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Friday, 08 January 2016

Comments

My current D700 is the most expensive camera I've ever bought. I hadn't planned to get into full-frame, but Nikon came out with this camera that had all the benefits of the D3 plus additional features not on the D3 (sensor cleaning, built-in flash that could be a CLS commander), and I just couldn't resist the high ISO capabilities it represented. I sold my Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 NOCT to pay for it (I'd found I wasn't getting adequate focus manually with it, so it wasn't as useful on my D200 as I would have liked).

It was a great choice; I used it for my last three photo sessions and it will be the main camera tomorrow as well (two roller derby matches and a very dark music party on New Year's Eve).

Don't know what I'm going to do when it wears out, though. I'm hoping mirrorless will solve its focus issues (Sony may have, haven't played with their integrated phase detect AF) before I have to decide. And I might give up on sports.

Nikon D3, bought in February 2008 for 4800 € and used till I got the D800 in September 2012. Repaired in June 2011 for another 800 € after a crash that broke the mounted f/2.8 180 mm Nikkor in half and warped bayonet and front of the (quite sturdy) camera.

5d3 at 3400 new? If I remember right.

Most expensive is the D800E. Paid list (~$3300) when it was only out a few months. The next is a Canham MQC 5x7 I bought used. I forget the price, but it was over $2000 with film holders and film. I still use both of them a fair bit, though not as often as I wish due to life getting in the way.

I would count $200 film holders in the cost.

I make no money on photography so all cameras are bad financial investments for me. But I do get enjoyment out of them, so that accounts for something.

Most expensive cameras, by far, were the two Nikon D3's I bought during the spring of 2008. Four and a half years later I sold them for about $1600 each.

I think I paid $2500-2600 for the original Canon 5D in early 2006. They were selling for more than $3000 most places at that time, but it was possible to get some really good deals through one of the computer companies -- may have been Dell or HP -- I don't remember. Maybe someone else will remember.

An Olympus OMD EM5. More expensive cameras just don't offer the bang/buck I need. At this point, I can't imagine paying more than $1K for a camera body because I don't get enough improvement to justify the cost for the things I do.

I'd probably be better off spending more on lights. The Alien Bees in particular are appealing.

My most expensive camera (a mid range full frame DSLR) is not very interesting and likely the same as many other readers. More fascinating to me is what people would buy if the two dollars they put down on a Powerball ticket this week turned out to be the winner.

I'll start the bidding with a Phase One XF 100MP and a bag of lenses. And a new super zoomie computer with three large 4k monitors, some kind of outrageously large printer and a barrel of ink.

Seriously.

I'll let you know how I like them.

My most expensive was a Nikon D200. I only purchased the body as I had lenses accumulated over the prior 15 years. I sold it and almost all of the rest of my Nikon equipment when I switched to the Fuji X-T1. Carrying around the D200 with the 70-200 2.8 convinced that it was time for a change, and I got tired of waiting for Nikon to recognize where the future lay. I already had the X100 and was impressed with both it and the way Fuji treated its customers.

I think my Canon 20D was the most expensive, just over 2000 EUR if I remember correctly.
Closely followed by a then 5-year old second-hand Canon 1Ds2 for 2000 EUR and a second-hand Canon D30 (the 3MPix-kind) for 1750 EUR.

Well, are you basing that on the purchase price alone, or on the price per exposure? If it's the first it was a Leica M4, if the latter it would be the Omega 4x5 which was much cheaper

For me (and of late) it's my Canon EOS 5 DSr.
Also, when one considers that when I buy a new camera, we have to spring for one for my photographer wife...ergo she got a new Canon EOS 5Ds.
That's pretty heavy but the files are awesome.
Mi dos pesos OR
since we are currently shooting France
Mon deux Euro

[Wouldn't it be votre deux centimes? Or what's 1/100th of a euro? I haven't been to France since the Eurozone came into being. --Mike]

Just bought a refurbished Leica M9. 'Only' £2100. Love it but sort of wish I had got the M. Might trade? Does this never end?

[Not any more. It might have during the film era, though even then it rarely did in practice. Henry Wessel has shot with the same camera and lens for fifty-odd years, I think, but there aren't too many like him. Cartier-Bresson used the same lens for many years, a custom-coated collapsible 50mm Summicron, but he would buy new bodies as they came out. --Mike]

Nikon D300 within the first year it came out, probably about $1800 at the time.

My first digital camera, an Olympus E20, about $1500-$1700. Well worth it.
8MP, and the images from it looked like Kodachrome II shot with an Elmar -- absolutely beautiful.

