Image: Nikon

Japanese camera maker Nikon is planning to cease production of new SLR cameras, a potential blow to photographers who have retained an affinity for optical viewfinders and the noise of an internal reflex mirror.

Nikkei, the source of the report, claims that Nikon will “shift toward digital offerings amid intensifying competition from smartphone cameras.”

Nikon reportedly plans to continue producing and distributing its existing SLR models, but the company’s focus is now on digital mirrorless cameras.

Mirrorless cameras have grown in popularity for many reasons, including lighter designs, how quickly they can shoot, and electronic viewfinders, which have gotten better at replicating the experience that’s provided by the optical sort found in DSLRs.

The Nikon Z9, released last year, can shoot 120 images per second — more than ten times faster that most SLRs without the wear and tear of a moving shutter. This makes them ideal for sports and wildlife photography. Mirrorless cameras are lighter, smaller and soundless without the shutter.

Mirrorless cameras have also been coming down in price to below 100,000 yen ($730), which is less than comparable SLRs.

With enhanced viewfinders and less lag, the quicker image processing helps photographers in fast-moving situations.

It’s unclear how reputable Nikkei’s report is, however. Shortly after its publication, Nikon shared a statement calling the story “speculation” and clarified that it has made no such announcement.

“Nikon is continuing the production, sales and service of digital SLR,” the company stated.

Source: Nikkei

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12 comments

  1. Not sure if this is bad news or good news. I gave up on standalone cameras long ago... but then again I'm not the target audience for high end stuff like DSLRs
  2. While It's a little bit sad, and the end of an era, it is not surprising. That's the way the market is going. Canon already announced this I believe.

    I just wish they would stoop messing around and offer an F-mount adapter with support for older screw-type mechanical autofocus. The one they have on the market now only supports AF-I, AF-S and

    There are TONS of excellent old Nikon lenses that predate the modern internal autofocus motor era in use by consumers and professionals alike, that they are essentially killing through their stubborn refusal to provide a professional adapter.

    The saying in camera nerd circles for decades was always "if you have to spend money, spend it on the glass. Bodies come and go, but good professional lenses last forever". This was especially true for Nikon since they have used the F-mount since the late 50's. Their refusal to provide a path forward for pre-internal focus motor lenses on mirrorelss cameras amounts to a big "F You" to their entire customer base.
  3. Their refusal to provide a path forward for pre-internal focus motor lenses on mirrorelss cameras amounts to a big "F You" to their entire customer base.
    That's a bit diabolical isn't it? I mean lenses with no motor hasn't been officially supported on their SLR cameras either since I started using them cca 15 years ago. Sure you could attach them, but you could only use MF.

    So how many people still wanted to use those ancient lenses on Z series cameras? Because it is definitely not the entire customer base. If this affects you personally I can understand you're frustrated, but you are not gonna get sympathy this way.

    Now if we really want to talk about middle fingers, I think this move affects those less wealthy hobbyists like me who can't afford to upgrade to Z series and get an adaptor too, to be able to use their existing lenses. So in a way this makes me glad I got out of Nikon SLR in 2019. With this announcement my existing kit would've worth nothing on the used market.
  4. That's a bit diabolical isn't it? I mean lenses with no motor hasn't been officially supported on their SLR cameras either since I started using them cca 15 years ago. Sure you could attach them, but you could only use MF.

    That is factually incorrect.

    Camera bodies that use them are still sold today (at least for a little bit longer, given this announcement). The consumer SLR's dropped this feature starting with the D40 in in 2006, I believe, but professional and pro-sumer models still have the screw motor.

    I just checked out the Nikon website, and of the 10 DSLR models they still have listed as current (D7200, D7500, D500, D610, D750, D780, Df, D850, D810A, D5 and D6) ALL of them fully support autofocus with screw motor. 100%. They must have already discontinued all the models that didn't, in favor of their mirrorless cameras.

    In fact, according to this Nikon Lens Compatibility Chart there were only ever a handful that didn't. D40, D40x, D60, D5xxx series and the D3xxx series and that's it. Essentially, the cheap entry level consumer models. The rest supported the screw motor up until the very end.

    Ninja edit: The consumer SLR's were on a second page, I didn't see. My bad. They still list 5 bodies (two 3xxx and three 5xxx series) as being current, and these don't have a screw motor, but that is still 2/3rds that do)

    And you can still actually buy a handful of D lenses brand new. Granted, there are not many of them left.

    A quick look at their site list the following as still being current products:
    - 50mm F/1.8D
    - 24-85mm F/2.8-4.0D

    As well as both the 55mm and 105mm F/2.8 macro lenses, and that oddball stupid expensive tilt-shift PC-E Micro 45mm f/2.8D

    So, 5 of them.

