Saturday, March 10, 2007

Digital SLRs - Obsolesence in the Making

Shopping for a new pro-level camera? You may want to think twice about dropping $5000 for the latest model. Reading updates from PMA it was fascinating to read comments from Michio Kariya, president, CEO and COO of Nikon Corp. where during his keynote address he explained how the life cycle of digital cameras have changed dramatically.

When Nikon released the F3 in 1980 (the then-standard bearer of pro photographers) the company had the benefit of 20 years of development to perfect the product. That camera stayed on the market for 20 years allowing Nikon to reap it's well earned return on investment.

Contrast that product cycle with today's digital SLR: In September 1999, Nikon introduced the Nikon D1, which had a life expectancy of 1.5 years. When introduced the camera had a retail price of $5000 breaking the then $20,000 barrier for a 10+ MPx capture camera. In 2002, the D100 was introduced with many of the same features of the D1 and cost just $2,000; two year later the D70 cost $1,000 and the D40 after that was $599.

Spend wise, grasshopper (or just check eBay first...)

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