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Monday, 28 January 2019


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I think veterinary care is considered superfluous to many. Having just dealt with a stay in icu for ten days due to fluid build up in the chest, plus ct scans, plus surgery for an abscess (sadly still lost the dog because it turned out to be cancer and was super aggressive) i can honestly say if i hear another person whining about a $200 vet bill im going to start manically laughing and pull out my receipts for my bill of $27,800. Crazy yeah, but until youre actually there, with a young dog that showed zero symptoms, and you can do it without going off the financial deep end or into debt, How do you give up at just the diagnostic stage? You dont. You do the best you can.

Also, get pet insurance. Modern vet medicine is amazing, but its a tad pricey.

$3,000 for a bicycle?

My bicycle cost more than $3,000. My photographic gear cost more than that. Given I spend a lot more time on my bike than I do making pictures and making pictures doesn't help prevent cardiovascular diseases, the bike is probably a much better deal.

But that's beside the point. If people have the disposable income, how they choose to stimulate the economy is none of my business. My wife says she's just grateful I'm not into boats.

My comfort level with camera spending has risen over the years, but not quite to the $3000 level. Still, all it takes is the right camera. A spectacular re-do of the EM1 II, perhaps, or something similar from Pentax, might expand my spending limit. Having a good set of compatible lenses makes an expensive body appear much more possible.

When I first got into digital photography (1999-2003), I bought what I consider 3 very expensive cameras: Olympus E10 (£1200), Nikon D100 (£1643) and a Kodak 14n (£2200).

Those cameras represented the state of the art at the time for me. I justified the expenditure as a) Being on the cutting edge b) Comparing the cost per shot to shooting Velvia 50 on my 6x9 fuji "Texas rangefinder". I reckoned the Velvia came in around £1 per shot, so if I managed to shoot enough frames, eventually I'd get to the point where the digital camera was essentially free.

Frankly, this was a psychological trick I played on myself but it seemed to work.

I don't use that trick anymore because long ago all cameras got good enough for me. The only reason to get another camera now is ergonomics and convenience. And fortunately, there is now a big second hand market and I can get hold of a used camera a year or two after launch at a dramatic discount over new. The result of this is I now have a personal price limit for a camera body that is around £200 (yes, that is just two zeroes).

I still have that Kodak and that Nikon (the Olympus was sold on to part fund the Nikon). Looking back, they seem very expensive and I would never pay those kind of sums again. On the other hand, between 1999 and 2003, that is the kind of money you had to pay - these were the budget options of their day!

I guess we are just very lucky now, that well proven and high quality gear is available for (relatively speaking) a pittance if we are prepared to forgo the latest and greatest in favour of the almost latest and greatest.

I'd still quite like the money back for the Kodak, though!

I spent $800 on a lightly used Oly E-M1 body. I spent a similar amount on each of two lenses. The most expensive camera I've purchased was a new Sony R1, but it came with a lens attached to it, so it's not quite the same. I was involuntarily unemployed at the time. Was that extravagant?

For years I competed in automobile rallying, and I never added up the amount of money I spent doing that because I prefer to not know.

$1000 seems to be my upper limit on any one single photo-related purchase, but this is fun for me, not work. If I were making a living at it, the price would be more or less unimportant, compared to the value I would derive from the device.

I could see spending an extravagant $3000 for one photo item as a once in a lifetime extravagance, something done just for the hell of it. But I would agonize for months over it first. There is nothing I lust for at the moment in that price range.

In 1986 I considered buying a new Porsche 924s (the good one), something I could not really afford or justify, but I remained calm and bought a used 1986 MR2 instead and had just as much fun.

The gearbox of your car breaks down. You slip on a patch of ice and cry goodbye to your front teeth and hello to the dentist. You accidentally scratch somebody else´s car and find out that the insurance will not cover it (surprisingly enough). Why not spend that money on something you like? As a principle, that is... Of course, it would be fantastic if what you want doesn´t lose most of its value in no time at all. Like your Ahem M6. Oh, the cameras one shouldn´t have sold! Like my Minolta CLE or the Pentax 645 N or that Nikon 35 TI. Buy those again? Can´t be done.

Any car bigger than a Toyota Yaris is a waste of money. So we dont need Rollers, beemers, etc.
A watch, costing more than €100, seriously?
A typewriter, every two years a new one?
Etc, etc, etc.....

I'm probably stating the obvious but I feel like the underlying question is more along the lines of "what are you comfortable spending on photography per year?" or something like that. As in, the expense of a body is relative to overall photography expenses over time, not to mention any income involved. Then there's the more difficult question of what you could wring out of that body, be it monetary, artistic, or something more personal. And of course depreciation, which is not what it used to be.

For me, I don't think there was ever a time when $3,000 for a body was "comfortable", but that threshold has moved quite a lot over time, and also in hindsight.

Plenty of custom (and production) guitars and basses go for $3K and more. The most I've ever spent is on the order of $1-$1.5K on both items...a Canon 6D body and a Rickenbacker 4003 bass. I own a Hasselblad but I didn't get one till they were cheap.

Curiously, both are niche items. I mostly use the Canon for astrophotography. I've got a perfectly good (and smaller) m43 Panasonic for day to day use. The Rick has loads of personality, and that's the problem. Sometimes you want the bass to blend in, not stand out. Also I like to mod my guitars, and I hate to drill holes in expensive stuff.

If I had a $5K camera I'd be afraid to touch it!

Three grand is a lot of money to me. Out-of-pocket without finance charges, I spent more than that on my current computer but never that much on a camera. But, if you consider inflation and all it entails, I did buy a new Nikon F2 Photomic with the MD-2 motor and MF-3 camera back sometime in the 1970's. At the time it was about $1000 and I'm sure that's more than $3000 in today's money.

I can't see spending $3000 for a camera today. But my circumstances today are not the same as they were in the 1970's. Back then, I was working for a daily newspaper and I needed the proverbial hockey puck camera that was totally reliable and capable of shooting up to 5 fps. The F2 outfit was an investment. Today's news photographer needs today's tools. So three grand may not be too much of a stretch. Today, I'm just another photo enthusiast retiree puttering around with his toys.

this comment you posted. "I know I don't want to spend $3k for a camera again, especially one that's going to be outdated a few years." What does it mean for a camera purchased in the last 5 years to actually go "out of date." Is this the GAS side of our personality speaking? Example, I own a Pentax K1 and a K-5. I purchased the K-5 in 2012. It has a wonderful, high-dynamic range, very low noise sensor and excellent Pentax primes. It is not going out-of-date until they stop making its batteries or it can no longer be serviced if it needs servicing. So "out of date" really?

...What's the most extravagant thing you've ever bought for more than $3,000?...


Cars? Watches? Holidays? The list is endless and also difficult to bring up to date, because my spending was done when I was working. Who knows what the relative cash values might have been? The only thing I have left from those golden years is a Rolex bought in '72. Which cost me almost €900 three summers ago for a service. I had no choice: it just stopped and wouldn't go again.

The end of that period, not to mention the concept of interest-free deposit accounts, financial crisis and, recently, Brexit, have made me all too aware of the finality of a bank balance, exchange rates and paucity of wealth within a pension. The realities of paying upkeep on a property, communal gardeners and administrator fees etc. mean that pennies become prisoners.

