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The Future's So Dim You Have to Wear Night Goggles

The number of Canon DSLRs introduced in 2023: zero.
The number of Nikon DSLRs introduced in 2023: zero.
The number of Canon EF-mount lenses introduced in 2023: zero.
The number of Nikon F-mount lenses introduced in 2023: zero.

With a year's worth—actually more, but annual is a good way of framing things—of nothing from the two big DSLR makers, it's time to make a clear point: the DSLR era is over:

bythom dslr shipments

The line is the three-year moving average. It's remarkably straight, which implies careful management.

2024 is the year I expect to end up calling Quiet Discontinuations

NikonUSA, for instance, currently lists 13 DSLR bodies "available." Nikon Japan lists only 6. 
Nikon USA currently lists 84 F-mount lenses as "available." Nikon Japan lists only 37. 

Nikon Japan is the canary in the coal mine. Nikon has a tendency to use the home region to effectively signal discontinuation of a product. The home region has been much more aggressive at reducing available DSLR products than the subsidiaries, many of whom may have unsold inventory still hanging out in their warehouses. Moreover, the yen has declined against the dollar fairly significantly in the past two years, so it's also likely that Nikon is micromanaging how much they get for the lower volumes that they're now selling by shipping it to where they fetch the highest return.

I expect many more DSLR products to leave the shelves in the US in 2024. Neither Canon nor Nikon will announce such discontinuations—the reason why I write Quiet Discontinuations is the theme—but I'm pretty sure when we're able to look back with more clarity, we'll see that the choices dwindled. Perhaps significantly.

I'm using Nikon as an example here for a reason: they just had a really strong mirrorless year. The Zf, Z8, and Z9 have led a significant transfer of DSLR users into the mirrorless world, and I'm betting that will encourage Nikon to be even more aggressive at forcing the inevitable full transition from DSLR to mirrorless. 

The three Nikon DSLRs that use essentially the same image sensor as a mirrorless camera are the D7500, D780, and D850. Those cameras also use the now previous EXPEED6 SoC processor. There has to be end-of-life inventory management on those two key components that will likely dictate how long those cameras will still be made. However, as I've noted previously, the changes in the European cabling and charger requirements also play into DSLR end-of-life. Exactly how still seems murkily unclear, as the published regulations don't specifically forbid on-going sale, however in my talks with those trying to meet those new European standards by the end of the year, they tell a different story. 

I'm going to write a series of strawman statements that illustrate where we very well might be at this point in time (these statements will eventually become true, the question is whether or not they are true today):

  • No new DSLR bodies will be announced.
  • No new DSLR lenses will be announced.
  • Many current DSLR bodies will be discontinued.
  • Many current DSLR lenses will be discontinued.

If you're a DSLR owner and user and agree that those statements are likely true, you need to plan accordingly. New bodies and lenses would slowly disappear from the market, meaning your only source of "staying DSLR" would become the used market. As a corollary, if you think maybe it might be time to trade in your DSLR gear for mirrorless, you'd be late to the game; so many have already done so that it's lowered the future trade-in values for your DSLR gear. 

Over a decade ago I wrote about Last Camera Syndrome. Those that fell under that label tended to be a combination of two things: (1) reluctance to continually upgrade; and (2) aging into retirement (and thus a reluctance to spend more money). 

Here's the good news: you may find yourself in the Last Camera Syndrome simply because the transition from DSLR to mirrorless is just too expensive (and perhaps you're aging out of the market). How's that good news? Well, DSLRs of the last 10 years are remarkably capable cameras still. Used properly, they still have plenty of service left in them. A Nikon D7500 and two or three well-chosen lenses used well can still do most anything you need other than perhaps produce giant-sized prints. Are you making giant-sized prints? Didn't think so. 

However, don't be surprised if this site is pretty quiet in 2024. There's not a lot to say DSLR gear wise these days that I haven't already said. 

Remember This Date: December 28, 2024

Updated (italic statements)

I originally thought that the EU's common charger directive had grandfather clauses in it, but apparently not. For instance, many are citing an EU Parliament interpretation of the directive, which says "new rules would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application." But the actual directive says "all [devices] sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port." 

On December 24th, 2024, you won't be able to sell most electronic devices in the EU with a removable or embedded rechargeable battery that isn't compliant with the USB-C charger directives. This includes mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, digital cameras, game consoles, headphones, earbuds, portable speakers, wireless mice, wireless keyboards, and portable navigation devices. (Laptops will be covered by the new rules at a later date in Spring 2026.) The directive was first made in 2022, giving manufacturers two years to comply. This is part of the confusion. The EU commission that issued the directive seems pretty clear that the two-year warning should have been enough to rid the market of non-common chargers. It certainly caused Apple to switch to USB-C from Lightning.

To put it simply, a camera whose battery can be charged internally via USB-C (USB Power Delivery) is okay, one that can not be charged via USB-C, isn't. In Nikon's current DSLR lineup, we have:

  • D7500 — No USB PD
  • D780 — USB PD
  • D850 — USB PD NO USB PD (I remembered wrong in my original post)
  • D6 — No USB PD

This means that come 2025, Nikon would only be able to sell the D780 in Europe. None of Canon's DSLRs would be sellable in Europe in 2025. 

