Don’t Blame the Smartphone
Ignoring a likelihood that the recent economic downturn had something to do with slumping DSLR sales, he sung the praises of the modern smartphone, claiming “they’re increasingly making it easy to take great pictures with a minimum of user input . . .they make you feel like a pro even if you’re a rank amateur.”
Really? Isn’t a desire for “user input”—and the creative control it provides—what distinguishes the serious photographer from the general consumer who uses a smartphone as a lifestyle appliance (as opposed to a hobbyist or professional tool)? Of course there’s also the small consideration of interchangeable lenses.
That said, camera manufacturers are likely playing close attention to another trend as they develop new models for the future; namely, the burgeoning popularity of interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras using technology that allows for significant size and weight reductions while maintaining much of the versatility of the full-size SLR. Consider the implications of the recently introduced Sony A7 full-frame mirrorless model, or Olympus’ new OM-D E-M1. The later is not only the company’s new flagship mirrorless model, but seems to be the successor to their top-of-the-line E-5 DSLR as well.
Add in the versatility offered by adapters permitting the use of lenses designed for use with SLRs on smaller, lighter mirrorless models and you can envision one path where this evolutionary trend could be heading. But for now, most serious shooters aren’t quite willing to give up their DSLRs. For some it’s a desire for an optical viewfinder, while for others it’s a concern with the ergonomics of smaller cameras. And clearly, professional shooters are unlikely to consider dumping their full-size cameras until mirrorless models can boast a comparable array of lenses, electronic flash options and other important system accessories.