The END of the “Disposable Digital Camera Era” is Here.

The END of the “Disposable Digital Camera Era” is Here.

By Steve Huff

Hey to all, and happy Thursday! It’s been a great week with the new Leica TL and I put in the word to Leica that I also want to review the 50 Summilux for the SL. So as always, more and more to come. Today I wanted to talk about what I feel is an era that is coming to an end. The “Disposable Digital Camera Era”.

I even made a Video on this Subject ; ) Watch it below…

I remember back 9-10 years ago when this website started. Digital cameras were being released every few months at that time and it was an EXCITING time. BTW, I can’t believe how much time has FLOWN by since I started reviewing gear and I thank all of you who still come here day after day.  You are appreciated.Even as soon as 2 years ago, some manufacturers (SONY) were still on that track of constant upgrades. This meant for some of us, that over the last 10 years, we have been buying and then selling “disposable digital cameras” to always upgrade to the next model. For many of us, it was an obsession. For some of us, it was a necessity and others it was just for fun.

In 2010, Digital camera sales peaked like never before and it has been a slow downward trend ever since. Today, cameras are not selling anywhere near the numbers they were in 2010-2012. Not even close. That goes for DSLR, Mirrorless and the now dead Point and Shoot.

Some say it is the smartphone that led to this, manufacturers making less and less bodies. Yes, it is true, the smartphone is the most popular camera in the world. It is used by more than any traditional camera so I will say as I have in the past…that the phone has indeed led to much slower sales of actual cameras. This slowdown has led to some camera makers  releasing higher end models over cheaper models.

Look at the recent major mirrorless releases and recent casualties. 

Sony A9 – $4500

Olympus EM1 MKII – $2000

Leica M10 – $7000

Also, IMO, SAMSUNG is now DEAD for Digital Imaging. I doubt they will release anything new. 

Prices are going up on cameras and lenses but at the same time, these bodies are incredible. Which means, we can keep them for many years without even the urge to upgrade. I know for me, the Sony A9 is what has shown me this. I use it for photos, for video, for low light work, whatever I need, and it works without me becoming frustrated about something it can not do. It does it all for my needs.

Sure, I lust after cameras like the Leica M10, SL and others but money is money, and these days I need to go with what works for my actual work. I do video work for 1-3 hours daily outside of this site, and I need a camera that has fast AF, great IQ and can work in lower light. Nothing does that better for me than the A9. In fact, as I said, it leaves me wanting for nothing.

This means I will have this A9 for a long long time, for as long as it will work and survive. I think this applies to many out. there with many different cameras. Some are thrilled with the Fuji’s, the Panasonics, the Olympus cameras and Leica.

The M10 today is as good as a digital rangefinder could ever be IMO. It’s like an M7 but digital, and the M7 has stood the test of time. The Olympus EM1 MKII has its weaknesses from the sensor size but it too is an amazing camera capable of doing what may need without fail. Fuji released the Medium Format body after years of rumors and some are enjoying that.

There are so many amazingly good cameras out there that fit almost anyones tastes, that we no longer have the constant need to upgrade. Even the $1300 range with something like the Fuji X100T. It is so good, I can’t imagine needing or wanting more in a new X100. The T I could be happy with for years. It’s fast, it’s beautiful and has no issues for what it was meant to do. Take Photos

The PEN-F is also AWESOME! 

I see more and more of this coming. Higher end prices, nicer cameras that have all we need, and less and less of us doing the whole upgrade game every 6-12 months. I think many are tired of the upgrades all of the time. I know I have lost a fortune over 10 years buying, selling, buying and even re-buying things I have sold when I missed them, only to sell again!

Yes, it is called G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and for me, most of that has been cured by recent releases and cameras that do it all. It’s a nice change of pace, as when you keep that camera longer, you can bond with it more, and get more enjoyment from it.

So what more do YOU need or want in a camera over what we have available today? What would be the camera that would make you happy for 10 years or more? DO you already own it or has it even been made yet?





  1. You are entirely correct. We are getting tired of poor value for our money. The problem is we are really in an epoch of amazing technological advances including in the field of photography. Many of the advancements have been wonderful, but they cost money, and most of us don’t have have bottomless pockets! We need to slow down our purchases and understand we can take good pictures with less complex and sophisticated cameras. We need to spend more time doing actual photography and learning.

