I think Thom was right, again...

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 4,560
Bad purchase decisions and habits?


Some time ago Thom Hogan posted that digital might not actually be cheaper than film, because you end up buying new bodies so often. I'm starting to agree with him, even though I shoot far more digital shots than film.

I think Thom might've used "bad math" (friendly poke in the ribs to Thom).  Using basic math it's quickly apparent that I've saved tens of thousands in film processing alone (understatement).

Here it is 2013 and I just bought yet another Nikon. This year it's a D800e.

In late 2005 I bought a D70s.

The same year I purchased a D2Hs (for me to use), about 3 years after getting a D100 for our shop.

In early 2007 I bought a D200.

I kept shooting with my D2Hs as an upgrade wasn't going to affect my bottom line at that point.  Why should I waste the money on the upgrade if the client couldn't tell the difference?  The D200 would've been a downgrade, so I kept what I had and used the stew out of it.  The D200 was the first non-pro body that offered a decent buffer!  ... still, for what clients wanted to pay for, the D100 remained adequate.

In late 2007 I bought a D300.

I would use (not buy) a D300 on occasion and found it much better in high iso over my D2Hs, but still "high iso" at that time still was crummy for what I wanted to do, and using a tripod and reducing shutter speed was the best option instead of me plunking down several thousand just for a smidgen more high iso quality-  again, I kept what I had and used it.

In late 2010 I bought a D700.

The D700 (like the D300) was/is a great camera... but by now, I was a bit ticked that Nikon was dragging it's behind (<~~ I'm trying to be nice... that isn't what I'm thinking) on bringing forth more resolution.  12mp didn't make sense to me, especially after I viewed many large format prints (20x30 and larger) from Canon's 16mp body and was disappointed.  The gain wasn't worth the upgrade, and the D2X didn't make sense when I could get the same results as far as the client was concerned from a much cheaper Canon 5D2 at less than 3x the price.

I purchased the Canon 5D2, got a large boost in high iso, on par with the D700 (without splitting hairs), video that I actually use, and several lenses as well as being able to use my Nikon lenses on the Canon, even for paid work!  Today, I am still able to use my manual focus (thanks to the focus motor breaking years ago) 17-35 f/2.8 on my Canon via $25 adaptor and get paid for the results.

Should I run out and buy a Canon 16-35?  Of course not!  Not unless I get to the point where I actually need it and can no longer make do.  Would the 16-35 give better results?  ** wrong question **  Let's rephrase that...  "Will spending $2,000 on a Canon wide angle lens make a difference to my clients?"  .. and currently that answer is no!  So I continue to not make a poor purchase decision by buying something that won't matter to my bottom line.

I got the Canon, but really wanted something with a lot more resolution- Nikon was too late with the D800.  When the D800 came out did I get one?  Of course not!  I can see the writing on the wall!  I'll wait and spend my money strategically on either a MF body (if the technology warrants... right now the high flash syncs can't even come close to being matched by Nikon/Canon)... renting/borrowing makes the best sense currently on that note in my case.


Purchase a 40-50mp pro body when one comes to market.  Do I have a crystal ball?  No, but just like I thought it was impossible for Nikon not to go full frame, I think it's nuts to think that Canon (or Nikon) won't bring forth a 40mp or higher professional body.

Meanwhile, while everyone else jumped on the newest and latest, I'm still using the Canon 5D2 (occasioning silently cussing its slow focus) and D2hs (for web/eBook stuff).

Hmm. 5 cameras in 8 years. And they've been significant upgrades, in at least some ways. Enough to basically have me stop using the previous generation, except I did use D200 and D300 at the same time.

Compared to me buying two cameras for myself in the same amount of time.  My reasoning is that spending more wouldn't have increased money in my pocket.  What was your reasoning behind upgrading so often?  (asked with genuine curiosity, not sarcasm)

Which makes me wonder, what is Nikon going to have 2-3 years down the road that is going to obsolete my D800e?

Absolutely nothing unless your needs changed all the sudden.  Did my 4mp D2Hs all the sudden become obsolete just because others think so?  Not to me.  Today I am able to still put that camera to use, so much so that if I sold it for $1,000 I'd be losing money.  There will come a day when I won't need it or want to use it, but that's some time off.  I will keep the 5D2 likely in my inventory for years to come as well whether I buy a new body or not.  I like to buy smart... using a camera until it just doesn't fit the mission any longer and until that time, it isn't "obsolete".

(Or perhaps complement it. I could see buying a D800es, which simply gives me 8fps and some small autofocus improvement.)

In contrast, I bought an N90s in 1995 and used it until 2005. All I had to upgrade was the film I used.

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Purchase only what you need with room to grow is what I've always said.  

Best in photography to you Craig!

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