Skip to comments.Some Thoughts on Digital Camera Lifespan
Posted on 07/06/2012 5:39:13 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER
This small mountain of gear leads to two very frightening thoughts. Firstly, theres no ending in sight; one keeps accumulating more and more equipment in order to keep pushing the edge of whats possible both from a compositional and artistic standpoint, as well as from an image quality standpoint. Youve either got to have a great day job and very deep pockets, or some good recurring clients.
The second thought is around obsolescence. In the film days, the camera body and lenses lasted a long time; you invested in glass, got a decent body one that fulfilled your personal needs as a photographer and then picked the right film for the job. In that sense, image quality differences between brands were down to the lenses and the photographer. This is to say that if you put the same film in every camera, the difference in sharpness or acuity or color or whatever would be down to the lens only. If you wanted more image quality, you went for a bigger format and thus a larger sensor. The digital equivalent to this would be having only one photo site design of a fixed pixel pitch; say around 4.9 microns, which would get you 16MP at APS-C, 36MP at FX, about 60MP on 645, and something silly on large format. For an equivalent size print, the larger format would definitely outdo the smaller format by an amount proportional to the difference in resolution.
Now, that thar is funny and I don't care WHO y'are ...
And no need for forgiveness Lord for them Pygmies.
SLR/DSLR lenses hold their value. Now that the pixel counts are higher than most consumers need or will ever really use, the is less of a reason to upgrade. I spent about $1700 on my camera body 3 years ago and I have no desire to upgrade, unlike the DSLR body I had prior to that that cost about $900.
Last night a tat artist agreed to trade me some ink on my delt for it. I agreed then thought better of it this morning and backed out. I'll pay the twenty sawbucks to look pretty and still have the Tri-X holder.
Oh man don’t say that
Maybe six years ago I purchased (for a high price) a name brand digital movie camera. Last year it crapped out on me and the manufacturer’s representative told me in a superior tone of voice that there was repairing it..after all, technology had just moved on and it was obsolete. They offeed me a second-second-unit.
The article is correct, the digital stuff out there is highly suspect.
Digital camera makers don't make a lot of spare parts, after a few years you're out of luck.
A 1970's Praktica MTL-5 with a dead light meter (no functioning electronics):
$5 thrift-store Mamiya 1000TL from the 1960's with a Montgomery Wards lens:
A 3.2 megapixel Kodak Easyshare with no zoom:
A $55 Polaroid 6 MP camera from Wal Mart.
Oh without a doubt, but let’s be honest, who’s kept a digital camera for 10 years and is happy about it? Even the 12mp SLR’s of the day had crappy sensors that were really only 6mp sensors. Let’s not even get into sensor noise at ridiculously low ISO’s.
The point and shoot stuff was so horrible 10 years ago that phones now take better snapshots. It’s a different age, and longevity is indeed something that has been lost, and is unlikely to return any time soon.
That was true fifty years ago as well.
Actually, my 10-year-old Sony works pretty well. Naturally, the newer digital cameras are much better, but it still works and takes pictures.
“At this point, I don’t even buy green bananas. ;)”
LOL.... I will use that line.
I am there too.
Digital format megapixels are a marketing driven item.
A collegue of mine actually designed most of the lens systems for 2 of the biggest names in DSLR cameras, he’s been a camera lens system designer for more than 50 years (yes, he’s in his 80s and still sought after by the camera makers). According to him, unless you plan on spending more than $10K, you might just as well buy a 3-1/2 to 6 Megapixel camera body, because the lens system won’t give you a better image than that anyway, no matter how high you go in megapixels.
And for the film purests, 29.5 megapixels is equivalent in a 35mm format to the very best smallest grain film ever sold, provided your lenses will use it.
Got a nice Fuji digital. 15 megapixels. Just have to remember to change the batteries. Has a 4g memory chip. Can’t take that many pictures. Thing about digital cameras though is - no view finder - you have to look at a screen to compose. Very awkward especially in bright sun.
Finally after reading for a year and a half, I bought my Canon 8mp dslr in 2005, has over 8000 shutter clicks on it and actually has more because I didn't shoot in RAW for the first couple years. I've looked at the upgrades but am the type that likes to get my money's worth out of things. I know the new ones have better resolution (which means amazing detail) and advanced features. I would like good video capability at some point.
