According to a report in the Japanese business magazine Nikkei, manufacturer Nikon is to withdraw completely from the development of classic single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR). Instead, it plans to focus solely on mirrorless system cameras (DSLM) in the future.
Nikon stops production of DSLR cameras
Nikon is slowly but surely heralding the end of classic single-lens reflex (DSLR, digital single-lens reflex) cameras, which have been the dominant force in the professional market since the first model was designed by Thomas Sutton in 1861.
At least, that’s according to a report in the Japanese business magazine Nikkei. Models already available will continue to be produced and sold, but there will be no new full-frame cameras in the future.
There are several reasons for the discontinuation of production. For example, after booming in 2017 with 11.67 million cameras shipped, the combined camera market had slumped to just 5.34 million models in 2021.
In 2020, mirrorless cameras (DSLM, Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) would have surpassed their mirrored siblings for the first time in terms of shipments in Japan. Increasing competition from ever-improving smartphone cameras also ultimately prompted Nikon to take this step, he said. Canon is expected to follow Nikon’s approach and also switch exclusively to mirrorless system cameras in just a few years, Nikkei added.
The most important producer for smartphone camera sensors, Sony, had only recently introduced the new IMX989 sensor in the 1-inch format, which is used for the first time in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. Previously, the Japanese had predicted the end of DSLR cameras starting in 2024.
Nikon focuses on DSLM market
It is further said that Nikon intends to focus henceforth on the DSLM camera market, whose price level has dropped sharply in recent years. At the same time, however, these cameras also enable innovative functions with which to fend off the ever-improving smartphone cameras.
These include, for example, AI features or unique autofocus solutions that recognize faces and eyes even of animals. From now on, Nikon wants to concentrate on expanding its Z-mount models.
Last year, the company launched the professional DSLM camera Nikon Z 9, which records videos in 8K resolution and comes with a 45.7 megapixel sensor. It was joined just a few days ago by the much more affordable Nikon Z 30.
This is a 4K resolution vlogging camera with interchangeable lenses that offers advanced eye (Eye-Detection AF) and animal (Animal-Detection AF) autofocus options, for example. Unlike the Z 9, which relies on a full-frame sensor, the Z 30 uses a smaller APS-C sensor.
Nikon’s focus on the DSLM system is the right decision in our view. The Japanese manufacturer has a lot of catching up to do, especially in the lower-priced APS-C segment, because the selection of lenses from its own production is much more limited than that of competitors like Sony or Fujifilm. Only three of Nikon’s own Nikkor Z DX lenses are available for the Z 50, z FC and Z 30 models, while third-party manufacturers offer much more choice.