The Price Of Novelty

I used to know a man who traded in his new Holden motor car every two years. He purchased another once he had done this and continued payments to a finance company on a monthly basis. It may have been upon the basis of a lease, a hire purchase, or an extortion racket…hard to tell. He always had a fresh car but always had to take very great care that it did not get used in any way. It was as if he was sitting in sales stock all the time. As a contrast, I tended to keep a car for 13+ years and squeeze all the mileage out of it that I could. I paid little attention to the resale value…figuring that all the benefit would come to me in the running of it.

It’s starting to look that way with cameras and lenses. Not that I do not appreciate the newest of the branded gear for improved performance or looks, but I am in no hurry to exchange current possessions for the next generation of equipment – the price to be paid is too high.

I wonder how many people have also come to this conclusion? As consumers we are batted about in the game of new models with new features, but rarely are we offered anything of value as a trade-in for the slightly older equipment. I have not seen anyone encase their new camera in PVC or cellophane to preserve the factory finish for the buyer, but they do faithfully keep wrapping paper and boxes long after the camera loses all resale value.

I’m fortunate in that most of my work is seen on a screen, and doesn’t need 50 mega pixels or 50 megabytes to depict the subjects I cover. I need not have f:2 lenses for studio work. My computer can be the basic model without making my images look base. Thus the idea of parting with $ 2000 to $ 4000 for a new camera plus another $300 for new computer software is quite unattractive. It is easy to follow Roosevelt’s dictum about making do.

And how many people in a depressed economic market can actually pay enough to make the manufacturers happy? The camera makers raise their prices  – because they presumably have to – and then wonder that the new equipment sits on the shelves until it needs to be heavily discounted. Perhaps if they had an adequate maker’s buy-back or trade-in scheme they would be able to get those wheels turning.

Or…just offer mirror-less cameras with roof racks and sun shades.

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