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Old Jun 28, 2004, 9:06 PM   #1
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One reason I've held off buying a digital camera is my perception of the useful lifespan of digitalcameras. For instance in 1973 I bought a Minolta 101 with a 55mm Rokkor lens. Since then I've added other items but my point is:

I view a digital camera as basically a computer. As we all know, by the time you unbox a computer and set it up it is practically obsolete. The rates of continuing changes are breathless. We are forced by mfg's to periodically purchase new equipment just to stay abreast of the technology. Try getting on the net with an old 486SX. Hm...... Have I dated myself? I believe this is a problem withdigital cameras also.

I am very close to buying a Nikon D70. But what is the realistic life of a digital SLR. I'll put my 101 up against any newer slr for print quality.Unlike acomputer, I don't have to keep upgrading to use it. How about digitals?? Once I make the plunge - am I locked into a new purchase every few years?

I'd appreciate your thoughts.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 9:29 PM   #2
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I still have my first digital camera, and it still takes good pictures. It was an Olympus D360. In 2000, I bought a Nikon 990, which is a 3.3 mega pixel camera, which I still have. It still takes awesome photos to this day, and prints beautiful 8x10s. I recently bought a DRebel, which is 6.3 mega pixels. I have always dreamed of having a digital SLR because I was so used to film SLRs. I did get used to the Nikon though, and found it to be very robust.

My point is this. Digital cameras are not like computers, they are cameras. They don't become obsolete overnight. If your happy with the photo quality, then it could easily see you through several computer systems. I think a 3.3 mega pixel camera is a good starting point for digital cameras. If it hadn't been for the nice price point of the DRebel, I would still have used my Nikon 990 as my main digital camera for possibly years to come.

I think you will most likely change printers more often then you will a digital camera.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 9:34 PM   #3
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Ok, I'll ask...are you serious?

Digital is not like 35mm because once you decide on the size of prints, quality & features you want...why would you "need" to upgrade to the next greatest model?

Newer cameras will always have more features, etc. but if you buy the camera now, designed for your shooting needs, it won't go bad when a new model comes out.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 9:52 PM   #4
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Kalyspo

Yes, I am serious. That is why when I do make the plunge - I'll buy the best camera I feel I can reasonably afford that contains the latest technologies thatI'll use. Essentially - as with a computer - I'll delaythe tech hit as long as possible.

I totally agree with your points -- determine your needs/wants -- but I remember just a few years ago 2mp was state of art.

If I can convince myself of the print quality of the D70 I'll finally upgrade. However, the mechanical 101 has lasted over 30 years and 1,000's of pictures -- I do wonder how long the 'electronics' will last in todays digitals.

Hey! Buying a new SLR every 30 years is enough isn't it? :-)
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 10:16 PM   #5
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Ok...didn't mean to sound like a jerk, but...my 1st Digi-Cam was an Olympus C2100UZ. 2.1mp, 10X Optical Zoom lens with Image Stabilization. I now have maybe10 or so 8X10 prints hanging on my walls (& more in my book & on my site. I can honestly say that camera was the best money I ever spent & still wish I had it! (Take a look at my site & remember that the images were taken by 3 vastly different cameras...2.1mp, 5mp, 3.1mp...does the camera model matter)?

I've also had a Minolta Dimage 7i, a Canon DSLR D30 & now a Minolta Dimage A1. The D30 had a larger sensor & therefore had cleaner images at higer ISO's, but I can't hand-hold worth a poop any more & the A1 is great! I like it & am looking forward to the Minolta DSLR with built in anti-shake...

You said "I'll buy the best camera I feel I can reasonably afford that contains the latest technologies thatI'll use." That's fair enough but remember that the D70 is the lowest end of Nikons DSLR's...not that it's bad (because it's newer, it has some better functions than say, the D100...just not as many).

Another thing to consider is, what lenses do you have or are you gonna "buy" into a system? As of today, the Canon 10D is dropping in price because the "newer & improved" model is expected soon. You can get a 10D for about the cost of a D70 & lens right now & you'll have a whole lot more camera. The only thing the "newer" 10D will do is cause the current 10D to be discontinued...it will not make it less of a great camera.


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Old Jun 29, 2004, 1:40 AM   #6
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If you're comparing computers to cameras, I wouldn't necessarily agree about how obsolete either can become. Say you've got a three-year-old computer. It may be a few generations old, but as long as it still fulfills all your needs just fine it's not really obsolete to you, is it? With cameras, if you have a three-year-old (or even 30-yera-old)camera that still takes good pics and you still like the features, it's not really obsolete to you, is it? Obviously the computer and camera makers would love for you to buy the newest and greatest item, but that doesn't really make the older items useless. I really like my D70, but I'm sure there will come the day when I really need (and will be able to afford) a faster pro level camera with better glass. That wouldn't really be because the D70 is obsolete or got replaced by something newer/better, it would be because I was able to move up.
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Old Jun 29, 2004, 8:36 AM   #7
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I have an Olympus C3000 that was purchased in Aug 2000. It still is taking great pictures. I also have a DELL P166, 64mb ram that I use as a web server on my network (It runs on Linux). I currently own a Canon DR that I purchased three months ago.
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Old Jun 29, 2004, 2:12 PM   #8
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My big worry with my digital camera is the support. When a film SLR has a mechanical problem, it can usually be repaired. With my dSLR, I'm concerned that some models will be unsupported within a few years. With proprietary batteries, this is a very real possibility - with my Panasonic FZ10, the photo quality will be adaquate for my needs forever...but what if my battery dies in 2 or 3 years and replacements are no longer manufactured?

I had something very similar happen to me recently with a Panasonic VCR I purchased a few years ago (1998?). It was a high-end model ($1000), and was by far the best VCR I had ever owned (worth the price I paid). However, after 3 years, the soundcard died for some unknown reason. The video quality is great, but you can't hear anything when playing a tape, and anything recorded by the VCR has no sound. I brought it in for repairs, and there is nothing anyone can do for me...the VCR is no longer supported, and the sound card no longer made. I'm stuck with a $1000 paperweight.

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Old Jun 29, 2004, 4:38 PM   #9
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That could be a valid issue. I know that Olympus, Nikon, and Canon still repair some of their cameras that were made prior to 2000. However, I suspect that as soon as the parts inventory is depleted they will no longer offer support.
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Old Jun 29, 2004, 4:48 PM   #10
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The availability of repairs could certainly be an issue, but I don't think the battery thing will matter. Sure, by now, there are probably a hundred different digicam batteries available, but I believe that there will always be a third-party manufacturer who will make batteries for your equipment.

I love my AA's! :-)

I really wish electronics manufacturers didn't act as if Li-Ion batteries last forever. A few years, at best. A friend of mine ruined a perfectly good Palm V (another example of 'it's not obsolete unless it's obsolete to you.' It did everything he needed...) Anyway, he ruined it trying to replace his dead battery that wouldn't hold a charge. When Palm designed that model, they glued the case together, and the only way to unglue it is with a heat gun (or a hair dryer in his case). I guess he left it in one place for too long and something got to hot, because it never worked after that. So he bought a Vx off eBay with a dead battery, and he's still using it AFAIK.
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