« Open Mike: Spend Some Quality Time Multitasking | Main | Filming Mountain Climber Alex Honnold »

Monday, 02 January 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I would accept that 6-megapixel DSLR in a heartbeat, and it would get a lot of use -- especially on Tuesday afternoons. OK, I'm a special case: I'm the Camera Club sponsor at the middle school where I teach seventh-grade English. It's hard (maybe impossible?) for the kids to learn the shutter speed/aperture/ISO balancing act with our point-and-shoots, so anything with manual controls would be a big step up.

More to the point of your column: You are correct, and I would note out that the phenomenon you describe plays out all the way down the photographic food chain. Even the $200 camera a casual photographer bought two years ago seems hopelessly inadequate compared to the latest litter of $200 cameras.

Even ignoring gear lust, digital cameras have a limited life span in a way that film gear does not. They are more complex and delicate, with lots of controls and electromechanics, and of course you keep the same sensor permanently rather than change it out with every frame the way you do with film.

I am quite happy with my five year old Pentax K10d, but it's starting to show its age. The back screen is scratched; the on-off toggle is sticky and another button is occasionally unresponsive; and the dead and stuck pixels on the sensor have started to proliferate to the point where I don't even bother masking them out anymore unless they are obvious in the image.

So, yes, I too am starting to look at replacements — not because I want to upgrade, but because my current unit is slowly dying. Perhaps Ricoh will come out with a K-mount module for their GXR this year…

"So, yes, I too am starting to look at replacements — not because I want to upgrade, but because my current unit is slowly dying."

I've always said I'd still be using my K-M 7D if it still worked right...I don't know if that's actually true, but I would have liked having the chance to find out.


"If someone offered you a 6-MP DSLR for free, seven or eight years old but never been out of the box, would you accept it, and, importantly, would you use it? You know the high ISO performance isn’t going to be up to much. Start up will be lethargic. And you get more pixels in a decent smartphone these days."

Yes, for I know that a 2004 era Nikon D70, or 2006 era D40, or similar would out-perform a smartphone in every area (by far) and would have much, much, faster start-up time than a 2011 Olympus E-P3, would have superior ISO performance, superior dynamic range, and superior focus speed on moving subject or subject in poor light (than the E-P3). But I am comparing apples with oranges.

Still, I would take it with no hesitation. And I would use it, especially if it were D40 sized whenever I needed a smaller DSLR. Would I choose it over a 2008 D300? Not if I needed something the D300 has they they don't. Will I replace the D300 with the D400 or whatever comes out next? No. The D300 does everything I need it to do.

Then again, I ain't a professional, so I do what I want. Like compare apples with oranges.

You, sir, are allowed to have those new-gear urges (being a pro whose gear pays its keep).

For an amateur (such as me) I have found three things that help:

1. Belief in the wisdom of the Zen masters... "the farther you go down a narrow road, the wider it gets". I have disciplined myself to upgrading every third generation (or more) apart. To point, I just finished upgrading from my trusty D70s/D50 combo (ca. 2006) to a D7000/D3100 combo (the lens churn was more modest as lenses were where I'd put more of my very modest resources). The D7000 is my new "10-year" camera. I hope.

2. I have also sold my much-loved S90 and have no P&S's anymore.. all in the name of keeping a lean kit that gets maximal usage and anyways the DSLR's do better video (which was part of the justification for a compact).

3. The real secret: I also shoot film "on the side" with everything from Nikon FE2/FM2 to Pentax M42. I have found that satisfying an urge for "new", "different" and "buy it now" is more affordable if the object being truly, deeply, madly coveted is a modest roll of B&W film. Accordingly, I have disciplined myself to daydreaming about Kodak, Fuji and Ilford versus Nikon and Sigma.

An answer to your first question. I destroyed my Canon EOS 10D a month ago. 6mp, eight years old, real sketchy at ISO 800. I bought a Canon T2i to replace it. 18mp, ISO 1600 looks real nice to me, plus a whole bunch of nice features not found on the 10D. I love this new camera, and I am not looking back.

