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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

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Does it even make sense any more to "buy a camera that would last a lifetime" given the rate of advances in digital? No one, at least anyone I know, buys a computer hoping it will last their lifetime. Why should we take this into consideration when purchasing a digital camera? (Maybe it's different for non-digital purchases.)

Your post does provide for some interesting reflections. As I sit here, I'm trying to remember if I have anything that's lasted my lifetime so far (55 years). Not many "things" provide enough value to my life to justify keeping them around. Other than memories I have and photos my father took years ago, I can't think of a thing.

Maybe if you didn't buy cameras intended to last a lifetime, you wouldn't even get ten years out of them. Just a thought.

Daniel,

If people actually thought about things like you suggest the big companies would be severely upset. I'm sure they're enjoying their sales figures for DSLRs versus 35mm SLRs.

I've always criticized photographers who don't look after their equipment (I did so recently on this very site), suspecting that there's a brand of snapper (usually a Nikonista) who thinks that a few dents reinforces his/her war-zone street-cred. Therefore, it's with a degree of embarrassment that I confess to dropping my K20D in a Paris street last week and watching with horror as it skipped down the concrete pavement for about ten feet before coming to rest on its 35mm macro lens. Result: two tiny body scuffs and about one mm of shiny bit on the filter ring. I really must try harder.

wasn't Leica's tagline: "You don't own a Leica. You merely take care of it for the next generation?" Well, that says a lot about a lifetime, doesn't it?

I think one thing that makes it easier to buy a digital camera not to last a lifetime is that buying a digital camera also means buying a film stock. Digitial cameras, like 50-roll pro-packs, are meant as consumables in the way that an old all-metal film camera wasn't. Ok, so they are more like 5000 roll film packs than 50 roll film packs, and by that way of thinking, maybe a Leica S2 isn't outrageously priced.

Not that I can afford one any time soon either.

I know what you mean. Recently I bought a lovely set of old SMC Takumar lenses from an older man, and upon inspecting them, I found not a single scratch, or fade of the black paint. They were in pristine condition, the glass spotless and everything was shiny. I asked the man if he had used it often, and he told me he used it at least thrice a week in a ten year period. I was amazed. I don't abuse my equipment, but I do 'use' it. After one month of use of these lenses, scuffs and edges began to show the metal underneath, and lenshoods began to have some scratches. What that man had been doing for so long, I couldn't even do in a month.

Not to be glum or anything, but it's all but certain that all of us will have at least one or a couple of cameras that happen to last us our lifetime. It's just that we didn't plan it that way.

Dear Daniel,

A camera isn't a computer.

The rate of advances in digital are irrelevant if the camera you have is giving you the quality that you want. If it's not, fine. Buy into the next generation. If it is, you have no reason to care.

If there's a necessity to buy a new digital camera when there's an improvement in performance, then it could be just as logically argued that it was necessary for 35mm photographers to move to medium format, and then to 4 x 5 sheet film and finally to 8 x 10 film.

Once you have the level of quality are happy with, that's it. In film, for me, that was 6 x 7 cm formats. I've always had a darkroom where I could print 4 x 5 film; for the past 15-20 years, I've had the ability to print 8 x 10 film. I was always ready to move up to larger formats if I felt sufficient urge. Well, I never felt sufficient urge. That makes me go different than the majority of 35mm photographers, who never felt the urge to move to medium format, or 4 x 5 sheet film photographers who never felt the urge to move to 8 x 10.

Digital cameras haven't changed any of that.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

I think all of this is a sad reflection on our societies' lack of respect for the environment, and the devastating impact of a constant stream of new products and throwing out old ones.

I believe we don't live in materialist societies. If we truly cared about the things we made, we would respect them, and recognise how they were made and the impact it had on the planet. No, I think we like in disposalist societies.

Digital cameras, have, for most people surely, reached the point where they are good enough. I implore everyone, to think before you consume, to reduce your purchases and care for those things you do buy.

