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Author Topic: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?  (Read 8663 times)

Flake

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Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« on: June 01, 2012, 03:58:41 AM »
Maybe an odd question at first glance, but there is a lot of substance behind it.  Canon in particular has pushed up prices of its higher end DSLR models to such a degree that the really need to produce something pretty special - the trouble is that they don't produce image quality that much better than the previous models.

Last month Canon held a management briefing here  The interesting thing is what they said about comming compact cameras:

"we will further differentiate and enhance our lineup by launching new cameras offering the image qualities that approaches SLR cameras; furthering the improvement in design and qualities, and by incorporating features such as network, connectivity capabilities."



Now I'm sure that there will be those who view this as some kind of heresy and won't believe that this is even possible, but have a look at these images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and a Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5L and then ask yourself seriously if a DSLR would have returned better image quality.

Falling sales of high end product will reduce profits, and put pressure on manufacturers to raise high prices even higher, but what is the real point of paying so much for something which isn't returning images significantly better than those which can be obtained for a tenth of the outlay?  Of course we know that clients expect to see a big camera, better than something they might own, and for those users, there's little choice

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Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« on: June 01, 2012, 03:58:41 AM »

Tcapp

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 04:15:33 AM »
Maybe an odd question at first glance, but there is a lot of substance behind it.  Canon in particular has pushed up prices of its higher end DSLR models to such a degree that the really need to produce something pretty special - the trouble is that they don't produce image quality that much better than the previous models.

Last month Canon held a management briefing here  The interesting thing is what they said about comming compact cameras:

"we will further differentiate and enhance our lineup by launching new cameras offering the image qualities that approaches SLR cameras; furthering the improvement in design and qualities, and by incorporating features such as network, connectivity capabilities."



Now I'm sure that there will be those who view this as some kind of heresy and won't believe that this is even possible, but have a look at these images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and a Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5L and then ask yourself seriously if a DSLR would have returned better image quality.

Falling sales of high end product will reduce profits, and put pressure on manufacturers to raise high prices even higher, but what is the real point of paying so much for something which isn't returning images significantly better than those which can be obtained for a tenth of the outlay?  Of course we know that clients expect to see a big camera, better than something they might own, and for those users, there's little choice


There is more to a pro DSLR than just image quality. Build quality, responsiveness, weather sealing, AF, resolution, high ISO performance, and much more. I don't care how good a point and shoot looks at iso 100. You can't take it to a dark wedding reception and grab some great action shots without overpowering the photo with flash. More important than image quality is getting the image in the first place. There is a reason the 1dx/d4 has a lower resolution than the 5d3/d800. It makes the camera faster, more responsive, and more likely to get the shot in low light or fast action.

For soccer moms taking family snap shots? Yea, I think the DSLR's days are numbered. But for taking artistic or fast paced photos, the DSLR is king.
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pwp

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 04:16:42 AM »
It's not an endangered species yet. Sales worldwide are through the roof as chronic upgraders feel compelled to get the latest, and as enthusiast "point & shoot" photographers look to something they perceive as better. Often they'd be better off with an S100, G12 or G1X. Professionals statistically represent a small percentage of the DSLR market, but are a vitally important "halo" market to stimulate high volume sales further down the food chain.

But nothing is forever. Where is the once ubiquitous Speed Graphic, the Rolliflex etc? The form factor of today's DSLR cameras has barely evolved from SLR film bodies of 50 years ago. Fitted out with 2012 internals this form factor is surprisingly ergonomically correct for shooting stills.

"Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
" As sure as the sun will come up again tomorrow morning. But I'd be reluctant to put a date on it. It will likely come in the form of a complete breakthrough design employing technologies not yet invented. We'll have to wait and see.

PW

Tcapp

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 04:23:28 AM »
It's not an endangered species yet. Sales worldwide are through the roof as chronic upgraders feel compelled to get the latest, and as enthusiast "point & shoot" photographers look to something they perceive as better. Often they'd be better off with an S100, G12 or G1X. Professionals statistically represent a small percentage of the DSLR market, but are a vitally important "halo" market to stimulate high volume sales further down the food chain.

But nothing is forever. Where is the once ubiquitous Speed Graphic, the Rolliflex etc? The form factor of today's DSLR cameras has barely evolved from SLR film bodies of 50 years ago. Fitted out with 2012 internals this form factor is surprisingly ergonomically correct for shooting stills.

"Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
" As sure as the sun will come up again tomorrow morning. But I'd be reluctant to put a date on it. It will likely come in the form of a complete breakthrough design employing technologies not yet invented. We'll have to wait and see.

