POV: You’re a teenager straddling the zero years and the next decade, and you’re about to unwrap a gift you’ve been asking for for months. You know that in that package will be a Canon Reflex, the lintel for a promising career as a photographer that mom, dad and your friends lacking in beautiful photos foresee in your future.
For that camera you won’t need a shoulder strap, the photo production will be more unpredictable, that DSLR will shoot on the beach, among the main cities of Europe visited strictly in a school trip or among the tall grass of the field behind the house, before ending up well stored, for years, in a drawer in the bedroom.
The sense of guilt (largely overcome by the time in another gift box will be unwrapped the iPhone X) for having abandoned the Canon after only one vacation and a few shootings to the friend, could return to the surface, especially after the announcement of Canon with which it announced the end of the production of DSLR.
The CEO Fujio Mitarai in recent days has declared in fact to the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun that the Japanese company will focus only on the production of mirrorless, a generation of machines more advanced as well as smaller and versatile for professionals, launched in 2018 after six years of development.
Thus ceases the production of one of the symbols of teenage aspirations and velleities, but also a tool that has educated to the language of photography and its technique. DSLR have been for many professional photographers the first step to launch their careers and realize their first projects, and for others the tool to take space in an era of representation such as that of blogs and social networks.
After the first Eos-1 in 1989 launched by Canon, the last model produced by the company will therefore be the Eos-10 X MARK III. In between models that have made many millennials feel like photographers, cultivating a fetish for photography repositioned on an amateur level, accessible to all, and not only as a technique to be trained with precise skills and experience. The DSLR was for years a desired tool precisely because it was versatile, through which to experiment easily with shots and fires, with results that gave the apparent satisfaction of having been taken in a professional manner.
DSLR became popular when telephones did not allow to make photos and videos as defined as now, so they were advanced tools for the demands of beginners and in some ways indispensable to achieve good results. It’s no coincidence that the same fate that befell powerful cameras like DSLR now befalls the cameras of the iPhone 12 and 13, which have far exceeded the minimum requirements of many and end up being exploited at least 50% of their possibilities.
As mentioned, DSLR played a role in the mass dissemination of photographic culture, especially at a time when the language of communication was shifting more and more toward the image. The era of self-representation born with Tumblr and then continued by Instagram would not have been the same without cameras on cell phones, but probably also without DSLR, which have combined from before the concept of amateur photos an artistic value, a dignity. That photo of the flowers in the garden, the shot of the Duomo in Milan or the friend smoking became artistic photos thanks to the tool, and not a simple memory like the film developed a few years before by our parents. A perversion towards artisticity that has many weaknesses, but that equally defined a widespread trend.
That DSLR is still on the shelf and has been treated so badly that maybe the flash doesn’t even work that well anymore, and even that little scratch on the lens is a problem. Inside there is still an SD card with all the photos of the trip to London and of the afternoon when a set was set up in grandma’s garden. That day it was easy to feel like a photographer, that day it seemed that all the doubts about the future had found a credible alternative. At grandma’s house everything was ready, as it had been in the rehearsals done at home a few days before, all you had to do was find the button to shoot automatically.