Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why did I get a DSLR?

On the heals of my last post, and prior to my full review, I wanted to talk a little about why I decided to get a DSLR camera.  With standard point and shoot camera's getting so much better and so affordable, why would you ever get such a large and pricey camera?  To be honest, a few years ago I would have been asking myself the same question.  However, the more I learned about them, the more I saw how much others enjoyed DSLR cameras, the more I realized it is a hobby that matches my personality quite well.

The easy answer (and the boring one) is that it takes better pictures.  However, that argument has little impact on most people as quality is always judged against price and overall value.  If you look at quality alone, most people will find their point and shoot camera "good enough".  So if the quality argument fell short, what  was it that made me buy in?  For me, a camera has always been a chore.  I didn't want to bring with me, I didn't want to spoil what I was doing by stopping to take a picture.  When I went home and transfered my pictures to my computer, it would be fun to look at what I came up with, but the majority of them are what you would expect, indoor pictures were dark an blurry and half the pictures were not worth keeping.  Overall, I captured some memories, but it was a fairly underwhelming experience.  Don't get me wrong, I love looking back at pictures of my travels and fun times in my life, but the only time I seemed to enjoyd my pictures was at least a year after I took them.  I have been on facebook for 6 years now and I only uploaded 1 picture in that time.  That is how underwhelmed I was

So yes, I spent a lot of money on a camera because I don't really like to take pictures.  Clear as mud right?  Well for me, the logic made sense.  To get better at photography and to get into it, I had to make it fun and instantly gratifying.  I have already tried getting a nice point and shoot camera that took nice pictures, but it wasn't enough to get me to grab it before heading out of the house.  It had a few program settings and no accessories.  I am a Geek, for me to enjoy something, I have to read about it, learn it, obsess about it, find new things to do with it and then write about it on a Blog that only my family will read.  It turns out a DSLR is a nice fit for my tendencies.  It uses technology, science and art.  It takes very little artistic talent to get started with (this is good for me).  It is something that you can learn for years and never master.  With full manual settings and countless lenses and accessories, a DSLR camera can capture everything from the head of a pin to craters on the moon.  It  is also a hobby that requires little money after the initial investment.  The key word  is "requires", it can get very expensive once you get into new lenses and accessories.

So how about the cost?  Everyone knows that technology gets outdated the day you buy it.  The truth is, most technology gets outdated because you ask it to do harder tasks.  Software and the internet get more complex and demanding.  However, the job of taking a good picture never changes.  If a camera does a good job now, it will do so for years to come.  DSLRs today take very high resolution pictures, are sensitive in low light and adaptable to any type of photography.  There may be new features, but my camera will always take great pictures.  Also, your lenses can be used on future cameras, so you would only have to replace the camera body itself down the road.

So yes, this is a very unorthodox explanation on why to make a purchase.  And yes, there are better arguments to explain to someone why they should get a DSLR, but this is what made the difference for me.  After one week, I could not be more excited about my experience so far.  I have taken pictures every night.  I am learning how little I know about photography and I don't want to leave home without at least putting my camera bag in the car.  My wife is learning with me and we are both having a good time laughing at a ridiculous number of dog pictures.  The dog, however, just wants to be left alone. I am not going to say it is for everyone, but I can say that I have found a new hobby to have fun with for years to come.


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