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6 Reasons to Avoid a New DSLR Camera Today

Avoid Canon Rebel T8i

6 Reasons to Avoid a New DSLR Camera Today

Key Points

  • Manufacturers like Canon and Nikon are no longer making DSLR cameras, signaling a shift in the industry.
  • DSLR camera technology has reached its peak, leaving little room for improvement.
  • Mirrorless cameras offer superior image quality and a wider range of autofocus modes compared to DSLRs.
  • Mirrorless cameras are more AI-friendly and have the potential for advanced automation.
  • DSLR cameras can be loud and bulky, making them less convenient for professional use.

Over the last few decades, DSLR cameras have been the must-have tool for professional photographers and videographers alike. However, if you’re looking at investing in a new camera today, a new DSLR probably isn’t the best choice. Most camera companies and professionals are moving towards mirrorless. There are many reasons why the once ubiquitous digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are falling out of favor, and we will discuss some of those reasons below. Here are six reasons to avoid a new DSLR camera today.

Some Background on the DSLR Camera

The analog single lens reflex (SLR) camera was designed to give users maximum control over exposure within a compact camera body. The DSLR was the digital version of the analog SLR. As technology moved into the digital age, the camera stayed essentially the same, but the analog film was replaced with a fixed digital sensor. 

The single-lens part of the name refers to the technology that allows the camera to use its lens for focusing, framing, and capturing the image. Reflex involves a system where light is directed into an optical viewfinder. This technology allows the photographer to preview the image before taking a shot.

Reasons to Avoid a DSLR Camera

For a few decades, DSLRs were the go-to for anyone purchasing a professional-grade camera. Not only were they favored by photographers worldwide, but they also began to be viewed as legitimate alternatives to cinema cameras. They made professional filmmaking more affordable than ever, creating a boom in low-budget indie films. DSLR cameras ushered in the era of the prosumer and may have even saved a few camera manufacturers.

Those days are slowly coming to an end, however, and the DSLR seems to be entering its autumn years. However, as sales and popularity of these cameras wane, mirrorless cameras are on the rise. This alone may not sway your decision, as well it shouldn’t. Popularity is not a good reason to invest serious money in a piece of professional equipment. But there are several good reasons to consider avoiding DSLRs.

Manufacturers Are No Longer Making Them

The Canon EOS 1D X Mark III will be the last DSLR that Canon will release according to a recent announcement. This followed a similar decision from Nikon, who will also be stopping production of their line of DSLR cameras. Both Canon and Nikon were pioneers of DSLR technology, and as a result, their cameras became the gold standard of the DSLR age. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the D3500 from Nikon were highly sought after by professional photographers and filmmakers alike.

Now it seems that times have changed. Both Canon and Nikon are walking away from the DSLR technology they pioneered with their product line of professional-grade cameras. This is bad news for people in the market for a new DSLR. When the biggest camera companies in the world stop selling a certain type of product, it follows that they will also stop developing new technologies and creating quality accessories for them.

DSLR Camera Technology Has Hit a Wall

Modern digital DSLR camera and computer workstation. Photography and videography concept.
Camera companies have stopped investing in R&D for DSLRs.

There are people who say that DSLR development has reached the peak of its potential. In fairness, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of room for improvement. The latest models of DSLRs are near-perfect in almost every way. They include incredibly fast autofocus systems, huge buffers, continuous shooting speeds, and superior image quality. 

Physical and technological limitations have brought developments in phase-detection autofocus to a standstill.  For example, Canon’s most recent  DSLR releases include the company’s Dual Pixel AF technology, and Nikon followed suit with its D780 DSLR. This addition made the newer models more appealing to buyers but in order to use this feature the camera must be in “Live View” mode which renders the optical viewfinder totally useless. As computerized functions are developed, and become more crucial, DSLRs may not be equipped to include them all.

The Image Quality Is Lower Than the Alternatives

While the mechanics are different, under most conditions the sensors of DSLR and mirrorless cameras will produce similar results. It’s the other surrounding factors that make a big difference. Things like lenses can have a greater impact on the quality of your image, which puts DSLRs at a disadvantage when compared to mirrorless cameras.

This is for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the lenses marketed for mirrorless cameras tend to have newer designs. This usually translates to improved image quality, especially at wider apertures. Mirrorless cameras also do not require lens calibration, which means there are fewer issues when it comes to autofocus. Some models of mirrorless cameras also have in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This technology improves handheld shooting and allows for shooting at lower ISOs. This means improved images in low-light conditions, especially for video. 

There’s also a greater variety of autofocus modes on mirrorless models. Not to mention, manual focus aids, silent shutter…and that’s just scratching the surface. Also, while the best DSLRs are able to match most mirrorless cameras in photo image quality, they usually can’t come close to the video capabilities of mirrorless unless both are in ideal conditions. When you consider a lot of camera consumers are not strictly photographers or videographers, but rather a hybrid of the two, it makes sense that the new tools would go towards the more well-rounded cameras.

