How to Tell That You’re Ready for a DSLR Camera

Are you ready to step up to a DSLR? (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

Are you ready to step up to a DSLR? (Copyright 2010 / Andrew Boyd)

When you know, you just know, right? It’s fun to think about sometimes though. I shoot the occasional point ‘n shoot photo like everybody else, and I still get frustrated almost every time I pick one of the things  up.  So here’s my list:

  • You’ve started to really notice the guys with the ‘good’ cameras.
  • You’re  tired of ‘what you see is what you get’ not being the case when you shoot photos.
  • The blasted shutter lag—you press the shutter down, and wait, and wait, and wait—has finally reached the point that you’re ready to throw the little thing against the wall. (Don’t do it. Too expensive to repair.)
  • The little bit of zoom—from ‘not wide enough’ to ‘not telephoto enough’ means you never get the photos you saw in your head.
  • You find you’re constantly turning off the automatic flash setting because you’ve started to really notice the light.
  • Photography is becoming something that you think about a lot. A whole lot.
  • Your rich uncle just left you two thousand bucks and it’s burning a hole in your pocket.

So there. My list. Do you have a list yourself? What did I leave off? If you found yourself agreeing with more than a couple of these points, start saving your money!

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Related articles on the web:

Steady That Point n Shoot at Beyond Phototips

Buying Your First DSLR at PhotoNetCast

Should You Buy a DSLR or Point and Shoot Digital Camera? at Digital Photography School

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Camera at Epic Edits

Buying Your First Digital SLR Camera here at The Discerning Photographer


  1. You’ve started to really notice the guys with the ‘good’ cameras.
  2. You tired of ‘what you see is what you get’ not being the case when you shoot photos.
  3. The blasted shutter lag—you press the shutter down, and wait, and wait, and wait—has finally reached the point that you’re ready to throw the little thing against the wall. (Don’t do it. Too expensive to repair.)
  4. The little bit of zoom—from ‘not wide enough’ to ‘not telephoto enough’
  5. means you never get the photos you saw in your head.
  1. You find you’re constantly turning off the automatic flash setting because you’ve started to really notice the light.
  2. Photography is becoming something that you think about a lot. A whole lot.
  3. Your rich uncle just left you two thousand bucks and it’s burning a hole in your pocket.

Posted in: Equipment

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

20 Comments on "How to Tell That You’re Ready for a DSLR Camera"

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  1. Hi Andrew,
    Just a quick note of thanks for mentioning our episode at PhotoNetCast on buying the first dSLR.

  2. Dave K says:

    Sounds like good reasons to buy a G11!

  3. I would LOVE to have one. Just no moohla for that right now.

  4. Hey, no problem. Your article was one of the most relevant ones I found for the piece. Glad to see you saw the link!

  5. BayouBill says:

    > What did I leave off?

    “You used to shoot with a film SLR, got sucked in by the low cost of a digital point-and-shoot, but finally realized that (despite the fact that **everyone** was using one) it just didn’t give you the versatility or the results you were accustomed to with your ‘old, antiquated’ film camera.”

  6. Anil Kurup says:

    When you discover that, flicking the “PRESET” mode to Night Mode / No Flash Mode on yo’ Compact, hoping to expose a grand Party Mood, the picture that resulted puts you onto “UPSET” Mode.

    Why wait? Buy a DSLR and a Good OLD Lens and Celebrate the ownership….

  7. Bob S. says:

    Awesome list Andrew! I still miss a few points so I guess I’m not really ready for my DSLR. But the idea behind your post is what I love…we should do such a list for everything we want to buy…a new car, a new house, new clothes. We’d spend much less on things that we don’t really want and it will keep us focused on what we really want.

    Regardless, I’m still getting a DSLR just because life is short and I want to remember every bit of my journey. 🙂

  8. Niels Van says:

    Very interesting topic. For me the tipping point came from the frustration of always having the whole scene in focus (or not), while longingly looking at the beautiful shallow DOF shots possible only with those huge fast lenses. One could get a little bit of that with maxxing out the compact’s zoom though…
    But then when you finally have the option of screwing that huge fast lens into your own brand new DSLR, you start looking longingly at those huge white lenses that really separate the men from the boys…

  9. Dave says:

    I think I’ve got the camera to the left. I don’t even use it that much but after reading this article I almost feel like now I do need a DSLR, so good job in making a convincing argument.

  10. Adrian says:

    Nice list!

    well I think that the most influencing point is the first one! ppl with great cameras really p*ssed me off and eventually I bought a 550D 😀

  11. Jake says:

    The blasted shutter lag was all it took for me. I can’t tell you how many great moments I missed that were gone before the camera decided to fire. I stepped up and am catching the fleeting shots now. Well, most of them anyway.

  12. Hey Jake,
    Yeah, the shutter lag is the biggest issue by far, once you care about what’s actually captured in the frame!

  13. Linda says:

    I have thick fingers if there is such an impression with regards to photography.I am totally hopeless

  14. David says:

    All the above ! Shutter Lag is a nightmare with my new granddaughter that can’t keep still for a second, Lighting indoors is always an issue and zoom too limited. Only problem is I don’t have an uncle to leave me two thousand – but kids that seem to think I am made of money LOL

  15. Angela says:

    All so true. I was working doing rental property inventories and had to take hundreds of photos of each property and the restricted zoom and poor lighting drove me mad. My colleague had a Digital SRL and the difference in our pictures was amazing. I just couldn’t justify the expense but am eagerly awaiting my brother to upgrade from his Canon EOS DSLR. I can but dream 😉

  16. How about when you start having so much fun taking pictures, you want MORE POWER (like Tim Allen and his power tools 😉 )

    And I really like the one on your list of how “what you see is NOT what you get”… because that sure is irritiating. Plus the time lag…

    Oh, and one of my pet peeves… when you really need that flash, but you’re waiting and waiting for the puny thing to power up and by the time it does, you’ve lost the chance for a great picture. VERY annoying!

    Altogether, a great list!

  17. Pro says:

    I’m ready for DSLR anytime. It’s a matter of money. Should I spend the money on a good one, or should I settle for a point and shoot…that is the question.

  18. You’re ready when you can’t live without one: when you’re ready to scrimp and save to get one. I know how expensive they are, but believe me, film and all of the associated costs involved in shooting it was actually way, way more expensive. This is the golden age for photography, I really believe.

  19. Jeremy says:

    We have the same list Andrew, except for the last part, i don’t have a nice uncle who put a thousand bucks on my pocket. haha! Great review on Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 60D by the way.

    Jeremy
    Corporate Massage

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