Sunday, September 26, 2010

Economics @ Home © Volume 2 Issue 20

Maximum Utility

This is going into the second year after my graduation from Bucknell University, which also marks the second year of my ownership of my Nikon D40. Purchasing my very first DSLR was a long and arduous process because of how much it costs and more importantly, because of how miserly I am (according to my mother). Against all odds, I decided to invest in a real man’s camera, supposedly the most practical of its kind.

Now, two years down the road, with the surge in social network activity, photo sharing becomes increasingly taken for granted. In fact, some of the photos are completely unnecessary and probably better left unshared. Nonetheless, this issue is not a whine-fest about Facebook and other similar sites. After two years of experiencing the barrage of photos from friends and even strangers in Facebook, there are two lessons that I can draw. First, there is a trend of improving photography skills among the common folk. Second, my Nikon D40 is utterly underutilized.

Seeing people take blurry pictures and having the courage to share it online made me realize that I need to make full use of my D40 a bit more. One of the main reasons I have not dragged it along everywhere I go is that I cannot afford an indoor lens (yet). With the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, the D40 is only good for outdoor purposes. My next target acquisition would be to either get an 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (can’t afford the f/2.8 lens, which costs around RM7,000 last I checked, plus, using that on a D40 would be a laughing stock) or a fixed 50 mm f/1.4 AF-S. I think that acquisition process will be another long and arduous one as well.

But I digress. The point of today’s issue is, how often do we purchase items that we hardly use? The easiest example would be, girls and their clothes and shoes. Although my sample size is somewhat limited, the proportion of girls who own clothes and shoes that they have not used for more then 3 times is sufficient for me to conclude that this problem of buying things we don’t use is fairly common. I have recently made an acquisition where its utility is somewhat controversial.

While many of you are getting excited about the iPhone 4, I must say that I have managed to stay behind the curve by buying an iPhone 3GS. The motive of that purchase is not the topic of discussion today, but I want to address the question, what can I do with my iPhone to make it worth the money? So far, I have not jail broken it. I have used it to surf the net, used the maps (pretty awesome stuff, I have been to the jungle and back), emailed, blogged, played games, read books, updated my calendar and maybe a few more insignificant things on it. Has the value of the iPhone paid off its price? Quite likely.

As for the D40, I am not too sure. Nonetheless, I can rest assured that its value cannot decrease. Even the newer D40x has not replaced its uberness. So I can take my sweet time in adding a new lens to it.

What about you? Planning to buy something you will likely not fully utilize?