Disadvantages of modern DSLR cameras

The best part of a car is one that is not in the car.

Disadvantages of modern DSLR cameras

The disadvantages of modern DSLR cameras. The photo shows the inside of my camera.

The same can be said about modern digital SLR cameras. Inside, the modern CZK camera has a huge number of mechanical parts, which over time can wear out and fail. In modern devices, there is a tendency to replace all mechanical devices with electronic ones, I would continue this trend at the Central Control Commission.


The basis of the SLR camera, including the digital SLR camera (DSLR), is the mirror. When shooting, the camera’s mirror constantly rises and falls, the mirror of modern DSLR cameras has a complex structure, described in my article about mirror structure. A whole bunch of complex mechanisms is responsible for the mechanism of raising the mirror. For example, after 150 thousand operations, the mirror control mechanism on my camera Nikon D700 refused. Now you can find cameras in which the mirror does not 'jump' when shooting and is semi-transparent, but cameras can be found at Sony and they are called SLT.

The bouncing mirror problem consists not only in what is required for work complex mechanism, but also in the fact that with a jumping mirror physically you cannot develop a fast continuous shooting speed. Now the problem with speed is solved by the usual fixation of the mirror in the raised position, but in the raised position the focus system and / or metering are turned off exposureor the autofocus and metering system exposure based on Live View. SLTs can serve as an excellent further development of modern SLR cameras.

Inexplicable springs

Inexplicable springs and parts inside the camera that want to break.

Also, the bouncing mirror does excess noise at work, which is not always convenient, and sometimes very undesirable. The mirror control mechanism requires excess power, and increases the cost of manufacturing the camera. Also a mirror chases air in the middle of the camera excess dust very undesirable for the camera matrix. And the mirror is easy to damage, it is easily dirty. Also, there is a problem adjustments mirrors with focus sensors.

True, even SLT cameras cannot be a complete replacement for SLRs, since they transmit less light to the camera matrix, compared to SLR cameras, and do not have a conventional optical viewfinder, but only a digital one. Personally, I really like the optical viewfinder of modern cameras because you see the 'live light' of the scene you are filming. The SLT attracts with its greater compactness and continuous phase focusing, even during video.

A huge number of complex mechanisms

A huge number of complex mechanisms in my Nikon D700

Iris control

The diaphragm is a mechanical device and for its operation, too, a complex mechanism is required. For example, Nikon CZK control the lens iris with shock mechanism, better known as 'skipping rope'. A special striker hits the protrusion on the lens, forcing the aperture to close to the desired value. I think this mechanism is very primitive. The mechanism requires a complex device, the mechanism consumes energy and creates very loud noise at work. In Canon cameras, the iris control mechanism is built into each lens separately and the noise from it is much lower.

I would replace the entire aperture control system by applying a special crystalline coating to one of the lenses of the lens, which changes the light transmission intensity. This would allow completely abandoning any mechanics when controlling the diaphragm, and it would be possible to form any aperture patterns.

Mechanical gears in a modern camera

Mechanical gears in a modern camera


The weak point of the CZK is the shutter control system. The shutter is a fully mechanical device that is designed to operate at extreme speeds. The best cameras have a shutter speed of up to 300.000 times and will wear out anyway. Replacing the shutter is very expensive and painful. It's funny, but modern soap dishes do not have a mechanical shutter, but have an electronic shutter. The electronic shutter is a very attractive thing, I would gladly replace my mechanical shutter with electronicif he supported over short excerpts by type 1 \ 8000s and was able to synchronize at such shutter speeds with the flash.

Mechanical shutter creates loud noise, shutter lamellas (curtains) are very fragile and very easy to damage.

Front view

View of the front of the CZK from the inside. One can see a raised mirror and many mechanical and electrical devices.

Personal experience

Strange, but in the courtyard the 21st century, and modern DSLRs from head to toe crammed with mechanics. I wrote this article after they gave me the details of the camera from the repair and I was horrified by a million mechanical things in its insides. You can also write in an article about the complex autofocus device of some cameras through a screwdriver, which requires a motor and a motor drive shutdown system. Even the mechanical raising of the flash sometimes sticks, I had many cases. I would gladly replace a bunch of heavy and complex mechanical devices in my camera with newer and more advanced electronic ones, but this is a huge amount of time until the technology changes.


