One year ago, Nikon announced the DL series — a new trio of cameras that looked ready to take at least a modest bite out of Sony’s dominant hold over the 4K compact corner of the camera market. Unfortunately it seems we’ll never get to stack Nikon’s cameras against the Sony RX100s of the world, because today Nikon killed off the DL line without selling a single unit.
The three cameras were built around the 1-inch “CX” image sensor that Nikon uses in its Nikon 1 series of cameras. Each was supposed to offer mostly the same features, but with different zoom ranges, and all were supposed to cost under $1,000. The two standouts appeared to be the DL18-50 and the DL24-85, each of which had variable f1.8-2.8 apertures, 4K video, and insanely fast still image shooting speeds (20 frames per second with continuous focus, 60 frames per second without).
Trouble with the image processing circuits caused Nikon to delay the release of the three DL cameras indefinitely last summer, and Nikon hasn’t said if it ever completely solved that problem. Instead, the company blamed the cancellation on concerns that the cameras would ever turn a profit, and also cited a “slow-down” in the camera market. (Nikon kicked off a 10 percent reduction of its Japanese workforce at the end of 2016.)
The cancellation of the DL series, as well as the stagnation of the 1 series it was based on, means Nikon will have to rely more than ever on DSLR sales. Much like Canon, the company is lagging behind Sony and Fujifilm in the mirrorless section of the camera market, though it did launch a lineup of action cameras in 2016.