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DSLR cameras are Dead in 2020

DSLR cameras are Dead in 2020

Over the last few years, the price for consumer cameras have consistently gone downwards. Now you get better quality of optics and performance for an affordable price tag. The trend is somewhat similar to the smartphones but the pace of technological advancement is slower in dedicated consumer cameras. But are the DSLR cameras dead in 2020? And more importantly should you buy a DSLR in 2020?

Here is a fact which came out from Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

DSLR shipments have dropped by 56.8% compared to 2018

This brings in the obvious question that if technological advancement for consumer cameras have reached it’s saturation point!

Compare an average mid level consumer Camera from a decade ago to it’s latest version. There might be a lot of superficial changes to it’s hardware as well as software but there has not been any radical change in it’s quality or performance. On the other hand the camera technology in smartphones are evolving by leaps and bounds with every new update. This has also a lot to do with the consumer demands and expenditure on research and development. Not to ignore that an average consumer is quite satisfied with the image quality coming out of their smartphone and more so when it gives an option for software based FAKE BOKEH.

But amidst all the rapid evolution in technological superiority of camera components on smartphones, the king of the jungle remains to be a stand-alone consumer or professional camera. In a bid to attract more consumers all major manufacturers are increasingly investing towards smaller and compact size of cameras. This is obvious with introduction of more and more mirrorless cameras and a variety of lenses for them.

While Sony realized this long back and Canon following it, Nikon was the last to jump into this ship of mirrorless cameras future. In 2013, mirrorless system cameras constituted about five percent of total camera shipments. Today it stands close to 50%.
The last year has been a frenzy for manufacturers. Nikon introduced the mirrorless line up of Nikon Z6 and Z7. Sony came up with massive 61MP A7R IV. Canon launched EOS R series.

Also Read DSLR vs Mirrorless.

But does this mean the end of DSLR cameras?

An average high end user who could have invested in a dedicated camera few years ago might just invest in a flagship smartphone for it’s fake bokeh. For an average user the software based simulation of bokeh appears to be good enough from their point of view. For those who understand what bokeh truly means may invest in a dedicated camera. But then the size of DSLR cameras in 2020 is massively discouraging factor. Mirrorless are quickly filling up this gap. As the price for mirrorless cameras comes down within next few years, it will write the obituary for the DSLRs. With a smartphone mentality, Size matters. And why not? Mirrorless are consistently outperforming the DSLRs and only getting better with time and smaller in size.

The DSLRs are very much alive at the top end of consumers table where there is pixel peeping requirements and every pixel is accounted for vis to vis it’s quality. That is the commercial creamy layer of photographers who wants nothing but the best with size not being an issue. But for how long? Summer Olympics 2020 are just around the corner and we will see a lot more mirrorless there. Moreover all major manufacturers are providing options as lens adapters to convert the DSLR lens for use on mirrorless.

In Imaging System, we expect sales and profit of interchangeable-lens cameras to decline, due to the continued impact of mainly entry-class DSLR market contraction,” said Canon’s Executive Vice President and CFO Toshizo Tanaka.

Sales Data for various Cameras leading into 2020

The statistics come from the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

The trend becomes clear on comparing the sale figures of 2018 & 2019 for various camera categories.

There has been a staggering drop of over 50% in shipment figures across all camera categories. The most affected being DSLR category. Can all of it be credited to economic slump!
The only growth is being seen in mirrorless category which increased to 22 million units in 2019 from 18 million units in 2018.

So yes, DSLR cameras are dying a slow death even while outperforming everything else that’s available but it might well be a case of generalized fate of camera industry.

What are the mirrorless camera options for an average consumer in 2020?

  • Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 both of them being full frame where Z7 comes with 45.7 megapixel while more affordable Z6 is 24.5 megapixel.
  • Canon EOS R lineup from Canon.
  • Sony has a lot of option being the old and established player in mirrorless segment. It’s latest offering being the top of line Sony A7R IV and the more consumer pocket friendly Sony A6400.
  • There are more options from different manufacturers but it would be wise to invest in an established brand with better ecosystem of available lenses and accessories.

While ‘DSLR cameras are Dead in 2020’ remains anyone guess, if you are looking for a lens upgrade to get better results from your current DSLR? Check best lenses to upgrade from kit lens here.
Are you going to invest in a mirrorless? Let us know in comments below about what you think about the future of DSLR camera.

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