10 Reasons NOT to buy a DSLR

I have recently read an article on the tech lounge that quickly became very popular with more than 1000 diggs about 10 reasons to buy a DSLR. I have to say up front that I do agree with most of the points expressed in that article, however I’d like to add something DSLRs are NOT for anybody no matter how cheap they are becoming.
So here are 10 reasons NOT to buy a DSLR

1. They are big and bulky: Most of us who own a DSLR will end up buy buying an additional point and shoot digital camera because DSLRs are just too bulky to carry everywhere. Just very few people, like myself, will accept showing off at a restaurant table, or other occasions, carrying a big Canon EOS 30D and a set of lenses.

2. You are not going to use it: This point was already brought up in the tech lounge article but this point is so valid I just can’t skip it. Many people spend money to buy a DSLR and end up by just using the Pre-programmed modes, so if you don’t count to go deep enough into photography to forgetand I mean totally forget those automatic modes, just stick to the point and shoot camera types.

3. Lens quality: Most branded compact digital camera you buy will ship with a high quality lens capable of delivering images of great quality. Most kit lens are a joke, and if you are not ready to invest BIG money in lenses, just don’t buy a DSLR.

4. Equipment care: DSLR will require much more care and cleaning than the compact digital camera. You’ll will have to buy cleaning kits, clean those lenses and the sensor too anytime you start seeing dust spots on you images, and I know just too well that it happen too often.

5. No LCD live preview: Yes I know why, but most people will expect to be able to preview the picture they are about to take live on their LCD, that’s the whole idea behind going digital isn’t it? So you need to know that in a DSLR you will not be able to preview the picture on the LCD screen.

6. Lens versatility: When you buy that point and shoot you will have just one versatile piece of equipment specially build to fit most of your photography situations. When you buy a DSLR you will have to buy a lens for each and every kind of shooting. Landscape/portrait/wildlife/indoor, you name it. I know it is a feature, but it is on costly feature, so again if you are not ready to pay money more than just the price of the camera DSLR are not for you. Good lenses costs a lot more than entry and midrange DSLRs

7. Bandwagon: Don’t just buy a DSLR because everyone else is doing so, think about why you want a camera to start with, if what you need is a camera to carry everywhere and keep those memories captured forever, then you probably don’t need a DSLR, but if you genuinely love photography and ready to spend time and money learning it, then DSLR is a surely a good choice.

8. It is NOT the camera but the photographer: If you think that a DSLR will make you a better photographer, think again. It is note the camera that takes the pictures, but the person behind the lens, check the internet and you will find a lot of breathtaking pictures taken with point and shoot digital cameras. Of course a DSLR will give you more opportunities and more tools to work with, but it won’t make you a better photographer.

9. Life span: Once you get your DSLR you will most probably want to upgrade to the new model ever other model release. You can still find a lot of people shooting with they Canon G5 even after the G6 and G7 are released, but you will notice that most DSLR owners will rush to upgrade their camera finding any and every excuse possible to justify its cost.

10. You will still be able to buy it later: Like everything else if you are just starting in photography it is only the logical path to start small and then, when you feel you reached the limits of your equipment, you can always buy a more pro one and you will always find someone in your family happy to get that compact digital camera you want to get rid off.

As a conclusion, if you have a good photography backgroundfrom film age or other then you probably don’t need any article to tell you why to buy or not to buy a DSLR and that’s because you know what you want and expect. However if you are just about to buy your first camera and you are not sure how serious you will be in this new hobby of yours, or you want it just to keep some souvenirs then think twice before paying that bill.

  • Heiko

    “…most people will expect to be able to preview the picture they are about to take live on their LCD, that’s the whole idea behind going digital isn’t it?” – No, the point is to directly be able to look at taken pictures without having to go to a shop and let them develop them. Plus to be able to directly delete bad ones. That was the no. 1 argument, why people went to digital cameras, not the live picture, which was a nice addon to them, but not nearly as revolutionary as the other thing. And this feature *is* there on the digital SLRs.

  • lagos

    worst list ever. you sound like the type of person who only purchased a dslr so that you could keep it around your neck as a symbol. that’s lame. i think i liked the part about how you shouldn’t just buy one because everyone else is… yet then you say that “ou can still find a lot of people shooting with they Canon G5 even after the G6 and G7 are released, but you will notice that most DSLR owners will rush to upgrade their camera finding any and every excuse possible to justify its cost.” which is clearly bandwagon pandering.

    seriously, who writes this crap?

