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03-28-2007, 05:36 PM   #1
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Disposable electronics

After Ben's comment about all digital cameras being nothing more than expensive disposables I have to agree - not just cameras but all electronic devices are becoming obsolete within a few years or less.

I recently lost a year old laptop due to incompetent maintenance leading to a blown motherboard. Thing is it was already becoming unstable with intermittent graphics faults and disk fragmentation problems.

The laptop I really liked was a Sony at nearly 1.3k - it was portable enough for work, but had 2GB RAM and a decent graphics card for powering my high res monitor.

But instead I bought 2 factory reconditioned machines (both ex-demo machines) which are immaculate with new hard drives and a full warranty at HALF retail price. The laptop is a solid but unspectacular Tecra which I now use for work, email, surfing etc. but only occasionally for photo editing/viewing (on location). The other is a desktop machine with superb graphics performance and great expansion capability which I use exclusively for photo-editing. Both are ghosted onto network connected drives and run the same SW so I can use either as a stand-in in the event of a breakage.

The price for both machines was LESS than the price of the laptop, and give me far greater capability - and if the laptop breaks out of warranty it was only 500 so not such a biggie!

So whats the moral of the story? Capitalism is mad, really, but you can exploit it to your advantage if you use a bit of common sense! I am now tyring to decide if there is a parallel with camera systems, and I think I may just buy a K100 replacement to go with my K10D rather than trading for a K20D (or whatever the K10D replacement is called) and wait at least a year before upgrading the K10D.

03-28-2007, 06:28 PM   #2
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being a bit of a computer geek.. there is something i call a "sweet spot".. its definieley not leading edge.. leading edge is simply spending money just to be "leading edge"..

a year behind leading edge is probably a wise place to be.. u have "enough" techology and u get it at good price..

bragging rights play a huge part in all this.. the PC world is honest enough to admit this.. i dont suppose the photographic world is thow..

the graphics card in my current PC cost me 400 (750 US) about five months ago.. its bragging right factor is well used up.. he he

the very short bragging rights (three months max with a high end PC component) ) period was the expensive bit..

a camera isnt quite so bad but the same principle applies..

trog
03-28-2007, 08:49 PM   #3
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One of the issues here is that digital camera technology is really moving rather fast, with significant improvements every year. In every technology, this happens at first and then slows down. My four-year-old laptop isn't nearly as obsolete as my then-four-year-old previous laptop was four years ago. Eventually, a similar plateau will be reached with dSLRs, but I think we've got a little ways to go yet.

We're not necessarily at the must-upgrade-every-year point, but after three years, a camera starts to feel pretty obsolete -- it may still work fine, but the features (including ones which directly impact image quality) on current models are very noticeably better. This is characterized by: you can't sell it used for what it feels like it's worth.
03-28-2007, 10:53 PM   #4
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Funny you should bring this up today, Steve, as I was just thinking this myself today as well.

Reading about the new Pentax cameras that may appear later this year or early next year, it struck me that I may need to update the K10D after only 1 year! This is almost as quick as changing film in my wife's camera, so it IS almost like a disposable camera!!

Hopefully the lenses will not require such a quick update!

Once we used to take our own bags and/or containers to the store to get our groceries, now we get throw away bags. All white goods now are designed to break down within the 10 years and that is their serviceable life(if you're lucky!), after that, throw them away! Televisions are the same and as you say cumputers are obsolete the minute you buy them.

If it's not inbuilt obsolescence, then they are designed to break down within a certain time frame and if that isn't enough they advertise that you need to have the new look model or you're stuck in yesteryear - think of cars and clothes!

03-29-2007, 02:34 AM   #5
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How disposable is equipment very much depends on the quality of electronic device and the users need to have the new stuff . This is most evident with cell phones. Good ones seem to last forever. None of the three cell phones I used died on me. Sometimes I still use 5 years old Ericsson R310s and I wouldn't buy a new one (Siemens M65) two years ago if it hadn't been very cheap. Right now I have no need whatsoever to get a new cell phone. Yet some people are changing them more frequent than underwear but that's just because they need a new toy.

Back to cameras. I don't think my DS will brake any time soon (knock on wood) and I paid far too much for it to call it disposable. OTOH even if somehow the camera survives 20 years I'm not sure if I'll be able to sell it as well as MX sells today (actually I'm quite sure I won't).
03-29-2007, 02:46 AM   #6
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Hi Steve

Glad that you sorted out your challenges, you sounded really stressed on Sunday evening when it all went fubar!

The combo you now own seems to be a good optimum. I use a similar concept, but older, combination. I'm now finding my 3 yr old Acer laptop is becoming flakey, so I'm thinking it's time to do something about it!

My 3.5 yr old Sony P4 desktop has been upgraded so many times now, with 2GB RAM, 2 x 200GB SATA drives, 500GB of external drives, new KB/mouse/tablet, new monitor, etc., it only has the original case and motherboard left! Hopefully it will last another year or so.