That means one of several things: 

  1. DSLRs have a drop-dead dead at the end of 2024. The EU directive gives the camera makers a "reason" to drop their DSLR lineups.
  2. One Nikon DSLRs carries on in 2025 (D780) worldwide. One might conjecture that Nikon would create a D6s model that skirts the requirements, though the need to condition EN-EL18 batteries might pose a problem. Another possibility, I suppose, is that Nikon supplies the EH-8P with an MH-34 charger for the other cameras, but this is one of those gray areas in the regulations.
  3. DSLRs mostly or completely disappear in Europe in 2025, but straggle on in the rest of the world.

With Europe accounting for 20-25% of shipments recently, the EU requirements may just be enough to trigger the camera companies towards retiring the mirror slappers, as the volume of DSLR shipments is now running at about a tenth that of mirrorless. 

It's not just DSLRs that have the USB requirement problem, though. A number of older mirrorless cameras (many Canon M, Nikon Z50, etc.) have the same problem. 

Finally, there's this: in the absence of a clear message about whether or not a product complies with the directive, the Japanese will simply avoid the problem by withdrawing the product in question. If there is inventory at the time the directive goes into effect, traditionally the Japanese would send this to markets that don't have similar rules. 

I'm now thinking we're going to have mass retirements in about a year. The question is whether any of the DSLRs will carry on beyond that. 

And a footnote: the EU regulations also require that packaging have an icon on it that indicates if a charger is supplied, and that icon must show minimum and maximum USB PD wattage. That label leaves a bit to be desired, but at least is a start.

What’s a DSLR User to Do?

Today’s headline is a bit tongue in cheek, because you already know what to do: keep using your DSLR!

Canon’s last DSLR introductions were in 2020 (Rebel T8i and 1Dx Mark III). Nikon’s ditto (D780). Both companies seem to now be in full shift to mirrorless, so any DSLR iteration from either in the future would be a surprise. Thus, what’s on the shelf today are likely your final buy-new choices if you want to stay a DSLR user.

At B&H for example, Canon’s is still selling nine DSLRs (SL3, T100, T7, T8i, 90D, 6D Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 1Dx Mark II, 1Dx Mark III), whereas Nikon is down to four (D7500, D780, D850, D6). These numbers have been dwindling by a body or two every few months, as stock clears on older cameras.

My advice if you’re using a state-of-the-art DSLR still being sold (Canon 90D, 6D Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 1Dx Mark III, or Nikon D7500, D780, D850, D6) is to just stay put. You have a highly capable camera, and the cost of moving to mirrorless is going to be painful. Indeed, so much so that my top piece of advice if you have one of these bodies is to take a long, careful look at the used DSLR lens pool and bargain hard. You can find lots of low mileage, excellent shape, EF-mount and particularly Nikon F-mount lenses available, and at astonishingly low prices. That’s because of the large number of DSLR owners who decided to take a lot of pain in moving to mirrorless. Your DSLR image sensors are fine and basically state-of-the-art for still photography, so the way you can continue to improve your image quality is mostly through lenses (and user experience/training).

It’s typically the DSLR user that’s got an older (e.g. 7D or D300) or lower end (e.g. Rebel T1i or D3100) body that is scratching their head about what to do. I used 2010 models in those parens for a reason: the longterm-closet-user tends to upgrade every ten or more years. It’s exactly this type of customer that is least present in the current buying market but having the most difficulty deciding whether they should be. 

My advice for these folk is trickier. You have two choices, basically: (1) push higher in the current DSLR lineup for your sensor size (e.g. a D3100 user buying a D7500, or a D600 user buying D850); or (2) move to mirrorless (e.g. Rebel T1i or original 5D model user moving to an R model). 

#1 lets you just keep your current lens set (and maybe enhance it a bit, as I noted above) but get the benefits of a decade of product iteration. 

#2 has you wanting the best-possible-current-camera at your level. Yes, mirrorless is now arguably driving the best-camera debate. 

You’ll note that I used the words “for your sensor size” in #1. There’s a simple reason for that: if you were to, say, move from DX DSLR to FX DSLR, you’re likely buying new lenses. Once you start buying new lenses (i.e. replace both body and lens), you need to look closely at what’s current state of the art, and that’s full frame mirrorless. It’s not just bodies that got better, but as I’ve commented on over at, there really isn’t a Nikon Z-mount lens that isn’t clearly better than the equivalent F-mount lens (it's a little murkier on the Canon front). So if you’re coming out of a camera buying coma to buy a state-of-the-art body that forces you to have to also replace your current lens set, why wouldn’t you do that in mirrorless?

Way back in 2011 I made the call on mirrorless would take over (>50%) the ILC (interchangeable lens camera) market from DSLRs in 2020 or so. Maybe I was off by a year, but we could argue about what “take over” means and put that marker anywhere from 2018 to 2022 or so. Mirrorless was going to win from DSLRs for a simple reason: fewer parts, simpler manufacturing. That, in turn, should turn out to mean better longevity without need for repair, particularly as we start dropping the mechanical shutter (as the Nikon Z8 and Z9 have done). 