In 1994 I bought a Leica M6 for almost $2K, but that left me all but completely broke until next paycheck! Since then I've bought more expensive cameras without breaking the bank, so I guess it's all relative.

I believe my first DSLR - a Pentax K200D purchased brand-new with the DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, a flash and grip - is the most-expensive camera I've ever purchased. The entire kit was about $2000. The most-expensive camera body that I've purchased is my Pentax K5, which was $1200 and change when I bought it new.

That's because I usually wait a year or longer after a given camera is introduced before I actually buy when I see the price drop. In fact, most of the time I wait until a camera is about to be replaced and then buy on close-out. One exception is my Fuji X-T10, which I ordered as soon as it was introduced. But even that was something like $799 for the body-only.

In absolute terms, the D5000 I bought for about $600 six years ago. With around 12000 pictures taken, that's about 5c/click.

My Bronica ETRSi cost me less (about $150 including finder and back) three years ago but since I've only shot 25 rolls on it, it's less economical at about 40c/click. However this evens out if one counts only the "keepers", since I have a much higher success rate with the Bronica than with the D5000.

GH2, $650 at an Amazon sale. I'm frugal.

I bought a Panasonic GH3 not too long after its release for $1350. I've used it a lot since then though, so I don't feel too guilty for not waiting.

For me an original Canon 5D when if first came out. It was something over $3000.

I bought a Leica M8 when they were new; I can't remember the price but it couldn't have been less than the MSRP of about $5000. That was in the days I was funding my habit with student loans; I sold it about six months later and used the proceeds to buy a canon SLR (5D) and a 50mm 1.2. That lens, incidentally, was the most I'd ever spent on one, and was fully worth it. I lost it in a Car vs. Bike accident (I was on the bike).

I would add a twist and say that the most expensive camera I owned was (is) my Nikon D700. Though I paid more for my D810, the D700 was the first camera I abused so thoroughly (beat up exterior, flaky thumb pad, scratched sensor, anti-alias filter removed, etc.) that I can't resell it and make back a big chunk of what I spent on it.

I am taking much better care of this D810.

My first DSLR Nikon D2H cost 4250€ in 2004. It was pretty soon being sold at 2000 new due to being replaced by D2Hs. Sold it years later for 1100 and was happy to get that much.

The Olympus E-5 at $1800, which is at least $6000 in full frame dollars according to DXO. I used it less than my two previous bodies and a little more than my current EM1. I really enjoyed the thing and sort of miss it.

The most expensive camera i have bought sofar is the Fuji xe1( double kit lens) for €711,00.

It would be interesting to know how much people are willing to pay for a camera today.I have just been reading the fuji rumor site, some of the commenters are saying the rumored price of the Xpro2 ca. $1,900 is too much for an aps-c sensored camera. Is the rumored price realistic for today´s camera market?

In terms of actual dollars I'm going with a Nikon D70 with the 18-70 kit lens at a little over a grand. I'm still using it so it feels like a good investment.
If you consider camera cost in terms of percentage of net worth than the hands down winner would be the Honeywell Pentax H1a I bought in high school for $169.50 which took me a year to pay off.

In nominal dollars, my Pentax K-5, bought used in 2012 with the 18-55mm kit lens, for $745 including shipping.

In constant currency (correcting for inflation), my Topcon Super D with 58mm f/1.8 lens, bought used at Olden Camera in 1975 for about $259, which is over $1100 in today's dollars.

I probably bought the Topcon several times over in Kodachrome film and processing.

Of course, the cameras are both chump change compared to the lenses for them...

My first digital camera was a used Nikon D1 that cost $2500. My then new wife nearly passed out when I told her what I had paid.

She's the reason I have not paid anywhere near that again. That's probably a good thing, but at times it just doesn't feel that way.

I recently paid the most (in straight dollar amount) for a 2nd-hand E-M1 than I have ever paid for a body ($800 CDN). But, when I split the cost (50/50) of a new Pentax Spotmatic with my brother, it cost me almost 3 weeks' wages from the minimum wage summer job that I had at the time. So, in terms in hurting my wallet, that first camera of mine cost me the most. And as I've stated before on these pages, I still occasionally want to reach up to turn an aperture dial.

It's probably the 1D X I bought last year, even though I bought it off eBay at around $4,000. That purchase pales in comparison to the big white Canon tele I bought a few months later, though.

