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Requiem for the DLSR?

By December 11, 2022No Comments

Screenshot of Wirecutter article

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Marketing, Communications & Blog Coordinator

It’s official. The New York Times says so, so it must be true. Wirecutter, the “product recommendation service” of the Times decreed that “buying a DSLR doesn’t make sense.” Instead, they recommend buying a mirrorless camera.


While there are some great DSLR cameras and lenses still for sale, camera manufacturers have been quietly discontinuing the production of some camera bodies and lenses, and have stopped development of new models. All their R&D and cash is going towards mirrorless. As Wirecutter reports, even third-party manufacturers have been shifting production and development towards mirrorless. Tamron and Sigma have, for years, made models for Sony. Tamron has begun manufacturing a line of lenses for the Nikon Z system and, rumor has it, Sigma will also announce some Z mount lenses soon.

Wirecutter’s reasoning is that buying mirrorless will allow you to grow as the system (whatever the brand) grows. You’ll be able to take advantage of the newest technology, sensors, optics, autofocus improvements. All the latest and greatest. DSLRs, meanwhile, have reached the end of the line. There won’t be any “new and improved” models.

These are important factors, whether you’re a novice, enthusiast or even a pro. However, they don’t mean you should ditch all your old gear today.

But, but, but

“But I love my trusty old DLSR! It still does everything I need! I don’t want to switch!” I hear you.  Then don’t. There isn’t any imperative to buy new gear if your current setup still works and doesn’t limit your photography.

However, if you’re shooting a decade-old camera, enough improvements have been made to consider making the jump. I loved my old Nikon D-750. Although introduced eight years ago, it was built like a tank, was super reliable, and never let me down. However, I’m doing more and more indoor events where clients prefer no flash. That was pushing the limits of the D-750’s sensor, and made it worthwhile to look at an upgrade.

The newer, mirrorless Z cameras have several clear advantages. There’s in-body image stabilization, frame-wide auto focus, eye-detection, a better sensor for low-light photography, and more. But was it enough to upgrade?

Sale and resale

There’s another reason to move to mirrorless soon that Wirecutter didn’t mention. Many of us have a fair amount of money tied up in our gear. Your DSLR camera, lenses and accessories are losing resale value month after month. For many, it might make sense to make the jump sooner rather than later while you can get the best price for the gear you’re selling.

I was talking to the owner of my local camera store about this and he told me that he’s been seeing a drop off in resale prices of DSLR gear. His prediction was that, after this holiday season, used DSLR gear prices would experience another big drop in prices.

Taken all together, it made sense for me to upgrade and I’m happy I did. The Z system I got in October is making it easier for me to do both the paying work as well as the outdoor photography I most enjoy. Of course, your mileage may vary.

DSLRs forever

After the Wirecutter article came out, a member of my local camera club said, “They can have my D-500 when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.” There are some great DSLRs out there and many folks don’t have a compelling reason to get a new camera and move to mirrorless. And it wouldn’t surprise me if a subset of photographers developed that are DSLR aficionados, just like there are fans of shooting with film and vinyl records. They give you a different user experience that some really enjoy. Well-known photographer and YouTuber Thomas Heaton often talks about why he sometimes still enjoys shooting film. Hey, I still have my dad’s 1949 Leica IIIc and a Yashica 24 that I occasionally take out for a spin, and those long predate DSLRs!

The DSLR is dead. Long live the DSLR!

Frank Gallagher is a landscape and nature photographer based in the Washington, DC, area who specializes in providing a wide range of photograph services to nonprofit organizations. He serves as NANPA’s Interim Marketing and Communications Coordinator and manages NANPA’s blog. He can be found online at or on Instagram @frankgallagherfoto.