Back in June I finally retired my first digital SLR - an extremely trustworthy Canon EOS 10D which I purchased brand-new in the summer of 2003. Despite being so old, I continued to shoot with the 6.3MP crop-sensor DSLR when most people were scrambling to trade in their 5DMkII's for new Mark III's. I knew that camera like the back of my hand, through and through. It served for years as a shining example of why you don't need to rush out to buy the latest gear to get great images. I looked it up and realized that when I purchased it, Canon's line-up of DSLR's consisted of the 1D and 10D - thats it. Most of my favorite portfolio shots came from that camera, and I bet if you look at my galleries you couldn't pick out which ones were shot with that 6.3MP 10D, my new 20.2MP 6D, or the 5DMkIII I was lucky enough to take on vacation.
I really don't like reading reviews of brand new camera gear or technology, I prefer to wait until it's been used in the real world for some time before I start forming an opinion on it. For example when I worked in the IT industry a few years ago the first round of solid-state hard drives were starting to hit the market - reviews were proclaiming that they were the second coming! They reported that the drives were fast and more importantly extremely durable. While this holds true to most new drives these days, the first generation drives from multiple manufacturers started failing pretty spectacularly about 6 months into real-world usage. Personally I don't care how amazing a camera performs right out of the box, how sharp a lens is from the factory. Show it to me a year or two down the road when its been used for weddings every weekend, or out on a photo trip to Africa, is it still as good?
Okay, so why am I up on my soapbox this time? I just never see reviews for gear thats been used in the field, so thats what I would like to start doing. Sure, taking a look back on an extremely worn camera thats 10 years old doesn't really provide much value other than to speak volumes about the brand, but in a month or two I plan on writing a post about how my Kata SLR/Laptop bag has held up being hauled around day to day as well as travelling around the world with me. But for now, lets see how 10 years of wear and tear took its toll on one of Canons earlier digital SLRs.
After 10 years of abuse the camera is still in decent shape. The only functional problem with it was that the primary shutter button was starting to flake out, which for normal landscapes is not a big deal, but when you are trying to track a Great Blue Heron in flight you need it to work 100% of the time. I can't even guess how many exposures the shutter had on it, but it was probably significant. The only issue I had with the shutter was an ERR99 once back in 2006, but never it happened again. Towards the end the camera would lock up every now and then, requiring me to pull the batteries and put them back in.
At sometime in 2010 one of the arms on the eye cup that keep it in place snapped so it wouldn't stay on. Other than that, its got some scratches and wear marks but thats it. It's held up like a tank, and most of the damage is purely cosmetic.
This camera just shows the quality the Canon brand delivers. Ten years is a very long time for any piece of equipment, let alone something as high-precision as an SLR. It's been at my side while sloshing around rivers, knee deep in snow, sudden downpours, freezing nights, and hot summer days. I love this camera, and while I'm sad it's going up on the shelf, I am excited to see what kind of adventures my new EOS 6D will have with me.