Being a techno geek

... is sometimes frustrating. I have been looking for a digital camera for years now, unsuccessfully so far. Back in the previous millennium, I used to take pictures with a reflex (SLR) camera and do everything myself in the dark room (well, that was at the very beginning, on black-and-white negative films only, color was too complex to handle for the amateur). My first film camera was a Praktica (something like that) and my last a Nikon F801 (I found a pic here, but nothing on Nikon's sites!). That spoiled me, and since then I have never been satisfied with anything that is not a reflex, providing through-the-lens viewfinder, depth of field, and a wide range of quality lenses to name the features that matter the most to me. Replacing the film by a digital sensor does not change anything about the fact that a compact camera sucks compared to an SLR. After some experiments with a few digital compact cameras (notably a Nikon Coolpix 995), I even tend to think that compact cameras using film are still way better than their digital counterparts for sometimes 1/100th of the price.

But until very recently, the digital SLRs were out of reach, even for a techno geek like me, with prices ranging from 3000€ to more than 10000€ (body alone). For comparison, equivalent film SLRs are a good 4 to 5 times cheaper. So, when Canon announced the EOS 10D (official "gwana-gwana" site, DP review), a digital SLR camera with a never-seen-before price of $1500 for that kind of features and performance, I got seriously interested.

Problem: three months after its introduction, it is as if this camera does not exist. It is impossible to get one, or just see one somewhere in Paris. Shops have no information and trying to find anything on Canon's web sites reveals only a complex, confusing, misleading and mostly content-free galaxy of sites (but I don't read japanese, so I might have missed the beef). Let alone its availability, this camera was supposed to have a street price of $1500 (1288€, ex. VAT). But its list price in France is 2082€ ($2423, ex. VAT), a good 62% more than the US price! Canon being a Japanese company that manufactures everything in Asia, I quite don't get why the European market is penalized so outrageously. I have a built-in anti-robbery protection that suppresses all pleasure when I see an unreasonable price tag on something (e.g. seeing a 3 digits price tag on a bottle of average Bordeaux in NYC restaurants is enough to prevent me from enjoying the wine). I'm not ready to consider Canon positively after so many signs that Canon sees me at best as a clueless cash cow.

I could write an almost identical story, replacing "Canon EOS 10D" by "Sony Ericsson P800".

Add to that that products companies are starting to act more and more like software companies, i.e. pushing buggy prototypes on the market to cut on development costs and shorten life cycles (if they can license bug-ridden betas as software, why can't we ship prototypes as production products?). The techno geek already had a difficult time paying premium price for the sole privilege of being the first to play with the latest goodies, but now that he gets products that have more bugs than a copy of Windows Me, the shopping fun is no more. If this is the new model of capitalist production, there is no bright economical future in sight.

I guess I'll wait another six months for the next SLR wave...

4 Comments

L'appareil photo est disponible à Montréal, je l'ai touché, il y a deux semaines pendant 5 minutes dans un magasin. :)

Son unique problème... pas de GPS intégré :p

> Its only problem... no integrated GPS

Karl, I think you're much geekier than I am ;-p

Hi Francois
Come over to London, camera shops here are claiming Canon 10D in stock for about 1300 pounds. It is a lovely camera from what I have heard, based on the EOS 30 body, which I have amd like a lot.
I think that you are right about the quickening pace of product releases. Mobile phones have a market life span of 9 months, digital cameras maybe 6-15 depending on model, cheaper moves quickest. It is not quite like the SLR market were an SLR might be around for 4-5 years.
cheers
Gavin

That takes it back at 1808 euros, if your price is excluding VAT, it's still a good +40% over the US price (VAT in France adds another 19.6%). I discovered that for that price, Canon does not even bother shipping an AC adaptor, so they ship exactly the same box all over the world. Bad sales practices.

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