DSLRs of the Year, 2018

14Share

It has been a tough year for DSLR development, especially with the meteoric rise in popularity of mirrorless cameras, and in respect to the booming 2017 that saw the introduction of the still-hard-to-get Nikon D850, the popular Nikon D7500, Canon EOS 77D, and the Rebel T7i. Nonetheless, DSLRs are still alive and kicking, and 2018 saw the release of two very different cameras—one entry level and one flagship full-frame model.

Nikon D850 DSLR Camera
Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera
Canon EOS 77D DSLR Camera
Canon EOS Rebel T7i DSLR Camera

Nikon D3500

2018 saw an update to the entry-level D3000 series of petite DSLRs—one of Nikon’s most popular lines—with the D3500. Taking cues from mirrorless’ characteristic smaller packages, this DSLR was designed to be as compact as possible while retaining the assets everyone expects from a DSLR; notably a nice pentamirror optical viewfinder and an especially ergonomic grip for comfort while holding. The D3500 differs from Nikon’s previous iterations with a redesigned control scheme: all the rear buttons are now located on the right-hand side for easier one-handed access, and the overall form factor now more closely resembles that of the D5600, with a deeper grip. Beyond these physical differences, the D3500 is still as solid as ever in terms of imaging capabilities, with a DX-format 24.2MP CMOS sensor, EXPEED 4 image processor, top sensitivity of ISO 25600, top shooting rate of 5 fps, and Full HD video recording at 60 fps. The camera also includes Bluetooth for wireless image sharing, and battery performance is more efficient, with the EN-EL14a now capturing 1,550 shots per charge.

Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera

The D3500 is available with an 18-55mm lens or in a two-lens kit, with 18-55mm and 70-300mm lenses.

Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 70-300mm Lenses

Pentax K-1 Mark II

On the other side of the DSLR fence, Pentax also used 2018 to update its flagship full-frame model with the K-1 Mark II. Key enhancements to this impressive camera include an upgraded PRIME IV image processor with an Accelerator Unit, which helps the 36.4MP CMOS sensor achieve lower noise, greater clarity, and improved color accuracy, along with an expanded sensitivity range that now reaches ISO 819200. These processing improvements work in concert with the five-axis Shake Reduction system that helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake, as well as enable Pixel Shift Resolution II and Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution for creating higher-resolution composite shots.

Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR Camera

Beyond these imaging upgrades, the K-1 Mark II retains its notably robust physical design, which uses stainless steel and magnesium alloy to render an especially durable and rigid chassis. Extensive weather sealing about the body also makes it suitable for use in harsh weather conditions. Additionally, a calling card of Pentax DSLRs for some time, the K-1 Mark II has a large pentaprism optical finder with 100% frame coverage, along with a 3.2" 1.04m-dot Cross-Tilt LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, and built-in GPS.

What are your thoughts on 2018’s pair of DSLR releases? Are DSLRs still relevant in today’s photographic market? Are there still great things to come to those who prize a more ergonomic body design and optical viewfinder? Kick-start the conversation in the Comments section.

14 Comments

I have been using SLRs' and DSLRs for 30 years. I switched to DSLR's in 2005. Since the switch, I have been a HUGE fan of Pentax DSLRs, built like tanks, efficient, fast and economical. In my opinion, Canon and Nikon are over rated and you pay for the NAMES.... One of my first major upgrades was the Pentax 5IIs, which was a great DSLR. I recently upgraded to the Pentax KII, including the Battery Grip in 2017, which is great, because all of the equipment that is included with both DSLRs are interchangeable. I didn't have to upgrade to new lenses or new batteries. Everything was interchangeable. 

I think Mirrorless Cameras are a gimmick... And to have a Digital LED representation of the scene in the view finder is not precise like a DSLR.

Can't argue that Pentaxes certainly do have a tough, long-lasting build. I've had both Pentax 645 and 67 cameras in the past and still regret getting rid of them.

On the other point, you may be pleasantly surprised by how far mirrorless cameras have come in the past few years, especially in regard to the EVFs in some of the high-end models. The degree to which they've improved over the last few years is truly impressive. Of course, an SLR viewfinder hardly needs any improving and hasn't for many, many years...

Until mirrorless EVF matches the experience of looking through my Pentax DSLR viewfinder, I'll stick with DSLRs. The K-1ii is a fantastic camera.