It's not just me then. I don't actually kill them, but my first Minolta X700 looks like it has been in the tumble dryer.

Minolta pushed the corner dent out and found "dried liquid", or beer all over the inside when my friend who worked for them took it in to get the focusing screen cleaned and the frame counter reset fixed. Everything else was still working.

My Pentax DSLR was sticking out of my bag when I went down a narrow spiral stair, and I wore a nice chamfer on the corner. It still works.

Daniel,

That's an interessting and valid response. However, I find it fascinating that we a stuck on a merry go round of constantly needing to upgrade what should be considered as very expensive items that should last much longer than they do.

Are we upgrading because the product doesn't work or because somehow we feel that it is now inadequate?

It's not just cameras. Is this constant need to buy good for our planet and our psyche?

As for cameras, I am as guilty as the next person. But as I pressed the purchase now button for my Pentax K7 I began to wonder was this really necessary?

Sometimes I wonder if the whole thing is a mirage. One certainly wonders, especially here in America, the place Niall Ferguson so appropriately described as "the only country where people pay interest on pizza they bought 10 years ago."

As for the K7 it's a wonderful camera. But if I really thought about the K1000 I bought 25 years ago on my shelf would probably take just as good a photo aesthetically. It still works too.

Suggested reading is Bill McKibben's Deep Economy. :-)

In fairness, fellas, we've been upgrading for the past decade or so because the pace of improvements really has demanded it. NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is satisfied right now with a digital camera from 10 years ago. As I've argued elsewhere, for a good long time we used inferior cameras only because they were the best available or the best we could afford of what was available.

The affordability of better technology also drives people to upgrade. In 2003 I bought a little 3-MP digicam for $750. That same $750 today would buy a quite nice 10-MP DSLR and interchangeable kit lens, an outfit that yields results a couple of orders of magnitude better. It would be foolish to say that what was good enough for me in 2003 should still be good enough for me today.

It remains to be seen what the future will bring, but it's not wanton wastefulness and disposable culture that's been driving upgrade fever for the past decade--real technological advances have been doing that.

The advances have arguably slowed down of late, but whether that means we've arrived at a point where we'll be happy with our camera purchases for ten years remains to be seen. Five years, that I'll believe; but maybe not ten, yet.

Mike

I don't really know about my lifetime, but I prefer products I can use for their lifetime. That is, items I can use until they break, without them being hopelessly backwards, old-fashioned, or a general pain to use long before that (and I like that lifespan to be slightly reasonable).

I prefer to buy things with this in mind: Slightly over-spec, well designed, well built, etc.

One of the best examples I can think of is my, now sadly demised, Palm III. I used that PDA for nearly ten years until it was worn out (flash memory was bust), and while it was by then no longer current, it was still a very capable PDA for the things I did with it. (I even had a digital camera for it.)

In the camera world, this has always been true for lenses, in a slightly lesser sense for film cameras, but we've now also come to a point in digital cameras where their usable lifespan is definitely increasing. For normal use, current DSLRs don't have a lot of new stuff compared to models of 3 years ago. Most new features are of debatable use (live-view, movie mode) and aren't considered necessary by a lot of users. The annual pixel-increases serves mostly to increase memory and hard-drive sales.

Compare: the difference between a D30 and 30D is much larger than that between de 30D and the 50D.

I think DSLRs are close to the point where film cameras were when digital knocked on the door: Any changes in new models are external features, not directly related to image quality.

But I'm no expert in any way...

Mike,

I agree with your assessment regarding the "pace of improvements" demanding occasional upgrades ... in some cases. I know very few photographers personally and I am a rank amateur hobbyist whose gear was ~75% purchased used, but I do post on a couple online photography forums that are attended by a sizeable population of professional photographers, ranging from journalists to product photogs to wedding/portrait photogs to nude shooters. Based on these representatives of the industry I think there is a notable portion of the camera market who upgrade for bells and whistles.

