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Old Jan 14, 2003, 11:50 AM   #1
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I just realised something :evil: do you think its true that the life expectancy of digital cameras is short term?
Let me explain the conflict: I was looking at some of the DSLRs over the past few days, and kept on weighing the merits of staying with a system based on the lenses and accessories one may allready own. Say I have aquired a number of canon EOS lenses over the years, and will follow with a canon digital. How long will it last before i have to buy a new one?
This is the tricky part: if the bodies do have a life span way shorter than the accessories, are we looking at becoming regular brand-specific customers (sort of like the shavers marketing: buy the handle cheap; we'll make the money from the blades)?

Now I know that we are not talking about replacing every a few years, but how long? what if you love a camera and don't want to upgrade?

whatchathink :?:
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 2:11 PM   #2
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you have to realize that we have decided to embrace a technology that is in its infancy. it ain't a fun place to play if you gotta have the newest best coolest new imagemaker on the planet (and thats about every 3 months) and of course lack the financial backing for your tastes. i've gone through a few in the past 4 years. luckily i have a few friends that generally like what i buy and are patient until i decide its time to go to the next step and they get a reasonable discount.

i have slowed down and managed to keep within certain guidelines i setup about where i'm going with this behavior. i'm in process of leaning out my film cameras. collectors items stay of course and then there are my F5 and F4. both made from weapons grade aluminum. the F5 capable of excellent action shooting at frame rates and AF still a dream in digital and my F4 was a gift from someone very dear to me. my N90s is out even though it is a fine camera. it was my backup for my F4/5. both turned out to be so reliable that there was less than 300 rolls through it.

marketing gurus love new toys too.

we live in strange (and i think?) wonderful times. ain't it great?
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 3:28 PM   #3
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I don't know if this comment exactly fits, but it came to mind while reading sjms' & geof's posts.

I'm in the interesting situation of knowing that most fixed lens digital camers have a fixed life (especially cheaper with fewer features.) As you learn and grow as a photographer there are even more ways to outgrow a fixed lense digital than just because its digital (and all the limitations which come with that.) I have a very old manual everything (except the light meter) Pentax K1000. It was good enough at the time, years ago. I still use it some and get enjoyment out of it. But now that I'm thinking of taking photography more seriously I need something more.

I also am a penny pinching New Englander and really don't like to throw away money. I like to buy things that last and that are well made. I just look at the majority of consumer level cameras and think that it doesn't have the control that I am used to, so I'll grow out of them quickly (if I haven't already.)

But I look at the DSLR's with replaceable lenses and cringe at the price tag (+ more $$$ for lenses!) Sure, a D100 would suite me quite nicely. Good resolution for croping and enlarging. All the aspects I'm used to in my SLR (and more from being digital!) But none of my lenses will work on one. It would just costs sooooo much to switch; but the switch would last me a very long time (I bet.) But considering the state of this industry will the camers be so much better in a year?

These posts got me thinking. For people like me, who aren't pros but are used to non P&S cameras, the only long term way to spend your money is on a DSLR with replaceable lenses. But the price tags for those aren't aimed at the likes of me.

So this mid infancy industry/technology is concentrating on improving the low end because that is where the money is (max num of sales) but it's leaving people like me in the lurch because even a CP5700 or a D7H with their good zoom won't reach out far enough for those birds 100" away. And don't get me started on no focus ring on the CP5700.

Maybe this next gen will address this problem (that 12X sounds interesting, but being 2MB is questionable) but maybe it won't and I'll be stuck with a very difficult and expensive decision.

Eric

sailboat - a hole in the ocean where you pour money.
camera - a device with a hole in it where you pour money.
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 3:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
we have decided to embrace a technology that is in its infancy
Thats correct, but thats not what most of the grudges in digicams are about. Peopeles complains on equipment as witnessed by these forums are mainly about the "old" technology that goes into them. CCDs, firmware and software are new, but focusing logic sequences are as old as minolta's first autofocus slrs. Never mind aperture technology and lens design. So if todays cameras suffered from new tech only its one thing. But to suffer from slow AF, bad lens design and awful ergonomics is no excuse. This has been thought out before.
Eric, you re right about the prices too. But most of the newest and best camera hi price tags is for paying the R&D behind them. Fair enough.
Having said that, i was originally talking about the fact that even paying for the best for ones use, doesnt guarrantee that it will last that long. So even if i had the cash to buy the oh-so-gorgeous CANON 1DS, and fell in love with it, AND learned to use everything in it after hundreds of hours of shooting, i would have to be looking for a replacement sooner than later.

