If This Camera Broke, Would You Buy Another?

Perhaps the best test of which your favourite cameras are, is to ask one simple question –

Q. “If this camera broke, would I buy another?”

Here are the current cameras on my shelf, and my thoughts on answering this question. 

Pentax Q

A. Yes, without hesitation, though I might try a Q7 or QS1 instead of another example of the original Q like I have now.

Either way, I definitely want a Pentax Q in my kit, it’s just an absolute joy, like a tiny baby DLSR, but more fun.

Ricoh GRD III

A. Yes, in a heartbeat. Best handling camera I’ve ever used, fantastic controls, wonderful lens. Plus it’s a fixed prime lens, so no choices of focal length to make. Probably as close to a single ideal camera as I’ve used.

Though I wouldn’t mind any of the others in the GR Digital range from the original 8MP GRD through to the GRD IV.

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Ricoh GX100

A. I’d have to think first. The GX100 is essentially the zoom version of the GRD. I use mine almost exclusively at 35mm, so in effect it’s like a 35mm prime GRD.

If the GX100 broke but I still had the GRD III, I probably wouldn’t rush out and replace it. If I had neither, it would be the more sensible option over a GRD, but the minimalist in me loves that the GRD has a prime lens, so that would be first choice.

Panasonic Lumix LX3

A. Glorious camera, wonderful lens, logical controls, fantastic in-camera dynamic mono mode, the LX3 is one of the very best I’ve had.

If it broke though and I had at least one of the others above, I probably wouldn’t instantly replace it, as they fill a similar niche. If/when I did, I might look first at the later LX7. That said, if the LX3 was my only camera, I’d happily use it day in day out.

Panasonic Lumix GF1

A. On paper, this stacked up as possibly my ultimate camera. But I just haven’t gelled with it, and despite excellent performance and a similarly satisfying dynamic mono mode to the LX3, it’s a bit weighty and block like, doesn’t handle very well, and I like it far less than than the Lumix LX3.

So if it broke, nope, I wouldn’t replace it.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1

A. This tiny little Sony jewel doesn’t see enough action, but it remains the smallest camera I have, whilst also retaining very good handling (easily superior to the both Lumix cameras above).

It also seems to produce images with wonderful character, b/w especially, and it’s the simplest, purest point and shoot type experience I have at my disposal. If it broke I would probably give its sibling a thorough outing or two though, the almost as small Cyber-shot DSC-T7 that’s currently sitting in a shoe box.

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FujiFilm FinePix S7000

A. A relatively recent addition, this bridge camera from 2004 has impressed me far more than I expected. Although it’s almost the size of a small DSLR, I like that the lens is fixed so I don’t have to consider which lens to attach. I’ve really enjoyed the Electronic View Finder (EVF) which is far better than I thought it would be.

The lens combined with a 6MP Super CCD can conjure up some lovely black and whites too. If it broke, I would probably not replace it like for like, but look perhaps at a later model in the S range to see how they became even better.

Nikon Coolpix P300

A. My first “proper” camera after years of using phone cameras, the Coolpix has been my main family camera for about eight years. Although I use my Sony Xperia phone for snapshots, it’s still the Coolpix I pull out for special occasions, shows and so on, with its extra control and far superior images.

If it broke though (the zoom control has been a bit intermittent for a while) I would probably continue with my phone for spontaneous shots and use something like the Lumix LX3 or Pentax Q for the more important family events.

How about you? Which camera(s) would you replace in the blink of an eye if they broke, and why? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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28 thoughts on “If This Camera Broke, Would You Buy Another?”

  1. GoPro yes – now on the hero 7 as a move up from the hero 4.
    Nikon D60 – would very much stick with Nikon and a very similar camera.
    iPhone – will be keeping with that make of phone.
    So overall at the moment happy with the gear that I use.

    1. Thank for your thoughts Rob. (Please correct me if I have your name wrong, my memory is not so great and I can’t see it on your blog!)

      If I did any kind of action sports I’d try a Go Pro. They must be as popular as they are for a reason!

      I have been looking at early Nikon DSLRs strangely. Never tried any Nikon SLR, 35mm or digital.

      After being a long time Apple fan (my first Mac was in 1993…) the shine is wearing thin thee days. Just too expensive for what they are, and I think (for me) that magic of when they felt light years ahead of everyone else seems long gone. I still greatly dislike Microsoft, but Google’s Android has caught up, and in some ways overtaken I feel. And seem to offer better value.

      Anyway, those detours aside, the main thing is you know what you like and why you like them!

