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Author Topic: Why the camera industry is in the dumper  (Read 4341 times)
Justinr
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« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2014, 09:33:33 AM »
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"Things aren't the way they used to be. I'm sad because I've grown old and like most old men, I'm convinced that things were better in the past...when I was young."

I'm a hobbyist.

Photography (defined most broadly) is having a more profound and more positive impact on the human race than ever before.
Go ahead, make my day and try to argue with that point.

Photographs in many ("inferior/crappy/non-artistic") new forms are incredibly important to the communication and relationships between people, particularly young people. You know, the young: So easy to deride, so difficult to truly understand and respect.

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc, etc, etc......are about pictures.  This ecosystem thrives on photographs, and its a very important aspect of life to a couple of generations of people all over the world. Its a big part of how they know, love, and connect with other people. Photography is at least partially about communication, and there is more photographic communication between human beings than ever before, particularly Millenials.

The old guard doesn't 'own' it anymore. The black box has been opened. The technology is cheap, ubiquitous, and the technical quality is improving exponentially. Newspapers jettison their entire staff of old white guys in vests, yet somehow....life goes on.



Amen to that.

It's a different ballgame altogether and anyone who wishes to make a living from it nowdays has got to think well beyond the old order.
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Rob C
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« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2014, 09:41:22 AM »
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When I was young and pondering to become a professional photographer my idea was (after various talks with my parents),
that this is a market, where quality of work is only a small part of the equation of success.

I felt, that I might just not reach a position where I wanted to be, even if I were very good.
So I became a physician.

After all, I think it has two sides now:
Sure - it's sort of easier for me to make a living than for the average photog, but I still have a feeling I made a mistake.
Don't get me wrong - I love my job, but with hindsight I think one should follow what one really wants to do from the very beginning.

Reason is overrated.

Cheers
~Chris


So are the spiritual benefits of garrets.

Rob C
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Justinr
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« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2014, 10:10:56 AM »
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As it happens I've just come across this as a way of selling photography, take a deep breath before looking at the prices!

https://www.etsy.com/ie/browse/art/photography?ref=br_nav_new_2

However much we may look down upon this sort of market place it's not going to go away.
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Rob C
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« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2014, 10:24:13 AM »
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There are several ironies about the digitalisation of photography that I reflect upon with a certain wry amusement. The foremost is the enthusiasm with which it was greeted by professionals; it was cheaper, quicker, more cost efficient for not only did it do away with film but also the necessity of having someone else do the printing, the photographer retained control of the whole process as Rob C. has pointed out. Now we are told that digital cameras have ruined photography because anybody can now do it cheaper, quicker etc.



I think this quotation is misleading, to say the least.

I think I know pretty well what Rob C might have been writing/pointing out. Retaining control of the entire process is a reference to the photographic aspects of it. Those started with the shooting and then went through the processing of film, where that was possible (exclude Kodachrome, a huge mainstay for many travelling lensmen) and on to the printing of the final output. Some top snappers ran their own darkrooms and some farmed out but oversaw the results. Then the stuff was handed over and the invoice rendered. Finis.

With digital, that simple, operational sequence was broken, and instead of going on to the next assignment or hunting for it, time was eaten up at a computer at the end of every shoot and a new fight invented just to achieve payment (or probably not) for the additional hours spent doing the work of the retouchers and separation houses, who had better equipment anyway, and were highly skilled in scanning and the rest of it. The result? More responsibility in areas where photographer understanding was very thin, for not much more (if any) reward.

As for digital being cheaper, really? Film costs were never a problem for photographers unless at the bottom of the scale; film was either billed separately or calculated into the quotation. What became dearer was the hardware. Much dearer. And it lasted for a shorter time and was more vulnerable that mechanical cameras ever were.

Rob C
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Justinr
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« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2014, 11:28:52 AM »
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I think this quotation is misleading, to say the least.

I think I know pretty well what Rob C might have been writing/pointing out. Retaining control of the entire process is a reference to the photographic aspects of it. Those started with the shooting and then went through the processing of film, where that was possible (exclude Kodachrome, a huge mainstay for many travelling lensmen) and on to the printing of the final output. Some top snappers ran their own darkrooms and some farmed out but oversaw the results. Then the stuff was handed over and the invoice rendered. Finis.

