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, no 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.
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.
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.
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!