Modern central control valves use a lot of mechanical parts, which creates excess noise, costs in production and energy consumption. I hope that in the future many mechanical defects will be eliminated.

Help to the project. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 108, on the topic: Disadvantages of modern DSLR cameras

  • Alexey

    Fuck electronics, the author upset with his train of thought .. and to the author's note - never electronics will be more effective than mechanics - this is anrial. if you had a little experience with engineering, you would understand. in analog technology - be it audio equipment or photos or any other is missing
    a) digital noise
    b) steps without smoothing
    c) mechanics are still more reliable than electronics, if intelligently done
    it is still funny that the development trends of electronic devices in an effort to achieve the level of analog technology. There is no digital high-end, in general, why complicate your life and spend a lot of money on camera repair due to a burned-out path in the chip or hundreds of other reasons that arise.
    camera developers have higher qualifications than yours ... and I put your rac suggestions on the level of school writing.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Nevertheless, the article deals specifically with the drawbacks of the Central Control Panel, you described in general the advantages of mechanics, but did not submit any ideas for improving it. In the end, just defend the mechanics.

    • Alex

      Despite the "antiquity" of the message, I will still answer it, the author's tone and categoricalness really hurt me. Electronics is already much more effective than mechanics, in those areas where its use is justified, I suggest the author to forget about calculators and use a mechanical adding machine. And enjoy the warm tube sound, that is, cold mechanical calculations.
      a) don't you like digital noise? much nicer is the crackle of a gramophone record or the “analog” grain on the tape?
      b) smoothing steps? its counterpart in mechanics is backlash, compliance with temperature conditions, strict lubrication requirements and the lack of abrasive, moment of inertia and other rubbish. Smoothing is a compromise between size and quality.
      c) reliable mechanics (in money terms) are much more expensive than reliable electronics, not taking into account the cost of maintenance.
      Again, as we see, the author was not let down by the electronics in this case, but by the mechanics of the shutter (although the reverse cases are not rare). Mechanics has exhausted itself for 40 years (I will not talk about nano-mechanics, since its prospects are still vague) in the sense that nothing radically new has occurred in processing and material science.
      Of course, a hydraulic jack cannot be replaced with electronics, but this is not required.
      I liked Arkady's article very much, I recommend not to pay attention to individual "double" personalities.

  • Valery

    Mechanics are of course "Prime Legacy", but the future is electronics.
    For example, someday it will be possible to implement a system of individual pixel-by-pixel electronic shutters that would measure the desired exposure for each pixel separately. Thanks to this, it will be possible to achieve the now unimaginable dynamic range of images.

    • Basil

      Bullshit! A bunch of components that can break and nothing more. At Zenith E there was one photocell in the exposure metering; the ion was never mistaken and always showed the correct exposure. And now in Nikon, what a fucking complex exposure metering system with thousands of examples for comparison and what’s the use of it? When shooting landscapes with bright differences in summer, the exposure metering is almost always wrong, the sky is rarely not overexposed, and you have to constantly make corrections or raise the camera a little higher to fix the exposure. And every time you think - what kind of super accurate system is that it constantly doesn’t understand what the photographer is shooting! And with the same Zenit E, the correct exposure was always obtained! The bourgeoisie just couldn’t make cameras properly, and they still can’t, and who needs all these show-offs with a bunch of processors? Techno-wankers and no one else!

      • Arkady Shapoval

        It’s good that Zenit was removed from sales from all Western sites, and even the information that they were there was removed (like the largest photo site bhphotovideo.com). Otherwise, there is nothing to sell Leika under the guise Zenit M.

        • Rodion

          This only means that KMZ stopped having time to re-glue the nameplates on Lake’s cameras, producing all sorts of junk for the war.

          • Arkady Shapoval

            nothing of the kind, bhphoto specifically deleted everything related to Zenit due to sanctions. Not only did everything disappear from being available for purchase, but it was deleted from the archives and cache.

