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If Nikon exits the DSLR market, what’s the future hold?

It’s been over two years since Nikon last introduced a DSLR camera model, with the flagship D6. But now, rumors are swirling that Nikon is exiting the DSLR market for good.

Nikon had previously shared its plans to all but abandon the DSLR market by 2025. So while we can’t confirm whether these rumors are true, if they are, this news would come more than two years early.

While some people might be surprised by this, it should really come as no shock. After all, Nikon’s main rival — Canon — announced that they’re done building flagship DSLRs in late 2021. And with the recent introductions of entry-level Canon mirrorless cameras, my guess is that Canon is thinking the same way Nikon is. In that DSLRs are no longer worth putting a massive amount of time and effort into developing.

All that said, what’s next for Nikon and other traditional SLR camera manufacturers? Where do they go from here?

The writing has been on the wall

For years now, the writing has been on the wall that traditional cameras would be impacted by sales of iPhones and mirrorless cameras. While it may have come faster than a lot of companies anticipated, it should come as no surprise.

iPhones and Android phones have been dominating the amateur camera market for some time now. With their built-in artificial intelligence capabilities, creating photos that are “good enough” really hits the beginner camera market hard.

But still, some new photographers really like the idea of having a “real camera.”

But, what about the increase of DSLR sales in early 2022?

DSLR camera sales actually increased earlier this year. But that was before entry-level mirrorless cameras had been announced.

That’s right — DSLR sales actually increased in 2022, according to CIPA. And at the same time, mirrorless sales actually dropped. But there’s a good reason for this.

At the time of these sales numbers, entry-level cameras like the Nikon Z 30 or Canon R10 hadn’t been announced yet. There were no affordable entry-level mirrorless cameras by the two dominant brands. So when budding photographers went into their local camera store, they were greeted by pricier options like the Z 5 or R6, alongside the more traditional (and affordable) DSLR options like the Nikon D3500 and Canon Rebel.

If you’re just starting out in the world of photography, those price tags can be difficult to swallow. Hence why a lot of newer photographers were drawn to those more affordable DSLR options.

The age of mirrorless is here … and finally, we have options

I wrote a few years back about the “age of mirrorless” being upon us. While companies like Sony and Olympus have had entry-level cameras for some time now, Canon and Nikon were a little behind. But now, with entry-level options finally being available, it’s easier than ever for new and experienced photographers alike to embrace mirrorless.

And because of that, it’s time for the DSLR to take a back seat. I started with a DSLR, and absolutely loved it. But it’s time to move beyond that. And that’s why I think what Nikon is doing (and Canon) can really only be applauded.

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Rafael Jones

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