I read posts from many people whose collections of images were already filled with professional-quality 'perfect' shots who preordered the Canon 5D mkII and could not really even say why. They could list the new camera's features, but could not necessarily describe which of its improvements would benefit them tangibly. (And I picked a poor example, because the 5D mkII really did introduce some astonishing quality improvements). I know a guy who upgraded from the Canon 30D to the 40D when it came out and then to the 50D when it came out. I do covet his 50D, but my 20D takes images that are printable at every resolution I will need, and the improvements are in no way fundamentally necessary.

10 years ago the bulk of the products on the camera market were not yet ready to do the job that film cameras could do. They lacked the resolution to print 8x10s, 11x17s, etc. And I believe that "compared to film" is a fair benchmark for this discussion, since the history of film cameras defines nearly the entirety of the history of photography as business. A digital camera today can rival a film camera in evey fundamental way (leaving discussions of more ephemeral aspects like the 'look' of film aside).

So I do think a digital camera built this year could last a "lifetime" in a fully useful way regardless of what changes come to us in the next few years. I imagine that the next 10 years will astound me when I see what changes do come, but the difference between camera-from-10-years-ago and cameras-from-today is (I believe) not a good model for estimating the necessity of upgrading in the years to come.

And I think there will be plenty of consumers who buy each successive release despite this.

(all opinions expressed herein are utterly un-researched and off the cuff, I stand by them but that's mainly out of self-loyalty. Your mileage may vary).

My 1977 Peugeot 504 Diesel was bought by me in '91 with 130k km on it . It finally went to the great Peugeot graveyard in the sky (aka a scrap metal dealer with an eye on China) at 650k km. Engine slightly struggling, body loose and wobbling, probably needing a good (expensive) overhaul to get another 300k km out of it. Bit like its owner, really. Bought an '89 Toyota Camry with similar ks on it-- lasted untouched except timing belts till 450 k km. Bought another last year -hope to get the same 450k out of it. All second hand,cheap, all workhorses. Put a new shutter in my 20D Canon after 120k shots. Hope my 40D lasts as well. Expect to have to buy a 7D after initial rush is over. Should last me forever ( HAH!!!!)We have a refrigerator still going after 45 years. Probably uses twice the energy a new one would, but how much energy to make the replacement?? How long to amortise the cost??

wasn't Leica's tagline: "You don't own a Leica. You merely take care of it for the next generation?" Well, that says a lot about a lifetime, doesn't it?

Posted by: Jim

I thought that was Patek Philippe's line. Either way, it's probably equally applicable to either company's products (for better or worse).

Sure, digital cameras are good enough but if producing sufficient images is all we should be concerned with, we *would* all be shooting with our 30 year old film SLRs. The past decade has been about bring DSLRs up to snuff - producing widely acceptable IQ in affordable APS-C cameras. But we upgrade for features; for conveniences that help us get the shot or simply help us enjoy our hobby. Since 1991 (through maybe 2003), I went through 3 AF SLRs (then added one more for fun); the first switch for ergonomics, the second, an upgrade for performance & features. DSLR-wise, I upgraded from the KM 7D to the A700 and aside from cleaner high ISO images, the main reason was for autofocus performance. The 7D met my IQ needs (though I appreciate the lower high ISO noise, I wouldn't upgrade to a new $1000 camera for that). So the A700 meets my needs. I'd still appreciate main sensor live view and micro AF adjustments. I won't upgrade for those, but I could understand someone doing so. I probably would upgrade to (or add) an EVIL body to allow me to shoot with a quieter camera. Otherwise, I figure a minimum of a 4-year lifespan for the A700, maybe more.

The simple fact is, good enough is good enough, but better is always better. We don't settle for sufficient in most of our purchases and if photography is an important hobby to us, there's no reason we should do it there.

