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January 30, 2013

Prime Price Paradox of Fixed Lens Digital Cameras: Then vs Now

A conversation with @ZDP189 on Twitter got me thinking, and one thought led to another, when this realization set in: the prime price paradox of fixed lens digital cameras. In the early days of digital cameras, most of the major digital camera manufacturers had to offer a zoomless (fixed focal length) fixed lens digital camera in order to offer consumers the lowest price possible. These were typically the lowest priced (and cheapest in terms of features and quality) cameras in their line-ups.

Fast forward to now, and none of the major digital camera manufacturers offers an entry-level zoomless fixed lens digital camera. The zoom ratios are growing. Even the 3X zoom is becoming rather rare.

But if you look at the most expensive fixed lens digital cameras, and what do you see? It's all primes, Big Sensor Primes (BSP) - zoomless fixed lens digital cameras! The Sony RX1, the Fuji X100S and X100, the Leica X2 and X1, the Sigma DP-Merrills. [check latest BSP reviews].

Obviously sensor-size, quality of lenses, camera features and such are the reasons for the price, but in terms of the camera line-ups, the tables have been turned upside down. The prime fixed lens cameras are now the leaders of the pack, the top of the line models, instead of the red shirts and cannon fodder!

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