What the Nikon DSLR User Doesn't Want to Give Up

In the previous article I outlined the things that might make you a DSLR user over a mirrorless user. But there's a sub-component to that: things that the DSLR user simply doesn't want to give up. 

I'm going to do this for the Nikon DSLR as it's what I'm most familiar with, but a similar but different list can be made for Canon.

Here's my take from my discussions from dedicated Nikon DSLR users. They don't want to give up:

  • The D500. For a smallish group—mostly wildlife and sports photographers—there's simply no mirrorless crop sensor camera that can substitute for a D500. Even some mirrorless traits, such as focus across nearly the entire frame, are present on the D500, thus mirrorless doesn't have much of a grab on the D500 user. The only two faults of a D500? It hasn't been upgraded in five+ years, and it doesn't have an extensive set of DX lenses (buzz, buzz). A D580 with a 32mp DX sensor and mirrorless Live View is the thing that these users want. Give it to them and they'll never change.
  • The PF lenses. Yes, I know you can put these lenses on the FTZ adapter, but it isn't quite the same thing. Autofocus performance drops a bit on large focus changes, and you have another mount to worry about. These lenses just "feel right" on a DSLR.
  • Optical viewfinders. This is a more subtle and extended desire than just "see real time view."  As a lot of studio photographers have discovered, mirrorless has some liabilities in a low-ambient light environment where studio lights are being triggered for the shot. 
  • Flash autofocus. Event photographers have come to rely upon the AF Assist lamp of the Speedlight flashes, something that doesn't work at all on the mirrorless bodies. 

I'm sure there are more things to add to this list, but those are the big four I keep hearing over and over. So, what would Nikon have to do to win over this group?

  • A D500 equivalent mirrorless, call it the Z90. Same premise as the D5/D500 combo: the Z9/Z90 would be a full statement of everything possible, with the Z90 mirroring that as much as possible with a crop sensor. We know the Z9 is coming, we don't know that a Z90 is.
  • Z PF lenses. If Nikon were smart, it would bracket the existing PF lenses when they make the first Z versions. In other words, a 400mm f/4 and a 600mm f/8. Simply duplicating the 300mm f/4 and 500mm f/5.6 in the Z mount wouldn't actually entice a DSLR user to switch to mirrorless, as they already have that lens and don't want to pay for it again. 
  • Fix flash. The last two items in the above bullet list have a common element to them: using a mirrorless camera is more of a pain when using external light sources like strobes and flashes. Nikon would need to completely fix all aspects of that pain point. That won't completely satisfy the optical viewfinder lovers, but it might be enough to entice a few more of them to move to mirrorless.

What is it that you don't want to give up that's keeping you a DSLR user?                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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