Not the first time friends ask me what DSLR to choose. Most of them have never done any serious hobbyistic photography. So why are they jumping into that?
I guess because, as taking pictures is now a common habit, everybody does it now with his phone, not thinking of composition, just point, shoot, share, they’d like to now jump onto a camera that does all that with more quality by default and DSLRs do. Everybody wants to be big these days, big job, big car, big boobs, big camera.
But why, and this is so annoying do they ask me with “very serious target arguments”? Well, maybe because they feel the need to prove that they achieved a certain level, maybe just not to look stupid while asking me. Maybe they dream of some special vacation photography adventures, taking a very special landscape picture, with sun-down, a cow, the girl in the background and a grandpa sitting on a mure, far away; and of course “we’d” like to get a good flash so it lights up dark locations in family or friends events inside.
Would they accept a consumer grade DSLR that’s been especially designed for this clientel? Nope.
Would they accept a compact zoom camera with manual feature set, that’s been especially designed for this clientel? Nope.
They want to look pretty competent with a big shot DSLR, the one that’s available for 1000 bucks or more, with the kit-lens they’ve seen in the ad and a cheap big flash from Corea that was in the shop-window, too.
My feedback to all of you who steal my time with foolish dreams. Accept who you are:
a) you’re an average consumer, that just doesn’t want to look like one, because we’re all soooo special.
b) you’re serious about learning photography.
get the cheapest possible camera from one of the market leaders, whatever fits your hands and UI-logic best, preferably the one your same interest friend has, no extra bag, no extra lens, no extra flash, no extra filter and go out shooting. When you’re done, check the pictures on your PC and go out again for shooting. After a while there might be a time, you’d want to understand why your pictures are that crappy or boring like the many others of your friends.
Here the separation starts, some will continue taking pictures and continue to hope the camera software will fix eventually what they do wrong, or maybe the next generation or bigger camera will do.
And the ones, who eventually shut everything off and try the different manual settings step by step to understand how it actually works. Here improvement starts, as you understand, growing on you. Even though you might not have the real eye, you’ll be improving and eventually reaching a level of experience where you get the pictures you have prepared for, most of the times. Only now you really understand what your equipment needs to fulfill your expectations for the next photo project, what flash, tripod, lens and finally camera you might need. You start saving for the right stuff.
P.S. Of those, one came up with a Canon 5D II (he wanted to video some stuff), one came up with a big Sony bridge-type camera for the same cash as a real DSLR-Kit (he loved the big zoom), the next one bought a Canon 50D, exchanged it for a Nikon D300, than D300S, than D90 and kept using instead his Canon IXUS430 until it fell into water. I love Marketing. ;-) Only one got serious and bought nothing big, saving the money for family vacations and taking pictures with his phone and eventually starting with some dedicated film photography with his small used Leica II, now slowly entering the manual digital photography path with a Ricoh GRD III.
Everybody is happy now in this market. ;-)