Reader Robert Roaldi wrote (in the discussion of the E-M1 Mark II's unprecedentedly high price): "I'll make another comment about pricing. People's complaints about prices are most often arbitrary. I know people who balk at spending $10 on a JPEG of themselves competing at a bike race, after spending $5,000+ on a racing bike and accompanying gear.
"Speaking personally, I wish some prices would stay high. If Apple had kept the licensing price of Aperture high, like it was when first released, they might have be able to make the case for continuing pro support for it, instead of racing to the bottom with its price prior to abandoning the product altogether.
"We are not better off because the price of Aperture went south. My original license for it cost a little over $200, and the last time I bought an upgrade it was about $80. I would gladly have paid the difference of $120, and more, if it meant that they continued support and development for it. That $120 difference is chicken feed.
"I honestly don't understand why people think that inexpensive is always good. Another unrelated example is air travel. It used to be fun, then they deregulated the industry, sort of, air fares dropped, and now flying is the most obnoxious way to travel, an ordeal to endure that has come close to ruining my past two vacations. Instead of pleasant memories of a trip, the first thing that comes to mind is the lousy flight home."
Mike comments: Gas stations too. I would love to pay a little more to have cheerful attendants pump my gas, clean my windshield, and check my tire pressure every time I pull in—being waited on is a pleasant luxury—and provide the nation's teenagers with entry-level jobs. (I refuse to help put the nation's checkout clerks out of work by scanning my own groceries.) "Sometimes you get what you pay for," as the saying goes.
Back in the '90s, one of my watchwords, often repeated, was "you can never spend too much on the lenses you use most!" Back then it was common for people—even enthusiasts—to carefully select and save for the best possible camera body, and then skimp on the lens for it. Back in the film era that made even less sense than it does today.
Of course, that landscape has changed now. Good lenses still matter with digital sensors, but direct comparisons are much more difficult to make; certain properties of lenses (such as "vignetting" and, to a lesser extent, geometric distortion) that were formerly flaws in lenses can now be corrected in software; and manufacturing tolerances and standards have improved to a remarkable degree, resulting in a "bunching at the top," another way of saying that there's less difference now between the best lenses and merely good ones, to the point where I really question spending thousands of dollars on the highest quality lenses. I've had a $5,000 Leica lens in the house for years now—not mine; long story—and I trot it out to try it every now and then, but it's just not detectably any better than my usual $650 Fuji (that's the sale price effective right now—it's $250 off). Now we really can spend less money on lenses. But aren't we glad that we can still spend as much as we want to? I am.
Speaking of Aperture, another class of event to complain about is when a huge megacompany buys a small company because the small company was unusually successful, then kills all or most of the products because they're not profitable enough. (Why does the word "Nik" come to mind there?) But maybe that's a different subject.
Another of my old watchwords, still true today I think, is that photographers should just spend as much as they need to on their cameras. Yet another common aphorism in that context: "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."
(Thanks to Robert)
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Ed Hawco: "My guide for (usually) deciding to buy the more expensive item is based on how much swearing I want to do. I can swear when I pay for it and never swear again, or I can not swear when I pay for it but swear every time I use it."