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: 102, on the topic: Disadvantages of modern DSLR cameras

  • Vadim

    Interesting thoughts, easy to read. Having read to the end, I remembered your fantasy flight about autofocus Helios (aka Europe)

    I have more conservative views. All this mechanics has its own charm. Since these principles, ideas, mechanisms have come down to our time, I consider them brilliant. And that is wear. Nothing lasts forever, only music (s)
    Thank you very much for your thoughts and reviews. Every time I find here something useful and interesting.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I just had to change the entire bay with the shutter together due to the fact that a tiny thing broke, and the device does not support part replacement - everything changes together. I like heavy czk, but still I would like simpler solutions.

      • rescuero

        Immediately I remember a Soviet cartoon about a music box - “This thing will break, the box will not make a sound!”
        Creepy photos of the insides of the D700 shocked to the core :)

        • Nicholas

          They scared me ... I'm afraid now.

  • Egor

    What is Electronically Controlled Focal Shutter?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The usual shutter near the camera matrix, shutter speed is set by the camera electronics.

  • anonym

    dreamer :), but maybe someday they will do this, but, quite possibly, it will already be yesterday, who knows ...

  • Andrey Kuryanov

    Since 2006 I have been using only professional Canon cameras, at first there was 1D mark II N, now Canon 1D mark IV, and soon there will be Canon 1DX. The price of a professional camera is 2-3 times higher than the closest one in the line, “almost” a professional carcass. And this difference in price is not taken from the ceiling. The shooting speed is 10-11 fps with very quiet operation of the mirror and shutter. The resource of professional cameras is guaranteed to be 2-4 times longer than those lower in the line. Guaranteed camera operation in extreme conditions. The technologies have been worked out and the division of the line of cameras from both Nikon and Canon into professional and all the others is absolutely justified.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The article is not about price, but about technology.

  • anonym

    It’s very interesting, it looks like some kind of factory from post-punk =) and the article is very exciting. But now I would like to hear something about the pros if they certainly are)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There are pluses.

  • anonym

    There is a wonderful story by Clifford Simak, “The Ring Around the Sun” - http://lib.ru/SIMAK/ring_sun.txt In it, things that never broke down brought humanity to the brink of destruction. And since in the near foreseeable future, mankind does not shine global cultural transformations, no matter how simplify the camera - one way or another it will have to break down from something in five years :) And even with the current level of technology - the camera is a very accurate and reliable device, the percentage of breakdowns in which is very small, but it cannot be zero in principle.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There are many stories, one life. Since there is technical development, let it be flawless.

      • anonym

        the future is definitely behind mirrorless cameras. By the way, there is a wonderful paradox with shutters: a promising and little speed-limited electronics for which year cannot catch up with archaic mechanics in speed :)

        • Rusik

          what is true then true
          I took a mirrorless and I’m not overjoyed
          the noise from the shutter is quiet and only pleases the ear)
          Yes, and the camera itself is less convenient and high-quality photos)

          • Dim

            Manufacturers will never do unbreakable things; it will just destroy their business. Not a very large number of people have "extra money" and they will not necessarily choose a photo, the pro market is also not endless. What can I say - some especially advanced guys change the configuration of parts for the same things, so that the spare parts from the new ones do not fit the old ones.

  • Maksim

    And you, Arkadiy, you won’t be able to live, let’s live by now, let’s summarize, what’s the same as if your mother was an unreasonable viglyad?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I have never seen this, I would love to try it.

  • Andrey Kuryanov

    I, just about the dependence of price on technology, buy a D4 and see the triumph of professional camera technology.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Why aren't you using D4?

  • Anatoly

    While there are no technologies that could replace the usual light optical viewfinder, focusing the old screwdriver lens, synchronizing with the flash at high shutter speeds, this is the charm of the modern central lens.
    Of course, the hour is not far off that they will take a place on the shelves of collectors, but I personally like all this noisy mechanics, and its limited resource obliges the photographer to think before pressing the shutter button

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Great note on 'think', I fully support the idea.

