Magazine Article


Double Whammies
Digital gear goes through the wringer in the Big Easy

Robert Socha  holding newspaper
Bollinger Shipyards' VP Robert Socha at his New Orleans home on September 21, as the newspaper describes the latest evacuation. The picture was made with the same Dimage A1, taking over when Socha's own imager quit.
Don Sutherland

ship operator
What DZLRs can do that DSLRs can't is squeeze down among the controls, while the hinged LCD gives the photographer a clear and exact view of how the frame is composed. March 2005, at the start of a two-week cruise down the coast. It can get very humid in Wilmington, N.C.
Don Sutherland

ships in winterstorm
The salvage job from hell, photographed with the Minolta Dimage A1 in December 2003. There's nothing dry about it, and can you say c-c-c-cold? Yet with its Sony CCD, that A1's still taking pictures.
Don Sutherland

What isn't clear is the impact this might have on the used-camera market. Used-camera market? In digital? Until recently, nobody would buy last year's model second-hand, because this year's brand-new at the same price is so much better.

But the rate of improvement, though still pronounced, is decelerating. It's reasonable to expect great advances ahead, but still, last year's models are 5 megapixels and up. Both Socha's Dimage 7Hi and my Dimage A1 are fives, with Sony CCDs. The hotshot photojournalist brought his along on a super-demanding photo shoot. What does that tell you about last year's model?

What it tells me is that a used-digicam market is not such a ludicrous notion as it was when last year's model made a VGA picture. If a used-camera market is forming, its formation could be affected by time bombs, actual or anticipated.

But are all defects created equal? My Dimage A1 has taken a lot of pictures since I received it, in New York's own humidity. New York being what it is, I've also stood in blizzards hand-holding the camera, and it survived to save the day in New Orleans. It did return from the trip, and I've used it since. Will I use it again? No reason to think not, as I would say it's been proved, having come through hell and high water and all.