How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

Started Oct 18, 2013 | Polls
ABA DABA Veteran Member • Posts: 3,084
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

I update when the cost of repair exceeds 50% of the purchase price.

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SomebodyFamous Regular Member • Posts: 324
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

ABA DABA wrote:

I update when the cost of repair exceeds 50% of the purchase price.

Purchase price of new or of old?

Given that prices continually fall, I hope it's the purchase price of newer gear.

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I take photos for my own pleasure. I write books for my own pleasure too. If people buy them then fine. If not then I don't really care. The fun was in writing them. Income is just icing on top of the cake.

digitallollygag Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

I think many photography novices, enthusiasts and professionals probably agree that, except for high-end DSLRs, medium format digital cameras and Leicas, most digital cameras can now be considered a consumer commodity as opposed to a special, significant purchase they once were back in 2001. And being a consumer commodity, digital camera bodies take on steep depreciation very early on after initial purchase. What also factors into it is the manufacturer discounting the camera a few months to a year after initial introduction for various reasons.

I was thinking about starting a thread much like this, and now I see I don't need to. Many who have already posted here have contributed some good insight as to why they upgrade more than as to when. The question of why one upgrades to a new camera is more significant than when, at least to me. Also, some don't upgrade, but they downsize (point #6).

People have many reasons they upgrade:

1) G.A.S. - gear acquisition syndrome

2) Being the early adopter of the latest camera or technology (many times related to G.A.S.)

3) Their camera is either technologically or functionally outdated/obsolete

4) Their present camera isn't well suited to a new shooting style or environment

5) Their camera is broken or was stolen

6) Physical limitations or age requires the photographer switch to a smaller format camera

7) Buyer's remorse: current gear too large/too small/too heavy/lacks features/has too many features.

8) The realization holding onto a digital camera a third year dramatically diminishes its trade-in value versus what it was worth when it was 1-2 years old.

I'm certain I missed other reasons why people upgrade or even downsize. I am stuck on point #8. I already have a Nikon D100 and D80 which are far too old to even contemplate selling. I picked up the D100 (once a $2,000 camera in 2002) for $149 last year. I especially enjoy the D100 despite its slow buffer and crappy dinky LCD. The D80 I'm not as fond of. And even my D5100 would not collect much if I were to sell it. I have accepted the fact I will use and enjoy them (well, the D100 and the D5100 at least) for a few, if not many years.  My D100 I enjoy now, but in three or four years it will be a doorstop, and the $149 spent on it was worthwhile (for me).

The thing is, are we living in a time where we should be considering the when of upgrading more than the why since most cameras are consumables? Why would anyone hold on to a cell phone three years when most cell phone contracts are two years, and the features/technology of a two-year old phone is outdated anyway? No one I know of has an emotional attachment to a two-year old phone. But many photographers not suffering from G.A.S. have an attachment to their five-year old cameras, cameras that are almost worthless to trade in or sell when they're finally ready to upgrade.  Wouldn't it make more sense to get back a modest return on "investment" (if you even want to call a digital camera an investment!) and trade in the camera every two years for an upgrade?

I know, I know, the camera companies would love everyone to consider the when more than the why when buying a new camera!  But seriously, do I have a valid point?

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Draek Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

Cheap compacts: every 18 months on average. What can I say, I'm a normal, healthy adult male; I like my toys and so does my daughter, prime benefactor of my hand-me-downs.

Other bodies: every 48 months on average. What can I say, I'm  a normal, healthy independant business owner; spending more than $100 on anything without a clear ROI hurts like a *****. I'm expecting that 48 months figure to go up quite a bit with my current camera, though; you naturally spend money faster when you're still learning, but that's hardly the case now.

Lenses, flashes, et al: I'm still using the solid metal tripod I inherited from my late father, which he'd bought before I was even born. If that doesn't answer your question, see above under "normal, healthy independant business owner". Though I do tend to find an excuse to buy a new lens every 2-3 years, specially when there's a nice deal on the used market for less than the magical $100 figure.

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Henry Falkner
Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 14,349
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

yonsarh wrote:

I was just wondering if how many of you are upgrading your camera equipment?

This goes for compact/mirrorless/dslr

Last bridge camera (Olympus SP-570UZ) - June 2008

The one before (Olympus SP-550UZ) - May 2007

Last Pocket P&S (Olympus SZ-30MR) - September 2011

The one before (Olympus Stylus 9010) - July 2010

Next Pocket P&S (Olympus SH-50 IHS) - November 2013


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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: How often do you upgrade your camera gear ?

None of the above.

When someone introduces a new tool that helps me get my work done in some improved way over the tool I have already is my answer.

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