The Good New Days

The Good New Days

Milkbars, Monaros, middies, and motoring down Hay Street on Saturday night. Welcome to 1966.

Wander down one of the arcades in town and look into the camera shop – the one with the lights and enough space to move in. No names, no pack drill. This writer’s there behind a counter dressed in his short-sleeved white shirt and tie, looking for all the world like a refugee from “ Revenge Of The Nerds “.

If you passed by the dubious attractions of the Kodak Instamatic or Agfa Clack kits and wanted to get a real 35mm SLR camera, you had several choices – two of the best being the Pentax Spotmatic or the Nikon F. They both did the business from different positions  on the photographic spectrum, but they both sold pretty much like hot cakes. Admittedly there was a greater takeup for the Spotmatic amongst amateurs and for the Nikon F amongst the professionals but that was concerned with whose money was being spent.

The Pentax with a standard prime lens ran out at about $ 125. The Nikon went for $ 350. Laugh at the prices, if you will, but the wage I took home from that shop was $ 50 per week. And this column is about the comparative price. The Pentax clocked out at 2.5x my wage – the Nikon at 7x. I drove a Renault sedan at $ 1926…38.5x that wage.

Well, if I fancied a Nikon DSLR now – or one of the Pentaxes – I can expect to pay about $2500-$2800. Or more, for the newest and most glorious models. If I fancy a Fujifilm X-E3 the price will be about $ 1600. But my basic wage will be $ 710 per week.

DSLR…3.5x the wage

Mirror-less…2.25x the wage

And for a little sedan car that they won’t let me do bog laps in around Hay Street? $ 17,000 or 23.5x the wage.

No matter how you pile the beans, now is better than then for your chance at photographic gear. You not only get to do more with your purchase, you have to work less to earn it. So loosen up your wallet and come shopping.

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