    I personally bought a 50mm F/1.4D brand new in 2009 and it is probably the best lens in my kit, better than my 70-200 f/2.8G. Even today that a 50mm F/1.4G has been released, using the internal focus motor, many professionals still prefer the older D version as the new one moved production to China, and (they say) optical performance suffered.

    The standard zoom lenses (~20-70mm and 70-200mm) went G in the early 2000's, as did just about all consumer lenses, but they have still been selling the D's and even some pre-D's until very recently, with some still remaining.


    So how many people still wanted to use those ancient lenses on Z series cameras? Because it is definitely not the entire customer base. If this affects you personally I can understand you're frustrated, but you are not gonna get sympathy this way.

    Again, consumers, probably none. The lenses they bought for their old cameras were probably cheaper models and easily replaceable.

    Professionals and pro-sumers is a different story all together. Many swear by them, talk about how much clearer images they get out of their AF-D primes than any of the newer G models made in china, and usually invested large sums (up to a few grand per lens) for their older lenses, and as long as there is nothing wrong with them want to continue using them as long as they can.

    Now if we really want to talk about middle fingers, I think this move affects those less wealthy hobbyists like me who can't afford to upgrade to Z series and get an adaptor too, to be able to use their existing lenses. So in a way this makes me glad I got out of Nikon SLR in 2019. With this announcement my existing kit would've worth nothing on the used market.

    Surprisingly there is still a vibrant used market for these products even though they are getting older.

    Even my ancient D90 body could still fetch $200 or just above used. That's a lot less than the ~$950 I paid for it new ($899 MSRP + minor launchtime gouging), but it IS a 13 year old body, and bodies usually drop in price the most. Quality lenses with fixed f-stops below 4 seem to be retaining their value, but more consumery lenses with higher f-stops or f-stops that vary with zoom seem to be dropping in value significantly, as those were always targeted at the cheap segment of the market, which has already moved on to mirrorless or even just use their phone these days.

    If I were to move on to mirrorless, and had to sacrifice my old lenses, I'd really miss two of them, my 35-70mm F/2.8D and my 50mm F/1.4D. The rest are either already internal motor lenses, or are cheaply replaceable with something equivalent.
  5. I just wish they would stoop messing around and offer an F-mount adapter with support for older screw-type mechanical autofocus. The one they have on the market now only supports AF-I, AF-S and
    I'm pretty sure something like this exists, but it may not be from Nikon.

    Also, while the older lenses haven't gotten worse - there's plenty of advantages for newer lenses, not just in terms of sharpness. For example, pretty much every decent 50mm made in the last ~70 years is sharp at f/5.6-f/8.0, but now you can get 50mm lenses that are sharp at f/1.4 and f/1.2, that focus faster and more accurately to boot, backed up by IBIS.
  6. That is factually incorrect.

    In fact, according to this Nikon Lens Compatibility Chart there were only ever a handful that didn't. D40, D40x, D60, D5xxx series and the D3xxx series and that's it. Essentially, the cheap entry level consumer models. The rest supported the screw motor up until the very end.
    So basically the models that were ever on my radar at all. So you can hardly blame me for thinking that was the same through the entire lineup. But now, I know. Still doesn't change my opinion that this doesn't affect but a handful of industry veterans.

    I personally bought a 50mm F/1.4D brand new in 2009 and it is probably the best lens in my kit, better than my 70-200 f/2.8G.
    That's hardly a surprise, fixed lenses were always better than zoom lenses. I've had a 50mm F/1.8G, that was cheap, and was my best F-mount lens.
    The standard zoom lenses (~20-70mm and 70-200mm) went G in the early 2000's, as did just about all consumer lenses, but they have still been selling the D's and even some pre-D's until very recently, with some still remaining.
    I didn't know they were still selling motorless lenses recently. If that is the case it's real scummy of them to drop support.

    Then again, they took their time to release the F-mount adapter for their mirrorless line also. And it costs an arm and a leg. So for a consumer it is probably more economical to get rid of their entire kit and just start from scratch. This is why I'm glad to be rid of my Nikon kit.
    Surprisingly there is still a vibrant used market for these products even though they are getting older.
    Well my kit was entirely made up of entry level stuff, and I can tell you the market is not very good for those, despite the equipment still being infinitely better than any bridge or compact camera, let alone a phone camera.