  • Oleg

    From the repair. Correct.

    But essentially. Here is the first swallow Sony CineAlta F55 with a global electronic shutter, but the cost as befits the first swallow.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you for your attention. Fixed.

  • Sergei

    I want to express my gratitude to your camera (for breaking) and your curiosity (greed) :). Without them, there would not have been so many interesting and informative articles and photographs. And only a loner, some kind of repairman, Uncle Smit, could contemplate all this (the insides of the camera). And so, we gathered so much useful information. ;)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I'm not greedy, but practical, since waiting for a 32-day service response is not very convenient.

      • Sergei

        At the expense of “greed”, in a good way (thirst for knowledge), I myself, at first try to repair myself, I wonder how it works inside. And when I do it, I read the instructions or take them to the service.

        • Arkady Shapoval


        • Yuriy75

          I respect I myself always climb with a screwdriver, so the computer mastered, than surprised friends.

  • Vadim

    A graceful and elegant product becomes tender and fragile in direct proportion, requires love and respect for itself. There is a rangefinder “Kiev”. Grandfather filmed, father filmed, I am filming, and he is like from a shop window ... So he, Kiev, is a brick by brick! We strive to shift our tasks onto the shoulders of computers, trying to make the equipment very small, stylish and at the same time reliable. And even in our times there are people who shoot on a matchbox and a piece of film, who are trying to give a second wind to the old grandfather's lenses ... Maybe a few more years will pass and it will be possible to turn the old Helios 81N into “MC EUROPA-15N AF 50mm 1 : 2.0 ”. The main thing is to do everything possible to achieve your goals.

  • Andrei

    In my opinion, manufacturers themselves do not want to do very high-quality things. Maybe it’s right, after 3-5-7 years the model becomes obsolete, and it is replaced by a new one that is more functional, which takes into account some other consumer requirements.

    • anonym

      On the other hand, if the virobniks do not want to read the words, then it's true. And you think about how would you buy a camera if it would be good for you? Tom in the leather goods of the lodging of the term life. If you are angry with a camera, buy a new one.

  • Vasil

    Like on a Maybut DSLR, it looks more like a Sony Alpha NEX-7K camera, a minimum of mechanical parts of a small rugged mirror and small fragile parts (: I want to tell you everything for now (:

  • mooschina

    The history of the development of cameras.
    Articles about miscellaneous Tags: joke photo, DSLR, development history, soap dishes, pro, camera, photo-harf, joke

    1960s - Do you shoot on a rangefinder? And you do not double in the eyes? It's funny nowadays. Throw away your junk, buy a SLR camera and enjoy clear shots and a modern focusing system.

    1970s - Your DSLR without a light meter? Throw this junk, buy a camera with a built-in exposure meter and enjoy instant automatic exposure.

    1980s - Do you still shoot with a SLR? You yourself are not funny? Everyone is already shooting on fully automatic cameras. And most importantly - they are small, so the camera is always with you - you can shoot any event. Throw away your junk, buy a modern soap dish - you just press the button, and the masterpiece is ready on the film.

    1990s - Do you have a film soap dish? And is it in our time digital technology? Aren't you tired of spending money on film? By the way, do you know what a cool digital camera you can connect to your computer? Throw away your junk, buy a modern digital soap dish - you press the button, and your frame on the computer screen in a few seconds - no chemicals, no waiting.

    2000s - Do you have a digital dustbox? Are you a sucker? Do you know how big her matrix is? Six of these matrices fit on your nail. Whether business is a digital SLR. The background is blurred in smoke. Noises - no. All real boys are already like that. Throw off your junk for a little while while they still buy it. Buy a DSLR - all your girls will be.