Cameras and cars were always bought new and written off over time against the business. Today, I hope never to have to buy another camera - or car - again. I lust for none of them other than a Leica, which I never bought when I could afford them, realising Nikons were infinitely more useful to my work. Today, an M would simply fill a hole in my list of owned machines, and I know just as clearly that it would probably not get used very much, in the same way that I still use my D200 more than my D700.

As many discover, much of what we buy, when it isn't essential, is a mistake. Nothing other than love and health trumps fiscal security.

A couple of things immediately spring to mind: watches and musical instruments.

In the world of luxury watches, $3000 barely gets you to entry-level, depending on brand. And of course one can easily find watches going for 6-figure sums.

Musical instruments, well, obviously it depends on the particular kind of instrument, but even something like electric guitars can range from $200 "I'm not sure if I'll really stick with this" level all the way up to the stratosphere.

I have a couple of hobbies:
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA).

In any of these categories, if I had the money, I could spend $3000 on a single object easily. I don't have the money so I make do with lower cost items:

- used camera bodies, lower priced lenses, - finding a high end rifle mis-priced at a pawn shop,
- buying a "blemished" hand forged sword from a the blacksmith for a fraction of the full cost.

So while I can't say I've bought anything other than a new auto or a house for more than a grand, I can say that yes, these items can be worth it. And if you can't afford it at full price, there may be a way.

Right now I certainly don't have the money to buy even a used Pen F body (Ex+ & $822 at KEH) but I'll find a way eventually. And then with my 25/1.7 I'll be a very happy photographer for a very long time.

3 grand is definitely too much for me, the most I've ever spent on a camera was a refurbed D600 and THAT was a huge mistake.(The D7000 I preordered being the best expensive purchase I had made before that. 'Not everyone needs full frame' was an expensive lesson.) $1,000 is my new self-imposed ceiling - still too much, but I don't want to wait too long. I am done buying new - there's just no reason for me to need the latest, especially when there's such a drop off in pricing after 6-12 months.

I would much rather take a 3 grand trip with my family - vacations, we blow money on:) Better return on investment with those.

I'm sure you are referencing the new Olympus EM1x. I'm a LONG time Olympus fanatic, having owned most every OM-X body, the E1, E3, EP1, and now have settled on an EM5Mk1, albeit 6 years old now. So I'm heavily invested in the system.
(I made side trips to the Leica film dark side pre-digital with several M6 and M7's, but they're all done now.)

I've toyed with another Olympus body. I rented the EM1mk1 for a week and it was nice, but not nice enough to spend $1,700 on, which was the price at the time, IIRR. I did, however, buy an IR-converted EPL6, which has been a lot of fun.

So why no $3k camera? I don't use the camera to make my living and I spend disposable income on other things. (Like a $5k Carbon fiber road bicycle! ha, ha) I have the EM5 and so far, I don't really _need_ anything else. I don't shoot sports anymore (the kids are out of college). I don't shoot wildlife. And I don't print much, and certainly no more than 11x14.

I've spent my camera budget on Olympus lens. Not the high-end Pro stuff, but nice ones, mostly primes.

So why would I buy a $3,000 camera? I wouldn't. I'll probably get a closeout or used EM1mk2 in 2019, just to have a nicer EVF and PDAF. The most I'd really like to spend is $1,000-$1,200.


I spent almost that much on a book. Just one book.
I was visiting Seattle with my son who was checking out colleges circa 2006 and also visited with one of my old college friends who lived near the city. On one trip downtown we were killing some time and checked out a 'used and rare' bookstore.
There sitting in a glass case was a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, the fabulous 1930 Grabhorn Press edition. This is by common consent perhaps the most beautiful 'fine press' book ever printed in America. For sale, for $2,750.
After several (begging) phone conversations with my long suffering wife, I bought the book. Which meant trusting the bookstore to ship it to my home back east. Several anxious weeks later it did arrive.
I think it's still the finest work of art I own, though I have some beautiful photographic prints thanks to TOP that are in the running.
No regrets.
On the other hand, I have spent a lot more than $3,000 for a camera. Specifically, I spent $7,900 on the original Canon Eos 1-Ds, their first digital SLR that arguably beat the image quality of 35 mm film. I still own it and occasionally use it after having it converted to infra-red use. I paid for it by liquidating my Pentax 35 mm system. I used the Eos-1Ds a lot, and aruably got my money's worth out of it considering the equivalent cost of film and processing.
The key to justifying the expense of a pricey digital camera is clearly to use it intensely, so you amortize that cost over photographs you're happy with.

How about musical instruments? For most players, a hobby, but, e.g., there are wonderful guitars that cost more than $3k. Mmm, handmade Tom Anderson guitar...

(There are also great instruments that cost less than $1k, and we should be glad we play an instrument where a world-class example is available even in those price ranges.)

The criteria seem different for hobbyists than professionals at one level: "will you use it and can you afford it?"

I think about $1500 should take care of any landscape photographers needs, but let's face it buying stuff is not about what is needed, but how owning it makes you FEEL!
Otherwise Rolex and its ilk would not exist.
Carrying that over to cameras or your favorite golf stuff or boating, or whatever and you have the world today.

Actually, I've discovered I don't feel comfortable spending a kilobuck on a camera body.

Spending half a kilobuck on a GX85 and two lenses (Christmas deal) tickled my Scottish thrift genes.

What's "too much?" It really depends on what you are trying to do, and then getting the right tool. The most expensive photographic item I ever bought was a Canon 500mm lens. I got a lot of use out of it before switching (mostly) to Micro 4/3. Most photographers won't need a lens that big and expensive. But if you want to photograph birds or other wildlife, it's an appropriate tool.

For me, yes, it is too much for a camera. For the market, no, probably not. "Pros" will pay that much. Well-funded amateurs will pay that much. $3K isn't even into Veblen good territory. Leica doesn't want to sell "cheap" $3,000 cameras.

Other than the big three debt-financed purchases (education, house, car), I'm happy that the only spending above $3k is for family vacations. Audio purchases have come close, but not at one time!

My personal rule of thumb for the longest time was to not spend more than $1K for a piece of camera gear. Once a year during the first rebate cycle and after switching to digital I’d pull the trigger and buy one item. This approach worked fine until I moved to full frame. I had planned for this move with my earlier APS-C lens purchases but the body put me over the mark by $600. Several years later after missing a buying cycle or two I really splurged on a $2K lens. I’m an incredibly cheap/frugal/thrifty/prudent guy but I don’t regret these purchases at all. I still use both pieces of expensive kit and feel the love every time I raise them to my eye. I can imagine spending 2K on my next camera body.

As for any ordinary or discretionary items I’ve purchased that are over 3K…I can’t think of any other than the occasional motorcycle. I know a few people who have done well for themselves and could afford to spend lavishly but they typically don’t. Based on their passions though, I’d say they have probably spent big on guitars and stereos at some point. I would also imagine that anyone who is a collector of “things” has probably spent big on their passion at some point in their life.

The most I ever spent on a body was $4,000 for a 1DX, but I also spent more on a 500/4 lens. In case of the lens, I actually hope that over its lifetime that’s going to be a decent investment. Cameras are much more expensive over time.

We’re a regular family in a wealthy community, so tons of people here spend way more on stuff than we ever could. A friend is trying to sell a piano and was complaining that at $25,000, it’s only 40% of what they paid new. Another friend bought a Dodge Viper to deal with his mid-life crisis.

And I read that Rudy Giuliani spent $12,000 on cigars over just a few months and that he and his (ex-?)-wife need $263,000 to live on per month. So, I’d say it’s all relative.

