The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Monday, March 20, 2006

Digital Photography Bleg

hey all,

Got a question on digital cameras.

For the longest time, my main camera (the one I earned a living on for a few years) was an old Nikkormat EL. It was - and still is - the most durable .35 millimeter SLR I have ever had the pleasure of holding. 100% manual, with Nikons old bayonet lens system, its probably 10 years older than me, and with a steel body that has taken all sorts of abuse over the years and lived to tell the tale. I use my equipment hard and expect it to perform. its still going strong and continues to take outstanding photographs.

I have had 2 digital cameras over the past 4 years. They are responsible for fully 90+% of the pictures I've posted here. Both are simple point and shoots. Both are made by Kodak and withstood more abuse than I guess I could have expected from them. The first one lasted a good 2 1/2 years before it finally died. First it was the picture/color quality - pictures were awash in strange colors and eventually they were pixilated. not sure why that happened, but after wards I could often correct the problem with a good hard wallop. The latest camera is now just beginning to experience those same problems, which has led me to examine the purchase of another digital camera.

I like the point and shoot - its real convenient, but lets face it, the picture quality out of a small lens just doesn't cut it. That has led me to begin eondering about an SLR digital camera. However, at $1000 I am very concerned with their durability. Frankly, I don't expect to treat the camera in the manner I've treated the Nikkormat (I am not running around as a news or concert photographer any more) but will still take it on the occasional hike, vacation, or deep in the heart of a political rally. With then Nikkormat, if something broke, I could pretty much fix it out of my bag of tools. Thats not going to be the case with a digital camera I suspect. Nor, do I want to experience the color blending problems I have with either of my current cameras.

So, my question is really, how durable are the digital SLRs? Would you buy one used (always a good sign)? Do they have a built in shelf life? Would you expect one to still be going strong after 10 years of continuous use? 20 years? Which brand has the more durable camera, Nikon? Canon? Anyone else?



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