Why We Don’t Recommend Buying a New DSLR Camera | Wirecutter

2022-12-12 21:40:53 By : Mr. Terry Wang

We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more›

Advice, staff picks, mythbusting, and more. Let us help you. CS Mount Lens

Why We Don’t Recommend Buying a New DSLR Camera | Wirecutter

It’s official: At this point in time, buying a new DSLR doesn’t make sense. If you’re shopping for a new camera today, you should buy a mirrorless camera instead. That’s because digital single-lens reflex cameras are going away, and at the same time, the newest and most innovative features are appearing in mirrorless models. Of course, if your DSLR still works, just keep using it until you need a new camera—the world has enough electronic waste. And don’t throw away your DSLR lenses, either; as we’ll explain, you can use them with mirrorless cameras, too.

If you want proof that the technology platform of the DSLR—a digital camera that uses mirrors to bounce light around so that you end up seeing through the lens when you look into the optical viewfinder to frame your picture—has reached its endpoint, consider what camera makers are doing. The summer of 2022 saw Nikon, the world’s third-largest camera manufacturer, make a public shift away from DSLRs and toward mirrorless cameras, which use an electronic screen fed by the camera’s sensor instead of a DSLR’s mirror gimmick to give you a preview of your photo. This move came after Sony, the second-largest camera maker, quietly bid farewell to its DSLR lenses, and after Canon, the world’s top camera producer, announced that it wouldn’t be developing high-end DSLRs anymore and discontinued a sizable chunk of its DSLR lenses without much fanfare. Canon says that it will keep selling its beginner-level DSLRs, and you can still find Nikon’s D3500, our top-pick beginner DSLR since its introduction, for sale—we’re just not sure for how much longer. Even third-party companies that make lenses for DSLR cameras seem to have started quietly discontinuing those lenses in the latter half of 2022.

The defining difference of mirrorless cameras, namely their lack of a mirror, is also the source of their greatest strength: a direct connection to the imaging sensor, which acts as the collection point for all the incoming data that lets a camera function. DSLR mirrors allow you to look through the camera lens in a very literal (and analog) way, but that design also means that DSLR cameras have to use an out-of-date autofocus system that isn’t as flexible as the AF systems in mirrorless cameras. As a result, you must keep the subjects you’re trying to track within the area defined by the focus points, which can often be clustered toward the center on cheaper DSLR models. And if you want to place your point of focus on something toward the edge of the frame, you have to use workarounds like holding a button to lock focus while recomposing the image. Mirrorless cameras use the imaging sensor to focus all the way out to the edge of the frame, so you don’t have to jump through those hoops.

Plus, thanks to the constant stream of information that’s flowing to the sensor in mirrorless models, camera makers have been able to start integrating artificial intelligence into those AF systems. The best of these systems can look at the frame and identify the faces of your family and friends, or any faces that appear in the frame, and prioritize them for focusing and exposure. Such systems can also detect cars and animals, including birds, and ensure that they’re in focus, which makes it much easier for you to get great shots of the subjects you want the focus system to track as you snag photos on the fly.

Artificial-intelligence AF hasn’t found its way into all mirrorless cameras yet, but even those without it can do a better job of subject tracking than equivalent DSLRs have in the past. Mirrorless models also show you a more accurate preview of the photo you’ll get when you press the shutter button: In dim conditions, a mirrorless camera shows you a brighter preview than you’d see with a DSLR, making it much easier for you to ensure that you have everything you want in the frame.

Wirecutter has recommendations for entry-level, midrange, and higher-end mirrorless cameras for people who enjoy photography as a hobby. Professional-level cameras tend to include features that go beyond what most people need but make your life a little easier if you’re spending a day, say, taking thousands of images at the Olympics and sending those images wirelessly to a photo editor in a city thousands of miles away. We want to help you find a camera that gives you the best photos in a convenient way and doesn’t force you to overspend on features that aren’t of much use to you.

The good news is, if you already have DSLR lenses, each of the major camera manufacturers makes adapters to use those lenses with its respective new mirrorless cameras. So if you absolutely love one of those lenses, you’ll still be able to use it. Some fans of optical viewfinders have resisted moving to mirrorless cameras because an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is essentially a tiny video screen—that means you don’t look through the lens the way you do with a DSLR’s mirrored optical viewfinder. But EVFs have enough pixels now that the image they provide gives you enough detail to focus manually by turning the focus ring instead of letting the camera focus for you. In fact, sometimes manual focus can be better with an electronic finder than with an optical finder since an EVF lets you zoom in to see whether small details, such as text or an object’s texture, are as sharp as possible.

In our guide to mirrorless cameras, we make recommendations about what to get if you’re new to cameras that let you swap lenses. But if you’re already invested in one brand’s system, you may want to stick with that brand. Based on our years of experience shooting with both mirrorless and DSLR cameras, here are our suggestions for Canon and Nikon loyalists:

Canon EF-EOS R mount adapter Canon also makes adapters that include a control ring or let you drop filters into them, but this most basic adapter allows you to use DSLR lenses as you did before and is the least expensive of the bunch.

