Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

Ricoh Executives Think Mirrorless Users Will Return to DSLRs in One or Two Years

As the market continues to swing towards mirrorless cameras, most people see it as a sign that DSLRs are on their way out. However, one camera company seems to believe that the mirrorless hype will be short-lived, with users flocking back to DSLRs in the near-future.

In a recent interview with Imaging Resource, Ricoh's Hiroki Sugahara (General Manager of the Marketing Communication Department, Global Sales and Marketing Center, Smart Vision Business Unit) discussed how mirrorless has affected DSLR sales and what he thinks of the future:

Currently, mirrorless is a newcomer, so of course, many users are very interested in the new systems; they want to use [them]. But after one or two years, some users who changed their system from DSLR to mirrorless [will] come back to the DSLR again.

Expanding on that, Sugahara said:

Because as I said before, each system has its own benefits or appealing points. The mirrorless camera is very convenient to shoot, because users can [see the] image before shooting. But, I believe the DSLR has its own appealing point, because users can create their own image from the optical viewfinder. People can see the beautiful image through the optical viewfinder, and then think how they can create their pictures — for example, exposure level setting, or white balance, or ISO — and then imagine how they can get [the photo they want]... So, the DSLR market is currently decreasing a little bit, but one year or two years or three years later, it will [start] getting higher.

Personally, I'm a bit flummoxed by this. While there is certainly a portion of photographers who are DSLR holdouts and don't see the need to switch to mirrorless, I have a hard time believing that any substantial fraction of those who are shooting mirrorless will choose to return to DSLRs. Furthermore, I find Sugahara's reasoning less than convincing. EVFs are getting better and better, and saying that people would prefer to guess at their exposures rather than see if they're correct in real-time seems a bit illogical. It's a shame, as I think Ricoh makes some great cameras; I loved the K-1 when I reviewed it and would have welcomed seeing those innovations in a mirrorless camera, but it doesn't sound like we will. 

What are your thoughts?

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michaeljin's picture

OVF is only as bright as the available light. EVF is definitely brighter at night.

Manual focusing is way easier on an MILC than a DSLR because you can zoom in 1:1 in the viewfinder to nail critical focus. The best you can do with a DSLR is swap out the focusing screen for an aftermarket one with a split prism or something and even then, it's not going to be as accurate (although it's MUCH faster).

MILC's have "real shutter sounds" because they use real shutters. The only sound you're not getting is the flip of the mirror.

A new MILC lens is fairly comparable in price to a new DSLR lens. Look at the price of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E vs. the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 S.

DSLR's are cheap on the used market because there are so many of them and they've been around forever. MILC, by comparison, is much newer so there's not as many on the market. This is mitigated somewhat by MILC's having a faster development cycle (for now) so they do depreciate faster as a result than comparable DSLR's.

«EVF is definitely brighter at night.»
…And therein lies the problem. A bright screen in one eye, while the scene is generally dark. It can be a problem for some of us.

«…because you can zoom in 1:1 in the viewfinder….»
Another problem. One view for focus, another view for composition & framing.

«…with a split prism….»
Right idea, wrong solution. Split prism screens are great for bright light focusing. A matte screen is better for low-light work. Quite accurate, as well.

This is why most modern DSLRs with AF only come with a matte screen. The philosophy is that in bright light, the AF will work flawlessly, and so a split prism will not be necessary, while in low-light, when the AF may possibly not be flawless, the matte screen is available for manual focusing.

Also, not necessarily ‘aftermarket.’ An OEM screen is probably a better choice, and often, similarly priced.

«…because they use real shutters.»
…Which closes, then open & closes, then open. A DSLR shutter only open & closes. …And the sound of my dampened mirror is barely noticeable, if at all.

«Look at the price of…»
…The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 vs the Pentax 24-70mm f/2.8. This is an article about Pentax not going mirrorless. Actually, we ought to compare the price to the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 or the Olympus 12-35mm f/2.8, since these two companies have been wireless for years, while Canon/Nikon are new to the game. Market forces have not stabilized for them, yet.

«…the used market….»
Why are we discussing the used market? Besides, MFT, and both the Sony A-mount & E-mount, have been around for awhile. Lots of used stuff if, for whatever reason, that needs to be discussed.

michaeljin's picture

Dude, WTF are you talking about? Why don't you read the post that I was responding to before blindly replying. You'd see everything that I am responding to instead of asking stupid questions like why we are talking about the used market (because the person I responded to was talking about it).

If you can't follow a simple discussion thread, get off the internet.

TIM: "Mirrorless lens mostly are larger heavy and more expensive... ...dslr and lens in second hand market are very cheap"

MICHAEL: "DSLR's are cheap on the used market...."

KARIM: "Why are *we* discussing the used market?"

If you can't follow a conversation, don't resort to calling people stupid.

michaeljin's picture

WE (you and I) were not discussing anything. So yes, you are stupid. If you have a question about why the used market is being brought up, why not direct it to the person who brought it up rather than the person responding to the comment?

Public forum, so everyone is involved.

...Except you and I. No more response to your ad hominem attacks. (Especially for a strawman fallacy to one point on a multipoint post).

michaeljin's picture


There is a ton of gear on the used market. Particularly old DSLR gear, as users bought mirrorless or new DSLR models, year after year. Several companies leep older models on the market years after they have been surplanted. The upshot is severe price compression in the DSLR market. It's a salient point brcause it is part of why almost no one's buying new DSLRs anymore.

Try this at home. Think of any DSLR gear you've wanted for more than a month or two and price it on KEH, eBay, etc.