Finally, regarding Cteins point that cameras aren't computers: it's true that the existence of a new camera doesn't make the old camera any worse. But unlike an old film camera, you can't improve your images with new film. And while you may have settled on 6x7 despite access to larger formats, larger formats change how you shoot so there's more involved in the decision than simply rejecting a bigger-than-necessary negative. A new camera brings along IQ improvements that you used to be able to get every few years shooting your 6x7 with new film emulsions, without the change in shooting style required by going to a view camera. And that's all just on the IQ front and ignores other camera features.

So I'll upgrade cameras periodically - I'll be surprised if I ever go 5 years without buying a new camera. It's unnecessary, but photography is my hobby. I don't upgrade cars (drive 'em 'til they die !), won't upgrade my audio or video gear 'til it dies, won't upgrade any of my woodworking equipment (every tool I own, I'll own until it dies or I die !) I won't upgrade cameras for the sake of upgrading, but I won't kill myself trying to rationalize a new camera if I want it.

When you said ... "I hate people like that! They possess some sort of magical aura that I lack.." I agree they possess something.

I was struggling over muddy, hilly tracks in northern Colombia once and stopped at every stream to wash my T shirt. Ten minutes later it would be steaming with sweat.

Along the track, coming the other way, was an Arawak Indian, in white jacket, white pants to mid calf, and two white bags slung crosswise over his shoulders. No mud, no sweat. A smile and he strolled on.

Another time I was standing on a bus in Northern India from Dherra Dun to somewhere. All the bodies were crammed tight, bearing the heat. A young woman got on. She was wearing a pale yellow sari and when she got off an hour or so later she was the same freshly laundered person she was when she got on.

So yes, I concur. It is a magic aura.There is no other rational explanation.... :-)

"NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is satisfied right now with a digital camera from 10 years ago."

I was expecting replies from stunned photographers whose Kodak DCS-620 SLRs would need to be pried from their cold, dead hands.

When exactly was "one camera for life" true?

My father bought a Nikon F at university, 1962. It was stolen when he got mugged sometime in the '90s, and he moved on to an FE2, then to a long series of digitals. (And he had various RFs before the F, too.) So while with better luck he might have got 40 years out of the F, it wasn't a lifetime camera. And many of his contemporaries moved on to AF film cameras before digital.

My grandfather bought a Leica IIIc in 1936, which still works fine. But he had stopped using it by the '60s, in favour of a series roll-film cameras. So no lifetime cameras there either.

My great-grandfather, well there's a collection of 1900-ish glass plates somewhere, but I'm pretty sure he moved on from those too...

Sure the pace of change is faster now than 50 years ago. And much faster than it was 150-odd years ago, when this new technology for painting with light first burst onto the scene... But it hasn't stood still for anyone's lifetime.

Ctein, have you figured out why your cameras don't last? I'm puzzled: the Pentax 67 is a hardy mechanical camera; why don't you just get it repaired?

A couple of random comments:
Musical instruments tend to last a lifetime. Pianos seem to last forever with a tiny bit of maintainence and care. Guitars should last a long time, too. (Need I mention violins?)

One thing that may *force* upgrading to new digital cameras is the whole RAW situation. I just got a new Canon, and since RAW upgrades are tied to the OS, I would need to get a new Mac to get RAW support for iPhoto. I am still not sure what I am going to do about that!

I wonder how long my E620 will last; the lens is weather sealed but the body is not, and I shoot in rain and snow. I thought about getting a K7 but almost all of the lenses that I'd want to use with it aren't weather-sealed, mooting much of the point. Looking at the used market, and Kirk Tuck's recent experiences with used Oly gear, I feel confident that bodies delivering the quality I want will be cheaper than film even if I replaced them once or twice a year (which I don't intend to do). The funny thing is that at about the same time I started shooting 2TMY in my M6 and fell back in love with that camera... I'll use that combination as long as the film and chemistry can be got without undue hassle, or the camera is stolen, or I stop shooting altogether...