I think that $3K on a camera, or system, that you were going to use for 20 years is not that much, even for a hobbyist. It comes out to $150 per year, or just over $10 per month, which is not that much if you are lucky enough to have disposable income.

I think $3K is an enormous amount to spend on a camera you are going to use for 3 years, before upgrading to another $3K camera. So: not much for a Leica M6 back in the day; but quite a bit for a Canon digi-whatsit. For pros, who can use depreciation to offset taxes, it is a different question. Their needs are driven by the demands of their marketplace (whether real or imagined).

I have done it too. At the moment, though, my "too much" number is the $7K for one of Leica's current digital offerings (M10 - he weeps). When they leapt past $5K to $7K, they passed beyond (even) my (prodigious) ability to rationalize hobby-spending. I have become a bottom feeder, a troller of others' digital cast-offs, a skier on the steep down-side slope of digi-preciation.

I once bought a $8K lawnmower. Still have it. Comes in handy with 3 acres and I have to say it was absolutely worth it from the 'how much is your time worth' perspective.

Never got to $3K with a single camera, but close with a camera and lens. With digital depreciation what it is, there is no way I would ever buy a $3K camera though. This one even more so than others and I shoot m43.

I have friends who have spent that much or more on individual watches, other friends who have spent such amounts on individual pieces of jewelry, and other friends who've spent well above that amount (2X-3X) on a "serious" bicycle. I, and most of my musician friends, have spent similar amounts at one time or another on any number of musical instruments, and not just pianos and organs (one friend's 4-manual electronic organ was over $30,000; it fully occupies one end of his den). There are also really expensive guitars. And horns--especially woodwinds--tend to be very expensive new, such as these tenor saxophones (https://www.prowinds.com/category/Professional_Tenor_Saxophones). And you've already mentioned high-end audio gear. Oh, and my friends who are seriously into astronomy have, in some instances, $10,000 telescopes, on $10,000 astronomical mounts.

Aside from my numerous woodwinds--all of which were bought over 30 years ago, and most of which have since been sold--all of my "hobby" income these days goes toward photography. Have I ever spent $3,000 or more for a camera (or a lens)? Yes to both, and more than once. But it isn't something I do lightly, or often.

For those living off SS, a visit to Costco can be "outrageous"! But back to your question - curiously you make no mention of cars which we all need and almost always are above 3K. So are you referring to things we really don't need? So, tattling on myself, the Nikon D2x camera body set me back 5k. All time records were tube amps at 9K and turntable, arm & cartridge stretching past 12K. Whew. Music was once all consuming and those items could have lasted my lifetime if I had desired to keep them. Realistically, their quality was so high they never really needed to be upgraded, so maybe they were actually "cheap". It didn't take very long, however, for the D2x to become outdated, even from the perspective of the "advanced" amateur I considered myself to be. So certain things seem to justify their high price better than others. My 2-cents.

Aside from a used car, the only individual thing in my life I have spent more than $3000 on is an "Up!" 3D printer. I was an early adopter of the technology back in early 2011, and decided on a model that was at "the high end of the low end."

The goal was to use it commercially so that it could pay itself off, but life got busy and it never worked out that way. Instead, I used it for a variety of fun projects: moulds for a custom carbon-fiber bike frame; custom "lost-plastic" aluminum cast jewelry for my then-girlfriend/now-wife; and a custom Instax Wide instant film camera designed to use a 90mm/f3.5 lens from a 6x9 Mamiya Press Camera. It finally died from an intermittent electrical fault this past year.

RIP, 3D printer.

Musical instruments! I've spent much more than $3k on a classical guitar. And more than $3k on a camera body (Leica M-D).

Purchased a bicycle for $3,500 and spent $1,500 upgrading it over the next two years, and rode the hell out of it for 12 years, before replacing it with a better bike for $2,700.

I had friends who thought that was outrageous for a bicycle, but who thought nothing of owning a pair of $20,000 (each) snowmobiles.

(Also bought a Canon 5D Mk II when it came out... wasn't that about $3G?)

The best (equivalent to current) (almost) $ 3000 I (no, my wife) spent was on my Koga Miata bicycle. Fourty years ago. Still in current use, with admittedly everything except the frame replaced over the years.

My wife could write the same story about her Allegro bike (and me). Her bike, however, still has some original parts.

It's an expensive tool, that makes sense if you have a job that needs it. On safari or covering major sporting event? The real size savings is the reduced size of the lenses on the long end. Compare Canon 800mm (10 pounds and $13,000) with Panny "Leica" 100-400 (2 pounds and $1600), for the same effective reach. Shooting birds from a Kayak? Which one makes more sense? As for "how much would you spend?" For a personal camera, travel, family portraits, landscape, probably $1,000, like my GX9.

$3000 for a camera is not that much when you're making a living with it. The original Canon 1D was $5500, the mark II was about $5000, and the mark 4 was $4500, and we got two each when we bought them. The 5Ds was well over $3500, and my new Fuji MF camera was $6500 for the body, about $20K for the kit.

But if it's for a hobby, well, that depends on the relationship between how much one values the hobby and how much one has in the bank account. For something that is my overwhelming passion, and where I want to succeed at a very high level, I'm more likely to want the top of the line tools, and not worry about the cost (or at least figure out how to find the money somewhere.) For a fun hobby that sparks my interest, I'll spend the cash if I have it. I have owned a couple of guitars that cost more than $3000, which is sort of amusing for a fiddle player who doesn't really play guitar all that well. But I had the money and they were beautiful instruments (and I could re-sell them.)

But I could never spend $3000 on a watch, or a piece of jewelry, or a dinner, or a bottle of wine. I don't value any of those items at that level, though I am aware that other people do, and I don't begrudge anyone else buying them.

*Sigh*...I've spent $3k+ on a few cameras. And four bicycles. (one mountain bike, and three e-bikes...I love cameras and bikes. Often go biking to take pictures, in fact). My most extravagant splurge was on the Leica M9. I think it was $7k. Great camera though.

Let me put it this way: Although I believe there are cameras that may be worth $3000 or more, that doesn't mean I personally have need for such a camera or would spend that much money for one, even if I could afford it. I feel the same way about expensive guitars and watches. As much as I can appreciate their beauty and craftsmanship, I would be just as happy owning something that cost a half or third as much.

Well, I spent that much for my wife's wedding ring, and then even a bit more for her anniversary ring. That how I get to buy whatever cameras I want/need. It keeps me poor, but happy.

Watches! I don't see the appeal, personally. I know someone who buys Timexes 6 at a time, so that he can lose them or leave them in different locations, all for less than the cost of a cab ride. But on my last visit to the Veblen Universe, I found myself one evening drinking a remarkable (and costly) Japanese whisky while admiring several collector-grade watches, and hearing about even more special examples in the vault at home. I buy a Seiko every 10-15 years, when its gasket dries out and is no longer water-resistant. And no one under 40 even uses a watch any more, since their smart phones took over that task, along with alarms and all social communication.

All things considered, I've never felt large expenditures, if within ones financial means are an issue if you actually use what you purchase. I have friends who spend money on sailboats, bicycles, golf gear, fishing gear, and the list goes on, and I always tell them if they ask: if you use it and get joy from it, then you're good to go.

Same thing with cameras and lenses.

