DSLRs Are Officially Dead Says Fro Knows Photo, I Say Maybe Not

The death of the DSLR has been predicted for years. With each new mirrorless camera model brought to market someone on the internet is playing TAPS for the DSLR camera format. But what is meant by DSLRs are dead?

In this well thought out video by Jared Polin of Fro Knows Photo, Fro goes all-in on the death of the DSLR camera format. No spoiler alert needed here as the title of the video is "DSLRs are Officially Dead". However, Fro focuses on professional photographers in this video and makes some well-supported arguments of why professional photographers are/will be moving from the DSLR format to the mirrorless format. And I agree with many of Fro’s points regarding the future of the camera format professional photographers will be using. You will have to watch the video to hear Fro’s valid points.

However, there is one point that I have to disagree with Fro and so many others when it comes to mirrorless replacing the DSLR format. And that is when they draw the analogy that DSLR to mirrorless is the same game changer as film to digital. It is not. DSLR to mirrorless is a small step and is not the paradigm shift that film to digital was. As of now, there is nothing a mirrorless camera can to do that an equivalent DSLR can’t. When going to digital from film, there were numerous things that digital cameras could do that film never could or would be able to do.

Keeping with Fro’s focus on professional photographers, let’s look at editorial photography as an example. Digital permitted the editorial photographer cut substantial amounts of time getting an image from creation to publication. Images could be sent almost instantly from source to publication anywhere in the world. The image could be received within minutes, and seconds in today’s world, by the publisher. No more need to handle a physical item from source to publication. No need to wait for the development of the image in a lab before publication. For publications such as newspapers or websites, it has always been critical to be the first to publish, and this speed advantage of digital wasn’t just a nice thing to have, it became mandatory if you were going to survive as a professional editorial photographer. Professional photographers made the switch because they needed to, even if it was going to cost them much of their hard-earned money to acquire new equipment.

That brings me to another point why I don’t believe professionals will be so fast to switch to mirrorless as they were from film to digital: money. Yes, professionals do demand to have the best equipment that is needed to get the job done. They also need to make a living, and the ones that survive know that keeping expenses down is what keeps them in the game. Without any significant advantages of mirrorless over the DSLR format, I see a more extended transition from DSLR to mirrorless for many professional photographers. I’ve shot professionally with both forms. I have nothing against the mirrorless format, but when I needed another body in the Nikon system, I chose a lightly used D500 instead of the Z6 or Z7 and earned myself a bunch of money by not spending more on the Z6 or Z7. Remember the only difference between professional photography and any other photography is making money.

So are DSLRs dead? I say no. Will mirrorless become the dominate format of the two? Yes, I believe it will but not overnight more like years, many years.

Log in or register to post comments

94 Comments

Previous comments
brian birzer's picture

The gap between You Tube influencers who make videos about photography for a living
and photographers who practice photography for a living is getting wider.

I could not disagree more with the article or the posters in the comments here. The fact is this, the D6 and the 1DXiii will the be the LAST manufactured PRO (OLYMPIC-LEVEL) DSLRS from the big 2. After that, they will not produce any more NEW DSLR bodies or glass.

Now....does that mean ALL of the glass and the DSLRS currently on the market just stop working? NO! Will there be people who will still use them? YES....will the BIG manufacturers still continue to make/support them...NO! and thus...THE DSLR IS DEAD. When the manufacturer no longer makes them....THEY ARE DEAD. It doesn't matter how long you hold on!

Next point, to the author....You first say "...there is not one thing a Mirrorless camera can do that a DSLR can't....." that is simply NOT TRUE. I have not seen one DSLR have reliable Eye AF (or even have Eye AF at all but I could be wrong....), also, they can't shoot blackout free high frame rates either in live view or optically (impossible)....I also cant fit my ENTIRE DSLR kit into one bag....I can with my Sony Alpha kit. Granted that one is subjective to what you use. But size matters, when MOST other things are equal.

THEN....you go on to point out your choice of a D500 over the Z6 or Z7 and that is not a fair comparison...you are comparing a VERY PRO THIRD GENERATION camera (with dual card slots, higher buffer, higher max sync, 1/8000 shutter, Nikon signature circular PRO OVF) with a PROSUMER FIRST GEN Z7......I would LOVE to see what your purchase will be in a couple years when Nikon has fully fleshed out the Z Glass and introduced the Z1 (or whatever) PRO BODY and maybe a couple more....with all the things YOU NEED to take photos.

Everyone here hits the comments with "ITS JUST A TOOL" NO SHIT....FRO is making a video about how the camera companies are opting to stop making your handheld screwdriver, instead only focusing on making the new power drills. Do the screw drivers still work? sure....can you build a house ten times faster and more efficiently with a power drill? OF COURSE. and that is where mirrorless is and will be going with manufacturer R&D and support.

NO one is telling you to sell the camera you have to get the new one. What they are saying is, when you opt to get a new one.....you should probably look to the future instead of the past just like in 1995 you should probably have started looking at digital instead of film for your next system.

And one last point, the cost of changing systems....again, this only pertains to what it can do for your overall bottomline. If a mirrorless will you save you time and money then its a no a brainier, and same if your DSLR still works for you.....the issue you WILL run into though with a DSLR today, as the video points out, you will NOT be able to buy a NEW ONE. Since they are dead. And since you waited this long, the value of your used DSLR body and Glass has dropped significantly.

