Survey: Majority of Non-Pro DSLR Users Use Their Cameras as Point-and-Shoots

Sony is continuing its campaign against the mindless use of DSLRs. After releasing a series of viral videos poking fun at inept DSLR users, Sony is now turning to facts and hard evidence (in addition to humor). The company recently did a survey of 1012 non-professional DSLR users, and the results are pretty interesting.

The company found that roughly 2/3 of casual DSLR users never (or rarely) take their camera out of full-auto mode. 72% purchased their camera simply for fun and for family snapshots, and 65% of those aged 18-29 considered their glorified point-and-shoots DSLRs a status symbol. 1/5 of the people in that age group used their DSLR purely for low-res photos for social media and blogs.

1/3 of the people admitted to not knowing how to use their fancy camera, and 3/4 of them believed that some formal/professional education was required to go beyond full-auto mode.

There was no way that Sony was going to leave these hard facts unmocked. The company brought professional photographer Gary Heery onto the streets of Australia to speak with DSLR owners in person. The viral advertisement above is what resulted.

(via ITWire)

  • eric westpheling

    sony is on to something- just looking back in my own lightroom catalog for the last few months, and my RX100 has dominated my 5d2 in number of files (and selects).

  • Michael Lieberman

    Yeah, I’m self taught and it still took me 6 months to a year of having a DSLR before I really began to delve into what the camera could actually do beyond just pointing and shooting.

  • Martin

    So the company that sold dslrs for a decade now is mocking his non-pro clients to sell them a new camera? Isnt that evil/genius?

  • BriKasPhoto

    Absolutely agree, why you need uncomfy dslr if you’re shooting in auto mode only? Most of my friends, who has dslrs, shoots in auto mode. Even more funniest, when they see, that pictures is not good enough and not looks like pro images, they go for more expensive body and continue shoot in auto mode, hoping for better result :))

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Yeah and a lot of people who buy fancy sports cars are terrible drivers. This is nothing unique to the photo industry.

  • YouDidntDidYou

    Was thinking the same :-] are they pulling out of DSLRs?

  • Travis

    idk, I secretly feel like this, but it’s kind of mean to be putting dunce caps on them like that.

  • oricle

    a great campaign for what is essentially an untapped market. Sony have finally yielded from their stubbornness, as the NEX range allows you to use canon, nikon and other lenses with sony made adapters.

  • 2slim

    Please provide a link to the survey. Thanks!

  • Craig Dickson

    They didn’t say it was unique. They just think, apparently, that it’s a good argument to consider buying something easier to use, smaller, and lighter-weight than a DSLR, but which offers DSLR-level image quality. Considering that Sony is an also-ran in the DSLR market and at least potentially a big deal in the mirrorless market, it’s a sensible point for them to make.

  • Craig Dickson

    Strictly speaking, they are well on the way to pulling out of DSLRs — all their newer cameras, even the ones that look like DSLRs, don’t have reflex mirrors, just non-moving pellicle mirrors (the SLT series) or no mirror at all (NEX).

  • Albi Kl

    I suppose the difference is that fancy sports cars are still consumer products. Can’t say I’ve come across too many consumers who own race-spec nascars or F1’s though.

  • Kevin Fulton

    I agree that it’s not the nicest way to make your point, but at the same time the market that they are targeting needs that extra push to get Sony’s point across. I’ve seen too many people dump wayyyyyy too much cash on beautiful DSLR’s that remain set to Auto by people who have no intension of learning how it works. It’s not the wasted hardware that drives me nuts, it’s the wasted money.

  • Renato Murakami

    Ouch, good one. I wasn’t aware there were so many people with dSLRs who used it on auto…

  • 3ric15

    I’ve taken around 7,000 photos with my Canon XS and not one of them was shot in full auto or any fully automatic mode. Most of what I shoot is taken in Program (still have ISO, autofocus, metering control, etc…) and TV (shutter speed). And I’m not a professional photographer.

  • D.G. Brown

    A summary of many recent conversations: (Friend) I’m looking at getting a first DSLR — which one do you recommend? (Me) What are you going to use it for? (Friend) I dunno, pictures of family stuff, kids soccer games, maybe some video? (Me) Get a mirrorless — the Sony NEX-5/5N/5F is a great camera and will do what you need better than a DSLR. (Friend) But I want to move up to a DSLR! (Me) Trust me, you’ll be happier with the mirrorless! … And then the friend buys a DSLR (mostly for image) and shoots with some horrible kit lens in auto. Sigh…

  • Bob Prangnell

    DSLRs are consumer products! You know how many a year Canon and Nikon make? There are a couple of dozen F1 cars and a few hundred Nascars. There are more people using Hasselblads with film! The camera equivalent of an F1 car is the kind of thing hanging on the back of huge telescopes, not a D800 or 5Dmk3

  • Tobias Weisserth

    Not to mention that most non-professional DSLR consumers stick with the kit lens and do not buy additional glass. So good news for the NEX system after all – since there hardly is any glass to choose from.