I think you have to make a distinction between "using" the money and (excuse the language) "pissing it away." I was talking to a guy the other day who was complaining that the big casinos in Vegas now have a $25 minimum *per hand* on blackjack on Friday and Saturday nights -- and he's got to spend a few hundred dollars just to get there and rent a room so his can lose the money. That's $3k in a hurry.

In terms of actual value, a 1989 dollar was worth about twice a 2019 dollar -- so if you paid $3,000 for a camera outfit when you were in your late twenties or early thirties, that'd be a $6,000 outfit today. "Dollars" aren't necessarily equal.

I don't think spending $3,000 on a piece of art is necessarily spending $3,000 -- not if you (or somebody, like your heirs) will get that money back. It's just taking it out of your bank account and putting it on your wall. Of course, buying arty Polaroids from the guy down the street probably isn't going to do it. Same is true with cameras, for guys like you -- you spend $3k on a camera and resell it a year later for $2k, so you only spend $1k on it.

If your livelihood depends on cameras in some way or another, why is it crazy to spend $3,000 on a camera and not crazy to spend $20,000 on a car? I do think I once spent more than $3,000 (and maybe more than $5,000) or a camera -- the Nikon D3 when it first came out. But I had reservations. Also, n my case, since I wasn't making a living from photography, I was probably pissing the money away.

I know a guy who has a $9,000 mountain bike.

I know another guy who has six vehicles. One of them is a "project car" that he has been working on for several years, and I have no idea how much it's worth -- the others, I once figured, are worth perhaps $650,000 altogether.

I was driving around Santa Fe once and I saw a guy unloading a McLaren from a trailer. You kinda wonder, why?

Hobbyist woodworkers often have tens of thousands of dollars tied up in equipment, if you count the cost of the place here they house it. They tell their wives that they'll get the money back by building custom furniture. And maybe they do, I dunno.

Spending large sums of money can be stupid, ridiculous, crazy and a lot of other things, but it's also an expression of freedom.

Too much for me, and I've paid that and more. My first DSLR, a Nikon D3, was about that, and I needed it as I was working as a photographer at the time. Later I got a Leica M9, which was a great camera but didn't ever do what I wanted it to do, so I sold it about a year ago. That was a $7,000 lesson. As a now retired photographer now, I could sure use that. AS I got older, weight became a consideration, and I got a Panaxonic GX7 and the, because of the IBIS, an Olympus EM5ii. I think I will replace the Oly with a Panasonic this spring, as I can't come to grips with Oly's menus. .

What will I pay? Certainly under 1,000. I'll just eat hot dogs for a month.

In 2012, I made a ~$3000 purchase for the parts (drivers, electronics, wood, paint, tooling, etc.), to build Linkwitz LX521 loudspeakers.

They will not work with a standard two-channel stereo amplifier either, so I had to spend almost another $3k for a 6-channel amplifier to run them. Although the cost was high to build them, it was worth it. I listen to them every evening.

I felt quite comfortable buying an old box camera for $1.00 at a garage sale, but it would have been quite extravagant if I had bought it new in 1935 when I was eight years old.

The most I've ever paid was about 850 GBP for a 4MP EOS 1D body many years ago and about 800 for a Fuji X100S. Nowadays I only buy second-hand bargains.

As for $3000? The only things I've spent that much or more on is perhaps a big holiday, a car, getting married, my house.

However, I have lost more than that on some poor investments.

Like nearly every other thing in our lives we purchase the amount we are “comfortable “ allocating toward purchasing a ‘thing’ is highly variable depending on lots of circumstances
Is the thing a necessity for family or business, is it discretionary based on a very deep passion, discretionary based on a casual interest etc
Then you overlay our relative economic means and economic situation ( the same income for a young family with a mortgage or a retired person with savings and no mortgage might lead to very different conclusions)
The point is the $3000 number doesn’t mean much by itself,
No one Needs to spend 3k to take meaningful pictures, but many do.

Mike, take a look at BBQGuys and check out how many grills you can buy for $3k ( or 5k). And we know you can make great steaks on a $50 Webber kettle.
Look at built in refrigerators , subzero /wolf
Look at kitchen ranges and many more things where people routinely spend 10k, when a basic fridge or range can be had for about 1k

There is lots of discretionary income out there, and lots of companies who are glad to help you dispose of it.

I'm told my upcoming dental implant will be $3k.

Related to your last post, I'd pay $3k for an Oly "E-mixii" camera packaged with their 17mm pro lens. The sensor should be the same BSI CMOS as in Sony's A7Riii, but cropped to u4/3rds size, so that means only 12MP. Heck, I'd pay $3600 for that. I'd use it for the next 8-10 years and eventually buy the 45mm pro lens at full price. It's a 8+ year camera, so that's about $600/year for a hobby that gets me off my duff, puts me in beautiful places, and brings me great pleasure.

Because it would only be processing 12MP, everything would be fast to brag about in marketing blurbs. Bigger pixel pitch means better dynamic range, and noise would be good, right? 4k x 3k dimensions would support 4K video for people who care about that, right?

It would still have Oly color and JPGs. Stabilization would still be good, so multi-shot handheld could either be used to make a high-res shot, or maybe just to stack snaps to get a better image---better color, better range, or less noise; whatever the myriad benefits are with clever oversampling, maybe at different exposure speeds. You know: the promise of currently well-understood computational photography making up for the smaller sensor, married with the latest in sensor tech.

I'm fine with the bigger body because all that stuff is going on under the hood, cos after all *that's* the damn engine in a digital image-maker (as opposed to just a bigger "intake"). If a bigger body houses two cheaper processors to do the work, rather than one high-performance overpriced one, smart move Oly!

Is that too much to ask? Alternatively I could spend $500/year on a airline ticket to a pleasant place instead, one that keeps me from ranting with fantasies on the damn internet...

I am going to self publish a book of my photos—no final tally yet, but I know it would be a trip to Hawaii or Amsterdam. But isn’t a book it’s own sort of voyage? That’s what I tell myself, hoping my boat ain’t got too many leaks.

I spent $5300 on a Canon 500mm f/4 L IS "I" for my FIM motorcycle Grands Prix work in 2005. I sold it it to a "birder" in 2012 for....$5300 (the new 500mm f/4 L IS "II" was priced at $10,000, at the time).

Before I retired from my high-paying job corporate biotech, I bought a (at-one-time SOTA) Conrad-Johnson CT-5 stereo preamplifier for $4500 in early 2011. The guy who sold it to me had bought it new only 30 days prior for...$8000. Turns out he couldn't wait the 1000 hours for the Teflon caps to "burn in". I did, but it took...two years. 🤔 It now sounds glorious and I'll keep it for the rest of my life. I won't tell ya about the $7500 C-J LP70S power amp I bought for $2500, as that did not cost $3000, but needless to say, I am a pretty happy camper when it comes to audio. 😉

If I was a paid motorsports photojournalist that "followed" the MotoGP circuit, and there were no mirrorless cameras, I would have no problems at all paying $6500 for a Canon 1Dx MkII. Its a business expense I could write off my taxes, and I could amortize the capital outlay over 5 years, if not more.

I'm not sure it's about the figure per se, but whether or not it appears to offer value to me, as an amateur and enthusiast.

I've never bought a new Leica, but I have bought - and sold - a couple of s/hand ones (M2 and M6TTL). They were expensive, but much less so than the then-current new Leica (M7, I think) yet because they offered a high percentage of what the M7 offered, they seemed to offer value for money. (I won't talk about the photographic experience here, as your question is primarily about the money.)