      1. Correct name :).

        Yeah have been trying to use my GoPro a bit more and some of the attachments I have got for it so have a few blogs out and in the pipe line around that theme.

        1. Are the GoPros waterproof too? Some underwater photography might be fun, I remember trying with a cheap film camera. Turned out it wasn’t completely waterproof, but it for made some very interesting abstract images!

          1. Yeah they are waterproof. Depends on which model you get to whether it is the casing that is waterproof or the camera itself. Is good fun underwater and good for general scottish weather as well!

          2. Yes! I just remembered I had a Canon film compact that was waterproof, but I just used it when I knew it was likely to rain and still wanted to go out and take some photos. Worked a treat!

  2. Should my D90 break, I would replace it with another (used) Nikon dSLR – the model would depend on budget and availability. Since I have two great lenses with Nikon mount (35mm and Lensbaby Sol) it wouldn’t make sense to switch to a different brand or system. Replacement would probably not be immediate – certainly not when it would happen in September or so, in the winter I hardly take pictures. And, I always have the camera phone.

    Replacement of a broken smartphone is more urgent, also for non-photographic purposes. I would go for a model with a decent camera, not necessarily Samsung, can also be OnePlus or Xiaomi. Huawei’s future is too uncertain right now due to the sanctions imposed by the Trump regime, and iPhones are simply no longer affordable for me.

    1. Robert can I ask which 35mm lens you have?

      Yes I agree about smartphones, we all seem so dependent on them. I also agree about iPhones, I’ve had one in the past, but for the money they just don’t seem good value (or even affordable) anymore. The One Plus phone intrigue me because they seem optimised for the cameras. But seriously, does any phone (or indeed any compact digital) need a 48MP sensor??

      1. Dan, I have the AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G. Very affordable (even new), compact and light in weight, and very good image quality, even wide open. It is a 50mm-ish lens on the crop D90, which is the perfect focal length on a dSLR for me. Versatile, you can use it to shoot everything that requires shallow depth of field, including portraits.

        Re OnePlus: I would probably go for the 6T (dual lens, 16 + 20 mp). I have seen comparative reviews of the 6T and the new 7 (Pro), and to be honest, I found the photos of the 6T better, especially in terms of natural colors. So yes, I don’t care about 48 mp either.

        1. Thanks Robert. I have been looking at a classic old(er) DSLR and the D40 interests me. I don’t really want a “kit zoom”, as it gives too many focal length options. I’m much more of a prime guy, so I was looking at a 35mm lens, which is of course a bit faster than the zoom too. The exact one you mention, so that’s great to hear another positive report. It would seem to make a light and portable (by most DSLR standards!) combo with the D40 too.

          I’m not in the market for a new phone, but when I am I would certainly look at the One Plus range again. Though I have few complaints with my current Sony Xperia.

          1. As someone who does not like heavy and bulky cameras, I can say that the D90 + 35mm forms a fairly compact combo, and the D40 is even smaller, so in terms of portability it would certainly be an acceptable alternative to mirrorless cameras.

          2. Ditto for me regarding heavy and bulky cameras. D40 + 35mm is certainly an option I’m looking at, though I still have a Pentax-DA 35mm lens so it would make more sense to get a(nother) small Pentax DSLR. We’ll see!

  3. That’s probably the best question anyone can ask themselves in terms of evaluating their hardware.
    In a way I have just “pre-replaced” one, albeit with a completely different unit as the old camera doesn’t exist anymore. As for the others, I’d get the equivalent of the P610 again in a heartbeat. Since that replaced the P850 I guess that would be the same.
    I wouldn’t buy another film camera though, due to the impracticality of it. Unless it was a really good deal for a decoration. 🙂

    1. Marc, this has influenced how I’ve bought cameras in the last couple of years, looking at a certain model I can’t afford, then stepping back a couple of generations to see what superceded it, but is still very capable in its own right. Plus of course as with cameras, cars and any other tech these days, as soon as a new model comes out, the older ones are seen as less desirable and the value falls. Opening the way for someone like me who doesn’t need the latest and greatest but still appreciates quality kit that’s great to use and delivers. And who loves a bargain!

  4. Shouldn’t the question be would I have it fixed? If you like a camera enough surely it’s better to get that one fixed and know that it’s good for a good while than buy another unknown quantity that might ‘break at any moment. ‘

    1. In the digital realm, there aren’t many occasions where it’s economical or even possible to have a camera fixed… Not so with older film cameras I know, where a CLA will give a camera or lens another half lifetime of use!

      1. Okay, good point. So in the digital domain I only have a few cameras;
        Olympus Pen-F – YES definitely would replace. Love love love that camera and would feel lost without it, it just fits my requirements perfectly (and I have a number of lenses for it).
        Sony DSC-QX10 – it’s only half a camera really – it is really versatile and handy to have around especially for travel. I haven’t used it so much since going mirrorless so it’s probably a maybe (as I have a use for in in mind sometime soon).
        Canon 300d – probably not; I technically gave it away and just recently got it back – I’m done with dSLRs
        Polaroid Snap – probably; it’s a fun little instant print camera to have with friends around.
        Yashica Y35 -Nope; it’s crap in so many ways and it actually is broken (within 5 minutes of using is – oh well it seemed like it might be a fun off the wall idea just poorly executed.

        1. Is the Pen-F Micro Four Thirds?

          I’ve been intrigued about those Sonys, but don’t that make a phone even more unwieldy to use than with just its own internal camera?

          I forgot about that Yashica, I remember the Kickstarter campaign. It seems it has been universally panned since it went into production!

          1. Yes, Pen-F is MFT.
            The Sony is really good actually. And yes when attached does make the phone more camera like in bulk but it gives you nice focal length control (avoiding the term zoom as I know you don’t like them) it Also provides a better resolution (at least compared to the phones I originally used it on). The most useful part is that you don’t actually have to physically attach it to your phone so you can hold the camera/lens anywhere yet have the view screen comfortably in front of your face (less contortions when shooting lowest angles etc).
            Yes the Yashica was disappointing 😦 but I went into it with open eyes so not really complaining.

          2. Ok, trying to figure out how you hold the QX10 and a phone, with just two hands. I always use two hands to hold any camera, phone included. Trying to shoot one handed with a phone is way too unstable, in my experience. I thought the QX10 attached on the back of the phone. Rather confused now! Oh unless you’re putting the lens unit down somewhere so it doesn’t need holding, then use your hands to operate it via the phone?

          3. Okay so there are a few points here; Yes you can fix it to the phone and it is very affective like that and in that configuration works much like any other camera.
            But it changes things up a bit if you separate the two making some kinds of shots easier; remember the phone is not taking the shot the lens is (so it’s stability is irrelevant). Via Wi-Fi, the phone acts as veiwfinder and remote control if required.
            I am not averse to shooting one handed if it’s appropriate and means getting the shot I want.
            A few examples of when splitting the two are useful.
            ■ In a crowd trying to shoot over the top you can hold the lens up high at your fullest reach holding the phone in the other hand to see what you are shooting and frame it etc
            ■ For better ‘selfies’ you can put the lens on a tripod or just rest it somewhere, step away so that you have the full scene. Use you phone to adjust zoom etc and (possibly with the phone out of shot) take the snap.
            ■ Shooting low you can have the ‘lens’ right on the ground and the phone at a comfortable level to check frame etc.

            It’s not a pro-level camera and it’s not for everyone; I found it useful for days out when I had a heavy dSLR (that I didn’t want to carry) and wanted something more than my phone. It was convenient in my pocket for when I wanted it. Now I have a much wider choice and my MFT is not so bulky I have less use for it.

          4. Ah yes, of course, I was thinking both the camera and lens had to be stable, but if they’re not attached it doesn’t matter about the camera. I guess you can also fire the shutter via a timer, so you could put the phone down and use two hands to hold the lens unit stable while you waited for the phone to take the picture a couple of seconds later? Sony do seem to be a brand that are happy to innovate a little, even if some stuff doesn’t take off. It’s not a hugely different concept to Ricoh with their GXR body and interchangeable lens/sensor units. Which I’ve yet to try but am intrigued by.

          5. You can trigger the shutter directly on the ‘lens’ itself (and control Zoom) so if you want to put your phone down and hold the lens with both hands that works very well. We call it a lens but in reality is is a complete camera (with shutter release, zoom and SD card) just without a viewfinder; it just looks like a lens 🙂

          6. Ha ha well as I say it’s not for everyone and it takes a bit of a mind shift to get used to the idea. It certainly was an innovative idea to take an existing good camera model and think “people already have a screen why don’t we take it off and use what people have in their pocket”. 🙂

  5. I have three sets of lenses for 35mm film cameras: Leica screw mount, Nikon Non-AI manual focus and Nikon auto focus. If I should find myself with no operable camera body for one of the sets – unlikely because I have more than one body for each – I would definitely buy another.

    1. Very interesting angle Doug, I think you’re the only person who has focused on lenses before bodies. Which is nearly always where the most investment is, and the element that makes the most difference to the final image. Smart!

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