  • chlorat

    Well, at least there is no passion in them)

  • Denis

    “It's funny, but modern soap dishes do not have a mechanical shutter, but have an electronic shutter” - I have not yet held in my hands a single more or less adequate soap dish without a mechanical shutter. Even my cheap, primitive Samsung ST-66 has fur. shutter, it was in the old UFO. There are no shutters except in the cameras of mobile phones and completely toy soap boxes with a terrible CMOS matrix and without autofocus (in short, a camera with a display torn from a phone, I once had such a monster :)). Such cameras (without a mechanical shutter) have a terrible effect called "Rolling shutter", in which moving (even relatively slow) objects are strongly stretched, which makes it impossible to shoot, for example, a train or a car in motion.
    So, even from the soap boxes, the mechanics did not disappear ...

  • Alexander

    Somewhere deep down, he applauded desperately for you while reading this topic. In the past, he repeatedly wondered with such fantasies. Today I see that much of what seemed fantastic takes shape and becomes ordinary, natural.
    Ergonomics. The camera became a continuation of the hands, moreover, a continuation of the rush of the soul of a drive. Projections, roundness, buttons, shower tabs, backlights, screens. A quick and friendly response is taken for granted. Slowing or annoying or plunges into emotion.
    The very sensation, the touch of the camera in the hands gives rise to a search reflex, an arrangement for some providence that is about to happen. Form breeds consciousness! Content raises it to a higher level.
    Optics. With a processor! All aspherical surfaces. Monstrous spraying. Stabilization. Autofocus. Still a lot of everything that when he was in film seemed fiction and excessive bells and whistles.
    He made his first lens with a clove, since the camera was made from under a jar of condensed milk.)))
    Mechanics. This is the heart of the camera. Mechanics has always been its queen and remains. She will be.
    Fundamentally, not much has changed. Something has completely disappeared. This is a natural process.
    Technological advances are staggering.
    Manufacturing accuracy increased by several orders of magnitude. The materials have changed. Everything has become graceful and sound. The reliability of the camera has increased. The camera, I note, is not designed for 150000 shutter releases, and the manufacturer guarantees that your shutter will work so much without problems. My Nikon is confidently moving to 300000. We’ll see))) An old but good one. I love you.
    Electronics. Here is a colossal breakthrough. Everything is read, considered, optimized and worked out.
    The photographer goes from the plane of the optimal choice of shutter speed-aperture to the artistic plane. The search for a concept, compositional solution, and a research approach to the topic become dominant in modern photography. Even in photography for yourself.
    However, supporting your proposal, I’ll let you imagine what we can expect in the next 10-20 years.
    I think that the dynamic range of digital matrices will expand to 16-18Ev. The noise component will be significantly reduced. Perhaps additional properties will be added.
    The power consumption of cameras will increase. More efficient batteries will appear.
    Perhaps the algorithm of the matrix will be revised due to its high speed.
    Perhaps the matrix and the shutter will represent a single unit. The shutter function will be provided with the role of a safety shutter in case of starting the camera or replacing the optics.
    The volume of processed information will increase.
    I do not rule out the appearance of new formats for recording information, respectively, and new capacious storage media.
    I expect a major breakthrough in expanding wireless technology for transmitting information.
    Wi-Fi on the camera will get a serious continuation. This is both a remote control of the camera, and an extension of the capabilities of the camera. Focus, color, etc. can be solved using a computer during the shooting process. Or viewed on the screen at 3,2 inches or at least seven. Here is just the beginning.
    The optics will seriously advance. There will be a breakthrough in geometry. Surface precision. New coatings.
    I do not exclude the appearance of glasses with the effect of transparency, the appearance of electronic lenses. The latter will significantly change our understanding of photographic equipment.
    The serious direction is ergonomic. So to say, the open architecture of the camera.
    It will be possible to assemble a camera for yourself like now a computer. Matrix shutter, optical unit, power supply, memory unit. The memory can already be taken out of the camera today.
    Marketers will try. Moreover, there are already precedents.
    I think that cameras will become more affordable. There will be more FX format cameras.

