The Death of the SLR

I have a confession to make.  I’ve not picked up my SLR camera gear in 104 days!  That’s right – it’s been over three months since I picked it up for any reason, other than to move it out of the way of something else in my “man cave”.  This is not to say that I have not been creative, nor taken any pictures.  Just a single browsing through my G12, my iPhone, or my G12 will reveal that is not the case.

Now granted, I have not really carved out the time to photo sessions like I have in the past primarily because I have been involved a lot with my full time job as a Software Trainer, and in a new business initiative that I am starting here locally, as well as the forthcoming eBooks which (I know) are woefully overdue.

But, when I sat down to think about it, I really have needed my SLR less and less.  Most of the time, I can get just as good a quality image from my G12, iPhone, or even the GoPro lately, and each has the added advantage of video capabilities!  In fact, one thing I had been meaning to do was to capture some video footage of snow falling.  This was to serve as a backdrop for a photo montage of my own favorite snow scenes from my portfolio for the last few years.

This is not to say that I am losing interest in photography – I will always love photography!  The power and story-telling capability of a single still frame is always one that will fascinate me, and I am always seeking to become better at the craft.

But, when I look at the SLR cameras that are out there, both the one I have, and others in the market – I don’t think I really need another SLR.  It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.  About the only advantage to SLR is that in studio and when on a professional assignment, they do have just that extra nudge of image quality.  But, with that being said, I just don’t see the need for a new SLR.  Here’s my current collection:

Canon 40D – Accepts EFS lenses due to its crop sensor and does an amazing job at even up to 800 ISO levels for still work.

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

G12 – Records 1280×720 video, and has a higher MP count than my 40D for stills.  Great for on-the-go footage and the SD card makes things super easy to save to my laptop (which has an SD slot, but not a CF slot).

iPhone – Super easy on the go for both quick snaps to share things via social media, and 1920x1080p HD video!  The apps that have been developed to assist in this niche have been incredible!

GoPro Hero2 – Amazing wide angle video quality, which I really am only beginning to explore, but when I see the weekly publications from their site, am continually inspired for new project ideas!

12 comments for “The Death of the SLR

  1. at

    You might be right, I think we all hate to admit it but I’m sure it’s crossed our minds at some point. Image quality has gotten to be so good now that the only problem left is the ‘social stigma’ of not shooting on a DSLR that some shooters out there like to give people a hard time over.

    Honestly, I’m just happy to get an image I really like and hope I have ANY camera with me when it comes along :). That said, I would still use my DSLR (5D mkII) as my first choice when given the option to not care about weight or carrying it around.

    • at

      Agreed – if weight/packing/carrying around is not a factor, I would choose my SLR in a heartbeat over any of the other options listed.

      That said, would I upgrade my SLR to gain access to videography functions? Not given my G12, iPhone and GoPro

      Would I upgrade my SLR to gain in MP count?
      Not given the G12 and iPhone

      Would I upgrade my SLR to gain access to new features like face detection?
      No

      The question really is: Why would I upgrade my SLR (short of the current one breaking)?

      My answer more and more (and I think for many people) is: There is no reason to upgrade…

      • at

        After giving it some more thought the only reason I would upgrade my DSLR (Canon 5D mkII) is for better auto focus, but that is not enough of a justification since I can use manual just fine for most situations and the cost is way beyond my budget for the newer one.

        • Jason
          at

          I rest my case…SLR’s for existing photographers are likely “enough” most of the time and I suspect that sales and interest levels will drop.

