Is this the end of the DSLR?

Is this the end of the DSLR?

I still recall the day my father handed me his Zenit -B SLR camera. Being young I had little of value in my possession to compare, so this was quite a monumental piece of equipment to me at the time.
He explained much of the basics to me, handed over manuals and guides, and pretty much said “here you go- go create magic.”
I have always been a little over excited about things, if it takes my fancy -consider me obsessed, so I set out learning (in my own hit and miss way) all about this rough and heavy manual film camera.
I learnt the actions, the terrible results and the wonderful magic that could occur all on one film roll.
I learnt to appreciate and detest old machinery, how unforgiving it could be, but also, how beautiful the result could be- if only I applied more time to learn, and tried not to spill the chemicals.

I spent much of my life from that point on, around cameras, and the fell thick in the midst of the digital revolution surging forth and closing down any justifications I could muster against the rising wave of increasing powerful and functional digital cameras.

I never wanted to join the digital Single lens reflex club though.. I was happy allowing the digital age to sweep up and overtake the mechanical magic, but I drew a line in the sand, when it came to replacing the SLR.
That was my mark of respect, in my eyes at least, to the previous incarnation of the camera world, the king I had declared my allegence too.

I rode on strong through the years, never much toying with the DSLR itself. I still appreciated what they were and how capable they were becoming, even appreciated that they had far exceeded what the SLR could have done mechanically, but I stayed true.

I now use an iPhone for most of my photography, not because it is a better camera by any means, but largely because it is the underdog. I speak to folk of how I believe the iPhone will soon replace the DSLR, and am met with laughter and a shaking of heads,

Yet all I can see is myself in their shoes, denying that technology has lept forward.

I can see in two years time, likely less, a smartphone having a standard detachable lens whereby your phone will exceed the requirement for a specific camera, even in a professional level. iPhone 5S will increase the camera to a 16megapixel sensor, and from there, it will only increase. If this was true then realistically, young kids being given their first DSLR now, may be the last of the single lens reflex club, being handed over the keys to an amazing journey that will begin now, but adapt and morph over a lifetime- into something more digital and less mechanical.

Lets hope that the one thing that cameras don’t lose, is the power to allow one to go out and create magic.

This image is a series of quick shots taken around the home using my new 8x telephoto lens attachment for iPhone (bottom right) this was purchased for 39.00AUD, From e-pix.



  1. benrowef64 · March 9, 2013

    I will shake my head and laugh. I will also agree that smartphones are encroaching on the consumer market but not the professional market and yet camera companies are making changes to combat this encroachment on their turf.

    Even if the iPhone becomes popular as a “camera” the 16 megapixels would not compare to a 16 megapixel DSLR, for the main reason that size matters. The sensor for the iPhone is about the size of my little finger nail and a DSLR has a sensor about the size of a 35mm film frame (depending on make and model). The larger the sensor the better it captures light in turn creating an image with better definition.

    Sorry to disagree but nice post.

    • primopromo · March 9, 2013

      – I knew I would cop that, it was expected!! Haha.

      I understand, and to be honest I agree with you – not to mention there will always be a place for specific professional equipment-
      I guess I feel that the gap between ‘professional equipment’ and ‘consumer device’ is tightening very vast.
      Let’s say, that with full 35mm real estate available on the back of a smartphone, could they not install a full size sensor to a iPhone ( in due time and ultimately I really am not too sure what would be required here admittedly) add a lens attachment facility and the gap between professional equipment and phone in your pocket is possibly too tight, one will have to roll over, and with the momentum of the smart device behind it, could the DSLR maintain a strong enough position to keep enough market share to be competitive?

      I guess like you said, the cam teams are preparing for this encroachment so I’m sure what ever happens, they will have a back up plan.

      I really do appreciate your comments aperture! πŸ™‚

      • benrowef64 · March 10, 2013

        In relation to a full size sensor in a phone i don’t think it would happen because of the physics and the size of the device.

