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Friday, 30 April 2021


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I remember seeing the first digital output from a camera I thought had the beauty of transparency film, the Canon 5D, and the follow up, the 5D MkII. I cannot believe how cheap these cameras are today, and if I had any Canon glass, I would be buying them.

Last summer I bought a Olympus E-P5 in very good used condition to have as my back-up body (and carry-around street camera). I needed it to replace my very-much-used back-up body which was a..... Olympus E-P5! At the outset I had expected to replace the worn-out body with something newer and faster and more pixels and so on. After 19 years of shooting digital that was, of course, the expected routine. But I surprised myself when I realized I just need another one of the same thing. The newer E-P5 is doing just fine, thanks. And it's "only" a 16mp M43.

When I look at the results of that YongNuo lens on the D700, I start to understand why, for example, the used prices Of 5D mk.III's and D800's seem to have dropped to a plateau but it looks like they just aren't falling any further. At least not very quickly.

I just made some prints from pictures I made years ago using a Canon Powershot Elph 330 HS (3,000 x 4,000 pix). It was the only camera I had on a special trip, so, as the saying goes, I had to dance with the one that brung me.

At the size I was printing (8"x10"), that little camera could produce a very nice print.

Camera manufacturers should be very grateful that more people don't print, because printing reveals rather clearly how "old" gear is more than good enough. It's pixel peeping on big monitors that supports the "I need a new camera" phenomenon.

That's sort of back to normal. From the 1970s till the dawn of digital I think I bought and sold at least a couple hundred cameras mainly because Ken Hanson would alwase give me about what I paid when I traded stuff in as long as it was more expensive.

Anyway, I don't think I ever bought a new camera after the Nikon F2 I bought my freshman year in college. The big innovations all seemed to be trying to build in a lightmeter that was as good as some halfwit holding an incident meter and I was a halfwit holding an incident meter, or autofocus which I still find loathsome.
Cameras were good enough and really any camera made since about 1940 worked just fine.

Digital upended that applecart and the sidewalk it was standing on followed by a period of extremely rapid obsolescence but really reasonably priced cameras have been "good enough" for about 10 years now. I could take pictures with my 20 year old Canon 1Ds that no one would complain about except for my shoulder probably hurting.

Digital cameras do seem to wear out faster for some reason and the manufacturers seem to be doing their best to prevent you from repairing them.

At least it isn't as bad as the farm tractor world where the manufacturers seem to be at war with their customers.

I made a similar comment last month in response to a post about the future of the Micro 4/3 system. As someone who only shoots stills and seeks sufficient image quality at a reasonable price and size, I think that used Micro 4/3 is the place to be. In addition to what I currently own, I have a roadmap in my head for things I would like to add in the future. But every item on that roadmap (which includes E-M1 II, 75/1.8, 35-100/2.8 and some other lenses) was first released more than 4 years ago and routinely appears on KEH at a fraction of the price for new equipment. I suspect there will always be a market for cutting-edge equipment, but the cutting-edge crowd is mostly looking at full frame mirrorless, and it is going to be really hard for Olympus or Panasonic to sell someone like me any new items despite a strong commitment to their system.

I bought my current camera, a Nikon D800, used in 2015, so I don't know how old it really is. It had a shutter count of about 31.000 then, now about 80.000. The camera is rugged, easy to use since it has very few features, and the files look great - noise, what is that?! Granted, it is heavy, but if you take one or two small prime lenses with you, size and weight is not an issue - my entire kit fits into a small shoulder bag.

I don't think I'm giving up anything compared to the new FF mirrorless cameras. Maybe the files are a tiny bit better, but is this difference of practical relevance? If I switched to the Z system, for example, I would have to carry a bulky adapter, too, and this adapter wouldn't even fully support my lenses. Replacing my current lenses with native ones would be expensive, benefits would also be marginal, and the kit wouldn't fit into my current bag. In addition, I would have to learn a new camera.

But now it is Saturday morning, so I'm off today and the nightly curfew ends in a couple of minutes - the battery is charged and the card formatted - time to grab the D800 and catch the morning light!

Best, Thomas

Computer glitch - this may be a repost. Sorry if it is.

