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[Food For Thought] DSLR—The Showpiece

[Food For Thought] DSLR—The Showpiece

Do you know the biggest problem that we face while learning new skills? No matter what that new skill is.

We want to learn it instantly. It’s technically known as Instant Gratification. In software (maybe in other professions too), we put a different spin on it and say “they (usually the customers) want everything to be delivered yesterday!”

I think we are in a fast-paced era where everything is at our fingertips.

But, some things take time.

And, the more I think about it, the more I feel that the things that take time and energy are the ones which we value the most. We derive more satisfaction when we put in the effort to get something (or anything). I’d love to know what you think. Let me know in your comment.

That’s a bit off-topic. Though, I am thinking this is one of the main reasons for turning a DSLR into a showpiece. Here’s why:

This article is a result of an email conversation I had with my cousin sister. While she appreciated about my passion for photography, she mentioned that she bought a DSLR several years ago (which’s news to me :)) and it’s lying safe in a cupboard.

Which means the DSLR is a just showpiece; the difference is that it’s not displayed in a showcase.

I think there could be several reasons why people do it. You might have done it in the past too, or you might know someone who has done it.


I think buying a DSLR is not an easy decision to almost all of us (there could be few exceptions). It’s not like you saw a DSLR on the rack or online store and you thought it is fun to have. It’s a serious investment. Not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time and energy you’d have spent in understanding:

  • What’s a DSLR
  • Why is it so expensive
  • Why is it bulky
  • How different it is from your iPhone or some smartphone which looks easy and fun to use
  • Is it a worthy investment
  • Why are there so many lenses and which one should you buy and why
  • Who is the best person to get suggestions
  • What accessories to buy and why

Once you take care of these hurdles, you have a long list of things to worry…such as Exposure Triangle, Manual Mode, Metering Mode, blah blah.

Phew…the list goes on and on.

After taking so much pain, why would anyone just let it go? Why is their DSLR a showpiece now?


If you are wondering why I am asking this question after all these years, there’s a reason behind it. In fact, there’s a strong reason.

I have been contemplating on providing photography tutorials, books, services/etc. that’d help as many photographers as possible in the world. Yes, I am thinking here on a large scale.

I think addressing the most common tendency of losing the interest in photography after spending so much time, energy, and money is a major factor. This would help thousands of people who once found photography fascinating.


What’s more interesting to me is that why are they not selling their DSLRs? Why do they want to let their expensive equipment to collect dust?

Are they planning to take up photography again? Maybe when they are free? Maybe when they retire?  Maybe they wouldn’t want to admit with the buyer that they resigned from their hobby because they found it too difficult?

I don’t know.


I want you to list down all the reasons that you think make these wannabe photographers let their once-found passion slip off, in your comments.

Maybe I will find some answers from you. Maybe it’ll give me a real insight. Maybe your answers will inspire me. Who knows?


There’s a pleasant surprise for you. I have been working on a short and sweet eBook about a secret to getting best results in post-processing that I uncovered while I was teaching one of my photography workshop students.

It’ll be the first in the series of eBooks that I will be writing to change the way I taught photography (for good :)). I hope you’ll appreciate it once you get your hands on it. Don’t worry; it’s not expensive. In fact, you wouldn’t care about the price.

I am all set to release it in a week or so. It’ll be sold exclusively on Amazon. I am super excited this time as it’s something that I have never done before.

Here’s the FIRST LOOK at my upcoming eBook “The Strangest Secret: Unlock the Secret to Post-Processing Your Images Like Never Before“:

The Strangest Secret: Post-Processing eBook/Book. How to approach post-processing. A Book/eBook by Prathap.

BTW, I have last 3 spots open for my Ganeshgudi Photography Workshop that’ll be held this October 25-29th. Let me know if you would like to join, or any of your friends would like to join.

I’ll be looking forward to your comments about why some people turn their DLSR into a showpiece.

Talk soon. Have fun.



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Prathap is a professional nature photographer and founder of Nature Photography Simplified blog. He aims to simplify every photography concept to help beginners and amateur photographers.