Just came back from a week in Rocky Mountain National Park. Mrs Plews and I have been visiting the park for about 30 years so I didn't feel that urge to shoot everything in sight.
I have pictures of Bighorns, Elk and sweeping vistas of golden aspens galore. I wanted to try going back to basics when not glutting at Nicky's or the Dunraven.
So I took an ancient Hasselblad and a 50 and a 250 and two rolls of Velvia. I have been doing so much digital lately I wanted to see if I could still slow down and read a light meter.
In all I only shot 18 frames the whole time but 10 are keepers. With digital I would have filled up a couple of cards with NEF files and probably still would have only found ten frames I really liked.
There's a certain frantic quality that sometimes accompanies digital landscape photography. I once stumbled upon a workshop on HDR photography taking place at dawn in the Badlands of South Dakota.
It was a beautiful morning but all the cameras blasting off HDR brackets made it sound like a swarm of crickets on meth and nobody looked like they were having much fun.
If you are doing photography as a kind of meditation then slowing down and not worrying so much about what you might be missing will help keep you sane.
Film can do that for you. It's more difficult with digital. It's just so easy to mash the button and hope for a keeper.
AND FURTHERMORE.
Since Colorado went non-smoking Nicky's bar has become a world class place to rescue a couple of drowning olives while eating a Gyro and the Dunraven ain't bad either.
Mi Taka Ase
Mike Plews

Some cameras see several lives. I bought my Hassy 500c/m and Pentax 67II used, but in decent shape. I used them for many years, and then after I realized that I had permanently switched to digital they moved on to new owners still in pretty decent shape. One a friend, one a stranger, both discovered photography with digital, and wanted to explore film. I still own many film cameras that are older than I; I don't know how many lives they've seen.

In general I don't think of electronic cameras as collectible as mostly mechanical cameras, but as I look to my camera collection the early digital cameras are in the case. My back-up, back-up, back-up camera, an EOS 20D that was the first DSLR I owned recently had it's shutter fail (I've experienced the same with many of my film cameras). I'll get that repaired, and pass it on to my brother. He's not as avid a photographer as I, but he's an artist and will put it to good use.

"NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is satisfied right now with a digital camera from 10 years ago."

I was happy to start using my old Canon G3 recently, making time lapse videos along with a Pclix timed remote device. The 4mpix sensor is fine for the job. Actually, if it's true that most people only view pictures on screen or on the web, the Canon G3 is fine, period. If it breaks, you can find them for about $100-$150. For such purposes, any of the early Gs will do.

I think people just like to buy new stuff to play with, myself included.

I was grousing with my local camera store buddy a couple months ago when I had to replace the shutter on my 30D for the second time in eight months. He had been watching me rapidly collect a number of analog bodies in the past two years and I proudly showed him the new-to-me Fujica ST705 that someone had babied for the past two decades before sending it to me. I said: *this camera* was taking pictures when I could barely write my name and here it is now, giving me beautiful pictures with its cloth shutter. His reply to me was something like: do you really think that Fujica had to shoot as many frames as your 30D did in the past three years (that I had it?). I did have to pause at that and while I have no knowledge of the previous owner(s) all I can go on is how much I've shot with it, which is -- at the most -- two rolls a week. I sometimes use my 30D for fashion shoots out of which comes hundreds of shots (why? because I can). I think the truth is somewhat in the middle. I think that Fujica is probably built better than modern cameras and of course is far simpler. Even comparing mechanical build -- that's what a shutter / mirror is after all -- I'm pretty sure the Fujica is built better. But my local camera store friend's reasoning is sound. There's no way that Fujica would ever shoot as much as the 30D even if I had an endless, cost-less supply of film.

"NOBODY, and I mean nobody, is satisfied right now with a digital camera from 10 years ago."
I guess I'm one of the few nobodies. I still use and enjoy my decade-old Nikon D1. It may only be 2.7MP but they are very nice megapixels. It's not my only camera, but since I'm rarely looking to make a print over 4x6, it does the job.