It didn’t help that the mirrorless cameras were designed to be smaller and lighter, too. The traditional dedicated camera buyer has been aging out, and carrying three to five pound necklaces has turned out to be something those folk don’t want to keep doing. 

My sense is that the DSLR users split into two clear camps: 

  1. Those that saw an advantage to moving with the camera companies to mirrorless.
  2. Those that are perfectly fine with DSLR designs and just wanted those to iterate with new features and performance. 

Camp #1 has mostly already moved. Camp #2 is staying entrenched in the DSLR mounts, but I don’t think their wishes for the future are going to be granted. 

Even Nikon, who has tended to hold onto legacy users far longer than the other brands, seems to have decided to move on. I don’t expect a D580 or D790 in the future, though there’s an off chance that a D880 or D7 may still show up someday as a last legacy gift, much like the F6 film SLR once did clearly in the DSLR era. Canon, on the other hand, seems to be done with DSLRs.

We can all hope I’m wrong about this, but I think the pandemic may have put the nail in the DSLR coffin a bit earlier than most expected. Once the camera companies had to rethink based upon a smaller market, that rethinking went towards product line simplification, and DSLRs are not it. 

I’ll have more to say about this in the upcoming holiday season, as I think that year-end sales will tell us a lot about where the DSLR market really is in the minds of the camera makers.


Bonus: The Nikon D850 is currently US$2800. Even today I’d rank the D850 in my top five all-around cameras you can buy, and it’s the least expensive of that bunch. If you’re a Nikon DSLR user and not moving to mirrorless and don’t already have a D850, you still have a very viable choice at somewhat of a bargain price to consider.

May Flowers

NikonUSA has a few instant rebates in effect this month that should appeal to DSLR users:

  • D780 (US$2000) — This camera doesn’t get discounted all that often, and US$300 off is significant. It’s a solid workhorse camera with few downsides, and built to last you a long time.
  • D850 (US$2500) — Likewise, a US$500 discount on the D850 is very significant. To this day, the D850 is one of the best all-around cameras you can buy, despite what all the mirrorless full-frame advocates say. If you’re committed to DSLR and don’t have one of the best-ever-made efforts in your gear arsenal, you need to contemplate adding a D850 while it’s still being made.
  • 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (US$1900) — Arguably the best DSLR 70-200mm lens ever made. A US$450 discount is big news. 
  • 200-500mm f/5.6E VR (US$1060) — Oh come on, a US$340 discount (24%+) on a lens that was already a bargain for its ability? Did someone press the wrong keys on their keyboard in Melville? Seriously, there isn’t another long telephoto zoom that comes close to matching this lens at this price. 

Plenty of other Nikon DSLR products are on sale this month, but the ones I listed above are the ones that really stood out to me as excellent products at excellent prices. The links are to my reviews.

Support this site by using this site’s exclusive advertiser to purchase the products (use any B&H link on the site to start the purchase process).

DSLRs Wakey Wakey for a Moment

It’s not often these days that we have an “eventful” week with DSLRs, but the past week produced two eyebrow raising bits to be aware of.

First, Nikon introduced firmware 1.30 for their D850 DSLR. This new firmware adds the Portrait Impression Balance feature to your choices when creating out-of-camera images (it’s not particularly relevant to raw files, though it may change the white balance preconditioning data slightly). That Nikon is adding features to a body that is now over five years old is encouraging, and suggests that the company is still paying attention to the users of that camera and wishes to extend its sales life.

On the other hand, the Canon 1DX Mark II seems to be on its way off sales (the Mark III is the current version). B&H [advertiser link] and some others are now offering a US$2000 (33%) discount on this still excellent DSLR. This is a limited time offer, though it’s unclear how limited (probably by supply more than calendar). 

Note that DSLRs aren’t dead: close to 2m of them were shipped (mostly by Canon and Nikon) in 2022. However, we’re now in the portion of the life curve where continued sales deterioration is likely to occur on a rapid basis. During 2022, DSLRs fell to just under one third the ILC shipments (mirrorless was the other two-thirds). Moreover, the average selling price of DSLRs is now significantly below that of mirrorless bodies, which means a lot of the continuing DSLR volume is still in the lower-end consumer products. 

Still, it’s heartening to hear any DSLR news these days, as it’s not the primary product the camera companies want to sell you.

Design Versus Production

Here's one thing that's still confusing DSLR aficionados: are DSLRs still being designed?

I'd love to say that there's a definitive answer to that question, but unfortunately history tells us that some tinkering in the R&D labs does tend to occur after a transition has occurred. But it's rare that any of that makes it to market.

Effectively, both Canon and Nikon have now shut down designing new DSLRs. In the case of Nikon that doesn't absolutely mean that there wasn't one designed before that shutdown that might some day appear. Still, I think it likely to believe the following:

  • Canon — No new DSLR will appear. Canon seems to have clearly started their full-on mirrorless RF press.
  • Nikon — Highly likely that no new DSLR will appear, but I can't rule out that one or two of the models (D850, D6) might get a mild update to extend their life (e.g. D850s, D6s). 
  • Pentax — The sole player that might still have a DSLR design to launch, as they've chosen not to play in mirrorless.

