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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Product Lifespan, and All That

Off to Costa Rica (family portrait)

Here's an interesting question.

First, bring to mind your "main" camera—the one you use most often, or feel most comfortable with, or do your most serious work with.

Now the question: how old is it?

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

Featured Comment by Walfredo Cirne: ...I actually like cameras as much as I like photography (they're two different, although related hobbies). So I end up buy[ing] 2 cameras a year, on average.

66 Comments:

Blogger aSmartKid said...

... it's only one year old :( But that's because it's my first camera. But I recognize the point of your question when I ask myself when I will buy my next camera...

4:49 PM  
Blogger jw52tx said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:51 PM  
Blogger jw52tx said...

For over close to thirty years years it would have been a Nikon- bought in the early 70's. It's still a Nikon or Epson digital but sadly both less than a year old. Some of the lenses I use with them are more than thirty years old though!
In the last five years I've gone through three different model changes with Nikon. No doubt I have more disposible income now than thirty years ago but it didn't use to seem as necessary to change with the ' good ole cameras'.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Rafa Barbera said...

Three years, it's a Canon 10D. Perhaps I'll keep it one or two more years, buy yes I undestand your point... five years for a digital body is an eternity but it isn't comparable with an analogue body's life span

5:12 PM  
Blogger marlof said...

It's an Olympus E-1. It was introduced about three years ago. Like me it is considered by some to be outdated and to lack resolving power, but it has a nice heft to it, and doesn't melt in the rain.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Photo-essayist said...

I'll bite. 1981. Chinon CE5 with a couple of very fine K and M Pentax lenses. After years of way too much gear, this simple set up keeps me happy.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Juan Buhler said...

Digital: Pentax istD. Released in 2003, I got mine (new) in September 2004.

Film: Leica M6. Mine was built in 1995, I got it in 2001.

The Pentax will be replaced much much sooner than the Leica will. Which I think was your point.

5:44 PM  
Blogger eolake said...

Two weeks.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

13 years old. But then, it's a Deardorff.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Scott Kirkpatrick said...

6 months

6:20 PM  
Blogger Hiding Pup said...

Only have one camera: it's an Olympus E-1 and it's a year old. I bought a C-5050 this week for nothing and that's probably a couple of years old but I only got it this week. I'm sure there's a catch in this question somewhere...just trying to figure out what you're driving at...

6:22 PM  
Blogger John said...

The camera that has been used most often is 18 years old.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Hmm. Well, all of my current cameras are relatively new as I've only returned to serious photography in 2003. None is my "favorite" and on a weekly basis I use most of them, with the exception of the Leica and the 10D.

The acquisition dates are as follows.
Canon 10D - July, 2003
Canon 1D Mark II - June, 2004
Canon 1Ds Mark II - March, 2005
Canon 5D - September, 2005
Leica M7 - January, 2005

While that looks like I've gone gung ho I feel that my acquisition stage is completed and I'm pretty well fixed for cameras (and lenses) for the foreseeable future. While I might go berserk and get a medium format camera and digital back I really doubt it, as I see no real advantage for my work.

Having said all of this, I agree with your implicit point. Cameras seem to be spending far less time in a single owner's hands these days than in the film days. This translates into a variety of side-effects, not the least of which is that owners seem to rarely really learn their cameras' operation nearly as well as the old film camera days.

6:31 PM  
Blogger JeffH said...

My present main camera is a Canon 10D, which I've been using for 2 1/2 years. My previous main camera was a Canon D30 which I used for almost two years. I had a couple of digital point and shoots prior to that, which I used for ~1 year each. One was a 1 Mega pixel Kodak DC210, which took pretty decent images for it’s time. Prior to going digital, my main camera was a Pentax Spotmatic F, which I bought when I was a teenager and used for over 24 years. I still have it in fact, but It's pretty worn out from years of use. It still works, even after surviving a dunk in a river on a back packing trip years ago. I got pretty good at disassembling it several times over the years to adjust the meter and clean the electrical contacts. Don’t think I would attempt that with today’s all electronic cameras.