With digital, that simple, operational sequence was broken, and instead of going on to the next assignment or hunting for it, time was eaten up at a computer at the end of every shoot and a new fight invented just to achieve payment (or probably not) for the additional hours spent doing the work of the retouchers and separation houses, who had better equipment anyway, and were highly skilled in scanning and the rest of it. The result? More responsibility in areas where photographer understanding was very thin, for not much more (if any) reward.

As for digital being cheaper, really? Film costs were never a problem for photographers unless at the bottom of the scale; film was either billed separately or calculated into the quotation. What became dearer was the hardware. Much dearer. And it lasted for a shorter time and was more vulnerable that mechanical cameras ever were.

Rob C

I'm sorry if I have caused you any offence Rob but it was a fine line between giving credit to you for a particular line of thought or seemingly attempting to hijack a point you had made in an earlier post. I had wished to do the former but this was before ideas that ran parallel to mine had been described by your goodself as 'sh*t'.
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Rob C
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« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2014, 01:00:27 PM »
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I'm sorry if I have caused you any offence Rob but it was a fine line between giving credit to you for a particular line of thought or seemingly attempting to hijack a point you had made in an earlier post. I had wished to do the former but this was before ideas that ran parallel to mine had been described by your goodself as 'sh*t'.


There you are then: you've resolved all the problems of professional photography in one fell swoop!

Rob C
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iluvmycam
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« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2014, 01:03:07 PM »
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I'm not saying hobbyist should not turn a penny, I question the commitment to it being a hobby. It's always been possible for anyone to submit to an agency.  The reason so many do now is because it's cheap and easy.
 The goal all the time is for it to be easier and less involving, higher iso, more fps more more more. That to me that is the opposite of what you would want out of a hobby isn't it?
Someone mentioned stamp collecting, I would think to be a successful stamp collector requires a lot of input, time and dedication. Gaining the knowledge is part of the hobby.  If photography is a hobby why would you not want to explore it, why would you not want to see what hand printing an image feels like?  getting involved with the process.
 Just hitting a button on your handheld computer and viewing on a computer screen, or maybe knocking out a print on the Epson at a flick of the fingertip must  lose the fascination at some point. you might as well say texting is a hobby. There is little core of dedicated hobby photographers to support a mass global camera industry investing in r&d for the next improvement. Sure there are the dedicated, I doubt enough to support the industry anything like it is now. The dedication of the masses that call photography a hobby will swerve when the next gizmo becomes a hobby. When having the latest greatest camera no longer impresses other people, when a dedicated picture taking camera is not so cool, it will no longer be their hobby.