I got some L lenses and they will fit on another body if I need to get one (may need to be sent for calibration).
To this day I admire the results out of the Nikons; it was a hard choice at the time but once you have, best stay with what you have unless you get a super good price for the lot. I've been really happy with mine; it does have a few things you have to work around and skills and tricks to learn, but the battery life is amazing.
You take some nice photos. Are you hankering for a new one? On the photo forum, there are some where it could get to be keeping up with the Jonese if you let yourself.
A good digital camera will last, while not as long as a solid film camera, quite a while in functionality. The bigger question with digital - do we case technology as with computers and other electronic devices?
I not only buy, but eat green bananas.
I let then ripen internally.
Or you used a tripod. Or an advanced developer to produce finer grain.
Or finer grain film.
Or you used a tripod.
Or an advanced developer to produce finer grain.
Here’s the thing: sure, you’ll get more detail from a larger resolution camera. But, when you print a picture at say, 20 inches or greater, do you look at it from 10 inches away? Most often, pictures that are larger are viewed from longer distances, and the extra detail is lost anyway. If all you’re doing is making 4x6 prints, you don’t often need more than 3 megapixels. If you’re viewing the pictures on a computer, you don’t need much more than the best resolution most computers can handle. A 2560 x 1600 display is only 4.1 megapixels.
In the meantime, the tradeoff for having that huge sensor is a definite loss of sensitivity. There simply isn’t as much light to share among 20 million individual pixels as there is to share among 10 million. If you have to shoot in low light at a slower ISO, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels you have. Your picture will likely be blurry anyway due to the slow shutter speed required with low ISOs.
I’d LOVE to be able to find a point and shoot camera with manual controls (shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual) with a SMALLER sensor (maybe 5-6 megapixels) that had a much better ISO sensitivity than most point and shoot cameras have.
Got my Sony Mavica MVC FD90 1.6 MP Digital Camera used from a friend in 200 for 400 bucks. You can get em on e-bay for 30 now. This camera takes great pictures. I wish it was as fast as my Canon PowerShot, but do I really need anything bigger than 2 or 3 meg pictures?
Newer and fancier gadgets just means I have to upgrade all the periferals to use them. I cant afford a 60” computer screen to view a 32 meg picture and I have been following along quite nicely with all the photoshopped birth certificate and Reuters news photo threads.
What am I missing?
(Former Canon AE-1 and A-1 user. Digital did save my ass cause I was going broke buying film and developing.)
I used to load the plates for my daddy’s Speed Graphic before he would go out on a shoot. 100 of them in a huge leather valise probably weighed 70 pounds. Then I would assist him in the darkroom.
Got an enlarger for my 16th birthday!
Love the old stuff.
The 5th was taken with one of these...and yes, it is just as cheaply made as it looks:
I store all of my final images at 22" x 15" at 300 dpi I try to do landscapes a 100 ISO. I've done available light at 25,600 ISO and smoothed the noise.
Viewing distance is 1.5 times the diagonal of the image.
in 16 bit Tiffs at 28 megapixels.
I store all of my final images at 22" x 15" at 300 dpi
I try to do landscapes a 100 ISO.
I've done available light at 25,600 ISO and smoothed the noise.
My DSLR, a Nikon D40, is only 6 MP. Nikkor lenses are SUPER sharp, and I never had a problem with clarity or detail...
I use a Dx40 mated to a 18-200,both Nikon as are a closet full of bodies and lens for film.
I used to carry a trunk full of gear, now just the Dx and the 200, good for just about everything.
I still have 6 rolls of Extar 25 in the freezer.
I still have (and love) my old Canon AE-1.
No point in ever selling it. I wouldn’t get out of it what I have in it, plus there’s too much sentimentality attached to it. It was my first camera with REAL electronics abd I shot a LOT of pictures with it.
My first SLR was an East German Praktica LTL. Loved that thing too, and shot with it semi-regularly up until a few years ago.
Thing is you wouldn’t want the 10 Year old DLSR. I used a leading edge one back then; it was good but BIG and EXPENSIVE. The state of the art was moving so fast that building something durable was a waste. The technology is only now slowing down in terms of quality improvement, price drop, and efficiency increase.
I’m more worried about the operating system of my computers wearing out by running day in day out!
