Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23

Thread: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Jonathan

    Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Hello, folks!

    I've realised that equipment is one of the main subject in the photography world. And I mean 'world', because since I've started reading about the subject I've realised that there are more things in between two thirds-line than are dreamt in my snapshots.

    Although, reasonably, many teach the newcomers as me that equipment is not everything, and they're certainly right, somethings really draw my attention.
    So, I'd like to know why some cameras are so expensive, costing as much as 23 US dollars like a Leica S2 that I saw in a magazine. Or those 40.000 dollars hasselblad.
    What kind of photographer really need it? What is it big advantage?

    Thank you =).

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    3,804
    Real Name
    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    I know a little about Leica, and from their history they are very well known for the extreme performance of their lenses. When I said extreme, it is that sharp and that clear! As for the price, it is always debatable. I guess it doesn't hurt owning one if you can really afford it.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    909
    Real Name
    Remco

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Not saying I can explain all the price differences, but for cameras there's first the sensor size: full frame has more than twice the surface of crop sensors. And, the bigger the sensor, the fewer per wafer and the higher the loss % due to faults, so cost rises faster than surface area. Then there's build quality: metal casings, 'tropicalisation' (O-rings at all buttons etc.), faster electronics, ....
    All this raises the costs, so that lowers sales already. That in turn means smaller series, which again drives prices up...

    And finally, the brand owners might feel they can get a bit more for their cameras than some of the competition for ones...

    As for needing those expensive cameras: I don't (which doesn't mean I'd refuse one if offered...).
    However, a professional that has to work outdoors in any conditions (Dakar rallye comes to mind: dust) could very well need a top end camera, if only to be able to use it for more than one assignment...

    and then there's Colin's quote about stopping a charging rhino with a Canon 1D and then taking a picture of the beast with that same camera.

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Not sure if it's still the case, but the high cost of most SLR digital cameras used to be mostly down to the sensor production. Which is why a full-frame costs more, but also because it usually has weather-sealing etc, which cheaper cameras often don't. The latest Hassleblad has a sensor size of 36mm x 48mm, so it is twice the size of full-frame, and four times as large as a half-frame such as a D90. It's bound to cost more.

    If your point is that some manufacturers just charge more, then I suppose I'd have to agree with that. Does a Rolex really cost 5,000 to make, even with a decent profit? I don't know.

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,391
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    It's really about how you market that expensive item, look at the advertising for the item, or the lack there of, and see what is touted as setting the item apart from the next best thing. Of course, the best line of non-marketing used, which I have never actually heard being used is "if you have to ask the price you can't afford it".

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Of course, the best line of non-marketing used, which I have never actually heard being used is "if you have to ask the price you can't afford it".
    Very good! A bit like Oscar Wilde's "He knew the price of everything, and the value of nothing".

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Jonathan

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Hello,

    Thank you for replying!
    revi, I didn't understand this "and then there's Colin's quote about stopping a charging rhino with a Canon 1D and then taking a picture of the beast with that same camera." well. Probably because I don't know what one is capable of doing with a Canon 1D.

    So, as for sensors. There are the compact ones, the SLR half-frame, full-frame, and larger-than-a-frame?

    The full-frame ones are those of camera body which cost about 1,500 USD?

  8. #8

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    High-End technology costs more because of the R&D involved, higher component costs, and the projected number of units that will be sold is considerably less than with mass-market goods (I guess ........ )

    As with most 'objects of desire' the personal choice is usually more 'what do I need' rather than 'what do I want'.

    I guess you could judge that you have probably made it as a photographer, when your camera does cost more than your car !

    However, judging by the lunatics I see on the roads every day, the reverse is most certainly not true !

  9. #9
    benm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    315
    Real Name
    Ben

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Hasselblads and Leicas cost a lot because they sell relatively few cameras (compared to Nikon, Canon, etc.) so it costs more per unit. They can also get more because of the name. I'm sure Nikon, Canon, etc. would charge more if they thought they could. Most Leica lenses hold their value so if you eventually sell the cost to you might be insignificantly small; maybe even make a profit.

    As for stopping a charging rhino, just take away its credit card. (ducking for cover now)

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,408
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    There's also the fact that the larger your chip (any chip, whether it's a sensor or not), the more expensive it's going to be to produce. Just because of die yield on the wafer.