Interesting isn't it? I got a small inheritance in the mail today. Combine that with what I can scrape out of my next paycheck and I should be able to, by this time next week, afford a Leica M 240.

Used, of course.

To go on it I have already purchased a very nice Cosina Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton ltm lens.

Used, of course.

I'm sure the folks in Germany would far prefer me to be all Veblen and be buying one of the far more expensive current production cameras and a $3k Summicron to go with it.

Sorry guys, but like the drivers in 1920ish, I just want a really _good_ camera that works in a certain way - a rangefinder - to take my landscapes.

Used, of course.

So what's yer point, Micheal? That we may be satisfied with less than the best and most expensive gear? Sheesh.

I don't really understand what the cost of gear has to do with anything. As portraits go, these are pretty bad. I would easily take better, with a fifty years old camera that's worth $92, including lens and film. While having one hand tied behind my back. Not impressed in the slightest.

The D700 is my favorite Nikon. It's heavy, big and the B&W images it produces are beautiful. The colors aren't bad either. Light and nimble are good but I have Fujis for when I want that. I still love looking through a big prism finder and hearing the mirror slap of an SLR. And the "thunk" and grinding whirr of the older screwdriver focus Nikkor lenses is music to me.

I've gravitated back to Nikon fairly recently after having gravitated to Canons for several years. Nikon because there are tons of used Nikon and Nikon-mount lenses out there at bargain prices. And I only buy used gear these days. Some of the oldest Nikon AF lenses are amazing performers, even the variable aperture zooms. The old manual focus lenses are even lower priced and just as good as they ever were. If only my eyesight was a good as it ever was.

Doubtless the constant upgrading of sensors and processors improve cameras and new models offer newer features. Yet dependable older models with fewer features but excellent functional capacity to just take pictures are more appealing to some of us. The D700 doesn't do tricks. It just takes pictures.

Recent example - decided to try Micro 4/3rds (again) after a decade of APS-C and FF heavyweights, and found myself looking at the diminutive, but higher-end Olympuses (Olympii?). So, do I get the latest 20mp E-M1 mk3, or E-M5 mk3?

Oh wait, I can buy a barely used E-M5 mk2 for 1/3rd the price (the 4th 3rd, I guess). Thanks to firmware upgrades, it has all the features I want, and 16mp is more than enough! (Some even say it's built better than the newer model.)

Lenses I almost always buy used.

I have not bought a new Canon DSLR since late August 2007. I received the first 40D that was delivered to Calumet's Santa Ana, California store.

Still viable specs:
Maximum resolution:3888 × 2592 (10.1 megapixels)
Flash:pop-up, sync at 1/250 second (great for daylight fill-flash)
Shutter speed range:30 s to 1/8000 s, bulb

It produces good looking 12x18 Costco prints. Why would I replace it?

I recommend the 40D. Also the EX580 2 Speedlite is a bargain that will work with the latest Canon cameras.

I am one of those guilty of buying most of my gear used. I will buy something beaten up, "low cost" for stuff I use very little, but I am choosy about stuff I will use a lot.

I wanted a second Z7 body to go with the Z7i I bought new. I was almost at the point of buying a new Z7ii for €3400, but a Z7i with just 500 clicks on the shutter arrived at my local dealers, priced €2200, just as I was making my decision to buy.

I went to the shop prepared to buy either, but a basically new camera which lacks very little compared to the later version made much more sense financially.

The Z7 is an interesting case. Who knows who have done a remarkable job convincing people that a camera lacking two card slots is a dud. It is basically the only tangible difference between the two models.

My dealer told me the last owner traded in this practically unused Z7i, to "upgrade" to the Z7ii
. A changeover that must of cost him €1500 on what he paid new; the price of a nice lens.

I have bought lots of gear second hand that is basically new, perhaps used two or three times at a price much below what the item cost new.

I trade thing in when I change cameras and lenses. I lose very little money on the stuff I bought second hand when I trade it in.

Buying second hand may not help the camera manufactures, but it does help the local economy, if you buy from a local shop, as I do. (I like to handle stuff I am buying.)

I'm currently "driving" a 10ish year old Sony a850, sporting Minolta AF lenses (which also attach to the film Minolta Maxxum 7.)