6:36 PM  
Blogger alkos said...

Pentax MX * 2. Optimistically assuming they're both about 25 years old, exactly my age :-)

6:52 PM  
Blogger Matthew Robertson said...

It has been three years since the Oly E-1, my "main" camera, was launched. I've been using it for just over a year, and plan on using it indefinitely.

Only two things could get me to replace it: when a new camera pays me to buy it, or if someone releases a new model with an auto-compose feature.

7:02 PM  
Blogger David A. Goldfarb said...

I've been traveling this summer with one camera--a 4x5" Linhof Tech V that's about thirty years old.

7:18 PM  
Blogger gmalling said...

Amost 50 years old. A Rolleicord V

8:14 PM  
Blogger John Roberts said...

Olympus E500 - 7 months. I don't think this is a camera that I will be outgrowing anytime soon. My previous main camera (film) was was a Minolta X-570 that I've enjoyed since 1983.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

My Nikon D50 is just less than a year old. I got it for my birthday last year (7th December).

8:34 PM  
Blogger underexposure said...

Up until about a month ago I could have said 5 years, as my main DSLR was a Nikon D1x from August 2001. But now it's a practically new D2x. Still, I'd say the D1x held up pretty well for me (from a digital perspective).

On the RF side it's a 1.5 year old RD-1. The M6TTL is older, but is no longer a "main" camera, at least in terms of usage. In terms of "most comfortable with" I still love the Leica and the old Medium Format cameras (those dusty things in the closet...)

j

9:14 PM  
Blogger KeithAlanK said...

Under two years old (to me) but 2002 technology, the Sony F717 delivers great pictures and there is nothing like it available today, so I intend to use it until one of us dies.

9:29 PM  
Blogger dyathink said...

an old Leica CL and at the other end of the spectrum, a Nikon D200. Love 'em both a lot, use 'em both a lot. I see your family portrait. i live in Costa Rica. Hope you all have a wonderful time here. Bring rain gear :)

9:57 PM  
Blogger Dwight Jones said...

I'm totally happy with my Olypmus E-1 that I got three years ago. I had to sell my Hasselblad x-pan to pay for it. Oh that hurt!, but the E-1 is something I can use every day. It's weatherproof and five megapixels is enough...

That said, I wouldn't spend so much money if I had to do it over again. I'd have used OM-1 until the Sony R-1 came out.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Rene said...

My main camera is 5 months old, a Nikon D200. The Nikon F100, my second, was bought in 2003, after the first one was stolen. Same holds for my medium format system, so also from 2003.

In my view, the changeover from a mechanical driven piece of equipment to a mostly electronically driven camera has shortened the lifespan, starting already with AF in 1985. With digital you enter the world of semiconductors, which indeed have a very short lifespan.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Walfredo Cirne said...

My main camera is a KM 5D, 7 months old (love the anti-shake + fast prime possibility).

But I actually like cameras as much as I like photography (they're two different, although related hobbies). So I end up buy 2 cameras a yera, on average.

10:45 PM  
Blogger nvonstaden said...

"feel comfortable with" is the key wording here....I use all nikon in my job the new D2X and D2H but I feel most comfortble with my D200..just feels better and finder is great with a good feel of the shutter release....I remember using my old Nikon f manual ..loving the feel of the shutter release...took nikon years to get it right again on the the newer nikons after all the types and feel of the motor drive buttons they used in the past....

10:46 PM  
Blogger carpeicthus said...

Six months, D200. But I'm hoping mine have a five-year shelf-life.

11:33 PM  
Blogger pbizarro said...

Canon EOS 1V, 2 years old. Replaced another 1V at the time.

I will only buy a DSLR when the price of a full-frame one comes down to what I paid for my 1V (about 2000 USD). With the same build quality, of course. I can wait, I like slide film a lot!

11:53 PM  
Blogger john s said...

