Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Pain in the Camera

Sigh, I been having the disposable electronics blues. A few months ago my digital camera (a Canon Powershot A710IS, with which I was very happy) stopped working. On pushing the power button, it would attempt to turn on, beep sadly and report "Lens Error". Something was wrong with the lens, but what? A web search revealed that this was a common problem with Canon cameras (it used to be called Error E18), and that there were a few things I could try. The easier ones (like giving it a solid whack) didn't help, so the other day I finally took the plunge and opened it up. It was quite a journey dismantling it so I could get to the lens assembly. I must have taken out 20 screws, which I carefully put on a piece of paper with a note for where they came from (yes, good planning!). I finally got the lens out and had a fiddle - it seemed to move fine, and there didn't seem to be any sand jamming up the works, although it's possible the gears had slipped out of alignment. I was about to put it all back together to see if I had magically fixed it, but decided to take it one more step. Rrrrrip! There goes a ribbon cable. Well, so much for that.

So now I had a camera that was definitely broken. As my housemate pointed out, I was no worse off than before. But I didn't feel that way - if only I'd put it back together, I moaned, it would work and I would be happy! A search on the web revealed that it's nigh on impossible to get a replacement lens assembly (and would cost a pretty penny if it weren't), let alone a new ribbon cable. But, someone is selling the same model camera for only about $150 on ebay. $150 to end up where I was before? Maybe I should upgrade.

Then I realised I had another broken camera, my Fujifilm FinePix E550, which also took pretty decent photos but which I broke while getting myself out of a hairy situation on a mountain in New Zealand. I had jettisoned my pack and the LCD display had smashed as it tumbled away. A small price to pay, I figured, given that I still had my life.

Turns out I can get a replacement LCD for only $60. Great! So I just sat down to open it up and check that the job would be doable. But I couldn't even get the case open - the screws are some special tri-star shape. Obstructionist buggers! Well, an extra hurdle, but I'll manage.

So much to avoid buying yet another camera! My first one lasted from September 2005 - January 2007. Only 16 months! My second managed a bit longer: January 2007 - May 2010, so 3.5 years. But it hasn't had a lot of use for the past 2.5 years, what with my CFS and all.

So anyway, disappointed at disposable electronics. I will just have to reframe my expectations of how long such things should last - i.e. not very long! Maybe I should just accept consumerism and commit to working lots in order to support the habit. Hah!

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