  2. Well, yes that end of disposable camera is there – there – where people stop being slaves of GAS.
    It was a point at around 6MP, 12MP, 16MP, 24MP, …
    It’s up to you what point that is. We’ll have new great features coming up, software is just starting, multi-lens, too.

    To photography the state of end of disposable camera was there already when film became high quality, in the eighties.

    No, really, what are your needs – are they satisfied, yes, it can become the end of GAS if you can control yourself.

  3. Actually, I even fear the moment when my Sony RX1 dies from all the abuse and I need to find myself a new camera for travelling. There might be something just as good, there might be something better, but it could also be burdened by feature creep.
    As long as my camera just works and gives beautiful images, I have no desire to go through all the trouble of choosing a new one, trying to read the manual, getting to know the menus and features and everything.
    It works, I know how it works, the images are beautiful. That’s all I want. Until death do us part.
    Okay, I also have an A7Rii, because there is more to life than travelling, but I hope you get the idea.

  4. I had a Nikon V1 which I bought after reading the reviews on here. Was very happy with it but upgraded to a Nikon J5 which despite no EVF is a fantastic little camera, especially with the superb Nikon 1 70-300mm. Late last year I added a second hand Ricoh GR. I’m still learning how to use both of these cameras and my only upgrade will be a new computer so I can start processing raw files. Will hopefully have both of these cameras for at least the next 5 years.

  5. Dear Steve,
    It is indeed a pleasure to have access to your enthusiastic reviews of all camera equipment, for which I am extremely grateful.

    If you don’t mind sharing, do you believe that a Sony 9R will be incoming? I will surely splurge on an A9 with specs for landscape i.e. A7RII, similar battery life and AF.

    Also, is it true that the lenses for the A7 series are not really complement the A9 series?

    Thank you in advance!


    • Well, I feel an A9R and A9S will be coming eventually. They will also be more money, and the R would not be as fast or lightning response like the 9 now. Just my opinions, not based on any info. I predict an A9R will come in at $5500-$5995 and an S at $5k or so.

      • Hi Steve, another V1 owner.

        foormerly a leica M fan, but due to diability, now one-handed…needed to change.

        now thinking of my ‘retirement’ camera.

        I have a 24-85 zoom in mind, for use with an AF adapter on a sony A7s/sII.

        bit confused, as oxo saying I is superior tonSII, in some ways.

        this move will give me croping capability when printing. I don’t think I will need more lenses (famous last words…:).

        contre jour, available-light, subtle , aatmospheric photos always appeal to me, monochrome or color. what were the improovements on the SII?

        did it get an all-alloy body, or did the S1 already have that? – I am careful with my equipment, but like idea of ruggedness! (I read the A7 had a plastic front plate)

        if you can spare the time, I would be very interested & grateful foryour opinion.

        Regards, Allan.

        • The A7SII received a new body that looks almost the same but is a bit beefier. Slight IQ difference but minimal. Id go for the II for sure but would suggest against adapting a zoom lens as that will degrade the quality. I’d go for a native lens or zoom, and receive the full quality and AF speed. The AF speed was also improved in the MKII version btw.

  6. I switched from top of the line Canon5 cams to Sony a7’s 2 years ago thanks to your reviews. I kept 4 Zeiss-Canon prime lenses and added the Voigtlander adapter to a7RII. Excellent! Always lusted for a Leica but hard to justify $$ output. Then, 2 weeks ago, I came across a used SL body from a dealer. Checked it out. Bought it for a very fair price. A week later, same guys tells me he has the 24-90 Leica lens. Again, fair price. I check it out. Damn! It came with an adapter so I can use my M6 lenses on it. Is the SL that good? After 55 years of shooting the gamut available today, my thought is: Leica, I Get It!

    • The SL is so good. I just acquired another, AGAIN. I also found a great used deal, from Ken Hansen. Bought the SL and 24-90 which is odd for me, as I rarely ever use zooms. But that lens is so damn good, I wanted it again for versatility. Sony A9 is being used for my video work, SL will be for my photo work, again. Also will use it with M lenses. The SL is to me, a masterpiece and while it may not have all of the bells and whistles of Sony, it has soul, and the body design and usability is fantastic. The SL is awesome. Congrats. I am going to see how long I can stick with the A9 and SL combo for myself. I think these will stuck around for a few years. The A9 is going nowhere, and this time, the SL stays as well. Leica is releasing a slew of new SL lenses in 2018 as well.