So again, the DSLR IS DEAD. It's not an opinion. When was the last piece of Nikon F Glass introduced? Riiiiight.....

Mark Wyatt's picture

"just like in 1995 you should probably have started looking at digital instead of film for your next system"

"does that mean ALL of the glass and the ...[film cameras- added] currently on the market just stop working? NO! Will there be people who will still use them? YES"

Film cameras are currently a bargain. I still enjoy using them (but love my Fujifilm XT-2 also).

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Honestly, the value of my cameras depreciate pretty fast the way and how much I use them. But if you can generate $100k from one body, it's not a big loss in the end. I don't see why a pro should be concerned about rushing selling his/her cameras unless they over purchased or made poor choices. Now, I know a lot of weekend photographers who have probably twice as much equipment in cameras and lenses, especially lenses as I do. They are the ones who could be concerned. No rush. Let Flo and friends buy now so we get the bugs sorted out first.

Jordan McChesney's picture

“When was the last piece of Nikon F Glass introduced?”

I could be wrong, but the most recent 70-200mm F-mount I remember was released in 2016, and the model that preceded that one was before 2010 (which I currently use and still get amazing results). Lenses aren’t the same as bodies, they don’t need to be upgraded and released every two years. So to truly prove it’s “dead” would require us to wait another few years and see if they don’t continue to release bodies or lenses. Years... just of like the article said.

To argue that mirrorless isn’t the future for the average consumer and pro, would be crazy. But to argue that DSLR cameras will vanish is also crazy. Just as things like vinyl records still have a market, so will DSLR.

He is just trying so hard that he is resorting to more clickbait. Most YouTubers are just running out of things to say.

Pierre Dasnoy's picture

"there is nothing a mirrorless camera can to do that an equivalent DSLR can’t"
Actually, there are a few things, but these don't prevent dslr shooters to get as good pictures.
I agree about all else.
And I'm bored about this sterile debate. Shoot what you prefer. If you like optical viewfinder, get a dslr. If you want focus peaking, histogram when shooting, eye af, etc, then take a mirrorless camera. Enough for me, everyone is happy, end of discussion.

Spy Black's picture

In 5 years the DSLR will indeed truly be dead.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Many Youtube channels blog forums and (including this one) remind me of magazines like Health magazine and Muscle & Fitness. In the first four months they are interesting and enlighting, after that they just repeat the same thing in different ways. How many workout routines can you have? How many health food articles can you publish? How many calories burning workout can you write about?

So they started getting into other subjects that are loosely related but should not be there. After a year of subscription, you cancel realizing that most of the articles are just a repeat or none related.

Mark Wyatt's picture

How much are you paying to be here? ;)

Motti Bembaron's picture

Not the point, right?

Stuart Carver's picture

I mean it’s not like they have tied you down and forced you to read these articles.

Deleted Account's picture

The market forces are inevitable and entirely obvious.

Move along. Nothing to see here.

DSLR's are not going away any time soon. But for me as a professional, the advantages of mirrorless outweigh the disadvantages at this point thus why I sold my D5 months ago.

Jordan McChesney's picture

So, why title your video “DSLRs are officially dead” rather than “why I’m done with DSLRs” or “DSLRs are officially dead, to me”

Based on this comment and the title, it seems like you’re kind of saying “I don’t use them anymore so declare them dead”

Grant Watkins's picture

anecdotal evidence. Guess it's time to sell my DSLR gear.

Timothy Turner's picture

large format film cameras are also mirrorless

Mark Wyatt's picture

So are rangefinders and viewfinder cameras.

Vladimir Vcelar's picture

Fro knows acts like he's the only one who knows how to ride the bus.
The web's full of experts like him.

David Love's picture

I see all these youtubers posting yoda advice videos non stop but never see them posting work done with all this knowledge.

Know what's really dead? Clickbait article titles and stupid taglines. Fro is enough to make me want to put down my camera and just stay away.

Dylon Neg's picture

Oh crap.. Here we go... Again.

Robert Nurse's picture

His presentation was actually pretty good. Though, if I'm going to remain with Canon, I may be waiting a good while for their mirrorless line is worth making the switch.

Fro don't know crap. I would love to see what he has published lately that was not touched by 30 other people. Editors, Adjusters, MUA's and grips.
Let him follow me for a week his hair will be gone and he will be cowering in the corner.

DSLR are dead from an industrial and developement standpoint.
You can be sure that Canon and Nikon plans are alreado pointing to a "mirrorless only" future, there is simply no reason to keep two systems alive when the new one basically has only advantages and is much more appealing for the market.

That said, they aren't commercially dead yet, but it's a matter of time. Ofc your gear will keep on working tho :)

Motti Bembaron's picture

But it is also a matter of time for gasoline cars to go the way of the horse and carriage but it will not happen yet. Not for at least 50 years. Everything has its life span, we know that.

Shooting sports with a mirrorless sucks simply because of the delay/lag within the viewfinder. I find the jittery lag annoying completely annoying. Long live the DSLR and a true live view in the viewfinder.

Stuart Carver's picture

Not sure which camera you have tried but I just don’t see that with mine, I use DSLR too so have no opinion either way but I just don’t get what all this laggy/jittery EVF argument is?

Mark Wyatt's picture

The XT-2 is ok, I imagine the XT-3 could be closer to a DSLR, but have not used one yet. For most of what I do I have no problems with the EVF refresh rate, but your point is valid

More comments