A long time ago I bought a new Canon EOS 650 - it was still the current EOS camera, so that tells you how long ago that was. At the time s/hand EOS cameras were like hens' teeth - the system was very new and the upgrade path had not yet appeared, so there were few if any s/hand 650s available. That purchase offered a lot of value - entry into a new system that it was clear was going to be significant. I have never had any regrets about that purchase, even though at the time that was a lot of money for me and meant some sacrifices elsewhere. I have remained primarily an EOS shooter ever since.

My most expensive camera purchase was nearly 18 months ago. I bought a s/hand 5D Mk 4. Almost new, hardly used (<250 shutter activations), it came to me at about 25% off list price for a new one. That, and a generous trade-in for a 6D convinced me that I was getting value. I still think so, even with the onward march of Nikon DSLRs and various full-frame mirrorless options. The 5D 4 is a significant step up from the 6D, and while various cameras from Nikon and Sony are indeed objectively better, the total cost of switching - not just the body, but also replacing the (small) collection of L lenses I've amassed over the years with their equivalent, would definitely not offer value (in my eyes). I'm pretty sure the 5D 4 will be my 'last camera'. (Thom Hogan has written about the Last Camera phenomenon.)

So it's not about the sticker price, but my perception of the value.

Cheap credit has made everyone think they are rich.

I save up for stuff and pay cash, or trade in junk I don't need to offset the cost of stuff I want. My budget is determined by my excess inventory, as it were.

Camera wise, I am still in profit after selling off my D800 and Nikon lenses, and that's after buying an Xpro2 and a 56mm f/1.2.

Right now, there are no cameras costing more than about £1200 that I want. I could probably find about that much stuff to eBay if I really needed a new camera, plus I would have an old camera to trade in.

The real question should be do you REALLY need this new $3K camera body? Does it do $3K more or better than what you already have? Maybe you can sell your old camera body for $1k, so the differential is $2k. The question still remains the same, does this new body do $2k more?

If you are not on the upgrade path and are considering a camera as your first entry into photography, do you REALLY need all the bells and whistles this $3K camera bestows upon you? Probably not.

if you have money to burn then you're probably not a working professional photographer ;) . But if you do have money to burn then the value equation is not an issue. Buy whatever floats your boat. The concept of value is vastly different to the rich. Not something we mere mortals would comprehend nor probably agree with if we did understand it.

Mike, a lot of the folks in the "gated communities" easily blow through $3k on their STOVES, by a factor of 2x, or 3x, or more. But, getting back to cameras, consider this question: If B&H said any and every camera in the store was $3,000 (and you were prohibited from reselling it for five years), what would you choose? Would you be guided by need? Practicality? Lust? (I know, lenses for the ultra bodies would be back-breaking.) That would be a challenge.

I have never paid more than $1,000 for a camera and probably won't. Ever.

Unless you're a working photographer or have "f*k-you money" https://ask.metafilter.com/47531/What-would-be-a-good-way-to-calculate-f*kyou-money, you should probably not be paying 1.5x, 2x, or 3x as much money for what is realistically a 5 or 10% improvement.

Today's new hotness will in one to two years cost 50 - 70% of the original price. So why not buy yesterday's new hotness at a steep discount?

A related question is: do you own anything 'ordinary' which would cost $3k (or more) to replace, even if you did not pay that for it, and which you would replace without thought if you lost it or it was stolen. Extra points if that thing is a camera or lens.

In my case I don't think so for cameras. But I would replace my Gibson ES-175 without a thought and they seem to be over $3k second-hand, and probably significantly more for a nice one (mine, fortunately, is not very nice in that sense, much though I love it).

Of course the most interesting things are irreplaceable: I don't know how much the daguerreotypes of relatives I have are if anything, but I do know they can't be replaced for any money. So another question is: do you have any irreplaceable things, especially cameras, and why are they not replaceable.

$3,000 or so is not too bad if you buy a Canon 5D body and you upgrade to the next one every five years. That’s $600 per year, or $50 per month, or a fancy cup of coffee on your way to work. My Canon L lenses average around 20 years use each.... so less than a second cup of coffee on my way home from work for all of them.

Now if you change systems regularly and buy new lenses each time, you are really throwing cash away, even if your camera costs less.

Mike, I know exactly where you are coming from on this. My first DSLR, a Canon 10D, I bought when I could find a used one for under a gran (and I sold my Rolicord Vb to help justify that purchase). That seems to be the approach I have used for buying a camera nearly everytime since. It is not that I couldn't afford new, but as an older hobbyist with only a moderate case of GAS, I seem to have a slow urge to move on to the next set of good 'nuf images. Now my camera shelf holds a set of old boxes: GX1, GX8, EM1.1, a7ii, and RX100ii, each outing has its best tool. Now, I find that, if I don't crop too radically, it is hard to see any radical differences across the images in my LR catalog ... actually, one of my most popular images that was requested for use on a book cover and has appeared in a couple of books came from my first digicam, a 2 MP Coolpix. This likely has produced a buffer on my GAS.

People certainly have spent $3k for a watch. Also for jewelry, like a good strand of pearls. I know somebody who has spent more than $3k for a meal (very special, fancy, with wine, obviously). I've seen auction reports putting a single bottle of wine well above that price. Motorcycles and snowmobiles go up there, obviously.

And, if we're reading the tea-leaves right, the M1X is supposed to somewhat compete with the Nikon D5, the Canon 1dX, and the Sony Alpha 9, and look what they cost.

But yeah, this is getting into tools for top professionals or the 1%, not you and me.

Actually, my D700 cost over $3000 when I got it; I had to sell my 58mm f/1.2 NOCT to finance it -- so that's a lens I owned that was that expensive, too, though I was on the selling side rather than the buying at that price (I bought it for $700).

Lenses over that price are ubiquitous for professional sports and wildlife level equipment -- any 300/2.8 or longer fast lens. I have a friend who does a lot of wildlife with the Nikon 400/2.8, which is into 5 figures.

And of course more-than-full-frame cameras. You could easily spend that kind of money (at least correcting for inflation) on a Hasselblad outfit back in the day, too, and any serious wedding photographer needed that.

I spent about $2k on a set of studio mono-lights (and cases and stands and minimal light modifiers) in 1999, so that's over $3k by today's standards. Still using them.

One man's "extravagant" is another woman's "luxury" is another person's "nice"... This could turn into another "homes of the rich and famous", or "rise up against the oppressors".

I think it was about $3K that I spent in 1999 on an Arca Swiss f-line 4x5 camera. Without a lens. I was at a point financially and photographically that it made sense to me. I used that camera this morning, so I'm at less than 40 cents per day of ownership.

What if I told you I owned not one but several $3000+ bicycles?

I can give you a plethora of justifications, but to the vast majority of people that must seem absolutely insane. I'm not a professional racer, it's purely my recreational activity of choice.

Many people spend three grand or more on their vehicles by upgrading from the base model, adding packages etc. I buy mountain bikes. To each their own!

I don't think I've spent $3000 on any single item, outside of a house and vehicles, except the two bikes and an iMac. The iMac was technically a work purchase so I don't really count it (although it gets plenty of personal use too).

I think the question, and the answer will certainly vary according to both individual tastes and circumstances, is whether for a given acquisition, you can get what you want, or at least "sufficiency" for a "comfortable" cost.

