The value of camera classification

18 Feb

Before I begin my main theme for the coming days or weeks, I would like to opine briefly on the merit of classifying cameras according to the level of skill or depth of involvement of the prospective owner. Cameras are variously described as “beginner”, “entry level”, “amateur”, “enthusiast”, “semi-professional”, etc. The idea transported by such classification is that you can be seen as a more advanced photographer if you own a more expensive camera, and that, accordingly, you should pay as much for a camera as your purse possibly permits. There’s no doubt in my mind that this strategy works marvellously on the common male ego.

However, what seems to have worked better in the market more recently is to put the latest technology into the latest camera. This has been evident in Pentax’ portfolio for years – at least since the K-x was launched with a sensor that was vastly superior to the higher-tier K-7, but certainly since the K-30 debuted features the K-5 did not have – but has crept into other camera makers’ line-ups more recently. Both Olympus and Samsung for some time have released cameras alongside each other that differed in certain details (such as raised grip vs. flat grip), but had the same sensor. The E-PM2 for some time was a noted bargain for this reason, as the NX500 is now. More recently, the OM-D E-M5 II launched with a ground-breaking feature that according to what’s known at this point of time Olympus will not retro-enable in its flagship, the OM-D E-M1 (or perhaps can’t). Pentax is allowing the K-S2 to leapfrog its entire existing line-up with a fully articulated display while its other camera lines may not be refreshed until late 2015.

There’s no doubt that with the saturation of the DSLR market at a time of general recession, and smartphones eating the point’n’shoot category, camera makers are under more fire than ever to innovate while keeping slim product lines. This leads to a break-down of camera classification, and at this point, it’s often better to buy the more recent camera within the system of choice than to rely on “enthusiast” vs. “semi-professional” type labels that mostly serve to pad (for what it’s worth) the manufacturers’ pockets with the money of the gullible.

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2 Responses to “The value of camera classification”

  1. smith greame February 18, 2015 at 6:57 am #

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. APS-C vs. full frame – whither the future? | breakfastographer - February 21, 2015

    […] In a previous editorial, I suggested that Nikon had recently focused on full frame cameras, and this is true. Over the last 24 months, Nikon released a number of new models and substantial upgrades. The Nikon D600/610, Df, D750 and D810 were all aimed at what one might roughly describe as the enthusiast market, with the D810 and D750 also being serious considerations for the “professional”. (But see my previous editorial on the value of such classifications.) […]

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