the DSLR: what is it?

October 12, 2006

A DSLR. These very simple letters tell it all. What’s a DSLR? Power. Pure and simple power. People look at you on the street, they feel its aura. They see that massive lens and they feel their feet tremble. The most common and usually stupidest question you get while wearing it is “Is that a PROFESSIONAL camera?”. Which is dumb, they should ask, are you a professional, but no. The camera itself radiates an image of you that you could never capture in words. Maybe in pictures.

That’s not the case of the Leica though. The Leica is a connaisseur camera, it blends in, it looks like a cheap old rangefinder, only few see it as the ultra-expensive camera it is. I don’t say more than ultra-expensive because I find that the Leica is amazing mostly due to its prestige… Sure it may be a rugged body, but so is the Olympus E-1. Sure, it’s small to carry and hide, but so is the Sony T7. The people who want Leica only want the name that’s on it. Leica used to make normal glass cookery and it was called Jena. But now its prestige sells a camera that’s probably not worth more than a semi-pro DSLR at the price of a Mark I or higher.

But back to the DSLR. Everyone wants one. Unlike the Leica, everyone knows a DSLR is a flashy pro camera. That’s why most people just go ahead and buy Canon. Basic point and shoot mechanism built into a DSLR. Research has shown that on a sunny f/16 day the Canon 20D is just as effective as a Canon Powershot A300something. But people don’t want the features, they want the recognition. They think a DSLR is suddenly gonna make their sunday snaps look like magnum work. And Canon imo struggles to do just that. But then you get into other companies. Like Olympus for example. They make a DSLR which can take good photos, has amazing colour rendition and good quality, *but* which in order to be used to its fullest needs the skill of the photographer 200%. Because that’s what people look to you for when they see a DSLR around your neck. An amazing man behind a brilliant machine to create art out of drystone…

And that’s where the concept fails. So many kids these days all with powerful expensive cameras around their necks and nothing in their heads just setting the camera to full contrast full saturation and shooting crap all day long that the DSLR, once a tool to recognise someone by, has become but a ghost of its past… A new breed of photography has arisen, one i like to call “Statistical Photography”… It’s every snapshooter’s dream, it’s the “if 1000 monkeys clicked at 1000DSLRs in 2 weeks you would get the best photographs ever”, it’s the decay of all that is holy in photography.

Some call it accesibility. And it is, i mean i find it normal to be able to buy a cool camera and take nice vacation photos but it’s not about that. And it’s not about taking photos of rocks and stuff like that. It’s about a way of pointing and then thinking before shooting… The middle of the equation is always blurred… No one thinks anymore. They’re digital, I can always delete them… The photographer has lost the attachment to his photos. All is lost.

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