The lens I am using now was made in 1938, a Leitz 5cm Summar Lovely!

12:28 AM  
Blogger Carsten Bockermann said...

Since 1991 I have used Leica M6 cameras almost exclusively. Until 2004, that is. That year I switched to a digital workflow.
To answer the original question: 8 months old Nikon D200.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Bernard Piechal said...

I see I'm on the minority here, but My NEW camera was manufactured in 1986. That means I consider it "new". My OLD camera was made in october 1978 which makes it older than me. Still works.
I can't resist to say also, that I see, that Mike's son has a camera not so new too.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Fras said...

Hmmm. Two separate questions with two separate answers. The camera that I feel most comfortable with is my 22 year old Olympus XA. It's quick, it's unobtrusive and it's quiet. But, it's film and I don't do film any more.

My main camera is a Konica-Minolta A200, less than a year old. I'm reasonably happy with it but I'd much prefer a digital XA.

2:48 AM  
Blogger christer3805 said...

my camera equipment used to be older than my wife.

it no longer is. my wife is the same, but i have upgraded my leicas to m7s

2:52 AM  
Blogger the blind spot said...

1 year exactly. Olympus C-7070WZ that disappeared from the marketplace 3 months [or less] after purchasing it. Got the idea from reading this article:
http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19398143&postID=115386249143044377
Use it excluesivly to make images for my photoblog the BL!ND SPoT: http://theblindspot.my-expressions.com/
Its not a perfect solution but being that my main cameras for years were a Hasselblad or a Toyo 4x5 I can pretty much get it to do what I want. Patience is the key.
The live view is the most advantageous aspect of this camera as I can preset my focus and the exposure that I want which is something that has really changed my approach to shooting. Many a time it feels more like watching a video of life passing by and I'm just capturing random moments along the way...

2:54 AM  
Blogger Dion said...

Got myself a Canon 350D a year ago. I may upgrade soon so I can give the 350D to my girlfriend.

I doubt I'll otherwise feel the need until there is a full frame with the same pixel density as the 350D/30D (which would make it just over 20megapixels) that I find affordable.

3:06 AM  
Blogger Abba said...

My Nikon FTN lasted 33 years, then a Nikon Coolpix which I used for 3 years and now a Nikon D200 (five months old). Ask me again in 30 years.

3:21 AM  
Blogger tienvijftien said...

KM 7D - bought in March 2006. My film camera is a 35 year old (older than I am) Voigtlaender Vitomatic IIa - which I am learning to use.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Monkeini said...

What's that Zander has around his neck? Could it be an M-M-M SLR? How did he get into them I wonder....?

Main camera for me at the mo: Epson R-D1 bought 2nd hand about 5 months back. It is an exception though, the next four cameras in my 'usage league' are 20-30 years old.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

My day-to-day camera is a Rolleiflex Automat from 1949 :)

4:03 AM  
Blogger dedadas said...

Well, my most used camera (and I do have too many) is a Ricoh GR1s. Yes, it is not the latest model in the market... :-)

4:13 AM  
Blogger Mikko J. Kalavainen said...

A 1986 Leica M6. So this would be it's 20th anniversary. Joy!

4:39 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Nikon D200, 8 months old (I pre-ordered and got one of the first) Before that: a D70 that I had for about a year and a half.
Before that: an FM2 that was my first "real" camera, that I had for about eight years.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Dave Hodgkinson said...

A 2 year-old D70. I'm not upgrading anytime soon.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

An Olympus OM1, 30 years old next year. During that time I've spent maybe UKP 150 on a minor repair and an overhaul, so maintenance costs UKP 5 per year.

Depreciation over 30 years? Not much. Expected life span? Should last another 20 years, I reckon.

6:30 AM  
Blogger CKWork said...

Main camera is a 20D, 18 months old. Prior to this I went through a number of DSLRs in fairly quick succession. The 20D is the first I was really comfortable with.

