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Author Topic: What's the lifespan of a dSLR?  (Read 7079 times)
PSA DC-9-30
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« on: July 15, 2008, 10:37:07 PM »
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My 20+ year old Olympus OM-2s is still operational (and likely could be made to last another 10 at least), but is gathering dust due to my reluctance to dedicate the necessary time to scanning, and my overall satisfaction with digital. Yet I wonder how long my new E-510 is likely to last. I've read that sensors have relatively limited lifespans, and supposing it dies in five years, will Olympus or anyone be able / willing to repair it at a reasonable cost? Granted, in five years, I'll likely want something else, but I'd still like to think it will be functional for at least a decade, to function as a second body at least. (I don't shoot all that much--the camera sits inactive for long periods (weeks), but does get a good workout when I'm on a trip of any kind, or when I decide to take up some sort of self-assignment in something interesting.)

Also, in addition to the sensor, there are so many fairly flimsy plastic pieces (battery hinges, dials, knobs) on any dSLR, that if any one of them breaks in a few years I think you may find it easier to replace the camera than get it fixed.

I also wonder about shutter actuations. Some pro / semi-pro cameras like the D-300 advertise that they've been tested for 100,000 actuations. Is this a reasonable expectation of the life of the shutter, or will it likely last longer?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 10:39:54 PM by PSA DC-9-30 » Logged

DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 11:22:19 PM »
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I don't know of anyone who has had a DSLR go tits (other than the shutter) due to anything other than abuse.  (Dropping, submerging, etc.)

As to the shutter it will probably have a shorter life span if you use live view.  I wonder what impact live view has on the sensor.
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k bennett
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2008, 06:26:55 AM »
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My almost-8-year old D-30's still work. Not that I ever use them, but they do still work. (Of course, they both had the shutter replaced several times.) My six year old 1-D bodies still work, too, as do my 3+ year old 1D Mark II bodies. Which go back to Canon a couple of times a year for a tune-up to keep them in good operating conditions.

You will replace your Olympus for an updated "better" model *long* before it dies from old age. Think of it as a computer with a lens attached -- while your 15 year old computer still, technically, "works," you wouldn't actually use it, would you?
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francois
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 06:32:27 AM »
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My 1D2 works fine and I'm still using it.
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Francois
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 07:54:47 AM »
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Depends on your point of view, but the way marketing & sales is setup, anything electronic or computerized - from laptops to digital SLRs or even something like hearing aids - is slated for a 3 to 4 year lifespan.  

    Now physically you can keep using your digital SLR as long as you want, as long as it doesn't break down.  I still have an 8 year old 1.3 MP digital camera (non SLR)  that works fine - you just cannot find memory cards for it anymore.    

    After the 3-4 year period, you will find marketing kicks in and planned obsolence takes over - on any product.  For example, you may find that batteries are either no longer available or are "special order' and will take 6 weeks to get in.  In these cases, I then you go to 3rd party vendors like Batteries America and get the damned thing sent to you overnight.

 So that's the real issue, IMO.   I think some of the top of the line digital SLRs should last as long as my film SLRs (such as my FM2), but I've had so many experiences with trying to get anything 4-5 years old repaired or replaced, that's the real issue.

    It's not just cameras.   I have a friend who has a perfectly good telescope (8" SCT) from a major manufactuer.  A single motor drive burned out.  The company told him those motors are no longer made, buy a new telescope.  My dad's 6 year old hearing aids, which work fine, needed an adjustment.  The people who sold them say they don't have software for adjust them because they are more than 4 years old.   Of course, he's never going to buy hearing aids from them again, but who's to say the next guy down the block isn't the same?  

    There's a very cynical part of me that sometimes thinks the whole "film is dead" mentality is nothing more than a grand conspiracy to brainwash us all into believing we all have to buy new cameras every three  to four years, whereas in the past you could just keep using your same old camera for 20 years, and just go with new film.   But hey, then I just go back on my meds (dark coffee), and everything is right with the world again.        
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 09:20:03 AM »
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    There's a very cynical part of me that sometimes thinks the whole "film is dead" mentality is nothing more than a grand conspiracy to brainwash us all into believing we all have to buy new cameras every three  to four years, whereas in the past you could just keep using your same old camera for 20 years, and just go with new film.   But hey, then I just go back on my meds (dark coffee), and everything is right with the world again.         
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Joneil. thatīs not cynical at all, thatīs just somebody who has yet to be enslaved by the entire obsolescence is good for you syndrome.

Digital might have lost many photographic equipment companies their lives, but those last few men still standing have sure learned the brave new way: two or three years and then create the urge for something new. I was going to say and better, but as I tend not to swap and change about much, I hold judgement on that.

In general, the swamps are full of babies who were dumped with the bath waters.

Rob C
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 09:49:10 AM »
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In the past there was never this expectation that a new camera would make your film better.

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In general, the swamps are full of babies who were dumped with the bath waters.