Certain people love freezing time. Just because it is easy to print is not a bad thing, it is a wonderful thing. But people are also getting burnt out on photos. Photos are polluting our earth. How many of the 34 million free photos Getty released do you even have time to look through? Flickr has many forums now that approach a million images each. As soon as a pix is posted it get burried.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:04:58 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
iluvmycam
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« Reply #47 on: March 15, 2014, 01:09:13 PM »
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Yes the Camera Industry is in the Dumper for several reasons that Michael alluded to.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Photography industry is in the dumper. What all you guys seem to be saying is that the Photography industry is in the dumper.
Digital HAS changed things just as all technological breakthroughs do. I am sure that when George Eastman first introduced the Kodak people said the same, just as when Photography was invented someone said that from today painting was dead.
When the television was first sold someone said that the radio was dead (or was it the cinema?) It hasn't happened, things have just changed.
Yes the camera in a cellphone has impacted on camera sales, but on the compact part of the camera industry not really the high end DSLR's.
Sure the fact that we can now download our images to a computer to view them instead of having them printed has had an effect on the photo finishing industry, but that industry has changed as well and now offers more products than ever. Who back in the film days had their images printed on canvas or corrugated iron?
The quality of imaging is better than it has ever been and certainly better than any thing film could produce.
But a good camera does not a Photographer make, just as having an F1 Ferrari in the garage doesn't make you Michael Schumacher.  
I think like Michael that the Camera Industry has reached a Plateau for now. Whether this will change I don't know. But mostly we are at a point where the resolution is excellent from any DSLR be it APS sensor, Full Frame or the very small medium format market.
In most cases people would be hard pushed to spot the difference in format if they saw prints side by side.
I am also sure that there will be a major change in the sensor technology in if not the next 5 years then certainly the next 10.
But 99% of people are more than happy with the images they get with whatever they shoot with be it a cellphone or a Phase one medium format.
So as it must have been back in the days of film, the camera market is slowing down. Really it lasted so long only because manufacturers kept putting new things in a camera rather like the computer industry. They seemed to have treated it a bit like the car industry, but even that model has slowed down.
The market for images has changed, but it won't go away. It has changed from film to digital just like it changed from wet plate to dry plate and roll film. But it won't go away.
But that isn't what Michael was saying in his article. He was saying that to keep in the game manufacturers have to actually listen to their customers, and it seems to me at present that most manufacturers aren't. Nikon's acknowledgement of focus problems with the early D800's and the dust/oil spot problems with the D600 were bad to say the least. In fact I think the only thing that forced Nikon to acknowledge th problems with the D600 was the threat of a class action law suit. They must have known they would have lost that one and the damage to reputation (to say nothing of the actual financial cost) had the potential to be huge. Witness the completely different response by Sony and Fuji to light leak problems with their latest cameras. Did they learn from the D600 debacle or are they just better customer service orientated?
I believe that there will be another big jump in the mega pixel race before the technology changes completely, but the big question is whether we really need it. 36MP in the D800 and the Sony camera is enough to print something almost as big as you can imagine, so what is more MP going to achieve apart from bigger files?
If Nikon came out with a 54MP camera I can't see myself buying one just for the extra resolution. It isn't worth the money. And therein lies the problem. We have reached the point where it is beyond good and people are seeing that and don't go out and buy the latest just because it is newer.
Now if a different sensor technology came out say similar to the Foveon chip which substantially produced a better image in a smaller file then I MIGHT be tempted. But until that happens I am quite happy with my D800.
 All this doesn't change the fact that the Photographic industry as a whole has changed and manufacturers are seeing it as part of the bottom line because manufacturers of products that weren't anything to do with Photography are jumping on the bandwagon. That's all it is, but the camera manufacturers haven't learnt to push into competing unaligned markets (apart from Kodak who made stupid statements such as aiming for the no 1 position in the inkjet printer market years after Canon and Epson had secured a big hold on that market) .
To those of you who complain that the industry is dying go away and think about it and remember that Michael was commenting on the CAMERA industry not the Photography industry as in the taking and selling of images.

Well spoken post!   35mm (scanned) negative film is about 3 or 4 mp, so anything above that is a gift. No doubt there is a use for 54mp. I don't need 54mp. The comera fondlers will buy it thinking that is all they need to be great.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 02:35:23 PM by iluvmycam » Logged
Justinr
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« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2014, 01:28:08 PM »
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There you are then: you've resolved all the problems of professional photography in one fell swoop!

Rob C

Who do I bill?
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Justinr
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« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2014, 01:36:05 PM »
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Well spoken post!   35mm negative film is about 3 or 4 mp, so anything above that is a gift. No doubt there is a use for 54mp. I don't need 54mp. The comera fondlers will buy it thinking that is all they need to be great.

Indeed. When Canon brought out there first 5mp camera it was generally regarded as the final stake through the heart of 35mm film.
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« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2014, 02:31:04 PM »
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As for digital being cheaper, really? Film costs were never a problem for photographers unless at the bottom of the scale; film was either billed separately or calculated into the quotation. What became dearer was the hardware. Much dearer. And it lasted for a shorter time and was more vulnerable that mechanical cameras ever were.
Absolutely. Digital being cheaper is sooooo not the case for pro photographers.
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Justinr
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« Reply #51 on: March 15, 2014, 02:54:49 PM »
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Absolutely. Digital being cheaper is sooooo not the case for pro photographers.

If you folks could kindly pause for a moment and note what I was actually saying it would be appreciated. Should you read the paragraph again you will hopefully realise I was speaking of the past, but let me enlighten you anyway. Digital was considered cheaper when it first came galloping over the horizon and many photographers were delighted to do away with the expense of developing film,* this was before it was realised that digital was advancing at such a pace that more frequent upgrades were required to cameras, software and computers. Now, unless you are into full blown HB systems it's my guess that turning back to film may well turn out to be dearer than staying with a FF dSLR. Has anyone done the sums lately? Remember, you are going to have allow time for scanning if you want to distribute your work electronically and nothing less than MF will be required to match even the most basic of FF bodies for IQ.