No, I wouldn't want that 8-year old camera. You're right; it should be capable of doing the job it did on day one, and those old 6MP DSLRs took some fine photos. But you're right on the other counts, too, and I feel no compelling reason to "settle". Fact is, my 6MP DSLR underperformed my previous film SLRs in some ways, most significantly, autofocus. I opted to focus my 85mm lens manually to avoid missing shots. The new 12MP successor (made by Sony instead of Minolta) was a revelation. ISO 1600 went from iffy to perfectly acceptable for my tastes, and ISO 3200 became the new ISO 1600. (I shoot 40% of my shots at or above ISO 1600, so this isn't a trivial concern). And most importantly, the autofocus was vastly improved. Four years later, all I really wanted in a new camera was a quiet shutter. I appreciate other improvements, but that was the feature that had me looking.

I've printed a 20"x30" from my 4-year old camera, taken at ISO 400 and, I think, cropped a smidgeon. I remind myself of that when the I hear the siren song of a $2000 5D-II.

But I agree with your sentiment; sometimes there's no need to fix what isn't broken, and sometimes good enough is good enough, but sometimes a new product just really demands your attention. (I also have a Sony NEX-5, which is an ok casual use cameras; I understand the ways in which the 5n is better, but feel no urge to think seriously about it, but the NEX-7 is a doozy of a camera - I have tried it in person).

I am happily using an old Fuji S2 Pro. When I first obtained it, this camera (arguably) had the best image quality of any camera made. It held up its high image quality for quite a few years.
I admit I was about to buy a D7000, before I was laid off, however the Fuji still can produce 13x20 prints that look great, and sell...
In short, I may buy a complementary camera, but I can't see myself getting rid of my Fuji.

Actually I would be quite happy to have back my old Pentax ist DS 6mp DSLR camera. It did so much of what I need and had some features we don't always find in today's wonder cameras.

I have a a beautiful Canon D30 (that's the original D30 3mp camera not a 30D) in near new condition that does most of what I need if I do my part. I also have an original Canon 5D that meets all my birding needs (its primary use) but of late I have been delving into the much smaller digital camera world re: the Olympus E-Pen series. I find I use them the most these days because they are small and light and I carry them with me everywhere (reflect on the cliché that the camera you have with you is the one you will use). They are with me always these days. Recently I have bought into the even smaller Pentax Q system. Impressive for its size and what it provides in such a tiny package.

Needless to say I am not a pro photo geek so the latest heavyweight pro gear out there isn't what I need, it is a matter of what fits with what I shoot, which is light weight gear for a person constantly on the move. In my case the Canon 1DIII is a boat anchor. A fabulous camera but, none the less, a boat anchor. To those that need it, well I'm sure it is a needed tool but I feel sorry for them... but then again I presume they have staff to haul all the weight around.


Awesome post...partly because I love Canon...and the 1DIII...and I still sometimes use my 10D, 20D and 5DMk1. ...but such an honest assessment of the reality of camera tech upgrades as the pertain to "the overriding input device". Sooo true.

It's very seductive: the new piece of gear. All those new features, bells and whistles.

But the rub is: there's always a learning curve, and often new equipment to support it's use.

When it comes to workflow, I'm yet to find the equal of Pixmantec's Raw Shooter Pro. It provides me the necessary and sufficient set of features. But not for my Pentax K-7: it came out after Raw Shooter was purchased by Adobe, and discontinued. So although the K-7 is a delight, and has worked flawlessly for a number of years, it's a bit like the curate's egg.

Funnily enough, I'm just about to return my dream camera, after something of a bad run, with equipment failures. By contrast, my first dSLR, the 6MP Pentax *istD, still functions happily, and is my backup. (Well it is due another CLA.)

I still own and use my old Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n. It is still the only camera I trust fully in hard summer sunlight. My friends call the camera the Fat Bastard. When they see the pics, they shut up. If I had the opportunity to get a good used (6 mp I think) 760, I'd snap it up.

The new DSLRs, even though I own them, have too much junk on them for my liking. I'd give my eye teeth for a digital Nikon FM with no crap on it, but with he need to sell whiz bang bells and whistles, I doubt if that would ever happen. The Kodak has limitations. With the original batteries, the camera can get gently warm after 12 jpegs. Still, I live the thing.

Happy New Year BTW ;-)

I'm still using a 6 megapixel DSLR. In fact, if someone offered me an 8,10 or 12 megapixel DSLR for free, I'd take it. I don't see the need for 18 or 21 megapixels, as I rarely print larger than 8 by 10, and usually just use my photos for wallpaper on my PCs.

So, anyone who wants to dispose of an ancient digital camera, email me.. ;)

Well I'm not tired of my Leaf Aptus 75S and ive had it since May, 2008. Coming up on four years I'm not even tempted to trade it up to the 80 megapixel version. Why you say ? Simple no dough.