  • Alexey

    An interesting article on the topic of fantasizing :) Although, as life shows, lately the principle “create a product that even a fool can use…” has been actively promoting and “progress” (in quotes) in this direction has already crossed all reasonable limits. I do not mind that the photographer wasted a minimum of time and effort on the technical part, it is really better to direct them into the artistic direction. Still, photography shouldn't stray too far from its roots. Overuse of burst shooting and auto modes does not improve the quality of the final result. Making the process technically accessible to everyone and everyone leads many to the idea that the automation will also make the layout and the artistic composition for a person ...

    For cameras - at the moment I use both a DSLR and an SLT. DCC with a good zoom lens, covering medium and long range lengths. And about SLT a little more in detail. I bought Sonya A57 for the occasion - on the whole I liked the camera, but the fixed mirror eats away a whole stop of exposure and reduces the micro-contrast. Therefore, the mirror was mercilessly removed from it, which led to the loss of only autofocus, and the need to periodically blow dust from the matrix. Now the A57 is used exclusively in dir. manual focusing, with a zoom of 16-80, with manual optics M42 (matrix stub is very helpful in rooms), as well as for macro photography. Unlike the CZK, the exposure metering in the SLT camera is carried out from the matrix (as in the Live View mode of some CZK) - which guarantees more or less accurate metering and does not require programmable chips on the M42 adapter.

    About fully email. shutters - I recently repaired a Samsung L74 7.2 Mpix soap dish, I don't know how modern it is or not. There was fur. damage to the retractable lens. They were going to throw out the camera anyway, so there was plenty of room for experimentation. Initially, I wanted to remove the lens, and insert a threaded block on the M42 there - it could have turned out to be a good thing with some "Helios". But right in the retractable lens, behind the front lens, there was an electromechanical petal shutter ... Therefore, the lens was partially restored, and the rework has been postponed for now.

  • Leonid_Sh

    Due to the release of a new generation of mirrorless cameras (for example SONY @ 7 and 7r) with a matrix and other characteristics comparable to NIKON D800, it's time to rewrite this article or write a new one. Unfortunately, the quiet death of DSLRs is already visible. :(

    • Arkady Shapoval

      When is the output of full-format without SLR cameras to the disadvantages of modern DSLR? The disadvantages of SLR cameras remained, and therefore I do not see a single reason to rewrite something.

  • Andrei

    Let the children in kindergartens think about all the garbage, and I’ll have enough brand3 for my life. I will beat him off in a hurry in half a year.

  • anonym

    Sometimes I work on a machine with a bunch of rotating shafts and gears - all on bronze bushings. There are no bearings at all. She will soon be a hundred years old. And it works great, just be sure to lubricate more often. So it is with photographic equipment - the future belongs to mirrorless cameras, but it's a pity to write off the good old mechanics. Served faithfully, and we, in pursuit of an eternal shutter, act like this treacherously ((Well, at least the old manual lenses - they will be eternal, and that's joy :) Give me retro!

  • Rusik

    mirrorless with manual lens
    this is a really cool camera)

    minimum unnecessary mechanics and excellent image quality)

    • Demyanov

      Yes, of course. Mirrorless camera with manual lens. I bought a sony a7, wound manual zeiss from a watering can there. It is impossible to focus in dynamics, everything flies into milk (why were manual lenses of the same Zeiss easy to focus on a DSLR?). The picking works somehow. The pseudo-optical viewfinder is unpleasant for the eyes in comparison with the optical one, and besides, it kind of rattles the shutter that people turn around in the street and express their dissatisfaction to me. The mirror works quieter, and then the mirrorless camera yells at the whole district: "You are being photographed!" A mirrorless is like having sex with a rubber woman instead of a real one. I took the mirror again in my hands just like I moved from a Lada to a Mercedes.

  • Ander1974

    Yes, it would be fun to combine the LCD electronic iris with a shutter. Those. the diaphragm itself would be the shutter. At the moment of the “shot”, the area corresponding to the aperture set by the software simply became transparent. and the shape of this site, as Arkady said, you can set any!

    Another thing is that this is now impossible to do because
    1. insufficient transparency of the aperture matrix
    2. The complete cutoff of the light flux in the darkened state of the diaphragm matrix.