PW

Ok, maybe camera's will one day be obsolete. Maybe one day, we will insert a sensor into our brain and capture the signal from our optical nerve. How about that for good image quality! ZERO noise! I wonder what F stop our eyes have?

I bet this will actually happen one day. They already have implants that interface with human hearing and vision. I saw a show about a guy who had a digital camera implanted as a prosthetic eye. It works! Granted, its got like 12 pixel resolution, but still. Pretty cool stuff!
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 10:27:22 AM »
I wonder what F stop our eyes have?

The range is aproximately f/3.2 - f/8.   :)
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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 10:50:25 AM »
With 179 million DSLR's shipped from Jan - April 2012, there seems to be no problem selling them.  However, there were 33.5 million mirrorless cameras shipped during the same period too.  All this is having a toll on point and shoot sales.
 
Last year, 534.5 million interchangable lens cameras were shipped, but mirrorless were not broken out as a separate category.
 
http://www.cipa.jp/english/data/dizital.html

lonebear

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2012, 10:53:18 AM »
I would imagine in 10 years, I might hold a tablet wirelessly connected to a camera sitting on a tripod, setting up everything before the exposure, and reviewing the result on tablet instantly... The camera might evovle more towards mirrorless, (the sensor technology seemed allowing FF IQ in a crop format in the coming years), but I believe the viewfinder will be preserved as it's needed in certain shooting styles.

Pure speculation.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 10:57:15 AM by lonebear »

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2012, 10:53:18 AM »

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 11:02:43 AM »
Maybe an odd question at first glance, but there is a lot of substance behind it.  Canon in particular has pushed up prices of its higher end DSLR models to such a degree that the really need to produce something pretty special - the trouble is that they don't produce image quality that much better than the previous models.

Last month Canon held a management briefing here  The interesting thing is what they said about comming compact cameras:

"we will further differentiate and enhance our lineup by launching new cameras offering the image qualities that approaches SLR cameras; furthering the improvement in design and qualities, and by incorporating features such as network, connectivity capabilities."



Now I'm sure that there will be those who view this as some kind of heresy and won't believe that this is even possible, but have a look at these images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and a Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5L and then ask yourself seriously if a DSLR would have returned better image quality.

Falling sales of high end product will reduce profits, and put pressure on manufacturers to raise high prices even higher, but what is the real point of paying so much for something which isn't returning images significantly better than those which can be obtained for a tenth of the outlay?  Of course we know that clients expect to see a big camera, better than something they might own, and for those users, there's little choice


When you take 50,000 Photos a year for live events, weddings, studio photos, concerts, and many other things, films workflow can be a strain to manage, tag, print, copy, email, scan for clients. Digital is king for speed while I feel film is for medium or large format jobs which require the extra detail and DR.  IE: architecture & Landscapes.

The 35mm film format isnt worth the extra processing and cost for me. Its detail isnt worth it compared to just shooting digital.

Also, No one says you have to shoot with the latestest and greatest gear. A Good full-frame 5Dc and an EG-S screen can run you as low as 800$ and has AF if you'd like to use it. Thats a bargian compared to processing and drum scans to get every ounce of IQ from a slide.

Just my 2 Cents.

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 11:25:04 AM »
I wonder what F stop our eyes have?

The range is aproximately f/3.2 - f/8.   :)

Yep, I find the bokeh of my eyeballs to be quite displeasing, too.

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 11:43:44 AM »
Looking at the sensor size/IQ ratio on cell phones today, I'd be surprised if those don't progress enough to obviate almost any need for *any* mirrorless camera.  That's the cannibalizing I see, especially given the huge value add of the phone's OS.  This is particularly true of any tablet, b/c you get a giant LCD, too.

Instead of selling and supporting SLR accessories that facilitate ftp, wifi, wwan, GPS/geotagging, etc...to the camera, go the opposite direction-move the sensor to the tablet where that functionality AND MUCH MORE *already exists*-basically for free.

Imagine the sensor size you can get on a tablet compared to a FF camera.  The current SLR form factor's limitation would be irrelevant.  Just add a tripod mount on the side, you could be looking at ridiculous IQ for portraits and landscapes.  Not to mention how much easier manual focusing would be at that size.  Combine that with the ability to chimp on a tablet instead of a little LCD, then edit and upload immediately... 
It gets better.  You now also have a device to instantly share the pics you just took.  No more nephews and clients gathering around and squinting at a little LCD.  Either look at the tablet or plug in an HDMI cable and show it on your HDTV.