  • Goofball Jones

    This is fine by me. The more people out there that have DSLRs and not knowing how to use them…and thinking you need a degree to use them properly (really?)…can only be good news for pros. Think about it, the more terribly lit, badly composed, auto-only shooting amateurs there are out there, the more need there is for a professional service provided by a pro photog.

    At least it’s another angle one could use to promote your service. It’s tough enough out there, so anything helps if used correctly.

  • manwithacamera

    Sony, you are making fortune because of clueless people who are buying your laptops, phones, TVs, etc. It would be ok if you stop only with the survey. But your advertisement with that survey was bad taste.

  • Andy Hodapp

    When ever people ask me what DSLR to get, I ask them what they are going to use it for, and if they actually know anything about taking a good picture. If they don’t know anything, I tell them to get a Canon S100 or equivalent, it has all the manual controls of a DSLR with great image quality. I really don’t understand why people want to carry around a DSLR, I wish I could carry around my S100 for photo shoots but I actually need the better image quality of a DSLR. Anyways the photos you take with a DSLR in auto mode or a point and shoot are all going to look the same, especially when uploaded to facebook with its crappy compression.

  • shashinka

    Maybe a better analogy would be those who buy Corvettes but drives them like a Neon.

  • shashinka

    I’m amazed that the figures are that low.

  • shashinka

    In the modeling scene, the photographers would refer to that as a GWC (Guy w/ a Camera)

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    I think that a lot of folks INTEND to move off the auto-settings and buy an SLR, but just don’t get there. I have a friend like that.

  • Dan Wolfgang

    I thought Sony’s other DSLR Gear No Idea ads were funny, but this one I find uncomfortable and mildly insulting. So what is someone uses a DSLR on full auto? It’s a fast and easy way to shoot sometimes. What about other reasons you might use a DSLR? Viewfinder, larger and more comfortable grip, or maybe they’re using a DSLR they bought before mirrorless cameras existed?

  • sam

    i not need all those fancy features
    just give me one slr with manual mode, thats all i need

  • Mike

    Way to go, Sony! Let’s make things right again! It’s about time we rescue the nuts from the toothless people.

  • Pete

    It’s an interesting direction at the very least, and it’s commendable to try something new. While not strictly DSLRs due to the fixed mirror, the advantages that gives are not to be taken lightly. There are downsides of course, but most people I’ve encountered with SLTs (including myself) consider it worth it.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Not to mention if 2/3’s of DSLR users would have bought other cameras, camera companies wouldn’t be as interested in making them. Meaning possibly higher prices and less R&D.

  • Greg Schmidt

    Hey Sony, Can you say Beta Max? You blew it by dropping the Minolta name. Now you are dropping D-SLR’s for NEX? Glad I went with a real camera, a Nikon D600.

  • 9inchnail

    Shouldn’t people buy the camera they like and which gives them good results no matter how they actually took the photo? What’s Sony’s problem? Just because no one’s buying their DSLRs anymore, they can’t tell people to buy different cameras. Suck it, Sony.

  • Mike

    My DSLR doesn’t even have an auto mode so I guess I’m ok :)

  • Guest

    i bet a thousand bucks you work for sony…considering your limited persuasive comments so far….

  • TSY87

    If/when sony comes out with a full frame NEX, I would actually consider getting rid of all my nikon gear and investing in leica glass for the afformentioned full frame nex.

  • Bruce Alan Horn

    Actually, if they don’t mind the size, price and weight, a DSLR can make a very nice point and shoot for a beginner or casual shooter if left on full auto or program. A professional or experienced amateur can work around some of the shortcomings of smaller or more limited cameras such as shutter lag, viewfinders or viewscreens that are hard to see in bright light or other non-ideal situations, EVFs which lag behind the actual image, etc.. Also, the larger pixels allow them to take photographs in two of the most common settings for photos of family and friends: dimly lit houses and dimly lit nightclubs without using obnoxious and problematic on-camera flash. The larger pixels also allow them to crop into a photograph later on, making up for loose framing or other shortcomings. So what if they don’t use most of the manual settings that are possible if they get photos they are happy with?

  • Google$uck$

    Auto should be removed!

