[amazonify]B000V5P90K:right:product:thehigginswebsit[/amazonify]I recently bought a Canon 40D digital SLR camera. “SLR” stands for single lens reflex and basically means you can change lenses. SLRs are also more robustly made and definitely don’t fit in a pocket like regular ‘point and shoot’ cameras.

I previously had a Canon 20D and sold that a year ago as I wasn’t using it so much and had grown tired of lugging it and the lenses I owned then around. But after 9 months or so without an SLR I couldn’t take it any more! Small point and shoot digital cameras are convenient but still have many disadvantages compared to an SLR. They don’t do well in poor light, the focus slowly, and can’t take multiple pictures quickly. The picture quality is also nowhere near what an SLR can do. Once you’ve had one you get spoiled!

The 40D improves on the 20D in many ways – it’s faster, has better auto focus, a bigger LCD on the back, new quick dial custom modes, auto dust removal, etc.

But none of this is what I’m really posting about! Digital cameras are still WAY too hard to use.

I’m a technical guy, and while I and others CAN cope with using a camera like the 40D or pretty much any other, that doesn’t mean it should be this complex. Not only is the camera hugely complex, but after you transfer images from the camera to your computer, and then more work begins. Digital SLR images almost always require ‘more work’ (editing) once they’re on the computer. Techies like this generally, but why shouldn’t a DSLR be able to produce great images right out of the camera?

Today it still seems that if you buy a digital SLR you can end up with GREAT pictures, but the effort is high. With ‘point and shoot’ cameras you can get decent pictures out of the camera, but there’s all the limitations I mentioned above.

When I’ve mentioned this complaint about SLRs to photographers they say I’m lazy or should just stick with a point and shoot. I think Nikon and Sony are beginning to get the message though, more than Canon. The new Nikon D300 and Sony a700 can produce excellent pictures right out of the camera. It looks like Canon may be catching up with the new XSi, their newest ‘entry’ digital SLR, which has automatic optimization for pictures which makes a dramatic difference. I recently e-mailed Canon begging that they put this feature in a firmware upgrade for the 40D I only just got! 🙁

Anyway, bottom line – if you get a digital SLR today and haven’t had one before, be prepared for a STEEP learning curve!