  • Oleg

    "Mechanical shutter makes a lot of noise"
    The shutter does not create any loud noise. The main noise comes from the mirror and the diaphragm drive, and the shutter creates a faint click

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Depends heavily on its implementation, for comparison, listen to how the shutter works on sony a7r.

  • Sergei

    Faced with the fact that when I removed the protective plastic (LCD monitor cover), I saw that the screen was fogged up from the inside, does it happen or did my carcass grab condensation in the cold ??? Thank you in advance for your reply!

  • anonym

    The author why you are so dull, do not like the mechanics of the insides of the camera, shoot on a digital finger!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Uncomprehensible in what?

  • Rock0ever

    In fact, the resource of the mechanics is artificially limited, in the same D300 / D700 the gear with an eccentric in the mechanism for cocking the shutter and raising the mirror wears out, because it is the only plastic in this mechanism. After replacing the mechanism (because the gears are not supplied separately) I myself saw and held in my hands a seven hundred with a mileage of half a million, at my own gate. Here is such a coproeconomics ... (:

  • Paul

    The article is excellent, but on some points I do not agree with everything:
    1. The mirror does not consume, but on the contrary saves energy. Without it, there is no viewfinder and you need to keep the matrix and screen on. In addition, the switched on matrix heats up - noise characteristics deteriorate.
    2. The electronic shutter also has disadvantages. A matrix with an electronic shutter is more complicated, more expensive, worse in dark noise and dynamic range, there may be stripes behind the light sources in the direction of the matrix reading, etc. So the mechanics are to some extent justified. But in terms of short exposures, 1/8000 is far from the limit for an electronic shutter.
    3. The control of the diaphragm due to the crystal coating has its own nuances, if we mean liquid crystals, as in a watch. There, the polarization effect is used to control transparency. A lens with this aperture would be like a lens with a non-removable polarizing filter. When the crystal diaphragm is “open”, part of the light flux will be delayed, and when it is “closed,” a part will still pass through the darkened parts. And also in liquid crystal indicators there are always gaps between individual segments - it will be difficult to make a continuous ring of variable size.

    • Lynx

      it’s hard to imagine that there are cameras with optical viewfinders without a mirror, right?

      • Paul

        Either there is still a mirror but a translucent motionless one, or the viewfinder is made for a specific lens without zoom.

        • Lynx

          Not only

  • Wacom

    The level of cameras in modern smartphones has reached the point that digital compacts and pseudo-mirrors will soon die out as a class. Only SLRs for pros and smartphones will remain.

    • Eugene

      You probably are not at all in the subject ... You cannot cram a normal matrix into a smartphone and you cannot provide focal lengths. This is the smallest thing that can be answered on your post.

      • Alexey Shch

        The smartphone already has experience with an inch sensor (Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1). It came out very compact. If you wish, you can also stick a thread of level m4 / 3.

        Personally, I would not be comfortable with a phone that takes pictures, but a camera that rings.

        • Pokekmon

          It came out compactly, but not for everyone.
          Often they like to mention this smartphone, but not to mention its cost.
          So she was 1000-1200 Euro and to find it was really difficult.
          Here, each for himself determines how much money he is willing to spend on a smartphone with a good camera.
          As for me, the Nokia 808 PureView (38MP, 1 / 1.2inch) and Nokia Lumia 1020 (34MP, 1 / 1.5inch BSI) are still more adequate in terms of the result / price ratio, but they did not have Android.
          I own both of these Nokia. What amazes me is that even at full resolution as it is (and it is not fake there), you do not get "soap" in the frame. Even at the corners it is tolerable.
          I specially photographed the brick wall of the house opposite. I could not believe my eyes - I thought there would be soap like on old glasses like Sigma, which are not yet EX DG (NON D glasses), but here they are.

          • Alexey Shch

            That's just the point that I would spend, but these camera phones are NOT))
            It was the lack of android that stopped me from buying the 808th Nokia, and instead of 1 ″ Panas I took Olympus for $ 100.