Regarding camera bodies, I guess you're right, but I haven't developed my own techniques sufficiently to utilise more than about 25% of what the K10D is capable of, let alone run into VPN, BF, FF, etc., etc., in normal use!... The main reason I bought it was for faster operation and a bigger buffer, the other stuff came as extras.

I guess you could call me a natural "late adopter" It was very unusual for me to rush in and buy the K10D when it first appeared, I was actually a bit nervous doing so, it actually took me all of 5 minutes to decide (a nanosecond for me!) but you know the reason why!

As far as buying a second body, that's not for me, I'll do lenses long before that, I'm hoping I can reduce the number of lenses I have and replace them with the new DA* zooms, if they live up to expectation!

Currently I'm agonising whether or not to spend a whopping 25 on a new small bag for casual use! My frugality is impresssive, don't you think?
03-29-2007, 04:42 AM   #7
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Behind the curve...

QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
being a bit of a computer geek.. there is something i call a "sweet spot".. its definieley not leading edge.. leading edge is simply spending money just to be "leading edge"..

a year behind leading edge is probably a wise place to be.. u have "enough" techology and u get it at good price..

bragging rights play a huge part in all this.. the PC world is honest enough to admit this.. i dont suppose the photographic world is thow..

the graphics card in my current PC cost me 400 (750 US) about five months ago.. its bragging right factor is well used up.. he he

the very short bragging rights (three months max with a high end PC component) ) period was the expensive bit..

a camera isnt quite so bad but the same principle applies..

trog
One of the other advantages of these two PCs I got is the fact that they are still Windows XP machines. By the time I get to upgrade I will be about ready to face Vista!

However thus far cameras have shown significant upgrades year on year, but I'm not so sure any more....

Compacts have stagnated. I see no advantage in a 10MP compact over most 6 MP compacts.

Compare Nikon D2X, D80, D200 and D40X. IQ wise they are almost impossible to split. All use the same size sensor but unless you want faster shooting and more features there is little point in upgrading from one model to the next. Same with the 400XT and the 30D, though there is a jump to the 5D. Canons problem is there is not much of a jump from there to the 1Ds...nor would I have bothered upgrading from a 20D to a 30D.

I think we have reached something of a plateau. Until someone comes out with a significant improvement over the Bayer sensor I dont think APSC cameras are going to produce much better output, nor are FF ones. As long as the K10D works it will produce output to rival any 10-12 MP APS camera on the market and its AF and controls are more than adequate for me.

This was NOT true for the original *istD. Its primary bugbear was speed - if you used RAW the wait from shot to review was interminable and it lacked most of the review features of the K10D. Even the DS was faster than the *istD which is why I got one.

On the K10D you can shoot RAW with the same facility as JPEG and with a couple of 4GB cards you can keep going all day. If Pentax come up with a K20D, with 4FPS etc, I would probably rather have 2 K10Ds as I doubt there will be a significant RAW IQ improvement and I dont need 4FPS wheras having backup is always A Good Thing..

Nope - I think we are rapidly leveling out in the great Digital race. Worldwide digital sales are already in freefall now that everyone has one, since the newer models offer too little advantage over the older ones. What happened to PCs and laptops around 2-3 years back is now happening to cameras.

Hopefully they will get the hint and start worrying more about the other aspects of IQ and QC and make them more usable and reliable instead of having more resolution.
03-29-2007, 04:51 AM   #8
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Back in the stone age, my first laptop was the "Latest, Greatest". Since then I've been buying the entry level model when it is about to go out of production for the "New" upgraded entry level model. That takes about 3 years. The K10D was my first DSLR so again I bought the latest, greatest. I suspect it will take 2 new models and about 3 years before I'll upgrade. I'll bet the entry level model in 3 years will be much better than the K10D and cost about $300.

Regards,

03-29-2007, 07:36 AM   #9
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Me, being a IT guy, I agree with Trog on his comments. I don't go with bleeding edge stuff because they sometimes don't have the kinks ironed out in them yet. I'll be a little behind on purpose and that would save me a lot of dough and headache in the long run.

Take Windows Vista for example. I haven't purchased it yet because I know that the OS is not 100% yet. Maybe before September it might be alright, but I'll still wait it out until a service pack comes out.
03-29-2007, 06:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alvin Quote

Take Windows Vista for example. I haven't purchased it yet because I know that the OS is not 100% yet. Maybe before September it might be alright, but I'll still wait it out until a service pack comes out.
If you really want to experiment, buy an extra hard drive and dual boot XP and Vista. My work machine is XP 64 bit, and I bought a big drive and put 64 bit Vista on it, but it will no doubt stay in XP mode for work for at least six months.

However, the Vista release is much more well thought out than the earlier OS releases.
03-30-2007, 04:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dana G Quote
If you really want to experiment, buy an extra hard drive and dual boot XP and Vista. My work machine is XP 64 bit, and I bought a big drive and put 64 bit Vista on it, but it will no doubt stay in XP mode for work for at least six months.

