Why Contributors’ Expensive Equipment is Good For You

So, you may have noticed as part of last week’s iStockphoto.com big announcements, there was included a per credit price increase of $1 for a package of 10 credits, and a smaller amount as amount purchased increases.  There was also the introduction of the new Value collection, with lower credits per image prices (to be introduced early 2009 with 200,000 images) and the Premiere Collection with offering the bestest of the bestest at a higher cost.  Additionally, the Standard collection has credits per image prices rising from the medium size on up.  So, you’ve got a new way to save money on the Value end, an increase from the middle up in the Standard set, and a new collection of imagery at appropriate prices at the Premiere end.

Ok, so nobody likes price increases, especially with things the way they are now, and to be honest, in my unknowingness of the costs of their end of the business, I would have keep things closer to the way they were.   Schooner Tuna anyone 🙂 ?  However, let’s take a look at why your customers might be happy you have to pay a little bit more.


Enter the Canon 1ds MK3, the flagship Canon DSLR.  It sports a 21MP sensor, with excellent light sensitivity.  That’s 5616 x 3744 pixels, or natively, 18 inches x 12 inches printed at 300 DPI.  It’s also an $8000 camera.  But if you wanted a DSLR with that kind of resolution to be able to offer XXL images on iStockphoto last summer, it was either that or the 1ds MK2, which now clocks in with 4 year old technology.  So, to be able to offer you, the buyer, maximum flexibility on image size, for anything from a web image to a car wrap, a contributor needed to pay out the big bucks to get a 1ds MK3.  Well, at least I did, and I’ve been shooting my imagery at XXL sizes since June.

Aside from being able to purchase a huge sized image, you get a nice bonus in the lower sizes.  Back when I was shooting with my 6MP Digital Rebel, offering L sized images, sometimes you got noise in your images when shooting in less than optimum conditions.  You always try to shoot at the lowest ISO possible, but sometimes, a situation might call for pushing the envelope.  Well, with the 1ds MK3, not only do you get less noise when shooting in the higher ISOs (sensitivity), when the image is downsized for the smaller sizes on iStockphoto, the appearance of any noise is reduced, and may even be rendered non-noticeable.  So, an L size from the 1ds MK3 in most cases will of a higher quality than an L from the Digital Rebel.

Also, just being delivered today (to me, at least), is the brand new Canon 5d MK2.  I had been shooting with the original 5d since 2005, until I received my 1ds MK3.  The 5d MK2, also sports a 21MP sensor, along with some other new fancy additions, like the ability to record HD 30i video.  I’ll use this as my backup for my 1ds MK3 (instead of my old 5d), but I really wanted to be able to shoot and offer some quality video from something other than the HDV camera I’m currently using.  Using the 5d MK2 allows for the user to use interchangeable lenses, as well as get some great depth of field, something lacking from your normal HDV camera.  While lacking some of the truly “pro” features of the 1ds MK3, the 5d MK comes in at a respectable $2700.

So, these price increases directly affect the contributor’s ability to purchase new, expensive equipment to be able to offer you the best, high quality content.  Don’t forget, along with a new camera, inevitably comes the need for better lenses, or a more powerful computer, additional hard drive space and new software upgrades.  Perhaps, explaining a bit of this to your clients will help then understand the benefit they are deriving from the annual announcement.  Or just keep it in your mind, reveling in the great quality you are able to offer for such a relatively reasonable price.

5 thoughts on Why Contributors’ Expensive Equipment is Good For You

  1. Hi old buddy Sean! Congrats on getting the new 5d mk ii – i got mine on Tuesday this week… what an exciting camera! Thought I’d let you know that there’s a wiki we’ve set up for the 5d and we’ve got tons of samples and info.. it is http://planet5d.com – come on over and contribute! 🙂

  2. I am pretty new to the stock image gig. You do nice work, Sean! Cannot wait for what you do next. There is a particular model I am interested in knowing who it is…
    On iStockphoto “Search Results : 202 matches for sjlocke’s Portfolio – male1” He is the main model. Tanks for doing what you do so well!!! Happy 2009 to you!

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