below 1%, even if you exclude mobile phone; that's dodo for me.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jan 9, 2012 at 23:33
  • In the case of film, it is going to become a question of availability - very similar to the fate of the Polaroid cameras.
    – ab.aditya
    Jan 10, 2012 at 4:23
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    There are still niche groups that play Commodore 64, or drive cars with crank-starting motors, or listen to vinyl, or use <insert literally any old technology here>. That doesn't mean those things aren't considered dead. I would consider all the things listed here as dead technologies (except for SLR/point-and-shoot, of course), in that they are almost never used by professionals or hobbyists, for serious endeavors, outside of their nostalgia-factor. Apr 18, 2013 at 20:40

I've been doing a lot of research on this topic lately. Here is what I've found (note that I use "mirrorless" to refer specifically to mirrorless cameras with interchangable lens):

tl;dr: Mirrorless can give better value, but the technology is still catching up, and poor usability in low-light means they are not a replacement for DSLR's.

Pros of using a Mirrorless

  • Shorter Flange Focal Distance (FFD) (the actual distance from the sensor to the lens) means that wide-angle lenses can be made smaller, cheaper, lighter, and sharper than what is physically possible for DSLR's. This applies to other lenses as well, to a lesser extent.

  • Fewer Moving Parts. In any digital system, the mechanical (moving) parts are always the most prone to failure. Because they have fewer moving parts, mirrorless cameras should last longer on average (assuming the same build-quality for everything else).

  • Audio-free. DSLR's are pretty noisy (sound-wise) when shooting, due to the mirror moving up and down. The noise can sometimes ruin the shot (eg. scare away the animal you're shooting), or be socially-unacceptable (eg. when capturing the silent-moment for someone who has died).

  • Cheaper. All other things being equal, a mirrorless camera should be cheaper to produce, simply because it has less precision-parts. Lenses of similar quality should also be cheaper, because they can be made with fewer/simpler lens-elements due to the shorter FFD.

    What this means is that, if you have $XYZ amount of cash allotted to spend on a camera or lens, having a mirrorless will allow you to get higher-quality parts for your money (Note: This is only mildly true right now, due to supply-and-demand, but as the technology becomes more popular, prices will lower).

    This is important for anyone who doesn't have a large pool of money.

Cons of using a Mirrorless

  • Can't be used in low-light. Because there is no optical viewfinder, if the light is too low, the camera basically can't be used. This is the major issue with mirrorless cameras.

  • Display will never be as "real-time" as a viewfinder. However, displays have gotten so blazingly fast that there is zero practical lag (1ms or less) on the higher-quality screens. The only time I can imagine a true real-time viewfinder being of any possible benefit is when following a high-speed object at high zoom.

  • Battery life. Mirrorless cameras usually have shorter battery life, due to having to keep the LCD and CCD on all the time. As LCD's, CCD's, and batteries become more efficient, this becomes less of a problem.

However, that is not the complete story. There are some issues I did not include above, either because (A) They are mainly psychological in nature, (B) They have to do with the way the technology is currently implemented, rather than the technology itself, or (C) Are easily worked around.

Somewhat-Pros of using a Mirrorless

  • Less Vibration. Even when using a tripod, when the mirror goes up on a DSLR, it causes a small amount of vibration, which can affect the sharpness of the image. However, many DSLR's come with a "mirror up" mode, which prevents this by keeping the mirror up at all times while taking photos and completely negates this issue. The viewfinder cannot be used while the mirror is up, so the DSLR essentially becomes a mirrorless with a longer FFD.

  • Faster images. Some mirrorless cameras can capture at 60 FPS or more. However, there's no technical reason a DSLR couldn't be built to do the same in mirror-up mode; they just currently don't.

Somewhat-Cons of using a Mirrorless

  • No Viewfinder because the mirror is what makes the viewfinder possible to begin with. Some models have a "fake" viewfinder (with an LCD display inside), but these offer no advantage over the larger LCD screen on the back of the camera. I consider this a mainly psychological issue, since the LCD display completely replaces the viewfinder (other than the issues mentioned above). Mostly, people want the viewfinder because it's what they're used to, and because without it...

