Chuck Espinoza Photography

Los Angeles Based Freelance Photographer.
Photography business

The DSLR is dead

December 1, 2017

The dying wish of a 4lb camera. In our little town of El Segundo, a suburb of Los Angeles, we get a weekly town newspaper. My wife proudly showed me a half page photo that she shot. She shot it on her iPhone 6. The photo is of her students and some visiting Japanese students; in all honesty if I had shot it with a DSLR it probably would not have looked much better on the newsprint but the reality is that the device in our pocket has changed the landscape of photography forever.

The last time I had a similar feeling was this past summer when I took my DSLR on vacation to Oregon. I didn’t shoot a single frame with it. While the quality of the camera in our pocket is ever increasing there comes a point in time where convenience beats quality. My phone is almost always within arms reach. And if I don’t have my phone someone else probably does and sharing photos is a cinch. I can talk about what a shame it is that 99% of our photos will never be printed, but that doesn’t change how heavy and inconvenient carrying around a DSLR is. It also doesn’t take away the convenience and ease of reaching into our pocket to make a photo.

I know my DSLR will not be replaced when it comes to making professional photos but along with this shift in accessibility comes a shift in the perceived “value” of photography.  Currently 9 out of 10 people has access to the camera responsible for 85% of the photos taken.  As a photographer I’ve seen the headlines of the covers being shot using an iPhone; BillboardBon Appetite, Time and Elle  were all shot with an iPhone.  What is the value of hiring a photographer, an assistant and a trunk load of expensive camera gear when an editor can hand their phone to someone? It’s not a completely fair comparison but for a magazine trying to stay financially viable that question becomes more and more important.

I’m sure the medium format photographers lamented the ease of 35mm and the 35mm photographers lamented the rise of digital but Steve Job’s ten year old invention has changed photography forever.

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