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This Post Has 19 Comments
  1. One reason might be its much more difficult to learn to use than they thought it would be. Secondly, most people don’t know a really good photographer that can help them learn and if they did most photographers are too busy to help. Thirdly learning photography takes a huge commitment and people aren’t willing to do what it takes to learn.

  2. Another reason would be the weight of a DSLR and it’s size. It does not fit into a pocket or purse – size and weight making it too bulky.

    1. Hi Micheal, Thanks for sharing the insights. Yes, I have heard many people saying it. In fact, in the initial years, I think most of us might feel the weight until the passion takes over 🙂

  3. Thanks Prathap, I think a main reason for people having showcase cameras is simple: they buy the camera for a holiday use and when that’s come and gone so does the passion for photography. In my case when I decided to get serious about photography I decided to combine it with another passion: either architecture or birds. The birds won out. In Australia there are more than 800 species and I wanted to take as many great shots as I could of as many species as I could. I am up to about 160 so far in the past 12 months. The secret is this: I HAVE A REASON TO GET THE CAMERA OUT AND USE IT. Also, because of the technical nature of DSLRs it is a massive learning curve for beginners, particularly for bird photography, but also for most other specialised fields: ie architecture, taking children, night shots, landscapes, seascapes etc etc. Some people simply take a few dud shots and throw their hands in the air and the camera in the showcase. Hope this makes sense.

    1. Hi Murray, That’s a great insight. I think many many people buy their cameras just before going to a trip. Mostly, while they are going on their dream vacation or some exotic location. I recall meeting many people asking me about how to shoot while they are on their trip. They have absolutely no idea what they have on their hands 🙂
      Yes, having a solid reason helps. Combining it with other passion is a good idea too.

  4. Good morning Prathap! It takes a lot of dedication to learn how to use a DSLR and get the results you want. The learner needs persistence and study, trial and re-trial, trial, retrial. It seems to them like they will never get what they want; that you are never going to be good enough.
    One problem is most people buy a new camera just before they want the photos eg just before they go on their holiday. They try it and the results are not good. Are they going to risk having awful photos of their trip? No sir! They take the low risk version instead.
    Another problem is they feel they look gawky learning and so are shy about going out. People I know who see me out expect me to be taking spectacular photos. I wish! Sometimes they are me to send a photo to them but the one with them kayaking up the river is not sharp! Aargh how embarrassing!
    Then there is the size and weight. It is “cooler” to travel light with less stuff. People with too much stuff look clumsy and attract sighing attention.
    AND when you have a DSLR that’s just the beginning. You need tripods, filters, shutter release, bags, post processing. You have a lot of little bits that need to go with you to take photos. What if you forget a key bit? Your shots won’t be as good as you dreamed…..again.
    I went to point and click cameras after studying a photography major at art school (when all cameras had film!) because they were easier than my SLR. But now I want to shoot better photos again and I am studying hard and practicing a lot. My photos are not good but they are getting better.

    1. Hi Gillie, thanks for sharing amazing insights. Yes, I totally agree with your thoughts about persistence and practice. It’s probably very tough for everyone to have. And the other factor, as you rightly mentioned, is that they aren’t able to get those results which they expected which will surely demotivate them. Maybe we stuck long enough than many others.
      I think these comments are going to help me immensely while I decide to write about it. Thanks again.

  5. I have been a shooter for the last 50 years or so. Started in film, which gave you the best grounding in photography, as you had to get it as right as you possibly could, and there was no post processing.
    Nowadays people can shoot 500 plus images on a holiday of just a few days.

    I ditched all of my Canon equipment for an Olympus mirror less system, due to the weight. I think people expect to just pick up a camera and take “great” images without taking the trouble to learn the “Camera”.

    One great way to learn is to join a local camera club.

    1. Hi Clem De Silva, I like it when you say “I think people expect to just pick up a camera and take “great” images without taking the trouble to learn the “Camera”.” I agree with that. I think there’s a gap in understanding with most novice/amateur photographers that Camera is just a tool. I think too much of emphasis is given to camera than to the art of photography. Thanks a lot for sharing your insights.