  • It looks less professional. This is due to the perception that pros always use the viewfinder, and will certainly change as this technology becomes more popular.

  • Smaller bodies. The lack of a mirror allows mirrorless cameras to be much smaller and skinnier than DSLR's. However, just because the body can be made smaller does not mean it has to be, and once camera manufacturers realize that not everyone wants a tiny camera, they'll likely start building mirrorless cameras with larger bodies.

  • Can't use existing DSLR lenses due to the longer FFD expected by these lenses. You can buy an adapter, but then you lose the possible sharpness-bonus.

  • Might be harder for some people to stabilize while taking hand-held shots because they are used to using a viewfinder rather than holding the camera in front of them. They can improve this simply by practicing: from what I've read, both stances have about equal stability when done correctly.

  • Current high-grade mirrorless cameras are not on par with high-grade DSLR's. This will of course change as time goes by.

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    @downvoter: Why the downvote? If I have anything incorrect, please let me know so I can correct it. Apr 19, 2013 at 14:13
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    I don't quite agree with your conclusions, but upvoted anyway. Good work so far, and you can update this answer later, after more experience with electronic viewfinders. No matter how good a mirrorless camera ever becomes, we will not see a pro photographer holding their cameras in front of them, camera unsupported at armslength away from face. That's tourists taking photos of tourist attractions. Apr 19, 2013 at 14:53
  • @Esa: I agree, sorry, I wasn't implying that. As I understand it, the proper stance for using the LCD display is to either have your elbows tucked against your ribs and the camera at chest-level (with the LCD-screen tilted up, if your screen tilts separately), or to hold it much like an SLR but slightly farther from your face. Either one provides almost or just as much stability as the SLR-stance, but both "look unprofessional," due to the current perception of what professional photographers look like. I have these already listed under Somewhat-Cons for mirrorless. Apr 19, 2013 at 15:15

I don't think I'd write off SLRs quite yet.

What he's calling "third generation cameras" use electronic viewfinders. I don't find the current crop of EVFs particularly useful. I'm not nearly as confident as he is that they're going to improve drastically and quickly either. I recently tested the Sony A77, which is pretty clearly the highest-end camera using an EVF, and wasn't overly impressed.

Based on the (rather minimal) improvement over the bridge camera I used ~10 years ago, I'd say EVFs need another 30-40 years of work to catch up with optical viewfinders. Obviously the future is impossible to predict, and OLEDs may improve faster than that baseline would suggest -- but Sony didn't just start working on OLED displays yesterday either; quick, massive improvement doesn't seem inevitable to me.

I'd also note that (direct, no adapter) compatibility with current SLR lenses would negate one of the major advantages of these cameras. One of their big advantages is that they can be thinner than an SLR -- but an SLR's lenses are designed to be a specific distance from the sensor, so to maintain compatibility with them, you'd need roughly the same thickness of body to put the flange the same distance from the sensor. Since Sony is already doing this, I'll use their models as examples. You end up with something like a Sony A77 instead of something like a NEX.

  • I guess, technically speaking, you could use extension tubes and/or an adapter that put the lens flange farther away from the sensor of a mirrorless, and existing SLR lenses should work fine.
    – jrista
    Jan 10, 2012 at 3:50
  • @jrista: Yes, that's not merely a technicality either -- quite a few older lenses are suddenly being put back into use with micro-four thirds and/or NEX cameras. I haven't seen the same with the Nikon 1 series yet, but I think it's just a matter of time. Jan 10, 2012 at 14:07
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    +1 For EVF. As far as I'm concerned, until we have 24/32-bit sensors with practically unlimited dynamic range OR an EVF that damn nearly perfectly simulates exposure in all conditions, you'll have to pry my DSLR out of my cold, dead hands. Jan 22, 2013 at 2:00
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    Just for some specifics...at 1" eye relief, EVF's would need to be 5000PPI (yes, that is FIVE THOUSAND PIXELS PER INCH) to be dense enough for someone with 20/10 vision to be incapable of seeing pixels. In the case of RGB EVF's, that means each full pixel would be less than 5.1 microns in size, each subpixel element 1.7 microns in size. A 1" eye relief is common in DSLRs, but shorter eye reliefs are common in mirrorless cameras, some as small as 11mm. You would need an EVF with 12,000PPI to eliminate visible pixels, or RGB pixels 2.1 microns in size, subpixel elements 700nm in size...
    – jrista
    Jan 28, 2013 at 1:29
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    At 700nm, the size of a subpixel is too small for the longer wavelengths of red light (visible read light can extend as far as 780nm) to get through the color filter of a red pixel. There would be barely enough room for green light to get through a green filter (565nm). These factors are only one of many...we also need higher dynamic range to even come close to what our eyes can see. EVFs are also limited by the capabilities of the sensors, so low-light photography is pretty much out (i.e. you would never be able to do any real night sky photography with an EVF, however if you use an OVF...
    – jrista
    Jan 28, 2013 at 1:32