Canon EOS R10 The EOS R10 is Canon’s basic APS-C model and is most similar to an entry-level DSLR such as the company’s EOS Rebel line. It has a 24-megapixel sensor, it can shoot bursts at up to 15 frames per second, and its autofocus system outpaces any of those that Canon has put into simpler DSLRs over the years, especially in terms of tracking subjects. In comparison with the battery life of an aging DSLR, the EOS R10’s 450-shot battery life (less than half of what you might expect in the old days) is its weakest point, so you may want to get a spare battery if you typically shoot a lot of photos in a day. As always, you can either buy the camera in a kit with a native R-mount lens or buy the body alone.

Canon EOS R7 More advanced than the EOS R10 but still equipped with an APS-C–size sensor, the EOS R7 ups the pixel count to 32 megapixels. It has the same 15 fps burst mode (with mechanical shutter) and basically the same AF system. Among Canon’s mirrorless cameras, the EOS R7 is the closest equivalent to the company’s EOS 7D Mark II, so if you’re moving on from that DSLR, this model is probably best for you. At 660 shots, its battery life is better than the R10’s, but you may still want to have an extra battery if you plan on long days of shooting.

Canon EOS RP If you want to move up to a full-frame camera and already have some Canon EF DSLR lenses, the 26-megapixel EOS RP is the least expensive and physically smallest option. It performed well when we tested it in 2019, but it doesn’t include the AI-based animal-and-vehicle autofocus tracking of Canon’s newer cameras. If you have only the company’s EF-S lenses made for APS-C sensors, keep in mind that this camera would use a smaller portion of the sensor for those lenses, so the R7 or R10 makes much more sense.

Nikon FTZ II adapter The smaller of Nikon’s two adapters, the FTZ II doesn’t obstruct a vertical grip (if you decide to use one with your camera) and takes up a little less room in a camera bag in comparison with the original FTZ.

Nikon Z 50 The Z 50 captures great-looking 21-megapixel images. If you’ve been using the company’s D3500, which has been our pick among beginner DSLRs for years, the Z 50 will probably feel like a higher-level camera, largely thanks to the versatility of its AF system. That AF system doesn’t incorporate artificial intelligence, but it’s still significantly better than what you get in an entry-level DSLR. This camera’s biggest drawback is its battery life of 300 shots per charge, but if you carry a spare battery, you’re likely to get through a day of shooting just fine. This model’s screen tilts up and down, which is more than the D3500’s screen does, but it isn’t quite as versatile as a screen that flips out to the side and then tilts up and down and can also face fully forward. Nikon hasn’t released a whole lot of APS-C–format Z-mount lenses, but if your goal is to use your old lenses, the Z 50 is a good option.

Nikon Z fc The Z fc has a retro look evocative of Nikon’s film SLRs, but aside from its stylish design, it’s nearly identical to the Z 50. That design brings with it physical dials to select the shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO settings, which is a feature that we like to see when a camera also includes a pair of command wheels, as the Z fc does, so you can shoot as you choose. The main practical difference between the Z fc and the Z 50 is this camera’s screen, which flips out to the left and also tilts up or down so that you can see it when taking selfies. The two models share the same battery and battery life, so carrying a spare battery is a good idea if you opt for this model.

Nikon Z 5 The Z 5 is another 21-megapixel camera, but it uses a full-frame sensor. That makes it a better choice if you plan to adapt full-frame DSLR lenses—but if you adapt smaller-format lenses to it, you sacrifice a significant amount of its pixels. Its images look very nice, and it’s a great model if you want to go with a full-frame camera. The screen tilts similarly to that of the Z 50, as on all but Nikon’s most expensive full-frame mirrorless cameras. Its battery life of 390 shots per charge isn’t as disappointing as what you get from Nikon’s other two cameras mentioned here, but you should still be sure to keep a spare battery on hand.

This article was edited by Erica Ogg.

If you want to shoot in lower light, with a wider viewpoint, or closer, you’ll need to invest in new lenses. These are our recommendations.

For Nikon photographers looking to expand their options, we’ve picked fast prime , zoom , wide-angle , macro , and portrait lenses, plus a kit lens upgrade .

Having tested all of the latest superzooms, we think the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 provides the best balance of zoom, control, and image quality.

by Ben Keough and Phil Ryan

The Panasonic LX10 remains the best choice for people who want a compact camera that produces significantly better photos and video than their smartphone.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing to save people time, energy and money when making buying decisions. Whether it's finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we'll help you get it right (the first time).

Why We Don’t Recommend Buying a New DSLR Camera | Wirecutter

CS Mount Tof Lens © 2022 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company