        DSLR’s are big for a reason, there needs to be a gap between the sensor and the lens. The minimum focal length is dependant on the size of the sensor, at the moment the distance between the sensor and the lens is small because the sensor size is small.
        If you were to put a full 35mm sensor in a phone it would become too big to meet the current fashionable designs.

        DSLRs will exist in some form, and although smartphones are doing well , it is a trend that, I believe people will get tired of as they get more into photography and what something with more control.
        This is also what cam companies are preparing for with the newer compact cameras that have higher camera specs than the Iphone but you can also download apps to the camera to edit and upload to the new using WI-FI and 3/4g.

        I will add this. The Iphone has done a service to the photography industry by making camera companies nervous and really develop new products instead of the same old same old. It has also managed to allow people to take images that previous would never have been taken before.

      • primopromo · March 10, 2013

        Thanks again so much for your comments Aperture, I really do value your opinion. πŸ™‚

        I see what you are saying by the distance requirement between lens and the sensor and I can’t argue there! I flash back a few years to the stage where the DSLR was low in quality, horrible basically, the photographic community shunned it, eventually it caught up and now they wholeheartedly defend it, purely because of what it is capable of, not because of how it does it. I guess thats really the core of my article above – that in time, and I suggested very soon, items once thought of as a consumer device for making calls, is really going to give professional gear like the DSLR a run for its money. one of the things Steve jobs wanted to achieve in his life was to “redesign the camera” – as you mentioned he already has to a point, but I see more.
        There’s a horrible iPhone5 advert that says “how can something get bigger, but smaller at the same time? I guess the laws of physics are more like.. General guidelines.” Haha this is just an advert, it’s not a magical solution to the worlds physics problems, but maybe in this case- there is some logic to it: things we once thought impossible, will in time be challenged and become possible, by the marvel of modern technology. And that’s the moral of my article.

        Here’s an example of link to Sonys latest flagship “DSLR quality compact” (their description not mine! Haha)

        I’ve had a play with this and it’s pretty nice, def a cool camera, theres naturally a lot of head-shaking and laughing going on in the comments- but i think it shows the quality barrier is getting very close to a breach. Though I understand this may never actually occur if like you said, the cam corps manage to stay ahead of the game, which they are perfectly capable of doing.

        Thanks once again for your reply, I can tell you know your stuff so I respect your opinion and knowledge of the topic regardless of what I think may occur.

      • benrowef64 · March 10, 2013

        To have a discussion you need two people with oppersite views trying to convince the other that their view is right while respecting the others opinion.

        If both have the same view then the conversation falls flat with no space for people to learn or expand their knowledge.

        I think we have been proving that point here.

      • primopromo · March 10, 2013

        Haha well put and couldn’t agree more Aperture!
        On that note, this conversation will fall invariably flat, as we agree 100%!!! πŸ™‚

        Thanks for your input and look forward to your blogs.

  2. HoneyCutie93 · March 24, 2013

    I myself learned photography on a manual camera growing up, then soon after mastering that I moved to the Nikon line and bought myself a L100. I admit, I miss the excitement about getting that roll of film back from being processed, and the way you can do very beautiful B&W without loosing details in the filters. I believe that it is entirely possible for that scenario to happen, and when it does, I will be going out an buying a camera with the same specs as the phones. Because I feel, holding that big piece of machinery and feeling it in your hands while you take picture after picture is much more rewarding than using any flimsy phone.

    • primopromo · March 24, 2013

      I agree, there really is something to be missed by those who have not held a fullbodied manual camera and lens. yea, I miss the days of getting the prints back too, or dipping the negatives in the juice, seeing the photo emerge. Especially the amazing aspects you hadn’t expected being in the result!

      I love new tech, be it camera or phone, I’ll be happy with either, but will always have a soft spot for my SLR as well πŸ™‚ lets hope that the next generation doesn’t forget to play with the weighted devices like you say πŸ™‚

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