One of the things driving Canon and Nikon now (and affecting Pentax) is that image sensor technology is now totally driven by mirrorless designs. Consider, for example, the stacked BSI sensor in the Z9: this sensor was designed to remove the mechanical shutter and provide a blackout-less data stream for the viewfinder. A DSLR doesn't really benefit from either of these traits, as you still have the mechanical mirror flip that limits frame rate and focus performance, and thus you still have viewfinder blackout. Dropping the Z9 image sensor into a D6-type DSLR body just makes the DSLR more expensive, with little benefit (Live View would get a benefit). 

As the image sensors move on with technologies that primarily benefit mirrorless, that limits the design choices that make sense for DSLRs. And the declining DSLR unit volume then also puts another constraint into place: you don't have enough volume to justify the R&D for a new DSLR-focused image sensor. The "box" that is DSLR design has gotten smaller, and at some point it's simply not financially prudent to be in that box.

So: new DSLR design is basically over at Canon and Nikon. Expecting any new DSLR from them puts you in the category of Relentless Optimist.

That, however, doesn't mean that DSLRs won't continue to get produced. It's less clear what is happening at Canon—I suspect that all the DSLR production lines there are in the process of transitioning to mirrorless, but can't confirm that—but at Nikon it seems pretty clear at the moment: D7500, D780, D850, and D6 cameras are still being produced "normally." D3500 and D5600 models still seem to come out of the Thailand factory, but in rapidly declining numbers. My suspicion is that much of the Nikon DSLR production has now moved to a flexible "on demand" and more hand built section of the factory (the mirrorless side is highly automated with robotic assembly, which is possible due to the simplified nature of their designs). 

So: DSLR production continues, certainly at Nikon, and apparently still happening at lower volume at Canon, as well. I count six Nikon DSLRs still regularly getting shipped to dealers, and eight Canon ones. I'll bet that number changes downward after this holiday season.

Thus the question is this: now that DSLR designing has stopped, when will production stop? Nikon used to say in official documents that they'd still be making DSLRs in 2024, and I believe that's still likely true. But will they be producing the D7500, D780, D850, and D6 bodies? That seems far less likely. The D3500 and D5600 will be the next Nikon DSLRs to cease production, I believe, with the D7500 to follow (probably at the point where a Z70 or Z90 is introduced). If Nikon is still making DSLRs at the end of 2024, I'll bet that will be the D850 and/or D6. Why? Because those are two remarkably capable cameras, even compared to the best mirrorless options today. Those favoring DSLRs will continue buying such excellent cameras.

On the Canon side, it seems likely that we'll start seeing discontinuances in 2023. How many and how fast are tough to predict, but the recent R7 and R10, coupled with the R100 rumors, seem to suggest that the Rebel/Kiss transition now completely underway.

At the moment, the holiday deals on DSLRs are mostly minimal, with the D850 at US$2500 being the only thing I'd point to as a great deal. The D850 is to this day one of the best all-around cameras you can purchase, and at that price, the least expensive of those top models. It'll remain a useful camera for years, maybe a decade more. 

End of 2022 DSLR Status

It's both tough and easy to recommend new DSLR cameras for the Holiday 2022 season. Tough because models are being discontinued and camera makers would rather you buy a mirrorless camera. Easy because its easy to point out the few DSLRs that still are at the top of the game and useful.

I've updated the camera section of this site to more properly identify the true "current" cameras versus older cameras for Nikon.


Canon's remaining DSLR lineup in the US these days appears to be:

  • EF-S (APS-C sensor)— Rebel T100, Rebel T7, SL3, Rebel T8i, 80D, 90D, 7D
  • EF (full frame sensor) — 6D Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 5DS R, 1DX Mark II

Some of these are only still available in kits, some appear to just be lingering inventory (7D, 5DS R). 

It's getting more difficult for me to recommend any of the Canon DSLRs, as many are starting to age poorly, to the point where I'd tend to say "just buy mirrorless" if you thought you wanted one of them. But here are my late 2022 recommendations:

  • EF-S user (other than 7D) looking to upgrade in EF-S: buy a 90D. It's the most up-to-date EF-S model, and it's very competent at a reasonable price. 
  • 7D user looking to upgrade: Sorry, but it's time to move to mirrorless, and the R7 is your answer.
  • EF user looking to upgrade (e.g. earlier 5D, 6D users): The only camera still worth looking at in my opinion is the 5D Mark IV. I suppose if you were on one of the oldest 5D's and Canon's discounting this holiday were aggressive, the 6D Mark II might come into play, but I'd strongly suggest that if you are an EF user looking to stay an EF user, you should get the best EF all-around camera that was made, and that's the 5D Mark IV.

Pros shouldn't be afraid of the 1DX Mark II. If you're using any of the earlier 1D's and can tolerate 20mp, this camera is an excellent upgrade choice, especially since Canon has been off-and-on discounting stock.


Nikon's remaining DSLR lineup these days is:

  • DX — D3500*, D5600*, D7500
  • FX — D780, D850, D6

That's not what the NikonUSA Web site says, and even my short list is deceptive. The D500 is still obtainable via gray market, for example, and the remaining D3500 and D5600 units tend to be in and out of stock (thus my asterisks). My guess is that the D7500 will be the last DX standing, and once it is gone, we'll be down to just the three FX DSLRs.