However, the Vista release is much more well thought out than the earlier OS releases.
You are joking right ???

Thanks to Vista on new boxes I've seen RAID arrays not working properly, USB2.0 controlers not working, slow copying ... to name just a few, add to that the deliberate crippling of systems during "Premium" content (read DVD's etc) that can cause problems from reduced quality to it not even playing ... I'll be switching to OS X next time I need a new computer.
03-30-2007, 04:37 AM   #12
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Plateau

QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
One of the other advantages of these two PCs I got is the fact that they are still Windows XP machines. By the time I get to upgrade I will be about ready to face Vista!

However thus far cameras have shown significant upgrades year on year, but I'm not so sure any more....

Compacts have stagnated. I see no advantage in a 10MP compact over most 6 MP compacts.

Compare Nikon D2X, D80, D200 and D40X. IQ wise they are almost impossible to split. All use the same size sensor but unless you want faster shooting and more features there is little point in upgrading from one model to the next. Same with the 400XT and the 30D, though there is a jump to the 5D. Canons problem is there is not much of a jump from there to the 1Ds...nor would I have bothered upgrading from a 20D to a 30D.

I think we have reached something of a plateau. Until someone comes out with a significant improvement over the Bayer sensor I dont think APSC cameras are going to produce much better output, nor are FF ones. As long as the K10D works it will produce output to rival any 10-12 MP APS camera on the market and its AF and controls are more than adequate for me.

This was NOT true for the original *istD. Its primary bugbear was speed - if you used RAW the wait from shot to review was interminable and it lacked most of the review features of the K10D. Even the DS was faster than the *istD which is why I got one.

On the K10D you can shoot RAW with the same facility as JPEG and with a couple of 4GB cards you can keep going all day. If Pentax come up with a K20D, with 4FPS etc, I would probably rather have 2 K10Ds as I doubt there will be a significant RAW IQ improvement and I dont need 4FPS wheras having backup is always A Good Thing..

Nope - I think we are rapidly leveling out in the great Digital race. Worldwide digital sales are already in freefall now that everyone has one, since the newer models offer too little advantage over the older ones. What happened to PCs and laptops around 2-3 years back is now happening to cameras.

Hopefully they will get the hint and start worrying more about the other aspects of IQ and QC and make them more usable and reliable instead of having more resolution.
IMHO, I don't think we have even come close to the plateau of sensor development. I am sure that the introduction of new technologies is quite controlled and the introduction of these sensors are released as per the decisions via the marketing sectors of those producing these technologies. I am certain that there are technologies being prepared that are third and fourth generations that may be released in the next two to three years. I suspect that in three to four years, we will see aps-c sensors approaching the 24 mega pixel mark with very good noise specs as well as a rapidity that we think is inconceivable at this juncture in time. These sensors and the associated software will give those not needing extreme resolution the option to choose a lower resolution output. This will result in a lower noise floor and higher capture rate.

Ben

Last edited by benjikan; 03-30-2007 at 04:43 AM.
03-30-2007, 05:58 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
IMHO, I don't think we have even come close to the plateau of sensor development. I am sure that the introduction of new technologies is quite controlled and the introduction of these sensors are released as per the decisions via the marketing sectors of those producing these technologies. I am certain that there are technologies being prepared that are third and fourth generations that may be released in the next two to three years. I suspect that in three to four years, we will see aps-c sensors approaching the 24 mega pixel mark with very good noise specs as well as a rapidity that we think is inconceivable at this juncture in time. These sensors and the associated software will give those not needing extreme resolution the option to choose a lower resolution output. This will result in a lower noise floor and higher capture rate.

Ben
But isn't the MP race over? The problem with a 24MP sensor is that unless you are printing very large prints most of that resolution is wasted. It allows you to crop a lot, of course, but then you start showing lens flaws to a much higher degree.

It is odd how DSLR's are a completely different beast than their film forbears -- Two of my favorite cameras that I use are a Spotmatic and a 1950's-era Hasselblad. The mechanics of each are as good as when they were new, and they are an absolute joy to use. I have a hard time picturing myself using my K100D in 50 years -- SD cards? USB 2.0? That is, like, SO 2006...
03-30-2007, 05:59 AM   #14
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they have to keep selling us new products one way or another.. Vista is a perfect example of a huge mega rich company selling (forceing the world to buy) us something we dont need simply to stay mega rich..

fortunately for the camera world the easy "more mega pixels is better" option seems to have reached its noisy conclusion so we might see some real improvements soon in the dlsr world.. compacts have reached a higher level than dslrs.. there is some room left i think for valid improvement..

very little of the techncal stuff i have bought over the last six years has worn out.. it all gets replaced because its "obsolete".. or at least u think it is..

trog
03-30-2007, 06:19 AM   #15
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I don't want to go off on tangents here, but "More Megapixels is better" sounds a lot like Intel going into their "More Megahertz = More Computing Power" argument. Improve the IQ coming off the current sensors without increasing the megapixel count and lets see what happens.
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