But the most painful purchase ever was a Rollei 6008i on eBay on which I lost a lot of money selling it because Rollei dropped its new price by $1,000 during the short time I owned my used one.

I tend to think in overall ownership cost and actual use of the gear. Price is only part of the equation.

The Mamiya 7II I bought new from Glazer's in Seattle. I think I paid over $2000 for the body in 2003. Somewhat fragile camera, but it has allowed me to use the amazing 43, 80 and 150mm lenses for over a decade.

The M Monochrom (the original, which cost $500 more than the current model). It has been my primary camera for the past three years and likely will be for some time further, though I have to get the sensor replaced.

It was definitely my K-5, the only time I bought something early in its life-cycle. I think I paid about $1400 for it. We're still together, the K-5 and I.

My first dslr - a canon 10D, I can't remember, was it around $1300.

I paid $2400 for a Canon 1D MkII (pre-N) in 2005, and used it for a very busy nine years after shooting motorsports. Shutter failed on me during the MotoGP at Laguna Seca in 2007, and I had a new mirror box installed in 2009 after bashing it into the K-wall at Sonoma Raceway. It's now sitting as a very large and heavy paperweight on my desk because CPS will no longer service this model.

That would be the Leica M8 I bought when they first came out. At $5K it was also the only Leica I ever bought new. I sold it two weeks ago, in excellent condition, and got $700 for it.

My most expensive camera purchase was in 1968, when I was just receiving my first salary as a newly appointed professor and wanted to go from 35mm to medium format.
It was the incredibly versatile Rollei SL66, which, combined with its 50, 80 and 150mm Zeiss lenses, cost me several monthly salarie at about 5000 DM. But it served me well until 2005 when I reluctantly switched to digital and a Canon 5D.

D700 ... Mamiya 6 might have been a close second.

A Leica M9, new, and I think 3 summicrons, used, plus an odd Voigtlander and 2 Zeiss lenses. I've since sold all of them.

That was at a time when I was working as a software engineer and getting good regular paychecks. Since I'm now retired I satisfy my habit with a Sony A6000 and a Nikon D750. The latter I will probably sell as I almost never use it.

Most expensive initially is my Nikon D810 at $2995.9999999 besting my last highest- Nikon D700 at $2800.00.

But my most expensive camera based on just using the damn thing* to its fullest, is my Chamonix 045F1 ,at $1145.00.

My Nikon lenses (including the 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 200-500 and at least 30 others with some high dollar auto focus ones mixed in with the mf primes) jump from DX to FX and to most of my film bodies and cover a wide range of photographic subjects. So split the lens costs between 18 cameras. Hey, it's what I tell my wife!

But the lenses for 4x5 cover that size only, and even at used prices to get the equivalent versatility of 35mm lenses would be overwhelming. Add the film holders, loading tent, film, filters, Ries tripod**and head and other peripherals, developing and printing...it's a MONSTER.


*I really love it but it's a demanding hunk of fun
** It's not just the "look", a Ries is the best platform for mounting a view camera on, really honey....

4 megapixel Canon G3 at $700 in 2000. The almost neon chromatic abberation in bright sunlight was free.

Until some years ago, my largest camera body investments were for two Leica M6 and then two Leica M7, all of which I bought new but labelled "salesman's sample". Leica was hard up for cash at that time. I later sold the two M6 at a small profit and the two M7 for small loss.

My largest investments now: my two Sony A7; both bought at list, the first one sold at a huge loss and the replacement, the current one, will probably face the same destiny.

I also invested much more time, by far, in mastering the Sony, than I invested in the Leica.

No regrets.

My first digital camera, a Nikon D40X, was by far the most expensive camera I have purchased. It cost me around $950 with a refurbished 18-70mm lens. That lens was the kit lens prior to the 18-55mm lenses.

I like to keep my camera costs below $1000. So far I have and still like what I have purchased.

I bought a used Leica M4 with 50mm DR Summicron for $795 back in 1977, it was a lot of money for me since I was a graduate student and my monthly income was $700.

That is the only time in my life that I have spent a month's income on a camera. I still have the M4 but we are both nearly 40 years older.

The only film camera I bought new was my first, a Pentax Spotmatic F (M43 screw mount), along with 50mm and 135mm lenses, when I was 18. I put it in layaway, and it seemed like forever before I got to pick it up. Its successors were all bought used, and there were quite a few of them, all Nikon plus one used Leica M6 with 35mm Summicron.