Take my 800mm f/5.6 IF-ED Nikkor. I purchased it used in the mid 1990s for a fraction of it's new price back then. It was a large and really specialized lens so it's value on the used market was not all that high. Love the lens and am still using it today on my D850. Nikon's current 800mm lens is an AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR. Lens goes for $16,296.95. Yes it does have AF but I figure that one feature would cost me maybe $14,000.00... I will be sticking with my Manual Focus model.

If not for a technical failure, I would still be using, and very happily too, my Nikon 10mp D80. If print size is kept to 11x14, I really can't fault it.


Yup. This is where I have been living photographically since the Nikon D3 was issued, and it has put camera-makers in a real pickle. I have very few reasons to buy a bleeding edge camera although I still feel the tug when something versatile and new comes along (I am looking at you, Nikon Z7).

I currently own around 70 cameras. Only one of them was purchased new, and it was at a blowout price when it was a couple of years old. For me, new cameras have never been able to compete with used.

I forever regret selling my D700.

My concern for buying used would be that it breaks not that it is not good enough

On a flourish of nostalgia (once considered a disease that afflicted homesick Swiss soldiers), I bought two Canon G6 relics of the past. As good as new. For peanuts.

And the images they make? Some of the nicest I've seen.

Did I take them with me when I got married yesterday? Nope. Not because they weren't good enough. Simply because others, who were using my cameras, would have struggled to overcome their shortcomings. Mainly the lack of image stabilisation.

But the joy of using them is disproportionate to their output. As if there's an intrinsic magic dormant within neglected objects. Humans are funny creatures, no?

I did quite well on the used Nikon market for a number of years. My brother had run across a guy who worked in the Canadian wilderness in the summer, made a pile of money, and then bought lots of camera equipment. When he was upgrading, I bought his backup camera, a Nikon D70; on the next upgrade, my brother and I each bought a Nikon D200, and on the next one, we each bought a Nikon D300, and my brother picked up a couple of lenses, but that's when it ended. His cameras were in excellent condition and we bought them at good prices. They were cameras that I wouldn't have bought new, but I certainly enjoyed his upgrade castoffs!

Ford was competing against itself because the model T was so good! At one point they decided what was good enough, so could keep selling cars. It reminds me of a problem with the crown victoria/ grand marquis series, the power windows would stop working, it would cost about 150 dollars to fix. The problem? Ford saved a couple cents using a motor that they knew wasn’t reliable, by the time it acted up, it was up to you to pay for the fix.

I am an amateur and I primarily use Panasonic M4/3 cameras. I cannot imagine any feature they could add to a new camera that would tempt me to replace my GX8 or G9. I believe that the maturing of the product lines, and that the current cameras are so good, is more of the reason for declining camera sales than anything else. If one of these cameras dies, I will look for a used replacement first, if they are no longer available new, before considering whatever new offering is available.

I have wanted a full frame camera for a while to experiment with various Lensbaby lenses so I purchased a used Canon Eos RP. I wanted a standard zoom in the bag, but was taken aback by the cost of even a used RF lens. I remembered reading Ken Rockwell’s glowing review of the old EOS 28-105 USM lens from the 90’s. I found one used for less than $100 and bought an adapter for a similar price. The lens focuses very fast even in dim light. With the lens profiles loaded the image files are tack sharp and contrasty. For prints that I make (mostly 13x19 and smaller) they are perfect and I am sure they would print fine bigger prints at normal viewing distance. I looked for and found a 100-300 USM and a 20-35 USM of the same vintage. Though not quite as quite as tack sharp as the 28-105, they are equally fast focusing and very adequate for my needs. Total investment less than half the cost of 24-105L, and I see no scenario where I would be tempted to shell out for the L glass. By the way, I used to shoot Canon, and I owned several L lenses including the 24-105 so I know first hand how good they can be.

It comes down to what you need or want and what is good enough. I don’t need shiny new stuff (even though I want it) - just what works.

I'm tempted to buy a Fuji GF100s just so that I will have a 100 mp "MF" camera that is smaller and lighter than my 12 mp FF D3 (2008), which works just fine. I assume that I would continue use the latter for prints up to 11 x 14 inches, and the former for prints up to 11 x 14 feet.

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