DSLRs are certainly not going away any time soon, especially at the high end of the market - ruggedness, speed, large sensor size, and the continued availability of excellent glass will keep them around for some time. Large sensor cameras will also continue to appeal to nature photographers, as the 1.0x crop factor on the higher end models will allow them to shoot wider than APS-C, m4/3, or smaller sensored cameras, lens for lens.

That said, I believe that growth of the DSLR market will slow, perhaps even flattening, as I think there are two kinds of DSLR user - pros/enthusiasts who need specific feature sets and are willing to deal with larger size and weight, and people who want better than a point-and-shoot, who would prefer a smaller camera and get some of the benefits of a larger one (APS-C sensors, for example).

It's the latter group who will poach market share from both the DSLR and point-and-shoot market segments. Neither will be destroyed, but I believe both will lose some share.

As for me, I'm a long time SLR user, who's taking the plunge, selling his Nikon bodies and lenses, and going mirrorless (X-Pro1 when it drops). I think it will offer a compromise of features and size that will get me shooting more, because I'm carrying less. And the point is to be out there shooting, after all...


I think entry level DSLRs are going to disappear. I've noticed people who buy those rarely use another lens than the kit zoom, and with newer cameras that have live view don't even use the viewfinder anymore. For them a MFT camera is better and will replace it because cheap DSLR don't last that long either.

As mirrorless cameras are getting better people who care about the weight of their equipment (like me) are going to switch as well.


The advantages of DSLR are going to be usage specific as well as product line specific. It depends on what you are doing with your photographing. It also depends on the state of the market in terms of what products will be available, in the new systems that will eventually replace the current DSLR systems (specifically the mount size, focal plane distance, and sensor size). Premium cameras with a larger focal plane exist because there is an advantage to that which mean photographers want and can work with. Others are not even DSLR and are considered high-end Pro. Look at cameras by Hasselblad, Leica, and Mamiya. You can see both formats larger than "full frame" and lens mounts that don't need to make room for a mirror. They have their advantages, too.

I think a new format will eventually emerge that does not exist today. It will be larger than the 4/3rds system because of the advantages of a larger sensor regarding noise. But it might not dominate because digital sensors have fairly well leveled the playing field as phone cameras clearly prove. I hope this new format is just the same 35mm based full frame related sizing, with a closer lens mount which can support an extender adapter to accept "older reflex style" lenses.

  • +1 for "... format ... that does not exist today". Absolutely. Whatever happens, it will surprise us all. Speculation is not really useful (even if it is fun). In stead, let's enjoy what we have! :)
    – AJ Finch
    Jan 9, 2012 at 17:15

No, DSLRs are not a dying breed - at least not directly due to the Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. There will be some pressure on the DSLR market from MILCs especially in the lower end, but the primary market is the upper end of the point-and-shoot, looking quality and flexibility.

There are two main reasons supporting this:

Feature gap

The feature gap between a DSLR - everything apart from the most entry-level models - and a MILC is too great. There are a few benefits of a MILC, particularly the size and weight, but for everything else it is a big loser.