But I am thinking about a cheap 4x5 like an old Calumet CC-400 and one lens probably a 210mm. Why you ask ? There's just no digital camera that makes as pretty a picture when conditions are just right. And 4x5
is fun !

Having just edited several old 6MP files from 10D, I was amazed by how bad the image quality was. 5D2 file are definitely easier to edit. The same is true for having live view option vs. depending only on the viewfinder. Each picture taking opportunity is unique, so it makes sense to use the best possible gear to take the photos.

Of the DSLRs I've owned, my favorite and the one I still occasionally use is the Olympus E-1. Only 5 Mpixel, lethargic is too kind for the write speed, ISO 800 is about the highest I like to shoot with it ...
But it is such a sweet camera in the hand, so quiet and smooth, so responsive to the shutter, and those are the nicest 5 Mpixels I can imagine.

I've moved away from using DSLRs mostly, I've gone to the much smaller, lighter, quieter mirrorless TTL bodies, but I will hang onto my E-1 and enjoy it for years to come. It's a digital SLR classic already.

While you're right, I don't think you will be in a few years. Let me explain...

I had a D70 back in the day, and I replaced it as soon as I could. I had to switch to a Canon 20D, but I got better resolution and much better high ISO and autofocus. I was glad to trade up, but I continued to be frustrated.

I eventually got a Nikon D700, and for once felt that I was free of compromise. The D700 gave me resolution that seemed better than my experience with film, high ISO that was amazing, and better than any film, and AF like I'd never seen. Best of all, it had a full frame chip.

Now, almost 4 years later, I have no interest in replacing the camera. Soon there will be a body with better everything... Resolution, noise, AF, etc. but I won't care. I have yet to encounter a situation where I want or need anything more than I have. When the next camera after that comes, I won't care then either. 12MP and easily usable ISO 6400 *is* really all I need.

7 years ago, cameras were still in pursuit of being genuinely good enough. They could do great things, but they involved compromises one wouldn't care to make today. 3 1/2 years ago, cameras got there, at least for me. And in 3 1/2 years, I'd gladly take that D700. I plan to still be using mine. I'll replace it, to be sure. But where I replaced my 3 previous DSLRs because I found them lacking, I'm certain I'll replace the D700 only when it dies and I absolutely have to.

I would take it, make a picture of the box with my old Pentax and post it on FB to tell everyone I have one ...

I love digital photography. I hate digital cameras.

With the technology continually evolving, there is always the need to upgrade at some point, although I am still shooting with a Canon 40D.

In 1981, I bought a Minolta XD7, XD11 in the US, and it gave me 25 years of good service, including several years as a press photographer, shooting in all weathers. I covered football, soccer for American readers.

I remember pouring water out of the camera when I came to unload the film after an evening game at Gigg Lane, Bury, when it rained continually for the duration of the match. I left the camera to air out overnight and it functioned perfectly the next day. I doubt my Canon 40D would survive such an ordeal.

I echo the person who longs for a digital Nikon FM. I would happily settle for the digital equivalent of my old Minolta but not one made by Sony. I like my cameras made by camera companies not firms who make TV sets.

You probably think I am old school. Wrong. I am from the school they tore down to build the old school. Old Larry Sanders joke but still a good one.

I'm also looking forward to the full frame DSLRs that should finally be announced this year (somebody please make a top notch 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 to stick on the camera), but if someone gave me a new Olympus E-1 for free, I wouldn't regift it. They're nice cameras in the way an old, classic film camera is nice, if similarly a bit long in tooth. I'd use an E-1 mainly for the internet rather than for prints, though, because of the low pixel count.

"The D700 gave me resolution that seemed better than my experience with film, high ISO that was amazing, and better than any film, and AF like I'd never seen. Best of all, it had a full frame chip. Now, almost 4 years later, I have no interest in replacing the camera."

Oh, man, I'm takin' names. I want to know what you say AFTER the D800 comes out. It's easy to say you don't care to replace the D700 when it's still the current camera...but let's see what tune you're whistling when the web is awash in reviews and sample pictures from the D800 as well as glowing, excited, self-satisfied tributes from all the early adopters. [g]


I bought Canon 350D (8Mpx) in 2004 and I still prefer the photos I produce with it to most of the photos I get with my GF1/20mm. Now with the 600D Im itching a little to upgrade. Why? Not the 18Mpix or the tilting screen or the 1080p/24 video.. no, because of the built in wireless control (oh, and a decent auto-ISO implementation, which my GF1 is also lacking).