  • @heiko check the date of this article @ that time live view didn’t even exist. And, if you tested live view, you would know that it is far from being something u can use “daily”

    @lagos “who writes this crap?” well me :). And giving an opinion is free just like dropping on a blog for the first time and feeling you have the right to show some authority.
    I am totally convinced with my list. I never said that DSLRs are bad they are just not for everybody or everyday. A lot of DSLR owners have a P&S for “daily” pictures.

  • Ron

    This list is right on. Wish my wife had read it and believed it. She won’t spring for the lenses and wonders why her pictures are mostly no better than point and shoot.

  • Jay

    This is truly out-dated.
    DSLRs now DO have live-view.
    There are now Dust Sensors on new DSLRs (i.e. Canon Rebel XSi)
    And from personal experience, DSLRs are the best cameras to have, even if you’re not a pro-photographer who shoots pictures for the national geographic.
    Lenses on DSLRs have varied view perspectives and are really great for photography ranging from Scenery and Macro.
    Try it, you won’t regret it.

  • Varshan

    DSLR’s are not for everybody, true….but doesn’t the title of this list say otherwise? Even most points have crazy titles.

    Big and bulky? There are far too many photographers who accept the stability of a nice heavy camera.
    Who the hell cares about who’s not apperciating you at a restaurant? You take your pictures home…screw them! You’re probably never going to see them again in your life.

    You aren’t going to use it?
    You’ll shoot a million times more with a DSLR than you would with your point and shoot.

    Most kit lenses are no ****in joke…think Nikkor 18-70…
    think nikkor 18-135 ( My own )
    think even the basic nikkor 18-55… very very good lenses….there are also lots of affordable lenses out there that are very versatile.
    Canon lenses by the way, are crap. Don’t generalise.

    Cleaning…alright, all those lazy people out there, plese go and get a P&S…if you’re too lazy to take care of your camera, you’re probably too impatient for photography anyway.

    Live View? Personal choice…if someone finds looking through the view finder a good experience…then let him decide….and that isnt the whole point of going digital for chrissakes…

    You can shoot landscape portrait and indoors with the same lens…why the lies?
    the wildlife…on your P&S…you’ll go home with an MMS sized picture with “8x digital zoom”
    which is too crappy to see any wildlife anyway…
    so in any case…you can do what you want with an SLR…with one lens.and good lenses dont cost more than midrange slrs, not even entry-level ones.

    bandwagon…good point.

    It’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the lens…good point.
    but whats not true is the fact you can do everything with a P&S, all the time…all those pictures on the net are a combination of PERFECT. shooting conditions and opportunistic people…let the conditions get a little tricky and let’s see what they do with their P&S.

    Life Span?
    Well..you still find photographers clinging to their FILM SLR’s….forget about your stupid canon G5…
    we love our cameras…no matter how old they are.
    The Nikon d70s…3 years old!
    Most photo studios i’ve been to use them, and so do lots and lots of exceelent photographers i know!

    10. Good point…but even if a person is just starting out..as i’ve just said…some of these points are exaggerated and could change somebody’s mind unnecessarily…

    Ever consider sensor sizes? having one that fits on your palm would obviously give you far, far, far better detail than one that fits on your fingertip…come on!

    But in the end…like you said…if you just want some souvenirs for fun or you’re not serious…then get a good P& S.

  • Daniel

    These are some good points though…

    Anybody who is serious about photograpy will not use a PAS when a DSLR is available. Why? DSLR are far more flexible and therefore offer a great deal more options when shooting.

    PAS are more transportable and there would definately be some situations where carrying a giant camera around would not be ideal but then again there are many times when it would be.

    The lens in a PAS is designed to do everything ok and nothing well (at least compared to a dedicated lens for a DSLR). If you are only interested in 1 type of photography then you will only need 1 or 2 types of lenses. If you are snap happy and love everthing photography then yes a big investment will be required to get great shots (the ones you can blow up).

    Apart from that if you have a passing interest in photography and no real desire to delve into the technical aspects of photograpy then I fully agree with you, save your money and buy a PAS. For those who want versitility and flexibility and desire to learn the technical aspects of photography get a DSLR.

  • Samantha

    What about speed? It’s the one thing I’ve heard that people really want. Most people I know go to DSLRs for the SPEED, the continuous shooting.

    Sure, you could spend a thousand bucks on a P&S that will shoot at high fps…

    or you could get an entry DLSR with the lenses you need… and see an improvement in your image quality.

  • Darcie

    I know this is an old article, but couldn’t resist.

    RE: #5, My DSLR (Canon EOS 450D) has an LCD live view option. This is to check colour settings, exposure and the like. You turn it off before shooting and use the viewfinder for composition and to take the actual photo.