    2010s - Are you still photographing with a digital mirror? This clapboard coffin? Oh well. And for advanced ones, they are already mirrorless. Small, with a large matrix. You can attach any lenses. And most importantly - the camera is always with you. Do you remember how yesterday Ninka splashed cool on the ice? Did you manage to take off? That's just it ... And if there was a fotik in my pocket, I would. Throw away your junk, and go ahead - behind the modern camera.

    • Oleg

      +1 :) Do you happen to be a non-marketer?

    • Victor

      Yes, mirrorless cameras are good for everyone, only there would be more ergonomics, convenience in the hands, the buttons are necessary, an optical viewfinder - and you will get a standard DSLR - both in weight and in size :) Manufacturers are very greedy, they take care of the segment of DSLRs, they put small ones in the mirrorless matrices, Kenon recently “woke up” a little - he made a model with a good matrix, but the price? and the bayonet is different - again, greed. Ahead of all Sony, but again, few and expensive lenses, few buttons, add. electronic finder, battery charging only in the camera body, high battery consumption, and not everyone will fit into a pocket with a whale 18-55. So which of the manufacturers will make without a DSLR with the ergonomics of a DSLR, a normal matrix, with the ability to use lenses from DSLRs, will temper their greed with a more or less adequate price - they will make a revolution in the industry and break the main jackpot, everything written of course is my IMHO and my vision, maybe match with someone.

      • Alexey

        The Zapop mount on EOS M could not be left standard, or rather they could, but then the size would not have been much smaller than the DSLRs. The working segment had to be changed to suit the size. The adapter is essentially a fit of the working segment, but its price is somehow sky-high. )))

    • Ivan

      Super! And there is!

  • mooschina

    The evolution of technology is spiraling.
    At first it appears that it is very simple and develops to its limit until a qualitative breakthrough occurs and the system produces new qualities that it begins to develop. Then it develops again until something new appears again, which begins to dominate and develop to its limit.
    Take for example the same car. At first it was just a steam engine placed in a carriage.
    And the driver steered the front wheels with a strange lever. This system developed until a normal steering wheel appeared, and then a gas engine instead of a steam engine. The car became more and more like a modern one and gradually gained muscle, until it could transport huge loads. Then again came the fashion for one-two-month sports cars. Hybrid engines put on powerful jeeps. Now the stage of increasing the power of electric motors. So they will develop until they displace gasoline. Then the system will move to a new level, such as flight or teleportation.

  • SLOM

    Yes, mechanics can wear out but electronics are not a panacea!
    in fact, it is even mechanics, only at the level of electron distribution, in fact, a complex system of "plumbing" with many ventilation valves and taps!
    and frequent electronics can fail earlier than mechanics.

    but in general, the future lies with genetic engineering!
    when people learn to change and improve themselves at the genetic level instead of different devices, the world will change, PCs, photo and video cameras, calculators and so on will be unnecessary, all this will be recalculated in the person himself.
    I saw and imprinted it in my brain, in the same place if I needed to take photoshopped, I wanted to pass it on to the Internet through the brain, to what I should strive for, but for now we have what we’ve earned :)

    • Alexander

      It will be just horror, not a passion for photography! A person gets pleasure when he does something with his own hands! Personally, I believe that a camera should be such as, for example, the D7000, so that you can not only shoot high-quality pictures, but also enjoy the shooting process, otherwise the whole point of photography is lost! If you follow your thoughts (SLOM), then my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone shoots perfectly for this class of camera in the phone (I usually shoot ads for them), I pressed the button and no mechanical parts! And the SLT is another soap box with a mirror, I think that it is designed for a user who, apart from the shutter button, knows nothing and with a soap box in his hands he was already bored of its monotonous appearance, but on SLT he will do the same, only quality pictures will get better…. Recently, a friend of mine bought an SLT A57, because he already began to think that pressing a button on a soap dish stopped giving him pleasure, well, I twisted it in my hands, yes, she has a good speed of work, but since she is like a child's toy in my hands, with you feel like with a soap dish! For me personally, it would be useful for shooting mushrooms and berries in the tundra from a lower position, using a rotary screen, nothing more ... ..