    This is what I got rid of for basically scraps:
    AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G DX
    AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G FX
    AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
    TAMRON Di II AF18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR
    Nikon D60 body 10.2MPX
    Nikon D5100 body 16.3MPX

    I literally gave away the D60 with the kit 18-55 lenses, when selling one of my old PCs.
  7. I'm pretty sure something like this exists, but it may not be from Nikon.

    Also, while the older lenses haven't gotten worse - there's plenty of advantages for newer lenses, not just in terms of sharpness. For example, pretty much every decent 50mm made in the last ~70 years is sharp at f/5.6-f/8.0, but now you can get 50mm lenses that are sharp at f/1.4 and f/1.2, that focus faster and more accurately to boot, backed up by IBIS.

    That's interesting.

    The old rule of thumb was that you bought a f/1.4 or f/1.8 prime but you mostly used them at f/4 or so, because that's where they were the sharpest and produced the best results.

    The old school pros I talk to don't think highly of the newer 50mm f/1.4G compared to the 50mm f/1.4D, but I haven't really kept up with stuff much newer than that.
  8. So basically the models that were ever on my radar at all. So you can hardly blame me for thinking that was the same through the entire lineup. But now, I know. Still doesn't change my opinion that this doesn't affect but a handful of industry veterans.


    That's hardly a surprise, fixed lenses were always better than zoom lenses. I've had a 50mm F/1.8G, that was cheap, and was my best F-mount lens.

    I didn't know they were still selling motorless lenses recently. If that is the case it's real scummy of them to drop support.

    Then again, they took their time to release the F-mount adapter for their mirrorless line also. And it costs an arm and a leg. So for a consumer it is probably more economical to get rid of their entire kit and just start from scratch. This is why I'm glad to be rid of my Nikon kit.

    Well my kit was entirely made up of entry level stuff, and I can tell you the market is not very good for those, despite the equipment still being infinitely better than any bridge or compact camera, let alone a phone camera.

    This is what I got rid of for basically scraps:
    AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G DX
    AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G FX
    AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
    TAMRON Di II AF18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR
    Nikon D60 body 10.2MPX
    Nikon D5100 body 16.3MPX

    I literally gave away the D60 with the kit 18-55 lenses, when selling one of my old PCs.

    That's fair.

    Only my first SLR, the D40x was in that consumer category. I only used it for less than a year before upgrading to my D90 which was in the pro-sumer category (with the screw motor) and since then I've wanted to upgrade and go full frame.

    I was giving the FX D700 some longing looks for several years there, but never got around to it, and then I got divorced, had to move, wound up on a tighter budget, and then lost track of the hobby for several years, and while I wasn't paying attention, kind of a lot changed :p

    I honestly never gave any models under the D7000 any thought at all, since I got rid of my D40x in ~2008?
  9. The old school pros I talk to don't think highly of the newer 50mm f/1.4G compared to the 50mm f/1.4D, but I haven't really kept up with stuff much newer than that.
    Those DSLR primes from Nikon - same from Canon, as well as Sony's DSLT line - simply were never updated to be truly competitive. But take a Sigma 50/1.4 | Art, and sharpness at f/1.4 becomes possible. Same for some of the newer mirrorless lenses in the range, and some that are well-corrected beyond just outright acuity too. And then there are more modern coatings, which shouldn't be overlooked either as they help with contrast retention at all apertures.

    Today, whether Canon or Nikon, you're almost always better off with a mirrorless camera - even if you use DSLR lenses with adapters. For Canon at least, the adapters are simply electronic passthroughs - Canon skipped the 'screw drive' generation and went straight for all-electronic focus motors and aperture actuations. With the more advanced focus technology in mirrorless cameras, along with IBIS on tap, most folks find they get better results even out of relatively ancient lenses.
  10. Those DSLR primes from Nikon - same from Canon, as well as Sony's DSLT line - simply were never updated to be truly competitive. But take a Sigma 50/1.4 | Art, and sharpness at f/1.4 becomes possible. Same for some of the newer mirrorless lenses in the range, and some that are well-corrected beyond just outright acuity too. And then there are more modern coatings, which shouldn't be overlooked either as they help with contrast retention at all apertures.

    Today, whether Canon or Nikon, you're almost always better off with a mirrorless camera - even if you use DSLR lenses with adapters. For Canon at least, the adapters are simply electronic passthroughs - Canon skipped the 'screw drive' generation and went straight for all-electronic focus motors and aperture actuations. With the more advanced focus technology in mirrorless cameras, along with IBIS on tap, most folks find they get better results even out of relatively ancient lenses.

    Could you please provide a link or definition for IBIS? I've been out of the loop long enough that I havent heard of it before, and googling it I'm getting a ton of completely unrelated stuff (like an extinct bird species) and nothing that has anything to do with cameras.

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