Have photographers let marketing replace common sense?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by JJJPhoto, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Real Name:
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    There is a great deal of competition among camera companies and modern technology is constantly changing so that camera (and particularly camrea sensors) are changing all the time.

    That being said, in many cases there are few "practical" improvements moving from one camera to the camera that replaces it the following year.

    Still, so many of us insist on following the idea that "newer is better" and so the push to regularly replace cameras continues and the value of existing cameras drops like a rock.

    I started to pay attention to this a few years ago when I noticed that my old Olympus E-1 (a FANTASTIC camera) had a used value of less than $200. I was reminded again recently when I was able to buy back a used Nikon D2X (that I sold several years ago for $1,450) from the guy I sold it to for just $300!

    That's right, I bought a gently used professional grade Nikon DSLR for less than the price of a refurbished D3100!

    Sure, part of me is happy that we can find such INSANE deals on quality used gear, but another part of me says this is just WRONG.

    Older cameras like the E1 or the D2X (as long as they don't have any component failures from old age) are as capable of capturing a great image today as they were when they were new and people raved about how awesome these cameras were.

    More to the point, I just read two different posts on Mu-43 and Dpreview from people complaining that cameras announced within the last 6-12 months have "old sensor technology" and "aren't good for (insert your type of photography here)."

    Why have we bought into the idea that a new sensor is the most important element of a camera?

    I feel like the crazy depreciation of digital cameras is a symptom of so many photographers getting sucked into the marketing hype around new cameras and believing the NEED (not "want" or "desire" but NEED) to upgrade exists.
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  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    So, what is new? This is not new behavior. But there is some weakness to your hypothesis, you are really only surveying the part of the population were this behavior is important, not the general buying population at large. Surveying drunks to find the average alcohol intake for the entire population is a flawed sample.
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  3. hanzo

    hanzo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 22, 2010
    Real Name:
    Photographers have common sense ? :biggrin:
    ... wait.. :eek:
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    If you want to blame anybody, blame the manufacturers for flooding the market with loads of relatively minor updates of the same design, plus the rapid evolution of technology over the past 10 years. It's that flood (and the accompanying marketing) that to a large degree drives the demand. The technological improvements mean that cheap gear today outperforms expensive gear from yesterday.

  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    Welcome to the digital world, where everything becomes old pretty much instantly.
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  6. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Minor updates and rapid evolution???

    I think we blame the consumer for creating the situation we have today. The camera companies don't drive the market. At least from my experience.
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    The continuous quest to shoot in absolute darkness is what primarily drives the sensor craze.

    Case in point - the Foveon. The Foveon has superb IQ and if you're a studio photographer, strobist, daylight shooter, then arguably you should have a Foveon based body that doesn't perform well at ISO 800 and higher because you have no requirement to shoot in pitch black conditions. :smile:
  8. cookme

    cookme Mu-43 Regular

    May 25, 2012
    Just be glad that you don't "invest" in computer hardware... prices and resell values drop in a much worse way.
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  9. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    The best way to invest in technology is to buy Apple stock. But not Apple's stock...
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  10. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    But there's a long way between all that light and "pitch black".

    Example: right now to get the flowers in the garden I need f2.8 at 1/100 at iso 400 (daylight in the UK is not daylight in Texas !) That's not ideal, and if I was wanting to take anything that moves, wildlife, birds I'm totally stuck. Clean iso 1600 would be great.

    When and what can be shot is restricted in many circs for many people because of the technical limitations of the camera.
  11. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    And that is where the photographer's skill takes over. You will always be in situations that are no ideal.

    And I don't know why you are using a 10-year-old camera, but in today's cameras, ISO 1600 is very good.
  12. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    Not sure where you got ten years from. I have a G1 two years old to me, four year old tech. ISO 1600 is dreadful.
  13. emirabal

    emirabal Mu-43 Regular

    I dont mind

    I dont mind that i can now pick up some same sensor size cameras as my GF3 to have as a backup.

    Also i feel that i have been looking at the NEX C3 and it is actually increasing in price (USED) for some odd reason.

    Also, if you want to make money on actual physical stock, buy the 20mm1.7, that thing just keeps climbing in price, best investment i ever made.
  14. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    No one forces us to by those "minor updates." If we didn't, the manufacturers would stop.

    But it's not just digital, not just cameras, and not new.

    Remember the annual "new car" introductions? Often nothing changed beyond the grill, taillights and wheel covers, but people just had to have that shiny new car. Typical trade-in cycles in the 1960s were 3 years for a lot of people.

    But yes, I think it's silly. If the camera I have today takes excellent photos today, it will take excellent photos tomorrow, and next year. Might something newer be "better"? Yes, it might be. Will it make much of a difference in my photographs? In most cases, no.