They Aren’t AI Friendly

Mirrorless technology provides greater opportunities for innovation. As many of their autofocus systems evolve, they are incorporating machine learning and AI. With these developments, automation intended to simplify the complex aspects of advanced cameras can’t be too far behind. It won’t be long before users are able to point their mirrorless cameras at a subject and have the camera instantly recognize what they are trying to photograph. AI will give mirrorless cameras the ability to adjust focus, and perhaps even exposure, thereby producing stunningly crystal-clear results.

They Can Be Loud

Due to the nature of their construction, DSLRs can have a loud shutter. Some newer models have a quiet mode and some models of mirrorless do make noise. However, as a general rule, it might be difficult to find a quiet DSLR. It’s a nitpicky thing, but professional cameras aren’t cheap, and if you are going to make an investment in professional-grade equipment, it is okay to nitpick.

They’re Bulky

Man is holding in one hand dslr camera and mirrorless in another one. Comparison of two cameras for shooting. Choosing before buying and evaluating the pros and cons of cameras
Mirrorless cameras are usually lighter than DSLRs.

Along those lines, DSLR cameras can also be bulkier and heavier than their mirrorless counterparts. This tends to be especially true with the higher-quality DSLRs. All the added features require a greater number of components, which also require a lot of space. It’s not something you’ll pay much attention to in the store, but after you’ve been lugging a heavy camera around on the job all day, you will notice. On the flip side, mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller and lighter. They don’t contain the same mechanical parts as a DSLR,  so a mirrorless camera typically has a more compact body.

Alternatives to a DSLR Camera

If you’re serious about photography or videography, you need to think about investing in a professional-grade camera. As most major brands begin to walk away from the classic DSLR camera, you may want to consider an alternative format to ensure you are getting some of the most cutting-edge features.  In today’s world, the only comparable alternative to DSLR is a mirrorless camera. We’re going to recommend a couple from a variety of major manufacturers.

Sony a7 II

Our Top Pick
Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera Bundle with 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
$989.89
  • Mirrorless camera with 5-axis image stabilization
  • Performs well under high ISO
  • Great video in low-light conditions
  • Records video in full HD
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 12:42 pm GMT

While a bit older at this point, the Sony a7 II is a powerful camera worthy of consideration. These days the a7II can be found for a lot cheaper than its successor, the Sony a7 III. Yet despite its age, the a7 II will give you a lot of the same features for a fraction of the cost. The lower price point makes it a bargain for intermediate photographers looking to upgrade. It’s also a good choice for videographers who want a full-frame camera loaded with professional features. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a video camera that handles low light conditions better than a Sony mirrorless. 

Between its in-body 5-axis image stabilization and compact size, the Sony a7 II is perfect for run-and-gun style video shooting. It also has a wide range of customization tools, making it easy to access your favorite settings on the go. In terms of photography, it can produce bright, clear pictures with an impressively low amount of noise and grain. In the tradition of Sony mirrorless, it performs remarkably well at high ISO levels. It also has a handy wireless feature that allows you to send your photos to your device or computer within seconds. 

Canon EOS R10

Great Intermediate Camera
Canon EOS R10 Lens Kit with RF-S18-45mm F4.5-6.3
$1,099.00
  • Mirrorless Camera for photography or video
  • Crystal clear 4K Video
  • DIGIC X Image Processor
  • Compact size is ideal for Content Creators
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 09:56 pm GMT

The Canon EOS R10 was created with casual and intermediate photographers in mind. It’s a very affordable mirrorless option, especially if paired with a kit lens. Professional features at a decent price point make this a great mirrorless choice for beginners.

Like a lot of mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS R10 is remarkably lightweight and compact. It’s ideal as a run-and-gun or travel camera. Its autofocus system has the ability to track both human and animal eyes. It’s a great camera for people who plan on taking a lot of wildlife photos.

On the video side of things, the EOS R10 has an exceptionally wide color gamut, offering up to 10-bit color. It can shoot footage at 4K/60p. This may not seem impressive until you consider the price tag. This, combined with superb autofocus, make it a great choice for beginning videographers.

Nikon Z5

Quality Beginner's Camera
Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Digital Camera with Advanced Accessory Travel Bundle
$1,095.95
  • Massive ISO range up to 51200
  • 4K/30p video
  • Larger body for a more comfortable grip
  • OLED electronic viewfinder
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 12:47 pm GMT

If you’re looking for a quality midrange mirrorless camera the Nikon Z5 might just be for you. The full-frame sensor allows you to capture large and detailed images. Thanks to in-body stabilization and a massive ISO range, going all the way up to 51200, the Z5 can do excellent low-light still photography. It’s larger than some of the other cameras on this list, but that can work to its advantage as a larger body can sometimes make for a more comfortable grip.

It also allows you to shoot quality video in low-light conditions. It tops out at 4K/30p video, and unfortunately, the image is cropped, which is surprising since it’s a full frame. It has a bright 3.2-inch touchscreen but it only moves up and down, limiting your view. Definitely a beginner’s camera, but worthy of consideration for those looking to get the features of a full-frame mirrorless camera without spending too much.

