Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

Why DSLRs Suck

I see it all the time. I go out on photowalks, meet friends and see people on the street. They have their big, fancy DSLRs. They may even have a big back pack full of gear, with the tripod attached. But what do they whip out when they need to take a quick, casual photograph? Their iPhone.

The iPhone takes great pictures — but not compared to a DSLR. Yet, why do these “serious” photographers use their iPhone? Because their DSLR is a pain in the butt — it is big and clunky. They suck for casual photography. Shallow DOF is great when you want to make that perfect portrait but not when you want to take that snap of the group at a restaurant. I get it. I’ve been there myself. But I’ve found a solution. I have achieved camera nirvana. That is why my Canon 7D stays at home most of the time unless I’m going to shoot sports or do a portrait session with strobes.

90% or more of my photos are now taken with my Olympus Pen cameras. The micro 4/3 format rules because they can be used both for casual as well as more serious photography. When I travel to California or even overseas, I use my E-P3 (or E-PL1) with a 28mm or 50mm equivalent lens. When I go on photowalks, I use the same setup. When I go out shopping with my kids, I bring the same camera too.

The micro 4/3 system has a big enough sensor to make high quality photographs. My f1.4 and f1.8 primes produce a nice shallow DOF when I need them to. But unlike DSLRs with their larger sensors, my Olympus cameras easily work for group and casual photography when shallow DOF is not wanted. Think about that. One setup that I can use 90% of the time. No need two switch between that big DSLR and the iPhone. One reasonably sized, universal device that creates great images for most circumstances. It works for me, maybe it will work for you.

Want to see what the Olympus Pens can do? Click on these links to find out.
Use the “<< Previous Photo" link to see more.

Photographs shot with the Olympus E-P3
Photographs shot with the Olympus E-PL1

15 responses

  1. What’s even better is if they use the phone, then their buddies who used a phone got a better shot ;-)

    Except for job shoots, the big cameras rarely leave the house anymore. And I have been using the Canon Elph a lot. As much as the Elph sucked in summer light, it does really well with the long shadows we have here fall going into winter. I shot 3 images with it today that will go into my portfolio.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:06 am

    • Oops meant to say:

      What’s even better is if they use the DSLR, then their buddies who used a phone got a better shot

      November 25, 2012 at 12:07 am

      • LOL, yes. I’ve seen that too. Many people think that just because they have a DSLR, they automatically get better pictures.

        November 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

    • Point and shoots are certainly cable of great images too under the right conditions or with a skilled photographer. You probably saw may post from last week when I shot with a point and shoot.

      November 25, 2012 at 12:10 am

  2. Yup. Except I went all the way and gave my DSLR to my granddaughter, The PENs are the backbone of my photography, with a Canon P&S that lives in my purse, just in case.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:32 am

  3. Reblogged this on Serendipity.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

    • Thank you for the reblog.

      November 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

  4. I’ve been waffling between the E-PL5 and the OM-D. I finally ordered the OM-D and kit lens (for the weatherproofing).

    November 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

    • That’s great. Looking forward to seeing it. We should go out and shoot.

      November 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  5. The DSLR and the thinking when we shot film..The studied moment, the care in exposure, need for bracketing(film-slides), the BIG and HeavyBag. Happy not to carry it!
    I use P/S Digitals. Yesterday with Winter light, after 2:00PM. Long shadows. Lovely textures.Easy fill flash..even on candids..360 pix in under 2 hours..2 per minute.20 are really great. Film users and those shooting slowly and “carefully” are missing so much. Sure editing takes time. Quicker than setting up Darkroom. Too many pix? Pete Turner shot close to 10,000 slides in his epic Africa trip.Kept 90 odd!
    A few extra batteries, good shoes, coffee shops and washrooms. Your set.
    Earlier in day used my Leica M. i was slower than pouring frozen treacle..Rats!

    November 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    • I love to see your stuff. Do you have any photos online?

      November 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

  6. My DSLR stays at home most of the time these days. I mainly take it out when I absolutely need a focal length besides the fixed 35mm equivalent of my Fuji X100. Image quality isn’t a factor, at least not between my original full frame 5D and the crop sensored X100. I might feel differently if I had one of the most recent full frames like the 5DMkIII or the Nikon D800. While I’d much rather tote the small X100 around, I won’t go so far as to say DSLRs suck. They are a tool in the toolbox and there are still times when a DSLR is the right tool for the job. Likewise, camera phones are also tools that are quite appropriate at times. If nothing else, it is what I always have on me. I’d be very unlikely to use it if I had my X100 or my 5D with me! What it boils down to is picking the tool that is capable of doing the job and that makes you feel most comfortable and inspired when it’s in your hands.

    November 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    • I have nothing against camera phones, particularly if that is the only thing I have around. I just find it ironic and or silly when I see well equipped photographers resort their camera phone, even when they have their DSLRs around.

      My point is that there are more versatile and higher quality tools around for general photography. Now, are there times when the DSLRs is the best tool, absolutely.

      November 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  7. Laurent

    I mostly agree with you. But I believe it is still possible to be a minimalist DSLR user. Having a DSLR does not always mean carrying a huge camera bag with a lot of junk in it.

    Love you blog, by the way. Your colors truly brighten my morning commute.

    November 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    • Thank you, Laurent. It really makes me happy to know I’m making your morning commute a bit better.

      November 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

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