Why Are DSLRs So Expensive?

I bought a HDD Recorder for my TV the other day.  It cost me £260. It seems to have a million and one features and functions and I was quite blown away by what it could do. After browsing through the manual for a while then putting it down, I glanced over at my two DSLRs sitting there on the coffee table. It was hard to believe that, what I was looking at, constituted a market value of around £6000. Even the Nikon D610, classed as a consumer DSLR, cost £1400 and that’s before you put a lens on it. And what do they do? Take pictures.

I know that’s a bit of a simplistic answer (they also record video) but it begged the question, just why are they so expensive compared to some other consumer devices and P&S (Point & Shoot) cameras.

Well, here are the answers;

1.) Technology: There’s actually a mind-boggling amount of state-of-the-art technology packed inside a high-end Full-Frame DSLR. The Shutter, Auto Focus, Image Processing, and Metering systems to name a few will all be the result from years of technological research and development. Of course, fitting all this technology into a device that you can hold in the hand is not easy. The manufacturing process is highly specialised and usually conducted under laboratory conditions.

Want to see a Nikon D600 taken apart bit by bit and get an idea of the number of components used to build such a camera. Take a look at iFixit’s teardown here .

2.) Optics: The same goes for lenses. If you thought they were simple to make, take a look at the 80th Anniversary video of Nikkor Lenses by Nikon Imaging Corporation.

3.) Sensor & Image Quality: This is the piece of light sensitive silicon that records image data. It is, in itself, a highly specialised component responsible for producing the image. There are a number of factors that determine the quality of an image and, generally, the larger the sensor, the better the image quality will be. Full Frame image sensors are many times the size of the ones installed in compact cameras. They are, consequently, many times more expensive to manufacture.

4.) Control: A DSLR will offer a photographer complete control over how he/she takes a photograph. Photos can be took that would be impossible to create with a compact camera. The 440 page User Manual for the Nikon D800E soon gives you an idea of just how much control you do have.

5.) Build Quality: A pro quality DSLR will be built to withstand all sorts of rigours and extreme conditions. Their robustness is legendary with many tales of survival on the internet. Check this article out for one such story.

So, maybe £1400 for my D610 doesn’t seem so bad after all.


South America 2014: The Video

Earlier this year, I embarked on a five week overland tour of South America. Beginning in Buenos Aires, travelling all the way down to the southern-most city in the world, Ushuaia, then returning back up through the Argentinian Lake District and finally to Santiago, Chile. I continued my travels up and into Canada but that’s another story.

This is a video montage I have created from clips I made with my GoPro Hero 3+ and Olympus OM-D E-M5. I used GoPro Studio and Cyberlink’s PowerDirector to edit them and then put them all together.

M4/3 Versus Full-Frame And Why I’ve Gone To Full-Frame As A Travel Solution

M4/3 Versus Full-Frame And Why I’ve Gone To Full-Frame As A Travel Solution

There are a number of articles I’ve read on the internet that attempt to make a comparison of Micro 4/3 to Full Frame. The majority of them were obviously written by proponents of Micro 4/3 as the underlying  bias leans heavily to that format. There’s no denying, micro 4/3 has a lot going for it. It presents a very serious challenge to the APS-C format in terms of IQ and it would be wise for anyone considering a consumer level APS-C DSLR to also consider the m4/3 line-up as an alternative . Continue reading

New Blog Hosting & Twitter Account

I was using a commercial web hosting package and WordPress.org for the blog. Great versatility and control but, unfortunately, as time went on, it seemed to be grinding to a halt. I suppose that was because of the increasing content. I had the option to upgrade to a higher performance web hosting package or simply transfer the blog to Wordpress.com. It just wasn’t worth spending that much more money on it so I decided to go with the latter choice. You lose the flexibility of plug-ins and complete control but I’ve gained the performance that is more important. At the end of the day, there’s no point in having all the bells and whisltes if the pages take 5 minutes to load. Continue reading