Take watches. I do own a $3000 watch. While I'm very fond of it, it sits in my collection alongside several which cost around $300, and a couple which cost not much more than $30. Most are regularly worn. I don't lust after a $30,000 watch, partly because that would far exceed my own comfort level, but also because I'm not aware of one which would fit my preferences of style and technology.

I probably could afford $3000 for a camera body, but I haven't sought to do so, because I can get all the camera I want and need, the Panasonic G9, for about half of that, and I'm also aware that I could meet most of my needs for rather less. However if I was a dedicated sports shooter, for example, I might easily justify a more expensive choice.

On the other hand while there are perfectly adequate $500 laptops, mine cost nearer your benchmark figure, because the combination of hardware features I wanted (mainly the 16:10 Retina screen) meant I had to accept the "Apple Tax", even though I run Windows. I can justify this because it's a primary tool for both my work and my main hobby, but I know some see that as an extravagance.

Is a $3000 camera body an unimaginable extravagance? Maybe not to me, but I suspect it may be to others, and I'm glad that sufficiency is more affordable than ever. This really is a case of each to his or her tastes and means.

One thing I've always been astounded by, in the years of reading the blog, is despite cultural (we're like 3 continents apart) and age differences, there's always something you write that will strike a chord with me. I suppose that's why you've been able to do it for so long, since it clearly resonates with others too!

I am in a similar situation myself. US$3000 is just too much money; my own personal limit has always been about US$2000. The Nikon F100, D70, D300, GH3 and now the G9 have been my main cameras over the years. US$3000 is just more than what I'm willing to spend, and normally past US$2000 it's diminishing returns. 35mm sensors in a digital age kind of change this, but not by much, I feel, and Sony's price of the A7III means that's coming back to the norm again.

I don't think I'll play. This comes too close to those "What's the worst thing you've ever done"? discussions that you had at school or college. No good can come from it. Also, I believe you have put your extravagance bar far too low. The Swiss have a watch industry where $3000 is not even the entry point, and it's doing very well thank you very much. I doubt if any Leica bodies or lenses can be had for as little as $3K. Likewise, $3K is hardly enough to get a basic vacation on a continent you don't already live on. I could go on. I don't thing 'extravagant' starts to kick in today at less than $10,000 for any of the items you mention. A $3k price on a camera for someone who needs it? Won't hold them up for a second!

Well I just checked B&H where the median* price for a digital camera** is a bit more than $24,000, so I guess not.

*I have no idea what the mean price for cameras sold is.

**lens is extra

This whole line of thought is ill constructed. It's not $1K or $3K or $300K. It's what was/is/will be the total life cycle cost, and was/is/will be the total life cycle value.

Lack of money can distort this (as lack of money distorts so many things.)

I have bicycles that cost WAY more than $3K - but given the benefits to my health, the hours of use, the years to decades of typical service, they turn out to be much better values than any camera I've ever owned.

Also, if it's OK to pay $100s to $1000s for prints, surely its OK to pay that for cameras?

Now, cameras have become like smart phones - the year-on-year improvements don't amount to much - so buying one every 5 or 10 years doesn't actually leave anything on the table.

When I spent $3,500 on a bike, I thought I was being thrifty: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/shop/bikes/road-bikes/performance-road-bikes/c/roadperformance

If you smoke 2 packs a day you spend over $5000 a year in NH, and probably in many other states. A $3000 camera is infinitely healthier.

Spending an extra $10 a day to buy lunch out at work instead of packing your own is almost to the magic $3K mark.

I don't smoke, and I work and eat at home. I should be able to get a $5500 camera per year and have no one bat an eye. I believe you're in the same boat.

Oh, and yes I have bought several $3K cameras in my life. But spread out over the average 5 years I use them they really aren't that much for even a hobby item.

I don't think there are too many people spending $3K on a watch. I think most "normal" watches would plateau at under $500, and then there are enthusiast ones at under $2K. However at that point you start to lust after the ones in the $5-7K range. And the rich would probably not touch anything under $10K. If you're a watchmaker I can't imagine you'd sell very well at $3K so might as well pad it another couple grand.

I'm surprised you didn't mention computers, jewelry, TVs, etc. Outside of cars, vacations, house, etc., the only single thing that has cost me more than $3K has been an engagement ring (do not regret it :).

My most expensive camera body was a Canon 5DMII refurbished for $2K, still use it after 8 years.

Most expensive meal was at Noma (around $1K for 2 if I don't include travel costs).

I think what might be relative is "outdated." While I am certainly guilty of "upgrading" with cameras, I think most 3 or 4 year old cameras are great. I'm not a feature set person, so faster auto focus, ect is almost irrelevant to me. I did recently spend more than that on a GFX 50R. Having used it for a couple of months, I would be stunned it was going to "outdated" in a few years. The camera is extremely well built and the images are beyond stunning. I think my X Pro 2 is great and it's at least 2 years old. Admittedly it didn't cost $3,000 but I think the upgrade cycle on it was about 5 years. Honestly it was a bargain at $1600 considering how well made it is. I do think it's cameras at the bottom end of the price range that date themselves faster.

I guess, because most people are perfectly happy taking pictures with a phone, it's understandable that my friends & family consider an expensive camera or lens an extravagance. But many of those same people spend far more on snowmobiles or boats or ATVs, luxury car upgrades, etc. And in some cases, they don't use that stuff as much as I use my cameras.
That said, I can't see myself spending even $2K for a camera, given how good cameras in the $700-1400 range are, but never say never. I can envision myself spending more time enjoying photography when I (eventually) retire from work, and possibly wanting more of a luxury kit.

Oh, computers; right. I spent $5000 for a computer once (it reduced compile times for my current project from 45 minutes to about 5 minutes).

And I don't own musical instruments but I should have thought of them. The joke is that a musician is somebody who puts $5000 worth of equipment into a $500 car to go play a $50 gig. A bunch of my friends are launching a new band Friday, looking forward to hearing them.

Hours of usage. Thats how I decide whether the price is worth it.
Add the variable of resale value, and the amortised cost is usually nothing to lose sleep about.

With the advent of the more-than-good-enough camera-phone, $3.00 is too much to spend for a camera. My top-of-the-line $1.500.00 iPhone XS takes shoots good-enough to print double-truck, in a glossy magazine. If I were starting out today, I'd use an iPhone, sorta like Juergen Teller used his Contax P&S film camera, in the 1990s.

I've grown tired of photography, so I'm moving on to sound recording. I'll use my XS, with Apple Pay, to purchase a $1,300.00 Sennheiser AMBEO Binaural Mic https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-Professional-Microphone-Black-VR/dp/B01N3Z0IXN I'll use it, along with a digital sound recorder, for VR music production.

A nouveau riche friend once put a new car on his Platinum Card—if ya got it, flaunt it. On the other hand a filthy-rich friend, with two doctorates, lived in a trailer park—he had so much money he felt no need to flaunt. YMMV.

When I was using film, $3000 a year for purchase and processing was about average for me. So when I'm close to forking over a couple of grand for a camera body, I can always justify it with the 'film avoidance' factor.

A nice man named Gary Klein from Chehalis, Washington was building $3K bicycles 30+ years ago. (Wiki: Klein Bikes)

To answer your questions: I'd feel comfie spending $1,500 on my next camera body. $2,000 makes me uncomfortable.

How about a set of 30" wheels for your Monster 4X4, or engine mods on your perfect Miata?

$3K for a vacation? Really sir, you need to get out more. How about new luggage for the vacation? Or a Business Class ticket to the vacation? $3K for new golf clubs? Easy-peezee.

