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Thread: how long does a DSLR body last?

  1. #1
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    Default how long does a DSLR body last?

    with DSLR bodies costing a bomb, how long do you expect it to last? i know film SLRs lasts a looooong time becos my previous Nikon F801S was in tip-top shape even after 15 years of use (tho not as heavily used as photojournalists of course). any guys out there still using DSLR body in good working condition which is 5 years old? that is taking into account that one shoot pics every weekend. just doing a survey becos thinking of getting a prosumer DSLR and wondering if the cost is worth it in the long run. thanks.

    p/s: thanks to a fellow forum friend who pointed out this to me.

  2. #2

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    They last as long as the next buying bug catches on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LimCB
    They last as long as the next buying bug catches on.
    Very rightly put I fear!

  4. #4

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    they last as long as the manufacturers r willing to support it with parts.

  5. #5

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    I think there are three answers to the question:

    1) Actual life span - maybe determine by the shutter, CCD, electronics

    2) User-attention span - every year there will be a leapfrogging of
    technology as digi-cam is still in the early growing stage

    3) Technical support - I believe it depends also on the manufacturer
    and the digi-cam design. Despite the availability of upgrading of firmware
    to lengthen its technical lifespan; the CCD size, engine, lens mount
    and other innovations can obsolete an otherwise perfectly working
    digi-cam. Then we may be caught in a situation where owners
    will be praying that the spare parts, expertise are still around to
    service it. E.g. Windows NT4 technically (formally) been obsoleted
    but some companies are still using it......

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    Quote Originally Posted by artyboy
    with DSLR bodies costing a bomb, how long do you expect it to last? i know film SLRs lasts a looooong time becos my previous Nikon F801S was in tip-top shape even after 15 years of use (tho not as heavily used as photojournalists of course). any guys out there still using DSLR body in good working condition which is 5 years old? that is taking into account that one shoot pics every weekend. just doing a survey becos thinking of getting a prosumer DSLR and wondering if the cost is worth it in the long run. thanks.

    p/s: thanks to a fellow forum friend who pointed out this to me.
    Very hard to compare. My Dad's F601 is still in great shape after 15 years also, but you tend to shoot much more with digital than with film. Between my 2 DSLRs and 1 digital P&S, I have clocked over 30000 shots in 18 months (and I am just a hobbyist). That's over 800 rolls of film! How many rolls have you shot with the F801?

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    so you can imagine im as old as your dad
    unlike DSLRs there is no frame counter (if im not wrong) so i can't keep track but i would say its not heavily used - the guy i sold it to open up to check the shutter curtain and said "damn this looks brand new!". i would expect it to last at least a good 3 years with normal use (us working guys shooting pics over the weekends) and i hope that it's true. film SLRs being mechanical with some microchips naturally would last longer if well taken care of. DSLRs, if compared to its higher use of electronics/microchips inside, should last as long as a PC should, barring "software obsoleteness". but come to think abt it, we don't "interfere" with a DSLR's software (with the exception of firmware updates) like we would to a PC. but realistically speaking, 3 years is abt time to upgrade anyway or even less once full-frame DSLRs start selling at $1K or less price points. i would think that a reputable camera manufacturer would make the components inside a full metal DSLR to last as long as the shell it is encased in! but you guys are right, one would be tempted to upgrade regardless of how tiptop condition one's DSLR body is when the "upgrade bug" strikes! i was thinking more in terms of value for money if spending on a semi-pro DSLR body. hopefully, its not as bad as PC 3D cards' lifespan! thanks for all yr inputs. cheers!
    Last edited by artyboy; 17th August 2004 at 09:23 PM.

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    I would think the most important is the CCD. Replacing the CCD is expensive and manufacturer may not even have spares once the CCD obsoletes. Even though they have and able to replace the CCD for you after few years, the price is as good as buying another new SLR.

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    i guess you're right - it is a "light sensor" device rather than a CPU which would probably last forever if one doesnt overclock it as in PCs. manufacturers would always quote the "shutter capacity" (can't remember the exact term) but we hardly know of a CCD/CMOS sensor's lifespan. the sensor's lifespan definitely come into question for DSLRs considering that its exposed once you change lenses. the shutter would be more relevant to personal usage considering that sports photojournalists are the ones who will make full use of the camera's shutter more than anyone else.

  10. #10

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    personally juz maintain the dslr and treat it like ya baby and it will last i tink....all stuff are like tt....like using ya back to shelter the wind while changing lens etc....

    for me....if it lasts me another 4 years....i will say its served me well coz i shoot alot....

  11. #11
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    With dSLR, we tend to shoot much, much more than film. I guess it might be in the ratio of 1:10. For example, I would tend to try out different combination of shutter speed, aperture, exp compenation, bracketing, high ISO and other custom functions. Testing and testing.

    I hope to finish my testing soon and start taking pictures. Then, I hope I would revert back to my film style, that is to say at most 2 rolls a session. Likely by then, I might have fired off 2000 frames.

    So, even for an amateur, it depends on how much time you got to play with that camera. I guess it varies a lot, and so, some might last 2 years while others might be closer to 10.

    Expensive? If you buy a film camera, and add the cost of the film, processing and scanning, then over 3 years or so, that dSLR isn't that costly afterall.

    Durability - usually, it should last longer than you would want to keep and use, for the average amateur user. Just look at mobile phones, TV, etc

  12. #12

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    I would think DSLRs can last a long time if you are a hobbyist. I am an amateur photographer who has owned the D30 for about 2 years and so far it has worked for me very faithfully. I haven't needed to even manually clean the sensor without any noticeable dust speck.

    The REAL issue I think, lies more in the consumer. It is with the advancement of technology that we tend to feel we just got to change the equipment for a newer model, whether we genuinely need the new features or not. And this is very scary. If you don't earn from your photography and are only a casual shooter, I think DSLR is an expensive way to go for now. But it makes sense if you're earning a decent pay from some other job or something. Within less than 2 years, expect your DSLR price to drop by S$1000 or more as newer models appear in the market.

    If you look back to the 70's and 80's era, it was only the adults and very enthusiastic who usually went into photography bcos cameras then were much much less sophisticated in their operation; money was probably better saved for other purposes. (We were still a developing nation then anyway!)

    It was in the early 90's onwards that things took a change. The auto-everything, built-in flash, affordable SLRs began to appear on the market and more amateurs were seen to own one. Photography finally was not just for daddies and grand-daddies!

    I believe one day, DSLRs will be transformed into this sort of fashion. But at the moment, we have still some way to go to reach that stage. Technology is improving steadily though and we just can look forward to that day. At the moment, one thing's for sure is that the market worth of electronic items is definitely getting obsolete by the year. Even if your X-brand DSLR can last mechanically for the next 5 years, it's probably some 3-5 generations into the dumps by then!

  13. #13

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    totally agree wif u...but say in 5 years time...probably i would have saved up enuff to buy a new dslr haha....

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    If you are a serious hobbyist, you will have change to a better one later even if this dslr last forever - technology is moving so fast that we can safely say that all the current DSLR in the market are obsoleting day by day.

    But purely from price/technology consideration (only these two), waiting game is alway prudent. But the world will go past you without you tasting the marvels and fun of this toy and your age later will slow down your learning curve and you will be a 'green' grey hair fellow with a half senile brain trying to figure out those buttons and lingo that describe them.

  15. #15

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    it's like asking how long does a television set or a PC will last.

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