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October 16, 2012

Presidential Debate 2012: Mr. DSLR vs Mr. Mirrorless

Moderator: We would like to welcome our in-studio and online audiences to the Annenberg Space for Photography in beautiful Los Angeles for the Republic of Camera Presidential Debate 2012, featuring Mr. DSLR and Mr. Mirrorless. Our studio audience is comprised entirely of photographers who are eager to hear what the two candidates have to say. We have asked our audience to remain silent and respectful during the debate. Any audience member creating a disruption will have their worst pictures published at You Are Not a Photographer.

Moderator: We begin with opening statements by the two candidates. A coin toss decided the order, and Mr. DSLR goes first...

Mr DSLR: I begin by thanking our wonderful hosts and the great audience here and at home watching this debate. We have been leading the charge in photography with our exciting film SLRs and we are now leading the digital revolution with our DSLRs. We welcome the challenges the future brings and we are here to serve you, the photographers.

Mr Mirrorless: It is a great pleasure to be in front of an audience of amazing and hard working photographers. We, at the Mirrorless Party, we have brought new energy and excitement to the world of photography and we are thrilled that you have embraced us. We have a lot more exciting things in store for you! Just wait and be amazed!

Moderator: First question, what is your opinion on 35mm Full Frame?

Mr DSLR: That is a great question. We have been great supporters of 35mm full frame. You may recall our great film SLRs supporting 35mm full frame through the years. And now, in the digital era, we have warmly embraced full frame, starting with professional DSLRs. As the economics of the market allow, we are able to bring the prices of full frame down and make it more accessible to the average photographer, not just the professionals. We take great pride in being the caretakers of 35mm full frame.

Mr Mirrorless: We believe in making the best available cameras based on current and future technologies at the best available prices. 35mm full frame is a relic from the past and we are doing a disservice to the world of photography by desperately clinging to it as if it is the holy grail of photography. At the same time, we are not ruling out 35mm full frame mirrorless cameras. We already have the Sony NEX-VG900, and there are certainly plenty of Leica M-series full frame digital cameras, so full frame is not just DSLRs.

Mr DSLR: If you are a fan of 35mm full frame cameras, and if you want to see more 35mm full frame cameras and lenses, we are the only ones you can count on. The Mirrorless Party is not committed to full frame. This year alone we have launched seven new full frame DSLRs. Our opponents have launched just one and that's a video camera. We are photographers, not videographers! We see through the lens, not some gimmicky gadgety blurry electronic gizmo!

Audience: *rumble* *grumble* *rumble*

Moderator: I would like to ask our audience to remain silent until the debate concludes. Thank you!

Mr Mirrorless: We are committed to making the best possible compact cameras and lenses that move photography forward to the 21st century! We measure our success by results, not by the sensor size or the pixel pitch!

Moderator: What is your position on the Megapixel Wars?

Mr DSLR: We believe in offering the best available sensors in the best available cameras that match the currently available lenses. We do not see it as megapixel wars. The number of megapixels increases as technology advances, and the decision is made on a case by case basis.

Mr Mirrorless: Our friends at the DSLR party make pretty speeches, but the facts are there for all to see. A 24-megapixel Nikon D3200 is obviously a ploy to take advantage of the Megapixel Wars. Our DSLR friends want to have it both ways. If that was such a precious sensor, how come none of the other new DSLRs in 2012 are using that sensor? Even the ones from Nikon? It is obvious, they want to manipulate the average consumer into buying the camera with the highest horsepower number, instead of the best camera for their needs! And that's not all. Our DSLR friends are in bed with the Memory Card and Storage Industrial Complex. An increase in megapixels automatically means more memory cards, hard disks and computers are sold! This is the establishment trying its darnest to hold on to power at the expense of our beloved photographers!

Mr DSLR: As I said before, the decision is made on a case by case basis. There is no secret cabal that does what our Mirrorless friends suggest. We have bigger sensors and better lenses and that allows us more flexibility. The prices of memory, storage and computers continues to drop, software becomes more demanding. That's just a bunch of malarkey!

Moderator: Next topic, what do you think of the increasing availability of lens mount adapters and the cross-mounting of different lenses on different bodies?

Mr DSLR: We strongly believe that photography should be between cameras and lenses of the same type and mount. It is the natural order of things. Same-mount photography is the best available way of taking pictures, the way the camera manufacturers intended it to be! All these adapters and cross-mounting are perversions to the spirit of photography and lead us down the path of decadence and self-indulgent behaviors.

Mr Mirrorless: I am shocked by what I am hearing! We serve the photographers and we offer the photographers all the options available, so they can chose what is best for their creative needs. We welcome the cross-mounting of lenses and we love adapters. If a photographer wants to use their Zeiss lens on an Olympus E-M5, we applaud them. If a photographer wants to use their Canon EF primes on a Sony NEX, we applaud them. In fact, we are launching the first ever exhibition of photography taken in this manner. I find it extremely offensive that the DSLR party consider this a perversion of photography!

Mr DSLR: The Mirrorless party just doesn't have the quality and selection of lenses to match ours, so they encourage this form of irresponsible behavior! Every day on the trail I meet soccer moms and baseball dads who end up with broken lenses and broken mounts because one of those "mirrorless gurus" told them about some "awesome" cross-mounting combination that irreversibly alters the mounts!

Mr Mirrorless: You are just spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt because you don't want photographers to try our exciting and affordable mirrorless cameras!

