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Old Aug 26, 2004, 12:40 AM   #1
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How long do digital cameras last? I know my father has an old SLR from the 70s that is still in top notch condition, yet for some reason I can't see my Kodak EasyShare lasting 30 some years.


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Old Aug 26, 2004, 12:46 AM   #2
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well....it is electronic equipment..which means, by the time you buy it, they come out with a better one a month or two later, making yours obsolete...

i'm not sure that was the case with older film SLRs...


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Old Aug 26, 2004, 3:39 AM   #3
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With older SLR's new technology changed them over time, just like with digital cameras now. Except then it was new materials', manufacturing techniques and science etc, making them smaller, lighter and faster.

Linebacker, no-one knows how long your camera will work. It'll work up until the point it breaks, just like everything else. There is no way of knowing when it won't work. We've had washing machines here that should only last five years last twenty, even with heavy use. I had an MP3 player that stopped working without warning after a few months. Personally, I wouldn't expect a digital camera to last long. I don't trust electronics. But I'd expect it to last up to the point when a new Operation System comes out which won't work with my camera. That is one thing people forget about digital cameras. They say that there is no need to upgrade your digital camera every time a manufacturer brings out a new version. And that is true, just because your digital camera is no longer being made doesn't mean it will start taking bad pictures. But, after a few years you won't be able to use your digital camera because your computer won't be compatible. How many of us have stuff sitting in sheds and lofts which works perfectly well but can't be used because your current OS won't recognise it? I know I have a scanner which will only work on win95 and an MP3 player that will only work on win98. And I can't use either of those OS' because the stuff I'm using now won't work and using them isn't safe (security holes). It's one of the reasons why I still use (still? I've been using it for seven months :lol film and always will. When will the day come when you'll have to upgrade? I can't say. But don't hold out any hopes for it being longer than ten years. It'll probably be less.

All of that was a long way of saying, "dunno Linebacker". :lol:
This is just my opinion of course. It's one that has been floating in my head for a while that I haven't voiced. So someone might come back and say I'm talking rubbish. I'll wait and see.

Oh, and I have seen people mention the sensors in digital cameras degrading over use. I can't give any more info on that though. Sorry.

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Old Aug 26, 2004, 6:57 AM   #4
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I think ferny has hit the nail on the head here. I still regularly use a 1974 Pentax KX, it has a couple of features that have stopped working but the meter and all other picture taking parts work flawlessly and give excellent results. My 1981 K1000 finally broke two years ago. My Minoltas date from the late 1980s they are excellent. Film cameras last a long time. With digital I think the issues of compatability with a rapidly changing technology are the problem.

I have an old Kodak DC40, probably dates fromnearly ten years ago (the first wave of consumer digital cameras) it still works fine but nobody wants a bulky camera with 7?? X 5?? resolution,with no removeable memory, which requires a slow serial connection, has no LCD picture display, and eats battery power. Most computers still have a serial port and the software drivers are still available so this camera is still usable but nobody wants it. There are already cameras out there which are no longer of any use because the software to handle their early proprietary file formats will not run on any modern operating system, many RAW formats may eventually suffer this fate. Proprietary batteries will probably meet a similar fate.And while we are on it, who remembers 8-track, DAT, and video disks?

Old digital cameras are like old computers, as long as there is still a use for them they will be used, and as soon as something else comes along they are forgotten. Well designed electronic systems can have a long lifespan so your digital camera will probably function for many years, but will it still be "functional" ... not likely. I am also still using film (although, to be honest the 35mm cameras have been in the bag since June) because, as long as 35mm film and processing is still available my cameras will still be functional (until they break), and of course I now have tons of 35mm equipment that needs justification:-).

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Old Aug 26, 2004, 8:39 PM   #5
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companies dont want their products built to last 30 years, they'll put themselves out of business... imagine if a company made a camera that was indestructible, once they sold enough of those, their sales would drop hard... a broken camera means more cash for the company (and industry) when it comes time to buy another...
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Old Aug 27, 2004, 4:34 AM   #6
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Although there is some truth there Redman, I don't think companies really think that way. People will always buy a new camera if they feel there is a better version available. Even if theirs is working perfectly. Look towards the motor industry for hundreds of examples. People will buy a new car every one or two years even if it has the same chassis and engine, just because it has new headlights and its door handles are now painted. They won't even care that by signing their name on the contract they instantly lose thousands in depreciation or that there is nothing wrong with their old one.
You'll also get new customers as people get older and decide they want a camera.
Although it is almost impossible to prove, some manufacturers (not just cameras but most other things to) do make parts for their products that won't last long. This is because it is cheaper to make these parts and because they make a fortune from servicing and spare parts. They have to be careful though, as it's easy to get a bad name for unreliable products. But very hard to get a good reputation. They also (under UK law) have to make a product that fulfils the purpose for which it was sold and make sure that it lasts a reasonable length of time. Of course being a UK law it doesn't apply outside of the UK and it is extremely vague. So that part about it lasting a reasonable length of time is always open to debate and only comes into play if a product like a camera breaks after a weekend.

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 1:25 AM   #7
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The above ideas are probably right :-) I know not what manfacturers think :-) and the new is obsolete as soon as you can buy it :lol:

DSLR's at least, have a shutter cycle rateing as well, not sure about P&S. I think the Pro models from Canon arerated at a 'mean time to failure' of about 250,000 cycles. And the non pro line at 75,000 cycles. You would have to check the manfacturer model specs as to get the real numbers. But that does not mean that a camera will fail when it reaches that number, or won't fail before it reaches it :?ugh. sorry brain hurt, a little to much riseling for a Friday evening.:whack:
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 1:38 PM   #8
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I've had my digital camera for 4 years now, going on 5 once October hits and it went downhill super fast, in a period of 6 months.

First time, my husband formatted a card and the camera damaged the card as unreadable.

I blamed a small bug in the firmware that was mentioned a few times on usenet plus the fact that the card was 4 years old also, then I went to NYC all excited and put my 2 month old card in the camera and formatted it and it rendered the card useless also.

All my shots from NYC are out of focus, the lense isn't dirty, it's just plain old.

(olympus D340R - if that tells you the age)

The way I see it is this (when I buy a new device - like PDA, laptop, portable mp3 player, etc):

The battery is going to go bad in 4 years, regardless of how well you exercise it or take care of it. Moveable parts (harddrives and the like) have about the same in them. I base this partially on the stuff I repair and replace at work for customers (I do pda, laptop, computer, printer, etc repairs) and partially on the hardware luck I seem to have. (knock on wood cause after I post this something probably will die)

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 7:48 PM   #9
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PeterP wrote:
...a 'mean time to failure' of about 250,000 cycles. And the non pro line at 75,000 cycles. You would have to check the manfacturer model specs as to get the real numbers. But that does not mean that a camera will fail when it reaches that number, or won't fail before it reaches it :?ugh. sorry brain hurt, a little to much...

thats the number of actuations before the shuuter blows, wich can be repaired for preaty cheap (a buddy had a d1h sutter blow out, and nps fixxed it for $600), pro slrs bodys are made of a magnesium alloy and are like tanks, they are made to take the kind of abuse pj's give them (pj's seem to put more damage on cameras that belong to the papers then their own), the same guy that had his d1h's shutter blow, had a d2h fall lens first (with a Nikon 300 f/2.8) into a puddle, it soaked the camera and lens, but with a wipe from a towel they were fine (nps latter confirmed this, when he sent it in to be checked out)

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