    Interesting list, but I’m not convinced.
    I do, however agree with #8… It’s not the camera held in the hands; it’s the hands holding the camera.

  • I like how this post had to site for a few years before teh commenst took off. 😀

    My response to the You’ll shoot a million times more with a DSLR than you would with your point and shoot. comment:

    The guy who I sit next to at work brought his Nikon dSLR into the office about seven months ago. It hasn’t moved since. Bet he snapping more with his Blackberry.

    I wonder if I can take it home for myself and not be noticed? Probably, but I won’t test it.

  • I must say this article comprehensively lists out most of what I think. Unfortunately manufacturers want to sell more stuff so they market the entry level DSLRs as though it is suited for everyone coming from P&S, although people in P&S haven’t had the time to completely checkout what their P&S itself is capable of. You are right about the Kit lens. The kit lens is nothing but a joke. On a recent trip to st. louis, I saw a whole bunch of people roaming around with a DSLR around their neck mostly those cheap Nikon D40 picked up from last Thanksgiving sale. The other story is Super Zooms, while people have Super zoom for one reason – To Travel light, most of them buy it for one reason – Too lazy to change the lens. Well, what can I say, If you are lazy to change lens and shying away from owning different lens for different situations, DSLR is a no no for them too. To me, The Tech lounge article seems more like a Sugar coated marketing piece to sell more and more entry level DSLRs.

  • Daniel K


    I believe this is truly subjective matter…in fact for some reasons, some ppl don’t really care if their pictures looks like crap. For instance, most woman don’t even care if their car doesn’t come with 17” wheels, 200bhp and 0-100 in 6sec. A truly subjective matter.

    But as for me, I’ll stick to my DSLR. Unless one day a manufacturer invented the ultimate P&S camera which can read your mind & desires then automatically adjust the settings according to my need, then I’ll ditch my DSLR.

  • Bill Ferguson

    I own a DSLR and was somewhat perturbed at what seemed like an attack on other photographer choice of tool. My DSLR (Rebel XTi) is not as big and bulky feeling as my old Pentax Spotmatic so lugging a ‘big’ heavy camera is not an issue.
    2 The only downside to owning a ‘kit lens is the fact that they are mostly zoom lens, a fad that seems to have continued to this day an average quality ‘prime lens is a far better deal.
    3 We don’t actually need live view on a DSLR digital because we can review our shot straight after taking it and adjust it with a new shot, thats the glory of having a digital camera.
    4 I bought my first film camera at age 15 and am now 65, which make me a retiree and if it wasn’t for digital i wouldnt be able to afford to continue with photography because of the costs of film and processing. the fact that digital with its one cost (camera) is just so much cheaper.

  • Robert O.

    @Dinesh: even an “entry- level” dSLR with a kit lens (example: my Pentax K100d w/ 18-55mm) gives more flexability than most P&S. And carrying a super-zoom means less lens changes; that means less sensor dust and/ or cleaning.

    @Daniel K: I have a Canon A80 P&S (w/ manual controls and a swivel screen) for the days I don’t feel like taking along my dSLR. Having a camera along means not missing a shot.

    @Bill Ferguson: 1. I agree that dSLRs are lighter than the old film cameras, generally speaking. 2. But, a zoom kit lens means you don’t have to carry a prime for every situation you run across. 3. Live view is a great help composing shots; you can see more or less exactly what the camera sees. 4. The article is about DIGITAL p&s vs. dSLR, not film p&s; you still need a decent computer for storage and software for post processing (if you’re doing more than just snapshots) and archiving to CD or DVD or disk and that will cost money as well.

  • Felix

    I have a P&S camera (canon Ixus 100), and feel that the quality is limited, and plan to get a Nikon D3000, i only can affort the camera plus the kit lens, just want to know, how far can i go? can i shoot macro photos? can i shoot moving photos?

  • Duckie

    Like ur last reason. 😀
    And it’s best if one can possess both type !

  • Duckie

    I never realized how much i could have done with my ultracompact camera. It just occurred to me right after i bought the dslr. :))

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  • Sashidaniels

    Well made point. A Fuji HS10 should do for most people. On the subject of DSLRs I often wonder why there is no manufacturer who can come up with a digital back that can be latched onto a film slr converting it into a digital slr.

  • Alex

    The fucking idiot that wrote this either has never use a DSLR in his life or is tying to cover his insufficient funds for a DSLR.
    Bridges and compacts are CRAP compared to even the lowest quality DSLR.

    so go fuck yourself and stop informing people wrong!