My friend Dave has picked up the tab on a dinner for four that set him back more than $3K. That's not anything close to a world record, nor did it hurt him.

Money really isn't worth much anymore.

"I know people who have spent $3k or more on the following items: a painting; a photographic print; a pool cue; a pool table; a lawn mower; a vacation; a bicycle (really, there are $3,000 bicycles) and a single component in a stereo system..."

One of those things is not like the others: Vacations are experiences, the others are material possessions.

We have a sign in our living room (under a signed print of a pair of lions by National Geographic photographer "Nick" Nichols) that reads "travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." It is easy to spend well over $3k on some vacations. For e.g., I think the air fare alone for two people to go on a multi-country African safari would top $3k. And I've done that twice.

My cumulative camera expenditures over the years far exceeds $3k, but for what it is worth, I never spent that much on a camera at one go and hopefully never will. That $3k price (which never really came down) was what kept me from buying a Nikon Df, which I coveted for a long time before giving up on the idea. On the other hand, when my wife was a full-time pro photographer, she spent more than that on some top Canon gear (from B&H, via TOP) and that camera more than paid for itself.

Most of us put on the 'poor mouth' at one time or another. I live very (by most standards) minimally. On less than 18K per year. Given that in the last 3~4 years the missus and I made some stupid buying decisions regarding an electric car, a Nissan Leaf. It was a lease car that had just 10K on the odometer and the dealer wanted 13K for it. We bought it and since we didn't want to pay insurance and taxes on two cars gave our son our 10 year old Camrey with the understanding that we would swap cars if we needed to go on a long trip. The Leaf was fun through the spring and summer, but come our rainy, cold, 100% humidity winter it ate up 50% of it's battery just to keep the windows clear, giving us about a 35 mile range after a 110v overnight charge. We lost a fortune selling it back to the dealer and bought a base Versa to replace it. I figure we lost at least 9K in that deal. No car drops in value faster than a all electric. I really wish I had kept my long paid off 2002 Camrey, it only had 160K on it and was running just fine. It was a base LE and on road trips would average just over 31mpg @ 60mph.

$3000 for a camera? What brought this on?

Recently I have spent over $3000 for computer equipment, including a very nice printer. Only this month I purchaced a Nikon ES_2 and a Nikkor 40mm lens to digitize my film images.

So the question is: Will it ever end?

Erm, yeah, not too hard to do that.

Bikes? Yep, I'm a mountain biker, 3K is about the point at which above that is frippery, but below is a compromise.

Also, telescopes. For Astronomy. Jeez, that's a pricey one. I'm inot Dobsonians reflectors, got a real big one that was significantly north of your number. If you like fancy reflectors, you'll best that easily, just for the telescope, then double if for the mount.

Oh, and then eyepieces, and not even mentioning should you be crazy enough to get into serious astro-photography!

Its GAS on steroids, but also utterly joyful. Imagine your retina being tickled by the photons from a galaxy that have travelled through space for billions of years, just to end their journey in your head. Stunning!

Michael, agree with an earlier comment that $3K might be setting the bar pretty low. Most enthusiast hobbies can easily get to $3K - some examples:

Astronomy: telescopes (Televue NP-127 at $7K), German equatorial mounts (Astro-Physics AP1100 at $7,900 - more if you want the encoders and you do), Astro-imaging camera (SBIG STX16803 $16,930), narrowband filter sets, etc.

Music: almost any really superb instrument from acoustic guitars, violins, synthesizers (Dave Smith OB-6 at $3K) to American made Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Stratocasters to a mixing console to speakers to even a single microphone (think Neumann TU-87 at $3.6K or so, one of their low-end).

Electronics: a good oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, and signal generator can easily top $3K, etc.

And let us not forget Amateur Radio: a transceiver (Flexradio 6700 at $7K, Elecraft K3s loaded at $8K), an amplifier (Elecraft 500 watt, a bargain at about $3K with the antenna tuner, although you can easily spend $6K or more), an antenna and tower (easily more than $3K), etc.

Stereo: speakers (B&W 800s at around $20K), a digital-to-analog converter (sky is the limit), headphones, amplifiers (sky is the limit), phono stages and turntables (mid-Fi VPI Classic 3 ($6K), phono cartridge (Grado Statement $3.5K), etc. Want a nice 4K projector for that home theater experience ($3K to $30K is easy to spend)? Don't even get started spending for multi-channel Dobly, Atmos, THX, etc. :)

The interesting thing about Amateur Radio and Stereo gear is a true devotee can still build their own equipment - really hard to do with digital photography (although I did build a crude digital camera in 1994).

Photography: anything Leica, printer (Epson P9000 at $4K+ and $2.5K for the ImagePrint RIP), anything medium format, mounting and matting (SpeedMat mat cutter $3.5K).

The list goes on with general aviation, drones (I have friends who've spent more than $3K building their racing drones), exotic ski equipment, bicycles (already well covered), exotic scuba diving gear, boating, fishing, etc.

I am sure I am missing a number of enthusiast hobbies that are expensive. Much of the above would be on my wishlist - I've spent more than $3K on the stereo system, the 44" printer for fine art production and sales (so maybe we shouldn't count business related expenses?), and an expensive decade+ journey through digital medium format cameras, sigh (settling on a small X1D kit). The most expensive thing ever purchased beside the house is a recreational vehicle built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.

This is all small change, or pocket change, compared to folks I've worked with and for, as well as collaborated closely with - which includes Boeing 747 aircraft, yachts in the 200'+ class, six-seat helicopters, multi-person submarine, one-of-a-kind musical instruments, etc., etc., etc.

The good news is a lot of that high-end stuff does fund R&D and the other good news is there are so many choices at so many price points (not to mention used equipment). We are all pretty fortunete to have so many choices!


Oh and let us not forget consumables - how much have any of us spent in the film-processing-printing days or now in the digital ink and paper days? Guitar strings are still pretty inexpensive :)

Kind regards,


I used to buy expensive cameras during film time, now I buy my digital cameras when they cost less than $ 1000, because I learned (to late) that the camera has nothing to do with the quality of my photography.

Oh, BTW, besides high-end audio, one of my other "vices" are...watches. I've "rationalized" my collection quite a bit over 2018, and sold pieces that weren't getting much "wrist time". The comments about $3K being the "entry point" for many Swiss mechanical watches are spot-on, and as I write this, I'm wearing my beloved Tudor Black Bay Blue that originally retailed new for approx. $3250 (I paid ~$2500 for mine, "pre-owned"). My favorite brand though is the German brand, Sinn (pronounced "Zinn"). Amazing watches with incredible tech and engineering specification that are superb values for money. Who else would make a dive watch literally out of submarine steel? Sinn, that's who. Love 'em, and the outlay for my two Sinns averaged $1000/ea. They are every bit as well-engineered and manufactured as my Tudor at 3X the price, if not better.

Though, if I could find a Speedy, reference 145.022 for $3K, I'd definitely plunk down...