* Someone somewhere had to pay for it eventually.
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Justinr
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« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2014, 03:29:08 PM »
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Absolutely. Digital being cheaper is sooooo not the case for pro photographers.

Here we go, just done some sums.

Cost of developing 120 roll film and having it scanned (resolution not specified) 13 per roll. ( http://www.apertureuk.com/film_developing_in_aperture_uk_london.html )

Shooting at 6x4.5 = 15 shots per film or .87 per exposure.

200 shots in an average session (adjust to taste) = 174.

Cost of Nikon d800 =1,800

Number of sessions before digital becomes cheaper than film = 10.3

Number of shots before digital becomes cheaper than film = 2,060 (check the shutter count on your digital)

Notes.
If everybody was shooting film developing costs would no doubt come down.
No allowance has been made for purchase of film camera.
Computer and software is not included but you are likely to have a computer anyway and reasonable software can be had for free.
All sorts of peripheral costs for both systems have been ignored in this comparison.

If anybody knows of pro's switching back to film because of the cost issue then please bring it to our attention.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 03:34:37 PM by Justinr » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: March 15, 2014, 03:46:38 PM »
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Here we go, just done some sums.

Cost of developing 120 roll film and having it scanned (resolution not specified) 13 per roll. ( http://www.apertureuk.com/film_developing_in_aperture_uk_london.html )

Shooting at 6x4.5 = 15 shots per film or .87 per exposure.

200 shots in an average session (adjust to taste) = 174.

Cost of Nikon d800 =1,800

Number of sessions before digital becomes cheaper than film = 10.3

Cost to photographer of film for a job=0 as you charged it to client as an expense. This has already been mentioned above.
Try doing that with your cameras/hard drives/computers/software.
Also you would use 220 not 120 if shooting the amounts you suggest.
Not to mention that you are comparing a 35mm DSLR system with a medium format one. If I want to get the same look with digital kit, you are probably looking at buying the top of the range Hassy/Phase One to get the big sensor size.

If you folks could kindly pause for a moment and note what I was actually saying it would be appreciated. Should you read the paragraph again you will hopefully realise I was speaking of the past, but let me enlighten you anyway. Digital was considered cheaper when it first came galloping over the horizon and many photographers were delighted to do away with the expense of developing film,* this was before it was realised that digital was advancing at such a pace that more frequent upgrades were required to cameras, software and computers.
You only thought digital was cheap if you were a complete idiot and didn't do your sums correctly. And yet again, seeing as pros didn't pay for film as such, your argument  is a bit flawed from the outset.

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Justinr
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« Reply #54 on: March 15, 2014, 04:14:10 PM »
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Cost to photographer of film for a job=0 as you charged it to client as an expense. This has already been mentioned above.
Try doing that with your cameras/hard drives/computers/software.
Also you would use 220 not 120 if shooting the amounts you suggest.
Not to mention that you are comparing a 35mm DSLR system with a medium format one. If I want to get the same look with digital kit, you are probably looking at buying the top of the range Hassy/Phase One to get the big sensor size.
You only thought digital was cheap if you were a complete idiot and didn't do your sums correctly. And yet again, seeing as pros didn't pay for film as such, your argument  is a bit flawed from the outset.



Depends on what you are shooting. A lot of people would quote for a job including film costs. And even so, doing a job without film would offer a competitive advantage over a fellow who was going to add film to the bill. Not everyone was shooting glamour and fashion in exotic locations for wealthy clients. Are we talking about going back to film now, or changing over to digital 10 years ago BTW?

A roll of 220 costs roughly twice as much to develop because it has twice the surface area, hence twice the chemical requirement. Sure, there may be some savings on labour but not an awful lot. The scanning per frame will be the same, so 14 per roll of 220 for that alone

My 12mp FF is giving better results than my Bronicas ever did and I don't have to worry about fancy drum scanners to ensure the negative is held flat.

BTW, were you working as a pro ten years ago?