The advances in software are at least as dramatic as the advances in cameras.

My Canon 1ds makes much better photos than it did when it was new. Well come to think of it , the photos I took with it in 2004 look better now as well.

I did have to stop using it regularly after it tore up my shoulder because it's so heavy. It's fallen of the roof of a pickup truck and been slammed into taxicabs when I'm riding my bike in traffic while wearing it and it still works about as well as it ever did.

Good story, well told.

One of the things that comes through here and in comments is the extent to which different digital cameras indeed have their quirks, separate from the headline stats like megapixels. I recently was re-editing some of my old 20d photos, and with modern software and more editing experience, it was like having a new camera, retroactively (thank heavens i shot raw). But as amazingly good as those files still are, they are brittle and washed out compared to my 5d2. And as stupedous as the 5d2 still is, it can't compare to my m9, especially not in harsh sunlight. Such specifics, and of course even mor the differences in handling, are now the qualities i choose cameras based on.

Which is kind of a luxury, considering all the qualities which are 'good enough.'

As they say in Germany: "The best is the enemy of the good"...

That being said, I am still very happy with my Nikon D70. I was literally the first in my country to get one :-) When I do portraits of the kids, I'm still amazed at the sharpness and detail that I get from the AF-Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8 at ISO 200 and studio flashes.

Yes, High ISO could be better, so I *do* consider getting a D7000. But only when the D8000 comes out, so I can get a D7000 for less than the current 1.600 USD (equivalent)

It is amazing, how much money the question "How would this piece of kit improve my photography ??" has saved me :-)

"..It's easy to say you don't care to replace the D700 when it's still the current camera...but let's see what tune you're whistling when the web is awash in reviews and sample pictures from the D800..."

I'm planning to avoid listening for at least six months. LA LA LA LA LA LA LA....(breath)...

Seven years ago, I bought the 12 MP Sigma-built Kodak DSC/c. Three years later, I sold it because of its many quirks for a Canon 5D.
But even now, when I have the 5D2, I wish I had the /c back for its incredible IQ and acutance when everything was just right.
Oh why couldn't Kodak stay in business and incude its superb sensor in better built cameras (below the price point of the Leica M 9)?

Well over four years ago, I bought a Canon 400D.

Then nearly three years ago, I bought (at Mike's urging) a Leica M3. A bit over a year ago, I bought a second one.

Since that camera is now nearly 60 years old, and has over 10 newer models, none of which really interest me, I feel quite safe.

I'm just one of those people who prefer film. Not because it's better, or `pure', but because, in a similar way that Mike can't shoot B&W with a color-camera, I'm very bad at photography with a digital camera. Knowing I can instantly check, and have endless `do-overs' blocks the part of my brain that can actually get a picture right.

I use the 400D for those things where digital is clearly superior (Which for me means stuff that requires AF, stochastic photography and product shots), and for the rest, it's the M3. (Neopan 1600 is remarkably similar to ISO 1600 on the Canon, BTW).

But I don't make money from my photography, I spend it on it, so I'm not in the same boat you are in, but on an entirely different river.

...gotta say, the thing that hits home about this entry is the stuff about the auto-focus...having been weened on Canon auto-focus, I made the mistake of buying a Nikon digital last time because I thought the 'specs; were better. The D-slr I have, has the LEAST intuitive auto-focus of any camera I've used in 20 years. The attributes of auto-focus Roger put on to the MkIII over his 5DMkII, is what I'd say about the 5DMkII over any of the Nikon D-slr's I've been able to use.

When I used to use Canon stuff, I'd leave all the focus points on, and the the camera just seemed to magically pick the thing I wanted in focus, this was without their 'eyetracking' gimickry too. The Nikons I've used seem to be the spawn of gremlins or something. I can have a frame 7/8ths filled with people for a group photo, and the auto-focus is pinging on the bridge abutment in the far back corner...wha? Turn on the focus selection mode, and nothing on the screen seems to have to same sensitivity as the center point.

I'm actually so in hate with this thing, I can barely stand to use it and have felt like just getting the discounted Canon T2i amateur camera to shoot with because I know it'd be better....

"I would happily settle for the digital equivalent of my old Minolta but not one made by Sony. I like my cameras made by camera companies not firms who make TV sets."

Would you perhaps consider getting a digital camera made by a camera company that uses sensors made by a company that makes TV sets?