Actually, modern DSLR viewfinders are naturally dim, because the AF system has to steal 1/4 of the light. So they compensate by using a condenser rather than a diffuser for a focusing screen (a proper diffuser cuts another EV or so off your brightness). So most DSLRs cannot be accurately focused, manually, without changing the focusing screen.

Mirrorless deliver all the light from lens to sensor, and can of course amplify it in the viewfinder if needed. They can also offer magnification, focus peaking, etc. I use manual lenses all the time with my mirrorless with great results.. I did not get good results back in my DSLR days.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Their argument doesn't really make any sense if the draw of DSLR is that you can "see" the image you are about the create, Mirrorless does that better. An EVF is a far better approximation of what a final photo will look like that an OVF. I can't really think of any reason to go DSLR over Mirrorless other than some of the current technical limitations which are rapidly diminishing with every new release. A few years from now, I can't see there being anything a DSLR does better than a mirrorless camera.

3 things come to mind:

1. Battery life
2. Ergonomics (personal preference)
3. Native lens selection that require no adapters (in particular for sports/wildlife)

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

Battery life isn't a big issue anymore. Sony for example did a great job with the NP-FZ100 batteries!

Wasim Ahmad's picture

While you definitely got the battery argument right there, it's only a matter of time before native lens selection catches up. One can argue that for Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic, that native lens selection is already there - no adapters necessary.

That said, if you're going to have to use an adapter (like the EF-RF adapters for EF-R) at least it's nice that Canon did something useful with it by adding the drop-in filter or control ring versions.

Toney Smith's picture

Sony put to rest the battery issue.

3. You mean $12000 400/2.8 lenses?

Ryan Cooper's picture

All 3 of those points are valid right now but 2-3 years from now will be a lot less valid and only will continue to be less valid as time goes forward. (which was my point).

Fast forward 2-3 years and I struggle to see any compelling reason to get a DSLR. Even the ergonomics argument is easily solved by releasing a larger body mirrorless. There is no inherent benefit that a DSLR has that a mirrorless can't match or exceed within a few years of R&D

Pretty sad to hear this from somebody responsible for Pentax. I still have fond memories of my K-5 but I guess they will die if with this attitude.

I agree. RIP Pentax, your Ricoh corporate overlords have doomed you from ever staging a comeback.

Eddy Waddel's picture

DSLR... everything goes around in a chakra.., it will be much smaller but still a slr. My D700 still can kick ass

michaeljin's picture

What does it matter? If they go back, it's not like they're going to pick up a Pentax...

Matt Barr's picture

I went mirrorless then went back already.

Carl Irjala's picture

I shoot with mirrorless, but I think it is good that there are also other alternatives to choose from in the future. I have tried Pentax cameras for my blog and I really liked the high quality and the pictures I got out of them.
Last winter I made an expedition trip on the sea ice here in southern Finland. A ten hour job in -20 degree cold (-4 Fahrenheit) weather. The Pentax camera was the only one that worked perfectly throughout the whole trip.
For the moment I have in daily use the Fujifilm X100F, and I love it.

Reed Page's picture

I still shoot DSLR and not mirrorless and won't upgrade, not because I don't think the new mirrorless aren't excellent but because both technologies are dying. How long before everyone takes a picture on their phones or glasses and the ai gives a perfect 'professional' looking shot. Look no further than some of the shots on this board. They look like thirty seconds of composure and 30 hours of Photoshop. Next year it will be five hours of Photoshop and the following year, the push of a button. Does the camera really matter at that point? Not saying there still won't be enthusiasts, but the question will be 'Which AI', not which lens or camera.

john wheatley's picture

I think it's wishful thinking on his part !!

Christoph .'s picture

There are definitely times I prefer the nature of the optical viewfinder over the mirrorless/EVF, but I do see myself going away from my D800/850 system and towards the Z system if there's a short generation/product cycle as I find I'm using the live view/flipout screen when I'm on a tripod (most of my work) on the 850, and now even in portrait/event/wedding work I'm using the live preview to dial in my shot or get my ambient mix/temperature just right for off camera flash work.

I feel like in 1-2 years the EVF quality will only be getting better and things like focus peaking will improve even more and there will be even less reason to want to use an optical viewfinder

Eddy Waddel's picture

DSLR are is not going anywhere... period

michaeljin's picture

I suppose one can argue that TLR's, rangefinders, and film SLR's never went anywhere either, but I do think the DSLR's time as a mainstream product is slowly coming to a close.

They will likely remain in production for the next two decades on some level, but sales will probably be reduced to a niche audience and development will likely cease as MILC systems become more competent and robust.

Last I checked, there was only one film SLR (Nikon F6) and one TLR (Lomography) still in production. Maybe that's changed, but not in any significant way. The few who want these can buy them, cheap, on the used market. Suppy vastly outstrips demand.

michaeljin's picture

Not sure how up to date you are on the used film SLR market, but if supply "vastly" outstripped the market demand, then they wouldn't be consistently rising in price. The lack of new hardware is actually a real concern in the film community and despite the revival of film stocks and fact that chemicals are still available, these old SLR's are breaking while the parts and expertise required to repair them is disappearing as that generation dies out or retires. As it stands, you can't pick up any worthwhile film SLR for "cheap" unless you manage to find it at someone's yard sale.

I disagree. Look at a new Nikon F6... about $2500. Used, $900-$1000. A used Nikon F5? Under $400 in excellent condition. That is amazing price compression, certainly due to an uncompetitive market. Sure, some particular models are collector's targets, but that is a different marker than good geae for actual use. I have a few dozen film cameras, all working. And sure, the supply isn't forever.

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