I bought my first digital camera in well over a year. Olympus was having a sale on refurbished models, and I snagged a Tough TG-4. That's right, I finally buy a new camera, and even it is used.
You see, I'm going to Maui in September, and I wanted to upgrade my dependable, but aging TG-1. A lot has happened since I bought that camera. The most noteworthy new features are the addition of WiFi and RAW capture. (RAW in a tough pocket camera... yeah!)
I love Tough cameras in Hawaii. My wardrobe consists of board shorts, a T-Shirt, and flip-flops. If I get hot, I fall into the pool or dash out into the ocean. The Tough camera stays in my shorts' pocket the entire time. I never have to worry about it. And I never miss a shot.
It is my snorkeling camera, sunset companion, and drinking buddy. It has a compass, GPS, and a clock display. What else do you need?
Now that the TG-4 has been out for a while, you can get it for $349. That's a good price for a great camera. But the outlet store had a 2-day sale, and I could save over $100 more, which is a great deal. Even then, I had to think about it for a few minutes.
What's happened to me? I used to spend $230 without thinking twice.
It's the darn film camera thing. I tell you.
Since I started spending $50-$75 for classic film SLRs, my perspective has become totally skewed. Most of the cameras I feature in TheFilmCameraShop I bought for $50 or less. Yes, they needed cleaning, and sometime repairs. (That's fun for me.) So I do that and then shoot with them for a week or two, process the film, and if everything looks OK, I put them up for sale for around $75. If they don't work out, I hang on to them for parts to fix something else.
I actually caught myself haggling with a guy the other day for a $45 camera. He wanted $48, I was willing to pay $43. We both dug in our heals and the deal never happened. Have I lost my mind? I walked away over $5. Starbucks costs that much.
Actually, I think what has happened is things have stabilized in the world of photography. Film cameras are cheap. And digital cameras have reached a level of quality where we don't have to buy a new one every year. All of this feels good. It's been a long time since I've been off the camera buying merry go round.
I know this isn't great news for manufacturers, but that's not really my problem. I'm far more concerned about my budget. And I'm glad that I have trusty friends such as the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and 5D Mark II to depend on for my work. We're comfortable with each other.
And I guess that's why I'm so excited about TG-4. I feel like I just bought a new car. In fact, the model I purchased is racing red. And I am going to drive that baby all over the island of Maui.