  • less accessible (manual) controls, most things are buried in menus
  • too small for big hands
  • less robust
  • no viewfinder
  • smaller sensor

Some of these might be overcome, but ultimately a MILC is a ultra-portable camera. It's like the modern 'ultrabook' laptop of cameras - it's far better than previous laptops, it's more than sufficient for most users, but true 'power users' will still want a more powerful desktop for the screen, keyboard/mouse, generally more powerful hardware, and so on. If you want the best, portability is less important.

Advent of quality mobile phone cameras

Point-and-shoots are a dying breed. Basic models with minimal zoom & lacking features like waterproofing or similar can be had for $50; the only models that are desirable are superzoom or underwater cameras. This is simply because mobile phone cameras are progressing quickly, and are more than sufficient for almost all 'point-and-shoot' tasks.

  • Those people that would have a cheap 'quickpix' or whatever in their bag will just use their Nokia or Galaxy - they'll have their phone with them anyway, and the image compromise is minimal.

  • The people buying the higher end point-and-shoots will be upsold to the MILC cameras, because 'look at the quality' and the range of lens options. These people consider themselves interested in photography, having spent a few hundred dollars on a camera, and I think they'll be most likely upsold to a much-better-yet-still-portable camera like a MILC.

The key point is that technology moves up, not down. People with DSLRs might buy a MILC as a second camera, but the feature compromise is too great at the moment to swap over. The point-and-shoot cameras are the real dying breed, and that market will split at least 80-20 to mobile phones and MILC cameras.


A little history might give some perspective, sorry if I'm repeating what everyone already knows.

Historically SLR's (and especially miniature format SLRs -- i.e. 35mm) became popular because other camera designs available at the time couldn't offer a wide variety of lenses that could be easily used off tripod.

With view cameras (think of Ansel Adams), the photographer didn't look through any lens at the moment of taking the picture. The film cassette blocked the ground glass, so you had to just look out at the world and decide when to activate the shutter.

A camera with a range-finder style eyepiece (available for all film formats), helped the photographer frame the photograph, but really only worked well with a few pre-decided focal lengths. Also, there are parallax issues -- where the eyepiece isn't seeing what the lens is seeing. And focusing issues.

Twin-lens reflex made focusing more precise by using a ground glass, but made it more difficult to design a camera that could accept multiple lenses.

So when the 35mm SLR came around (especially after automatic f-stop diaphragms and quick return mirrors) it was a revolution. You had a relatively small camera that allowed you to see what the lens saw up to and after the exposure and allowed you to easily use macro and telephoto lenses.

This design then became the default template, although people still used view cameras and rangefinders and twin-lens reflex cameras -- and some really great photographs were and still are taken using cameras with these earlier designs.

With digital cameras, the primary reason SLRs were such a phenomenon -- the ability to see what will be captured up to and after the exposure -- is certainly less important. A digital sensor can send information to a digital screen, etc.

There are drawbacks to the current crop of mirror-less digital cameras, but I'm sure their designs will evolve. The camera of the future may look nothing like a Nikon V1. And yet, I'm sure that the basic SLR design will survive, just as the view camera and range-finder style cameras have survived.

There are many, many different types of cameras out there. Just find one that makes you happy and confident of its ability to do what you ask of it.


Just found this 3rd gen debate, but most of everything I read is for the already gear committed photographer.

Im straight out of school landing a few freelance jobs here and there. I have not spent the 5k yet for a great lens, a fx body, and some odds and ends. So my answer is:


Its not a question of if but when. Every process of recording light is still being used today, and niche markets still remain for people to fill them i.e. large/medium/wet/alt so no one needs to debate that. DSLR's will alway be here and there will always be people to use them but it may have peaked and on a bell curve the only way is down. I am sorry to say that since I am just starting out but its just like peak oil, you peak then you decline.

Love the debate!