My first digital camera, a Nikon D70, was the second camera bought new. With the 18-70mm zoom and a 35mm f/2 lens it came to around $13-1400. It was all the money I had at the time, but for several years before that I'd been living cheap and spending over half my take home income on film, processing, and printing, so the D70 was a welcome relief.

I bought some new cameras after that one (Olympus C-5050Z - a lovely camera which I still have somewhere - and Panasonic GF1), and used a long-term loaner Canon 5D somewhere in all that.

The biggest single outlay for camera gear, though, was the most recent one when I bought two X-t1s, some lenses, and a Ricoh GR. It sounds extravagant, and it is, but I was fortunate to have the funds and figured what the hell. I really hope this Fuji thing works out. So far, I'm trying to do it justice, rather than the other way round, so that's a good sign I figure.

Oh, that would be the Sigma SD1 Merrill (not the $8k first version... ahem) which I paid around $2300 for. A few years and no less than five Sigma lenses later (haha - no 3rd party options!) I prepared it for sale and found the shutter count was under 800 clicks. Not quite the Chamonix, but still something of a shelf queen.

My most expensive was my Canon 7D (the original version) and I use it a lot so it was a good investment. Second to that was a Wista Cherrywood 4x5 that I bought used from a guy in England. If I win the Powerball I'll happily buy your Chamonix full plate camera. :-) I'd like to get back into film with something I could make contact prints from. 4x5 is a bit small for that.

I sold my D700 and a bevy of lenses to finance a new Leica M9 which cost me a whopping AU$7200 for the body and then there were three lenses too. Ouch! I sold it for $5000 so the loss was more than the cost of the Fuji X-Pro 1 I subsequently bought!

However in the early days of digital the D100 was an exorbitant $4200 here in Australia and I bought one. I sold that for under $500 a few years later but it got plenty of use and took all the photos for an exhibition in 2005, so it was probably better value for money.

After that $1500-$2000 on a body seems pretty reasonable to me (I have a very understanding wife too) and I'm more than happy with the X-T1. I am not even remotely wealthy and I would actually be considered a low income earner, but it's what I want to spend my money on and the rest of my lifestyle is very frugal.

Reading these comments, it appears none of your readers have any money, Mike, including me! What we do have, though, is cameras. You consistently satisfy our need for knowledge and camera camaraderie, but I don't know how you manage to make a living doing it. (You can see I'm talking myself into buying a subscription.)

Regarding your comment on Leica, it seems like if Leica were purely in the photo gear business, rather than that of social status, those M bodies ought to be in, about, the $3000 range, and the lenses ~$1500-2000, say. If that were the case I'm quite sure a lot more of us would stretch our way to an M Monochrom and a lens - but, as you say, not the target audience . . . .

I bought a D600 when it was first introduced. The combination of weight and shutter debris put me off new full frame DSLRs for life. I now have a couple of older Fuji bodies (bought for the money I sold the D600 for, which was half of what I paid for it) and I finally feel comfortable with my gear.

Assume Mike is asking about individual, one off purchases.

For me, I think the most expensive "total"
one off purchase was going from 135mm colour slide film to digital.

Over the years since shall we say from the turn of the century 1990->2000 to now have spent easily C$35,000 + 13% sales tax on various digital photographic devices, and sold most of them, at a considerable loss.

Currently have a Nikon D750, and have picked up an earlier D series Nikon for a song, found that in a pawn shop and the proprietor was dense, $500.00 cash out the door. Works fine for me.

My friends who still (yes) shoot slide film (and pay upwards of C$50.00/roll for processing) are waiting to see how long it takes for me to become dis-satisifed with the D750; ditto my friends who use digital.

Think the cost factor is not so much the problem; I like colour slides; and images on a computer screen are not equal.
Maybe at age 70 am too old to want change?

The Chamonix 45N-II for $995-ish plus a couple of boards for Copal 0 and shipping. Not a lot of money - I'm Scottish.

As a fellow GAS sufferer, it was a GLOBESCOPE 360 panoramic camera for $1.500 in the early Eighties.

About $8600 including salestax for a Canon 1Ds in 2002 (?). That was after a D30 in 2000 and D60 in 2001 (?). Later Canon bodies were a 5D, 6D, some Rebel in there somewhere, and last year a 5D3 and then a 5DS.

Reflecting upon my previous comment, I would be interested to know how many cameras do other people have at any one time? I've always partly financed my purchases with the sale of previous equipment and have never owned more than three bodies at any one time (D100, 200 & 300 until I sold the first two a few months later), usually only one or two.

