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

That's because the F5 has electronics and cameras with electronics pretty much can't be repaired at this point outside of gutting another broken camera for parts. The exceptions to this rule would be some nonsensical prices on compacts largely driven by celebrity usage or cult following (I'm looking at you Contax T2 and Yashica T4).

Look at the prices of mechanical cameras that CAN still be serviced to some reasonable degree like the FM2n. Where 3 years ago, I purchased mine in excellent condition for $250, Bargain condition ones on KEH are currently listed above $300. The same applies to TLR's like the Yashica 124G or the Minotla Autocord. Prices on mechanical film cameras have been rising quite a bit in the past few years. Maybe it's a temporary jump, maybe it's a sign of a more permanent trend... Only time will tell. If you really want to shoot film, there's certainly enough working electronic cameras out there that have a lot of life in them. I wouldn't recommend a used F5 for this given that it was likely owned by a PJ who probably put the camera through hell. An F100 despite its lesser build quality might actually be a safer bet. Realize, though, that all of those cameras have a shelf life even though a lot of them are excellent cameras. The venerable F5, like the EOS 1v, are durable as hell, but like all electronic devices, they'll eventually fail and you're left with a paperweight when they do.

Whatever the case, if you're looking to buy a film camera, you might as well get one now because they're only climbing in price at this point (that is, if you want something decent).

Toney Smith's picture

Eddy Waddel, less production and models being discontinued. Rumor has it that Canon is already cutting the 7D series.

What he means that it sucks not to have a good mirrorless camera in their line-up.

Lino Paul's picture

Still got two 5d mark3 as my main cameras for weddings and events .. I use 600exrt and make use of HSS always and when needed .. from my personal perspective couldn’t find a reason to jump to a ML or even to a MK4 . I tried the MK4 for a wedding last year there are some real improvements which I can clearly identify, sadly but none of my customers will ever understand this difference unless I tell them that this is the latest and most advanced canon equipment I’m using ..

This is a Kodak moment. And many will go back to film?

Some sports shooters notice less lag with OVF but if you can spray and pray at 30fps, I'm not sure it matters...

Josh Wright's picture

Many ppl have already gone back to DSLR from mirrorless. I've been using some ML since 2014. It has some advantage when using ND filters but you get a lot noise in the ovf in low light.
Fuji made a couple hybrid evf/ovf (x-pro).

Diciplined photographers can previsualise their results and dont need it. Maybe Ricoh predicts a noticeable shift in pro / amateur gap and will be there to support the pros. I'm ok with that.

Keith Meinhold's picture

I suspect this is what Canon and Nikon may have thought a few years ago. Even Sony had believed this way - promising that they wouldn't abandon DSLR line just a few years ago, but rings a little hollow today.

michaeljin's picture

DSLT, but that's beside the point, I think.

What's a troll? (try looking in one of those things the a7iii is missing and you may find out)

DSLRs as well as DSLTs actually

Keith Meinhold's picture

I lump DSLT into the DSLR basket. I am aware they are technically slightly different.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

As in there, SLT has an EVF and a semi-transparent mirror? :-)

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Jan Kruize well I've shot with two a900's for years, what would you call them?

For me the difference is like taking a scenic drive in Hawaii and looking out the windshield (OVF) vs watching everything on a video screen on the dash (EVF)

Andre Goulet's picture

Exactly! That feeling of being ‘once removed’ from the thing you’re shooting is a turnoff.

I shoot both, and both have their place, but feel happy when I get back to my DSLR. Also, with the exception of a few types or photography, what does a person need all that technology for? There are only 3 elements to photography, exposure-wise, and focusing was never that hard, even with a manual focus camera system. It’s fun watching other photographers messing with all their focus points, eye tracking, deep menus, etc while I shoot pictures.

Robert Teague's picture

I'm certainly not going to rule going back to a DSLR, but it would have to be a game changer before I would even consider it. The Z7 fits my needs perfectly.

Rafael Cavalli's picture

Mirrorless are cool but I'll never buy one. I really don't care about eye focus or other features.

Have both! Different tools for different tasks. Smartphones are mirrorless too. So the argument seems archaic, to me. :-)

William Salopek's picture

I can see folks using a DSLR in the future as the bodies and lenses will be a great value. And yes, battery life in some extreme circumstances.

Ease of use and convenience will always win out in the end. Quality wise, mirrorless is at parity with DSLR, and is much more convenient to use. DSLRs will probably never completely die, but there time of dominance will end.

Assuming a correct translation (I think it was in Japanese), he said "some" users. And of course later touted the benefits of a DSLR. Somehow I doubt Pentax/Ricoh is gonna put all their eggs into a mirrored basket. I believe Pentax released a mirrorless, the Q, long before Sony. And they are doing pretty well with a large sensor compact without viewfinder, the GR series, and with a camera that doesn't have either a VF or screen, the Thetas. So I think perhaps some are reading too much into that "some."

They also had a mirrorless K-mount, and I think that they will eventually re-introduce one.

calaveras grande's picture

DSLR need to make larger/better OVF to compete with EVF and live view on mirrorless cameras.
Honestly I think your average shooter is using live view most of the time. Which kind of renders the mirror/prism redundant.

Live view leaves the EVF just as redundant. …And I do not think that the average shooter is mostly using live view, but that is not the question.

The question is, when photographers put the camera to their faces, regardless of how often or how rare, would they prefer OVF, or EVF? Live view is of no consequence.

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