Usable life of current Oly models?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pcovers, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. pcovers

    pcovers Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2015
    I'm curious as to how long you would expect to be using a new Oly camera before feeling as though body retirement was inevitable. For example, if you purchased a Pen-F, e-M5, eM1, or eM10, and assuming you weren't going to sell just to upgrade, how long would you expect to be able to use that body. What would you expect to be the end of life duration on any new Oly body?
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  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Well, I'm still using my original E-M5 that I got brand new four years ago...I expect it'll eventually get replaced, but then it'll be converted to IR and I'll continue to use it well past 2020!
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
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  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I fully expect my E-M1s to last a few more years before wearing out... it's not like the old camera stops taking pictures when something newer comes along.
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  4. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 7, 2015
    I`m expecting to use E-M1 until E-M1 MK III is released (not a typo).
    I doubt`t that C-AF will be much better with E-M1 MK II, and I "know" it will have a "swivel"-screen, and I do not like that.
    So, 3-4 more years? :D
  5. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I am currently using an E-M5 and an E-PM2.
    The PM2 is a back up camera, and I do not really enjoy it. Hard to say why, it's just I have something better in the E-M5. Image quality is as good as the E-M5, and as far as needs go, it would probably be good for years.

    The E-M5 is great, I have not enjoyed a camera so much since my Mamiya 645 back in the 80th of the last century. I have had it for 4 years now, and so far no new Oly body has made me feel like I really needed to update.
    I must admit the Pen-F is pulling, but in all honesty I don't expect it would give me much advantage. It is just I like the looks, and I am curious about the direct access to Jpeg-parameters (I do a lot of black and white, so far always in PP, not seriously in camera). I might go for it, but I have a hard time justifying it.

    A hand held high resolution mode in a M5-like body will most likely be my upgrade moment, as I can see the occasional need for it. Also by then my E-M5 will be 5 or 6 years old, with probably over well 70.000 shutter actuations (now somewhere around 50.000). At some point something has got to give, and I better be ready to get something new then.
  6. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    You can use them indefinitely. I was using a G2 for a while last year. The rapid pace of technology improvements makes it difficult to resist upgrading though. So I only try to buy the previous-generation camera and use it for 2 or 3 years.
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  7. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I still use my E-P1 which I bought used about 5 years ago. It's actually more of a pleasure to own than my newer E-PL5 (3 years+), although I acknowledge the technical advances in the newer body.

    I would think in terms of planning to invest in new bodies that up to 3 years and you're still using current technology, up to 5 years is still very acceptable and I expect barring accidents or abuse that they will still work at well over 10 years old.

    I'm sniffing around now for a new camera (probably GX8) and will buy it expecting it to be my primary unit for 3 years then it'll fall into a reserve role for another maybe 5.
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Since 2010 for APS-C, 2013 for m4/3, I see zero reason to upgrade for image quality. If I upgraded to anything it would just be for other features or because I wanted to try something new.
  9. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I do not know if you are talking about mechanical/electrical failure or the urge to upgrade. I think a camera can last for about ten years, depending on how much you use it, then the shutter mechanism will eventually break.

    Upgrading by choice is much different. Many do it often so they can get some money selling the old body early, start with a new warranty period, etc.

    I have the impression that technical improvements have slowed down compared to the previous ten years. So, for me, the urge to upgrade is mostly related to better features then IQ. I have an E-M10 and I could upgrade to the older E-M1 for example.

    But I'll try to keep this camera for at least four or five years, skipping at least one tech generation. In three years from now we may have organic or graphene sensors, 6k or 8k recording, hand-held hi-res modes, etc. changing a lot of things.
    This is the plan at least, I could change my mind and get an E-M1 mk2 on the the next black friday, who knows.
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  10. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    It really depends on how you use it. I use mine a LOT. I see plenty of OM-Ds that are as old as mine or older (mine's 3 years old) in great shape with low actuations. They'll probably outlast mine.

    Mine's scraped, scratched, chipped, and all-around well-worn. It also has something like 30,000 actuations on it (I see far older M4/3 cameras for sale with 1/10th that!)...mine will likely kick the bucket first.

    HOWEVER...even after 3 years of pretty serious use, my camera shows plenty of battle scars, but zero signs of nearing the end of its life.

    TL;DR: they'll last a good while...I would expect an *AVERAGE* OM-D to last 6-10 years easily. Most will upgrade far before the camera dies.
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  11. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    There is not such thing as "inevitable" when it comes to camera retirement. As long as it continues working and producing the images you expect. Some folks are using cameras that are over 50 years old while others feel the need to make a purchase every time a new model comes out.

