Sales of DSLRs are now outpacing mirrorless, but it’s not all that it seems

SLR sales have increased by 132%, but is this a DSLR revival, or something else?

A while ago I wrote an article, well, more than one actually, about how the DSLR is now dead, or at the very least the writing is on the wall. Unsurprisingly the articles spurred some quite emotional debate over the matter. The news from CIPA that DSLR sales have increased by 132% whilst mirrorless cameras have declined by 57% in the USA would appear to offer vindication to those who think that DSLRs are superior to mirrorless, and want them to stay.

I grant you, on the face of it, the DSLR does appear to be in good health when figures like this. However, there are different factors involved, and the main one is the global chip shortage, which continues to blight the industry. Simply put, the figures are generally related to the fact that while mirrorless cameras have been more affected by the component shortage, DSLRs have been much less affected. It isn’t because DSLRs have suddenly become more popular, they are just more available right now. The industry does expect that the tide will turn once again once supply issues stabilise.

Whilst arguments still go back and forth as to which is better, the reality is that as R&D becomes more focussed on mirrorless cameras, it makes less sense for manufacturers to continue investing in new DSLR models. It’s rather similar to the car industry where the focus is now on hybrids or electric cars. Petrol and diesel cars are still being made, and still offer advantages, but the fact is that before long you won’t be able to buy a purely fossil fuelled car any more. Hybrid cars are rather like the first few generations of mirrorless cameras, still retaining the old tech (shutter=engine). But we all know that at some point everything will be purely electric. The Z9 has shown the way, and I fully expect the overall industry to follow its lead over the coming years.

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