My oldest camera is a 1980 Canon F1, which after 20 years of service was retired due to the lure of auto-focus etc. Happily it has just come out of retirement as my daughter (an enthusaistic P&S user) expressed a desire to learn "real photography" (her words!).

I certainly don't expect my 20D to last 20 years - but, on the other hand, I reckon I have made more pictures with my 20D than I ever did with my F1.

7:05 AM  
Blogger robertw said...

Mamiya 7, about 6 years old. Except I don't know, I bashed that one on a tile floor in Tulum two years ago, and bought a replacement body on ebay.
Where this question gets interesting for me is when it's about brand loyalty. Had canon not changed the mount from FD to EOS, I could say I have canon lenses back to 1990. Currently I have a 10D. So I have been brand-loyal to canon for quite some time. If Leica makes a compelling M digital, that will prolong my use of their lenses. But as a professional, I use whatever the client is paying for, format-wise. And even though it seems like there has been collossal change, its still pretty much the same vendors in professional photography, Hasselblad and Mamiya, Canon Nikon and Leica.
Asked another way-which camera have you been loyal to despite the change-that would be the Leica. Pain in the ass to scan film, but good archivally to have film around imo.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Geoff said...

What Carsten said... though I increasingly shoot digital (a 20D purchased about a year and a half ago and now a 5D as well, purchased recently), when I want to grab a small, lightweight camera to bring wherever, it's a trusty M6 classic, made the year I graduated high school (and based on a design from, what, 1954?).

Loaded with impossible-to-overexpose drugstore color negative film and scanned with digital ICE on a Nikon Coolscan, I can have results the same day that enlarge well to 11x14 (and beyond sometimes).

And my Canons still can't beat Fuji NP1600 for low-light concert and performance photography (well, maybe they can objectively, but I just love the romantic look that this film gets). The weight and lack of a mirror box on the Leica help it do that "no shaky thing" as well. When/if Fuji stops making this emulsion, I'll likely give up film for good.

7:33 AM  
Blogger eolake said...

Everybody is guessing at your "point", Mike... So what is it then?

(BTW, mine is a Canon 5D.)

7:57 AM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

Do most serious work - 2 X I year old old Epson R D1s with a bunch of three/four yaer old voigtlander lenses.
Bought a Pentax 1st DS2 to add to my 20 yaer old Pentax LXes and bunch of lenses,it was stolen,I haven't replaced it.
Most often used Ricoh Gr-1 bought used four years ago.

8:01 AM  
Blogger beezerboy said...

My main camera is Nikon D1, with M6 and XA as secondaries. For family parties and recording events a Nikon 8700. My current favorite is a Nikon Coolpix 990 coverted to Infrared. Too many choices not enough cash.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Max said...

One Canon F1 (old model) wich is as old as I am, with a couple of months difference (34 years), and a Voigtlander Bessa 6x9 for who knows what. But it shoots incredible landscapes. If I had a medium format scanner I think I'd use the Bessa a lot. Oh, and a C-595 Oly. Great digicam for the money.

8:29 AM  
Blogger wirehead said...

Older than I am.

My current one is the Canon TX my daddy got me in grade school.

It is to be supplanted as my main camera by a Mamiya RB67 Pro I purchased that was last manufactured in 1974.

8:32 AM  
Blogger vbsoto said...

My main camera is an Oly E-500 which I aquired 11/05. I call it my main camera because I paid the most for it. I still haven't been able to get the predicatable onboard fill flash results that I had worked out on my previous camera. But it is smaller than my EOS.

Which is a Canon Elan IIE that I got because I couldn't hold out any longer for AF. Got it in 1999 used from KEH. And whose feature set I feel I was best able to exploit in my style of shooting. But to this day it has always felt gargantuan compared to the camera I'm most comfortable with, my OM2n. Which I've had since 1982 and used exclusively to 1999, a 17 year run. Sparingly since. If I get it and my 50mm CLA I would probably use it more.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Bojan said...