I realize the lens quality would be an issue, but how hard really would it be for somebody to make an EF adapter if he could get $2k for it?
If I am Canon or Nikon, this future is terrifying.  You're looking at a one way ticket to niche-ville, purveyors of old school (again I am talking 5 yrs out) cameras that only sports/wedding photogs use for the FPS and AF speed.   

Of course, I could be completely, wrong, too:)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 12:33:35 PM by dawgfanjeff »
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jcns

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2012, 11:49:14 AM »
yes, in time everything (almost) gets replaced.
The combustion engine has been around for 100 yrs, but with the advances in other technologies(battery) electric cars are starting to look more and more appealing.
The human drive for improvement is one of the great things in this world.  The DSLR will be replaced.  Don't ask me when.

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2012, 12:05:41 PM »
With 179 million DSLR's shipped from Jan - April 2012, there seems to be no problem selling them.  However, there were 33.5 million mirrorless cameras shipped during the same period too.  All this is having a toll on point and shoot sales.
 
Last year, 534.5 million interchangable lens cameras were shipped, but mirrorless were not broken out as a separate category.
 
http://www.cipa.jp/english/data/dizital.html


That figure you quoted for Jan-Apr 2012 is in currency terms i.e. Y179,154,692,000 or 179 Billion Yen (approximately US$ 2.29 Billion) and is not the number of units.

Look at the legend at the top right corner of the tables, it states "Unit Upper: PCS, Lower: 1,000 Yen", then here are two tables albeit on top of each other, the first (upper) is indeed in units, the second (lower) is in sales figures denominated in thousands of Japanese Yen. Admittedly, it is very confusing that they split this table in a barely noticeable manner, plus they only provide an aggregate figure for total units shipped in the top table without a breakout by camera type. They do give a camera type breakdown, but only in total revenue terms and not unfortunately in terms of numbers shipped or sold.

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2012, 12:33:03 PM »
Certainly the DSLR is on its way to extinction. But, I don't care, because I'll be extinct first.

...Where is the once ubiquitous Speed Graphic, the Rolliflex etc? The form factor of today's DSLR cameras has barely evolved from SLR film bodies of 50 years ago. Fitted out with 2012 internals this form factor is surprisingly ergonomically correct for shooting stills...
PW

Excellent point. The SLR is well over a half-century old. It rose quickly to become the preferred format for amateurs and professionals alike. It displaced the rangefinder, the Twin Lens Reflex and the Speed Graphic. It has not been seriously challenged by any format since. There are good reasons for that.

It's certainly possible that a better design will be developed. But, all of the options currently available seem to have some core problems that make them inferior to the classic design of the SLR. I strongly suspect that without some major improvements in design and usability, mirrorless cameras will have gone the way of the Instamatic long before SLRs are extinct.
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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becoming an endangered species?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2012, 12:33:03 PM »

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 12:47:12 PM »
Looking at the sensor size/IQ ratio on cell phones today, I'd be surprised if those don't progress enough to obviate almost any need for *any* mirrorless camera.  That's the cannibalizing I see, especially given the huge value add of the phone's OS.  This is particularly true of any tablet, b/c you get a giant LCD, too.


It may already be happening.  Apparently, Apple is considering the development of a light field camera. http://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/31/apple-working-on-standalone-point-and-shoot-digital-camera/
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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 01:00:30 PM »
I have thought about the same issue. I think over the past 5 years photography has become more and more popular, not because of technology but because of social media and their inclusion in phones. I feel that basic point and shoot will be come extinct and a higher end NON DSLR will take its place. However this has made high end photography more valuable because of the intrinsic increase in photography itself recently and because most of these newer picture takers take really horrible pictures. Like the typical "look a me and my crew at the latest club" etc. It makes no sense to have a point and shoot cam and a phone. Phones will have better cameras because it is now a primary purpose and buying decision of a high end phone because it is more convenient and better to have it there because of social media and comms. There seems to be emerging more and more interest in higher end consumer cams for those consumers who dont want to be bogged down with learning and carrying a DSLR. These newer cams are cooler and smaller than entry level DSLRs. Those who want the use the best lenses /sensors must continue to use DSLRs (Semi Pros and higher). THe link to those golf pics i really dont see these as anything great. These are Ideal conditions (lighting, subjects etc), where DSLR excels are in difficult conditions.

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Re: Is the DSLR in danger of becomming an endangered species?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 01:00:30 PM »