    • thanks a bunch. so A7SII,

      re zoom lens, will ponder. adapter would be on appro anyway. the lens is non-native, too. but Mr Huff uses non-native often, :). will report my findings….if I proceed.

      looking at my past history with cameras, the leica SL w/24-90 zoom ideal, but $13k+ not in my orbit,tho. juat would’nt get use to justify it. simple,logical menu system, ideal for me. but that 24-90 is one big, ugly mother, difficult to hand-hold, when 1mounted on SL, one-handed,like I ould have to do. not sure anused SL, answer either – has yours been hassle-free? – there have been a few glitches on products out of Solms, in recent times.

  7. Great video. I worried. Few months ago that you were on the perpetual upgrade cycle to shiny new things. But it seems that your integrity and basic honesty is still front and centre so good for you. The reality is that we reached sufficiency quite a long time ago for all practical purposes – it’s just that nobody wanted to acknowledge it. Case in point. I am Managing Director of a UK regional newspaper specialising in sport. I still like to get out and take some picture myself and recently spent a couple of days shooting equestrian events. What camera did I use for the photos that ended up on the front page of the paper and for a double page show-jumping spread? My Nikon D700, a 10 year old 12mp ‘antique’ that you can pick up for about £500 in England now. Fact is, we are still printing photos at the same size we always did, the light is the same as it was in 2007 and horses still jump over fences in the same way they did back then. So whisper it quietly. An awful lot of this upgrade stuff is just marketing b.s. to get people to part with their hard-earned cash. Just don’t tell anybody I told you that…

  8. I use an M240 with 21 f3.4, 28 cron, 50 cron and 90 summarily. Awesome kit and want for nothing else right now. Um actually….an SL body with the EVF would be nice …….

  9. My fever for acquiring the next released digital camera is on the wane. I am about to spend some time and money on … film. I just bought an Intrepid 4×5, a used Schneider Symmar-S lens, etc. all for around $500. I am looking forward to some deliberately slow and selective shooting. I still use my Canon 6D yet my favorite camera for unencumbered and impulse shooting is my Sony RX100-III. But I still do dream of a Leica M10 or ???

  10. I´m still using my E-M5 (1st Gen.) from 2012 and making some money besides my full time job with pics and even videos out of this cam. I bought this cam right after I read your review here on this site. This E-M5 was my first real camera ever. For several years I took snapshots with my iPhone. Then I became more and more motivated to get a cam that could be taken more serious with interchangeable lenses without having the restrictions of a smartphone integrated camera . Without having any clue of the technical aspects of photography I started to make a research and the only camera brand that I found sexy was Leica. Canon or Nikon? I never liked to be part of the mainstream.
    As is discovered in a photo magazine the advertise of a new camera from Olympus I suddenly got curious about this brand I never recognized before. Google led me to your blog and camera review site. After reading your review of the E-M5 I had no doubts anymore that the E-M5 should be just the camera for my needs and I would get happy with.
    Steve, I´m reading your blog since August 2012. This is my first comment and I want to say thank you for your enthusiasm and efforts you are putting regularly into this wonderful website. In my opinion your blog is the most interesting camera review site on the internet.
    Best wishes from Germany, not far away from Wetzlar!

  11. Hi Steve,
    Love your site and reviews. So thank you for putting all that time in and sharing your passion for photography. But this editorial rings a little hollow. The A9 has been out how many months? I have lost count on how often I said “this is really all the camera I need” just to buy a new one 18-24 months later.

  12. To be honest, after years of “new” things in digital cameras there is still no camera that really matches a contax T2/ T3, a Leica Minilux or a Olympus Mju, Ricoh Gr (the camera you always have with you). I can’t believe that no camera maker has even reached a minimum to do sth like this. Even contax did it bad. Okay it was the begining but still the first digital contax had a viewfinder that really was a horror. Cameras like the eos M and similar cameras like the T2 are just rubbish and only have contributed to reduce the resources of our earth. It’s looks like the usual story. Nobody can tell me that technology cannot match it today. It’s just ridiculous. Even the “smartest” phone cannot compete against sunlight and you won’t see a S###t on your phone display or digital camera.
    Apparently the industry believes that people want always a bigger lcd on his camera back. For what? So that the battery gets consumed faster? If your really want to check the picture because of professional reasons you shoot tethered, something that also feels like prehistoric when you see that cameras have an usb conection. In a certain way I can understand some camera makers like leica or canon who don’t want to “attack” their own flagships like the M or the Canon Mark IV. But then comes leica with the t2 and canon with the eos m. Don’t spend time and money for this. But other camera makers like pentax, ricoh, sigma, panasonic even nikon now. Come on it’s embarrasing. I only see hope in the guy with the frankencamera that he expands his ideas to other cameras. I hope I am wrong and someone comes to the idea to make a camera like the contax t3 with just a small lcd and a battery. All the rest similar to it’s analog brother And please don’t suggest the fuji X100. The best moments with an x100 are two: the day you buy and the day you sell it.