:idea: While at this point, does any one think any of today's cameras will ever become collectibles, in the same manner a leica is, or a '63 corvette etc, if they are not going to be functional?
If we are to justify these DSLRS in the same line as PCs, maybe they should be upgradable (CCD, firmware etc.) :idea:
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 3:54 PM   #5
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Geof

I am collecting all Olympus C5050, Minolta 7i, Nikon 5700, Olympus E20, etc. Please send all donations to my home.

I think the digital camera is similar to a car. We often trade in a good car because we have a hakerin to have something newer and better. I have been able to upgrade cameras by selling my older good camera then buying one with the new frills and whatcamacallits.

I am sure I will continue to upgrade my camera every 18 months or so. It will always cost me more money each time. Hence the cash cow -- but with a cow I could always kill it and eat the meat.
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 4:54 PM   #6
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Guys, I look at this a differient way. The increases in technology
from a one megapixel to a two was pretty awsome. I remember
reading were people where writing how close to film were we getting at that time.

Then we went to three megapixel and I heard that this was the same quality as film from some writers. it wasn't really but it was exciting.

well now 5 megapixel is cheaper than 2 megapixel was and
the pro cameras are at 11 to 14 megapixel.

The image is getting better and better. However, soon we will be seeing diminishing returns where most people will be able to afford
a 5 MP digital camera within $300 and get a decent photo out of it.

The high end consumer market of the near future (were the 5 Mp is today will be pushing 11 MP prosumer camera near the $1200 mark
with less noise and better photo quality than the 11 MP pro cameras
of today.

I feel we will see a point in 3 to 5 years where the Megapixel issues
will be less important and the noise, image quality and other issues will be the issues of product differientation.

The cash cow we see today where people who have bought 1. 3 and 5 Mp cameras over the last 5 years will mature as I see it as chips of higher megapixel density become a high volume, low cost issue.

after all all cash cows do mature as more players seek the higher profits.

Geoff? When was the last time you bought a razor blade? Not a disposible, but a real honest to goodness pack of razor blades for shaving? Been a long while for me!
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 4:58 PM   #7
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thats a interesting analogy gibson, but if this cash cow thing IS happening and all... what was that thingy about saving money as one of the reasons for going with digital

And the question is, does the latest and greatest get us better pictures? Does that matter to everyone? Is it all about the result or the gadget?
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 4:58 PM   #8
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Everything goes round in circles, whilst there are customers with money to spend, there will always be products to buy.

When the first EMP comes along, should anybody survive, the only working cams will be the film jobs with no electronics and the cycle will be back to basics!.
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 5:06 PM   #9
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Jim, i havent really shaved since 97, but appreciate the analogy (just kidding).
voxmagna, now we are getting somewhere. Not only with the hardware, but also with the soft stored billions of images. Part of history will be gone with it.
The next morning, i will open my freezer, thaw a roll of k-chrome 64 and go for a walk to shoot all the blank faced people. :twisted:
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Old Jan 14, 2003, 5:36 PM   #10
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geof unfortunately during and after the EMP there is that other more unsightly form of radiation called gamma. our rolls of k64 unforunately will be ever so slightly dulled out.

the collectability of digicams- since they are produced as a commodity type of concept only a few will be considered "collectable". the current and old film cameras were more instruments than commodity items. the age of mass production tends to make things less significant in terms of build quality. if you look at an F series nikon or a leica or an old canon F1 they looked like labors of love. they had a feel about them.

amortizing a DSLR is the key. if you aren't going to use it for work it's a tough pill to swallow, unless your well off of course.
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