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Let's Say Farewell to the DSLR and Welcome the FSLR into our Vocabulary

Let's Say Farewell to the DSLR and Welcome the FSLR into our Vocabulary

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Even the staunchest film die-hard has got to admit the paradigm shift is complete.

By Jack Howard

February 8, 2010

A modest proposal to update the language of photography to reflect the new now will most definitely save keystrokes for writers, bloggers and copyeditors. Or not.


So, what say you to this idea?

Digital Single-lens reflex cameras should from this point forward be abbreviated as simply "SLR." And the now-niche 35mm film format Single Lens Reflex should be, on those rare occasions when relevant, be described with the back-formed abbreviation FSLR, for "Film Single Lens Reflex."

Now excuse me for one moment. I'll be right back after I grab a glass of fresh-from-the-fridge, not-from-concentrate orange juice to explain more.

Once upon a time, this was just called "juice..."


For example, the Pentax K1000, Canon EOS 1V-HS and Nikon F6 should now be referred to as FSLRs while posting commentary on a forum bemoaning the good old days of fixer instead of flash drives, thumbprints on negs instead of dust spots on sensors, and motor drives instead of buffer size.

Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras should from now on be referred to simply as SLRs when referring to still imaging, and if, of the subclass of SLRs that, like the Pentax K-7, Canon EOS 7D and Nikon D3S that shoot HD video, as HDSLRs when–and only when–describing their video functionalities.  

And what then of used-to-be-called-DSLRs that are only still capture devices, such as the Olympus E-620 and Sony A900? These hereforth should be called by the also-newly-back-formed-slightly-longer-to-type-but-easier-to-mumble-abbreviation DSLRWOHD, pronounced /Sler-wåd/ for "(Silent "D" for Digital) Single Lens Reflex without HD."

Now, you ask, what to make of this new breed of camera, minus a reflex mirror and through-the-lens optical framing, but with interchangeable lenses and HD video such as the Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1?

We've heard "system compact" bandied about, but that doesn't shrink to a handful of letters a jazzily as we'd like. So howsabout "ILCHDSC" for Interchangable Lens Compact HD and Still camera?

Or M4/3SC for "micro four thirds style camera?" We'd include the new Samsung in this category, even though it uses an APS-C chip, but that is also confusing in its own way. Also M4/3SC reminds us too much of quadratic equations and other scary mathlike things.

Perhaps this: "Small with interchangeable lenses like an (HD)SLR but minus an optical through-the-lens scoping system" or SWILLASBMAOTTLSS? Doesn't /Swill-as-büm-øttles/ just roll off the tongue?


Clockwise from top left: an FSLR, an SLR (or HDSLR depending on the usage), a DSLRWOHD, and a SWILLASBMAOTTLSS. Also an Inukshuk and a polar bear puzzle sculpture.


I think I'm ready for some more NFC-OJ. And you?


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