2018 PRO CAMERA DIRECTORY
Do D-SLRs Still Rule?
Despite the mirrorless camera hordes massing on its borders, the D-SLR world continues to hold out with healthy sales overall and continued dominance of the professional sector, especially at the top end. Undoubtedly one reason is that Canon and Nikon have established long traditions – and deserved reputations – for building high performance D-SLRs for pros which are rugged and reliable. They get the job done every time. Behind them are extensive systems of lenses – still far bigger than any mirrorless mount so far – and, perhaps more significantly, many photographers with extensive inventories of expensive lenses (such as big telephotos). Both the tradition and the expense are very good reasons for not changing camera systems even if the mirrorless technologies – such as electronic viewfinders – have now caught up with real world demands, and key performance areas – such as autofocusing and continuous shooting speeds – now match or exceed the best that D-SLRs have to offer. Yet the fastest D-SLRs are still very fast, and the optical viewfinder has its advantages even if the reflex mirror is effectively a mechanical device that slows down any electronics (for example, both the Canon EOS-1D X II and Nikon D5, have faster frame rates when their mirrors are locked up).
Additionally, while size reductions are touted as a key benefit of a mirrorless system, in the full-35mm format these are comparatively small – especially as far as lenses are concerned – and even some ‘APS-C’ models aren’t significantly more compact than a comparable D-SLRs. Furthermore, the fact remains that for some photographers camera size still isn’t a big (ahem) issue, but durability and reliability most certainly are, particularly in the areas of sports or news gathering. As just noted, the track records of both Canon and Nikon count for a great deal here.
However, change is happening (this directory is already quite a bit smaller than that for proorientated mirrorless models – which was in our Volume 74, Number 1 issue) and it’s hard not to see the momentum gathering as the likes of Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony continue to work at building their pro camera credentials, especially among users who shoot both video and stills. Ultimately, it’s very hard to see D-SLRs disappearing altogether especially in the professional sector, but generational change may well see fewer takers in the future even with the obvious attractions of models like Nikon’s remarkable D850. Right now, every D-SLR listed in this directory is a hugely capable camera and mostly even more so in system terms. So, if it works for you, ultimately that’s all that matters.