Are DSLRs Really Doomed?


Are cameras like the Olympus OM-D and Panasonic GH3 marking the end of the DSLR?
Original image source –

I just found the video below that a couple friends of mine, Will Crockett from (Discovermirrorless) and Frederick Van Johnson (TWiP) made recently. It’s more of a recorded conversation then anything but its a very good convo and I think its one that we all need to be discussing. You’re on Small Camera Big Picture because either you’re interested in leaving the big DSLR’s behind or you are already holding the future of photography in your hands.

I’m thinking DSLRS’s got about 3 years left as the main imaging tool for the majority of pros but some will hold onto their DSLRs for deal life. Here’s a few reasons why -

  1. Photographers, especially pros, don’t like to change.Pro photogs will hold on to the ways of old until the pain from loss of revenue is so great they either go out of business or change. Other photographers will continue to believe they need 35mm sensors with 36 megapixels or more to be legit not realizing that the majority of their work ends up on facebook, while others will hold on to the “bigger is better” mentality of the mens club.
  2. Photography is currently a mens club.I really don’t like to say that but its true and it really sucks. What has happend with this mens club is an endless BS conversation of “bigger is better” mentality peppered with overly-technical language by many that really don’t have an idea what they are saying.Women are more into creating then talking tech and these conversations are not in talking tech. Every woman photographer I know is more interested in the creation process. The tech talk is soooo passee! The tech in mirrorless cameras are making it easier then ever to take that image in your minds eye and make it a reality. If a photographer is shooting smarter rather then harder they are talking less tech and more about the creation process. Men should get a clue and learn from the ladies here!
  3. Photographers don’t want to learn video. That’s cool, don’t…and watch your business shrink. Listen up people – video is not as hard as you think. You shoot video like you would stills but there are a few considerations. Learn to shoot video from other photographers not video or cinema pros who like to overly complicate things by adding on loads of additional gear. Where is your work ending up? Mostlikely its in an online gallery, Facebook, Google +, Youtube or Vimeo. You don’t need to spend years learning about all the knobs, levels, focus depth, codecs…blah blah blah
  4. Change can be scary. As you know, this year I sold off my DSLR kit for a Pen Mini. A few people thought that was nuts but most didn’t. I took a big creative and financial risk doing so. It was really scary and I had to think about it the move long and hard but I’m glad I did. Read – How to Overcome Fears using Micro 4/3rds in a Professional Environment.

How much time do you think there is for DSLRs dominance in the mainstream? What is it that you love about your mirrorless or DSLR and don’t want to give up? Keep the convo going in the comments below.

From Vimeo:

Two of the photo industry’s most respected educators chat about how, when, why DSLRs will be replaced by mirrorless cameras in the recent future. When do you switch over? Why would you? Are these guys nuts?
Frederick Van Johnson from and Will Crockett from are both pro shooters, top photo educators, and they have recorded a recent convo that you get to hop in on.

CONVO:CLICK: Are DSLRs Really Doomed? from CrockettCo Technology on Vimeo.

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About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at

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14 Responses to Are DSLRs Really Doomed?

  1. Pman September 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    There is RAW in video which has a couple of stops above and below as well. We just don’t call it RAW but more like uncompressed.

    • steve s October 11, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Uncompressed and Raw are not the same. They can be similar in bit depth and dynamic range, but raw is usually a lossless compressed proprietary codec that requires specific software to de-bayer and converted before editing. Color balance, exposure etc. is set in post. Uncompressed video is still a baked image but may have more room for manipulation in post. I believe the HDMI output from the Nikon D800 or a Red camera is uncompressed but not raw.

  2. Brad Calkins September 29, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    I see dSLRs moving to mirrorless in short order but I don’t see people abandoning larger sensors any time soon. I personally love the convergence of video and stills, and the common user interface whether using an LCD or EVF…

  3. Steve Sanacore October 11, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Many good points but mirror less cameras have a ways to go before they will replace the traditional DSLR for me. I love my Pen Mini as a companion to my big heavy cameras and I can see many instances where a OM-D kit will come with me on trips when I leave my DSLR home. From Will’s comments about wedding photographers needing both video and stills – it seems to me what we really need is a 4 or 5K video camera that shoots raw, (like the RED Epic), capturing both stills and video at the same time. If Panasonic or Sony can build a reasonably priced high quality mirrorless camera to do that – wow – I’d be first in line. I think that is the future for professional imaging.

  4. Locky Downing October 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    I use an OM-D and for professional stuff. But I’m not of the mentality it’s all just going to end up online. I print out images a lot, at large sizes. There are limits on how large I can print with a mirrorless as they currently are.
    I don’t run into it too often, but there’s a few photos that I wish I’d had a better sensor for.

