How long does an DSLR body last?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by m._bingley, May 30, 2014.

  1. I'm having to decide between paying $250 to fix my Nikon D90 body or getting a new camera, possibly the D7100 at $1,000+. I've had my camera for 4.5 years, and the SD card bay broke. I thought camera bodies lasted forever! But I'm wrong. What's the life expectancy for DSLR bodies? Would you fix the camera or get a new one if you were in my situation? It seems to me, if the D90 can go on for another four years, the repair cost seems worth it. But if not...
    Thanks for your input?
  2. I think only you can answer this question. I can tell you what do if you want me to?
  3. Well, I need a piece of information to answer the question. If a DSLR body typically lasts 8+ years, then I'd go ahead and repair it. If 4 years is how long a DSLR lasts, then I wouldn't. How long does a DSLR body last?
  4. "the SD card bay broke"
    Was this a mechanical failure or an electrical one?

    There's no answer to "How long does a DSLR body last?" any more than there is an answer to how long cars last, even a specific model of car.

    Like all repair vs. new purchase, it's a judgement call that only the affected individual can make.
  5. I have had a lot of cameras in my day I'm 66,since going to digital one of my Nikons lasted 9 years and one only went 3 years. What is the repair quote you got?
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In most cases, people stop using a DSLR not because it breaks, but rather, the technology inside gets too out of date so that they would like to upgrade to something newer to get better results. Your D90, if working properly, can still produce good pictures, of course. However, for example, its video capability is rather primitive.
    Check out KEH. You can buy a used D90, in excellent condition, for less than $350. If you buy from individuals, it can be even cheaper. Therefore, it becomes questionable whether it is worthwhile to spend $250 to fix it:
  7. Is it the cover that is broken? Or, where the card mounts? If it is just the cover, you may be able to use the camera without any problems. If the card can't mount, or will not save pictures, then you need to choose. The D90 is older technology, and most newer cameras will perform better. If you do not need "better" technology, just get it fixed.
    I started with a D40, to be able to use my legacy lenses, it still works fine, but I needed the low light performance of the D7000 just a few years later. If the D40 breaks, I will replace it, but the D7000 would probably get repaired if it is economical to do so.
  8. If you`re satisfied with its performance, for $250, I`d take the camera for repair; it`s not a big sum.
    If not, give it to anyone and buy whatever you want.
  9. It depends on its use. Are you hard on your camera? What is your shutter count? Is it really high? Do you subject it to a variety of weather conditions? Do you keep it clean? I'm meticulous with my equipment, so it last a long time. I have working stereo equipment from the '70's. I still have my working Hanimex from around the same time, so it really comes down to you.
    The D90 is a good camera. If it does everything you need it to do and you believe the shutter is in good condition, then fix it. If not, you can get a refurb'd D7100 for less than a $1000 now. I've had my D7100 (bought new) for a year. You'd hardly know it from looking at it.
  10. [[How long does a DSLR body last?]]
    How long does a car last? How long does a road last? How long does a bike last?
    Your question is unanswerable. There are too many factors that determine how long something lasts to give any clear answer. How you treat it, how often it is used, how it was manufactured, environmental conditions, etc.
    I would say that a DSLR lasts as long as you're willing to pay for replacement parts (either DIY, or via professional services).
    $250 is far less than $1000. If you're happy with the D90 and don't have a great desire to spend $1000 right now, then spend the $250 (or spend $10 and fix it yourself).
  11. The price difference is so small between a refurb and new I don't think it's worth it I know I checked before getting my NIB D7100..
  12. I've yet to have one die on me and I like buying and shooting with older cameras. My old D2H is almost 10 years old, saw a lot of use and still works like new producing beautiful pictures. If it were me I'd get it fixed, $250 is cheap. While Nikon has the body they will give the camera a complete tune-up, replace the rubber if needed and clean and calibrate all camera functions. Your D7000 will be as good as new again!
  13. Hi Shun where did you come up with that $250 repair quote.
  14. I think Shun got the $250 quote from me! That's how much the repair shop wants to charge.
    The problem is not the door, but the lock that keeps the SD card in. I was surprised by the mechanical failure. I'm fairly gentle with all my stuff, and so I was expecting the body to last a while. I thought the electronics would be the first to go, and not anything mechanical.
    Yes, I can get good pictures from the D90, and I also checked KEH before posting. Paying $250 is cheaper than $300+ for a used body in excellent condition -- because I think my camera, other than the card bay, is in excellent condition.
    Stepping up to the D7100 seems like an incremental improvement for photo quality. Better video capability might be nice, but I use a camcorder for video.
    Hmm, I guess I'm talking myself into paying for the repair!
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The OP M. Bingley specified the $250 repair cost in the very first sentence in the opening post.

    This is entirely M. Bingley's decision. There are no right or wrong answers. The D7100 is a pretty substantial upgrade from the D90. The AF system is two levels better (the D90 uses the Multip-CAM 1000, the D7100 Multi-CAM 3500, with the Multi-CAM 4800 in between), high-ISO is considerably better, dual memory cards (to me it is a critical feature, to some, it is not necessary), 100% viewfinder ....

    Whether you need all those features or not is another question. Or you can get a D7000, now in deep discount. There are many options.
  16. Thanks Shun I'm off to clean my glasses..
  17. "The problem is not the door, but the lock that keeps the SD card in. I was surprised by the mechanical failure."
    I've seen those kinds of failure caused by forcible inadvertent reversed insertion of the card.
  18. I'll just comment that the mechanisms on those SD card sockets aren't all that robust. A used camera would have a higher probability of developing similar issues, whereas a repair would invove putting a new SD socket in the camera.
    I'd go for the repair myself, if I was otherwise satisfied with the camera's performance. Upgrading to a D7000 or even a D7100 would give the OP a camera with better low light capability, if this is something he wants. If the D90 meets his needs, it's a no brainer, pay the $250.
  19. I have an old D2X (in perfect condition) that I don't use anymore because the D7100 is so much better in every way. The latest sensor technology really obsoletes the prior generations. Upgrade for the sensor. Advances in sensor technology will be more incremental in the future so the advantages of upgrading in the future will be less meaningful.
  20. pge


    This is actually an interesting question. As others have mentioned, in the digital age it has been more common to replace your camera because you want a new one, not because your old one got too old. However, things are changing. For example, if you bought a D700 in 2008 you still have a fine camera. Maybe now we will keep our cameras for as long as they last.
    With my oldest DSLR paint is wearing from the buttons and the battery is getting difficult to replace. The actual camera is fine and likely would last for years more, but it might be the small things, like the OP`s battery door that would lead to a replacement.
    The next set of Dx and Dxxx replacements will likely have full wireless conectivity. That might make our current cameras seem a bit old after a while. I reach for my phone now when I have to take a photo and send it off quickly, but that won`t be the case in the future I suspect.
  21. What's the life expectancy for DSLR bodies?​
    There's no such thing. Their life ends when they break or when the user gets tired of them.
    It seems to me, if the D90 can go on for another four years, the repair cost seems worth it.​
    What if it only last 3 years? Or two? Or one? Where do you draw the line?
    Would you fix the camera or get a new one if you were in my situation?​
    A question only you can answer, depending on condition, shutter count and how satisfied you are with a camera that is two generations behind the current state of the art. And last but not least - your budget.
    I had the flash and metering system of a D200 die on me a couple of years ago - and chose not to repair the camera given its age and the close to 100,000 shutter count at the time; repair cost would have been about half the market value of the camera. Chose also not to repair a first-generation 24-120 lens that I owned since 1997 - the repair cost was close to the current market value (quite similar to your D90); I opted to get the updated VR version instead (couldn't justify the cost of the current constant aperture version).
  22. Hmmm, obtaining insurance may help.
  23. Thanks for all your input. I've learned something here.
    I decided to spring for the repair. The D90 does everything I want, though it may be two generations behind. I customized a few things -- hope the repair shop won't make them disappear.
    But I also decided also to not repair it the next time it's broken.
  24. I have a sort of "personal property floater" policy on my photographic equipment. It's not hideously expensive and something like it is one of the perks here on, BTW.
    These days, as in the old days, it is the mechanics of the camera that typically fail. An electronics failure takes harder work to occasion it.
    If you will look on eBay for "Sold" items, you can judge what it costs to replace your used camera with another one that works (buy only "returns allowed" items). Then you can balance that off with your repair cost. Any originally decent digital camera over 6MP is still a good user, as the eBay prices compared to film cameras (digital is higher) testify.
    Finally, look around. If the SD card failure is just the door, for example, it may be possible to buy the part and replace it yourself. If it is internal damage, not so much.
  25. I'll throw another factor in to consider. Since Nikon no longer gives independent shops access to parts, even broken Nikon gear has value on eBay. You might be ahead to sell yours for parts and go with a used D7000. I'm getting a chuckle out of those wondering if a DSLR can make it three years, four years, or ten years. Last weekend I ran around Chicago taking photos with a 70+ yr. old Leica, and one of my lenses was 80+ years old. All worked perfectly.
    Kent in SD
  26. I would spend $250 to have a D90 fixed. I was very impressed with that model when it first came out and was on my short list of APS sensor cameras to buy this year (I got the Fuji X-A1 instead - the $450 price for the X-A1 and 16-50 zoom was an incredible value).
    I wouldn't spend $250 to fix my D2H, and probably couldn't fix it for that money anyway. In 2011 Nikon USA quoted a price of $420 to repair my D2H, after Nikon USA refused to repair my D2H which had developed faults that matched the service advisory symptoms described for that model. It's unfortunate because the camera is otherwise in very good condition. Nothing else has worn out or broken. Physically it's held up as well as any professional level camera should. But it locks up with "Err" messages several times during any session now, so I mostly use it at home only for photographing items for sale, or occasional snapshots of the cats and my neighbors' dogs playing. Great action camera for daylight but too unreliable now. And while it can autofocus well in ridiculously dim lighting, it's much too noisy at high ISOs to be useful for most dim available light situations. Not really worth repairing a 4 meagerpickle dSLR.
    I might consider having a D2X repaired, if I owned one. It would be compatible with many of my D2H accessories - batteries, power adapter, remote adapter, etc. But I'd probably only use it at home or very nearby, since I try to avoid lugging heavy gear around.
  27. I have a 14 year old Fuji S-1Pro that employs Nikkor glass and still produces fine pictures and doesn't seem to eat batteries. 3.4 MP is enough for me. My Nikon Coolpix 990 same age, same pixel count works beautifully and with slide/negative adapter, produces good digitized copies. My oldest film camera is 1932 Leica II with 1930 Elmar (11 o'clock version in flawless condition). I've take this one on vacation and not to worry about memory cards, batteries and chargers. My other camera is all original Nikon F from 1959, essentially "bullet proof" with rare f2, 50mm "tick mark" optic. Sometimes old is IMHO better but lacking in the "bells and whistles" which doesn't bother me one bit/
  28. I've worn out a few bodies to the point they could not be repaired. Most recently (about 8 years ago) a D1. I used to wear out Fs to the point the shutter could not be kept in calibration. I used the Fs professionally on location and they took a beating. It was not just the actuations, it was the physical beatings. They would get blown over on a tripod or the camera bag would fall out of a landing helicopter, etc. Since then I have not worn out a camera. I think the issue becomes the economics of repairing vs. upgrading -- like has been pointed out. The technology typically wears out before the equipment does. I have a D7000 that has about 20,000 actuations on it and I could expect about nine times that ... I've had it since they first came out, so I would expect it could last another ten years, easy. But, it won't. I'm already thinking about the D7200 and at least one D800s as replacements.
  29. I wouldn't know but I do expect most of them to last for a long time. Of course there are some of them which die early. I would expect at least 10 years if not twice that as an average.
    My coolpix 5000 is more than 10 years old and still perform like new.
  30. The problem with a digital camera not being usable after 70 years is sort of related to the fact that they haven't been made that long.
    When that time does come, the limiting factor in use will most likely be the availability of media and batteries rather than their mechanical or electronic parts failing.
    Sort of like the problem with finding film for film cameras after another 50 years, too.
  31. "rather than their mechanical or electronic parts failing."
    70 years is a long time. Cameras will need CLA for its mechanics, disintegrated foam and rubber parts replaced, and who know how those tiny surface-mount parts and solder connections will stand up over time. Electrolytic capacitors will also be in questionable condition.

    I think surviving digital cameras will eventually become novelty items used delicately for special projects, or as display pieces, but never again the workhorse duty they were once assigned.
  32. "How long does a DSLR body last" isn't the right question. If you spend $250 on the D90, will it be worth more than $250 afterwards? If yes, it is financially better to spend the money, even if you then immediately sell it for a D7100.
    But there is another question. Does the D90 fulfil what you need (need not want) photographically, or would a D71000 have capabilities the D90 does not have?
  33. If you are a typical consumer, you will get rid of the camera long before it needs to be replaced.
  34. That's true but I for one is not a typical consumer. I would use the camera until it breaks or rather when I can't get battery for them. I can stock pile memory card but not battery.
  35. I would think DSLRs should last about as long as later model film cameras. However, with digital cameras most probably shoot far more exposures than they did with film which would cause parts to wear out faster. With my D300s, I surely hope it lasts a good 8-10 years before it really needs replaced, not to say I might not do it sooner if I get a good deal on a newer model. I've had it going on five years now.
  36. I had a D70 apart from the BGLOD recall which I had to return it a few times to them. I had PCB, aperture arm, aperture control unit replacements as well as a AF fine tune. My card unit failed after 7 or 8yrs. I reattached the ribbon cable and it worked for sometime until I tried it again and broke the ribbon clip, got a $50US refurbished card unit and DIY and been fine since.... 10yrs plus still kicking. Not the ideal camera for photography pursuits but for casual pictures of people it is fine. For my own stuff I am shooting slide film now. I guess for controlled shooting on a tripod the D70 is still OK for A4 and A3 prints.
  37. Well you have decided to fix it so I suppose it is a moot point but for what it is worth, I would spring for the D7100 if I were you.
    A couple of years ago you posted a question here about whether to get a camcorder or a new camera. The D7100 would answer that question in a whole new way. Its video is light years ahead of the D90.
    Resolution, dynamic range, viewing screen, low-light capability all in a whole new league. Since you alluded to the fact that the upgrade is affordable, now may be the time.
  38. Good memory, Rick! I have a camcorder, and I like it. So I'm not looking to consolidate right now. Maybe I'll be ready to do that the generation after D7100!
  39. Do we know also how long the current sensors last,what lifespan do they have, do they degrade in any way after a longer period. I have two Nikon D800s which I intend to use for the foreseeable future as in my opinion they are for my use quite future proof as far as resolution.
  40. For what it's worth, I think I figured out what happened to my D90. The SD card had a piece of plastic missing. I think it broke off inside the reader, and so I couldn't use the reader anymore. So it wasn't the camera's fault. I think some people thought I meant the door -- the door was fine.
    Anyway, Nikon fixed the problem for me, and I am rather fond of my little D90. I'll hang on to it for another generation!

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