    I suspect you are asking about durability. Many of the shutter mechanisms are built to last 100,000 trips but those rotary selector wheels used in almost every camera now will give out looooong before that. Many become defective after five or six years with some going bad before that time and they are VERY expensive to replace. If you don't use those controls much then the camera will last a long time depending on how immune you are to GAS. I also suspect some durability issues might arise from the motors used to drive autofocus lenses etc.
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  12. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    I'm still shooting with the Olympus E-5 and that's a 5 year old camera already and it's a 4/3 camera. I sometimes shoot with my 10 year old Olympus E-1, a 4/3, if I need to do black and white. There is something very special about the 5MP Kodak sensor that makes it easy to convert to B/W that look really spectacular and contrasty like my favourite B/W film Ilford. But it also simulates the Kodak Kodachrome of the past too which I also loved. Unfortunately, it has recently developed some electronic issues like draining a battery flat within 2 days. When it dies, I will miss it but not planning to replace it. My rule of thumb buying gear nowadays is to buy what I need and needed to be addressed and also to buy a Oly "PRO" body if funds or opportunities arises. "PRO" bodies are meant to take the abuse and the hardship professionals put through. They are built more robust and the shutter usually are rated much higher than amateur bodies. And Olympus always put a lot in the PRO body to produce the best IQ from the sensor. This was evident with the E-1, E-3, E-5 and with the current E-M1 and E-P5 which is considered a pro flagship PEN before the PEN-F came to be. So if you are, like me, planning not to keep up with the Joneses and plan to just use the body until it dies, I will not be surprised if the PRO body would easily last a decade or more compared to the non-PRO bodies. I was fortunate enough to have gotten an E-5 Pro body reasonable cheap and an E-P5 at a deep discount. Another rule of thumb I espouse is to buy 1 less generation PRO body from current. It's cheaper and easier on my wallet.
  13. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    The pace of tangible improvements in IQ has slowed in recent years but new and interesting features are always being added, so how quickly you upgrade really depends on how much time you spend on camera forums. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
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  14. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    There's upgrading and then there's upgrading. I'm still using an E-M5 that I bought used around three years ago. It remains my camera of choice. Olympus has not yet given me sufficient reason to supplant it. I feel I have learned to use it in ways that give me real advantages over DSLRs. I also still occasionally use a Nikon D70 (6 Mp) purchased about ten years ago - there are times one simply does not need 24 Mp (or 16, for that matter).

    Back to Oly. For me there are two major reasons I might upgrade. One would be a distinct bump in both pixel density and high-iso performance although I would give serious consideration to any body that offered a distinct advance in one with no net loss in the other. The other development would be bringing continuous autofocus to within shouting distance of current DSLR performance. That would broaden the capabilities of a new model so significantly that I could find myself on line the first day after the announcement. Then it is possible that an accumulation of small feature upgrades would be enough. Who knows how long any of these might take to appear?

    But then there's simple wear and tear. And, for cameras over ten years old things like increasing scarcity of batteries and compatible media. Not all cameras are built to last even ten years, though. I had one really useful Canikon P&S that managed eight or nine years. After a trip or two to the repair shop, parts were no longer available and I had to junk it well short of 20k images. OTOH, the E-M5 seems built for the long term and I could see using it for several years more.
  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I still employ an old Nikon D300 that was released in 2007. Bought it new as an upgrade and 2 body kit with a Nikon D50. The D300 still works as good as it did new, even if the body looks a little worse for wear. As a sports camera, it is excellent.

    I expect no less from the micro four thirds cameras - possibly expect them to last longer as the ones I have are weather sealed and the D300 is not.
  16. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    While I was an early user of digital cameras going back to the Dycam Model 1, the first digital camera that I purchased for my personal use was the Olympus C-2100 (2000). That camera as well as the Pentax istDS that followed it are now owned by my good friend Jim and he uses them every week. The C-2100 has been relegated to documenting projects he does around the house. (He does not use a cell phone.) While the leather cover has worn off the Olympus C-2100 in several areas the camera as well as the Pentax istDS (2005) both continue to produce good images. Memory cards for the C-2100 are still available though not from any of the local distributors. Of course, I believe that neither of these cameras were built in China.
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  17. c5karl

    c5karl Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2011
    Fairfax, Va., USA
    One downside to all the electronics in digital cameras is that there's nothing that will compare to the durability of an old Nikon FE or Pentax K-1000, both of which could take photos without a battery, and both of which seemed like they could be used to hammer nails. But any quality camera like the Olympus MFT models should hold up to many years of heavy use, and a decade or more of light use.

    If your concern is being left behind by new features, don't overlook that the resolution, image quality, focus speed, etc. won't get any worse over time. So if you like the images your camera can capture now, you won't lose that ability in the future.

    There's really no such thing as a bad ILC from any brand today, it's just that some are more suitable to some purposes than others. I try not to get swept up by the newest thing. I've only ever bought second-hand or clearance-priced camera bodies of models that have been on the market for 18 months or more. That way you can spend $300 or less on something that very nearly matches the feature set of cameras that sell for $1000 or $1500 new.
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  18. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    with tongue in cheek I say "6 months after the new model comes out" ... soon after that people are asking.

    On a serious note I'm still using and quite happy with the images from my GH1 I've compared it to later model cameras and I just don't see anything compelling in the image quality. I'm not interested in "Portrait by Fountain In Light" or other "experimental" settings. I'd rather take the shot and then go back to admiring it. Later I can fool around in my editor with the RAW file and not piss off everyone I'm travelling with by acting like a photographic PrimaDonna.

    The real issue may be if it falls apart, to my eyes I see way more threads here on "my dial fell off" on Oly than Panasonic. This has been raised and its suggested that its related to the fact that there are more Oly owners here than Panasonic.
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  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I don't recall a digital camera ever failing on me...ever. Even really old point and shoots I have. About the worst I encounter is having old model RAW files not be able to be read by some newer software. Funny you mention you're GH1...I have much the same feeling about images from my older m43 bodies vs my E-M10. They all seem perfectly fine.
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  20. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    I'm still using my E-PL3, when I want to travel light. I think the thing that would stop me would be moving away from m43 (but I'm not even slightly tempted by any other system right now), or the batteries stopped holding charge (which I expect will be the first thing to go)
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