I want a Sony Qualia 016. At the time was a top-end 1MP crammed into the size of a pack of gum. $3000 for the camera, lens kit, and case.
Size isn’t the problem for me that it seems to be for some people. I have a good range of lenses but seldom use anything shorter than 75-300. I’m not likely to ever be a street or nightclub photographer.
One advantage of high megapixel sensors for bird photos is that you can significantly crop an image and still have decent resolution in the crop for printing. I can crop a smaller section of an 18 megapixel image and print it than I could with my old 8 megapixel images. I've found that cropping the same small portion of an 8 megapixel image will sometimes fail pixelation limits for prints (i.e., a small crop of an 8 megapixel image will sometimes have too few pixels to print without pixelation).
I've cropped about 25% of an image from my Oly, had it printed at 20x30 and unless you were pixell peeping, all the digital grunge that was present got lost in the bokeh. It is a compact, but it has an f1.4 lens.
The Sigma is a DSLR, and with L-glass can produce some incredible images, but it is a cranky, crotchety beast that requires buckets of light, don't even think of shooting over ISO 200.
The 60D doesn’t have the Foveon “look”, but it has allowed me to capture images in several situations where I wouldn't have even gotten off a shot. I can take descent pictures at ISO 800 handheld that with the Sigma requited a tripod and auxiliary lighting.
As far as prices, you should get several thousand images out of a camera body. Your real investment is in the glass, which locks you into a particular manufacturer's system unless you want to get involved with adapters that let you use lens X on body Z at some time in the future if you decide to change.
Finally, consider the total cost of a camera system. Yes, one or two thousand dollars is a pretty good chunk of change, but over the course of ten years that breaks down to $200 per year or a little less than four dollars a week,
and while you do have costs associated with printing an image, I can get a 16x20 print on matte Fuji paper done on a $4000 Epson printer at Sam's club for under $10, and you have 0 costs for film.
This is truly a golden age for photographers and modern technology allows even a rank armature to produce pictures that equal and even surpass works of the Masters of times past. Part of the process and part of the fun is just the learning process that results with picking up even a cheep $100 camera and being able to shoot hundreds of pictures for free, and in the process, learning by doing.
Doesn’t help. I have polarizing sunglasses. It’s not glare but brightness of sun. Inside it’s great.
You don’t understand. The CAMERA was HUGE. Not the lens, that was normal; the body was very big. Manageable, but around one square foot.
I am dreaming about a Fuji X Pro1 with all three lens. I’ve tried to convince myself I’m too much an amateur to really justify it but I still want it and an A5 convertible.
Coincidentally, that same year I was in a meeting with the chief designer of Canon's then-new EOS line. He brought a sample EOS (the 650), a speedlite, and the components of the ultrasonic focus motor for us to fatfinger.
So I finally got around to getting another SLR, an EOS Rebel G, in 1997, before an extended assignment in Germany. Then a couple years later an EOS 3--a big step up--and additional lenses along the way.
In 2005 I went EOS digital, the same year as you. I suspect your camera was the same model as mine, a Digital Rebel ("Drebel") G.
Since then, an EOS 50D, and as of last week the credit card-busting EOS 5D MK III.
These cameras complement my Ansco Readyflash and my Argus C3. ≤}B^)
I don't use the fast 50 much, it usually has a long lens mounted.
The camera is usually cleaner but it spends a lot of time in swamps.
One word: Crop.
Higher resolution gives you more options. At 3MP you can print a 4x6 photo of the full frame; at 18MP you can print a 4x6 photo of one face in the crowd. Resolution is certainly overblown in camera marketing, but it counts for something.
You can buy a digital camera with a viewfinder, I won’t buy one without it. The screen is useless in the field unless you’re in the shade..
Polarized sunglasses wreak havoc on the appearance of both the LCD screen and the SLR viewfinder. I have to take mine off whenever I compose a shot.
Your Sony looks like it was designed by M. C. Escher.
A hundred and fifty years from now, will they have a clue what to do with a compact flash card/memory stick micro-sd card that might have images left on it?
Always amazed at them finding boxes of glass negatives that are a hundred years old and the images are still salvageable.
It’s not bad on the cinema side:
Auto focus (even now) is no good for DSLR video —that means the super old 100% manual lenses are GREAT for video.
I shot this on a GH2 with a **50-year-old lens***: