Cost of Digital Cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Simon Marchini, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. Last week I posted a questions about digital v film. This seemed to
    generate a large number of responses - some of them useful others not so.
    Anyway, one of the questions I was asking was about the whether now was the
    right time to buy as the cost of digital cameras was falling and their
    performance was rising. The camera I was using to test this was the Canon
    10D - a camera that will probably be known to most people. Well I have just
    discovered that since its launch in the UK its price has fallen by 17% - not
    bad in under 6 months.

    Now there will no doubt be a lot of reasons why this is - however, I do
    believe that this does illustrate the point that when buying a digital
    camera you have to be very careful of the time to do this. This also, I
    feel, illustrates that digital photography is a branch of personal
    computing and so as soon as you hand over your hard earned cash the
    cherished piece of equipment will devalue rapidly in a very short period of

    I think it should be clear I am not arguing whether you would be able to
    tell the difference between a 5mp or 6.3 mp camera or that this is the only
    aspect of digital photography. It is just that I feel that we are entering
    an era when the real value of digital equipment will collapse compared to
    the performance being offered.

    I would welcome other's views
    Simon Marchini, Jul 20, 2003
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  2. Simon Marchini

    Pat Chaney Guest

    For me the price and performance of the 10D did make it the right time to
    buy into digital (also in the UK). I don't think the price of the 10D will
    drop again for quite some time though, judging by the rate at which they are
    currently selling.
    Firstly, you (obviously) don't buy a digital SLR (or indeed any item
    dependent on technology) as an investment. Secondly, I suspect that the
    performance of digital bodies will continue to improve (and the prices drop)
    for many years before levelling off - although the rate of change has slowed
    considerably from 2-3 years ago. The PC market is still doing that now; you
    can buy the fastest PC available, and get it home just in time to open a web
    site and read about the launch of the next generation of processor.

    Ultimately the choice is between buying and using something now, or waiting
    until technological advance has stopped and prices stabilised. The trick is
    not dying in the meantime :)

    Pat Chaney, Jul 20, 2003
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  3. Simon Marchini

    Mark M Guest

    Wait...and "time" your purchase to your heart's content.
    Meanwhile...I'll be out creating images and memories with the camera you
    still haven't gotten around to buying.
    -How much is the loss of photographic opportunity worth to you?
    -It's worth a lot more than 17% to me...
    Mark M, Jul 20, 2003
  4. Simon Marchini

    MarkH Guest

    The thing is that photography is about taking pictures. You need a camera
    to do that. I’ve had my 10D for about 6 or 7 weeks now and the price is
    still the same. If I had bought a film SLR and taken the same number of
    pictures, then I would have spent more than the 10D cost. So I am now
    ahead, even if the price next year is under $1000US for the same or better

    I didn’t buy my 10D as an investment, I bought it to take pictures. It is
    living up to my expectations very well, so I am happy.
    MarkH, Jul 20, 2003
  5. Simon Marchini

    Bill Karoly Guest

    It's like the person who keeps intending to buy the latest PC but holds off
    because the price keeps dropping. I have not seen the 10D really drop in
    price at all - it's still around $1499 here in the US. It's a great camera.
    Buy it now because digital cameras will continue to increase in resolution
    and performance and if you sit around unable to decide to buy now you'll
    miss out on the fun.

    Bill Karoly, Jul 20, 2003
  6. Now's as good a time to buy as any. I doubt that the price of the
    10D will change much until its replacement debuts. Too much demand.
    Yes, timing your purchase IS everything. If you're willing to wait 2
    or 3 years -- and buy it used, I'm sure you can get a 10D for about
    $300 US. However, if you need a digital NOW, you're going have to
    pay the going rate or buy something else. If you don't need
    interchangeable lenses, the Nikon Coolpix 5000 would be a good
    alternative (5.0 megapixel effective, 28 - 85 zoom equivalent) at 1/3
    the price ($500 US +- on eBay) of a new 10D.
    So, do automobiles; and just about everything else that's mass
    produced. Such things don't becomes "investments" until they are
    Such is the way of most manufactured goods be they electronics or
    tinker toys. At least to a point that relates to supply, demand and
    Stefan Patric, Jul 20, 2003
  7. Simon Marchini

    Abrasha Guest

    "NOW", is never the right time to buy anything related to computers and
    technology in general, because the next best, faster, and cheaper thing is
    always just around the corner. So, you should just wait until the day you die,
    at which you can say to yourself, "Maybe I should have bought that camera, I
    could have had a good time with it. Nah, I saved $255." (17% of $1,500.-)

    It must be hard to live the life of a bean counter.