  13. From 1950s camera to 2015 in 3 years with more than 40 cameras and 100 lenses, this is my Gas story.
    Im still loving the M7 Nikon F3/T M9 a7s a7ii and now finally a chance to use a350 later d200 ccd sensors before I reach I think 2018 models. Skipped the k100d and sold all pentax because of the news that ricoh will stop the brand. Im still stuck with ccd vs cmos argument.
    Sold most of the film cameras I bought and will still sell even the field camera and more.
    Lastly For me having the 50lux black chrome and 28lux made me paused on lusting for an m lens. The launching of the 75f1.2 might just tempt me to skip the 75lux but then again I cant seem to justify when I never use all the 85mm I had which is already out in tge market.
    Im sure to get the 100-400 from pany for the em10m1 I have to add on to the 15 and 25 pany leica. They render beautifully.
    I have slowed down a lot because of my busy schedule or maybe because Im still waiting for the next model from Leica and Sony. M10 an A9 isnt for me but the next will I believe and that should last me until the electronics break.
    Im done with this episode in my life.

    • 40 cameras in 3 years is more than excessive. given, that we look at 3*12 months, this would mean a different camera per month?!
      I don’t know if that is a typo, but even acquiring half of these cameras seems impossible…

      • Well, not sure. The Pentax name is legendary. BUT it is sucking money because it is not MAKING money. If it does not get the axe now, it will later. I do not see them staying around long term. When something does not sell or earn a profit year after year, it will be cut off. That’s how I see it.

  14. Steve,
    I’ve been stopping by for several years and I thank you for your efforts here.
    I do not feel like you EVER try to sell or convince anyone on a camera or format, but your enthusiasm for different gear has definitely prompted me to foray into new fun stuff. As an unapologetic Pentaxian for many years dating back to the early 1980’s, I was slow to branch out. We Pentaxians are traditionally a little nuts in our brand loyalty and I will keep my Pentax gear like my first blanky, but I am loving the alternatives as well now. The Oly OMD EM1 Mkll is my current fave and it will be a keeper forever with the amazing 25 1.2.

    Question for you – If you don’t mind sharing:

    What is the BEST camera, (your opinion), for low light IF I don’t care at all about video? No knock on video, just not my thing.

    Is it still the A7s?

    Thx Brotha’

    – John

    • Hey John, thank you. I would say the A7SII is still king of low light today. The A9 is close, and in between the A7SII and A7RII, But I have yet to see anything beat the A7SII at high ISO in low light.

  15. I’ve not purchased a new “camera” in over 4 years. I was using my M8 for most things and the Fuji x100 for others until January of this year when I got an iPhone 7+. The camera on that thing is so good that I’ve really not picked up the REAL cameras since then. Now I’m not saying that they don’t take better pictures than the phone, they do, but the way I’m taking pictures has changed and the phone fits this well.

    If and when I do purchase another camera, it will be an old M Monochrome to that I can think in black and white all the time.

  16. I agree! My a7rII, Sony/Zeiss glass and a6300 seem perfect to me right now. For years I’ve been obsessed with gear but now I feel like the small incremental upgrades in the bodies aren’t making me want/need to upgrade. I wouldn’t mind having faster AF on the a7rII or better dial arrangements on the a6300 but not enough to upgrade. Seriously, images from X-T1 still look good to me. The Fuji x100 (original) has so much personality I find myself missing that camera daily but can’t justify buying another one. I’ll keep reading about the new gear on your site so keep on buying and upgrading for us.

  17. Yes it seems camera makers have slowed down on the update cycle. I got my first digital camera in 2002, a whopping 2 megapixels and I was astounded that I could immediately look at the photo I took and that I could switch between color or black and white at will, no need to finish a roll of film. Since then I have averaged more than one new digital camera per year so as technology has advanced where most cameras are now pretty decent I welcome the slow down in updates. I currently shoot with an Olympus OMD and its pretty good but as with many folks I occasionally want more image quality wise. So that likely means a newer Olympus or a switch to Fuji X system. But in reality I am not sure how much I will gain image quality wise. But hopefully once I do upgrade or switch systems I will be content for awhile. I am looking forward to being in a state of contentment.