I can honestly say that for me $3,000 US (or $4,000 Cdn yikes) for a camera is more than I can justify to myself (or my wife!!) for spending on a hobby purchase. If you're making the same purchase for a business then I think it's a different matter. This is a my point of view and others may feel that it's the price you have to pay for staying current in what has become an enjoyable but expensive hobby. My approach in dealing with the costs is to stay behind the curve a bit and buy used versions of previous generation top rated cameras (eg. I purchased a used Canon 5d Mark ii a while back for Landscape photography, or a Fuji X-T2 which I'm considering for a future purchase). This may not be an approach that some would take but prevents me from being bankrupted in the continuous upgrade cycle being foisted upon us by the camera manufacturers. In the past I've bought lenses new but have found that used lenses can be just as good and can save considerable money versus the retail price. Again others may prefer to go the new route but it is more expensive. I’m quite happy with using something that isn’t the latest and greatest but is still more than adequate for my needs. YMMV.

I recently sold off nearly all my photographic equipment... several 35mm film cameras including my beloved Contax, a bag full of micro 4/3 lenses (new, because I didn't like the micro 4/3 camera I tried a few years ago, which I sold after using it for only a couple weeks), a Mamiya 6 with a couple lenses, an Agfa Super Isolette with a custom-made case, Zeiss Ikonta folders, and much more.

Having put many thousands of dollars in my account, with no plans to replace anything, I then impulsively purchased a Fujifilm GF670W. It's brand new, and with case and other accessories, coincidentally, it cost around $3000.
I didn't blink because this camera will last a lifetime, it will never need a software upgrade, and it probably won't depreciate much (if you've looked at these on ebay you'll know what I mean). I have 2 other medium format cameras, a folder and a 6X12 camera with a nice Rodenstock lens.
I can't imagine ever wanting another medium format film camera.

Could I feel the same about a digital camera? I doubt it, and so for now my most extravagant digital purchase is a Fujifilm X100. Of course I'd love a Monochrom to go with my dozen or so M-mount lenses, but I can't justify the cost.
How would I justify it?

I once had a very interesting conversation with a friend debating the difference between spending $40,000 on a car, or $40,000 for the stereo system I lusted for. We considered all the pluses and minuses, as he insisted that spending more than a couple thousand on a stereo was insane... and then I asked him how much that car would cost per hour.
"Huh?" he said. "What are you talking about?"
I listen to music all day, for many hours a day. He would drive that sports car only a few hours a week.
We then calculated.
When we figured out the hourly cost, he would have been paying about 12 times what I was, not including gas, insurance, tyres, repairs, and he would eventually have a depreciated car while I would have a sound system that would probably last forever.

A $3000 camera? Depends on how you justify it.

We all have finite amounts of money and time. With that in mind, the thought is don’t spend too much of your limited resources on something you will use little. If you have the resources (money and time to photograph), spending $3000 on a camera seems not unreasonable. Some people derive great pleasure from using fine tools in their photography, conversely, some people derive great joy from getting great images using the least and simplest equipment they can. Smartphone photography might fit that description and using cameras 2 or 3 generations old. And, it’s possible to spend too much on a camera, to where it sucks the joy out of your photography, then what’s the point of that?

$3K is a chunk of change, and I resist spending money unnecessarily where I can because I've done photography professionally. It's better since the tax code allows 100% write-off year one, because year two depreciation on a digital body is depressing any other way.
I spent $5K on a lens, once, and used it hard for a dozen years. Rare that gear can be amortized over the long haul. Even on exotic glass, one takes a beating on selling (particularly if replacing)

Fountain pens. Oh, I don’t have a $3000 fountain pen, but a $3000 (and above) fountain pen is easy to find. No, I set myself a strict limit* on what I’ll spend on a fountain pen, while studiously ignoring my combined-total, why-do-you-need-another-pen drift towards the magic number.

(*Though even that “strict limit” would likely garnish reactions of “For a pen?!” from those perfectly happy with a perfectly-usable, office-swiped Bic.)

Not counting those big ticket items that will cost more than $3000 but on just camera gear, I can remember that my LHSA black paint M6 (film) would qualify.

I am remembering a guest article that you featured by Ctein where he speculated about the prices of cameras in the future by looking at their prices in the past adjusted for inflation. $3,000 doesn't seem so expensive when you do that ... perhaps a link is in order?

Bowers & Wilkins CM10 S2 - ~$4K
Rug - $4K

Caribbean vacation - $9K.

My first real digital camera was a Kodak DCS660 which I remember paying over $10K for. Made back the initial investment in short order (it was the roaring 90s). Bought a DCS 760 for $6995 followed by a Nikon D2X for $5995, etc. To my mind the prices of good digital cameras are dropping generation by generation. The Fuji XT3 (or the G9) seem like absolute bargains to me.

But... it's important to remember that I used these cameras to get work that paid well. I would not have gotten the same quality of work had I tried to shave corners. There was also a lot of credit due the IRS's ACRS (accelerated cost recovery) back in the day that took a lot of the sting out of high end purchases.

$3000 is too much now ... but maybe it portends a future bargain?

It seems like the top pro cameras make superb used cameras of the future. They are well built, well specced, and are kept by their owners long enough to find their way to the used market with most of their sticker price having depreciated.

I see a lot of bargain-priced E-M1s out there right now — seems tempting. What do you think?

I remember not being willing to spend 2500,- for a Nikon D700 around 2010. I was thinking that Nikon would bring out a better and cheaper full frame version soon enough. I was wrong and would not have regretted a D700 purchase. I'd argue their follow-up models were not cheaper or better, and required much more recent/modern lenses than I have or like.

Hard to compare items, because digital electronic chips and actuators become obsolete and non-repairable in 5-7 years, while optics and mechanical devices will likely last decades or more.

So a $3,000 digital camera and a $3,000 manual focus mechanical lens have very different cost/year.

Easy to exceed $3,000 for each apochromatic lens, such as Leica R and Zeiss Otus beauties, but they can last a lifetime, and can be readily adapted to cameras they weren't designed to work with.

More worrisome are the current lenses with focus motors, electronic apertures, moving vibration reduction lens elements, and computer chips that will have to be junked when they fail when even a decade old, without spare parts being available to be used for repairs. (No chance that some small shop could make a missing computer chip or actuator that is out of production.) Also highly unlikely to be adaptable to a different manufacturer's camera system, should you want to change systems, or if your camera system goes out of production. (With rapid technological change and falling numbers of digital cameras being sold annually, having camera systems being orphaned is a real possibility.)

A pro can afford to wear out a $12,000 telephoto lens in five years, using it to make a living, and doesn't care that it can't be repaired when much older than that. (Very different making a sensible decision by an amateur who can only justify or afford to own an expensive lens if it gives decades of reliable service.)

In contrast to modern camera bodies and lenses, my 1959 Rolleiflex, and 1965 Nikon F, etc. (and their lenses) still work great, can be repaired, and will surely outlast me.

John Camp said it best! One should have the freedom to live as one sees fit. With freedom comes personal responsibility, but one should not be subjected to societal mandates/restrictions governing personal life.

The price of the Nikon Z7 body is $3400 and the price for the Sony A7RIII body is $3200, reasonable considering what you get.

I just went to my local dealers website and clicked on cameras, High to low. The new E-M1X is #25 on that list. (Camera bodies only)

Not counting medium format where the prices are over 10K and Leica at 8K the Nikon D5 tops the list at $6500. $3000 for a top performing, smaller sensor camera does not sound so bad. (no I am not buying one either.)

Wrong question. You wouldn't buy a 18-wheeler or a caterpillar either. This camera is for professionals who regard this as business equipment, and other factors are relevant. Of course there will be enthusiasts who think they need this camera, and there the question "do I want to spend this money for my hobby?" applies. Not for the people Olympus wants to target with this $3k camera.

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