Easily my Nikon D800 for about 2500 euros brand new back in 2012. But I've used it ever since as my main camera; it has all sorts of things that could be improved upon, but the image quality is silky smooth and the lens selection is great. Some less expensive purchases didn't prove to be as good value.

My camera buying is weak in comparison.
The first camera that I purchased with the serious intention of learning photography was a Fuji X100 at the full $1200 price.

Later, I purchased an Olympus E-M5 for $1250 with kit lens, which was a good price at the time.

My latest purchase was a great deal: a Fuji X-T1 with 35mm 1.4 lens for $1500

Well, I bought my first one, a new Canon 300D for about $1300 with all of the other needed stuff. Once the Pentax 645D came out, I bypassed the full frame digitals from Canon and went for the 645D and two telephoto lenses. About $12,000, and I am happily using it. Though I am amazed at its asking price now without the lenses. Oh Well!

Mike,

I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to read the Featured Comments. An absolutely wonderful selection of diverse perspectives on the topic!

With thanks to all,
Adam

The Nikon D300 body---about the equivalent of $2000-2100 as I recall when I bought it in January of 2008. On the other hand, I paid about $350 for an Olympus OM1 and the 50mm 1.4 Zuiko in 1978. I don't know how much that would be adjusted for inflation, but I'd expect less than 2K.

[$1,284. Just Google "inflation calculator." --Mike]

D700 I bought used, ($1300) and I still regret selling it. Such a fabulous body!!

D700 which I bought at release to get back to FF with it's awesome, bright viewfinder and (to me) film-like files. I continue to love it but it has taken a back seat to the X-T1 which I picked up a little over a year ago because I grew tired of the weight of the 700. Now, I'm tempted to sell both and replace with the D750 & D5500. The former for most things and the latter for air travel. That D5500 is same size as the X-T1, has better ergonomics (for my hands), touch screen is really handy and I won't be carrying 3 batteries like I do with the X-T1 which usually picks a most inopportune moment to die that continues to frustrate me and is something I never experienced with any DSLR. In fact, the way I shoot I can usually go for days using one battery on the DSLRs I've had (D70, D200, D700) whereas I rarely get through a day with the X-T1.

Need any Fuji lenses....?

Also: 1/100th of a Euro is...a cent!

Best regards,
Adam

A Sony that used floppy disks. Now use a Sony RX100
that cost almost as much. I have been through several bigger and better, but always bought near replacement time, for about $800.00

US$5600 for a new D3 in 2008. Which I still have and use. And which to my amazement is also the RRP for the D5. Which I don't - um - need. Or want. Really.

$1500 for the Canon 10d, although I bought it with a lens that pushed the price over $2300. A total that was higher than the value of my car at the time. It was a good investment. It literally changed how I look at the world and my life hasn't been the same since. The car... not so much.

$550 for a brand new Olympus E-520, in late 2008. More money than I'd ever spent on a personal toy in my life! Breathtaking, really. I swore I'd run the thing into the ground before I'd replace it.

I didn't.
Not for lack of trying. I did get a lot of use out of it, and learned how little I care for DSLRs. The depreciation hurt, a lot, every time I'd check it's value, I'd put off selling it. It's sitting in my junk box right now, waiting for me to bring it to my buddy who is an ebay reseller. Waiting since September.

The really expensive part was all the detours I made trying to work around it's limitations: A point and shoot for movies. (250) An adapted lens and adapter. (180, 25) At least four film cameras (65, 89, 120, 112.) A portable flash. (65). Oh, and film and scanning. (175). So, I spent $1081, which would have been enough to buy the Panasonic G-1, or later, the GF-1, or the Oly E-P1, and a nice fast prime, and I still could have traded the darn thing in to boot.

Subsequently I learned about buying things used, and about asking for "half of a camera" from family members when they wanted to know what to get me for Christmas. All the cameras I've bought since have cost less, and been nicer. I'm spoiled for choice, so I can't complain.

Going with the earlier formula of cost as a percentage of net worth, I bought a beautiful, used Hasselblad system when I was eighteen years old, working for minimum wage in the early 1980s in Ohio. Got a loan, believe it or not. Then a year later bought a new Leica M4-P with a new 90 f/2 Summicron. Another loan. Combined, it totaled up to something like 60% of my net income. Rent took most of the rest. Tough times for me financially but I did lots of good work back then.

