The camera-maker spats that periodically appear in this and other venues often concern themselves with build quality. Certain partisans praise (or damn) certain manufacturers for the superior (or execrable) quality and durability of the goods they produce. Many mourn for the days when one could buy a camera that would last a lifetime.
Pentax 67 with waist-level finder and 90mm lens. Photo by Janne Moren.
I could sympathize. I've used the Pentax 67 system for my entire career; nearly 40 years now. Even as recently as a month ago, I was mentioning to a friend how the new Leica S2 could well be a camera that would serve me the rest of my life (putting aside the minor fact that I will never be able to afford one).
Sometime in the last month, I realized I was entirely mistaken in this notion. I will never have a camera that lasts a lifetime. Well, not my lifetime; tautologically, a camera will always last its lifetime. Reviewing the cameras I've owned for the past four decades, the average lifetime of a camera for me is about 10 years. At that point, I have beaten it to death. I am not one of those people who takes good care of his equipment. I don't intentionally abuse it, it just seems to happen. Even review equipment I get rarely survives the month in my hands without some kind of minor scuff or scratch. After that, it's all downhill.
I do own cameras that are entirely functional after considerably more than 10 years. But they're not cameras I used very frequently. Any piece of equipment I use regularly has an appallingly modest operational life.
I know there are folks out there who manage to use their gear for years without it suffering the crippling fate that mine does. In fact, I've purchased quite a bit of equipment from such people. The last Pentax 67 body I bought, from Jonathan Sachs, arrived in such perfect, pristine condition that I inquired of him if he'd either had it cleaned before sending it to me or if possibly it was a spare body that he had never used. No, it was just as he'd left it, after several years of proper use.
I hate people like that! They possess some sort of magical aura that I lack, and I resent them their good fortune (he said childishly).
Well, whatever. I've realized I can stop worrying about "lifetime" quality or usability. At least, if lifetime is defined as more than 10 years. Because, given my track record, no matter how exquisitely a camera is built nor how long a manufacturer supports it, film or digital, it's not likely to be functional in my hands for any longer than that.