  • About the debate over electronic viewfinders. I wonder why the OVF-fans want EVF to match the quality of OVF before they'll consider EVF acceptable. See, we are taking digital photographs of real life subjects, so the end product (photo) is no match to the subject (real life) and yet we are not complaining about it being "not good enough". Get what I mean? I don't expect EVF to be as good as OVF, when the end product is going to be a digital photograph anyway. Mar 22, 2013 at 18:46

I started out in eighth grade with a Brownie, started getting SLRs,graduated to auto focus Minolta 9000(The first auto focus), got a Hassleblad for wedding photography, got the first digital cameras and and have had a Sony DX 100 II for over a year now ( calling it a point-and-shoot it's like calling a Mercedes-Benz a car , And absolutely gorgeous instrument where you can take pictures in darkness you couldn't even imagine without a tripod). A couple of months ago I bought a Nikon 5200 my first DSlR. This camera does things that A photographer would say would be impossible with film camera. An ISO of 3200, are you serious, there was no film that would even come close to that. It comes down to this, no matter what instrument you have if you can't take a good photograph all the technical advances in camera don't matter One iota

  • Yes, true, but as to the question, which was whether DSLR's will become obsolete with the advent of mirrorless...?
    – MikeW
    Aug 14, 2015 at 3:53

I think DSLRs are destined for demise sadly. Yes third gen cameras will replace them. Briefly, I found the following reasons for such a likely transition:

  • a. Both Canon and Nikon took advantage of users' commitment to DSLRs and churned out some gimmicky but awful bodies particularly in the "prosumer" segment. They targeted photography ignorant users who crave for high megapixels. All those bodies produce terribly noisy images.
  • b. Third Gen cameras lack real-time view however, they are addressing this shortcoming real fast.
  • c. These new cameras are fun to carry due to size advantage.
  • d. Due to absence of mirror, it is soundless and burst rate is mind blowing.
  • e. Within a couple of years time these wonders are poised to pack most of the features pros and enthusiasts crave for.
  • f. They produce low noise high ISO images - a staple for low light conditions.
  • g. The only exception will be the action shooters from a distance (sports and wildlife).

So, when they start producing quality telephoto lenses as well, this group will also contemplate switching seriously.

I am an enthusiast unhappy DSLR user and seriously watching the developments lately.

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    I think you're generally right, but I question the assertion that recent prosumer cameras produce "terribly noisy" images. In general, in fact, the trend has been towards amazingly high-quality images, with significantly lower noise than previous generations, even at high ISOs.
    – mattdm
    Jul 18, 2012 at 17:06
  • I'm also curious why you describe yourself as "unhappy" while noting that the shortcomings are tending to be improved. Can you elaborate on that?
    – mattdm
    Jul 18, 2012 at 17:08
  • a: erh, nex7 is 24mp, eos 7d is 18mp. who is barking up treews of the MP fetishists? b: are you referring to optical viewfinders? or insinuating that digital viewfinders "very soon" (next year?20 years?) will be on par with optical ones? c: Eos 5D is too small without a battery pack, so how is a camera smaller than a puny rebel any "fun"? d: sound. point taken. mech sound is better than digital mimick sound , though, haha. mindblowing framerate. Mine does 6.5fps, which is generally too fast, so I slow it down to 3. Do you want a video camera or a photo camera? Jan 22, 2013 at 0:44
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    e: so they will get bigger like a Eos 1D with gribability in landscape and portrait framing alike, and fingertip control of shutterspeed and aperture from both orientations, as well as a large optical viewfinder? f: being the same crop sensors inside how can this be true? if you compare raw iso 6400-12800 from the flagship nex7 to eos 7D here: dpreview.com/reviews/sonynex7/page26.asp I'd say 7D has the advantage with its larger pixels. If you add DSLR Eos 6D to the comparison matrix, voila, even iso 12800 looks pretty nice. g: I thought high fps was useful for action shooters? Jan 22, 2013 at 0:55

The article that provoked this thread should not be taken seriously. It smacked of an enthusiast for Mirror-less needing to get the whole world to agree that what is right for him is best for everyone. He was cherry-picking his arguments, and ignoring very obvious counter-arguments

The number of people using Full Frame DSLRs might well fall, as many photographers find smaller formats and mirror-less designs more suited to their needs. That does not mean that they have been superseded.

Another reason for DSLR sales falling is that many of us are still more than happy with our ten-year-old cameras. Since digital imaging has matured at a very high standard we do not need to replace our perfectly adequate cameras with even better ones that offer features, capabilities and resolutions that we neither need nor want.

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