If you own a digital camera you know they’re made mostly of a plastic body with some metal bits rattling around inside (hopefully not rattling), this is different from a previous time when cameras were manufactured with a different goal in mind.
Today cameras are created to withstand some impact and minor wear but are ultimately manufactured in such a way to force consumers to purchase another one within a few years. Either the camera begins falling apart or a newer, slightly upgraded device comes out the day after you buy. Obviously this is how our economy works, but it has such an unfortunate effect on cameras. This is especially frustrating when your way of earning money relies on a piece of equipment that’s designed to break in a relatively short amount of time, resulting in shelling out thousands more for a minor upgrade.
Upgrades are quite an illusion as well. Because each camera manufacturing company is waiting to see what the others will come out with, they make small incremental adjustments. Suffice it to say, new designs are coming out every month, yet progress is actually very slow. And with every adjustment, there are a few steps backward. A camera with a larger image sensor comes out, yet the compression makes it nearly unusable. Or, the compression is ok, but they chose a ridiculous codec that takes their own proprietary software to unlock. Or its a fantastic design but there is no VIEWFINDER (since when was it acceptable to not be able to see what you’re shooting?).
Wherever I travel I take along my Nikon 35mm still camera. It happens everywhere, “Why do you still use that? Don’t you know people are all shooting digital now?” Film and digital are like watercolors and oil pastels; two different ways of achieving an image, they operate differently and are useful in different applications. But there is a reason film cameras are still expensive and people still shoot on them. Why does a regular 16mm Bolex in good condition still cost as much as a mid-range DSLR? Or why does an Aaton super 16mm cost as much as a car? Why were film cameras used in some of the harsh conditions featured in Planet Earth? Because these are pieces of equipment built to withstand decades while delivering an uncompressed, high quality image. Load a new film stock and you have a camera that will never become outdated.
I could get into CMOS sensors and the way film moves but I’m sure I’ve already lost half my readers by this point. There are some exciting changes coming for the mid-range cinema camera market (for example, the Digital Bolex). And the reason why they are exciting is because they harken back to a time when cameras were built to last.