          New buyers will always enter the SLR market space sure, but with the increasing viability of the mirrorless genre, the compact camera gaining respect in the industry, and our mobile cameras filling out the lower end, I believe the SLR has no “niche” left to move into, so will ultimately move out…

  2. at

    I just upgraded my SLR from a 50D to the 6D. The improved noise performance at higher iso ratings is staggering when compared to the 50D! That alone has reinvigorated my photography and I feel that it has opened up new avenues of artistic expression to explore. Before the upgrade, I was on the cusp of storing my camera away and relying on my canon s90 and my android phone camera. However, I’ve never been fully satisfied with the quality of either. Sure, they’re good for snapshots and family trips where the rest of the family doesn’t really want to see me lugging all my gear around. Heck, I’ll probably still use the S90 for informal ‘snapshot’ type situations, the phone for any video I want to take and the SLR for ‘serious’ work. However, with the new 40mm f2.8 pancake lens that has come out, I am seriously tempted to slap that on my SLR and start taking it out for more occasions than I normally would. The question I’ve been struggling with is this: Sell the 50D or keep it as a backup camera. I’m seriously thinking of selling it to help pay for more accessories for the 6D, (battery grip, lens, memory…etc). But I’m finding that I’m actually being somewhat sentimental about the darn thing and am finding the idea of parting with it difficult.

  3. at

    Quality wise now days the gap and the differences in quality between the camera brands starts to diminish with every year. But what makes people preferring using anything else but DSLR’s in their every day casual shots is the size of the equipment. But after all we cant really compare, quality wise, a camera packet into a phone and the bulky DSLR the size is for a reason ;)

  4. Kevin Moore
    at

    I would have to agree with this article. In fact, I sold all of my Canon gear after buying into the Fuji X system (X-Pro1 specifically). The quality has been amazing and it has actually motivated me photographically due to how much I love the camera as well as the fact that I no longer have all of that heavy gear to lug around. I have enjoyed photography more and I find that I am shooting more and creating better images.

  5. at

    250m photos uploaded to Facebook every day – most currently from smart phones. Like all products the DSRL category will evolve to incorporate both features and benefits of smartphones (WIFI/ GPS / video/ interoperabilty/ software) and DSRL competitive advantage – lens, feel, strobe control, dual card storage, time code etc. What’s interesting is DSRL’s entering into the domain of video production cameras.

  6. at

    My thinking shifted in this direction about a year ago. I since sold off my 5D and several L and Zeiss lenses to move to a more compact APS-C mirrorless system. For my needs it’s been great.

    I’d also agree that it’s interesting how far SLR’s have pushed into video. Aside from that, tracking auto-focus, strobe control, and better handling for long lenses seem to be the domain of the SLR for now… mostly things pro’s would be concerned about I guess.

  7. at

    Me too, for some time I’ve just been carrying my EM-5 – I just don’t need the weight of my 40D (and associated lumps of glass). The only thing I’m using my 40 for is fast-moving stuff, anything else the mirrorless can handle, including lots of low-light shooting, landscapes and more. Must sell L lenses…

  8. at

    I totally agree with Jason its time to go for newer and better options, I had used the SLRs for quite sometime but its time to switch to newer brands, I am not a professional photographer though I cover some small events I am giving a thought to Samsung’s new android camera lets see what wonder it does

  9. at

    As a hobbiest I would tend to use non SLR cameras more than I would as a pro. Pixel count is not a fair way to compare a 40d to a g12. Images used for the web would be similar for both cameras ,possibly, but not if you decided to make larger prints from them. I use a Nikon v1 a lot instead of my 5d mk2 or 50d but only when I know I will not need to make significant enlargements or image noise will not be a problem. (the nikon V1 is a little noisy)

    If you need speed of use an SLR will put all these other cameras to shame. For sports, wildlife you need fast autofocus and high iso capabilities with minimal noise. For example the Nikon V1 has fast autofocus but you have a 1-2 sec delay for the viewfinder to turn on once you bring the camera up to your eye. This makes this type a camera useless if you have to grab a photo fast. I also have a Fuji x-100 which is quicker but limited to one focal length.

    The end use of cameras is probably shifting more an more to internet and web use which means you can get by without an SLR. I will never give up my SLR’s but I will use other camera types when they meet my needs.

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