Nikon D2H when the price was "reduced" to $2000.00
that was a lot of money to me at the time. Still is -I don't think I will ever spend so much on a camera body again. Of course the Nikon F with tn finder, "everready case" and 50mm f1.4 "kit" lens I bought in 1969 seemed like a lot of money to me at that time. You know what, they both still operate just fine.Not that I'v put a roll of film through the F in a very long time. Now I use all my non ai, ai'd and ais lenses on my Oly m4/3 cameras. Lenses are forever!

I think the Minolta Maxxum 600si I bought in 1999 may just edge out my current Ricoh GR in current dollars. My next purchase will probably be an X-T10 or X-T2. Maybe an E-M2 if it comes with a sensible user interface.

Relative to means? Back in 1962, while stationed with the USAF on Baffin Island, I bought an Argus C3 at the Hudson's Bay store. I had to take out a loan with the Royal Bank of Canada, as the cost was about a whole month of my pay. That was my "good" camera (relative to Instamatic) until 1983, when I bought a Canon AE-1.

Relative to cost per image taken? A nice 4x5 Speed Graphic, that included a case, beaucoup film holders, and a couple film magazines, all for about $200, in 1986. Fewer than 40 images. Then I set it aside while taking flying lessons. (Photography isn't that expensive. It takes real money to put a plane into the air.) I loaned it to a relative who broke it, and finally sold it for peanuts about 10 years later.

Hmmm ... maybe the Kodak 2D 8x10 should get the honor? ONE paper negative. Camera also sold at a loss.

For me the Nikon FM 2 with 50mm 1.8 back in the late 70's is near the high point - I traded in a Minolta XG-7 for it.

Recently, I bought a used EM-1 for about $700 and the 25/45 1.8's for $500

Once I add a couple of Pro lenses I'll be close to $4 grand if I include all the other primes and stuff

Still beats my biking hobby which is over $10 grand right now

Chris

At the other end of the spectrum, the least expensive camera I've bought, used, and enjoyed was a mint Minolta Autocord CdS III that I picked up on eBay for a mere $79.50.

I ran at least 200 rolls of Fuji Provia and Astia through it until it broke and it was my gateway camera to formats larger than 35mm. (It is not clear to me whether this should be considered a pro or con, btw.)

An M9...ouch, that still stings. But I use it and enjoy it. And I sold an M8 to help pay for it.

Highest cost per exposure actually made? Wisner 5x7 Technical. On a per exposure basis it makes the M9 look like an Instamatic.

Canon 1Ds MkII when they first came out. About GBP 5000ish if I remember well. Crazy sum in retrospect but I was unmarried and could spare it. Too much emotional baggage now to pay for that again.

My most expensive camera was a Konica-Minolta 7D. I payed over 1000 euro for it. It was fantastic tool that time but very soon I got a sony a100 and due to the size difference it became my more frequently used camera. When I wanted to sell the minolta, the price on the used market was so low that I kept it. Now my brother is using it and takes fantastic pictures with it:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nikolausz_mihaly/
As a result, I made a resolution not to buy camera more expensive than 500 euro. My last purchase was a sony A6000.

Not counting lenses, my ALPA Max and Phase One P45 back is my most expensive camera purchase. I still own it, but tend to use the simpler ALPA TC with right side grip and a Hasselblad CFV50c. I use my school's Nikon D750 and enjoy it a lot, but I think $2,500 is a bit much to spend for it. Go figure!

Canon 7d for $750

I don't want to think about it... Cameras, lenses, lights, flashes, support systems, bags, memory cards, hard drives, computers and screens, printers, paper, ink, photobooks, frames, it has got to be lot.

How about all the trips where I spent more time lookimg at things through a pentaprism than just enjoying the view. Not to mention the self imposed pressure to get a good results from all that gear. Sometimes this hobby feels more like self flagellation... But somtimes, mostly by luck, I get a great shot and seems likes it's all worth it.

Do film scanners count? I paid about $5,000 if I recall correctly for an Imacon medium format film scanner to use to scan 6cm x 9cm Velvia slides from my Horseman baby view camera. I had it for about 3 years (good scanner but it took a lot of time to scan and touch up scans) until my son was born. About a year after my son was born I realized that I didn't have time to use a baby view camera and scan any more (hadn't used it in the year since he was born), and sold it at the same time the original Canon 5D came out. The Canon 5D at about $3,300?? was the most expensive camera I've bought, which I bought with the proceeds from the sale of the Imacon (I received about $3,000 for it, again if I'm recalling correctly). The sale of the Imacon and purchase of the Canon 5D was, collectively, the most cost effective and satisfying photographic transaction I've made, except that the images I took using the Horseman baby view camera in the approximately 5 years I owned it are still some of the best landscape images I've taken, many tens of thousands of digital captures later.