    Abrasha, Jul 20, 2003
  8. Simon Marchini

    RB Guest

    But 17% of what Mark? I think the man has a valid point. Makes no sense at
    all not to have some idea of the cost of ownership. If a $1000 camera falls
    by 40% in a year, $8 a week, then for some people a $250 camera depreciating
    at around just $2 a week might closer meet their needs. Will the pictures
    really be 4 times worse? If someone wants to wait a few months until the
    camera of their dreams becomes affordable then why not? Maybe even suffering
    the indignity of owning a cheap one in the meantime.

    Yes I know there are idiots out there who must have a 3.0GHz processor and
    will pay 3 times as much as for a 2.4GHz chip because that wouldn't be
    nearly fast enough for them or their egos and that's what makes Intel rich.
    But all grown-ups know that it's a choice and you can't spend your money

    Perhaps more interesting is whether there's a seasonal pattern for
    pricefalls. Do prices peak in the summer months and around Christmas?

    RB, Jul 20, 2003
  9. Simon Marchini

    Mark M Guest

    You've missed the point entirely.
    While you're busily saving $8 a week (whoopie), I'm making images that same
    week. You're basically selling your opportunity to create images for 8
    bucks a week. No thanks.

    But to each their own...
    Prices peak when demand outstrips supply.
    Mark M, Jul 21, 2003
  10. Simon Marchini

    RB Guest

    Nope. If all you want to do is "create images" you can do that with a $2 a
    week camera. If you believe there's a direct correllation between how much
    you spend and the value of your work then you've missed the point. Some
    things can't be bought.

    RB, Jul 21, 2003
  11. Simon Marchini

    Mark M Guest

    Oh brother.
    I'm sure you understood my point without having to get into nitpicking my
    choice of words. BTW... If that $2 a week digital camera doesn't allow the
    quality/control needed, then you have again lost an opportunity. If, by
    chance, you're talking about film, then the costs go up as soon as you
    Mark M, Jul 21, 2003
  12. Simon Marchini

    RB Guest

    I assume your idea of quality predominantly means technical quality.
    Cartier-Bresson "created images" with a pencil, a brush, a Box Brownie and a
    Leica. Whether you would achieve his quality in a more valid sense with his
    pencil, his Leica or the finest Japanese electronics money can buy is open
    to question. I get dozens of pictures sent to the website I run every week
    and some of those of the greatest value are produced with a point-and-shoot
    snapshot camera. If the OP wants to relate his budget to what makes sense to
    him then why not? The tools he uses are a minor part of the equation though
    many pretend otherwise.

    RB, Jul 21, 2003
  13. Simon Marchini

    gr Guest

    I think the point is that the "lost opportunity" you mention is not
    priceless. There is a value associated with it. Most people would not get
    value for their money if they bought a $10000 digital cam. Many people would
    not get value for their money for a $1500 digital cam. For example, my
    current 1.5 MP camera, which I bought almost 3 years ago, satisfies most of
    my needs. You could probably buy a similar one today for $100-$200. Sure,
    I'd like a 6 MP camera, but it's simply not worth the cost at this point in
    time. I may upgrade when compact 10 MP cameras get under $1000 (which is the
    sweet-spot when I bought the digital camera I have now). In the meantime, I
    am missing out on some photo opportunities. But, I'm not willing to pay any
    amount of money to get those opportunities. I can still get most
    opportunities on the camera I have now. And, if I care to bring along my
    35mm SLR, I can pretty much capture all those "missed" opportunities (from
    not having a $1500 digicam) at a much cheaper price-per-photo than the
    amortized cost of the $1500 digicam.

    So, the answer to "should I buy a digicam now" really depends on what you
    plan to use it for and how many photos you plan to take. If you don't take a
    lot of photos, a 35mm SLR will serve most people's needs at a cheaper price
    and give better quality.
    gr, Jul 21, 2003
  14. Simon Marchini

    gr Guest

    Okay, but it sounds like you don't fit into the "most people" group. For
    you, the value of a digicam would be a lot higher than someone who just
    shoots vacation and family shots.

    I'll go a bit further, and state that I don't believe digicams are a better
    value than a compact 35mm film camera, for most people's needs. Digital
    cameras are getting much better in terms of picture quality and function
    (ease of use and printing), but they still serve a niche market. I think it
    will be another 3-5 years before they overtake the 35mm film camera.

