Let’s get this out of the way first: I used SLR cameras in the past, I was a Canon fanboy for many years. In the film days I had several EOS bodies and when digital arrived I progressed from the entry level DSLRs all the way to the 5D, Canon’s first non-flagship full frame body.
So for many years I was deep into SLR / DSLR territory. But then I decided to sell everything and go mirrorless. And with time, a progressive distaste for DSLRs grew in me.
Why? For the 5 reasons below.
1. DSLRs are large and heavy. And unnecessarily so.
Because the whole mirror box and pentaprism mechanism takes up so much space, typically the DSLR body is deep and fat. The distance between the camera sensor and the lens is thus longer when compared to other non-SLR cameras, and as a result the lenses have to be larger and heavier. This has to do with the physics of the light travelling from the lens to the camera sensor.
Anyway, this is all unnecessary with the current technology. Back in the days, the advantage of the SLR was its ability to let you to see through the lens (TTL). But with current technology you can achieve TTL simply by getting live view from the camera sensor – hence the appearance of all the mirrorless cameras currently available on the market.
Then why the heck do we still want DSLRs? Mirrorless is obviously the way forward, so let’s put the cumbersome mirror box and pentaprism in the trash bin. And go small and light, focus on portability and comfort.
Still don’t believe me? Just ask Canon and Nikon why recently they went mirrorless.
2. You think you look professional with your DSLR. Only that you don’t.
If you are a pro photographer then you can ignore the tittle above. I trust you have your reasons for using your DSLR.
But if you are not, then yes, take this. You look everything but professional.
Because when you went to the camera store, you thought bigger is better. Bigger is pro.
And you thought to be a pro you need a body with interchangeable lenses. A Canon or a Nikon, with a big zoom lens and a petal shaped hood. Because that’s pro.
Now, take a moment to look at the photos you are taking. Do you really, really need the gear you are using? Do you really, really need that big fat heavy DSLR?
Had you ever considered the current crop of mirrorless system cameras? Or even fixed lens beauties, like the Fujifilm X100 series and its several lens adaptors?
3. DSLRs are bad looking, ugly beasts.
DSLRs are designed by people with large fingers, thick skin, white socks and probably a moustache. So typical DSLRs are anything but elegant. They are awful looking, ugly beasts. Just like that idiot from the gym, always showing off his muscles. He’s a DSLR and I’m surprised you were not aware. That big zoom lens? That’s his mouth, that’s him yelling at you with his thick voice.
Look at the latest crop of Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Now compare them with their mirrorless counterparts, say the Fujifilm X system or the Olympus Pen series.
Do I need to say more?
4. The DSLR is inconspicuous and low profile. Like a machine gun.
Henri Cartier-Bresson never took photos with flash, a practice he saw as “impolite…like going to a concert with a pistol in your hand”.
I feel the same when I see somebody with anDSLR. It’s like a firearm and when they point at you and cover their face with that big, fat, black, ugly camera body, it’s hard not to feel uncomfortable.
On top of this, when they press the shutter button you hear a non-stop click-clack-click-clack-click-clack. Nowadays DSLR users like to shoot continuous, you know, those 10 frame per second or whatever speed they are now up to. Yeah, the DSLR is firing at you like a machine gun. That’s really appropriate for photography as a visual art form, right?
5. DSLR users are arrogant.
Because they are ignorant and their ignorance led them to buying their Canon and Nikon gear, they think that’s the best gear and therefore they are superior to every other brand or system user. So they look down on you.
No joke, it happened to me in my local camera store. I was checking this lens for my Olympus Pen EP-3 and this idiot asked with sarcasm: “why invest so much in a small system?..” He had a Canon 5D.
You may disagree with all this and ultimately if you want to stick with your DSLR because it inspires you to take photos and makes you a better photographer, then be it.
But one thing you can not ignore: the world is moving forward and things are changing. So why shall one resist change? Sooner or later you will end up selling your DSLR gear just as I did, because you will realise it’s obsolete technology. You will realise it makes sense to move to a smaller and lighter system and achieve same or better results.
Mirrorless is for real and I can see perhaps in about 10 years – or even less – Canon and Nikon will stop launching new DSLR models. Or maybe there will still be one model for nostalgic purposes, so as to occupy a niche in the market like the Leica M rangefinders.
DSLR as an old school luxury, that’s the future. Mark my words.