Moderator: We have to move on to the next topic. Our time is limited as you know. Next question, tell us how you feel about film photography.

Mr DSLR: We love film photography. Film photography is the cornerstone of everything in our world. We have offered photographers generations and generations of excellent film cameras, and now in the digital era, we are the leaders in the world of digital photography. But we have not forgotten our film roots.

Mr Mirrorless: If you love film photography so much, how come you stopped making film cameras? Platitudes and double-speak as usual!

Mr DSLR: Can you please not interrupt me? If you let me finish. If photographers would like us to make new film cameras, then please let us know, on Twitter and on Facebook and on Pinterest and on Google Plus and on Reddit (just don't post on some of the creepy sub-Reddits, we are running for office for Pete's sake!) and your blogs and forums and flickr. If there is enough interest, we will form a committee to evaluate the situation and perhaps even launch a Kickstarter project for this.

Mr Mirrorless: Film photography was great. Most of us learned photography with film cameras. They were great. But the year is 2012. Digital is here. Technology has progressed. Film was great, but digital is the present and the future. On top of that, Mother Earth cries every time a photographer or a lab irresponsibly disposes of the chemicals, and does major damage to our environment!

Audience member: YOU LIE!!!

Moderator: I would like to remind our audience to remain silent. Security, please publish the disrupting photographer's pictures at You Are Not A Photographer now.

Audience member: *drops to knees* *cries* *begs* No, please, no! I'm sorry! No, don't post them there! I will clean everyone's sensors! I will clean everyone's dirty camera bags! I will polish your lens caps!

Security officer *publishes pictures at You Are Not A Photographer*

Moderator: All apologies for the disruption. Back to our discussion. DSLRs have been around for many decades. Mirrorless cameras are a recent phenomenon. How do you reconcile that for a new photographer who wants to get started and doesn't know which way to go?

Mr DSLR: Great question! Millions of photographers have learned photography on a DSLR and judging by their wonderful work through the decades, it is obvious that a DSLR is the best learning tool for an aspiring photographer. The connection between the subject is made perfect through the lens by those lovely bright optical viewfinders. Dials for everything connect the photographer to the results. It has been a working formula for success for many many decades.

Mr Mirrorless: We do not hold our opponents age against them, it is the age of their ideas that we object to. Technology changes, everything changes, and the new generation of all you young and aspiring photographers listening out there is more familiar with touchscreens and electronics. We offer the best way to learn for the digital generation and the millennials. This is not to say that you cannot learn with a film SLR or a digital SLR, but if you want to be on the cutting edge, go mirrorless my friends!

Moderator: Let's talk prices now. We have seen some reasonably priced cameras and we have seen some unreasonably priced cameras. Explain yourselves...

Mr DSLR: Great question. We offer a vast variety of DSLR options. We have entry-level real DSLRs under $500 that fit the budget and we go all the way to real professional DSLRs for the hard-working professionals who need to depend on their cameras and want to capture the shot when it happens! Unlike our Mirrorless friends, who have some ridiculous prices. Just look at some of the Leicas and the recent Hasselblad Lunacy or Lunatic or Lunar. I keep forgetting what they call it.

Mr Mirrorless: Our DSLR friends are forgetting that Leica cameras are Rangefinders. Rangefinders are a category of their own. The Mirrorless segment is a new digital development. Rangefinders don't have mirror, not because they are mirrorless, but because they are rangefinders.

Mr DSLR: There you go again! Earlier in our discussion you claimed Leicas as part of your family to bolster your 35mm full frame claims. Now that Leicas are not politically convenient, you throw them under the tripod!

Mr Mirrorless: This is why a lot of photographers have come to distrust our DSLR friends. They take everything out of context when it is in their advantage! My earlier reference to Leicas was as an example of full frame cameras that are not DSLRs. Our standard position is as I stated in my previous comments, Rangefinders are in a league of their own!

Mr DSLR: Yet we have seen that spy video of you, you Mr Mirrorless, addressing a secret gathering of the elders of the Rangerfinder forum, telling them how 47% of DSLR users are clueless point and shoot clickers that ruin photography with their cluelessness! We have you on a tape making those remarks!

Mr Mirrorless: *shakes head* *takes notes* *takes more notes*

Mr DSLR: I personally find it very offensive that a fellow photographer would call 47% of photographers clueless!

Mr Mirrorless: *shakes head* *takes notes* *takes more notes*

Mr Mirrorless: Can we move to another topic?

Moderator: I am afraid this is all the time we have for tonight. Closing statements are next. By draw, Mr DSLR goes first. 20 seconds per candidate please.

Mr DSLR: Thanks to our hosts and great audience here and at home for a great evening that allowed us to share with you why we are the best answer for today's photographers. We have a strong history, a strong present and a strong future. You can count on us for all your photographic needs. From Little Martha's soccer practice to the NFL Playoffs, we cover everything! We have centuries of expertise in our camera bags. The sky is the limit for your professional future with us!

Mr Mirrorless: I know our opponents will say we are a new breed of cameras and we have not been perfect so far. I will agree to that. But we are the future. They are the past. We move photography forward with exciting and diverse ideas. They want to go back to the past with magic mirrors and giant sensors. We do what's best for you now. We do not serve entrenched interests. We are the future!

Moderator: Thanks to our two candidates and the great audience. Now you may applaud and cheer. Goodnight and good luck!

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