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Camera Spotting: Report from the National Parks

My dad and I recently visited Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. New photos will be posted in the coming weeks as I review what I shot and work up a few digital prints.


In the meantime, I wanted to provide a brief report on the cameras I saw out in the field. As is typical of the national park visitors, the people we saw were of all types. There were groups of twenty somethings wearring college paraphernalia, young parents chasing their kids, and plenty of childless couples--some older couples whose children are out of the next and some younger couples free of any child-rearing duties.


I was generally surprised by the cameras I saw. I had expected to see a sea of APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras together with plenty of bridge cameras and cellphones. The number of bridge cameras and cellphones didn’t disappoint, but there were far fewer mirrorless cameras than I expected. Instead, we saw many Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Of these DSLRs, many were small Canon Rebels and Nikon D3000 series cameras, but there of course many Nikon D7000 series cameras, Nikon D800 series cameras, Canon 5D series cameras and Canon 60 or 70D cameras.


Yes, it is true that I saw a few Sony A7 series cameras and a few Panasonic LUMIX cameras, but they were vastly outnumbered. I have gotten used to the idea of mirrorless cameras because I live in the world of DPReview, Petapixel, Japancamerahunter, Photography Life and all the other great online publications. But it would seem that there is still a tremendous number of DSLR users out there, and I suspect many of them are still casual shooters who want to bring a dedicated camera on a trips to national parks and other iconic sights. I really like the benefits of mirrorless cameras—from the size of lenses to better video capabilities. Given what I saw in Bryce Canyon and Zion, there remains a huge number of people who (1) prefer DSLRs or (2) are happy to keep using what they already have, or both. The work of the mirrorless revolution won’t be completed for a while, if ever.


And in case you were wondering, I brought my Fujifilm X-T3 and my Leica M4-P with a Sony RX100m7 for some snapshots. Here’s hoping I got something!

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