Digital Rot

Sobering blog post by Ken Rockwell.

One day it dawned on me, after I heard about more than one friend buying an old Nikon D1 or D1X for $75, that these old digital cameras are worth far less precisely because they are clogged with worthless digital guts, instead of just having a hole for film.

The D1 and D1X was a Nikon F5 with a sensor and some computer junk thrown in, just as the long forgotten Nikon D2Xs is the current F6 with digital guts. People paid Nikon four times as much for the cameras with the digital guts.

My friends paid $5,500 for the D1X new, and I paid $4,500 for my new D1H back in their day, but the D1X is worthless today because it’s only got the resolution of a Nikon D50 and runs more slowly than a D90.

While a used D1X today is hardly worth the cost of packing and shipping, a used F5 still sells for hundreds of dollars because it takes film.

An old D2H is only worth about $500 on eBay , while a used F6 still goes for four figures. The F6 is still the world’s best 35mm film camera.

Even though the digital cameras cost about four times the price of their film equivalents when new, the digital cameras are worth far less after a couple of years.

It’s true. My Leica M4 film camera is worth more now than when I bought it years ago. But my (digital) M8 has depreciated out of sight. Why? Because its sensor (and image processor) are, well, effectively stone-age devices already.