'I've sold my DSLR for a mirrorless camera.' Oh no, not another one of THOSE posts.

There are yet more articles appearing (on an hourly basis it seems!) on 'How I dumped my DSLR, bought m4/3 and became a new person!' Usually written in the style of someone who has given up smoking or swapped an SUV that gives 9 miles to the gallon for a hybrid. i.e. DSLR = BAD Mirrorless = GOOD. Its also a bit like DSLR's Anonymous. 'Hi, I'm David, I'm a DSLR user' 'Welcome David' More annoying than that is its also very much like a religious conversion, an 'I've seen the light' moment. There is a kind of self-satisfied smugness in some of the mirrorless forums and internet groups as they welcome new converts that often makes me want to run out and buy the biggest DSLR + largest zoom lens I can find. 

Its not as though mirrorless systems haven't been around for a while. However its seems that the Olympus OM-D was the turning point for many. I'm sure nothing to do with the fact that it looks sexy and lots of professionals are giving it a good press!! 

There have always been alternatives to DSLR's / SLR's. There were small light options for film.

There have also been Digital alternatives.

But reading these 'I was lost but now I'm found.' tracts you might believe that the choice has always been like the picture below, when in fact its nothing of the sort.

What mystifies me about the majority of these articles is I don't get why they bought these huge cameras and lens systems in the first place. Yes, I've always written about preferring smaller lighter cameras to DSLR's, but then I have a living to earn and like it or not, when I had to convince prospective clients to employ me, toting something like the Canon above was always a good starting point. But many of these converts seemed to use these huge professional / semi-professional giants to take family snapshots and not much else. Puzzling!

The British press corps apparently (somewhat unkindly) call Leicas, Dentists Cameras! and I've always wondered if there isn't an element of what is implied in that, in these moments of blinding clarity that cause male photographers (They are always Men) to say 'I have to sell my DSLR.' The Olympus OM-D plus grip(s) is undoubtedly a sexy camera and when I carried mine around I did get a lot of looks. People noticed it. So maybe it serves the dual purpose of actually being lighter and smaller, but still says very clearly, I'm a serious photographer. 

I suppose my real objection to all this 'I've left my old gang, now I want to be in your gang' stuff is that its pretty meaningless. It may be a difficult concept for many to understand, but it really doesn't matter what camera you use, its the pictures that count. There is also no virtue in not using a DSLR, nor is there any virtue in using one. Plus if as many people seem only too willing to share, if changing your camera for a lighter smaller option has changed how you perceive photography, then what on earth was going on before the change? Nothing of any value presumably. And yes, there can be very valid reasons for downsizing. The inability to carry heavy gear around for long periods is something that I have a lot of sympathy for and I can completely understand that, but its often not about that. I'm also amused that these new converts have suddenly discovered that a m4/3 camera can take a decent picture. Shock! Horror! They seem to have missed the fact that when the Panasonic G1 came out several years ago, virtually every review said that the camera, at low ISO settings, produced higher resolution images than a Nikon D3. (I had both, and it did)

It would be great if we were more interested in what our gear actually did and not about how it looks and what it says about us. I have no problem about swapping something big and heavy for something that's not, but I'd prefer it if it wasn't accompanied by the zeal of the newly converted. 'I'm exploring another option' might be a more sensible way of proceeding.

Incidentally, as you are probably aware, I am DSLR less currently. It suits me at this moment in time, and it may stay like like this or in a years time I may have a collection of huge Canons sitting on the shelf. I have always tried to point out the virtues (and failings) of all the systems I've used and I intend to carry on doing that. Because after all the camera is just a tool to produce what's really the point of all this, the photographs. 


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