"Nikon has withdrawn from the development of SLR cameras" (report)

Nikon D500
(Image credit: James Artaius)

After producing SLR cameras since 1959, and with no new DSLRs released since 2020, "Nikon has withdrawn from the development of SLR cameras" – and "Canon also plans to follow Nikon and stop producing SLRs within a few years." 

That's according to a report by Nikkei, which notes that the ongoing erosion of the DSLR business (thanks, in the main, due to the best camera phones stealing share from the best cameras) has caused the Big N to withdraw from the development of mirrored cameras to focus on the mirrorless sector.

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However, Nikon immediately retorted to the report with an official statement – but using very selective language, only insisting that it is "continuing the production" of DSLRs rather than answering whether it is still continuing their development.

So, where does the truth lie? We have, after all, heard for years that DSLRs are dead. Is this just more doom and glooming?

Alas, we think that Nikkei's report is likely accurate. "Japanese camera maker Nikon will withdraw from the single-lens reflex camera business and shift toward digital offerings amid intensifying competition from smartphone cameras, Nikkei has learned" (thanks to Nikon Rumors for the translation).

After noting that the company hasn't launched a new DSLR since the flagship Nikon D6 in 2020 (now officially replaced by the Nikon Z9), the report adds that: "The company has already stopped development of compact digital cameras. From now on, Nikon intends to focus on digital mirrorless cameras, but production and distribution of existing SLR models will continue."

Canon is in almost the exact same position, having not released a new DSLR since the flagship Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (though this remains its flagship pro body) and entry level Canon EOS 850D in 2020. The last DSLR to be released was the Pentax K-3 Mark III in 2021. 

Still, while Canon's DSLR sales still account for some 74,500 units, Nikon's DSLR sales have slumped to 21,400 – at points even getting perilously close to the sales lows of Ricoh (Pentax), which currently sits at just 4,000 units according to the latest report.

For its part, Nikon's official statement calls the Nikkei story into question – though again, it doesn't actually deny the claims made:

"There was a media article regarding Nikon’s withdrawal of SLR development. This media article is only speculation and Nikon has made no announcement in this regards. Nikon is continuing the production, sales and service of digital SLR. Nikon appreciate your continuous support."

How long can DSLRs keep dodging bullets? A little while longer, according to Nikon.

Read more: 

Best DSLRs
Best Nikon lenses
Nikon D6 review
Nikon Z9 review
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon EOS 850D review
Pentax K-3 Mark III review

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.