Why I Don’t Use A DSLR Anymore

Why I don’t use a DSLR anymore and how I’ve become to love my camera phone.  I’m not sure when I started using SLR cameras for my fishing and other types of photography. I do love taking photographs and have done it for many years. Once I saved up enough money, I switched over to a Canon 350D for my first one and then started to collect different sorts of lenses over the years which meant I got an even bigger bag. At one point in time, about 14 years back, when I was disillusioned with fishing, I considered selling all of my fishing kit, going full-on photography crazy, getting a monster telephoto lens and going on a few courses. But, fishing grabbed me back again and I spent 7 years fishing on the Hampshire Avon away from the crowds instead.

One of the things that started me carrying less kit was river fishing, especially when night fishing you really need less kit. This was the time I swapped over to a Canon G5 or G6, I had two – one for each bag. If I was going for a short evening trip I would still bring my camera bag, I liked taking photos of scenic aspects of the river and the wildlife. I’d spend many hours taking photos of the Barn owls flying over the misty meadows instead of actually fishing. The bailiff would ask if I’d seen anything and I’d give him a list of the wildlife I’d seen when he really wanted to know about the fish.

Then slowly put surely Android phones came along. I was using my phone more for writing and taking the odd photo, it was easier than sitting down a few days later and trying to piece together something. At this point in time, I was still working in shipping doing 12/13 hour days week in week out, ships never stop coming and the more I could simplify this process the better

I started this website back in 2012, nearly 10 year’s ago. I think that also played a part in me switching over to my phone for all my needs. When I was fishing Petersfield Heath Lake and Westhampnet Lake, where the walk was metres and not miles, the DSLR would come along, but over time it, unfortunately, ended up in the loft in its bag. It wasn’t long after that when I switched over to a bridge camera – the Panasonic Tz 70 (I believe). This was an amazing bit of kit, it rekindled my love for wildlife and scenic shots once again.

But as time progressed and the advice of technology, camera phones were catching up and the simplicity of use was really catching on with the younger generation and the social media side of things. This certainly fuelled the advancement evermore. Instead of upgrading my kit, it was all sold off and I had become part of the photography on the phone brigade. It was hard to explain to the purists of the fishing photography world that it was (and is) very much part of the modern-day angler kit. The advancement over the past 8 to 10 years is truly amazing.

I have just recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from my old S8 Plus. It had really outlived itself a number of years ago and with my fishing being closer to a car park over the past few years, occasionally I’d thought of a new DSLR, but the cost and the memory of an extra bag, it never came about.

This new phones camera feature is something to behold and unless I win the lottery, I very much doubt a new or even second-hand DSLR will come my way again. I’m completely sold on the abilities, that a camera phone can play a part in the fishing industry, photos on social media are now just one small part of a larger ‘experience’. Most people actually watch and browse fishing photos, videos, websites on their phones these days and the capability of each person’s phone will affect the quality of their experience, this also applies to my S21 Ultra.

As I’ve recently written about me (yet again) downsizing my kit, to have only one trip from the car and more mobility. I think it’s an age thing and once I get myself an electric barrow which I think is inevitable for me. You can laugh when you see it overloaded and stacked high with a kit, but until that time, less is more.

I can write, video, take photos, piece together my blogs, edit my videos into bite-size parts that I can number and simply upload once I’m home. I just add the finishing touches at home.

I’m completely sold on the camera phone now as to purchase an equivalent DSLR would cost me a fortune and isn’t something I would consider anymore, as the capabilities are amazing.

Firstly – night shots, the below photo was taken at 9 pm at night with it set on night shot mode.

Night shot

You can see that my bivvy light is on and the shadow line on the grass.

The zoom is pretty amazing and when the camera is on a tripod, it’s just outstanding.

View across the lake and zoomed-in x30 towards the tree it’s possible to zoom in an x100.

I’ve never been able to achieve this on a camera phone before.

Vibrant Colours

Unfortunately, I’ve not had many sunsets or rises recently, but the vibrant colours you get this time of the year, are definitely being picked up more than my previous phone.

I understand that I’m likely to get a bit of stick over these. But for the modern-day angler, with a family that no doubt already has a camera phone, why would they feel the need to purchase a DSLR when their phone can clearly do the job. I understand that fishing companies when taking stock photos and filming videos promoting their brand should use the real top-end kit. There’s definitely a place in the business for the self-employed photographer, they are clearly a cut above the rest. I’m forever taking notes and trying to replicate people’s style, but I don’t want the everyday angler to feel the need/pressure to be at the same level as this part of the industry. Just concentrate on your fishing and take note of how the professionals use the background and settings to their advantage and you will be able to replicate something similar without the need for a rucksack full of kit.

I hope this helps

Until next time








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About richardhandel

I would like to give a brief snap shot of my life and introduce myself; My name is Richard Handel and was born in 1965 in Suffolk. I have worked as a UK Operation & Intermodule Manager for a shipping company. I live in Hampshire now and am married with 2 young children, both girls so I am a bit outnumbered even the cat is a girl! I have been fishing since I was about 7 years old. I started on small local rivers in Suffolk, then moved onto gravel pits and then carp fishing. My personal best is a 39.08 mirror, over recent years I have started river fishing again, on the Hampshire Avon, this is a nice break from the carp lakes. My life has turned a big corner this year, the company I was working for relocated their Operation centre to Estonia. I was offered a job at the head office in London. This would have meant a 5 day commute and working in Stratford. As a family, we did not fancy this, as I would hardly spend any time with the children (and the Mrs). So after 22.5 years, I was given a nice redundancy package and with my wife is working full time. I became the house husband. This has meant a complete turn around in my fishing, as I can pick and choose when I go. I have found a splendid new syndicate to fish this year, which includes 5 lakes and some 8 miles of river with only 150 members. It's an amazing change to the way I am able to fish. I am now trying to start my own tackle business and make a bit of a name for myself in the world of fishing, as I have retired from real work. Richard
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2 Responses to Why I Don’t Use A DSLR Anymore

  1. Mark Erdwin says:

    To be fair Richard as an owner of a p30 pro mobile, yes whilst great for photos I will still pick a dslm, apsc or full frame sensor camera with a small prime lens for quite a few of my fishing photos. Phone cameras whilst brilliant and something i use a lot are still not comparable to dslm or dslr systems (apsc and ff), now if you were comparing to the point and shoot segment of the camera market I would agree as they have taken a hefty chunk of the sales that this sector would normally make and are very comparable. As for prices of purchasing a decent camera, there are plenty of good second hand options out there that don’t need to cost an arm and a leg in my opinion and will out perform a phones camera/sensor

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark, you are probably right, as I have a good understanding of camera’s, but you sound like you have a lot more. When carry as little kit as possible stops featuring in my fishing, I may well go back.


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