10 years ago, if someone suggested that I’d be writing this article I would have been sceptical. Five years ago, if somebody suggested that I’d be writing this article I’d find it believable but I wouldn’t think it would apply to pros. Now – I’m more uncertain of what the future holds than ever.
With graphs like these all over the internet world – we can’t deny that general camera sales are constantly diminishing. Not only do we see a fall in DSLRs, but a fall in every type of camera. The cause of the general trend is usually attributed to smartphones fulfilling the role that our cameras used to play. We no longer need a camera for our day-to-day snaps, we all have phones we rely on. And now, some claim that phones could even replace the use of a DSLR for some users. However, these are still simply claims – there has been no proof to directly link camera sales falls to smartphones.
Smartphones have improved to a point that they can be an alternative to a camera for many of us. Take the iPhone X for example, with two 12MP cameras and maximum apertures of f/1.8 and f/2, dual optical image stabilisation. Plus 4K at 60fps. That’s enough to really challenge some entry-level DSLRs without question – and it can fit right in our pockets at all times. Shooting on phones also allows far more instant connectivity and really speedy uploads to social media or websites.
Another common theory for the drop in DSLR sales is the introduction and constant improvement on mirrorless cameras. Again, just a few years ago these were nowhere near as advanced so it would have seemed like quite a far-fetched notion that they would rival DSLRs. Now, they are really encroaching on the territory with some really strong models being released by manufacturers such as Sony and Fuji.
We’re seeing more and more pros switch over to mirrorless as they start to be able to meet their needs in terms of specifications and capabilities. One of the main reasons for this is they offer a much lighter and less bulky alternative to a DSLR, which can be very appealing when you are using that equipment for long periods of time.
Although it does sound like all doom and gloom for DSLRs, it may not be. On the other hand, DSLRs currently offer image quality that can’t be matched by other types of cameras. They offer large sensors, and therefore superior low-light performance and strong feature-sets. The lenses available for DSLRs are the most varied too, which makes the cameras themselves the most versatile.
Manufacturers are aware of the decline and it’s clear that they’re responding to the reasons why people are moving to other types of cameras. DLSRs are smaller and lighter than ever before. Given, they’re still nowhere near as small or light as a mirrorless camera or a smartphone, but it is moving in the right direction.
Combating the appeals of a smartphone, manufacturers are also increasing their connectivity. It’s increasingly frequent to see cameras with wifi, bluetooth and GPS and they are often able to connect with your phone in order to share things instantaneously and keep up with the constantly connected digital world.
Nobody knows what the future holds for DSLRs for sure. There are an increasing number of types of camera that are encroaching on the DSLR’s territory and there are many who think that they’ll die out in the foreseeable future, but some would argue that they can’t see any of the alternatives living up to them any time soon. Only time will tell…