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Digital Camera Longevity

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  • Digital Camera Longevity

    So our Kodak DX 6340 digi camera died again, its a 5yo camerea and has failed for a second time, ....... and just when I was about to post a photo of my Corretto MKII.

    The first fault occured 11 months ago and that repair cost over $100.00, so we are loathe to go down that path again

    Many have told me that 4 years is a good life for a digital camera, but to me, that view is un acceptable, so I was wondering if any camera on the market is made with a non-disposable technology, and would give us a longer life than 4 years.

    My mums "brownie" still works and is probably 50+ years old, obviously, I dont expect a digi-cam to perform that well, but I guess, in an ideal world, I kinda want a digital camera with that build quality, ie just like an espresso machine.

    Our need is just for happy snaps [so even 4Mpix is OK] , but Id gladly pay more if I knew the camera was was built to last.

    So I throw it out to yall, any suggestions??? What are your experiences and or recommendations??

  • #2
    Re: Digital Camera Longevity

    Unfortunately digital cameras and computers have something in common -- they quickly become obsolete. So hanging on to a product of ever-changing digital technology for four years will see you behind the 8-ball.

    I paid $1400 for my Canon S30. Its a high-quality camera, but only 3 megapixels. Granted Im not printing huge posters so that doesnt really matter.... But by many standards it is obsolete. It doesnt play MP3s, it is comparatively bulky and I bet battery life has improved since.


    • #3
      Re: Digital Camera Longevity

      Well, it depends what youre using it for...

      second hand, you could look at a Canon EOS 300D or 350D (new is 400D)

      New for old, the replacement camera would probably be the Kodak Easyshare CX633, or even the C310 if you want old tech at a cheaper price.

      My recommendations would be for you to look at Canon and Fuji cameras for life-expectancy.

      However, cameras fail due to a multitude of reasons. They are a mixture of mechanical and electrical parts, including contacts, plastic bits and glass, and are sensitive to heat/cold, impact and general wear and tear of small moving parts. They are also built to a price - to get beyond that you would be looking at a Canon 40D or equivalent, and based on a quick comparison with the 6xxx series, its going to be about ten times the price, which will make those repairs seem easy! A new C310 would set you back about $180.

      Personally, (and regretfully) Id consider any non-SLR (or equivalent) digital camera to be disposable. It isnt ideal as they have PCBs in them and other non-recoverable parts, but the simple fact is that they are cheap for what you pay for, and you can always pick one up from a cash convertors for $50-75. You may prefer to do that every year or two. Optics are expensive!

      Why do you think a 4-year lifespan for consumer-grade, low-end electronics is un-acceptable? You make it clear you dont want to hear the opposite opinion. The 50-year-old brownie is a fantastic fully mechanical camera, but for a good condition one today youll be paying $200+. The technology for that was 50 years old 50 years ago, and the price was about 15% of the average wage (if I remember correctly). So youre after a well-built camera which has the new-fangled electronics plus a $200 mechanical body ((($70k/52)*0.15) - the electronics (and optics outside the camera body) are the expensive part, costing about 400% more. So for an equivalent standard camera youll be paying $1000 (plus lens)

      ......thats why its acceptable for a camera thats $200 to be 1/5th as good in mechanical terms as a brownie. At least the film (memory card) has a lifetime warranty and infinite use!


      • #4
        Re: Digital Camera Longevity

        I would think that a dslr would last quite awhile. Maybe something like a nikon D80? Though it is a bit expensive as it can be like coffee toys
        For something cheaper maybe Canon IXUS 860IS?


        • #5
          Re: Digital Camera Longevity

          I started out with a Canon A20 2mp digital the setup cost me about $1000 with chargers batteries etc, now similar camera would be about $100 and would be 3-5mp.
          I now have a Canon S2IS which Ive had for a few years, it is giving great service and takes a great photo, hopefully this camera will last me for quite a few more years. The 4 rechargeable NIMH batteries last for ages and with a spare set in camera bag, power is never a problem.


          • #6
            Re: Digital Camera Longevity

            I took forever to choose my first digital camera.
            So long that I went on our 8 week European trip without one.
            When I got back, my wife made me print the 700+ 35mm photos she took on her camera.

            I eventually bought a Fuji S3000.
            Its over 3 years old now and a newer model (more megapixels) costs less than I paid for it.

            The only problem it has is that I have to reset the date/time every time I change batteries now.
            It seems the flash memory stops woking aftwer about two years.

            Otherwise its been good.

            I am considering a new camera.
            Id like a Digital SLR.
            But for the money a good one will command I will be taking quite some time to decide.

            I also think Ill get a small pocket sized job for happy snaps.
            They came with more megapixels these days than my old Fuji and are reasonably priced.

            I bought my wife a Sony Cyber-shot for Christmas a couple of years ago.
            Something like a DSC-T50.
            Its been pretty realiable.

            Ill probably get myself something similar.


            • #7
              Re: Digital Camera Longevity

              I bought a Kodak EasyShare DX3900 Zoom 5 and a half years ago along with 4 sets (8 AA) of rechargeable batteries for it.

              Within the first 2 months of buying it it had taken some 5,000 or so pictures. Battery life on it was very acceptable. At 3.1MP resolution was fine unless you were planning on making a poster. Over-all Ive been quite happy with it.

              The camera has outlasted the batteries that were bought with it. The batteries have been slowly dying over the last year and currently only 2 of them still hold enough of a charge for them to be usable. The camera is still 100% functional.