    Doesn't explain why the Pentax 645 is so much less than the S2, though. Must be that red-dot premium...

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Panama City, FL
    Posts
    3,542
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by benm View Post
    Hasselblads and Leicas cost a lot because they sell relatively few cameras (compared to Nikon, Canon, etc.) so it costs more per unit. They can also get more because of the name. I'm sure Nikon, Canon, etc. would charge more if they thought they could. Most Leica lenses hold their value so if you eventually sell the cost to you might be insignificantly small; maybe even make a profit.

    As for stopping a charging rhino, just take away its credit card. (ducking for cover now)
    They cost more because the glass they use in their lenses is so far superior to anything else as to put them in the class they are in, all by themselves. It is like comparing a Toya 4 x 5 to a Linhof. That they are both large format cameras is where the similarity ends, even with a very good Schneider lens.
    I've never used a Leica because my astigmatism has always caused me problems shooting rangefinder type cameras but I shot Hasselblads and Bronica ETR's for years and there simply isn't anything like them...in this case you chuck the Ferarri and buy the Bugatti because it is a superior car.
    In my own instance, I bought a higher priced camera not because it was so particularly hotsy-totsy, but because I wanted something I could rely on for another 5-7 years. Technology is always going to put us all in the camera backseat no matter what we get.

  12. #12
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,000
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Here's an analogy... I have a top-line Seiko watch and have been using it for many years. It keeps excellent time. I really don't know how any watch could have served me better over time. However, the Seiko cost a fraction of what a Rolex might cost. Is the Rolex that much better - I really don't think so. But, rich folks like to be seen with the Rolex on their wrist to show how rich they really are.

    I began using Leica 35mm cameras in 1964 with the M-2 model. I absolutely HATED the previous Leica models. Sure, they were innovative in their time and could produce excellent imagery. However, they were IMO a great big PITA to use and by the 1960's, I considered them pretty obsolete or at least obsolescent.

    I did not purchase the M-2 Leica, but used the Leica kits that the Navy had purchased for their photojournalists which included the M-2 body, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses and, of all things, a folding fan flashgun using #5 flashbulbs (which no one whom I knew ever used). The price of the Leica M-2, for me, was great since it cost me nothing to use. However, when it came to purchasing my own 35mm rangefinder camera, I chose the Nikon SP. I chose this camera not only because I was buying my gear in Japan and the Nikon was was cheaper there than Leica gear, but I considered the Nikon SP a far better camera with which to shoot. IMO the viewfinder and rangefinder was far better and because the SP accepted 28-135mm lenses while the Leica M-2 had a viewfinder which accommodated only 35-90mm lenses. The Nikon SP was "my Seiko" compared with the "Leica Rolex" but, had more bells and whistles than the Leica.

    When Leica came out with its SLR cameras it was, IMO, chasing Nikon's tail and not doing a very good job doing that. Only a very few of the many photojournalists in my Navy Unit (Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group) chose the Leica SLR over the Nikon F (series) cameras.

    I don't wear a Rolex watch and consider the Leica in the same category: an excellent piece of gear but way overpriced.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 17th January 2011 at 02:48 PM.

  13. #13
    rob marshall

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I don't wear a Rolex watch and consider the Leica in the same category: an excellent piece of gear but way overpriced.
    Richard

    You are quite right, but the price of something often bears little relation to it's objective value (the cost of material, labour, and reasonable profit). A Rolex under those terms would probably be about 1000, not 4000. I think it's more about creating a social cachet for certain goods, which acts as a means for the rich to distance themselves from everyone else. If you are rich (and I'm certainly not) and you are not too concerned about splashing the cash, you will do so if you believe that by having the item you are creating distance between yourself and everyone else (apart from another Rolex owner, of course) You would do that even though you knew the item didn't really cost so much to produce. I think they call it 'added value'.

    A couple of years ago I was talking to a surgeon who was about to take 2,000 off me for 30 mins work. We were discussing a place in the UK that we were both familiar with, and the hotels there. he said, "I'm not sure, Rob, if you are used to spending 400 a night for a hotel.... (long pause while he looks me up and down).... but the XXXXXXX hotel is absolutely splendid". Distance, you see?

