Will We Witness The End of The Digital SLR?

Is the end of the DSLR near? Will we all be shooting with Smart Phones in the near future?  If you have been reading some of the latest online, there are a few opinions that  the smart phone will replace the dSLR.

I don’t buy it!

In this article by Paul Melcher, whose opinions I respect as an industry veteran (and he has a great blog), says in this recent post:

“Everyone is now fully aware that professional dSLR are going to be replaced by mobile phone cameras. It is just a question of time.”

I read his article and will start by saying that he is specifically suggesting that smart phones will be the primary tool for ‘image licensing’ pros:  “….in the professional image licensing world will come from your mobile phone.”

Again, I am having a hard time buying into this. Reading on he mentions: “Phone cameras can now do pretty much what any point and shoot delivers but are less bulky to carry,……”


That is true but he also states “point and shoots” and these are not generally considered professional dSLR’s.  It is a fact that sales of dSLR’s and even larger point and shoots have lost market share to smartphone cameras and camera sales are down by 10% in 2013. So will dSLR’s actually be replaced? Only time will tell.

In this post the author mentions the same, that dSLR sales are down, but that camera makers can change that by adding more smart phone features to dSLR’s and specifically algorithms that create perfect pictures in-camera. I think many already to do but what about being able to add 3rd party apps to your dSLR for in-camera processing?

While I shoot with my iPhone a lot, I do not get up an hour before sunrise, hike 3 miles, and shoot a sunrise with my iPhone. I know I could and some people probably do, but I dont see working pros doing this. I like to use different lenses, zoom in and out, and adjust shutter speeds and aperture for effect-something my iPhone does not.  I think I speak for most nature photographers in that regards.

Might we see National Geographic or a corporate annual report designer hiring an iPhone photographer to shoot their projects? Maybe, but again I can’t even fathom that.

There’s no denying the huge market share that smart devices has grabbed so does that mean dSLR’s will be harder to find, more costly, and produced for a niche group of pro shooters and  photo enthusiasts? Again, maybe, but while acknowledging the sales trends as a fact, I don’t see any of the clients I work with accepting the idea that I will photograph their board of directors or home interiors for a builder, with my smart phone. And the dSLR at this point has a better sensor and resolution that a smart device.

I think the ‘professional dSLR’s will be around for a long time…in some form or another. And there will be a market for them as well.

What do you think?

Related Posts: The Future Professional Outdoor Photographer is………,  Are You Sure You Want To Be A Professional Nature Photographer?