My thoughts on digital cameras old vs new

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konzole New Member • Posts: 9
My thoughts on digital cameras old vs new
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Over the past few years I have handled hundreds of different makes and models of digital cameras. To be clear this doesnt apply to DSLR's and only vaguely applies to prosumer models because mainly consumer and only some prosumer models is what my experience has been with.

If you have been around digital cameras for a while and have handled your fair share you must notice a general trend of more features, but worse build quality, and probably about the same overall performance. Take for instance my favorite digital camera a Sony DSC-W1. Its built very well, solid metal case with a nice thick hefty feel to the camera. This camera is a fast performer, takes great pictures, and of course is built very well. Then take another camera that appears to be in the same model line, the DSC-W710. I have this camera also, but this camera feels cheap, its very light, feels like a toy, it has plenty of gimmicky features and it performs reasonable fast, but its picture quality cant come close to the W1's. Of course they dont even come close in terms of original price, but to some people they would look at what appears to the same model line, and then fall for the megapixel scam and think that the W710 is a much better camera then the W1. 5-mp vs 16-mp? Of course alot of people will think the 16-mp will have vastly better image quality. Its sad to see a camera like the W1 sell for 30% less then the W170. I have seen people willing to pay $70 for a junk Nikon 16-mp piece of plastic that takes terrible pictures, and then watch a Sony DSC-W1 sit unsold at $25. I see it all over the place where early models of a camera are built very well, and then consecutive models just get cheaper and cheaper constructed. Could it be as simple as camera manufacturers try to build their first model cameras extremely well to bring in customers, and then when those customers will likely come back to buy another camera, they build the next model a little cheaper to save money? Kind of like prove they can make a quality product in the beginning to prove themselves and get customers, and then after that its all a cost cutting game? Most people just dont understand that if they want a digital camera instead of using their phone, and they dont want to spend that much, then stick with a camera made in the 2005-2010 timeframe, and go with a camera with a large lens, and keep the megapixels under 10. Those cameras will have the best mix of build quality, performance and image quality. Older and you will start to sacrifice speed and overall performance, but newer and you will start to sacrifice build quality.

I see so many people put so much focus on a camera being thin and light, which camera manufacturers love because less material cost means less money spent on the most expensive part of manufacture. Upgrading the software and copying that software into each camera is dirt cheap, but the actual materials are what cost alot. Put a thin light camera down on a desk and see how long it stands up until it crashes down onto its screen or lens. Or you could lay it down on its lens or screen and hope neither get damaged. Some Samsung cameras are terrible with this, they are thin with feet very close together, and the feet are setup so the camera leans back a little bit, talk about asking for the camera to fall over. Its almost like the Nikon "S" series cameras want you to damage the lens or screen by needing to lay the camera down on the lens or screen when you connect the usb cable since the connection is on the bottom of the camera next to the the battery doors. Thin light cameras will of course be very fragile with very thin hooks that the door latches into, and broken battery doors is one of the most common points of breaking on digital cameras. Make em lighter and thinner so its easy to carry in a pocket, give them way more megapixels then people need so most likely the pictures have alot of noise, then sit back and watch as review after review drag down a cameras rating because people are too stupid to under that the cameras battery life is probably fine, its just that digital cameras and alkaline batteries dont mix.

One other thing I notice about cameras in all price ranges, is that it doesnt matter the price or manufacture, they all think that printing the labels on the buttons themselves in ink or paint will be durable long term. There are probably plenty of cameras out there that have the labels printed on the buttons themselves and the labels still look good after many years, but I have also seen more then enough that have the labels mostly or completely worn off and the rest of the camera is still in great shape. Yes I know that bug repellant with deet has been a huge culprit in labels wearing off quickly. I have had a few Panasonic DMC-FZ7 that where particularly bad with this. They all had button labels that where heavily worn off even with the camera being in overall great shape. I saw a brand new Panasonic DMC-LZ6 recently and the button labels are printed on the buttons, and the printing was so thin that it looked like the paint was either watered down or just put on with 1 thin coat. Its unfortunate because I have actually quite liked the build quality of Panasonics cameras, atleast their high consumer and prosumer cameras. Its far from just Panasonics though, every manufacturer cheapens out this way, but where I can see an excuse on $200 cameras, I can't see this excuse on $1000+ DSLR's. Many cameras have the labels actually pressed into the button which I think is very durable. Other cameras just print the labels on the side of the button, which is better then on the button but why not just press the label into the button? There are some Olympus cameras that actually have the button label under the button and the button itself is clear, which is a nice setup. The vast majority of cameras have the labels printed on the buttons and to me I can't help but think this was purposely designed this way so the button labels wore out prematurely requiring a new camera purchase. I may be putting too much focus on where the button labels are, but I have seen too many button labels worn off, and I can't imagine one of the other more durable button label setups can cost that much more to manufacture if at all. So if I ever see a camera that might be a keeper to replace another camera I have, I often ignore the camera if it has labels printed on the button, even if the camera is otherwise a good camera.

and whats the deal with Kodak? Did they go bankrupt or what? I see plenty of Kodak digital cameras from the early to mid 2000's, and for some reason these are probably the fastest selling budget cameras that I have. What I dont get is if they went bankrupt then how am I seeing Kodak cameras that were made somewhat recently? To top it off if they are or where struggling financially then why do they consistently produce some of the best picture quality in budget cameras? They certainly are some of the slowest cameras I have seen, but their image quality is usually pretty surprising atleast for the price.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W710
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