Will there be any "classic" digital cameras in the future?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
RetCapt Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: Will there be any "classic" digital cameras in the future?

To respond to OP's question, technology may have moved too far for that to happen again.

When the cameras OP showed were in production, as well as many others subsequent posters have submitted, manufacturers could rely on lengthy production runs before even evolutionary improvements were needed or expected.

My principal film system prior to switching to digital in 2009 was Leica/Canon screw thread (LTM).    My oldest camera body was (is) a Leica IIIa, introduced in 1935.   My newest camera body was (is) a Canon 7, introduced in 1961.    I used them (and others) interchangeably.   Any lens that fits the Leica llla also fits the Canon 7.   Obviously they both take the same films.    That means that despite the age difference of 26 years the photographic results are identical.    The Canon 7 (and 7s) were the peak of LTM camera design (Leica having left it to concentrate on the M series).    The 7 and 7s were Canon's final LTM rangefinder cameras.     From the standpoint of engineering, features, ease of use, and ergonomics it is a wonderful machine and I really enjoyed using it.    But the pictures were the same as from the Leica llla.

Could we even imagine that today?    By the time I converted to digital the technology was mature and stable, but had made immense strides very quickly in the years before to reach that state.    Given that new developments usually resulted in improved photographic results, as well as feature, efficiency and ergonomic improvements, the demand was there for the newer models.

From time to time on DPR we see threads asking which camera is 'futureproof', or how long will a camera last.     Inevitably the responses are that no camera is really  'futureproof' and that camera longevity is not really an issue because of course all reasonable people will want the newest miracle camera long before the existent camera has exhausted its service life.     But this is dependent on the individual.     Even older cameras can produce outstanding results, depending on the types of photography the individual does, and perhaps most important, user skill.    And the feedback from photographers who do use their cameras for lengthy times and mileage is that they do last a long time, provided the photographer keeps the camera long enough to get there.

Since one my digital systems is Sony Nex/Alpha E mount, I follow that thread.    I have lost count of the number of threads initiated there in which  OPs  would cry out in seemingly distraught and enraged desperation (note subtle hint of editorial license there) as to when Sony would introduce the next model.    Any perceived delay in the introduction of the next latest-greatest iteration meant that Sony was giving up on E mount, was going to let the line die, and leave all us hanging.    My last Sony body was bought in late 2016.   It is an Alpha 6300, which I bought only so that I could mount a flash unit on the camera tall enough to not cast a shadow when the 18-200mm lens was mounted.    I kept and still use my original Nex 5, and it still produces the same outstanding results I achieved when I bought it.      Just as I was about to order the 6300, the 6500 was introduced.    For the additional $400 I could get IBIS and a touchscreen.    I don't like touchscreens at all, and I use only native lenses, so IBIS was useless to me, so I stuck with the 6300.   But the 6500 was now the latest and greatest, supplanting my 6300 before I even received it. Futureproof?   Not from Sony's standpoint, not from the standpoint of many consumers (at least if one goes by the threads posted herein).   But futureproof from mine because it does exactly what I need it to do.

By a circuitous and lengthy road, that leads us to today.     For several years I have been reading how camera production has dropped, due to reduced consumer demand.    There have been two causes cited.   One is the proliferation of cell phones and the technical improvements in their photographic capability to the point where they have taken over the snapshot segment of photography.     The other cause cited is that camera technology has reached a plateau such that what are claimed to be improvements do not result in observable photographic improvements, leading prospective consumers to retain what they already have (shades of the llla - 7 evolution).

Add now to this the Covid19 wild card.     On a world- wide basis we are constrained from going out and using the gear we already have, which then suppresses the market for newer gear.    The economic devastation consequent to Covid19 means consumers have far less disposal income, and luxury items have to be foregone.      Hopefully, we appear to be on the cusp of mass vaccination to gain control of Covid19, but even in the most favorable scenario, the economic and social consequences of this disease may be with us for years to come.

Among my film gear I have two film cameras (one NIB) identical to ones OP posted.     I also have a NIB bottom loading LTM camera (predecessor to the Leica M series).     For me they are wonderful artifacts to own and admire.

But when I want to take pictures it is digital, "classic" or not,  that goes out with me.

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