DSLRs Are Not Always the Solution

The idea for this site originated years ago, but got a kick in the butt after Scott Bourne posted his article What Camera Should I Buy? – The Ultimate Answer.

I listen to Scott Bourne’s podcast regularly and usually agree with his opinions, but this article came to represent, in my mind, a lot of what’s wrong with the advice beginners are getting these days.

Read it all if you must, along with the many caveats that were added to soften the language, but essentially the message is: if you’re looking for your first camera and you’re serious about your photography, you “need” to buy a DSLR. Included is a laundry list of features that make SLRs superior beings in every way. This kind of advice abounds.

Of course, if you visit this site, you understand that it’s the end result that matters, not the equipment. You also understand that features mean nothing if you don’t have your camera with you. And that’s the rub. These are beginners. This may be their only camera. Making it a DSLR could significantly limit their potential.

In fact, take into consideration the following list of reasons compact cameras may be a better option (particularly for a beginner’s only camera).

Compact cameras:

  • Can be used in more places (SLRs elicit a strong reaction from security in many venues)
  • Are better for candid photos (your subject won’t react to you coming from a mile away or be scared off)
  • Can be stashed and retrieved easily in a pocket during bad weather (maybe making you more likely to venture out for such photography)
  • Have simpler controls (making them more likely to be used)
  • Can still be used as a great second camera if the user feels the need to step up to a SLR
  • Oh yeah, allow the user to ALWAYS HAVE A CAMERA ON HAND