The End

Over close to 60 years of photography, I have used a large variety of cameras. From ancient paper backed 127 film I progressed to 35 mm slides and prints, and then eventually to digital format. I used an Ansco Cadet, Yashica rangefinder. manual focus Nikon SLR. auto focus Nikon SLR, various fixed lens digicams from Canon, Nikon, and Fuji.

Finally around 2015 I settled on the two cameras shown above – a Nikon DX DSLR system with interchangeable lenses, and a Panasonic Lumix compact superzoom.

Both cameras have served me well – I don’t do video, just take still photos. The Nikon is my serious optical appliance and I use it for formal family photos and for general picture taking. It is compatible with a wide selection of Nikon lenses that date back to the 1990s.

It’s too large and bulky for vacations however. That is where the Lumix comes in. I can get decent images with it, and it is quite lightweight and pocket sized.

Technically these digicams do what I need, so I have not felt any need to upgrade or replace them. They are still working great. It’s a good thing, because according to many camera industry sources, both of them have now reached the end of life.

Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Fuji, and Sony have all stopped development on compact cameras like the Lumix. It’s not surprising given that the market for this type of camera has shrunk by over 95% since 2010. Some models from 2019 or earlier are still in production but many interesting models have been discontinued.

As for DSLRs, these have largely vanished from new camera lineups, as the major manufacturers have changed their emphasis to mirrorless models. Mirrorless cameras are easier to manufacture, and they provide a superior experience for anyone who wants to shoot video.

The collapse in the compact camera market is due almost entirely due to the rise of smartphone photography. The photo above of my two dedicated cameras was made with my Pixel 7’s camera. It is certainly good enough for blogging purposes.

Whenever I bring a dedicated camera to a family event or on a holiday, I certainly feel like a dinosaur. Everyone else is using their smartphones. Nevertheless I’ll continue to use a real camera when I can. There are a number of reasons for me to do so:

  • Carrying any kind of dedicated camera indicates you are a serious photographer. People tend to give you the space to get your desired image, not crowding you out to take a selfie.
  • The ergonomics are way better with a real camera. It’s easier to hold steady and avoid camera shake. You can put a strap around your wrist or neck to avoid dropping it. And in my case I have a real viewfinder to look through in very bright conditions. I never miss a shot becasuse I can’t see it in the LCD screen.
  • Real cameras at this point have much better telephoto lenses. My Lumix has a 30X telephoto and yes I have used all of that to get photos of distant ships on a cruise. A smartphone – even the best one – has maybe 1/6 of that capability.
  • Very large sensor cameras like the Nikon still produce better quality images than a smartphone, although the very finest smartphone camera systems are catching up fast. The Nikon glass and flash systems are still far ahead of a smartphone.

I suppose if my current cameras keep on working well, I won’t have to worry. The problem I may have to face one day is what if one of the cameras breaks. That is more likely to happen with the Lumix – it simply isn’t as rugged as the Nikon.

Right now I believe I could manage to get a replacement compact – perhaps another used one. But these are quite expensive. Sony makes some wonderful models but their best one would cost as much as an iPhone Pro Max, or as my Nikon interchangeable lens system.

Over the past few years I thought seriously about getting a new compact camera but it didn’t seem worth it because I was not going anywhere on holiday. Now it appears we are reaching The End for this type of camera. It’s probably in my best interest to just hang on and hope that if I need to, I’ll be able to find a suitable replacement for my Lumix. The Nikon system will be here for the long run.

Game On

This Saturday marks my grandson Teddy’s 15th birthday. Here is is engaged in one of his favorite leisure activities – video games. He is a special fan of Super Mario and Pokemon games. He also loves to zap Grandpa in card games like Hearts, Euchre, and Chase the Ace.

Teddy is growing fast. He’s taller than both of his grandparents now and on the way to catching his dad. He’s an expert at martial arts, working his way through the black belt levels.

He’s just finishing his first semester in Grade 9. I was down visiting for a few days recently and I had fun going over his math and science homework. We did problems in volume and surface area, as well as a number of electrical circuit diagrams. Teddy likes technology and is a big fan of Mark Rober.

Next semester has more of an arty feel – drama and geography and English. I’m sure he’ll do well though.

Teddy continues to be a kind gentle and respectful young man. His Nonna and I are very proud of him.

All the best Teddy and I hope we can be around for years to come, to see you grow and develop your gifts.

Life Expectancy

When we moved to Almonte we got a whole new set of Maytag appliances. We have replaced the fridge and dishwasher, but our 18 year old washer and dryer were still working OK – until recently. We got a leak in the washer tub that wouldn’t stop unless I turned the water off.

This being Eastern Ontario, we know a competent and honest appliance repair guy. He deduced that the water inlet valve was faulty and replaced it, along with the aging rubber supply hoses. He concluded that the washer’s mechanical operation is still OK. I guess we are still good to go for a while – or not. 18 years is well past the life expectancy of any laundry duo, but we don’t use the washer/dryer every day of the week and we don’t have huge loads when we do.

Back in 2005, Maytag was still an independent company. Now they are part of the Whirlpool empire. They still had a legendary reputation in 2005; their products were all operated by electromechanical switches – no computerized touchpads. It’s a far cry from that sort of machine today.

Now we can still get something like that if we replace the Maytags – our preferred local appliance store sells Heubsch machines – Speed Queen in the US. They are very old school, very pricey and do we need a 25 year appliance service life at our age? That’s a good question.

So at the present time I suppose we have three options:

  • Keep on keeping on with Maytag and hope for the best.
  • Buy new Heubsch appliances with the knowledge that somebody else will get the value out of them someday.
  • Look for a cheaper option that we know won’t last as long. Some of the stuff I’ve looked at has only a one year warranty and the electronic control boards cost almost as much as a new machine. Pray that part doesn’t fail.

Option 1 looks like the best one for now. In fact, we probably should follow the three basic principles that underlie any decision at our age:

  • Take things one day at a time.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Keep it simple, stupid.

Oh yes, and be careful about buying green bananas.

cww trust seal