View From The Porch: Obsolete


Everybody’s preferred hyperbolic camera shill, Ken Rockwell, wrote a piece a although back named “Future Trash”, about the constructed-in obsolescence of digital cameras.

Digital cameras are consumable, disposable and perishable commodities like milk, film or gasoline. Purchase them if you have photographs to make nowadays and never count on them to have worth in 3 years. Contrast this to film gear which was a sturdy very good much more like investing in gold. Of course instances modify, and just as the worth of gold drops if replaced by a improved technologies so have 35mm film cameras.

I am the largest cheapskate about and have been for more than 30 years. I often obtain my film cameras made use of when I can. For instance I just purchased a made use of medium format panoramic camera program in 2005 for $five,000. New it would have been more than $12,000. So why do I often obtain new digital cameras, even when I know they will be worthless for resale in 3 years?

It is a topic with onion-like layers, even though.

For starters, no digital camera is as sturdy an artifact as a correct all-mechanical, all metal camera. My Leica IIIb is eighty years old and totally repairable, restorable, &amp rebuildable, brief of one thing totally destructive like receiving run more than (in which case the salvageable bits could be made use of to repair, restore, or rebuild other old mechanical Leica III’s.)

Contrast that with late film cameras like the Nikon 8008’s that I’ve binned basically due to the fact they had untraceable electronic troubles that prevented them from turning on, Nikon no longer supports them, and frankly I am not going to commit a ton of work on a plasticky ’90s bit of electronica that is worth $20 in ideal operating order.

As for Ken’s statements about the constructed-in obsolescence of digital cameras, and how they have been advancing in capability so speedy that obtaining an old one particular to save income created no sense, it was reasonably correct…in 2006 or 2008. Digital camera technologies was nonetheless in its relative infancy and was advancing by leaps and bounds.

Positive, in 2008 you could obtain a six-year-old pro physique for about the identical price tag as a existing customer DSLR, but sensor technologies and other simple camera functions had come so far in that time that there was no point.

This, having said that, is no longer correct.

If you purchased a ten-year-old pro digital camera in 2010, you have been obtaining a camera that bordered on experimental. The Nikon 1Dx or Canon EOS 1D use finicky and obsolete battery technologies and when they debuted early in the new millenniums, they have been breaking new ground in attempting to mate up nonetheless comparatively new digital imaging sensors with properly-established SLR camera hardware.

Conversely, if you obtain a ten-year-old pro digital camera in 2019, you are obtaining pretty mature technologies. Ten years ago, pro DSLRs have been currently very good sufficient to film scenes for Hollywood blockbusters. Cameras like the D700 or EOS 5D Mark II differ from their existing iterations a lot significantly less than they do from their predecessors.

Now, although a DSLR is not the sturdy artifact that an all-mechanical camera is, a pro physique from Nikon or Canon has a lot of shooting in it. A D700 can have much more than a million shutter actuations in it. That is a lot of shooting. And, frankly, I get much more joy out of shooting my 5D Mark II than my M6, in spite of the latter obtaining a much more modern day sensor and an image processor 3 generations newer. (Not that the M6 is not a ton of entertaining, and much more most likely to be with me due to the fact considerably smaller sized.)

So, as extended as you stick to about 2008/2009 or newer, there is not as considerably cause to steer clear of the made use of DSLR market place as there made use of to be, at least for the greater-spec bodies.


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