  6. Hallo Prathap,
    Perhaps, one good reason why the passion slips off or burns out is because they are unable to sustain the drive that initially captured their imagination. All of us, on the day we laid our hands on our first DSLR, conceived a fairly good idea about what it could perform or perhaps not. Many would go after the science behind it and appreciate it better and many others would choose to be not bothered about it.
    I think this should be no brainer, if you have the stuff in you, you would naturally learn it from all possible angles. Others would not as they are not in sync with what is really appreciable with what the DSLR can do to have an edge over other cameras. One can seek to improve their position only if we can find ways to sustain their initial drive from fading away. Those ways may be different for a professional, amateur, beginner or hobby photographer. Perhaps one way to get the DSLR out of the cupboard, is to show them what a DSLR, that they own, can achieve in real time through images. The other way out is to tell them that photography is not all about sharpness, but can tell a story with ones’s idea. For others, it may be to give them the knowledge of the facinating science behind the DSLR and how to manipulate it. Finding out what DSLR and lens they have chosen, be it for budget constrains or whatever, and then showing them the way, rather than the usual garden path, would perhaps yield better result in sustaining their passion and gradually take them to higher levels.

    1. Hi John, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am very glad to get such amazing insights. I think “different folks, different strokes” strategy has to be followed in many ways. Yes, there’s a need for some customized solutions going forward. The “usual garden path” as said is not going to work very well with all. Thanks again for these excellent insights.

  7. I bought a DSLR about 6 years ago buy have not used it as much as I would have liked to. I loved the beautiful photos I saw in books and magazines and wanted to create something like that. I think the main reason why I haven’t been able to is that i am not a very tech oriented person , so learning photography and the use of the dslr from scratch involved a very steep learning curve for me and I was daunted by it. I read a lot of books and websites but I realize that what I really needed was a good teacher. As in most subjects, a good teacher is hard to find, and in the case of photography, also quite expensive. There is a lot of information out there but not all of it is useful or easy to absorb.
    Also, your skills as a photographer improve the more you practice. I don’t know if others agree with me, but for a woman in India, it is not always easy or safe to be out alone during early mornings or in less crowded areas. The times and locations that we would like to be out at are restricted compared to those available to men. I started using my camera a lot more only after I moved abroad because I could go out anytime, anywhere on my own.
    Also as someone said in an earlier post, it also takes a while to lose the shyness and the feeling that everyone is staring at me and know what a novice I am.

    1. Hi Sudeshna, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts so honestly. I appreciate it. Yes, learning DSLR can be a very daunting task. I think that’s where I want to focus my time and energy and make it super easy for everyone to learn–at least the basics. A good teacher definitely makes it much easier and I agree that it could be an expensive affair. I think safety concerns are understandable. It’s not easy for sure. But, I appreciate the fact that you are pursuing it despite all the shortcomings.
      Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

  8. Dear Prathap,
    I had left a Reply, I guess on the 6th of October.
    Seem to be not figuring in the list of responses.
    If have not received it, may be I can send it again.
    John Mathew

  9. I loved photography as a kid until I calculated how much I was spending on film and developing-for often lousy shots. I was poor. This was unacceptable. When digital came I could take lousy shots for no marginal cost. I’m better off now. Last July I bought myself an iPhone photography course for my birthday and learned how to take wonderful shots. I bought a mirrorless so I could take shots that were further away, with a good sensor, a tilt screen, in a low weight, small, easy to carry package. I learned composition first, now I’m learning and practicing technical matters. First I learned composition, then I learned WHY I would want to learn technical matters, now I’m practicing the technical side so I can be as good as possible. // From the people I know who don’t use their DSLRs it is because they are heavy and bulky and a hassle to carry around.

    1. Hi Gwen, Thanks for sharing your story. It’s fascinating and very true for many photographers, I think. I hope you get to use the camera a lot, that’s possibly the best way to learn. Good luck!

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