  18. Hi Steve,

    You’re basically there with your thoughts except that camera isn’t available jet.

    Ok, there is the M10. That one is close to perfect. Once the P Version will be out I will get one to replace my trusty M9P.

    But then?
    I’ll take the tech of the A9 and the Video side of a GH5 in an SL with an even better EVF. But when will that happen…….

    And then there is one more issue I have: the Wildlife Long lens. The Oly 300mm is a nice effective 600mm in a compact affordable size…. going 600mm full frame….. uffff…. pricey…. huge… heavy….

    So, maybe we are there from a tech point. Just the real Camera is missing.


  19. I agree with this article a lot. Cameras are only going to get more expensive as the market shrinks. In light of this I recently decided to purchase my first Leica, the M10. I am planning on using this as my primary camera for the next five years at least and maybe even longer. Already I can feel myself bonding with the M10 and moving away from believing upgrades make you a better photographer because they really don’t.

  20. Interesting article Steve. I feel the same way having owned and sold lots of different cameras over the years. Experimenting has been fun but it really does pay to know your gear intuitively and stick with it. This year I bought a Fuji XT-2 new after owning a used X-T1 for a couple of years and loving it. It’s very hard to imagine how an APSC camera could be any better. To have incredible 4k video and 24mp packed into a compact well designed body is just amazing and I’m now focused on spending far less money or gear, saving it for trips and experiences. Opportunities to actually use it.

    Also as a film maker, what a time to be alive! Gimbals, drones, great video and photos from your phone?!?! In 2002 I worked in TV; to achieve what you can today on a hobby budget you’d have had to hire a crane / boom / helicopter for aerials, steadicam operator for smooth hand held video…. now you can DIY! It’s amazing. Really, genuinely, in every sense of the word!

  21. A successor to the X100f with proper weather sealing and a lens with proper manual focus and distance and DOF scales.

  22. I sold my Leica M240 and have purchased the Leica Sl. I loved the M240 with the 35mm and 50mm lenses but it did not work well with lenses outside that range which it was optimized for. I love the Leica Sl and cannot imagine wanting more as it works well with the M lenses including 18mm and the SL 24-90 is a joy to use as an event lens. Anyway the joy is getting out taking pictures with a camera you love, and stop fretting on paper specs – we are beyond adequate in cameras. Cheers, Brian

  23. What’s that saying, “never say never”. But I’ve had my Fuji X-T1 for a good while and still love it. The controls and form factor are just what I like. The sensor gives great files to work with, and I can print to any size I’d want to make. What else is there? Well…the X-T2. And why would I jump one more time…because of that 24 MP sensor. But that’s about it. While I’m perfectly happy today with the X-T1, I think I could be permanently happy with just one more jump.

  24. I think the upgrade cycle may slow but not stop. It is hard to predict what new technology will present to attract us if benefit/cost ratio is sufficiently good.

    I agree that cameras are so good today that sooner or later one figures out that, generally speaking,, a new camera is not going to make very much difference in the images one produces. An upgrade in skills, however, can.

    For me, one restraint on more upgrades is the benefit of fluency with my equipment, be it one or multiple systems, so that on-the-fly adjustments can be fast, sure, and effortless. Constant upgrades with changes in physical control layout and menu changes do not contribute to smooth and confident shooting

  25. It seems like certain brands are slower to release newer models than others. And some keep producing the older models and just lower the price. Sony seems to keeping older models like the a5100 and a6000 even though it’s releasing newer models. While Nikon releases newer versions of the 5000 series every year or so.

  26. I agree with your post but for a slightly different reason. For me the iPhone 7 plus camera has finally become good enough for most situations. Portrait mode while not always perfect is good enough for my needs to replace my Olympus EM1 in most situations. Also like the long camera shutter demonstrated for iOS 11. It also has some features my EM1 can’t do like live photos. I just strung a bunch of live photos into a movie documenting a trip with my kids this past weekend. I didn’t have to worry about lugging my camera and gear around. Now I know the quality isn’t there for many yet but for me it has finally passed the point of good enough quality vs pain of carrying around a better system. I am pretty sure I have bought my last camera system unless some amazing new technology is released but not my last camera upgrade as I will update my iPhone for a while to get the better camera features in it. So that is where my camera fund will go for now.