Thus, if you're a Nikon DSLR user, want to remain one, and are in the market for upgrading this holiday season, I'm only going to have three recommendations for most of you:

  • DX user (other than D500) looking to upgrade in DX: buy a D7500, stat. It's an undervalued camera capable of excellent results, and a bit of a bargain. 
  • D500 user looking to upgrade in DSLR: consider a D850. You'll still have a 19mp DX coverage, but you get the benefits of one of the best full frame cameras made. 
  • FX user (D600, D610, D700, D750, Df) looking to upgrade: buy a D850. It's still the best all-around DSLR you can buy. 

If you're willing to gamble a bit, a gray market D500 is still a remarkably good camera for the lower-body DX owners to move up to. It'll just be more difficult to get repaired if you drop it. 

Pros shouldn't be afraid of the D6. If you're still using a D3 or D4, the D6 is definitely an upgrade. The focus system alone just works far better. But workflow is also better, SnapBridge and GPS are built-in, and the video capabilities are better, too. The D6 is still built like a brick, and still has all the bells and whistles you expect. And if you haven't tried a 120-300mm f/2.8E VR lens on the D6, you're in for some wonderful surprises. 


Here's the thing: DSLR lenses are slowly going out of production, across the board. EF-S and DX lens production have been cut by everyone in order to use parts and manufacturing facilities for mirrorless lenses. Overall, Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina are all cutting back on DSLR lenses, both crop sensor and full frame, but particularly crop sensor. This holiday may be your last best chance at picking up new copies of many lenses you desire.

The DSLR-to-mirrorless transition is putting a lot of EF and F mount lenses on the used market, despite the fact that both Canon and Nikon encourage their continued use on mirrorless through lens adapters. In Nikon's case, their Z System lenses have generally been clearly and obviously better than their F-mount equivalents, which is sparking a lot of Z-mount lens buying and F-mount lens dumping. 

This holiday season is probably a good time to pick up used lens bargains. Why? Because once the largest portion of the herd has moved to the mirrorless pasture, the DSLR lens dumping will lessen, and people are going to discover that a lot of those lenses are actually more valuable than the lowest prices they fetched when they hit the used market during the stampede. 

Nikon F-Mount Availability Rescrutinized

A long-time site reader (thanks Martin) who follows inventories closely suggested that I add some information to my previous article, and provided a database lookup of what he found, which you'll see used below with some annotations. Note that this isn't a live inventory list, but was what we found last night when checking the data. Some items may change status by the time you read this article.

Some shorthands are used in the following tables:

  • Bold = Listed as a current lens by the NikonUSA site
  • IS = in stock (US version)
  • GM = in stock (gray market version)
  • OS = out of stock (US version)
  • BO = back-ordered
  • D = discontinued
  • Active = still on Nikon Japan's active lens list

So let's go through the Nikon lenses Amateur Photographer (UK) said were discontinued once again and observe more closely at what's going on here in the US.

DX Lenses

NikonUSA B&H Japan
10.5mm f/2.8G OS D D
12-24mm f/4G OS IS D
16-80mm f/2.8-4E D D D
16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G D D D
17-55mm f/2.8G IS IS, GM D
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II OS D D
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II OS D D
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-P BO OS, GM D
18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G OS IS D
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II IS OS D
18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IS IS active
55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR OS D D
55-200mm f/4-5.6G OS D D
55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G OS D D
70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G BO IS D

With the DX lenses, you'll notice that one of the lenses Amateur Photography says is discontinued is not yet listed as such on the Nikon Japan site (18-300mm). Of the remaining ones, B&H has stock of five, NikonUSA has stock of three. If you ordered today you should be able to get a grand total of six of the fifteen "discontinued" DX lenses here in the US. How long those will remain available is unpredictable. Note that B&H is more aggressive than NikonUSA in labeling a lens discontinued. 

D-type Lenses

NikonUSA B&H Japan
14mm f/2.8D OS D D
16mm f/2.8D fisheye OS OS D
24mm f/2.8D BO BO D
28mm f/2.8D BO BO D
35mm f/2D BO BO D
50mm f/1.4D OS D D
60mm f/2.8D Micro-Nikkor D D D
105mm f/2D DC OS D D
135mm f/2D DC OS D D
180mm f/2.8D OS D D
200mm f/4D Micro-Nikkor D D D

With the D-type lenses, NikonUSA is much more optimistic than B&H: B&H lists seven of the eleven lenses as discontinued, while NikonUSA has dropped only two from their site. Note that I didn't catch that the 20mm lens in my previous list was not the D version, so I've updated this table accordingly.

G-type Lenses

NikonUSA B&H Japan
18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G D D D
24-70mm f/2.8G IS OS, GM D
28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G D D D
60mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor D D D
70-200mm f/2.8G VR II OS D D
70-200mm f/4G D IS D
70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G OS D D
105mm f/2.8G VR II Micro-Nikkor D D D

One thing to note: B&H still has new 70-200mm f/4G lenses available, but NikonUSA is labeling them as discontinued. If you want one of those, now is the time to buy it if you want a new copy [advertiser link]. Other than that, once again B&H is clearly more pessimistic than NikonUSA in terms of what's still available.