    Today, I'm wearing my 70 Casio WR50M plastic watch. And very good it is too.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winkleigh, Devon, UK.
    Posts
    45
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    "...I think it's more about creating a social cachet for certain goods, which acts as a means for the rich to distance themselves from everyone else..."

    Today, I'm wearing a Rolex. I bought it as a present for me, 26 years ago. I bought it because I liked it and wanted to feel rich. I did not buy it as a means to alienate people. It was just vanity.

    I enjoy using the best kit available for a task and if it makes me feel good about owning it, that's fab. If it happens to be very expensive, so be it. If I can make a small compromise and obtain similar kit a lot cheaper, I will.

    I used to work for a major retail jewellery group. The markup for non-gold watches was 100%, for gold watches 300%.

    Oh yes, and the markup for diamond engagement rings was 350%, and probably still is.

    Peter.

  15. #15
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bury St Edmunds Suffolk England
    Posts
    4
    Real Name
    Cedric Sherwood

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    I remember some years ago going to buy a radiogram (for the young ones suggest you look up what one of these actually did). One model was three times more expensive than another one. I asked the sales assistant why the difference and he replied - " the tonal range of the more expensive one is greater than the other. (pause..) but the human ear can't hear the difference". I bought the cheaper model. The point is does the very expensive camera actually produce an image that we can see as significantly different. Almost invariably the answer is NO. The owner will swear that it does, after all (s)he has invested a great deal of money but for the unbiased viewer who has two images to compare without knowing the camera used the difference probably does not exist.

    One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to buy a reasonably priced camera and use the best lens that I could afford. After all it is the glass in the lens that has one of the biggest impacts on the quality of the image. Works for me.

    Marketing is all about getting the maximum return from the investment in the product. Price is what the market will bear and one of the best marketing tricks is to create a cachet market where the rich and/or gullible will pay through the nose to be able to show that they can afford the 'best'.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by csherw View Post
    does the very expensive camera actually produce an image that we can see as significantly different. Almost invariably the answer is NO.
    Hi Cedric,

    If I took a portrait with my Canon 1Ds3 and then with a Canon 350D, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference easily (so I agree with you on that point) ... but what I have learned (having owned both) is that the 1Ds3 has a LOT more going for it to give me a measurable advantage when "the going gets tough", so in that respect, they do still differentiate themselves.

    the glass in the lens that has one of the biggest impacts on the quality of the image.
    That's something I hear a lot, but to be honest, I think a lot of people would be surprised. I shoot exclusively with L-Series lenses - many cost 10 times as much as the non-L equivalents, but how much better are the images? 10 times as good? Nope. Twice as good? Nope. Perhaps 10% better (as a subjective evaluation); in most cases correct sharpening makes a much bigger difference than the difference between any two lenses in terms of sharpness, but again, the L-Series still wins out due to more ruggedness, wider apertures, weather sealing etc.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Here's an analogy... I have a top-line Seiko watch and have been using it for many years. It keeps excellent time. I really don't know how any watch could have served me better over time. However, the Seiko cost a fraction of what a Rolex might cost. Is the Rolex that much better - I really don't think so. But, rich folks like to be seen with the Rolex on their wrist to show how rich they really are.
    Funnily enough, I DO wear a Rolex! (a Submariner)

    So (excuse the pun) it's the perfect time to chip in with a few thoughts ...

    For me, the Rolex replaced my Omega Speedmaster Professional (the "moon watch"). I used to wear the Omega with a sense of pride - I read about all of the torture tests they put them through prior to them being certified as "flight qualified for space missions". They cooked them - they froze them - they pressurised them - they depressurised them - they stuck them in magnetic feilds - they vibrated them - they subjected them to high G forces - they submerged them. You name it, they did it to them, and the Omega was the ONLY watch that came through all of the tests unscathed (although 1 other brand was doing well until the hands warped and bound during a heat test). So this was one tough, quality piece of equipment. First year one of the stopwatch buttons fell off! In subsequent years the stopwatch reset button started to stick ... and after a few years I just kinda lost faith in it. I still have it - and wear it occasionally, but not much.