              Heres one of my favorite pics from the trip that the camera was bought for.

              Java "The Devil made me do it!" phile

              Toys! I must have new toys!!!


              • #8
                Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                Was there a close encounter, Javaphile? Looks good.


                • #9
                  Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                  Originally posted by robusto link=1197883858/0#7 date=1197925654
                  Was there a close encounter, Javaphile? Looks good.
                  Only of the Mothra kind! ;D

                  Java "Waiting for the lights!" phile

                  Toys! I must have new toys!!!


                  • #10
                    Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                    Originally posted by Javaphile link=1197883858/0#6 date=1197924133
                    I bought a Kodak EasyShare DX3900 Zoom 5 and a half years ago along with 4 sets (8 AA) of rechargeable batteries for it.
                    I still have a 6 year old DX3600 kicking around... It was 8 hundred and something but I got a real bargain at $699!
                    Anyway I have not only dropped this thing in water, it has "slipped" from my hands while taking photos of railway from up on a bridge. Its 2.2MP and I think 8mb internal memory.

                    Before that, well I cant remember it was a Kodak C100 or something I cant even remember the model no. It was as big as a brick and its max. resolution was 640x480.
                    Still works now, I think their retail was over 1000 tho... You had to wait about 5 seconds after each photo for it to "write" too. Maybe 20 or 30 shots from one recharge?

                    And now I am using a Kodak P880 (digital SLR with fixed 24-140mm lens) It was pretty cheap too around 400 at the start of the year from a DSE sale.
                    I am not expecting this one to have the longest life, but it surely has every processing feature I would ever need, and it is adjustable enough to get nice results playing with f.stop + exposure time + iso speed etc...

                    As with most digitals you really need a tripod for lower light scenes, to avoid a high ISO speed and grainy photo.


                    • #11
                      Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                      (Thats one big ant nest Javaphile, nice picture)

                      Originally posted by Coffee Kid link=1197883858/0#3 date=1197888731
                      I would think that a dslr would last quite awhile.
                      Well... one gotcha with a dSLR is all the moving parts. They are far more fragile and more likely to die (or mirrors loose alignment) but the pictures, glass and speed are far better. I have owned a couple of Canon dSLRs and never kept them long enough to break anything.

                      The downside of a dSLR is the sheer bulk of it. You have to think about taking a camera with you (and bag, and lens(es) and flash(es) and remote buttons etc.

                      For something cheaper maybe Canon IXUS 860IS?
                      I know a few people that own and love the IXUS cameras. Metal bodied, well built and small. Lack of manual shooting options annoyed me but as a point and shoot they are great.

                      I bought an Olympus 720sw. Excellent camera, stainless bodied, waterproof, shockproof, crushproof (within reason). I have no problems with my kids using it for pool parties, even the 3 year old gets to take pictures with it. Photos at the beach, full of sand? Just wash it under a tap when you have finshed (tis weird the first time you do that!)

                      Due to its size and the fact that you can put it in your pocket and sit on it, you have it with you more often and thus get more of the "wish I had a camera with me" photos.


                      • #12
                        Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                        Thanks for the great responses,

                        Identity, that was a good post with well made points.
                        At the end of the day, I prefer not to support disposable consumerism, which is the main driver behind my post.
                        What was most disapointing [re our old kodak] was that it had had minimal use, and was always stored and carried in a padded casing and it had never been dropped/banged etc.
                        Unfortunately, as you say, products like digital cameras do fall into that category so at best, all I can do is vote with my wallet and look for the best quality available. hard to decide.

                        At Andys suggestion, I looked at the Olympus 770SW today and the sales guy threw it quite violently across the room and it hit the opposite wall and then he casually [as if nothing happened] picked it up and began to talk through its features.
                        Quite impressive, ......It has a 100Kg withstand impact capability.

                        Andy, I can see why youd let your 3 Y/O play with it, though I bet my 2Y/O would still be able to destroy it [or anything else!]

                        So, after a brief lunchtime soiree, Im considering a Panasonic TZ2 [strong metal body] and possibly the Olympus 7xxSW [Mmmmm...very strong].
                        Ill look at the Canon IXUS 860IS as well, although the same salesman told me they were plastic bodied.



                        • #13
                          Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                          Hmmm... doubt Ill ever feel the need to toss it across the room but I know if I drop it should survive and the only moving part is the lens cover. I should also say that the only semi-annoying thing about the Olympus is the XD memory card because its the only XD device I own. Still, a 2GB card is more than I have ever been able to use and they are cheap if you haggle at purchase time.

                          Not too sure of the specific IXUS models (lots of them) but the guys I know all have stainless bodied ones.

                          I guess you need a camera for the festive season but if you can you hang till the new year sales Im sure you will get a better bargain.


                          • #14
                            Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                            Originally posted by Andy Freeman link=1197883858/0#12 date=1197990111
                            I guess you need a camera for the festive season but if you can you hang till the new year sales Im sure you will get a better bargain.
                            This is now the view of the M.O.F. and we access to plenty of other cameras from the family over that period.


                            • #15
                              Re: Digital Camera Longevity

                              If you want a camera to last, you cant go past the Canon SLRs. My 30D has a rated shutter life of 100,000 shots. I doubt Ill be wearing that out in a hurry! Unfortunately, you cant shove a 30D in your pocket so youll need a compact as well. The 400D would be a great choice as youll get the quality and its "reasonably" compact..........for an SLR.
                              IMHO, you need 2 cameras. A good SLR & an OK compact. If the comapct dies, no big deal.