Remember when you were a kid going into the hobby shop with your Christmas money? Or maybe you were a clothing buyer – or someone who wanted stuff from the sports shop or the candy store. As soon as you had that dough it started to burn a hole in your pocket or purse and you were all for getting to the store as soon as it opened to spend it. Sometimes you went with a clear vision of what you wanted and sometimes you just went.
Later on, when you had a teenage job and money that you had to sweat for, the urge to buy was still there, but it was driven more by necessity and less by whim. Life had started to hand you the tax bill of responsibility and you found you were going to have to pay attention and pay up.
This got worse as your money got better. Education to pay for, car, housing, perhaps a family. More bills, less squandering. And eventually it even encroached on your photography. No longer could you afford to buy the latest screw-mount SLR lens as soon as it came out…and your chance to covet a Contarex slipped to contemplating a Contaflex…and eventually you settled for a Pentax. And, had you known it at the time, you would have been better off. The Pentax may well be working still today, while the Zeiss products have become seized relics.
Your digital penny is not going to go far these days – I’ve just seen the super special sale offer from a local dealer and I’m kinda horrified at the height that the numbers have gotten to on new camera stickers. It’s all explainable, and all a result of incremental rises from makers, wholesalers, and retailers…it is not conspiracy or piracy or anything. But it means that if you are not earning big money, you are not going to be able to afford some of what used to be standard models from standard brands.
A case in point is some of the Nikon cameras. The good-quality APS-C sized camera body with a standard zoom lens is about $ 4000. If you think you need a full-frame Nikon and plain lens it will be about the same price, but be prepared to pay three times that for the top-of-the-line model with fancy glass. You need not add too many items to your camera bag before it gets to be the same money as a small Kia sedan car, new off the motorcar dealer’s lot. That’s serious Christmas money…
The result of these incremental price increases – rather like boiling the economic frog slowly – is a cooked frog and an unappetising soup. The goods are sitting there on the dealer’s shelves and the punters are either buying less or buying none. Cheaper options look good and take their purse. The big ticket items stagnate and their companies’ dealing power on the market grows less.
It is no good the companies putting ever more complex features in the cameras in an attempt to out-tech their main rivals. It is time they found a way to put out a decent basic product at the lower price we can pay.