My wife and I have pretty much the same equipment. I use my mine a lot more though. But she destroys equipment, while I take care of it. That does not mean I don't use it. I just pay attention and use common sense. Her: sand in lenses, scratches and fingerprints, mashed tripod heads, bent tripods, missing tripod feet... The list goes on. It makes me ill.

I love this post. I'm a bit anal about keeping stuff neat and functioning for as long as possible. Cameras and cars, though, I can't keep them looking like new. My wife has bashed in every corner of the car: I had to let go. (aside: I sold my '91 Civic Si 10 years after I bought it for $200 more than I paid for it. 140k but looked like new) But I have FTBs, AE1s, 1NRSs and a 20D that I bought new or near perfect condition that look like I put them through the dryer. I'm also a woodworker (hand tools only, I'm tactile as well as visual) and as much as I try, I can't help that the tools always look abused after a few weeks. Coincidentally, I've been eyeing 67s at KEH. I have a serious hankering for one, but haven't found a place that will develop anything beyond 35mm. That's why I switched to digital in the 1st place, but I still love film (and the the many great film cameras). Technology gives and technology takes away.

My Olympus OM-2S (not known as the the most reliable OM) I purchased second-hand in 1986 and continues to serve me well yet today with over 100,000 frames run through it. I've been acquiring more and more second-hand OM equipment that has at least one more lifetime left in it. Five years from now, chances are, it will still have at least a lifetime left even though it will have a few more scuffs and scratches.

Meanwhile ANY digital camera I buy today will be like yesterday's newspaper--it still has the same articles and pictures, but has no worth.

The old adage I learned many years ago is that most professional photographers will go through two primary camera systems in his career--if he/she buys the right systems in the first place. That is essentially 20 years per system.

Spend wisely, pilgrim.

I seem to be going backwards having found Rolleiflexes. I have a 3.5F that looks as if it just came off the production line, an Automat Model 1 of Lee Miller vintage and a Rolleicord that cost less than a lens cover for the 3.5F. I'm really happy with them, they have already lasted a 'lifetime' and will probably go on longer. I also have digital cameras but unless I have assignments that need them I'll use the Rolleis, though I use a Ricoh GRD II as a 'scrapbook' a la Sean Reid. I also use a Voigtlander Bessa RF with a Heliar lens from the 1930s. Image quality is superb but luckily I don't shoot sports :) Perhaps it is horses for courses. I can see exactly why some people get the latest and greatest.

I have - on a few occasions - thought about the fact that my son Anton would someday inherit my Leica M3 from me and use it.

While reading this thread, it dawned on me: The camera is from 1955, i.e., 54 years old today. I am 40, so it's not unlikely that I can keep going for another, say, 46 years. That means that when Anton finally inherits my M3, it will be ONE HUNDRED years old !!

And my bet is, that if he goes to an artists store - the ones who sell canvas, brushes, etc. - he will probably find film, chemistry and paper there :-)

On reflection I would like to amend my post on two points.

First, you can have an excellent time at Nicky's without dumping Gin down your piehole. They brew up an excellent cup of coffee and the night I was in there the piano player was working his way through some jazz standards while exhibiting spectacular chops.

Second, my choice of words describing the workshop was ungenerous. They were out there following their passion and no doubt were enjoying themselves while improving their skills.

The point I was trying to make is that going into a national park is a little like going to church. The best moments to me have been when I was about to take a picture and hesitated because the idea of setting off a shutter almost seemed intrusive.

We can get so caught up in photographing an experience that we fail to fully have the experience.

Being out in nature a dawn is such a gift that you really need to go down into that quiet place that is almost impossible to find in regular life and drink it all in.

Tough to do at five frames per second.

@KeithB

You don't need a new Mac, just click on "Software Update" in your top left "Apple" menu...

Well if someone like Mario Giacomelli was able to use the very same camera through his whole career as an artist, why wouldn'd anyone of us too? Photography guys, asks for time and the right mindset, but never for another camera.