Take my name! For the D800, I'm hearing 36MP, great noise performance, and at least the AF performance I already have, plus video etc etc. Don't get me wrong, if someone said I could upgrade at no cost, I'd do it in a heartbeat (even then perhaps only if offered a free external hard drive to handle files 3-times larger). But I love my D700, and it really has been exactly the camera I always wished I'd had when I bought my D70, and ever since. In my D700 I really have "all the camera I'll ever need." Could I benefit from more? Perhaps, yet not certainly for my work. But I know to a certainty that as far as my hobby (and occasional occupation) is concerned, I'm getting all that I need from my D700.

Actually, I'm surprised to hear that you, of all people, are surprised at my statement. You say you'd still be using your K-M 7D if it hadn't died. I'd never have said that: it would have failed to meet all that I wanted from a camera, as did my Nikon D70, EOS 20D, and Pentax K20D before it. The D700 has yet to offer me less than I want or need. Unless I suddenly start getting more paid DSLR work that would benefit from more resolution, I can't see it phasing me. And since 2/3 of my "DSLR work" in the past 2 years has been time-lapse video work, and since the D700 is a better-than-4k camera for time-lapse work, I don't see any professional reason for me to upgrade, and certainly no hobbyist reason. I paid a bit more than I could afford for my D700 when I bought it, trusting that it would finally be the camera I wanted from a DSLR. Amazingly and surprisingly, it has paid for itself. It hasn't once faltered in meeting my needs, and shows no sign of stopping, regardless of how awesome and desirable the next generations of cameras are.

I trust Thom Hogan's view (in response to a question I emailed him about slide quality versus Nikon D200 quality when considering which Nikon DSLR to buy to replace my Nikon film SLR). My D200 is better for me than slide film, and without the processing costs and time.

It doesn't not do anything I want it to do, the images are better than I ever got from slides, it works, I know how it works, I know where the buttons are by feel and how many clicks to the left or right to change a setting, the battery still gives me more than 500 shots. I can't think why I would want to change it.

If it did break beyond repair, I'd buy the nearest (in function) equivalent, paying more attention to button location and function than to the sensor. If I could find a new in the box Nikon D200 I'd probably buy that.

Nikon must hate me, note giving them my money every 2 years.

Not that someone gave me a 2004 camera and I had to consider using it - I bought one myself: the famous Epson R-D1. It has a 6 mpix sensor that was common those days, but Epson somehow managed to make it sing, even more with Lightroom 3.x.

Ok, the Epson has a slow startup time, but not worse that the new PENs or the Leica M8. But the DSLRs from that time, like the Nikon D70 and D50 (which I used back then) were as good as the newest offerings, i.e. instant. And I think that more important than startup is the implementation of the sleep mode, which was perfect from Nikon and Canon back then, bad from Olympus - and they didn't get it right till now.

So the amateurs (or street photographers) perspective on this is different than the pros. And with the new Lightroom you get kind of a new sensor. And I have no connections to Adobe, it's just that LR saves you a lot on new hardware - computer and cameras.

Btw, "You probably think I am old school. Wrong. I am from the school they tore down to build the old school." from Calvin Palmer is pricesless, thanks for a big grin!

I have a 6-year-old 6MP DSLR that I use a lot. But I did have one part of it changed: It now shoots IR.

"For three years, no new camera release, or rumoured release, could pique my interest."

If you compromise, you will always be looking for something better. If you buy what you want, you will stop looking. It works for cars too.

The issue is, that it is not so long ago that a digital camera could rival a film camera in all aspects. Image quality was fine, but the usability of digital cameras was horrible, especially if you did not fancy to look like a "pro" and haul those monstrous DSRL cameras. For me, digital cameras were always some sort of unpleasant compromise between the convenience of digital workflow and the shortcomings of the camera. I always missed the simplicity of my old M6..

Recently, I bought the GF1, for 150eur off of ebay, and found a similar good deal on the 20mm lens. And for the first time, it feels "good enough", like using a "real" camera. I think the Sony NEX7 would come even closer, but the GF1 suits my needs just fine. For now, the gear lust has paused.

"Oh, man, I'm takin' names. I want to know what you say AFTER the D800 comes out. It's easy to say you don't care to replace the D700 when it's still the current camera...but let's see what tune you're whistling when the web is awash in reviews and sample pictures from the D800 as well as glowing, excited, self-satisfied tributes from all the early adopters."