The NikonUSA site lists a total of 90 F-mount lenses (which includes the TC800 unavailable for sale separately, plus a pair of two-lens kits).  Of those 90, 20 are out-of-stock and have been listed as discontinued by Japan and B&H (although there’s two that B&H has grey market inventory of, plus that 70-200mm f/4G).  That leaves 70 lenses, and of those, 29 have been declared discontinued in Japan, leaving just 41 (and no recent Micro-Nikkor, which I find troublesome).

One conclusion you can draw from the above is that the new F-mount lens availability could very well drop to about half that which NikonUSA suggests is available. I and others are betting that a number of those out-of-stock listings will simply convert to discontinued at some point in the not-too-distant future. 

Yes, this site is US-centric. The vast majority of the site readership is located here in the US, plus there's far too many subsidiaries and distributors worldwide to do the list justice for every country. Moreover, as I've pointed out before, the US is probably the last canary in the coal mine. If something from Nikon gets discontinued here, it is just no longer available via official sources pretty much anywhere (though sometimes a dealer or two may have some lingering inventory). 

What's Happening With DSLR Lenses?

There's some continuing confusion about which Canon EF and Nikon F-mount lenses are in production and which aren't. This isn't helped by the fact that the various Canon and Nikon subsidiaries around the world seem to have a different set of lenses still available. It's unclear whether that's lingering inventory or something else is going on, such as targeted distribution. 

I vote for something else; I've seen products suddenly pop back up on sale after long periods of apparent discontinuation. I think this has to do with production facilities and how many units the companies think it takes to be worth restoring a production line temporarily. 

That said, the UK's Amateur Photographer just put together a list of 30 EF-mount Canon and 35 F-mount Nikkors they believe to be out of production, so it's worth taking a look at those lists and then formulating some conclusions. 

Nikon F-Mount

I'm going to start with Nikon and split the presentation into three lists (DX, D, and G) so as to make things a little clearer. Here's what AP said was "discontinued":


  • 10.5mm f/2.8G (it's also D)
  • 12-24mm f/4G
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E
  • 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-P
  • 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
  • 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G 
  • 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
  • 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR II
  • 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G


  • 14mm f/2.8
  • 16mm f/2.8 fisheye
  • 20mm f/2.8
  • 24mm f/2.8
  • 28mm f/2.8
  • 35mm f/2
  • 50mm f/1.4
  • 60mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor
  • 105mm f/2 DC
  • 135mm f/2 DC
  • 180mm f/2.8
  • 200mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor

Other G

  • 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G
  • 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • 60mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor
  • 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II
  • 70-200mm f/4G
  • 70-300mm f/4-5.6G
  • 105mm f/2.8G VR II Micro-Nikkor

You probably noticed the bold items in this list. Those are lenses still listed as available new by NikonUSA! 

Which brings us to the confusion. Different Nikon subsidiaries are listing available lenses differently, with Japan itself being probably the most assertive in reducing their available lens list. (Nikon Japan tends to also have a sliding policy that takes a lens from Discontinued to Not Available to Archived, which in itself causes confusion elsewhere in the world.) Some lenses not on AP's list of 35 discontinued lenses are apparently no longer available in Japan. The 85mm f/3.5G DX Micro-Nikkor, for instance (still available in the US, too). 

NikonUSA and its Nikon Inc. brethren (basically Nikon North America, which includes a bit that's not North American) are about one third of Nikon's global market. Historically, North America seems to be last in discontinuing older products, for reasons I'm not 100% sure of. 

Canon EF Mount

AP's "discontinued" Canon lens list looks like this:


  • 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 35mm f/2.8 Macro
  • 60mm f/2.8 Macro


  • 14mm f/2.8L (II in stock)
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 20mm f/2.8
  • 24mm f/2.8
  • 24-70mm f/4L
  • 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6
  • 28mm f/1.8
  • 28mm f/2.8
  • 40mm f/2.8
  • 45mm f/2.8 TS-E
  • 70-200mm f/2.8L II
  • 70-200mm f/4L (both versions)
  • 70-300mm f/4-5.6L
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO
  • 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
  • 85mm f/1.2L
  • 89mm f/2.8 TS-E
  • 100mm f/2
  • 100mm f/2.8 Macro
  • 180mm f/3.5L Macro
  • 200mm f/2.8L
  • 300mm f/4L
  • 400mm f/5.6L

As with the Nikon list, I've used bold to indicate that these lenses are still listed by CanonUSA as being in stock and available to buy.

Make a Plan

These lists make those who have decided to stick with DSLRs a little bit vulnerable. It's clear that EF- and F-mount lenses are being discontinued, but it's entirely unclear exactly when you'll no longer to be able to get specific lenses. The discontinuation of many Canon macro and Nikon Micro-Nikkors, for instance—only one older FX model is available in the US now, for instance—means that the used market or third party lenses will become the only sources for DSLR macro optics in the near future. 

