Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sin now, pay later

All around are the signs. "Buy NOW, pay later", "mega sale", "Buy two get the 3rd free". Borrow now, pay back later. Hang on - isn't this exactly how those feckless bankers got us into the economic depression in the first place? Borrowing and not paying back became a way of life for about 10 years before the crash that started in 2005 and rumbled onwards.

Economists speak with forked tongues, claiming that the depression is really a mini recession and how everything is fine now. Tell that to the people that lost their jobs and are still losing their jobs. South Carolina, for example, has had increasing unemployment, year after year in 45 of 46 counties.

You could start a photography business but you won't get any clients. Photography is a dodo these days. Unless you have a niche that is unexploited then better do something else. As an example, I have two books out on high-speed imaging. It's a niche area but there aren't that many people into that particular niche.

Camera gear is constantly depreciating. What was $1000 last year will be $500 at most, secondhand, this year. Next year it will be worth $250. Don't rush out and buy that new camera or lens. Buy something secondhand instead. Let the suckers take the hit on buying new. Then, when you buy, buy secondhand. That way, you lose a load less.

Certainly the adverts are all proclaiming the latest and greatest equipment but a quick check on Flickr revealed that Canon D-60 of 2002 which retailed for $2199 is now a ludicrously pricey $50 on eBay. It is, however, still in use according to Flickr. The image size is no slouch either. 6 megapixels is more than adequate for most people. 6 megapixels will yield a 150dpi print of (3072x2048 pixels) 20 inches by 13 inches. That's way bigger than most desktop printers can print and way bigger than is needed to hang on a wall.

Certainly cameras have changed a little bit since the D60 but honestly, those changes are blown out of all proportion by manufacturers and enthusiasts. This is pretty much why it's absolutely not worth joining a camera group - they're so full of hot air! Changes in image quality since the D60 have been minimal which is why it's still a good camera choice.

So, sin now and pay later or be smart about it and spend less. I could go out and spend $20,000 on a camera system without batting an eyelid. Or I could be smart and assess my needs. I'm very much in favor of the Nikon 1 system though I would never buy a Nikon 1 new. Out of curiosity, today I checked on prices and found that for $150 it's possible to get a Nikon 1 J1 with a 10-30mm lens. That's pretty much all most people actually need. In 35mm format that's 28mm to 84mm which is a perfectly respectable range, good enough for wide-angle, portraits and some telephoto work. The choice is yours - spend $20,000 on something or $150.

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