How come the "average joe" still buys DSLRs?

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slpianoproject
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How come the "average joe" still buys DSLRs?
2 months ago

This is a cross post from canon and nikon forums, though you might be interested:

I know I'm gonna get flamed (maybe even banned for starting such heat) for this but here goes :

Let me put you in context with a story :

I was at that big store today. You can see it as the B&H store around here in Montreal. There was that old man in his late 60's looking to buy a camera. He was with the salesperson discussing between a sony a65 and a prolly similarly priced nikon dxxx. As I reach the counter to buy a new lens I was kinda staring at the silly situation and I was surprised the salesperson didn't tell the old man what I had to retain myself not telling to him :

"Excuse me sir, why would you looking at those heavy and bulky dslr options? You know, these small cameras takes really stunning pictures too. Both are probably overkill for what you gonna do with it but with the small one you won't hurt yourself carrying it. You can prolly just put it in your pocket instead of having a dedicated backpack for it. And they're the same price btw"

But no, the salesperson didn't say nothing. The old man walked away from the store with his big, heavy and bulky DSLR with high hopes he's gonna get great results like the pro's do. He'll spend his time carrying around in family events, to his little kids house and on vacation just to be frustrated half of his photos aren't good (auto mode). Would a mirrorless do better? Not at all, this is not the point of this post. I am actually totally aware that it has high chances of doing slightly worse. The point is with the mirrorless, he would probably find its form factor and weight wayyyyyyyyyy more convenient. He would carry it around more often. People would be less intimidated by it in family parties and there is not a hint of a chance he would even notice the slight performance disadvantages of a mirrorless camera vs a DSLR. But you know, thats what the pro's use!!! Sad thing isn't it?

I'm now getting into the core of the post :

This is not a scientific study about target audiences and since I don't have the numbers, I'll make them up. To be fair I'll try to make the numbers in favour of DSLR so that people don't disregard this post as being inaccurate because of it.

In the market to buy a more advanced camera (read : not a point and shoot) to me there is these 6 categories : (% of people refers to a person buying a camera with manual controls)

The wannabe (30% of people) : That is the kind of person that buy's a DSLR because he thinks that just buying a DSLR will able him to take "pro quality" picture. He's going for the entry level with kit lens and probably will stick with it because 350$ for a camera is really expensive, and he can't justify the money to buy good quality glass. He will get his camera out once in a while at birthdays and stuff and probably will abandon photography in less than 2 years. Stays in auto mode.

Buys: Canon or Nikon DSLR exclusively because thats what the pro uses.

The ancient returning photographer (2-3% of people) : Thats the kind of guy that used to do photography back in the film days. He used to pay big bucks for his lenses, cameras, films and chemicals and spent tons of time developing his photos. He didn't touch photography in ages but he wants to come back to it. He's in his 50's and not really aware of the technological advancements (he has better things to do) and is buying anything from mid-range APS-C to entry level full frame because he has the money to spare. He might buy a couple lenses but nothing too fancy. After all, its just a hobby.

Buys: Canon or Nikon or other brand DSLR because thats what the pro uses.

The amateur (10-15% of people) : That is the guy that knows the basics about photography. He knows that stepping up from point and shoot will give him the tools he needs to get the kind of images he's after. Kinda like the wannabe, he doesn't want to go too deep into photography just yet and he's going anywhere between entry-level and high end APS-C because he's not sure he'll get where he wants to and spending 3000$+ right off the bat on a really awesome camera is just plain stupid. 50% will abandon photography all together and 50% will move on to the next category

Buys : Canon or Nikon or other brand DSLR because thats what the pro uses.

The enthusiast (5-10% of people) : He knows what he's doing. He's upgrading from his first camera (DSLR). He might buy some more advanced glass because he's aware of the limitations of the basic lenses. He aims for the high end APS-C or entry level full frame because he wants a great quality camera but since he's not generating revenue from his hobby, he can't justify the 5dmkIII.

Buys : Canon or Nikon DSLR almost exclusively because those company offer the "dream" glass and cameras he's drooling on (and that the pro uses!). Some might buy a mirrorless, but few will.

The perfectionist (a.k.a the forum freak, the review addict, the pixel peeper) (5% of people) : This guy is an enthusiast that has a "gear acquisition syndrome". He's constantly looking at the camera news and reviews. He's aware of how many milliseconds each camera focuses at. He's constantly buying and returning cameras and lenses because it has some SERIOUS unacceptable flaws (!), because he got hyped and it didn't meet his expectations. He has money to spare and buys high quality glass and cameras even tho only about 30% of his photos turns out to be good (15% of which is a combinaison of luck and awesome gear).

Buys : Whatever is the flavour of the moment or has a gold award on dpreview. Most of the time he'll turn to canon or nikon because real pro quality = what the pro uses! Some buy mirrorless but you know, that 15ms less autofocus, idk.

The semi pro and the pro (25% of people) : Those people are the working photographers, full time or part time. They are totally aware of what does what and knows what is better for them. They'll buy the gear that they need and nothing else.

Buys : Canon or Nikon DSLRs because they're the only complete systems. And they are right.

The reason why I've went through these lengthy descriptions is to make you aware than anyone below the perfectionnist might (and note that I say might) be better served by a mirrorless camera. They will not buy into the very high end glass that is available on canikon and not on mirrorless. They will not notice the slight differences in autofocus speeds. The sensor tech being so good in 2014, they won't see a difference in IQ between mirrorless and DSLR (their isn't any btw). But because of those reasons cited above, they will actually buy huge and heavy outdated DSLRs for the wrong reasons.

IF ONLY the salesmen (who are in the perfectionist or semipro categories most of the time) did their job right and gave advices adapted to the needs of their customers instead of going for the old :

"Yes but you know Nikon and Canon are good established brands."

"They have all the glasses available if in the event you turn out pro, you never know"

"You can't go wrong with canikon, can't say the same thing about the other brands"

We would have way more people enjoying their easier to carry, awesome image quality with modern design and functionality mirrorless cameras and actually enjoying photography. On top of that, canon and nikon (mostly canon) would have to step their game up to stay competitive instead of staying sit on their ass in big offices smoking cigars and laughing, in a pile of cash stolen at naive and unaware customers being fooled by the big canikon lie exposed above.

Hopefully some day the general public will open their eyes and step away from the canikon monopole.

/rant off..... Flame on.

TLDR : Here is a picture that explains the whole post :

P.S : Sorry if there is any errors in my post, english isn't my main language.

P.S 2 : I know DSLRs are better than mirrorless in alot of aspects, point being is more than 50% using one would be better served by a mirrorless.... thats my point.

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