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Old May 27, 2015, 2:17 PM   #1
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Default Thoughts welcomed on life expectancy of cameras and lenses please.

I don't think I have ever owned an electrical gizmo that has lasted more than three years. Phones giving up just outside warranty, motors inside ultra compacts constantly whirring and resulting in blurry images and built in flash bulbs popping.

I can see that the shutters on dSLRs are rated as being good for 100K+ activations etc, but when we are talking of EVIL / ILC cameras with no shutters, what kind of life expectancy (in activations or years) would be reasonably expected, and what are the types of things that can/might commonly go wrong in these cameras/lenses?

Are some manufacturers or models more resilient or more prone to failure? Is it better to avoid any particular feature such as image stabilisation in lenses?

I look forward to your thoughts and help on this issue.

Thanks in advance
TM
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Old May 27, 2015, 2:52 PM   #2
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I've got a brand new Sony A58. With it, I'm using a Minolta 70-210 mm f/4.0 lens that was made from 1985 to 1993. It is one of the first autofocus lenses ever made, and still works perfectly. This is why the used market is such an invaluable resource. Lenses are the anvils of the photographic world. The can work indefinitely as long as they are maintained, and it's easy to tell when they don't work.

In general, manual focus lenses can be expected to last longer than autofocus lenses, primes can be expected to last longer than zooms, and unstabilized lenses can be expected to last longer than stabilized lenses. It mostly depends on the complexity of the moving parts.

Cameras are a different story. (BTW, EVIL/ILC cameras have the same mechanical focal plane shutters that dSLRs have.) The electronic components can last for quite some time. It is the mechanical components (mostly the shutter, but the mirrors to a lesser extent) that will restrict the useful life of a camera. The number of actuations is key.
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Old May 28, 2015, 12:45 AM   #3
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I have over 35,000 shots on an old Kodak ZD710. Over 50,000 with a Panasonic FZ28 and well over 100,000 on a Panasonic m4/3. They all work like new.

Most failures I've heard of are usually early on when still under warranty, or they are stored more than used. The more you use them, the less trouble you seem to have.
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Old May 28, 2015, 7:21 AM   #4
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Good cameras last. I have a Minolta D7hi which I bought around 12 years ago which is still plugging along in my wife's hands as her crafts camera. My Pentax *istD, which is around the same age, remains in use, now as my backup camera to my K3, which is new this year.
On the other hand, I know people who seem to have to buy a new, cheap compact camera every year or two.
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Old May 28, 2015, 8:47 AM   #5
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IMHO rechargeable batteries will wear out long before the bodies they are meant for.
Their availability might be the issue if they are a custom proprietary design that goes out of vogue.

NB. I still have Canon A1 and a Yashika 124g film bodies that are in working order both bought in the 1970's.
And I have a Canon eos 650 from the late 80's that is spraying bits of oil out of the shutter mechanism (seals gone)

All of my digital bodies from the 20D onwards are still working fine.

Shutter life expectancy for modern bodies is usually rated around 100,000 to 200,000 actuation now.
Look for the manufacturers shutter rating in their marketing junk, though it is an MTBF estimate, in reality things can fail in the first few days of use or last many years.

Not so for the lenses, I have had 2 sigma lenses (non EX) with failed aperture mechanism.
And a failed canon lens (non L) with a dead zoom mechanism, bushings shot on the barrel.
None of them are worth the bother of out of warranty fixing.

If you buy the quality versions they seem to last a very long time.
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Old May 28, 2015, 4:20 PM   #6
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TM- I think that camera's (DSLR's in particular) hold their value far better than any other electrical gizmo- and new ones always seem to have a minimum pricing (never too low...)- unlike all other gadgets which seem outrageously expensive on release (such as LCD TV's)- then in no time at all can be had new for very little- which I guess tells the story.
I'll probably regret saying this- but I don't recall having ANY issues with a DSLR- and I've owned quite a number- from Canon 10D's/300D's onwards to my Nikon's now- D3100/D300- and many others in between (Pentax,Samsung,Olympus,Sony).
I've had one or two issues with lenses- such as dodgy AF motors or failed stabilizers- though these were always on a second hand body with heavy use- and were generally cheap kit lenses anyway- thus cheap enough to replace if one is happy with the IQ of such a lens...!!

Compact camera's however are another story....!!
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Old May 29, 2015, 9:45 AM   #7
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food for thought:

a good camera in 1970 was a week's pay

a good camera in 2015 is a week's pay

however

the cheapo 1970 may still be operational
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Old May 29, 2015, 11:58 AM   #8
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^ But with the good camera from 1970, you'd still need to pay for film and developing. Today's good camera doesn't even need a computer.
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Old May 29, 2015, 4:58 PM   #9
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Thanks very much for your informative responses. The are all very much welcomed and provide much food for thought.

Bernabeu, either your good cameras are sold cheaply or my week's pay is too low.....I think I need to ask for a raise! ;-)

Thanks again
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Old May 31, 2015, 11:16 AM   #10
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I can tell you the life expectancy of digital cameras and still video cameras that were marketed before 1998. They last forever.

Okay, the calender function runs out of years but they WORK. You know why? Because those cameras were extremely expensive and quality was a very big issue in the nineties when it came to digital cameras. Production costs were high and production numbers quite low and cameras were actually repaired instead of being disposed of.

I have in my collection still video cameras from the eighties and they all work to this day. No matter how battered up they are, they work. Same goes for my digital cameras from the early nineties. There are very, very few that don't work anymore. The majority works to this very day.

I cannot vouch for any digital cameras that came after, let's see, 2005 or so. Personally I think that these cameras tend to stop working due to the rigorous mass production that took place as digital cameras became cheaper.
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