  • Vadim

    Arkady, tell me, after such a repair as yours, can you again be sure of the shutter resource in the region of 100k operations? Does it make sense to make such repairs on an outdated camera? (e.g. D80 or D40)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I have a new shutter with zero mileage. After repair there is a guarantee. If the camera works, it makes no sense.

      • Vadim

        Thanks for the answer. Such a problem awaits me in the near future.
        I meant: is there any point in investing in this kind of repair if the camera is old. How expensive is it? For example, if it’s D40, which has shot about 200 thousand and the shutter has died, it may be more profitable to throw the camera out than to repair it))))

        • Arkady Shapoval

          If this is the D40, then it’s easier to take a new camera, replacing the shutter costs more than a hundred cu

          • Oleg Muravitsky

            the new camera costs very much over a hundred :)


    PENTAX K-01

  • Anton

    On the contrary, I like that DSLRs have a lot of mechanical parts. This has its plus in that it is all suitable for repair. If something electronic breaks, then it is suitable for repair only if this part is large enough - otherwise the entire electronic board changes. Yes, it is quite possible that such a moment may arise that it is easier to change the entire board than to get a broken gear from the bins of a mirror carcass, but, nevertheless, in many ways, the mechanical component is much more reliable and more accurate in operation than the electronic one. IMHO, just shared my opinion.

  • Eugene

    I think that there will be two parallel branches of photographic equipment: electronic-mechanical as it is now and purely electronic.

    the destiny of the former will, as I believe, be heavy fighting in the professional field. Why? over time, the reliability of the components will improve, and the power consumption will at least remain the same. Batteries are constantly growing in capacity, and new types of batteries may come to the masses. Already, the manufacturer claims the resource of even the average price carcass for 150 thousand, and the budget - about 70 thousand. Question: what and in what quantities should an amateur shoot to kill a resource? to beat long lines? with prof. tasks are understandable, especially in the reportage, the mileage is “packed” with a bang. For me, as an active user of the film, such figures are already fantastic and the space age (even on especially pleasant and frame-friendly days on film, it is possible to make a maximum of 20-30 frames, although the figure runs under a hundred - and survives after 10-15 pieces) ...

    But in the segment “for a home for a family” the mechanics will already be completely supplanted - here neither 8-12 fps, nor shooting in the dark on ISO 200000 with hooks, nor a lot of other classic things for DSLRs will be needed. And you will need simplicity, convenience, "pressed the button and got the picture." In terms of their ideology, these cameras will be closer to soap dishes. Technically, yes, the future belongs to mirrorless cameras. Further sensorization, androidization and globalization and integration.
    in this direction, for example, I can offer such chips (maybe the Chinas already have it))
    - control of an android camera from an android smartphone (including via the Internet)
    - using a smartphone as a GPS module
    - software update via the Internet and the ability to install additional applications from the market


    yes, in general, progress is proceeding by leaps and bounds ...

  • Vorobyov Sergey

    "I would replace the entire aperture control system by applying a special crystalline coating to one of the objective lenses, which changes the intensity of light transmission."

    You and the dreamer, Arkady. :)))))
    1) Seriously, in some cheap soap dishes this is exactly what it did :) a small plate with liquid crystals and a polarizing filter. (essentially one cell of the TN matrix of the monitor)
    Why they don’t do this in good cameras: additional dispersion, loss of aperture (large) in a plate with LCD crystals, raster artifacts from two polarizing filters.