FujiFilm X-T30 II

Stylish Retro Look
Fujifilm X-T30 II XF18-55mm Kit - Black
$1,299.00
  • Great for photographers
  • Stylish retro design
  • Includes 18 of Fuji's signature film simulation profiles
  • Lightweight, compact body
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 01:35 pm GMT

The Fujifilm X-T30 II might just be the best budget mirrorless camera for photographers. It also offers a lot of similar features when compared to Fuji cameras twice its price. The X-T30 II provides crisp, modern image quality which is a nice juxtaposition to the exterior’s cool retro look. It has a quality X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor paired up with an X-Processor 4, both of which enable it to perform well in a variety of lighting conditions.

The X-T30 II is a fantastic mid-range camera that includes 18 of Fuji’s signature film simulation profiles. It’s lightweight, built extremely well, and offers a respectable color range. Unfortunately, due to a lack of IBIS, video performance isn’t the best. It can shoot 4K but also tops out at 30p and is limited to 30 minutes of shooting at a time. If you’re a videographer, this one isn’t for you. You’d do better to check out something from Sony or Canon.

Avoiding a DSLR Camera: Final Thoughts

If you already have a DSLR, there’s no reason to panic and replace it right away. However, if you’re currently in the market for a brand new pro-level camera, we can’t recommend you buy a DSLR over a mirrorless today. Even if you like the big size of DSLRs, there are mirrorless cameras with larger bodies out there, you just have to be on the lookout. If you’re concerned about the battery life of a mirrorless, you can make use of a power bank or stock up on extra batteries. If you can pick up a second-hand DSLR for a bargain, it could be a good temporary solution, but if you’re looking to make a long-term investment, a mirrorless camera is most likely the smarter move.

  1. Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera Bundle with 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
    $989.89
    • Mirrorless camera with 5-axis image stabilization
    • Performs well under high ISO
    • Great video in low-light conditions
    • Records video in full HD
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 12:42 pm GMT
  2. Canon EOS R10 Lens Kit with RF-S18-45mm F4.5-6.3
    $1,099.00
    • Mirrorless Camera for photography or video
    • Crystal clear 4K Video
    • DIGIC X Image Processor
    • Compact size is ideal for Content Creators
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 09:56 pm GMT
  3. Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Digital Camera with Advanced Accessory Travel Bundle
    $1,095.95
    • Massive ISO range up to 51200
    • 4K/30p video
    • Larger body for a more comfortable grip
    • OLED electronic viewfinder
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 12:47 pm GMT
  4. Fujifilm X-T30 II XF18-55mm Kit - Black
    $1,299.00
    • Great for photographers
    • Stylish retro design
    • Includes 18 of Fuji's signature film simulation profiles
    • Lightweight, compact body
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 01:35 pm GMT

Summary Table

ReasonExplanation
Manufacturers Are No Longer Making ThemMajor camera companies like Canon and Nikon are stopping production of their DSLR cameras.
DSLR Camera Technology Has Hit a WallPhysical and technological limitations have brought developments in DSLR to a standstill.
The Image Quality is Lower Than the AlternativesDSLRs are at a disadvantage when compared to mirrorless cameras due to factors like lenses and autofocus modes.
They Aren’t AI FriendlyDSLRs lack the ability to incorporate machine learning and AI, which are becoming increasingly important in camera technology.
They Can Be LoudDSLRs can have a loud shutter due to their construction.
They’re BulkyDSLR cameras can be bulkier and heavier than their mirrorless counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras?

DSLR cameras provide advanced features, as well as the ability to change lenses. Interchangeable lenses provide more flexibility and allow for more creative control. This is why DSLR cameras usually provide better photo quality, video capabilities, and faster shutter speeds than their point-and-shoot counterparts.

Is DSLR dead?

Newer and more technologically advanced mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly common. However, DSLRs are still widely purchased and even more widely used by photographers. DSLRs may not be in the spotlight, and it’s possible they are on their way out, but they aren’t exactly outdated yet. DSLRs still have their place and will continue to do so for as long as their image quality and features can compete with mirrorless cameras.

Why are manufacturers moving away from DSLRs?

The possibilities presented by mirrorless technology are just too great to ignore. However, beyond that, moving to mirrorless is a financial decision. If a manufacturer releases a brand new DSLR model, will it have a large potential for sales? Current DSLR owners might upgrade, completely ignoring the potential of mirrorless cameras, but that very small niche isn’t really worth investing R&D and marketing money in. That may change in the future, but for now, DSLRs aren’t worth investing in.

I have a DSLR. Should I switch to mirrorless?

There’s nothing wrong with DSLRs. If your DSLR is working perfectly and you’re not in need of a new camera, you should absolutely keep using your current model. If you are looking at investing serious money into a new camera, you should absolutely invest in mirrorless, but there’s no need to create unnecessary electronic waste if you have a perfectly good camera.

I just switched to mirrorless. What should I do with my DSLR lenses?

If you do upgrade, don’t throw out those DSLR lenses. Most of them can be used with mirrorless cameras. All the major manufacturers make adapters that will allow you to use your DSLR glass with its new mirrorless counterpart.

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