I was in Mike Crivello's Cameras in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a couple of days ago, chatting with the guys. If you live in Milwaukee, or anywhere near, you should make a trip out there. It's a good camera store, with good people. It's where I bought my D800 and one of my two Nikkors for it.
Don't forget to visit your own local camera store once in a while, if you're lucky enough to have one. I send local friends to Crivello's.
Driving home, it occurred to me that it's been more or less ten years even since I bought my first digital camera, from Crivello's. (Maybe it was 12 years. I have no "timeline memory.")
It was a three-megapixel Olympus C-3040z. My big concern when I bought it was responsiveness—digital cameras were slow. If you pre-focused it, it was okay, but if you didn't...well, I have a hilarious test shot of a tour boat moseying down the Milwaukee river. I pressed the shutter button when the boat occupied the middle of the frame. The picture is of the stern of the boat disappearing out of the frame to one side.
I no longer have it—it died. Posting a photo of the once-$750 camera (or was it $850? I have no memory for numbers, either) sitting on top of the trash in the wastebasket elicted from readers the recommendation to recycle my electronics, which I've been doing ever since. The camera is antiquated now. So is the memory media. Remember "Smart Media" cards? They were a '90s replacement for 3.5" floppies. Mine were 16 and 32 megabytes. I said mega, sonny.
In the ten or 12 years since then, I've spent more money on cameras than in all the rest of my life combined—and that includes my Leica M6 in 1991 and the new Mamiya RZ outfit I bought during my abortive studio career.
Part of that is because, during the past decade, I couldn't seem to keep my hands off all the splendid film cameras that were going begging.
But I've spent more just on digital cameras than I ever did on film ones. I should have kept a log. Yes, my friends make fun of me on account of all the cameras that go through the revolving door. I guess it's a hardened into a pathology at this point. Still, it's a fine merry-go-round they've got us on these days, isn't it?
Or perhaps the better analogy would be to a hamster wheel. The makers make, the buyers buy. The days of using one camera for ten years might return, but the years of the Digital Transition were not that time.
Rather worryingly, I can't find the pictures I took with that Olympus. They're supposed to be on the hard drive somewhere, but I'll be darned if I know where. Hmm.
And here's another little cool tidbit from Crivello's. They didn't have an RX1, but they did have a glossy, multi-page Sony brochure for it. (I said, "All right, but I am not going to buy one." Marty just looked at me. He was probably thinking, "Okay, but you might.") In it, there is an "actual size" illustration of the RX1, so we put an RX100 1" digicam next to it.
Pretty amazing. The RX100 is a very small camera, if you've never seen one.
It's no wonder we keep buyin' 'em.
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Featured Comments from:
Mark Muse: "My first digicam was the Olympus c8080, an 8-megapixel version of the one you show here. I recently dug it out, dusted it off, charged the original battery, and gave it to my 8 year old grandson, who is having a ball with it."
Paddy C: "The RX1 is shockingly small. I did a Camerasize comparison with the X100S and the NEX-5N (which I own). Sort of unbelievable. If I had more disposable income I would have bought an RX1 already."
Bill Crelin: "Mike, on your past recommendation, in these pages, I stopped in that camera store and they are heads and shoulders above any other brick and mortar retail outlet outside of Chicago. Thanks again for the heads up."
Doug: "It's always fun for me when these 'My first digital camera' conversations start. My first was a Logitech FotoMan from back in January of 1992. Grayscale only and tiny 376x284 pixel images. I bought the little Fotoman for work because I could see that in my world the immediacy of digital would eclipse film in short order. I took a shot of a failed test part, printed it on a laser printer, and faxed it to our engineering office back east. I got a call from my contact back there who told me, 'that new camera just paid for itself.' I continued to shoot film while upgrading through the Kodak 1mpx series and then on to Nikon CoolPix series. In 2000 I shot my last roll of film with a lovely Nikon F3HP. These days I shoot a Nikon D600."
eric peterson: "I have spent more money on digital Cameras since 1992 than I did in my whole life as well...times 5.... But I have paid practically nothing for film and developing. I have done the calculations and found that given the amount of images (340,000+) I have taken since then, I have more than saved my money. But would I have taken that many photos with film? No. Would I have missed some amazing shots with films because I was being more careful? Yes. Interesting."
BH: "The hamster wheel is real and ridiculous, and I wanna get off. Earlier this year I bought a 6x6 TLR [twin-lens reflex, like a Rolleiflex —Ed.], which led to a purchase of a 35mm body and equipment to develop and scan my own B&W negatives. Everybody said digital was so much better because you don't have the recurring film costs, but I'd need to shoot a lot of film to make up for the $1,000 in depreciation I've taken on my 5D Mark III in a years time. Of course I could keep my digital stuff for ten years, but it's too hard to resist the never ending cycle of enticing new products. I'm just tired of being marketed to every second of the day. Time to check out for a while. No new electronics, no more Facebook, no more unnecessary junk. Time to cut through the noise and live for a while."