    2) You forget that the diaphragm is needed not just to “change the intensity of light transmission”, it is needed to limit the working area of ​​the lens, and the depth of field and the degree of parasitic aberrations depend on this (you yourself wrote about this in my opinion)

    3) Electronic shutter is not a panacea. If manufacturers replaced the mechanical shutter with an electronic one, the camera would be one third cheaper! And you wouldn't buy it :))) The fact is that data from any matrix is ​​read line by line, it takes a finite amount of time. Closing the shutter stops the exposure of the entire matrix, after which we can “leisurely” read all the rows of the matrix. With an "electronic shutter", the exposure time of the 1st row: T, the exposure time of the last T + t1 * N (T is the shutter speed, t1 is the average row readout time, N is the number of matrix rows), since the effect of light photons on the matrix continues and after the start of reading.
    In many cameras, a trick is used to neutralize this disadvantage of the “electronic shutter”: each row of the matrix is ​​reset with a delay t1 * N (t1 is the delay required to read one row of the matrix N is the number of the current row), thus, the exposure of all matrix rows is the same but there is an effect called rolling shutter.
    Theoretically, it is possible to simultaneously buffer all the rows and columns of a CMOS matrix, but this is a difficult task, since analog values ​​must be buffered and accuracy losses are inevitable.

    There is also an "electronic front curtain" - that's another matter. The charge of the gate capacitors of the CMOS matrix transistors is zeroed. This happens simultaneously for all pixels of the CMOS matrix (this is impossible for CCDs), therefore, in cameras where the shutter is normally open, the shutter lamellas do not have to close before shooting a new frame.

    In the light of what I have said, your proposals so far are fundamentally unrealizable, or lead to a strong deterioration in the quality of images.
    Perhaps you should make some changes to the article, and then delete my post, so as not to mislead inexperienced readers.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1) Just the technology has not yet reached the desired level
      2) did not forget

      Please note that the article aims to show some of the shortcomings of the czk, not conceptually solve them. Thoughts about the future can always seem inoperative at a certain stage in the development of technology, what will happen in the future is difficult to predict. Changes to the article are not required.

  • AM

    And I think that mechanics will eventually leave photography, just as steam locomotives and steam-powered steamboats left in their time, just as mechanics left aviation and now they are leaving the automotive industry more and more. Unfortunately or fortunately for manufacturers, this is a business, and it must be cost-effective and expensive pentaprism and precision mirror raising mechanism will be increasingly crowded in the future by integrated “full” sensors and multi-pixel viewfinders. And this is perhaps not bad.

    • Philip

      The mechanics of the aircraft did not go anywhere !!! Since it is almost 100% reliable, it is used as a backup. (all systems in aviation have several duplicate ones)

      • Dim

        And the party cravings have not gone anywhere - do not indulge yourself with illusions. The overwhelming majority of power plants are thermal and all the fundamental decisions came from the age of steam locomotives, you even shave from "PAROVOZ" in fact and get heating from there.

  • Alexey

    The fact is that the manufacturer can give a guarantee for n-hours / years of work on the mechanical part, but no one can guarantee that the electronic part will not die in a year. And in complex technology, like SLR cameras, you need a guarantee for a certain service life. I bought a camera, so I know that the same shutter 100% runs back 100.000 frames. That's all.

    Over time, this will leave, but hardly soon. For this mechanics has been tested for years and worked out to the ideal.

  • Valentin

    The article is not about anything with a mega-channel output like the TV is full of electronics, it is very expensive, the window is much simpler in the device - let's look into it.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      To each his own. In order not to be idle talk, try to offer your own ideas for implementing more efficient camera mechanisms, as I did in my article.

      • Alexey

        you have not done anything - I do not see such efficiency justified ... you forget about the aesthetics of classic DSLRs. don't fancy Kulibin - you have great reviews about glass, so do what you do great ...

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I led to the point that it was pointless to write just an "article about nothing", without the slightest argumentation and any attempts to really figure out that there are some shortcomings of the CCC. For example, the same aperture control device that works in the Nikon CZK has a different principle in cameras from other manufacturers, in some cases allowing to provide more comfort in operation and / or to provide designs with fewer parts. Also, please note that I am not in favor of electronics, I am in favor of improving the mechanical shortcomings of the CZK.

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