I bought a canon 5d3 when it was first released, $3,500. It still stands as the most refined digital camera I've ever used. Unfortunately I really did not like the files it produced, and I eventually sold it about 2.5 years later for a $1,200 loss. I still miss its handling, and which is much better than my current Nikon. But I don't miss the files.

My first camera was a Yashica Mat TLR, it took my total income for 6 weeks. Six "easy payments" of $5.00. I was in the 8th grade. Two rolls of Panatomic-X and two sleeves of Press 25 flash bulbs, shot at the neighbors wedding and I made my money back. Just to date myself, I splurged on the yellow box - it was 65 cents a roll. My usual was Agfa IF, for significantly less.


Arca Swiss 4x5 F-line view camera. 1999, it was either $2000 or $3000, really don't remember, but even at the lower number it's the most for a camera at a single pop.

In any case, I have the most money tied up in original prices of large format equipment I own. There's still some value in it on the open market, but as Mike's "single use device" can attest, finding the right buyer would take some time.

For me, it was the Canon D30. I waited until the price dropped to a "reasonable" $2,500, and then pulled out the credit card. It was my first DSLR. Interestingly, compared to all my other camera purchases--both film and digital--it was also my highest cost of ownership! I didn't use it nearly as much as I thought I would. Live and learn...

It's either a Leica M9P which cost $7,000 or a Leica M-P Typ 240 which cost $3,150 plus the M9P in trade in (corroded sensor upgrade program).

D810 ... But at

If you relate the cost of a camera to your income, my most expensive camera was a Kodak Bantam that cost $14. I bought it in 1941 when I earned about $0.25 an hour working part-time after school.


My Rolleiwide. In pristine condition, with proper viewfinder hood, case, lens hood, lens cap, and yellow and red Bay IV filters, all original. Cost? I'm just going to say 4-digits, and more than your Chamonix...

Giving me some gorgeous images too, I use it frequently:

Shoshone Falls Rolleiwide TMY-2 HC-110dilH 10min 21C 1minAg2x 2012-06 VSmac 9000 Scan-120830-0008

California chestnut trees Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek Rolleiwide Distagon RolleiRetro100(APX100) Rodinal 1-50 10min30sec 21C 30secAg2x 2013-10 VSmac 9000 Scan-131030-0007

In terms of actual dollars paid, it'd be my M9-P, which is worth every penny to me.

In terms of hardship, it would be my Nikon F3HP, bought when I was in college and partly financed by the sale of my Konica T4 and its autowinder and lenses. Getting into Nikon was a pretty big investment back then and in comparison to picking up the Leica later in life, much more "expensive."

And when you add in the cost of all the film and paper and chemicals and darkroom time, the F3 is crazy expensive compared to the digital Leica.

A Fuji X100T that I bought last year for about $1500, after adding various doodads to it. When my wife asked why I was getting another camera, I told her that I wanted to try something small to use as a travel/carry camera. "Great idea" she said; the trip that followed cost somewhere north of $20K.

I was an 'early adopter' of the Minolta A2 which cost me a whopping $1400 with the giant 256mb CF card which was an additional $140. The equivalent (actually better) camera now is about $399.

This thread sure makes me feel better, knowing that I'm not alone in my profligate spending on cameras. My most expensive camera purchase was my most recent (D810). I was going to say "last", but that would have been short-sighted.

I find camera purchases quite difficult, as I question, or rather, interrogate, my motivation until I'm worn down to the decision. So I prefer to forget the actual dollars paid, reasoning that it's pointless to go through pain twice for the one event.

A Cambo Wide DS 4x5, bought used around 2008 for AUD 4,000 to 5,000 with the 58mm Super Angulon XL lens and rotating 4x5 back, is my most expensive purchase. The mounted lenses are as rare as hen's teeth, so only months later I jumped on a package of three additional lenses offered at the same total cost. In recent years I've picked up another body and three additional lenses. So, with $20,000 invested, I am in deep.

However, the purchase totally transformed my photography and, indeed, my life goals. It enabled me to see architecture in a way I could not have imagined previously and opened me to a way of creating art. I've travelled with it from Australia to Turkey, Iran (twice), Spain (four times) and Morocco, and those trips have been major life experiences. So I would repeat the purchase without hesitation.

