While DSLRs seem to be losing ground to mirrorless cameras as the years go on, they are still the go-to tools of many photographers because they are often the best for the job. The recent spate of announcements from Nikon and Canon make it clear: It’s probably the best time ever to buy a DSLR.
Here are three reasons why it’s not a bad idea to invest in a DSLR in 2020:
DSLRs Are at the Top of Their Game
The Canon EOS 90D, EOS-1D X Mark III, the Nikon D6, and the Nikon D780 are probably the last prosumer and professional DSLRs that will ever be released by the big two players, Nikon and Canon. These cameras signify every advancement, every technology that could conceivably be thrown into a DSLR, and indeed they feel like it.
I’ve had a few weeks of seat time behind the Canon EOS 90D, and it in every way feels like a well-sorted, established product that it should be after 11 iterations. Even compared to its direct predecessor, the EOS 80D, it’s a faster camera with better controls and more resolution, as it has absorbed much of the function of the 7D line of cameras.
The Nikon D750 was (and is) already an excellent camera that was getting just a bit long in the tooth with the absence of a touch screen and 4K video. The D780 that replaces it rectifies that and then some.
DSLRs have already had plenty of time to mature and these cameras show that maturity over the still-evolving nature of mirrorless cameras. A good reason to stay in the mirrored camp.
Prices Are Lower
The aforementioned D750 dropped down to under $1000 during holiday sales, and other excellent DSLRs went even lower than that. In the short term, DSLR bodies will provide better bang-for-the-buck compared to similarly priced mirrorless models. You won’t find a mirrorless camera that can keep up with the tracking autofocus of a D750 for under $1000, at least not yet.
There’s also a huge back catalog of lenses for EF and F-mount lenses. While in many mirrorless systems you’re seeing the first generation of holy trinity lenses (16-35, 24-70 and 70-200), for Nikon and Canon, there are several generations of decent lenses available to choose from on the used market, as well as new models with all the latest bells and whistles, too. Don’t have the need for the fancy coatings on Canon’s EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens? Version II on the used market will get you most of the way there for a lot less money.
These lenses won't be paperweights when you move to mirrorless though. Both Nikon and Canon make converters that give up little in the conversion, and in some cases add features to the lenses (such as an extra control ring with Canon's special Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R).
They Just Feel Good
While electronic shutters and viewfinders work fine, there’s something to be said for the visceral feel of a mirror and optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinders show the world as it is, not as interpreted by the sensor. The feel of a mirror and shutter curtain working in concert is something that can’t be duplicated by a mirrorless camera. The larger cameras often mean better ergonomics that have also been developed over a long time since the film camera days. Personally, my hands feel less fatigue after a day of shooting DSLR versus most mirrorless cameras, though my back often doesn’t from the weight, unfortunately. That said, DSLRs have formed a sort of muscle memory for me. They just get out of the way and work.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Are DSLRs still a viable purchase in 2020? Will you buy one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Photograph of the author by Sam Levitan, www.samlevitan.com, used with permission.