  5. Stephen Nesbitt October 28, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    A little concerned about your opinion on male photographers. You do realise that there are a plethora of groups which enjoy photography for different reasons. I actually find that the “smarter” tech is more of an interest for those who claim that they are not interested in “tech” as it allows them to take photos where their lack of knowledge is masked by some key “cheesy” features of the gadget. Raw tools, such as those that have manual controls, do require a technical proficiency to master. Take a look at the vast majority of the mediocre art that is in abundance today. Everyone claims that they can be more “creative” however there is so little substance in the output and I believe that due to the lack of understanding of the actual creative process, which is a hugely technical process, has created this train reck. Take any form of art where the consensus is that it is truly great, and you will find that there is an absolute need for technical mastery. Mozart. Beethoven. Hiromi (the great jazz pianist/composer) Michelangelo. Renoir. Dali. Ansel Adams. Masel. Goodrich. If you enjoy mediocre talent and you want to be surrounded with beyonce like talent, I find it to be a pity. Sure, some people obsess about the technical aspects of any endeavour and fail to actually create anything of substance, but there is a very real need for technical understanding and creative juices.

    • Giulio Sciorio October 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Hey Stephen,

      I get what you’re saying. This is both an exciting and scary time for photographers that have been shooting for years. The changes that are in progress is one that affects more photographers then the transition from film to digital.

      There are (thankfully) many different groups of photographers which is very important to the art and to keeping the craft alive.

      Sadly though I’m seeing technology take commercial photography to a commodity but that does open up a huge area for creativity. There are many creative people that don’t have the time or desire to become technically proficient. I think the tech will help them get their start and when they feel the need to dig into the craft it will be there waiting for them.

      Photography has been a stuffy mens club and one that’s elitest and one that I’m happy to see go away. To me that’s a benefit to the rapid advancements of the tech. While true that the majority of photography right now is mediocre at best it will get better as time goes on and new masters will emerge.

      Have you see Press Pause Play? It brings up a lot of good questions

      If you want to see the future of photography just look at the music industry for hints. Photography industry always follow the music industry by about 5 years.

  6. Stephen Nesbitt October 28, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    This video also discusses the need for photographers to understand more about the technical process of shooting. I.e. exposure.

    By the way. Sold all my Nikon gear months ago to shoot travel and weddings with my omd.

  7. mp4podcast November 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I feel photography and video is okay for small jobs but a wedding is way over doing it as a one man team.

    If I’m recording with my GH2 I can only take stills in 1980*1080 that’s a two megapixel image and its fine for using in a video, but I would not want to use those for print.

    Also mirrorless cameras are slower when it comes to TTL

    TTL flash metering and flash delay

    Just as a side note all cameras have a delay when it comes to TTL. I heard Minolta cameras had the worst delay for TTL flash.

    Also Cmos sensor are not the best when recording video and then a flash is going off you get a clicker affect. The only way around this is to use a camcorder with a 3 CCD sensor. Most people would not notice the flicker or care really, but its something to think about.

    Canon and Nikon and Sony all have full frame cameras. Yes I know even the iPhone sensor is full frame. Some people like working with the full frame and right now Sony does have a NEX camcorder that is full frame. So having a full frame camcorder is a smart move by Sony.

  8. Geoff January 15, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    I own two mirrorless cameras at the moment, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Fuji X-E1. My Nikon D7000 sits at home most of the time because I use the Oly and Fuji a lot more often. They’re easier and lighter to carry around. Having said that, neither one of those can completely replace my D7000 when it comes to shooting sports, or other action photography. Yes, the Oly has lightning fast AF, but won’t track as well as my Nikon. Also, as nice as EVF’s are looking, try using them in bright sunlight. Not as good as my Nikon optical VF. So, at least for now, I don’t see DSLR’s as doomed. Maybe some day.

  9. Hans G Bäckman February 7, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    I think the opposite will happen. More and more people will go to full frame DSLR and full frame compact cameras as those cameras will fall in price the coming years. We will see sub $US 1000 full frame cameras in 2016.

  10. Crabby Umbo February 9, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    There are certainly cameras and chips that are going to be “orphaned” in the future, but I’m not quite sure full fledged mirrored DSLR’s in full frame mode are going to be in that group. As a “pro” I recently changed over to a M4/3 system to get the multiple format usage, and the great selection of inexpensive prime lenses. I would have stayed with my Nikon APS-C sized camera, but they never built f/2.8 primes sized specifically for that system; my “choice” (and, of course, it wasn’t one) was to buy hugely priced, too fast primes that are the size of coffee cans.

    My needs as a pro is to get a double page spread out of a camera, and M4/3rd’s can do that. I also appreciate the “all over” focus of the screen allowed by the electronic view-finder system. What I think is going to happen in the future, is that there will be full-blast, full frame DSLR systems, ala Nikons D800, and then APS-C DSLR’s will be orphaned to mirrorless only, ala Sony’s NEX series. I read of a company in France that already had been testing a 5 megapixel focus screen, so M4/3rd’s is going to go on swimmingly with their nice series of inexpensive primes!


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