For me, photography has been a business proposition from the start (1977). Re: return on investment, my most-expensive camera body ever in terms of the fewest great images was my first SLR, a Pentax (ME, purchased new). Best ROI was also a Pentax film camera (645N, bought used 30 years later, seemingly the most intuitive film camera ever devised, regret selling it but got back nearly what I'd paid, last year, 8 years and countless great images later).
Biggest camera-body investment was in a digital body was a Nikon D300, which was also far and away the best ROI and most capable all-around camera I've ever owned. Bought it the first day it was out and it's still going strong.
Telephoto lenses have been the largest line-items, unless the laptops factor in (they really do, now).
Much as I liked simplicity of an all film and wet-chemistry workflow, once, I'm ambivalent about 4x5 and large format now. Got into it only after used cameras became irresistably inexpensive (2008). Color film costs were quite substantial, keeper rate adequately good, did miss lots of fleeting light situations, however. Sold cameras and lenses for so close to what I'd paid for them, it was like getting long-term free rentals but for S&H fees, and ownership issue of having to fix cameras/clean & time leaf shutters myself. Real cost to LF, though, is translating images into digital files for printing large enough to make 4x5 on up worthwhile vs MF film and especially DSLRs of today. Not just cost of scans $100+ for PMT drumscans), but hours of post-processing per image, too. No wonder there's an enormous glut of Pro LF gear.

I've paid over $1000 for cameras on 4 occasions.

1. Nikon F2 Photomic body with MD2 motor drive, battery pack & MF3 back.
2. Leica M6 with 50mm Summicron.
3. Leica M6 with 35mm Summicron.
4. Canon 30D body only.

The F2 outfit would be the most expensive in today's dollars. It's also the camera that has seen the most use and abuse among all those I've owned. By the time I sold it years later, it was dented, scratched and half the chrome and black paint had worn away. It was still more reliable than the newer F3 I had. The Leicas were used for several years and I sold them for more than I paid for them. The 30D was my first digital camera. I sold it and bought a used 50D. I still have the 50D.

I now buy only used digital bodies and used lenses to fit them. As cameras get more expensive, I get cheaper.

Nikon F3 HP, the best Nikon in 1984. I was really happy with that toy.

Wish I could remember the exact dollar amount spent on these cameras/lenses, but, unfortunately, I suffer from a rare syndrome known as photographus dollarus amnesia that blocks out such details. However, I am most certain that the most expensive cameras I've ever owned (and used extensively) are, chronologically: 1) Leica M6 with 35mm Summicron; 2) Mamiya M6 with 50mm f/4 lens (after I read Mike's glowing review of the camera, I could not resist - one touch, and I was sold!); and 3) Canon 5D Mark II with 24-105mm L lens. (As I'm sure is true with many others, there have many one night stands, trysts and other encounters with many less expensive cameras along the way - a couple very memorable, the vast majority soon forgotten.) While I loved the Leica, I wanted more, so sold it to purchase the Mamiya M6 (had both cameras for about 3 months - heaven and hell). Then sold the Mamiya to get the Canon. I never look back (part of the PD amnesia syndrome), always enjoyed the camera I was using tremendously. I've had the 5D for some time now (even went so far as to getting another after my first iteration was stolen from my car!), and while I toy with other cameras, and even occasionally cast a lustful glance at the new sleek designs, that 5D does all I want, the way I want it and with exactly the results I need. Can't ask more of a camera or really anything else. Once again, I am in heaven.

The 50D was my main camera until 2015. Body only, it was $1650 in 2008. It was only a fraction the red ring lenses I use.

Today the red ring lenses are on an A7.

By pretty much any measure (actual dollars, inflation adjusted, percentage of my income) it is my original Canon 5D. I didn't pay full price for it- if I recall, it came with about $600 of rebates at the time- but it still wins by a long shot. It was the only camera I could afford that met my needs at the time- shooting weddings and other odd photography jobs. However, it paid for itself many times over as my primary camera for the following 7-8 years... so even though it was the most expensive, it was also the cheapest.

Oddly enough, as time has gone by- my photographic needs have increased (mostly, I needed a better AF system than the 5D had) the cameras that have satisfied my needs have been MUCH less expensive than the 5D. Technology has advanced so quickly that vastly more capable cameras are significantly less expensive.

The only "expensive" camera that has even remotely tempted me recently is the Sony A7R II... but, I've almost completely stopped doing photo jobs (and mostly just shoot candids of my kids) and am having a hard time justifying the expense now, whereas 10 years ago with the 5D it was pretty easy.

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