Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I was rather amazed, or to a certain degree, amused by the reasons I have been hearing from many people around me who just got themselves that new cool DSLR. It was quite a wonder to witness DSLR gaining spectacular amount of attention and stealing the limelight at recent times, but on the other hand, when I started to look further and deeper into the actual reasons why the sudden insurgence of DSLR population, I was disheartened to say the least.

Here is why so many people bought that latest DSLR model.

1) DSLR is Fashion

The latest fashion trend dictates a DSLR to be worn as a decorative ornament, strapped around the neck. Diamond pendants or pearls are so yesterday, they are replaced with pure, high grade extra low-dispersive, ashperical elements of ridiculously expensive engineered optical glasses. Gold and silver necklaces are so obsolete, the nano-fibre fabric weight reducing thick, black camera strap is the in-thing. Oh and the camera brand must be visible too. The bigger your camera body, the longer your lens, the more people will awe and gawk at your awesome fashion sense. You can wear a DSLR proudly when you strut your way down the shopping mall, or sashay to the latest club scene. No one cares about that Gucci bag anymore.

I love blue skies, don't you?

2) DSLR is money making machine

Ever since DSLR dropped in price, the affordability scale allowed everyone to pick up a camera, and turned it into a “get rich quick” scheme. Gone are the days of pure photography masters who handle the camera like a pro, and now dawns the days of freelancers storming at every single opportunities out there, like vultures scouring for every piece of meat to make their living. “What, Ah Niu charged you RM500 for a whole day wedding shoot? How can he do that? He is spoiling the market value !! Ok ok, I revise my price, if you take me now, I offer you RM450, can? What? Still too expensive? Aiyoooo, cannot too cheap la. Ok ok, RM400”. There was a time when true photographers held certain status and did not sacrifice self-worth, but sadly photography jobs have been reduced to nothing more than a night market bargain trade.

3) DSLR is Gadget that Elevates your Social Status

Oh who cares what new models Nokia is coming up with? Your new phone won’t turn as many heads as a new DSLR. Oh and a new phone would cost as much, or possibly even more than that entry level DSLR anyway. So what if my phone does not have the latest functions or applications, or run on the touch screen? Try shooting with a DSLR at ISO10000000000000000 at night without flash and compare the photo output with the camera from that latest mobile phone. The lustful eyes and jaw-dropping expression on your friends would be priceless. By doing so, you have gained that extra 500 points in coolness factor amongst your buddies.

4) DSLR is Ticket to Sexy Chicks

Having trouble asking chicks for their numbers? Don’t even know where to look for one? Well, DSLR comes to the rescue. Your DSLR is your pass to events with chicks so ready for some camera whoring action. Who cares if you know nuts about portraiture photography anyway, the chicks will willingly pose and smile for you. Subsequently, they will most likely ask you for the photographs, hence instantly you have the access to their emails or Facebook account already !! Oh oh it gets even better. Now you can “act professional” and invite them for private shoots, and God knows what happens next. If nothing happens, well, you still have the chicks’ photographs in the first place anyway, right? It is no surprise; Malaysian hobbyist photography scene revolves madly at portraiture and model shooting only. If you ask them to explore other photography genres such as macro, streets, food, still life, abstract, landscape or all other sorts with no relation to chicks, you will be scoffed at.

If you do not already have a DSLR, what are you waiting for? It is like the must-have gadget of the decade.

Seriously, where is the love of photography? Where did it go?

When you sit down and chat with your “photography buddies” who also happened to just purchased that new DSLR system, most often you chat about that new body that has a million AF points and shoots ISO100000000000, or that new lens that goes wide at F0.95. You do not hear people wow-ing at great photographs; instead you hear them praising a shot of a trash can taken at night with no flash but noise-free. You do not hear compliments for a well composed photo of a model posing by a wonderfully blossomed pool of colourful tulips, you get complains telling you that the visible tulips in your background is a mistake due to your lack of bokeh. If your shot sucks, it must be the incapability of your probably lower end system, and similarly if you managed to impress your photography buddies with your shots, the credits are given to your wonderful set of expensive gears, not you. Generally, nowadays people care about what their DSLR and lenses can do, rather than what they are actually doing with their camera system. Is this photography?

