Sure you really need a DSLR?

Every now and then people ask me for advice about what camera to buy. usually the have seen an ad for this or that Nikon, Canon, Sony or other DSLR. But honestly, this system will do for most people. Actually I think there’s not that many that put in the necessary training to even master it.

The “DSLR trend”, that is big words I know, have created an idea that if you just get a camera house and a few lenses (usually included in the packet) you’ll automatically get better photos. And that is true. As long as you let the camera take care of all settings, shoot in JPEG and stick to daylight. But then you really do not need a DSLR anyway. There’s a lot more practical and cheaper alternatives to pick from.

What is shown here is one of the potent compact cameras out there. It is not small enough to put in your shirt-pocket but still small. It weigh in at 5-600 g even with the external flash. It gives you a focal lenght between 35-200 mm (in ff terms) just slightly higher numbers than the ordinary kit-lenses. You could attach a more capable flash-unit (my choice is for compact). Last, but far from the least, it takes very high quality photos.

So is it cheap? No not really. Mine has been a demo-ex and I got it for a bargain. But the new model P7100, or the similar Canon G12 or Fuji X100, with a small external flash unit, bag, batteries and so on will probably set you back 5-500 Euros or so. about the same as a low-level DSLR.

It is not quite as fast as a DSLR, it does not offer the possibility of upgrading the optics so you can’t press down the aperture numbers by investing in a new lens (for about 500 Euros that is) but it will make a great job documenting your family life, holidays, travels, friends in portraits and most other stuff that people actually DO shoot with their cams.

But the absolute top-selling point is that it WILL take a lot of photos a DSLR won’t. Namely all those taken when the bulky DSLR is left att home. Simply because this fits in your packing and is easy to get out. A DSLR requires its own bag, big enough for at least another lens. It weighs in on about 1,5 kg if you’re lucky but probably more. An interesting contrast might be that my ordinary system without a backup cam-house has a fighting weight of some serious 6-8 kg. So this compact will be around when the other one would be left behind.

So in conclusion. As with everything else use your brain. Are you going for becoming the next Corbijn or do you just want to catch that lovely sunset over the greek island were you are on holiday? What is your needs? Not that both of the alternatives is anything but possible with this sort of camera.  In the end the camera is nothing more than a tool. No matter what kind you buy it is your work making the photo.



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