How to Hold an EVIL Camera!

Lets face it then, I am an ugly man.

How ugly, you ask? Quiet. To make the matters worse I took a fancy to photographing people. Now, imagine yourself being photographed by a baboon that looks like a man! I’m sure you can’t summon your prettiest expression, noHiding behind the DSLR matter how ravishingly photogenic you are, in the face of a simian enterprise. I have noticed however, a distinct easing of expressions of my subjects the moment I bury my countenance under a DSLR. With the face gone, I am every bit the silhouette of an artist who means business. I believe it is one of the significant virtues of DSLRs missing from my post, Go Get a DSLR!

Being the shooter at parties, picnics and group meets also ensures that all evidences of my Neanderthaline ancestry are out of sight. Even shooting the shooter doesn’t help matters: it would just be a pair of knuckles and the camera. If you were to browse the photo albums and home videos with me, you will understand the pattern. Having read that, folks can now appreciate my distrust of slim and sleek point and shoot cameras. Apart from being flexibility-challenged, they offer precious little real estate to bury a mocking face. Folks can also understand my concern at the efforts of the photographic industry to unleash midgets called EVIL, or electronic-viewfinder-interchangeable-lens cameras.

The monthly photography magazine I subscribe to has run a 10 page long advertisement by Sony on their NEX series of ‘pint-sized’ cameras, this month (I’m still weighing the options of suing them). The DSLRs are ‘heavy’ and ‘boring’, you are told. These are sophisticated gadgets which will elevate you to DSLR-like experiences. Also, the ‘friendly appearance’ will ensure that your subjects are comfortable around you. The rest is a lot about their Hi-definition video-prowess.

The Next Generation Style
The Next Generation Style

Bless them, these evils have got to be sleek and sparkling as they sport minimal buttons and dials on them. They will do all the thinking for you so that you can concentrate on beaming your killing smiles all around. If you decide, however, that you want to be creative and tweak a setting or two, you have to dig, dig, dig deep into the menu entrails.

NEX-5 screwed to 70-300mm
NEX-5 screwed to 70-300mm

They remain pint-sized with a pancake lens till you decide to use a reasonably ranged zoom like 70-300mm and end up with a hammer. They do not have an inbuilt flash but you can screw in a bulbous external flash that can be unscrewed if you want to stop using it and screw it back till it screws you.  As for a viewfinder attachment, the less said the better. In short, the pint-sized beauties miserably fail on their basic premise of pocketability. Those of you taken in by the promise of it being less conspicuous in a crowd, please remember the guy who got roughed up trying to capture a shot of Ambani’s mansion with a cellphone. Again, pitched against an entry level DSLR like Nikon D3100 the EVIL cameras pale in most aspects. D3100 is not pint-sized but miniaturized enough to the point of some large handed users having expressed discomfort at its smallness. I, for one, find it cute and I can still bury my face behind it! Most of the commonly needed functions are accessible by dedicated dials and buttons. Its image quality remains above the EVIL squadron across the spectrum of light. It has an onboard flash which will remain invisible when not needed. And, of course, it has the optical viewfinder. What is more, it is backed by Nikon’s legendary line-up of Nikkor lenses.

D3100: a saner option?
D3100: a saner option?

Why are Sony, Olympus, Samsung and Panasonic  betting so heavily on the EVIL cameras then? And why haven’t Nikon and Canon come out with their own EVIL machines? The answer is simple and rather straightforward when you consider the fact that Nikon and Canon have perfected the art of churning out stunning DSLRs. Also, Both Nikon and Canon have enviable arrays of lenses, perfected over generations, to cater to nearly every segment.  Every other manufacturer, especially Sony –since they tried it so hard after taking over Konica-Minolta, has failed to impress the community with their efforts in the arena. They are perforce trying to etch a new segment for themselves in a hurry and the EVIL cameras are an effort in that direction. Thus, this new species is being targeted at (i) professionals and amateurs already having DSLRs and desiring a backup for lighter moments and, (ii) individuals with a style quotient and having a fat wallet. But the trouble is, the manufacturers have yanked it out of the labs smoking green and several nitty-gritty’s still need figuring before they can really start making a difference. That, the technology is still under works can be testified by the silence of Nikon and Canon on the new breed.

In the end, I cannot but wish the best to Sony in their journey to “capture 40% share of total camera market” with the NEX series. But hey, give me a DSLR any day, even a Sony DSLR, pellicle mirror and all!


  1. Nex5 screwed with 70-300mm lens drives the point of thin dslr camera quite clear.

    Having said that, I have held a NEX camera (also the NX one from Samsung) both have very sleek metallic design. Nikon/Cannon have more plastic feel.

    1. Thanks for visiting Lalit. But, if ever in your life you are constrained to beat down your opponent with whatever is available at hand, you will surely be better off with a Nikon DSLR (even entry-level) rather than a Sony or a Samsung Evil!

  2. Sorry for my ignorance but I know zilch about photography…very informative though(By the way my paternal home is in Jaunpur too and the post was written in good humour……..)

    1. Welcome to One Grain Amongst the Storm, Alka. Photography is everywhere these days. It is in your cellphone, your desktop, your laptop and may eventually surface in your television, refrigerator and washing machine. Now that you don’t need to load a film and wait for the lab to process and return the prints to see the final outcome, you are so much closer to photography. So wake up, it is one of the rare joys of life! Of course, when you get serious about the stuff, we are always here!

  3. Like Alka, don’t know the finer points of photography. I have come every time you have promoted my post on Indivine, but have left without reading, intimidated by the content — well at least the headline. This time, I gritted my teeth and started reading and wow! What sense of humour! you should write a lot more than 27 posts in a year and on other subjects than photography too. ( I do hope you read my posts when you promote them, and not just ‘view’ them 🙂 )

    1. Zephyr, thanks for your visits and the encouragement, I’m touched. And I’m grateful that you finally took a plunge in my tepid posts. I’ll try to stretch my myopic vision to farther subjects.

      I’m rather a miser when it comes to voting and rarely vote without having gone through at least half of the contents. You obviously deserve all those thumbs ups.

  4. Am all smiles with Zephyr comments. And am wondering if i could pick a tip or two for my blog readers as well. But US – i love your blog. Its technically brilliant – you killed Sony NX in your post man. Its delightfully spiced with subtle humor… hiding behind the DSLR is something and making that a proposition is something only you could come out with. All in all – i will back again and more often. I just subscribed to your blog 🙂

  5. This is not meant for you but for the upcoming makers of EVIL cameras. I think the allure of EVIL’s is not the presumed pocket-ability but reduction in complexity, weight and bulk (rather than size). Those of us that hang onto our old SLR’s in the hope of getting a useful EVIL, do so because they will be quiet, lighter and less bulky; a camera that has an INTEGRATED view finder (not simply a clip on) and is still large enough to accommodate all the usual control knobs and buttons, instead of a tiny camera where an errant finger activates an undesired button or where setting a knob requires the fingers of a child, where important functions have dedicated controls instead of being buried in a cascading menu of options.

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