  • Jonathan Maniago

    While I agree that the NEX series cameras are fantastic and more than sufficient for the needs of the average shutterbug/consumers who are stuck in Auto mode, I don’t like the implication that existing DSLR users should simply ditch their current cameras in favor of Sony’s mirrorless cameras.

    Of course, I understand that it -is- an ad by Sony, but this advertisement promotes a mentality that focuses on buying “better” gear rather than addressing the camera owner’s lack of knowledge and skill.

  • Carly

    83% of people who buy Sony products do so because they think a Sony badge on it makes it quality.

  • El_Fez

    I’m not exactly shocked. Whenever I go out where there are other photographers, I occasionally glance over at their rigs. Pretty much to the man, I see them shooting in Green Square mode. Geeze, at least set it to Aperture Priority or something!

  • Giulio Sciorio

    Hybrid cameras are crushing DLSRs in just about every area. It’s smart of Sony to market their NEX cameras like this.

  • Yolo Swag Daddy Fo Life

    Sonys DSLR’s suck real bad anyways.

  • Tim

    There’s an amusing exception to this, of course. Staying within the Sony realm, if it’s low-light image-quality you want, you’d be better with the NEX-7 than the a77 – because, despite having identically the same sensor, the a77’s mirror consumes half a stop of light, making it a tad noisier.

    Me, I’ve got no problem with various auto modes either, as long as you know what you’ll get / why you’re using it. Use whichever mode works for the situation at hand; it’s not as though M-is-for-manual is a panacea.

    Then again, I also found Sony’s first video banal and belittling, while everyone else commenting on it here found it funny, so what do I know?

  • aim54x

    The thought of a full frame NEX camera (ie not video camera) is certainly intriguing, going with Leica mount glass would be very nice, however you still would have the issue of not having close focus ability (minimum focus distance is about 0.7m for Voigtlander, who offer the closest focus in general, Leica is usually 0.8-0.9m) and very poor telephoto choices (the current E-mount stuff is pretty ordinary). I would end up using my Nikon lenses with an adapter for these purposes…then I end up a large, unbalanced camera…..

  • aim54x

    I won a Sony A65 as part of a trade promotion….same 24MP sensor….lets just say it really is afraid of the dark and even the Sony-Zeiss lenses struggle with the resolution at times (the Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 needs to be shut down too far to be worth using). The NEX-7 is better, but once you put on the Phase adapter you are in the same boat, in the current line up the NEX-6 (16MP not-afraid-of-the-dark) would be my pick..

  • aim54x

    yes there are a lot of people using the AUTO modes on their DSLR’s but at the same time I found this Gary Heery advert rude, obnoxious, condescending and insulting. Staged or not, it is not right to pull people over, belittle them, sensationalize the size/weight/capabilities of the NEX vs DSLR and then forcibly label the poor person as “DSLR clueless”, “Unfit to DSLR”, “DSLR gear no idea” etc. At the end of the day, people have made a choice to go to DSLR, and as good as the NEX is, it is not an excuse to insult and label people for their choices.

    I don’t use AUTO, I am not the target market for NEX or this advertising campaign, and even if I was a beginner and saw this it does not build any credibility for the brand for me.

    Think of a better way to market you camera Sony…surely using a relatively unknown “professional photographer” to run a smear campaign on DSLR cannot be your best idea. Show off the size, weight and capabilities of the NEX instead.

  • Gary Morrison

    A good photographer using auto mode will produce better results than an amateur using manual mode. Its the eye that matters, not the camera or mode. And sometimes auto can allow you to get shots that may have been missed in manual mode just because of the ability to respond to the moment. Just train the eye.

  • Joel Bloggs

    I think Konica Minolta might have had something to say about Sony using the Minolta Name. Sony did not buy KM, it only bought the camera business and KM still survives mainly as a business machine and component manufacturer.

    I sense a touch of defensiveness, do you feel like a real man when you’re clutching your real camera? Maybe you should shoot with a proper camera like a Phase One + IQ180 to really compensate for whatever other shortcomings you may have with your equipment.

  • Joel Bloggs

    You’re using them wrong. You’re supposed to stick a lens in the hole in the front…

  • Joel Bloggs

    The ad is aimed at people considering a DSLR, not necessarily people who already have one. The ad is saying, don’t be a clueless user who gets a DSLR because you don’t know any better, get a camera which will give you the same image quality but is more suited to those used to point and shoots and is less bulky. Sony is aiming for the far larger market of prospective DSLR buyers rather than existing owners.

    Those who feel insulted are not the target demographic. If you feel threatened by the marketing message, then you’re probably someone who feels inadequate unless they have a big DSLR to show that they are a “proper” photographer.