            In general, I'm talking about the fact that there are achievements, but marketing does not allow. Why try to shove a super-camera for 1000ye, when you can safely weld on average smarts and soap compacts.

          • zengarden

            On small matrices, a large depth of field + aperture + post-processing.
            Camera phones (with the exception of the latest advanced dual lenses) are sharpened to the sharpest and most contrasting picture.
            And, yes, cheap digital compacts have almost died out as a class.
            But the "pros" (advanced compacts with high image quality) will live for a long time.

    • Valery A.

      And lovers of kuda?

  • Oleg

    You can also put a full-frame sensor on the phone, 3,5 by 2,5 cm is not so big as to not push this plate into the smartphone; the question is, the larger the sensor, the more the lens is needed, and few will buy thick phones . In the future, when completely new technologies will appear, it is possible, but then the capabilities of cameras will be much higher.
    As an example, in the distant future, a camera, a video camera, a telephone ... will be adapted into the human brain. You look at something and immediately there is a recording, the necessary frame is immediately mentally transferred to the Web on your page in the globalgram, and all that.

  • Oleg

    A camera with a phone function - why? Now everything is in wireless technologies, threw the smart into the bag, answer, call, you can without taking it out, transfer the photo from the camera to the smart or immediately throw it on the Web - it's also as easy as shelling pears. Everything has been working for a long time.

    • 123

      RAW with D850, as it is :-), by itself, will not be processed and will not spread to the Internet on Facebook or classmates.
      And to shoot in jpeg, so that the machine is thrown off in the social network ... then it makes sense to buy a DSLR?

      • Oleg

        Situations are different, you do not need to look only for extremes. Maybe someone wants to make a quick announcement, and you can record RAW + jpg, in addition, in many cases it is not necessary to shoot in RAW in order to get a great picture that does not require any Photoshop intervention.

  • Zhorik

    It's funny now, after 7 years, to read some comments with attacks on individual words and thoughts of the author. If you look more broadly, Arkady is absolutely right. The fact that mechanics are everywhere being replaced by electronics is a ubiquitous trend, only a stubborn blind can not see this. No one counts Felix on mechanical calculators, does not type on Remington typewriters, does not listen to Mayak and Vega records and tape recorders, does not shoot Kvarts-8 on a hand-held movie camera and does not even play with a winding typewriter, from which the key was always lost. Smartphones have no moving parts, no mirror, no shutter, no aperture. However, in terms of photo quality, top-end smartphones compete with serious cameras. Well, or they will compete in the near future, it's obvious. So the future belongs to electronics, no matter how bitter it is to admit it. I've been shooting with a DSLR all my life.

    • Denis

      Who appreciates high-quality sound, he still listens to vinyl, because in terms of sound quality, even a CD can not be compared with vinyl.

      • Panteleimon

        Before self-confidently declaring the superiority of vinyl over CD, it would be good for you to tighten up literacy - the peculiarities of using the soft sign in words. Vinyl is an outdated and compromise technology for scribbling sound onto plastic, with a bunch of flaws that won't take a page to list. It’s not surprising that such illiterate people like you have gotten into trouble with this wretched old thing - vinyl.

        • Jury

          07.08.2021/11/17 at XNUMX:XNUMX Reply
          “I took my own 85 / 1.8 from my hands for practically the same money” - well, in vain! You were given an outdated EF fix for DSLRs. There will be no more mirrors of new models, only mirrorless cameras will remain. Now try to sell this obsolete glass for a reasonable amount. It will not work. " - About soft signs.

          • Oleg

            What prevents you from putting it on a mirrorless, mirror optics will be used for a long time on a bzk. Nonsense written

            • Victor

              Olga, I'm sorry, but you answered the wrong person and even in the wrong topic ;-)

              • Victor


                Sorry again :))) AutoCorrect.

  • Luuk

    Ik heb geen reactie op het artikel maar een vraag,betreft een Sony A37 en tijdens het fotograferen stopte de camera en gaf aan; camera fout; wat kan de oorzaak zijn en bij eventuele onderdelen vervanging waar kan ik een reparatie handleiding vinden?

    • B. R. P.

      Take your camera to repair, you will find all the answers there.

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