In crop-sensor DSLRs, it seems that Nikon's being more aggressive short term in discontinuing lenses for them (DX) than Canon is (EF-S). I'd say that this seems to indicate that Nikon will remove all DX DSLRs from their lineup before Canon removes all the EF-S DSLRs from theirs. But plans change quickly during transitions, so I wouldn't 100% count on that if you're a Canon EF-S user.

Plus it's unclear how long the third party lens companies will keep their DSLR lens lines intact, too, particularly with crop sensor lenses.

Thus, you have to assess what camp you're in with lenses, and start making plans now. I see three distinct groups forming:

  1. Already have the lenses you want/need. Bravo. You need take no action, and you'll find that the exotic EF- and F-mount lenses are coming down in used prices, so you might find something enticing in the near term that extends your kit at the telephoto end.
  2. Have some lens gaps you planned to fill. You need to pay attention to what's going on with F-mount lenses and perhaps move up your purchase timing. If a lens you planned to buy is in bold on the above list, you're going to want to pick that lens up sooner rather than later, as there's no predictability as to when they will no longer be available new. Some dealers may still have new copies of lenses that are not in bold, but once those are gone, you'd have to dip into the used market to pick them up. Time is not on your side. You should be adjusting your purchase plans stat, before your choices get more limited.
  3. Just starting out or have lots of long-term lens need. If you're just starting out, you're going to want to fill out your lens set faster than you originally planned (much like those in the previous bullet). Either that or just be prepared to be dipping into the used market to find excellent-rated examples of the lenses you desire (which may save you money, so not all bad). If you currently have just a few lenses but had plans for building out a full lens lineup (the second part of this group), it may be too late for you. The reason I say that is that you're probably financially limited in what you can do short term, which is why you were making long-term plans for acquiring more lenses. I'd again point to the growing used market for you. As more and more Canon and DSLR users switch to mirrorless, the used market will grow for a while longer. Moreover, on the Nikon side these folk are discovering that the new Z-mount optics deliver in ways that go beyond what they're used to, and thus are ending up more aggressive at getting rid of their old F-mount optics than the Canon EF crowd. This is producing plenty of supply in the used Nikkor market, and is pushing used prices downward, especially for the top-end lenses. Take advantage of that.

One other thing to keep in mind: there's an unknown "gray area" that's starting to become evident. That has to do with repairability. In the US, the general standard that's followed is California's: basically companies must offer repairs for products that were in production in the last seven years. 

You can see how that quickly creates a gray area. Some of these lenses that are still available may have been out of production for awhile without us knowing. So the clock started ticking on their repairability without any of us knowing, let alone as to when the clock started. The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G is potentially a good example of that. I'm sure that production was trimmed, if not stopped, after the 24-70mm f/2.8E was introduced in 2015. But exactly when did the cutoff occur? No one knows. Well, okay, the ones that know won't tell you. So some of the lenses on the above list are potentially non-repairable once the warranty is exhausted (remember when NikonUSA dropped their 4-year automatic warranty extension? ;~). 

Of course, some of the really old lenses on the list, such as the Nikon 24mm f/2.8D, are simpler lenses that independent repair shops might be able to fix using scavenged parts. Just realize that for discontinued lenses, there is an expiration date for when NikonUSA will repair them. We're already seeing that with bodies, as the D800 and D4 are now out of the seven-year window.

Before you panic, take a deep breath, and remember you're carrying a towel. The recent DSLR bodies (and even many older ones) are robust, produce excellent results, and so do the F-mount or EF-mount lenses for them. Just as some of you are probably driving 10-year+ old autos and are content with that, there will be a time when more of you are using 10-year+ cameras, and will likewise be satisfied. 

So relax, and make your plan for the future. Answer a few simple questions, then adjust your lens expectations as I suggest above. What questions, you ask? Well, this one is sort of a critical one: "will I transition to mirrorless, and if so when do I plan to do that?" 

As always, my In Box is available for quick consultation if you have a specific question.

Update: moved the Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro to the correct category.


Bonus: As is happening over and over in the world of photography-related Web sites, once one site publishes something that looks like news—in this case Amateur Photographer in the UK—they all follow with their own news-scraping version of it, typically with no added information or analysis whatsoever. This forces sites like mine, which do attempt to improve readers' understanding of what's going on, to have to publish a version that tries to go beyond the "oh no, lenses are disappearing" level of reporting. 

If DSLR Development Stops, Where Do We End Up?

With all the talk of Nikon ending DSLR development—sourced from a bad article that has gone viral by repetition from all the news scraping photography sites—it's probably a good time to talk about what if what that article suggests is correct, that Nikon has end-of-lifed their DSLR development. The tricky part for Nikon to navigate in the next few years is the DSLR to mirrorless transition (less so for Canon, who simply pursues market share). Why? Because Nikon made so many terrific DSLRs and up through this year had more DSLR than mirrorless volume. DSLRs that are still reliable and useful today. 

Thus, it seems relevant to go through the current lineup and comment on each model. Note that we're in year 14 of mirrorless (4 for Nikon), and year 24 of DSLR (technically about 30 for Nikon if you count the pre-D1 products).