You can take my name, Mike :) I bought a D3s as my first DSLR after years of shooting film with an F4 and scanning the film for post-processing. Although I've carried a compact digital camera around for years as an ever-present companion for fun photos, the film and scan combination gave me the size and quality of prints I wanted for better work. The D3s provides enough size and quality under any conditions without the time-consuming process of scanning. As you know well, good photos have more to do with the photographer's mind and eye than the equipment used to take the image. I doubt I'll be tempted by any other camera until the D3s finally dies after (what I hope will be) a long and busy life.

I'll step up and claim that I will not buy a D800 until at least a year into its life, but probably two.

I did the same with the D700 (and I was holding a D200) so I see no reason why I won't make it. The only reason I jumped sooner on the D700 was that the D200 was arguably the worst of the smaller "pro-ish" Nikon bodies.

I might buy a Nikon 1 though. Those little cameras shoot fast and handle nicely.

All I can tell you is this: the more I use my Sony a900 and the incredible 135/1.8 lens, the more I appreciate and love the simplicity of my very used M6 that was given to me by my late father.

I am one of many who are very happy with the 5 megapixel Leica Digilux 2. These days it sells for around $450 which is a real bargain. The lens on that camera is soooo good
Even a professional photographer as Thorsten Overgaard still uses it alongside his Leica M9.

Maybe not a 6mp 7 year old DSLR, but I have a 6 1/2 year old EOS 5D Mk 1 that still gives a good account of itself.

"Oh, man, I'm takin' names. I want to know what you say AFTER the D800 comes out. It's easy to say you don't care to replace the D700 when it's still the current camera...but let's see what tune you're whistling when the web is awash in reviews and sample pictures from the D800 as well as glowing, excited, self-satisfied tributes from all the early adopters."

This is what I'm afraid of. With a rumored 36 mp (can't say I actually would want this level of resolution, definitely don't need it) for many it may very hard to ignore the MP call. I want exactly the same thing that Rodger wants, I would take even less, 12 MP D3s sensor with dual cards in a D700 size body. While I appreciate the build level of the D3s I would appreciate the weight loss.

Great article!

"If someone offered you a 6-MP DSLR for free, seven or eight years old but never been out of the box, would you accept it, and, importantly, would you use it?"

Darn straight I would take it, so fast the offering party might be in danger of losing a finger or two.

I'm largely a black and white film shooter these days, but something like a D70 would be the ideal camera for chasing my 18 month-old granddaughter around and would be perfect for my wife to use as her main camera.

I used one at work for a few years and had no problem with the speed (no start up lag at all) and even with a nasty slow Sigma 18-55 it could still autofocus without the AF assist lamp in light I could barely frame a shot up in, if there was anything contrasty to point it at.

The flash sync is something else too. 1/500th "official" x-sync, but put on a non-dedicated flash or cover the communication contacts and it'll sync at any speed.

My only complaint about the camera is the appalling viewfinder. It really is awful. I could live with that.

Arguably, my image quality didn't improve technically (except for my improved darkroom printing skills) from 1964 when I started shooting TRI-X in a Bolsey 35 until about 2003 (when my TRI-X shooting dropped off a cliff). Some people are still happy with that image quality today...but I am not.

(I got fairly fast lenses from very close to the beginning, so that isn't an "improved over time" thing in my history. Auto-focus got me pictures I didn't get as reliably previously, but doesn't really get me technically better photos.)

I'm still pretty happy with my D700, which I've now had longer than any other piece of digital photo gear. Lifespans are improving. I got an S2 as my first DSLR, and it was very good for the time. But I upgraded that to a D200 for the flash and AF performance, and then upgraded to a D700 for the high ISO (without sacrificing AF).

Accepting for purposes of discussion the Nikonrumors.com specs for the D800, it's not any sort of a replacement for the D700. I don't think it will do what my D700 does as well as the D700 does. But we'll see.

The question you ask is akin to What is the meaning of life.
Yes we are bombarded at times with all the new bells and whistles but where do you stop.
For me well i would never turn down this camera. Even if you could use it to train someone else or use it your self, i am a firm believer in usage. I thought my pictures were great out of my first point and shoot until i got my Canon 5D MKII.
I prefer to wait eighteen months before i buy and by then hopefully any problems will be ironed out by the manufacturer.
Kind regards

I'll be sending in my two Epson R-d1s for maintenance to Japan this month. 6mp... 1.7 crop factor... m-mount ... and a fantastic picture making machine. Love and Kisses from the Luddite.


