Friday, June 5, 2015

How Long Will It Last?

I bought a Nikon SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera in 1970 and used it continuously and extensively for about 30 years without a problem.  Around 2000, or whenever it was that digital cameras became commonplace, I bought a digital camera which lasted for a few years until the power circuitry died.  After that, I got a waterproof digital camera, a relatively simple one that still takes pictures but something happened to the lens so that when I zoom in on something, the image gets progressively more out of focus from left to right.  But it still takes pictures.  I have heard a fellow kayaker say that he gets a new waterproof camera every two years or so.  Somewhere in there, my wife got a Lumix digital camera.  That acquired dust spots on the sensor so that every picture has dark splotches in it.  I got a Lumix as well, a later model that also got dust spots.  I paid sixty five dollars to a camera repair shop to get rid of the dust.  He did, and a year later, the dust was back.
Panasonic Lumix camera with dust on the sensor producing spots on the image. 

Though I may sound like I'm complaining, I mostly am trying to understand this phenomenon. Apparently electronics have roughly a two year life span or are manufactured to produce satisfactory results for no more than two years.  One might accuse manufacturers of planned obsolescence but that accusation is probably not justified.  The obsolescence of electronic should probably be blamed on the fact that electronic capability has been increasing at such a rate that people want new electronics every two years and they want it cheaply.  As a consequence, manufacturers will not make something that lasts longer than two years because they perceive that after two years nobody will want it any more anyway, so why bother.
Regardless of whether the manufacturers are scoundrels or not, they are de facto producing shoddy goods which for me as a consumer puts me in a position where I tend to want the cheapest possible camera since I know that it will only last for two years.  Manufacturers are in effect pushing lower and lower end product quality on society by putting tool users in a position where they will go for the lowest quality tool that will do the job and in turn produce the lowest quality possible end product with the lowest quality tool.


Anonymous said...

Sir: Beginning to wonder how long a Skinboat Journal will last.

You OK? You still there?

--Anonna Mouse

Wolfgang Brinck said...

how long will a skinboat journal last? Who knows. never know if anybody actually reads what I type. There are of course stats provided by google on page views. But I don't know how many people just bump into this blog by accident and how many people read what I write on a regular basis. Entertainment value is hard to gauge.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy Skin Boat Journal. I check in regularly both for info about boats as well as commentary of indiginous tech and overall musing about the bay area from a different prescpective. Thanks for your work.

Unknown said...

I wonder how long a book could be expected to last before the pages, binding and cover disintegrate? It depends on how many people read it and pass it on to others. Personally, I love this Skinboat Journal and wish, besides Robert Persig, that I could find more stuff like it.