The Cost of Technology and When to Buy It October 31 2008, 0 Comments

It seems as though every time you invest in a piece of technology, six months later there is something newer and faster on the market. In the last 24 months, there have been three versions of Photo Shop, CS2, CS3 and now CS4. How does one know when to put down those hard earned dollars for the best technology available?

The answer is, you don’t always know. The truth is that companies such as Adobe and Canon are working on the next bit of technology before the latest product has even hit the store shelves. That is what makes them the best and the most dependable. However, there are some guidelines you might want to think about so that you can work with technology without going broke!

Assess what you have. Having tons of negatives, I recently replaced a flat bed scanner that was no longer supported by Epson. Yes, it was that old! I was happily surprised that the cost for a much better, faster model with even more whistles and bells cost about the same as my old model. In this case I got much more for my money, but so much time had lapsed between updated models that the cost of that technology had actually come down in price. Why did I wait so long? Because what I had worked for me. I didn’t need anything that the scanner I had didn’t do. I had no driving need to replace it. It was only when it stopped performing functions that I had a need to replace it.

I am about to update my Photo Shop. I skipped buying CS3 because when I did the research regarding the updated features, there were not enough of them to warrant spending the money for the new software. However, with CS4, there are obvious upgrades that will be beneficial to the professional work that I turn out. In this case, I can turn out a better product.

Canon is about to unleash its new 5D Mark II digital camera. It has a 3” display screen. A year ago I might have not thought much about that. I don’t edit in the field. But hitting middle age has changed my eyes and now that 3” screen will be valuable to me. It is dust resistant. Anything that can help me keep from sending my cameras in for cleaning four or five times a year will be great. The new RAW format is offered with three uncompressed sizes, another fabulous feature. This camera was worth waiting for! There are so many new features on this little gem; I am hoping I can get my hands on one!

But with each of the three items I have mentioned, computer equipment, software, and camera equipment, an evaluation has taken place. What am I using and does it serve a purpose? If what you have works for you, you don’t NEED to replace it. Are there features that will allow you to do your job more efficiently? Will those features save you time? Finally, will the purchase of the new technology allow you to take on more work, and bigger jobs?

Sometimes, a reward is in order, a new toy is fun! But if you are determining need over want, it is important to assess, do the research, and calculate how much work you will have to generate in order to make the new technology pay for itself!