" I was happy to start using my old Canon G3 recently"

But others should note that the Canon G3 came out in late 2002, which is 7 years ago, not 10.

Mike

"I guess I'm one of the few nobodies. I still use and enjoy my decade-old Nikon D1. It may only be 2.7MP but they are very nice megapixels. It's not my only camera, but since I'm rarely looking to make a print over 4x6, it does the job."

Amend to:

"NOBODY, and I mean almost nobody, is still...."

[g]

Mike

Hi Ctein:

I see one symptom of your affliction (assuming that’s your 67) [it isn't; it belongs to Janne Moren --Mike]: the coupling ring for the metered prism is still on the shutter speed dial; it’s sure to get lost that way and is, of course, unnecessary with the waist level finder.

Yours in equipment destruction,

Tom

I recently put in a down payment on a guitar which comes with a lifetime warranty to the original owner. I hope to keep it "forever", or as close as I can get.

Ctein, maybe you'll have a fighting chance if you buy the camera when you're in your late nineties...

Dear folks,

As usual, a bunch of thought-provoking comments. Anyways, it's provoked the following thought in me:

When I started out in photography, I didn't plan on purchasing for a "lifetime." Mostly, I didn't know enough to even contemplate that. In fact, I went through a few 35mm cameras before I decided that my attention needed to go to medium format, and then I thought long before I settled on the Pentax 67 system. But I was only 20 years old! I only had a few years of serious photography under my belt. I was not qualified to make an informed decision.

As it turned out, the Pentax 67 was the right camera for the rest of my life (so far). But I could have just as easily found out otherwise, or my interest or taste could have changed in a way that made it less suitable. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I was sure I would get involved with large format photography sooner or later, and probably sooner. But the correct time frame for that seems to have been "never."

Where am I going with this? When it comes to digital photography, almost everyone's a novice. Plus, the equipment itself hasn't been that mature, as manufacturers figure out what photographers want and photographers need. The first number of years of this decade have been devoted to people figuring out what they want and how to get to it.

In that situation, changing cameras frequently isn't a surprise or unreasonable. Equipment-wise, we're mostly past that point. And, for some of us, technique and aesthetic-wise, we're past that point. That makes it a lot more plausible to think about a camera as a long-term purchase... so long as you understand what your "lifetime" really is.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
======================================

That's a beautiful camera.

@ Mike Plews

'all the cameras blasting off HDR brackets made it sound like a swarm of crickets on meth'

Now THAT made my day - great verbal imagery. Well said Sir.

RobG


Bob
Thank you. I'm glad you got a kick out of it. I still feel that while what I wrote may be accurate it also bordered on impolite. If any of those workshoppers are reading this please know I was trying for humor and not to be mean.
These folks were out there trying to do what we all do which is come back with a terrific picture. But still the racket was impressive.
I should also confess that I have never been able to turn a set of HDR brackets into a decent photo. When I use "merge to HDR" in CS3 I end up with a flat dead shot.
Opening a single RAW file at two or three densities and layering them then erasing selected portions of each layer seems to get me about what I want when trying for this kind of shot.
You all have a nice weekend. The trees in the Loess Hills are starting to change so I'm outta here...

@Tom, the camera in the picture is mine, and yes, when I was taking a shot of it with the waist-level finder I plain forgot about the coupling ring. I sometimes forget about it when I use the camera too, and I find that the speed dial is easier to use with it than without. If I could just lock it into place so I didn't risk losing it it would probably rarely leave the camera.

@Janne

Super glue?

I tend to make a lens beat-up and dingy in a couple of days. I've stripped every bit of rubber off my D3.

@James: It's not about street-cred, it's called being a working photographer. We don't trash gear for fun. Have you ever seen a pristine 200mm f/1.8? I haven't. They were all owned by journalists, and every one I've seen is gouged to near-death.

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