    Sometimes there is a significant advance from one generation to the next. From the Pens to the OM-D, for example (although that's kind of a bad example, since it's really an all-new line, not a new generation of an existing one.) Canon's 7D is a significant upgrade from the 50D that it nominally replaced. And at the high-end, pro cameras are more likely to offer significant upgrades between generations, but then those generations tend to come further apart.

    But for most cameras, for most of us, most of the time, there's little to be gained from one generation to the next. I tend to skip generations, sometimes two (e.g., EOS 20D to 50D, skipping the 30 and 40.)

    I'm kind of hoping the GH3 will offer a dramatic improvement in C-AF and EVF performance, in which case I'll probably look at upgrading from my GH2. But if it's just a slightly better sensor, another tiny increment in the "world's fastest AF" marketing battle, and a few new features, I'll wait for the GH5 (or EM-6, or whatever offers something that might actual improve my work.
  15. Chuck Pike

    Chuck Pike Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 3, 2010
    Charlotte, NC.
    its just a tool.

    I went through many Nikon cameras since the mid 1960's. Each one was better than the last, but there were several years between models. Dpreview has a lot of gear forums, and people seem to forget that photography is all about the pictures. The fact that so many people no longer print also means you don't need as much camera as you once did (not talking about wedding or sports). I moved from the GF1 to the G3 and have no plans to buy another camera or lens anytime soon (I mean years). I try and spend more time learning more and more about the camera and how to get the most out of it. That was the beauty of cameras in years past. The manufacturer didn't come out with a upgrade but maybe every 5+ years, so you got to know the ins and outs of the camera. Not today. The truth is that many of these people think that a better camera will turn out better work. I know I did when I bought my first Nikon. I took bad photos before then, and the Nikon didn't help at all. I had to learn to be a photographer.

    Images for books, magazines and calendars | photosbypike
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  16. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Funny, ISO 1600 in my E-P1 is very good.
  17. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
  18. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Real Name:
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    I know this isn't entirely new ... but I do think that things have gotten even worse in the last few years.

    I'm sure part of my belief in that comes from getting my start in photography in the early 90s before digital took off (so I remember the way that old film bodies kept their value (or at least a higher percentage of their value) compared to digital cameras.

    I'm not really "complaining" so much as I am just trying to understand it. It just seems silly that a professional camera that originally sold for $5000 in 2005 now is only valued at $250-$300 at a used camera store or $500-$600 on ebay.

    I understand depreciation but this seems crazy extreme. I also heard from a local camera dealer that he expects the used prices for the Nikon D3 and D700 to drop to "fire sale prices" if the rumored Nikon D600 is indeed launched at an MSRP of less than $1,600.

    On a m4/3 note, just look at Olympus Pen prices! You can buy a "new" (not used, not refurbished, but NEW and never opened) E-P1 or E-PL1 for $200 or less if you shop around. Granted, the E-P1 or E-PL1 aren't considered professional camera bodies but they're still excellent photographic tools.

    I love the fact that this means we can get GREAT gear for next to nothing (I was certainly happy to get my old D2X back for just $300) but something just feels wrong in my gut when I think about how little value so many photographers place on tools that are capable of returning so much more value in terms of the images we create with them.

    Sure, technology gets better every year, but I bet that if I put four identical sample photos taken from four completely different cameras made between 2004 and 2012 and made both a screen-size image (1920x1080) and a print at 16x20 inches from all four cameras no one would be able to accurately guess which camera took which photo without looking at the EXIF or just being lucky with a blind guess.
  19. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Not sure the film/digital comparison is relevant--you can't put a new sensor in an old digital camera like you can put new film in a film camera. Also, film cameras were cheaper to manufacture.

    Why would a professional buy a seven-year-old digital camera? The folks that have the budget for expensive cameras will spend it on new ones. BTW, why does your camera dealer think the prices will be low after the D600, when the D800 has not put a dent in them?

    Your idea about price is strange. The new price reflects what the manufacturer needs to make a profit, or at least minimize a loss. The secondhand market is driven by what people place a value on--there is no manufacturing cost to a used camera and people don't value old digital cameras.

    "Investing" in camera equipment will always lead to a loss. Don't buy unless you can afford to lose the money.
  20. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    I used my Argus C3 for 20 years, my Canon AE-1 for 20 years after that. The FILM changed, got better, etc., and some new developers came to market. LENSES got better, or at least different.

    Where is our "film" today? It's built into the camera. It's not only the sensor, but the CPU designed to work with it, as a system. Unfortunately, as digital "film" gets better, we need the new camera to use it.

    Closer comparison might be a digital back on a large format camera.

    Of course, the fact is that all us photo nuts are wacko to some degree, and we live in a frenzied tech-obsessed culture that makes it seem normal.