Where is the joy of capturing the shot that you are so happy about that it made your day just by looking at the photograph again and again? Where is the joy of capturing the human features, their expressions, their smile and their laughter in your photographs? Where are the emotions, the feelings and the story which a photograph is worth a thousand words of? Where is the sense of art? Why are the struggles of creativity and originality unheard of these days? Where is the joy of taking photographs that soothes the mind and calms the soul? Where is the passion that drives the photographers to go out shooting more and care less of what camera system they actually use?

Is there anyone who truly bought a camera system, regardless if it was a DSLR or a compact point and shoot camera, or a film camera, who decided to get the camera system truly because he loves photography?

There is a need to really look into the moment when we reached out for the camera. The love, the passion, the heart and the soul should be in the right places, within the photographer.


  1. i agree most heartedly with the first point. i think these days people buy dslr as an assessory just to shout out to people that they are bohemian and are appreciative of the arts and are not geeks. i roll my eyes at these poseurs.


  2. hey marcus,
    the camera manufacturers benefit the most out of this !!

  3. I like the painting of iron man. Very nice wei!

  4. Robin, very well written. I'm sure its a fashion statement, but I think its a bit of an overkill. I'd rather get that special someone a good 'old fashioned', beautiful necklace :)

    With regards to point no.4, its a very plausible, but fine line to tread if we're not capable to think about our actions. Hopefully in the near future, I can still profess that I love photography, not just because of the chicks!

  5. hey allen,
    LOL.. buy buy buy !!

    hey brandon,
    thanks !! Yeah, overkill indeed, you should see those wannabes in KL, they are everywhere.
    Point no 4 is mostly describing the newcomers to photography in Malaysia generally. It just irks me to find out so many people getting the DSLR, just for the sole reason to shoot chicks, nothing else. Photography is not just about chicks !!
    But you do love photography !! ahahahaa

  6. Another well written post. Pretty annoyed with people who bitch about how 'awful' the gears they have or talk how awesome their shots would be IF they use awesome gears. And these are the same flock who take mediocre shoots, like the ones coming out from a normal PnS camera. Pfftt...

    Btw, I like the Iron Man... minus the eyebrows and moustache. Haha.

  7. Hey chong,
    "like those coming out from PNS" LOL cruel la you. But yeah, gearwhoring and worshippers can't go too far, unless they just take a pause and concentrate on making good photos instead.
    Yeah I know !! I think some itchy hands go and "added" the moustache and what nots... gosh... such spoilers.

  8. Well said Robin. The last shot reminds me of my childhood back in melaka. Always waiting in the evening for the roti man with that motorcycle. Hardly find that in KL though.

  9. hey rustie,
    Thanks man !!
    whoah waiting for the junk food man? ahahah.. good times good times. I was more like waiting for the ice cream man !

  10. Can I repost this in my blog? :D

  11. hey jason,
    ahaha go right ahead !!

  12. Well said!

    Point 5) DSLR is where someone has too much money and don't know where to spend it. :p

    The "roti man" reminded me of the "putu mayam man".
    I shall hunt and shoot the "putu mayam man" one day!

  13. hey photogmao,
    Thanks !!
    I read it once somewhere in the paper recently there was a putu mayam man that was a serial rapist !! Scary man... ahaaha

  14. I have downgraded my self from film SLR to digital SLR to point & shoot.. and now currently shooting with the Sony Ericsson EXPERIA X10 8MP camera... and not even using 8MP, I am using 2MP due to the cool camera application inside the phone... It's the great Retro Cam.. that produces 4 great looking retro/stylo effect that stops me from using photoshop...
    Spot something cool, just snap it.. then upload to Facebook & Flickr in a whim... and shove in the pocket!!

    btw, my shots are of little substance.. :)