    The Rolex was an interesting contrast - yes, it's a Rolex, and Rolex's come with the reputation - but I think it's fair to say it's an earned reputation (perhaps a bit like Rolls Royce). One might think that a watch is a watch is a watch, but for me, the Rolex has stood head and shoulders above the Omega ... it's good for up to 1000 feet underwater (at which point I would be only about 3 feet high, but the watch would be fine), so seriously, I obviously don't give it a 2nd thought when I take it swimming - or if I'm working in any kind of "less than desireable" environment. It has a calender so I know the date, and it also has a stop watch (albeit a different kind to that on the Omega). On the stroke of midnight as 2009 rolled into 2010 I get it against my GPS with the intention of seeing if I could go a whole year without adjusting the time; I succeeded. At the end of 2010 it had gained only 3 minutes (not bad for a mechanical watch!). Also, unlike the Omega, the Rolex is self-winding.

    So at the end of the day, does it tell the time any better than my old Casio G-Shock? Nope. Does it have anywhere near the same functions as my old Timex? Nope. Do I prefer to wear it in preference to either of the other two? HELL YES!

    Is that logical? Nope. Is it an emotional choice? You bet - but so what? I've worked hard - I've earned it - and I'm darn well enjoying it. And probably true to say that the same goes for my photography equipment; I use the flagship Canon camera - their best lenses - and I'd do it again in a heartbeat because I like working with the best ... and I think it brings out the best in me both technologically and emotionally. If we all thought logically, we'd probably all be driving a Toyota Corolla ... but I'd bet a Ferrari would be a LOT more fun (sadly I don't own a Ferrari yet )
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 18th January 2011 at 08:27 PM.

  18. #18
    jiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    3,804
    Real Name
    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Well said, Colin. Cheers!

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Posts
    191
    Real Name
    Jonathan

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    A couple of years ago I was talking to a surgeon who was about to take 2,000 off me for 30 mins work. We were discussing a place in the UK that we were both familiar with, and the hotels there. he said, "I'm not sure, Rob, if you are used to spending 400 a night for a hotel.... (long pause while he looks me up and down).... but the XXXXXXX hotel is absolutely splendid". Distance, you see?

    Today, I'm wearing my 70 Casio WR50M plastic watch. And very good it is too.
    Hi,

    O, I think that instead of psychiatry I'm going into surgery and send my curriculum to UK-Nationa Health System =D.
    As for watches, hmm, I like them very much too, and if I had money, surely I'd buy expensive watches, even knowing that I don't need them and most of the price is only brand. By now the most fanciest I have is a Tissot

    As for the cameras, I liked these comments about the images. I guess that for most of the laypeople in photography, me included, it's hard to notice the real difference between two cameras above a certain level of quality. And the other problem is when you buy something that you have no idea how that work. At this very moment, I barely know how to use my Canon Sx20 so, a higher level camera wouldn't make much difference for me. By the way, one of the reasons of my photography learning is this camera. I've bought it one week before travelling. When I came back I realised that the pictures were nice, but should be much better, than I concluded that I should learn "how to use this machine". But I'm not that bad, I read in a photo magazine that a photographer ran into it after buying a DSLR and considered that it was a shame to use such a camera in automatic mode .

    Thank you all for the responses.

  20. #20
    Markvetnz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    639
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: Is it a camera or a car? Those really expensive things

    I can add a few bob's worth here. I have been seriously involved in top end hifi for many years. If you think photographers spend a lot then you haven't heard about a 1m pair of stereo interconnects costing $13000 US. People buy these things and I can understand why, even though the decision makes no logical sense. Do they sound better - maybe to some, maybe not to others. These purchases all come down to emotion, desire and of course what we can afford. The price of things is always relative to how much money you have or earn. I never begrudge people working hard, earning their money and enjoying it too. Now, should I start on invesment bankers and whether they actually earn their bonusses .

    A few years back I ended up in the path of a car crossing an intersection without stopping. At the time I had a Mercedes Benz with the latest electronic stability control and all the other gizmos (very few cars had these then). I was able to slam on anchors, steer the car away from the other car and then steer the opposite way to avoid a deep culvert on the other side of the intersection. All at a starting speed of about 70mph and with very little space to play with. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to so that in a lesser equipped car. Personally I never regret buying quality. I buy the best I can afford without spending the mortgage money, and I never finance anything (stuff those bankers).

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •