SLR is Stupid

Old SLR cameraSLR is an archaic technology, first patented in 1861 (!). It is of no use for the vast majority of digital camera users. It is still perceived as a premium mainly because of camera manufacturer marketing and uninformed apologists.

SLR just means that a series of mirrors and lenses allows the photographer to to “look” through the main camera lenses.

Guess what? Digital cameras already do this!

When you look at the LCD preview screen, you are already “looking” through the main lenses. These days, SLR is a redundant feature that only increases size, heft, and fragility.

Wikipeida says these features are common to digital SLR cameras:

  • Parallax-free optical viewfinder
  • Fast phase-detection autofocus
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Sensor size and quality
  • Depth-of-field control
  • Angle of view
  • Mode dial

If you scratch out the word “optical” (as I did above), none of these features have anything to do with SLR technology. Well, maybe fast phase-detection autofocus has a minor relationship with SLR due to its need to use an additional sensor, but that problem can easily be mitigated with technology similar to DSLRs that have live previews. All of these features could work fine on cameras lacking SLR junk.

A while back, car manufacturers started bundling options, a blatant profit-enhancing move. Now, on many cars, you can’t get certain options without getting all sorts of unrelated options in a bundle. For example, you usually have to order a bundle of several luxury options to get a built in navigation system (a bad idea, by the way).

Digital SLR is the same thing. If you want a “really, really good camera”, manufacturers have strongly marketed that digital SLR is the only way to go. It’s unfortunate and unacceptable that manufacturers won’t give us advanced options like standard interchangeable lenses without also bundling costly, archaic SLR technology.

One thought on “SLR is Stupid”

  1. Aren, just cuz ya don’t like something doesn’t make it stupid. Opinions are one thing…blanket statements are another. Digital SLRs are wonderful. You’ve seen David S’s photos; You’ve seen my photos. Others have published or used them for pubic viewing. The jump from a “point and shoot” to a digital SLR is bigger than the jump from the rangefinder cameras (Leicas, etc) to SLRs in the middle of the 20th century. The use of an optical viewfinder is SUCH a great improvement over an lcd preview panel that it’s hardly worth the time to compare it. Come with me to the Bonneville Salt Flats this fall and bring your point and shoot. I’ll bring my Canon EOS. We’ll do some side-by-side comparisons and see if the virtual impossibility to see an lcd preview at high ambient light levels doesn’t make it difficult if not darned near impossible to get anything more than an “ok” shot. I tried it, Aren. There’s no substitute for good optics and until someone develops a way of making a close coupling between the eye and the anticipated image, the SLR system is the best available. I’ve also used TLRs. They’re fair and have a real large negative size which can produce some great high-quality photographs. But they’re awkward and changing lenses is very limited and time consuming. If you REALLY want high quality shots, go get an old Speed Graphic. No through-the lens viewfinder there. Huge negative plates and you get to use flashbulbs, too. Take a giant leap into the past. It’s been years since I saw someone use a SG, although some photogs are still using TLRs. The vast majority use SLRs.

    Again, blanket statements are for those selling beds. They have no place in objective observations.

    Ray Buck
    Taylorsville, Ut

    ps…sorry for posting the first one in the wrong area. Remove it if you want…whatever.

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