New DSLR – To Buy, or Not to Buy
Author: Kai W
Photokina 2010 is almost here – it’s so close you can almost smell the incontinence of excitement caused by a hall filled with pure and unadulterated photographic equipment porn. Thousands of people will flock to Cologne to reenact what it was like to be a child in a candy shop, looking at lots of camera gear, pointing, gawping and desperately uttering “I want!” only to be told “sorry, you can’t have that (yet)”.
It’s camera cock-tease time and the fun has already started with lots of exciting (and some less so) announcements filling our RSS feed readers. The fun & frolics of Photokina has not even started yet, but we’ve already got a glimpse of what to expect at this massive photography fair.
Canon and Nikon have already given us a glimpse of new camera bodies (60D and D3100, respectively) along with lots of new lenses, making us all covet these new products on offer and get into a frenzy about whether one needs to upgrade or not.
But I’ve heard the question many times before and I’ve even asked myself – shall I wait for such-and-such a model to come out or shall I just upgrade to the current model? It’s the ol’ concern of “will I be buying something that is or will be outdated very soon?” that is a commonplace in the world of consumer electronics. Because every 2 years, or less for some cheeky manufacturers (step forward Olympus), a new model is brought out that does pretty much the same as the last one albeit with more numbers on the spec sheet and a brand new casing. To answer the question of whether you should wait just a bit longer depends on
Everybody has a bit of G.A.S.. Sometimes it’s so bad that it takes over one’s life and other times it can be controlled. Gear Acquisition Syndrome is a most debilitating disorder that can absolutely cripple one’s bank balance if not tended to.
So, you’re using the Olympus E-P1 then before your warranty has even expired – BANG! The E-P2 is out!! It comes with a sleek black exterior and an electronic viewfinder and you must own it because it’s new and slightly better than the E-P1. Not long after that the E-PL1 comes out, asmallerpackage with a thinner anti-aliasing filter andabrand new ad campaign. Oh god, it would’ve been cheaper to get a drug addiction.
Manufacturers of course are not stupid, even though some are not as class-leading as others. Most know how to manufacture desire and when there’s a big show like Photokina it’s like one massive black hole that sucks your savings in when you get even remotely close to it, and your hard-earned cash will never be seen again. Until a few months before the next Photokina.
I can understand that since digital cameras became popular to the mass market, there has been a steep curve in technological advancement and thus the need to upgrade over the early years has advanced with that steep curve. Looking at some of the digital cameras that I have bought over the years, it really amazes me to see what has changed over the years. We’re in age of HDSLRs now, everything has an HD video mode chucked at it and stuck with some adhesive tape. Auto everything and with intelligent software to control all the bits that you would want it to.
But the market is and has matured (and the boss of Nikon has said this too). Does anyone need more than XXmegapixels? Your camera can take 1080p video, with great low noise performance and super speedy autofocus. What next? You’ve already got all you’d need in a camera body.
Lenses are a different matter because they’re either good or they’re not. You can start it up with good AF, super-duper coating or improve the I.S. on it, but at the end of the day the crucial thing is whether the optical formula is a winning one or not. A good lens will last you ages and ages…until they change the mount.
I look back at optics that I acquired from even way before the dawn of the digital era and they still look, feel and perform just as good today. My D70 looks so dated when you compare it to some of the latest DSLRs today. But to be honest, 6mp really is enough to be honest, and if one has one of the latest DSLRs, then what more do you really need? It doesn’t even matter that my D70 screen isn’t working…it still takes pictures after all.
The waiting game
Going back to the question of whether one should wait for something to be announced at Photokina or for the new model to come out, then you should consider what function you desire most. What feature do you really need to make your photo/video taking a much better experience.
I’ve been wondering “when is the D7000 coming out?” for a long time now, but every time I pick up the D700 I still think to myself “this is still a fantastic full-frame DSLR”. And it is. I don’t really need to shoot HD movies with my DSLR, so the D700 has got all I need in a camera, and then some. If I was looking for a full-frame DSLR right now, I’d just pull the purchasing trigger and plump for the D700. What about if the successor comes out in a month? Who gives an F-stop?!
Want a DSLR right now? Just buy it, use it, adore it and move on.
About the Author
KAI part of the Community Team at DigitalRev, is passionate about photography and collecting camera equipment that he never uses but caresses gently in his spare time. He has a tendency to talk about his love for Nikon & Leica equipment as well as speaking his mind in a rather forthright manner.