"I'm also looking forward to the full frame DSLRs that should finally be announced this year (somebody please make a top notch 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 to stick on the camera), "

Em, isn't that the 5DMkII, 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 - or did I miss something? Go for it - you won't be disappointed. I just wish they would make a FF DSLR the size of an OM1, or even a Nikon F3... or even a Canon AE-1

After three more or less happy years with a Canon Rebel XSi, the specs of their new 60D seduced me. Pentaprism instead of mirrors, electronic level indicator (I HATE off-level landscapes), and an articulating screen were features that I really craved. (I was never unhappy with "only" 12 MB, but 18 would be better.)
I hated the 60D. The Interface and ergonomics were medieval compared to the SXi. None of the "improved" features turned out to be really usable.
Since I had given my XSi to my nephew, I ordered a Rebel 2Ti (the replacement for the XSI) and have never been happier.
Newer was definitely not better for me. Back to the Future!

A good photographer can compensate for a great deal... when I use a D3s at weddings, it's akin to cheating, no, I don't like the feeling.

I can shoot a wedding in my sleep with that camera.

Takes all the sport out of it.

Take my name then! I'm trying to get enough saved to buy another D700 before they are all gone!

For me this article perfectly illustrates the first point the writer makes: enough is enough. That photo he shows, the one that made him itch for new camera shows the bride in darkness except for one weirdly shining tooth (at least on my monitor). It simply is not a prize worth winning. Enough is enough. Your gear disease just won't let you admit it.

The total lack of interest I have in replacing my 1Ds mk lll, is matched only by the total lack of funds to do it.

Not having the necessaries is the mother of satisfaction

All digital cameras are disposable cameras. That said, given the choice of giving up my brand new X100 or my pair of Nikon D40 bodies, I'd keep the Nikons because I'm still getting better (meaning: more to my liking) color out of them than I've seen from anything with a CMOS sensor. And I am a "latest and greatest" type in most all other areas of consumer technology. We've been at the "good enough for most purposes" point with digital for a long while now; I expect certain "vintage" digital camera characteristics will start being prized by some photographers just as certain film characteristics have always been.

New gear is always tempting and I love where digital photography is headed (smaller, faster, more features etc), but I still shoot with my 6mp Nikon D50...it's my only DSLR in fact. It has terrific ISO performance at its limit of 1600 and I've gotten beautiful 16x20 prints from it...so yes I would take a good 6mp DSLR. So while the allure of the latest and greatest is always hard to resist, it just doesn't make sense to spend the kind of money that new gear demands when the "old" gear still performs very well.

A few years ago when the digital camera craze was young and very confusing, one thing was clear since the beginning: Photography and everything related to it was deeply changed forever. The first thing I noticed was that the life span of cameras was shortened to a fraction.

Because I've always lusted for the latest and the best (two things that are not necessarily the same), my life was always a dilemma in progress. In the film era, I usually went for the best. I didn't mind paying the premium because it was a long time investment. Good for decades.

In the digital age with cameras that are surpassed every 3 years, my decision is for "the latest" and to forget "the best". This simplicity keeps me sane. I know I'm going to buy a 5DMkIV in 3 or 4 years because it will be easy to sell my MkII to buy a MkIII and so on. The lost is unimportant after all the money saved in film and processing. However, the huge starting price point of the 1Ds Series camera would make this cycle much harder to achieve. The same applies to DB's, only harder.

I loved my 10D, my first dslr. I made memorable pictures but I just imagine being stuck with it and lusting for more mp's, a bigger LCD, Live View, an articulated screen, etc, etc. Unbearable!

Not a fan but it is easier to use Facebook than not use it. The same goes for the 3 year digital camera cycle.

I've learned that there are 2 kinds of cameras in the world:
1) Cameras that consistently deliver excellent results, but are a pain to lug around.
2) Cameras that are easy to take wherever, but don't deliver the goods.

Some day, somebody is going to figure out a way to combine those, and I can finally start tuning out new camera announcements the way I do new computer or cell phone ones.


I admit it. I gave in to the lust. I succumbed. I'm weak. I love the new gear. It's fun. Even if I don't need it and I'm never going to use all of its capabilities, I'll want to see where it may take my photography. I'm honest enough to admit thee only reason I ever say I don't need a new camera (or that the one I have is "perfect") is that I can't afford it.