Oly E1, bought new about 20 months ago (autumn 2004).

Yours Bojan

8:43 AM  
Blogger chantal stone said...

My Nikon N90 and I have been in a committed relationship for over 4 years now. Others have tried to come betwwen us, but most have failed. Mr. Nikon had a previous relationship, but I do not know for how long. We're talking deep and meaningful love here ;)

8:51 AM  
Blogger Albano Garcia said...

The one I use most (Fuji S5000) is almost 2 years old. The one I use less (Nikon D50) is 9 months old.
I also own but not use anymore a Rolleiflex 3.5 E from 1958 and a Kinax from the fifties.

9:02 AM  
Blogger jim witkowski said...

That's unfair. I recently sold my Linhoff to buy a Canham 4x5 but I don't go through cameras very often. I still have my Nikon F that I bought new while stationed in Korea.
For me, A camera is simply a place to hold my lens and film.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Doug Stockdale said...

Couple of years ago I added a 25 year old Hasselblad to "replace" my 30 year old Mamiya 67 (still have not sold Mamiya) for my landscape images, while concurrently using a 4 year old Canon G2, which is my digital "Leica".

9:49 AM  
Blogger Dave New said...

I used an Olympus OM-10 body, with the original 'kit' 50mm lens and an assortment of Sigma lenses (my favorite being a 135mm prime I used to do candid portrait shots at family gatherings) since about 1980, until my 'digital conversion' in 2002, with a Nikon Coolpix 4500.

I still have the Coolpix (used digicams have *zero* resale value), but picked up a Canon Digital Rebel on first day of availability, and upgraded to a 20D last Fall. Since getting the Coolpix, I've not taken a single frame of film.

I've concentrated on getting quality Canon glass, owing nothing to the original collection of Oly-compatible glass (mostly 3rd-party) I had for so long.

I now have a nice collection of Canon primes and zooms, and will be shooting with Canon digital bodies for the forseeable future.

If/when my budget allows, and it makes sense for me as an advanced amateur, I'll be looking at adding a full-frame body, along the lines of the 5D.

Other than that, until/unless I turn pro, where I can justify spending small fortunes on photo gear, that should hold me for a while.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Daniel Sroka said...

My Kodak SLR/n is only one and a half years old. But it has been discontinued, so in digital terms is it "over the hill". Personally, I love using somewhat obsolete technology.

10:19 AM  
Blogger andres racz said...

-Rolleiwide bought in 1997 in good condition.
-Plaubel Veriwide bought in 1989 very clean.
-Rolleiflex 3,5F for almost 30 -years.
-Hexar AF bought in 1994.
-Super Ikonta lV bought in NY in 1985.

I recently sold my M6 with its lenses.I use all my cameras all the time.No digital yet,but I am in no hurry.Will probably get a small one to carry in my pocket all the time.

Work with these cameras and others Ive had can be seen in my blog.

The online photographer is a source of inspiration,thought and information for all of us.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

I'm currently using a 3 year old Sony P92 - a 5mp camera that I use when I need something pocketable - a 2 year old Panasonic FZ3 - a 3mp camera that is great for photos used on the web, and a brand new 3mp digital camera phone, the Sony K800i. I doubt I'll part with any of the first 2 as I don't currently have a need for more megapixels.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

My EOS 1D, purchased new 4.3 years ago, is my answer to all three of your questions. While I have added a 20D, I don't expect anything to replace the 1D anytime soon, mostly because of how frequently I take advantage of the 1/500 flash sync speed when shooting fast moving horses in covered arenas.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Blotz said...

My D1 X is about 5 years old, its been my main camera since then. Unless a couple thousand bucks falls into my lap, i expect it to last another 5.

11:10 AM  
Blogger ArildR said...

Digital: Nikon D200, four months old.

Film: Rolleiflex 3,5F 1968-model (three years older than me...)

The D200 is my main camera, but the Rolleiflex is the camera I never will part with.

3:45 AM  

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