Never one to shy away from controversy, I want to point to a well thought-out and well-written piece by my pal Trey Ratcliff.  He says he doesn’t plan to buy any more DSLR gear. He thinks the future is mirror-less cameras.

Trey believes – as do I – that within five years, most people won’t need a DSLR to get great images. His reasons are well stated and match some of the things I’ve said about the Olympus micro 4/3 cameras here, here. and  here.

I wrote a response to some of the negative comments he got on his post on my Tumblr site . In short – I think the pixel peepers, measure-beaters, and pedants were missing Trey’s point.

Trey isn’t saying YOU shouldn’t buy a DSLR. He’s not saying NOBODY should ever buy a DSLR. He’s not saying DSLR’s will go away forever any time soon. He’s saying HE isn’t going to buy anymore DSLRs because he thinks it’s a technology with many flaws that will soon be replaced. I think that makes sense.

Just as VHS tapes, cassette tapes, floppy discs, magnetic tape drives, 8-track players, etc., have been replaced, so will DSLRs.

I have to use DSLRs right now because I need to use 500, 600, and 800mm lenses on bodies capable of 10-12 FPS. There aren’t any mirror-less cameras on the market that would offer me that capability. But if there were, I’d buy one – now – today.

I pretty much covered my reasons for liking this smaller format in the posts I linked to above. If you’re seriously interested in this, read them.

There were SOME good comments on Trrey’s post but I am struck particularly by the comments that were very dogmatic – taking positions that are easily proven to be completely and utterly false.

Here’s one example. One commenter said he couldn’t see switching to a micro four/thirds camera because there wasn’t a decent, fast, portrait lens for that format. Sorry – dead wrong dude. Read my review of the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens here. This is a super sharp, high-quality, fast and affordable lens. It’s absolutely perfect for portraits. Maybe it’s just a lack of information, maybe it’s disinterest on the part of the photographers jumping in with an opinion here, but if you’re going to claim that the earth is flat – you should have SOME evidence to support that claim and make sure there’s not any to refute that claim.

Another commenter said you have to use small flashes on small cameras. WTF? Where do these people come from? I hook my EP3 to studio strobes, and third-party flash units of ALL sizes – all the time!

A comment was left claiming Trey dismissed the idea of good bokeh. I repeat – look at the 45mm f/1.8 lens. AMAZING bokeh.

Others used dogma to represent nothing more than their own personal preferences such as button locations and interfaces, etc. These sorts of preferences ARE preferences because this is all these people know. It’s like your mom’s cooking. You think it’s best because it’s been what you were raised on. Then you taste somebody else’s food and you’re not sure.

It went on and on – tons of misinformation – tons of “facts” that would more accurately be described as opinions, and the usual pedantic rambling. None of that is helpful. What’s helpful is realizing that a quality discussion of this issue would benefit all of us.

I wanted to add my perspective to this debate in case anyone cares what I think and to advise people to personally, carefully, apply critical thinking and detailed reading to Trey’s post and the comments generated by it. It takes thought leaders like Trey to step out and make these sorts of bold predictions to get the industry off it’s rear end and to move forward.

The people who say the DSLR will be around forever are probably right – but they are right along the lines of the people who said that cassette tapes, 8-tracks, CDs, floppy discs and VHS tapes would be around forever. You CAN buy all of these things – but you will work hard to do it, pay lots of money for old technology, and generally be behind the curve of the 96% of the rest of us – and probably do it for no reason other than you want to prove a point.

Things change. It’s okay. That’s what makes life grand. Photographers in particular should embrace these changes. We will only end up with better tools in the future, for less money and our love for photography will end up being easier to share with others. New cameras and formats we haven’t even seen yet will help make that possible.


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  1. […] but in truth even most professional photographers don't need those extremes.Embedded Link Future Cameras – Is The DSLR Bound To Go The Way Of The 8-Track Player? Never one to shy away from controversy, I want to point to a well thought-out and well-written […]

  2. […] Bourne is also thinking about the transition away from DSLR’s. Share […]

  3. […] “Future Cameras – Is the DSLR bound to go the way of the 8-track-player?” (Scott Bourne, “Photofocus”, 6.1.2012) […]

  4. […] from Scott Bourne  and Trey Ratcliff singing the  praises of these next-generation cameras coincided with the […]

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