In a move that should shock no one, Canon has come out and said that they will be killing off their flagship DSLR series, the 1D X. DLSR haters will no doubt start rubbing their hands together as they ready themselves to say “I told you DSLRs we’re dead.” But hold on, because this isn’t the whole story.
Statement of intent on DSLRs
So, the news first. Canon CEO, Fujio Mitarai recently stated in an interview with a Japanese newspaper (Yomiuri Simbum) that Canon needs to accelerate its efforts when it comes to mirrorless cameras. He also said that there’s simply no room for high-end DSLRs like the current DSLR flagship, the EOS 1D X Mark III.
Because of this, Canon will not release an EOS 1D X Mark IV. This should come as no surprise seeing that Canon has already released the mirrorless pro body EOS R3 and should be announcing the EOS R1 in 2022 (see our predictions for cameras in 2022 here).
It’s no secret that most camera manufacturers have thrown pretty much all of their eggs into the mirrorless basket. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more announcements like this as we head into 2022. With the Nikon Z 9 slaying the rest of the pro body mirrorless market, it’s likely that the Nikon D6 will be the last of its pro body DSLR line as well. Still, don’t for one second think that this means DSLRs are dead. Even Canon believes that there’s a future for some DSLRs.
The people have spoken!
What I didn’t mention above is that in the same interview, Fujio Mitarai also dropped this sweet little nugget:
“Demand for beginner and intermediate SLR cameras is strong overseas. So, we plan to continue development and production for the time being.”
Fujio Mitarai, Canon CEO
What! Can it be? Yes, it’s true, even Canon sees that there’s still a market for digital SLR cameras. I’ve said this a million times now, DSLRs aren’t dead. They’re not thriving, but they’re not on life support either. DSLRs will never be dead in the same way that 35mm and 120mm film cameras aren’t dead.
No matter how hard people try to make DSLRs die they won’t for a few simple reasons. Digital SLRs are durable. They’re readily available (new and used). EVFs still haven’t matched optical viewfinders and DSLRs are stellar when it comes to battery life.
DSLRs will be around for a while longer
Now, I don’t expect there to be a ton of new EOS Rebels or cameras like the Nikon D3500 to be released. Nor do I expect there to be lots of new cameras like the Canon EOS 90D and Nikon D7500 in the coming years. There might be one to two, but they will be few and far between. However, the fact that Canon is refusing to bury digital SLR cameras is quite telling.
There are simply too many photographers out there who still own, use, and depend on their trusty DSLRs. Chances are, these photographers who have likely amassed large Digital SLR lens collections over the years will just buy another DSLR when their current one bites the dust. So, honestly, it’s pretty smart for companies like Canon to keep those channels open. Turning their backs on DSLR users would be catastrophic.
Cameras are just a tool
You also cannot forget Pentax, who despite the mirrorless uprising, continue to put all of their eggs in the DSLR basket. It wasn’t long ago that Hiroki Sugahara (General Manager of Ricoh’s Marketing Communications Department) said that he believes quite a few photographers would return to DSLRs from mirrorless cameras. I know quite a few photographers myself who have switched back for various reasons. Maybe Hiroki Sugahara was on to something.
Digital SLRs certainly aren’t for everyone anymore. Still, it doesn’t make them any less capable of a tool for photographers and creators. So, while the future is going to be mirrorless for the mainstream, DSLRs will always have a following and I’m pleased that companies like Canon and Pentax still see that there’s value in them. Let us know your thoughts about this in the comment section below.