In Defense of the DSLR

Started Sep 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 13,861
OK - some arguments

wtf are you talking about.

I'm talking about *you*. You felt a need to "defend" DLRs against people who show that more innovative, compelling results can be made with other tools. And since your "defense" doesn't talk about resulting photographs in any way, I can only conclude that you're upset about something else. (WTF am I talking about? An argument about cameras that completely disregards photographs--that's what I'm talking about.) My hunch is that you're mad other people are shooting gorgeous stuff with techniques and technology you don't really understand. You want there to be a "recipe" for professional photography, a "recipe" that happens to look a lot like the way you do it. You want everyone to agree that DSLRs are important. I'm reminding you that they don't. I'm reminding you that they, unlike you, have results to show the validity and relevance of they're doing.

Dude, seriously, what the WTF??

First, I see no grounds at all for any of your ad-hominem assumptions about what other people must be thinking and believing and experiencing. It's obviously and completely groundless.

And second, where on Earth are you getting this idea that mirrorless shooters are somehow producing new exciting results that DSLR shooters aren't capable of?? That's just nuts. There is no such thing as a picture that mirrorless can shoot and DSLRs can't, aside from rare occasions where you need to physically wedge a camera into a small space. Especially when most DSLRs now have live-view functionality, meaning they can function as mirrorless or as mirrored at will.

Yeah, so:

(1) the last time I shot a 1DX in Live View, I couldn't help but notice that it focused with considerably less speed and finesse than an OM-D. Color me skeptical that they are as "equivalent" in that regard as you argue.

(2) so you're arguing that DSLR can go everywhere, conveniently, a mirrorless camera can--excepting those few tiny "wedge-into" opportunities? Really? Size / weight / visibility is a complete non-issue, doesn't affect photographic opportunity in any way ever? Color me skeptical.

(3) It doesn't bother you that a "defense" of DSLRs doesn't talk, at all, about what DSLRs are uniquely capable of doing?

OK. Carry on. Seems like kind of a weak defense to me, but clearly I'm the weird one.

Mark, this is dammed entertaining. I have my popcorn, warming on an overheating DSLR in "Live View"!

+1 to you sir.

Well thanks I do try.

But I think I'll have to chock this one up to failure, because the folks invested in this thread aren't really responding to my argument. They seem to think I'm invested defending mirrorless in any or every case, when in fact I'm invested in arguing for favoring whatever technology gets the best result. Sometimes--often (?)--that's going to be a DSLR. Sometimes, it's not.

How does one know what equipment to use? Or where to begin innovation with that equipment? Well, I'm trying to argue that it starts with analysis of results. That we ought to have ideas about what we want to produce before we pick the tool to make it happen. That doing it the other way around--picking the tool and letting the tool alone dictate what's possible or probable--puts an arbitrary limit on our vision.

And that's my problem with the OP's "defense" of DSLRs. It doesn't defend them! He just complains that other people don't like them, indicts those people as "fanboys," and reminds us that he thinks EVFs are stupid. Apparently I'm the only one who finds that sort of "argument" unenlightening.

Meanwhile, defending a DSLR on the merit of the results it is uniquely capable of producing is easy to do: show action sports photography, which mirrorless is totally miserable at capturing. That's it--that's all you have to show. One awesome sideline NFL wide-receiver shot. One super perspective on an F1 pass at last week's circuit. Good god, send me to gallery of photography from the 2012 Olympics, which might well have been considered the world's greatest ad for the Canon 1Dx and 5DIII. That's the stuff that argues so eloquently against any mirrorless fanboy crap.

Look at this guys portfolio. Notice that even the shots five years ago from Beijing 2008 looks amazing also in tecnical sense (Nikon D3).

or take a look at this gallery "Bangkok burning" (Canon pro DSLRs)

Almost all participants in international sports and photojournalism contests uses FF or 1.3x DSLRs.

You can (at least I can) see the difference in rendering and feel vs the smaller formats.

If you work as a PJ you need to have a camera that is ready for anything. Catching a fast fleeting moment can be just as important in a reportage as in sports. And you need to get results that are just as good as your competitors - that means the best and fastest cameras.

At the London Olympics Panasonic tried a PR stunt by giving a m43 G5 to a pro photographer, but the results were mediocre compared to the real pro work. Today you can see a thread on the m43 forum with Magnum photographers (another PR stunt from Panasonic) delivering "underwhelming" photos from GX7.

If we take the question about size - I agree that DSLRs have become swollen compared to film SLRs. My ideal is Nikon FM size with an optional motordrive - but not smaller. However, I rather take a little larger size and the bigger sensor and a true OVF than compromise on those things.

As Thom Hogan wrote on his site, at the same sensor size, the differences in size are not big between DSLRs and mirrorless. So, if you want a larger sensor because you like the results better, what is left? Besides the rather important AF that needs to catch up on mirrorless, that leaves the EVF vs OVF question. For work that is about catching a moment, an EVF is just the wrong way. It will never be as fast as light, and it will never show the scene as real as the OVF. You should have your technique on the level that you can concentrate on the moment, not getting disturbed by a lot of distracting information, or limited DR or false colors or shifting WB.

But instead of demonstration on the merits, we get this: "Light weight is a convenience, not a capability. If cameras are too heavy, all it means is that someone in better shape than you gets the shot."

But whatever. Clearly no one cares about what's actually shot, we're just here to comfort each other's monolithic ideologies about the "right" way to do photography.

Carry on!

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