  • D6 — Arguably the best focusing DSLR ever made. And, within the bounds of its AF sensor array, still as good as any current mirrorless camera, unless you want something automated more than just human face/eye recognition. 3D tracking is stellar. Group AF is dead-on reliable and predictable (and fast). Low light performance is great due to the really large phase detect sensors. Customization is also really good, allowing you to refine autofocus performance and take full control of it. Note that the D6 is clearly better than the D5 at these things, and the D5 was no slouch. An under appreciated gem of camera, and a robust, complete, and thoroughly modern one at that. Disclaimer: the D6 has continued on in my gear closet, despite the Z9.
  • D850 — Without a doubt the best all-around DSLR ever made, and still among the top four all-around cameras currently available (probably #3). Need a jack-of-all-trades camera? The D850 is the DSLR that did that the best, and has been doing it for five years. Looking back, you could almost say that it was ahead of its time ;~).
  • D780 — Probably the toughest of the Nikon DSLR lineup to assess, as it not only followed the excellent and long-lived D750, but it lives in the most hotly contested region of enthusiast/prosumer cameras. I wish Nikon had updated the autofocus system as well as the other things they stuck into the camera, though. That's sort of the D780's Achilles heel, as the older 51-point system just feels a bit "tired" in what is otherwise Nikon's most modern DSLR. It didn't help that the price creeped up, either.
  • D500 — As I've written recently, six years after launch the D500 is still arguably in the top three crop-sensor cameras you can buy today (and the other two only launched within the last couple of months). Versatile, robust, fast, reliable, and never had a DSLR competitor that came close (sorry 7D II, I liked you, but I'll never love you). The real shame here is that Nikon could have done a mid-term firmware update to make this camera even more capable and competitive, and extended its shelf life. Indeed, Nikon could have done that with the earlier D300, but instead we got a mediocre D300S replacement. In other words, Nikon repeated a mistake here, one that's cost them a lot of users who get antsy for "something better." I'm here to tell you, though, there wasn't anything better in APS-C until last month, and the D500 still holds its own.
  • D7500 — Another under appreciated camera, this time mostly because Nikon cut a lot of corners in creating it, taking back things that were on its predecessor. Those terrible design decisions saved Nikon a few pennies, but spread a great deal of negativity about the camera that was undeserved (most people won't miss those things, but it was an incredibly bad visibility move on Nikon's part). The D7500 was Nikon's "value" DX camera, with a great deal of prosumer performance at a more consumer price. Anyone still using a D70, D80, D90, D7000, or D7100 that is waiting for a "better" update to happen should rethink their procrastination and snap up a D7500 before it goes away. It's a far better camera than what they have, and it has the right stuff they rely upon.
  • D5600 — Ironically a very good selling camera (along with its predecessors) despite being what I'd call a mediocre choice. Nikon triggered a lot of folk to "buy up" from the D3xxx model by suckering them into a couple of seemingly useful additions (e.g. swivel LCD) for "a few dollars more." However, the only reason I'd buy a D5600 over the D3500 is the focus sensor, and then only if you're not a focus-and-reframe sort of person. 
  • D3500 — Arguably the best entry-DSLR made. And by entry I mean lowest priced in the lineup. Image quality that is at the top of what APS-C (DX) could do until we started seeing the 26mp and 33mp sensors (in more expensive models). Solid foundation of control and simplicity. 

When I look at where Nikon's primary DSLR competitor, Canon, has ended up, Nikon wins in at least five of their seven models. And at least four of those Nikon DSLRs still have more life to live, at least if people keep buying them. 

Moreover, because so many people are selling their DSLRs to finance their mirrorless transition, all except the D6 and D780 are available in abundant supply on the used market. If you evaluate used products carefully, you can find a low-mileage D850 at what has to be considered a bargain price, considering that it's still near the top of the best all-around camera parade.

I expect Nikon will start end-of-lifing these DSLR models in this order: D5600, D3500, D500, and D7500. I expect the D850 and D6 to be more like the F6, which stuck around for a long time. However, it was easier for the F6 to stick around longer, because it didn't rely on two critical chips (EXPEED, and an image sensor). Once the EXPEED6 stock has dwindled and an image sensor is no longer produced, Nikon will only be able to make small numbers of D850's and D6's until they run out of parts. 

Has Nikon continued any DSLR development? I'll cautiously answer this as "yes, but not in a slated-for-production" role. Nikon prototypes lots of cameras that never make it to market. They'll take a current body and use it as a mule to test the latest-and-greatest chips and other technology, but that doesn't always develop into a process that triggers a full-on development cycle that gets released to a manufacturing decision. I've heard, for instance, that Nikon R&D has tinkered with what a D7 and D880/900 might be, for instance. But tinkering is not necessarily developing. As with automobile concept vehicles, only a few of the concept cameras actually get pursued to production. 

To a large degree, what Nikon does next in DSLRs depends a lot upon whether people keep buying them. Given Nikon's other statements, I believe the consumer DX DSLR models are headed to the discontinuation list for sure, while the higher end FX models probably will stick around for a number of years before Nikon has to make the continue/discontinue decision on them.

That said, Nikon R&D's attention appears to be entirely focused on mirrorless now. If Nikon continues to roll out Z models that appeal to former and future DSLR users, such as the Z9, this will hasten the demise of the FX DSLRs. 

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