    (Personally, I hardly ever use my 35mm camera now, and much prefer shooting
    digital. But, I think I'm part of the niche market, along with just about
    everybody else reading this newsgroup.)
    gr, Jul 21, 2003
  15. Simon Marchini

    gr Guest

    Could be, but is that in numbers of units or in total revenue? Digicams are
    a lot more expensive per unit than film cameras. Regardless, there are a lot
    of film cameras out there, and it will take a lot of digicam sales to
    replace all the existing 35mm cameras in use. (I have a feeling I'll still
    be occasionally using my 35mm Nikon SLR, long after I'm on my 4th or 5th
    digital camera.)
    gr, Jul 21, 2003
  16. Simon Marchini

    Mark M Guest

    I disagree. My comments were meant to include the demand that comes with
    the release of new digital cameras. With the quick release/short
    model-life, most digital camera pricing rises and falls most significantly
    in line with the times that either the same company updates their camera, or
    the competition updates theirs. While these releases often occur around
    February due to the big announcements at PMA, the actual releases also
    happen well before and well after.

    Pricing fo digital cameras is far more sensitive to supply and demand of NEW
    models, and for this reason, my comment wasn't simply the obvious answer
    that applies to all of teh capitalist system of sales/exchange. Christmas,
    graduation and etc. seem to have far LESS effect than when the camera was
    released, and what the status of "upgrades" are, or when they are
    Mark M, Jul 21, 2003
  17. Simon Marchini

    Mark M Guest

    I understand what you're saying...about the ignorantly blissful buying
    But I can also say with confidence that camera manufacturers' pricing drops
    are DIRECTLY in line with the release of either their own new models, or new
    competitor's models of similar sector. Take the 10D and D100 for example.
    It wasn't Christmas that drove the price of teh D100 was the
    release of Canon's 10D that did it.

    This is also true with run-of-the-mill point-and-shoots.
    Competition is fierce, and new models lead to price drops by many companies
    to compensate. They are perhaps more aware of competetive moves than any
    other sector (opinion).
    I think what you're saying may apply more to stores having sales rather than
    pricing set by manufactures. But here still, new models have the greatest
    demand nearly accross the board, since the specs increase so quickly still.
    Whether it's Christmas or not, the specs keep moving upward, and prices
    reflect this.
    Mark M, Jul 21, 2003
  18. Simon Marchini

    Abrasha Guest

    I could not agree more with this post.

    A teacher of mine once said: "Amateurs buy expensive equipment to try to make up
    for their lack of skill. A professional can often produce better results with
    poor worn out equipment, than an amateur with brand new expensive equipment."

    He was talking about the jewelry field, and I am certain that the same is true
    for photography, digital or analog.

    Abrasha, Jul 24, 2003
  19. Simon Marchini

    Abrasha Guest

    Well, as surgeon would not use a kitchen knife, but maybe in a poor country a
    surgeon would have to use a very old scalpel, that needs to be sterilized
    (because presterilized use-once blades are not available) in an autoclave that
    he does not have. If the surgeon in question is in fact "the best surgeon in
    the world", he would most definitely achieve better results than any other
    surgeon operating with better tools.

    "The tools used by any craftsman ...." I strongly disagree. I have many tools
    that are very old and worn. All of my needle files are at least 25 years old,
    and some of my hand files are older. I use a mouth blown torch, which is 30
    years old, and in design it is more than 300 years old. My milling machine is
    more than 40 years old and has backlash on both the lead screws. I achieve far
    better and accurate results with that equipment than most of my colleagues with
    the "best" and "newest" and "most expensive" equipment.

    In fact, in my field, I have somewhat of a reputation for it.

    Abrasha, Jul 24, 2003
  20. Your teacher was talking about the difference between a relatively
    inexperienced amateur, and a skilled and experienced professional. In
    that context, it's right.

    But in photography, and probably jewellry too, there will be amateurs who
    are very experienced and skilled, and capable of excellent work on old
    equipment. They're amateurs because they earn their living some other
    way, and don't sell their work.

    Similarly, there are "professionals" who really aren't very skilled, and
    aren't capable of really good work no matter what the equipment.

    I suspect your teacher is saying that what matters is knowledge and
    skill and artistry, not the equipment - and the amateur/professional
    status is just a red herring.

    Dave Martindale, Jul 24, 2003
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