I'm not sure if an EVF experience will ever truly match an optical finder experience, but you may be pleasantly surprised by some of benefits an EVF has over its optical competitor. Since recently trying more and more mirrorless cameras, I've certainly been "turned" a bit into seeing some of pluses an EVF can bring- but this isn't to say I don't still value the optical viewfinder experience more. 

In all honesty, though, I think rangefinder and view camera viewfinder experiences have both SLRs and mirrorless beat.

"Do DSLRs have a future?" Of course they do...

The rangefinder (mirrorless) systems from Leica, Contax, Nikon and Canon are superb for everyday (street) photography but it is at the extremes that SLRs (always will) excel...paraphrasing 1958, but the concept remains the same. I have attached my Tele 560 R lens to my Fuji X Pro (a lovely camera) no go, yet through a Leica R or adapted to a Nikon FX DLSR...awesome...same for my Olympus OM 20/38mm Photar like super macro lenses...much easier to compose on a focusing screen...in an (D) SLR.  Need speed? Need bullet proof reliability? DSLR...

Thought two

Canon and Nikon missed the boat big time (what the X Pro-1 came out six? years ago?) and are catching up...resources going to the mirrorless market to prevent further erosion to Sony and Fuji..

Thought three why bother with a new DSLR this year. No compelling reason to upgrade and my current Nikon D3/4/5 etc is good enough, built like a tank and good for another 100k shot, why spend $6500 for a few features that don't really matter in my kind of photography

Technology is the only reason to upgrade DSLR kits today and I still see a lot of users perfectly happy with D3/D700 series cameras...technology marches ever onward there will be a compelling reason just no killer app yet...

Definitely all good points, Mark. I guess to be more specific, do you think that DSLRs have "peaked" and most future camera innovations will be reserved for mirrorless systems? I agree with you saying that DSLRs have their time and place, and still offer a number of advantages over mirrorless, but the number of distinct advantages are becoming fewer compared to years past.

I think an analogy could be something along the lines of a 4 x 5" view camera; technologically speaking, this type of camera peaked many years ago, but there are still times and places where an antiquated view camera still cannot be bested. Are DSLRs eventually going to become, like view cameras, a niche camera that is reserved for specialized shooting applications?

I agree with Terry A. 

No Canon, the biggest camera seller? 

Does explora own stock in Nikon (and Pentax)?

All-in-all, a pretty pathetic bit of 'info'.

How many new Canon DSLRs were released on 2018? They can't report on what didn't happen.

Canon released the M50 in 2018, but it is not a DSLR.
Canon released the mirrorless R in 2018, but it is not a DSLR.

Canon did release the 4000D, which is a bare bones entry level DSLR, in 2018. But they did not offer it in the United States where B&H (the publisher of this article) is based.

That leaves the EOS Rebel T7/2000D as the only DSLR Canon released in the United States in 2018.  The T7 may have been confused by the author with 2017's Rebel T7i, which was covered in 2017.

Correct, Michael. This was meant to be the tone of the article; that in terms of new DSLRs released, there were only a couple to choose from (from Nikon and Pentax). Canon's camera development in 2018 heavily focused on their mirrorless systems. In regard to the Canon EOS Rebel T7, while it is available in the USA, it was not made widely available and B&H is not currently offering it for sale.

Ten of course there is a 3rd category so to speak the SLT line from Sony. Slips between mirrorless which they are if you ignore the semi translucent mirror which has to do with focus and not viewing. Personally this is my kind of camera. Has the ergos of the DSLR with the ease of manual shooting of a mirrorless.

I like my Sony A77. It has plenty of features for me and it has built in GPS, which is very nice.

I did not read anything about the Canon Cameras?

How many new Canon DSLRs were released on 2018? They can't report on what didn't happen.

Canon released the M50 in 2018, but it is not a DSLR.
Canon released the mirrorless R in 2018, but it is not a DSLR.

Canon did release the 4000D, which is a bare bones entry level DSLR, in 2018. But they did not offer it in the United States where B&H (the publisher of this article) is based.

That leaves the EOS Rebel T7/2000D as the only DSLR Canon released in the United States in 2018.  The T7 may have been confused by the author with 2017's Rebel T7i, which was covered in 2017.

You're right, Terry. Canon had a quiet 2018 in terms of DSLR development, choosing instead to prioritize its growing EOS R and EOS M mirrorless systems.

Close

Close

Close