  27. I hope you’re right Steve. It’s not that I don’t love seeing constant and exciting improvements to camera gear, but as with any consumer electronics the resale of your old equipment really doesn’t do much at all to offset the cost of the new. Ultimately, for most, there’s going to be a re-bound to this ‘disposable, consumerism-type’ approach. It does now look like the pace is beginning to slow, and the dust beginning to settle. However…. it also does feel like the end of a Steve Jobs presentation where… just as it seems like the presentation is winding down… come the words “Oh, and one more thing – here’s something from… Nikon (or Canon)”.

  28. The A7RII made me stop wanting for another digital camera. It is so perfect for me, i don’t even see the need to upgrade to A9. But GAS will never be healed. While i am no longer have any desire to buy another digital camera, as a collector of vintage camera, I always want something different. I am on Nikon rangefinder now 😉

  29. I seem to buy a new camera every 2-3 years. I have yet to stay with one system. I sold all my Canon gear for Olympus. This year I bought a Nikon D500 for sports and wildlife. As soon as I pick up the Nikon 200-500mm lens, I’m done with Nikon purchases unless their mirrorless camera is really good. I still have my E-M1 and many of the Olympus PRO lenses. I still love the system.

    My next camera will probably be a Fuji or Sony. Fuji needs IBIS and a touchscreen before I jump in. Sony has the tech, but they need to hire a designer. And switch to XQD card slots.

  30. Thanks for the very interesting observations, Steve. I guess if anyone knows, you do! I think there is amother G.A.S. game to play, however, and that is “downgrading”. Sometimes there are pictures which are only possible with less pixels! E.g the Digilux 1 with its 4mp, and even though it feels almost insulting to say “downgrading”, the sheer beauty, haptics and excellent results of the Digilux 2 go on making it one of my favourite cameras. I could go on, but you get the point…….

  31. I got stuck with the NEX-6. It is amazing in how many specs Sony improved a6000, a6300 and a6500 without improving menu structure, start-up time or AF in dim light. They can’t decide between OSS in body or in lens.

    Even the Leica M10 in my opinion remains a disposable item. The inseparable combination with digital innards turns the M10 into a paper weight as soon as electronic parts fail, are no longer in production or in stock. This already happened to M8 and M9. Looking at retail pricing for the M7 (minus film transport), the M10’s magnesium chassis, the rangefinder assembly, the engraved brass dials alone should have a retail value of $3000. But Leica prefers to sell complete new digital M bodies rather than offer a more sustainable concept.

  32. My primary camera has been a Sony RX1 for the last 4+ years. If it continues to work properly, I will never need another high end camera. That’s the problem with digital though; if any part of it malfunctions, the repair will likely cost more than what the camera happens to be worth at the time. I have 40 year old film cameras that still work great. Not many moving parts, and there’s no permanent sensor. I hope my RX1 will last that long, but I highly doubt it and will be thankful if it makes it to the 10 year mark.

  33. Hi Steve: Funny you would come out with this post. I have been working on some images to send you together with a post about how I, an inveterate new digicam buyer have now settled in with my current digicams- and one other important point. I used to buy all my analogue cameras (Leicas on down) as pre-owned (the fancy words for used). A few months ago I bought a gently used (45000 shutter actuations) Canon D1 Mark II N for $250. The digicam is wonderful. The results excellent. I won’t be buying any further digicams unless they are “used”. I will submit some images in the near future. I am now using a Lumix GX8 as my main digicam. VRR

  34. awesome video steve- and definitely agree, theres less and less want to upgrade now, especially with the ever long depreciation compared to new prices we all face when deciding to upgrade. I think for web based as well which 99.9% of us primarily shoot for (And even for print, most dont print above 12 inches) all these cameras are stunning. I think what excites now are lenses, and with these mirrorless, buying older vintage lenses to get interesting looking photos. Especially with web or instagram where the ultimate sharpness just isn’t seen as much any more (Even from flickr full screen days) its becoming more about a look, and just what someone is shooting. Its gone from gear- to content much more, which is exciting. There will always be GAS, however I think its just shifting, we always want something! I agree entirely though, if you have anything moderately high end from even 2013 to now- theres not much need to upgrade. For us video centric guys- seeing perhaps some form of RAW video in these smaller cameras will be big selling features, but for photographers there really isn’t much to look for now unless they want to go MF.