Rob C
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I prefer the prom night dumpster baby analogy.  (http://youtube.com/watch?v=kRj-S8Aklcw)
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PSA DC-9-30
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2008, 02:52:20 PM »
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It's too bad Volvo doesn't make cameras. I still drive my 1991 740 SE (which I bought new), which, while cosmetically showing the ravages of time, still runs flawlessly, and requires very little in the way of maintenance/repair. I'm still happy with my audio system bought over 15 years ago (Oracle Delphi III turntable, Audible Illusions preamp, Vandersteen 2Ces, etc.), and I hope to keep using the E-510 for another five years before I buy another body. My photography budget will be funnelled into buying lenses (sincerely hoping Olympus doesn't ditch the serious SLR market like they did with film!!). Still, in addition to planned obsolescence, and rapid technnology advances, I just don't think a dSLR is in the same league as the old film SLRs in terms of durability.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 02:52:52 PM by PSA DC-9-30 » Logged

Farkled
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2008, 09:17:31 PM »
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It's too bad Volvo doesn't make cameras. I still drive my 1991 740 SE (which I bought new), which, while cosmetically showing the ravages of time, still runs flawlessly, and requires very little in the way of maintenance/repair. I'm still happy with my audio system bought over 15 years ago (Oracle Delphi III turntable, Audible Illusions preamp, Vandersteen 2Ces, etc.), and I hope to keep using the E-510 for another five years before I buy another body. My photography budget will be funnelled into buying lenses (sincerely hoping Olympus doesn't ditch the serious SLR market like they did with film!!). Still, in addition to planned obsolescence, and rapid technnology advances, I just don't think a dSLR is in the same league as the old film SLRs in terms of durability.
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My OM2 winder clutch died 3 yrs ago - in Bryce Canyon NP of all places.  Olympus won't service it and 3rd parties want at least $200 - more than the body is worth.  Fortunately I didn't spend a fortune on lenses for it.  I've gone to Canon after that experience.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2008, 12:44:15 PM »
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My OM2 winder clutch died 3 yrs ago - in Bryce Canyon NP of all places.  Olympus won't service it and 3rd parties want at least $200 - more than the body is worth.  Fortunately I didn't spend a fortune on lenses for it.  I've gone to Canon after that experience.
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I was never an Olympus buyer so I donīt know the answer to my question, but when did the OM2 stop being produced? Would Canon have treated you better with equipment of similar vintage?

I think that in terms of cars, there is a ten-year span during which spare parts are legally required to be kept available - does anything similar exist in photography?

Rob C
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2008, 02:20:34 PM »
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I think it was something like about ten or so years ago that something went wrong with one of my Pentaxes. The local repair shop pointed out to me that the camera had been discontinued at least fifteen years before. And that was the newest of the roughly six I owned and used regularly at that time.

A few years later (after adding three more film cameras to my bag), I went over to the Dark Side (digital). I'm having a ball with my Canon 5D now (and sometimes my little Canon S60 P&S), but I don't expect them to last like my old film SLRs.
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Martin Archer-Shee
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2008, 05:19:51 PM »
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I too had OM's and loved them, but digital called. Grteat mechanically and superb optics.

After much soul searching etc. I ended up with a Nikon D300 and am pleased. How long will the sensor work??? I do not know...

There is no answer and all companies today are offering "limited life-time". After that you have to fend for yourself.

Martin
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Ken R
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 03:22:40 AM »
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I think that DSLR will last longer than 35mm film cameras. My film cameras did deteriorate in 10 years, specifically the light tight seals around the back cover and also the film transport system. DSLR's are obviously much more sealed and lack the film transport mechanisms. Yes, you can damage the electronics in numerous ways and the shutters can fail (just as they fail in film cameras). To increase longevity always store your dslr's without the battery installed and naturally avoid storing them in high humidity / salty air conditions.
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 06:58:19 AM »
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I was never an Olympus buyer so I donīt know the answer to my question, but when did the OM2 stop being produced? Would Canon have treated you better with equipment of similar vintage?

Leica still services the 40-year-old Leicaflex SL.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 11:56:46 AM »
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Leica still services the 40-year-old Leicaflex SL.
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Perhaps thatīs part of the reason they have money problems...? Great for the user, but there must come a cut-off period unless the user is prepared to pay what it costs and the maker brave enough to charge it.

But, I think it is wonderful to have support for old but good equipment.

I donīt see that happen with digital because there are too many new bits coming along all the time, not just the relatively few that a still camera required, if only because of its long model life keeping the changes down to a relative few.

Also, since so much is now subcontracted out, how do you pay a supplier to keep stock/production going for old models?

Rob C
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 08:35:46 PM »
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Perhaps thatīs part of the reason they have money problems...?

I didn't say Leica services old equipment for free.

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since so much is now subcontracted out, how do you pay a supplier to keep stock/production going for old models?

Parts and assemblies have always been subcontracted out.  The contract includes a stock of repair parts.  The cost of storing the parts is either wrapped into the original purchase price or is charged when the parts are used.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 08:39:38 PM by telyt » Logged
scottw
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2008, 09:10:44 PM »
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My wife and I have two DSLRs, a 20D and a 350D, the 20D is about 3.75 years old and the 350D about 2.5 years old.  In terms of years both of these cameras are pretty new, but in terms of shutter activations they have had more use then our film SLRs.  I have right around 70,000 shots on the 350D and it is still going strong, the 20D must have something like 10-20K shots on it.

Between us we have owned 3 film SLRs, one had its shutter go bad, and of course we did not know this until get got home from vacation.

We have had less luck with P&S digital lasting for more then a few years, but then we live in Hawaii, which is very hard on all electronics.

I think it is too early to really have a good feel for how long a DSLR is going to last, for myself if I can get 5 years out of one I am going to be very happy with that.

Scott
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budjames
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2008, 09:20:55 PM »
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Lifespan of a DSLR - The shortest period of time for your wife to get over the purchase of your last one!

Cheers.

Bud James
(I just got my Canon 1Ds MkIII a month ago and I'm off to Alaska next week)
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Bud James
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