The DSLR Dilemma | Should you buy a DSLR?
I often get this question from my friends, relatives and followers of my social media: “Which DSLR should I buy? My budget is 30k-50k” The last time I was actively looking into a beginner’s DSLR was around six years ago when I bought my first one. So honestly speaking I have no reason to look into that field at the moment. Whenever someone comes up with this query, I start by asking one simple question: Why do you need a DSLR?
Here are some of the reasons people want to buy a DSLR: 1. Megapixels
Who doesn’t want an HD photo? Everyone does. This is the reason camera, mobile phones and TV companies keep coming up with better clarity and resolution in each release. It’s not long when 4K will replace 1080p as the new norm. These days mobile phones are at par and at times even exceed a beginner DSLR in terms of megapixels. Most of the phones also come with Manual Mode that gives you more control while shooting.
2. Bokeh and Background Blur
Bokeh and background blur effect is another reason (also possibly the biggest) why people go for a DSLR. For that DSLR wala look, you know :)
3. Travel Photography.
Open Instagram any day and half of the profiles will have ‘Traveler’ in their bio. We all love traveling and we want to capture the best the place has to offer. 4. Starting a career in photography.
I get relatively less queries from people who really want to start their career in photography. Perhaps, they have already had their doubts cleared from their photography classes or their own personal research. 5. Social Media
350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook everyday. Leave alone Instagram and other photo sharing platform. We are all crazy about that Like button, aren’t we? I discourage beginners from buying a DSLR and here’s why: 1.DSLRs are not cheap
Even beginner level DSLRs are expensive. You can get the same result with your mobile phones and compact cameras. The favourite photos that I have taken are all from my compact cameras. The quality might not be as good as the ones I take from my full frame camera now, but there’s more emotion involved in them. Also remember the camera quality in those years is nothing compared to that of 2018. But if you are rich and want to buy a camera, buy a Leica, goddammit. 2. Ever growing need to buy lenses.
You can't just be satisfied with the kit lens that came along the camera. If you are experimental and want to boost up your hobby, you will be constantly saving up to buy another lens. If you don’t feel the need to buy another lens, perhaps you never even had the need to buy that DSLR. On a side note, lenses are not cheap either. 3. Lenses are cumbersome.
Okay, now that you have a kit lens, a 50mm prime lens and also a telephoto lens, carrying them around is a big headache. Every lens has purpose of its own. There are dedicated lens for portraits, street, landscape and wildlife. When I was using a Fujifilm ,non-dslr camera, I just had to carry the camera, a memory card and batteries to all my trips and shoots. It had a decent 18mp lens with 21x optical zoom (how cool is that!). Now that I had upgraded to canon 600D, I had the camera body, 3 lenses, memory cards, batteries and flash. It had become my extended luggage in every trip that I went. I reached a point when I started leaving the whole camera bag behind and just carried a mobile phone. Also by the time you have that perfect lens on, you lose the moment you intended to capture. 4. Ain’t no body got time for that!
I have met people possessing DSLR and have never used the Manual mode.
Reason: DSLRs have steep learning curve. It takes time to understand and fully master the camera. So people prefer shooting in Auto mode. It's not a crime shooting in Auto mode, but if you have a DSLR, you should know how to handle manually. Or should have settled for a non-dslr. What do I suggest? If you have no extremely pressing need to buy a DSLR, don’t buy it. It will just collect dust sitting on the shelf in your drawing room. So what are the alternatives? I am a professional photographer. I earn my livelihood from it. So I do have to carry my whole camera bag to where ever I get a project. However, If have to go on my personal trip, I prefer carrying my mobile phone, compact camera or my GoPro. They are easy to carry around, doesn’t make me look like a tourist, gives me more time to relax and enjoy and easily capture moments. Here are the things that I would recommend instead of that bulky DSLR. Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless cameras are compact, sleek and powerful devices which in coming years will probably replace the DSLRs. Couple it with a 35mm or 50mm lens and you will need nothing more ever for your everyday photography needs. They are bit expensive but hey, you have the money to buy a DSLR and lenses already. Don't you? GoPro
GoPro is an action camera that has become my constant companion. I carry it wherever I go. It just fits in my palm and my pocket. GoPro gives you 12MP still images and jaw dropping 4K videos. It’s shock and waterproof. It is really affordable to own. What else do you need from a camera that is easy on your pocket and also fits in it? PS, you don’t necessarily need any external lens or additional accessories. Compact Cameras
Easy to operate and carry. Compact cameras have been there for ever. Almost every family has one. With passing years and ever evolving technology, compact cameras are one of the best alternatives to DSLRs.
Decent Mobile Phone
You already own one. Don’t you? Remember ‘the best camera is the one that you have at the moment’. iPhone has started it’s own genre of photography. Even movies have been shot on them. Give your phone a try. Start learning framing and composition. You will never have to look from another camera again. Still got any doubt? Leave a comment or drop me a message. :)
This is my personal opinion on the subject. With this blog, I am not trying to discourage the reader from purchasing a DLSR instead providing them with alternatives and help them decide whether they actually need an expensive and bulky camera.