Friday, August 07, 2009

Cameras: Why I'm Not Getting a DSLR

Not that I think everyone's all that interested in why I decided not to get a Digital Single-Lens Reflex....... But I thought maybe someone else might be in a similar position. Or maybe you just like reading about cameras. I do. :-)

I have a Panasonic FZ5 that I love. It's four years old and is what's called a "bridge camera." I guess these are considered to be a bridge between point-and-shoots and DSLRs. I've been wishing for manual focus and other manual settings, plus more pixels to give me the option to print bigger than 11x14. So I started saving up for a DSLR. I figured it would cost about $1,000 plus the price of a couple of decent lenses.

I have several 35mm SLRs in my closet, and know the drill. I considered (and still do, in a way) SLRs/DSLRs to be the ultimate camera. I began to think like my dad when he talked about buying his "last car." He lived to be 90, and I believe he ended up buying four or five "last" cars. The DSLR, I figured, would be my last camera. I had a Nikon D90 in mind, but wanted to look at what was out there. I was excited about this, and happily embarked on some research.

As I got deeper into looking at these cameras and lenses, I realized that in order to duplicate what the current generation of bridge cameras offer, I'd need a wide angle lens, a 50mm 1.8, a couple of good zooms, and a macro. This quickly added up to way more than I wanted to spend. Also, I started remembering how heavy lenses can be, and how tiresome it was to lug them around, even in my youth. Worse, I thought about all the shots I'd miss while I was busy changing lenses. (And, living on a dusty dirt road as I do, lens changing could be hazardous to the camera.) I've been using super-zoom digital cameras since 2000, and I'm spoiled.

In the end, I decided to scrap my DSLR plans and get the next generation of Panasonic bridge cameras when it comes out later this year. It has everything I want and will cost under $400. And I'm fairly certain it won't be my last one. I might even get a second camera this year, something different. Now that I've decided not to get the DSLR, I'm feeling positively affluent.


Jean Campbell said...

A not-very-expensive Nikon is on its way to me via Fed-Ex. My point and shoot stripped its little gears or something. After 9 years it deserved retirement. My pictures are records of a moment rather than art.

Susan said...

You'll have fun with that, Nell. Nikon is a good brand. I just wish they'd come up with a better name than "Coolpix." The crazy thing is that nine years is ancient with today's tech-driven products. I'm old enough to remember when a nine-year-old camera was practically new. :-)

crystal said...

I took a photography class years a go and borrowed someone's SLR camera to use for it. It was so fun making the photos in the lab. Now with my vision worse, I'm lucky to have a camera that can focus for me or I couldn't use one anymore. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos you take with the new camera.

Mali said...

Susan. I bought a new camera last year in preparation for a trip to Africa. For precisely the reasons you gave, I decided against a DSLR and got a Panasonic superzoom and wideangle (FZ28). I'm so glad an "expert" like you made the same decision!

And you're such a good photographer you'll be able to use all the features I'm still discovering.

Susan said...

Mali, my son bought the FZ28 for his fiancee for Christmas. It's a fabulous camera! It's like my FZ5 all grown up. The one I'm planning to get is it's replacement, the FZ35, because the FZ28 has been discontinued and isn't available at a reasonable price anymore. These models change faster than cars.

I'll be studying up on the features, too, believe me!

Crystal, I remember you bought the same camera I had. Was it the Panasonic or the Olympus?

crystal said...

It's an Olympus :)