Edit; I forgot the cost of the film - around 6.00 - 6.50 per roll, let's call it 40p per shot bringing the total to 1.27 per frame and if we take the top Nikon (D4) as 4,000 then 3,150 shots will see it paid for. What's the shutter count on your main camera?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 05:36:23 PM by Justinr » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2014, 08:26:35 PM »
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The goal all the time is for it to be easier and less involving, higher iso, more fps more more more. That to me that is the opposite of what you would want out of a hobby isn't it?
Someone mentioned stamp collecting, I would think to be a successful stamp collector requires a lot of input, time and dedication. Gaining the knowledge is part of the hobby.  If photography is a hobby why would you not want to explore it, why would you not want to see what hand printing an image feels like? getting involved with the process.

That is what you think you'd enjoy if your hobby was photography; but your hobby isn't photography and others may take pleasure from the what you consider banal.
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Rob C
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« Reply #56 on: March 16, 2014, 04:37:58 AM »
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Depends on what you are shooting. A lot of people would quote for a job including film costs. And even so, doing a job without film would offer a competitive advantage over a fellow who was going to add film to the bill. Not everyone was shooting glamour and fashion in exotic locations for wealthy clients. Are we talking about going back to film now, or changing over to digital 10 years ago BTW?


And I doubt that that many of us were doing it every day, either. The reality and the point is that by the time a company is big enough to afford the services of an advertising agency then it isn't interested in counting rolls of film. Advertising agencies used to be the source of most work. I can't remember any agency asking me how many rolls of film I'd have to use before I was given a shoot.

I can only imagine that such an argument (about film-cost relevance) has to be made from the perspective of someone who has never had any real commercial clients. Hell's teeth, I didn't consider it even when I was floating the occasional stock shoot for myself, facing the bill for the whole goddam thing!

Rob C
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Justinr
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« Reply #57 on: March 16, 2014, 05:47:15 AM »
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And I doubt that that many of us were doing it every day, either. The reality and the point is that by the time a company is big enough to afford the services of an advertising agency then it isn't interested in counting rolls of film. Advertising agencies used to be the source of most work. I can't remember any agency asking me how many rolls of film I'd have to use before I was given a shoot.

I can only imagine that such an argument (about film-cost relevance) has to be made from the perspective of someone who has never had any real commercial clients. Hell's teeth, I didn't consider it even when I was floating the occasional stock shoot for myself, facing the bill for the whole goddam thing!

Rob C

You seem to be forgetting those 'poor' wedding professionals and others catering to public demand for portraits, local events, school photography and the myriad of other small jobs they were called upon to perform. One is left to surmise that such unfortunate neglect stems from only having operated in a very small and privileged corner of the great photographic pond. Oh, and they would have to be doing it every day to make a living. Wow, just how unprofessional is that!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 05:54:36 AM by Justinr » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #58 on: March 16, 2014, 11:02:14 AM »
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You seem to be forgetting those 'poor' wedding professionals and others catering to public demand for portraits, local events, school photography and the myriad of other small jobs they were called upon to perform. One is left to surmise that such unfortunate neglect stems from only having operated in a very small and privileged corner of the great photographic pond. Oh, and they would have to be doing it every day to make a living. Wow, just how unprofessional is that!


That sounds like an old Michael Foot script.

It also suggest a lack of understanding of the meaning of the word privilege. I suppose one could extend it to mean that the more people I went to see, the more knock-backs I faced, the more 'privileged' I became...

Rob C
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 11:40:22 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #59 on: March 16, 2014, 11:36:16 AM »
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Just out of interest, I realised that I still had the original invoice for my Nikon FM2 which I used to look upon as the 'fast-synching' 35mm body.

Date 20/10/89   (Which surprises me: I thought I'd stepped away earlier than that...)

Nikon FM2 Body Black   .................   308.70       VAT   .......   46.31   .......... 355.01
Nikon MD-12 Motor Drive  .............     207.83                ......      31.17   .......... 239.00

Total    ................................................................................................... 594.01


Also, I have another one:

Date 27/11/91    (Surprised me even more!)

Nikon F4s     ............................................................................    Total       1415.00

Shows that even Nikon didn't rate the FM series very highly, even though many snappers apparently did.

Interesting days, them wuz.

Rob C




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