On consumerism, sales pressure, and the "need" to upgrade

Started Nov 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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kendrab
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On consumerism, sales pressure, and the "need" to upgrade
Nov 12, 2012

I recently bought a new camera system, and Iinitially got a lot of flack for it. The salespeople just couldn't get me to "understand" what a critical error I was making. My photography buddies tried to do an intervention, and my boyfriend went back to his parents. Well, no, I guess it wasn't quite THAT badl. So what did I do wrong?

I bought an Olympus Four Thirds camera system. Didn't I know Olympus was in deep financial trouble? Didn't I know that they have done little recently with the original Four Thirds camera system? It is almost an ORPHAN, abandoned to its fate by Olympus itself, when they focused on the Micro Four Thirds lineup. It won't work if a cloud blocks the sun, etc. etc.

I have an attitude, and it probably frustrates some people. I refuse to buy into the rampant consumerism in modern life. I am one of the last adopters of new technology. My motto has been "If it still does the job, keep using it." I am not a Luddite, I like technology as much as anyone. But I only upgrade when it makes sense to do so.

I assess my real world needs, and buy accordingly. I do research. I talk to fellow photographers. Many professional photographers have told me a decent camera of 10-12 MP resolution was more than enough to do a spread in a magazine. They said spend the money on decent lenses, where it counts the most. Who was I to argue?

Maybe I am being a bit simplistic. I am sure there are great reasons to spend more for the newest equipment.... if you are an experienced photographer with good skills. But I wonder how many novice photographers get talked into buying the "latest" in camera equipment by a fast talking salesperson, when their skill levels warranted something a bit more modest? I used to sell audio equipment, and I saw that sort of thing happen all the time. It is certainly nice to have the "good stuff", but do we all really need it? Not usually.

I was a bit amused, but also offended at how some salespersons were almost in tears at the obvious "mistake" I was making. Some of their advice was well meant (one store suggested a Pentax K-30 as a great entry level camera, and I agree); but others really pushed it (but lady, you gotta have a full frame camera; the other formats will be obsolete by next year). Never mind that having 4-6 lbs of full frame camera and lense hung around my neck would likely strangle me; it wasn't remotely within my budget (but we FINANCE...).

I purchased a new Olympus E-620 camera, used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD and ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lenses, a used Olympus FL-50R flash, and a used (but never used) Olympus TC-14 tele-converter for a net price of $1300, and am very happy with it. I bet many others would be too.

Once I explained to my photography buddies "why" I made my choice, they were all on board with it. Some still shook their heads and said "But why OLYMPUS?" When I showed them the quality of some of my new photos, they shut up fast. My images were at LEAST as good as any of theirs (a few of them bought Nikon D7000's and Canon 7D bodies, but were still using kit lenses). I love that Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm's image quality.

I am sure many photographers out there can explain why buying Canon, Nikon, Pentax makes perfect sense... for them. I BELIEVE YOU; in fact, if you own an Olympus Four Thirds system, I think you should trade up.... SOON. I'll give you $400 for that no good Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm f4.0 lens you don't need anymore. How about $250 for that 50-200mm f3.5-5.6 SWD lense? Let me take some of that weight off your shoulders. I'll share your burden...

Kendra

Canon EOS 7D Nikon D7000 Olympus E-620 Pentax K-30
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