  35. As someone who designs bicycles, I can tell you this era is far from over. Despite having the same basic design of two wheels for two hundred years, bicycles today are leaps and bounds better than bicycles from just ten years ago.

    Every now and then a new technology (eg carbon fiber), or genre (eg mountain biking) shows up and massive innovation and iteration follows. Over time, as technologies and markets stabilize, it may seem like a lull in development, but undoubtedly another new thing will show itself soon enough.

    In otherwords, we will always have something to look forward to. 🙂

  36. Canon SLR film cameras had that in the ’90s..
    Seems like I was always looking at the wrong person in the picture at the moment of exposure… embarrassing……

    ..Canon EOS Elan IIe (Eye Control)
    ..Canon A2E 35mm Camera

  37. G.A.S. Slowing down? BALDERDASH! 😉 Seriously though, I agree … gear intros have slowed way down from the rapid pace of a couple of years ago, especially from Sony, who was leading the charge. Still though, we have Nikon supposedly entering the mirrorless fray soon with hopefully what will be a drool-worthy system. I doubt Canon will sit idly by and watch Nikon have a resurgence. Then there is the A9R and the A7RIII and who knows, Olympus may surprise us with a full frame entry. We may soon witness an all out “Gear-War” between Nikon, Sony and Canon, as the three vie for top honors in the MILC category … one can only hope. Gear roll-outs are indeed moving at a snails pace presently however, this may just be the “Calm before the Storm”.

    • I’m glad Sony is leading the way with cutting edge technology. For years most manufacturers would slowly dole out anything new in tiny increments so the consumer would upgrade every couple years.
      Now that Sony has gone full steam ahead, other camera makers have to follow suit.
      The future is looking bright now. The only downside is cameras are getting more expensive. I guess thats the price for great inovations.

      • Nikon has already officially revealed that they’re working on their mirrorless system >>

        “While details are confidential, we can say that we are currently developing new mirrorless products that build upon Nikon’s strengths, and offer the performance prospective customers expect, including the ultimate optics performance, image-processing technologies, strength and durability, and operation.”

        It’s taken almost 10 years for mirrorless cameras to catch up to DSLRs in overall performance — especially autofocus — and this is why Nikon will soon enter the mirrorless market. It was not worth it before, and being as conservative as they are, they didn’t want to release a half-baked product…especially if their system is being geared towards the prosumer and professional market.

        • They made big announcements and teasers before the “1” system. Saying it was their entry into mirrorless. So they did mirrorless and tried to push it, only they were so afraid to hurt their DSLR’s they crippled it with the 1″ sensor. I will believe it when I see it and I predict their 1st offering will be lacking in many many ways. Nikon needs to do something though as their DSLR sales get lower year after year.

  38. I hope this is true . I remember when the PC was a new thing and we were all upgrading and upgrading and it was a cool topic .
    The WHAM BAM – it suddenly matured and went on at a slower more measured pace and people were happy with what they had .
    It then became super un cool to talk about your PC ‘s spec at parties !
    Sure there will always be nerds and there is a bit of a camera nerd in every photographer but now we can appreciate what we have -might be the best thing for the camera industry in the long run -hopefully.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    • “The WHAM BAM – it suddenly matured and went on at a slower more measured pace and people were happy with what they had .”

      There has been a huge slowdown in Moore’s Law. My 6-year-old desktop computer isn’t really that much worse than what’s currently available, there’s no compelling need to upgrade it. (And considering how much work it would take to reinstall all my software on a new computer, a compelling reason NOT to upgrade.)

      It used to be that a six-year-old computer would choke on new software. It’s still like that with iPhones. A six-year-old iPhone is too slow to be of any use. But iOS devices have almost reached parity with desktop devices, so it’s likely that today’s iPhone will still be viable six years from now. That’s sort of bad news for Apple, becuase they make so much money from people upgrading.

    • digital is still a young technology – 17 years?
      it is a shame some makers habe gone, like contax. as you say Steve, if its not profitble – giving s return on r & d investment, it goes. less competition is a bad thing.- limits consumer choice.
      the virtual duopoly of nikon and canon, in pro vircles, for decades, continues.
      inthe heday of film, it was easier, japaan had its ‘big 5’.
      the companies who design and fabricate their own sensors, have heve the edge now.
      sony and paanasonic, will strongly influence the direction of product development.

      maybe fuhi and hitachi, other chipmajers will fill the gap for other camera makers.