Thanks for introducing a few twists in the usual GAS-bashing. Some other problems that come to mind are:

1) "you can take great photos on a 1970s pentax with nothing but a 50mm lens" - yes, but they'll look like things you can make with nothing but a 50mm lens, like things the camera forced you to make, screaming "budget!!" and limiting your ability to shoot what *you* want.

2) If you specify a desired minimum print-size and image-size for the next decade, you can achieve it using a vast number of frames on your 2MPel smartphone if you want (using stitching, enfuse, et al) - but you'll get there a darned sight faster & easier if you have a sensor with that native resolution in the first place (and you won't have the same multiple-exposure subject-motion concerns).

3) A new twist, for me: feature-*retention* across upgrades. Example: I'm oogling the NEX-7 for its much better sensor and focus-peaking. But my GH2 currently has 3 custom modes (which I've set to b/w square, triple-shot bracketed HDR and long-exposure-low-ISO), and I've customized the grid-line intersection point closer to golden-mean instead. So now the putative change-up is full of worries what ergonomic delights I might lose, as well.

I miss my old 20D. The 60D, modern marvel that it is, sits unused.

"Em, isn't that the 5DMkII, 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 - or did I miss something? Go for it - you won't be disappointed. I just wish they would make a FF DSLR the size of an OM1, or even a Nikon F3... or even a Canon AE-1"

I've considered it, but without going into all of the details, the kit didn't seem like good value (even now at reduced price). If I shot video, things would be totally different.

Surely the point is that no gear upgrade will make you a better photographer, you'll just be taking the same photographs only at higher resolutions with fast AF, lower noise etc.

But they won't be better photographs because you're investing in the tools rather than the skills of the operator.

My advise, keep your current camera and invest the money instead in your skills. Become a better photographer and your existing equipment will magically have been upgraded! And a further benefit is that the upgrade lasts for life...

There's lots to do with a light weight 6 mp camera. They make a pretty good travel camera for casual shooting compared to, say, the weight of D700 with a pro zoom.

But, the truth is that I just had my Nikon D70s transformed by Lifepixel into an infra red camera. It was sitting idle way too much. To big to be a point and shoot, too slow to be be used in tough light.

6 megapixels can still look pretty good, in the right light. In a recent show, my fiance took second place landscape, 19 x 13 inch print, taken with that same D70s before its sex change.

But will I give up the D700 or D300 for a brand new D70s? Nope. That's why the D70s had to get a make over, to become attractive enough to get back in the game.

Neil Youngson: you'll just be taking the same photographs only at higher resolutions with fast AF, lower noise etc..

There is no "just" about those. Just as editing is a part of photography, so are those attributes. Or are you really telling me that a perfectly composed photo is no better for also having lower noise?

Become a better photographer and your existing equipment will magically have been upgraded!

OK, hands up, everyone. Who here has *EVER* felt that? With citations, please.

Although I'm hearing a call of Pentax K-5 and it's excellent high-ISO, I must say I really like my K20D - for me, due it's bigger size, it handles significantly better than K-5. K20D high ISO is much worse than K-5's output, but I found I prefer K20's grainy look - it have "filmish" look without post-processing.

I will be upgrading, that's for sure, but not that soon - my film kit, lenses and my darkroom are way higher on priority list.

No, faster AF and faster sequence shooting makes me a better photographer in certain areas.

Talk to some sports shooters (which is not my core competence, so I'm not an authority). I think any honest one among them would tell you that the best sports shooter of 1975 with a manual-focus camera would come out poorly compared to an average sports shooter with a modern AF camera. (The 1975 expert with manual focus might well beat me with modern AF, however; the photographer remains highly important!) (Yes, I know that in a lot of areas a really good sports shooter can time his shot more accurately than sequence shooting will get it for him.)

i have abandoned the acquisition program. Use P/S digital for my assignments as mostly for internet and small prints 11x14.Still busy with film and shall return to darkroom for B/W after seeing how slow scanning can be..
i'd use and old but new DSLR. Heck i'd use an old, hard used DSLR! Adding new equipment is so wasteful. The whole thing about new,newer,newest, still on drawing board, in some technician's dream is becoming an illness.Go to go..Making photos..

Here's a good time to look at the statement, now that the Nikon D4 is out. Somehow, I don't see many D3S owners here upgrading. Most of the D4 upgrades are for video. Unless there are a lot of videographers here?

One of the quickest ways to become a worse photographer is to enter the ever buying cycle of "better, newer" cameras.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007