  39. My G.A.S was moved to Analog Medium format cameras in past few years. I became a happy man again because film camera price are keep coming up.
    I own A7r2 too. May be upgrade to A9R if spec are right.

    • Not sure Nikon will ape the S3 rangefinder. Their heritage is more closely identified with their 1959-1990 SLR era. I’d love to see a mirrorless body based off the F3HP design (one of the greatest 35mm cameras ever made), with interchangeable viewfinders (except this time they would be interchangeable/upgradeable EVFs), and performance that beats every other mirrorless camera on the market. And honestly, Nikon has the engineering expertise to do it. It’s a matter of management acumen and will.

  40. Happy camera? How about an APSC Foveon 24 MP sensor that resolves clearly at any ISO and even in the dark, in a Sony A6300 sized body with similar comfortable grip and fast AF, but with the Leica X-style minimalistic build quality and jpeg IQ, with a tilting built-in OLED EVF of a Lumix GX8 and GM5 touchscreen back, the image stabilization of an Olympus EM5II and creative front dial of a Pen F, quality compact affordable prime lenses with aperture dials, and customer firmware support of Fuji, no built in flash, and a therapist to console me that I had indeed found the holy grail and was cured of gear acquisition syndrome.

  41. I think the upgrade cycle may slow but not stop. It is hard to predict what new technology will present to attract us if benefit/cost ratio is sufficiently good.

    I agree that cameras are so good today that sooner or later one figures out that, generally speaking,, a new camera is not going to make very much difference in the images one produces. An upgrade in skills, however, can.

    For me, one restraint on more upgrades is the benefit of fluency with my equipment, be it one or multiple systems, so that on-the-fly adjustments can be fast, sure, and effortless.

  42. The rate at which sensor image quality and computer processing power is increasing has slowed down immensely.
    But good news is that hard drive storage seems to keep increasing, so now it’s really inexpensive to store massive numbers of RAW files!

  43. For what I shoot, I still love my EM1. No reason for me to upgrade although I want to add a Pany G85 and as I get used to the T, I want to upgrade it one day. But I grew up with 120 play cameras and a 4X5 field camera my grandfather taught me to use. The only thing that would cause me to make an effort to find the money now would be a camera with a tilt shift lens mount.

  44. I don’t take videos, but if I ever do the A9 would be my choice. Since I usually only photograph macro and stills, I have the A7RII which is perfect for me. I used to own the Canon 5DM3 and changed to Sony in large part due to the size and weight. Now when I look at the 5DM3, it looks huge.

  45. Steve,

    I recently sold my Fuji X100S and Sony RX1. I bought into the Fuji X system and now own a Fuji XT20 along with the new small Fuji 23mm, 35mm, and 50mm F2 lenses. I love the small camera size, capability, speed, and most of all the pictures. This system will satisfy me for many years to come.


  46. I agree with your view of the slowing of “camera acquisition
    syndrome” if not “GAS”. There were certainly times in the pre-digital days when people bought a camera and used it for 20 years without complaint.

  47. I got the Fuji Xt1 when it came out and recently upgraded to the xt2 body. I have the lenses I want, and believe I can be happy for YEARS with my xt2 which I just purchased for myself as a retirement gift. I just sold my old DSLR and the xt1. Speaking of “years,” I also regularly use my Olympus OM-1 film camera, and we all know how old it is! So: xt2 and OM-1. I’m happy!!

  48. I’d love to think your premise is true. But how many times have I said similar thomgs in the past? “This is the last camera/lens/microscope/thing I’ll ever need…”


    If the A9rii has eye-tracking that works in reverse (focuses on what you’re looking at in the EVF), then there will be at least one more “last camera I’ll ever need” 😀

    • Yes both yourself and Steve are right.

      Steve is right in the way the first generation digital cameras had very obvious flaws everyone could see and while called for regular and “obvious” updates. These made a previous generation model feel outdated very quickly. Since most (all?) the flaws we could think of are now addressed, it is not the case anymore.

      And you are right in that while there are no obvious flaws anymore there can always be some news technology/ideas we hadn’t thought about which will make us want to upgrade (your reversed eye-tracking idea is actually interesting, it won’t happen for a long time if I go crazy it could also check how much your pupils are open to automatically set the exposure to the same level as what your brain naturally things is right). The good thing is that these kind of innovations will indeed come less often.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.