Camera Dilemmas

Alouette Lake, BC (Alouette Lake on a sunny May afternoon)

A couple of years ago, I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 point and shoot digital camera. The ZS10’s were going out to make way for the ZS20’s, so the price was right.

That Panasonic was my third digital camera in five years. I started off with a fairly inexpensive Canon Power Shot. The third time I dropped in onto the cement was the clincher – the screen cracked. I moved up from there to a more expensive, newer model of the same Canon camera. I had that camera for about two years. The mechanism that kept the door closed over the batteries and the camera card wouldn’t stay shut. A couple of times the batteries simply rolled out and hit the ground.

So, along came the Panasonic Lumix. I loved that camera. It fit perfectly into my pocket and it felt right in my hands. I was pleased with the photos I was getting of the grandkids and loving the extra photographic abilities I had when we travelled. But almost immediately, I experienced problems with the recording function. If I tried to zoom, I would usually end up with blur. I chalked this up to zooming too close and user (me) error.

Then we took a trip to Northern California and experienced Yellowstone. The hot pots sort of did the camera in, though I didn’t know it at the time. I got way too close to photograph bubbling, steaming, spewing mud pots. Soon after that, I noticed I was taking photos with what appeared to be dark squiggles against any blue sky background. We stopped at a funky little camera shop and had the camera lens cleaned. While we were there we decided to get Bruce an awesome, new lightweight, telescoping tripod and a polarizing filter. The lens cleaning was all to no avail – the squiggles remained. (If you look closely at the photo at the top of this post, you’ll notice the odd worm like squiggle in the sky.)

Brit & Emma - Alouette Lake, BC - Guenette photo

(Emma and Brit at Alouette Lake. Kids will cavort in the water regardless the month of the year or the temperature of the water. I severely cropped this photo to get the squiggles out of the sky but they’re still visible in the water.)

When we returned from the trip, I mentioned the problem to my daughter and she reminded me the warranty was still on the camera. I should return it. The thought had never occurred to me. The store sent it away for repairs and it came back as good as new – but it wasn’t new and it wasn’t good for long. Within a few months the squiggles reappeared. Then the zoom function began to act up or rather, agreed to act only now and then. As of last month (less than two years since purchasing the camera) I found myself in the market to buy another.

The Panasonic Lumix line was still my first choice. I’m a bit of an optimist and I think I got a bit of a lemon with the ZS10. The ZS-30 was 2014’s top rated point and shoot camera on more than one consumer report. I decided to take a look at it. It’s slimmer than my old ZS-10, the casing doesn’t feel as sturdy and charging the Lithium-ion battery is a complicated process of hooking a cable with USB plug at one end to an adapter that plugs into the wall and then attaching the other end of the cable to the actual camera. I am used to taking the battery out of the camera, plunking it into a charger and plugging that into the wall.

Brit - Guenette photo(Backyard pool party. Loving the crystal clarity of this photo.)

I bought it anyway. Once again, the ZS30’s are marked down to rush them out and make room for the even more expensive ZS40’s. I feel like I got a good price. I’ve had a riot taking pictures. I’m pleased with the way the camera quickly adjusts to various light levels when set to Intelligent Automatic – my go-to setting. I downloaded a bunch of pictures to my computer this evening and was happy to know I wouldn’t have to crop and erase due to wormy shapes running here and there. I like the slimmer, lighter feeling of the camera and I’ll learn to live with the clunky battery charging process.

Emma - Guenette photo(Emma, all ready for school. I focused in on her face. Next time, I’ll venture out of the Intelligent Automatic and try the special anti-blur setting.)

Here’s to happy shutter-bugging in the days ahead. And my fingers are crossed hoping I won’t be replacing this camera in under two years. Word to the wise – if you suspect the lens seal on your digital camera has been compromised and it’s still under warranty, it might be better to insist on a new camera than to allow them to simply ‘fix’ the camera in question. Once moisture has wormed its way in, there will always be problems. One camera guy told me – it’s like having arthritis in your shoulder. You know damn well that shoulder is always going to hurt. Nothing you can do about it.

Brit & Emma - Guenette photo

14 comments on “Camera Dilemmas

  1. sknicholls says:

    Love the My Little Kitties on the little kiddies. So much fun!

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Lovely pics of the little ones. I recently bought a Power Shot, my first camera since the days of roll film. I’m totally hopeless and look with bemusement at all the things it can do which I don’t need. What a great thing though to be able to take a dozen shots and zap as many as you like without cost.

    • The digital age has certainly meant it’s all on for trying out various techniques and then simply pressing delete on everything that doesn’t work out. I am having a riot with the anti-blur feature on this latest camera.

  3. I lost one camera in a river in Canada so I know exactly how you feel Francis!! I now resort to my iPhone, which is terrible I know but I always have it on me and it actually seems to take fairly good shots. Happy snapping!

    • I’m always paranoid about dropping my camera over cliff edges or bodies of water – am totally addicted to the wrist strap. There is certainly a huge trend to photographing with an iPhone. Simple and convenient. Our problem – no iPhones 🙂 They do take good photos – I’ve seen some great shots from my daughter’s phone and they got sent to me immediately. What more could someone ask for?

  4. Gwen Stephens says:

    Ever since hi-def cameras became available on smartphones, I haven’t used a “real” camera. Judging by your photos above, I can see the advantage of still using one. They are crystal clear.

    • I guess it’s a case of convenience over the possibility of getting a better shot. No point in being brutal on the idea that real photographers use real cameras. The whole idea of what constitutes a “real” camera is changing all the time. It’s hard to keep up. I am pleased with my choice, for sure – plus I don’t have an iPhone.

  5. jackiemallon says:

    No wormy squiggles evident from here. But I’m half blind. Happy clicking! I take my iPhone everywhere and that’s the best I can manage. One day I would like to play around with a professional camera xo

    • Thanks. I did edit these as best I could but I could still see the marks – knew where to look, I guess. That is the great thing about digital photography – you can experiment to your heart’s content.

  6. clareweiner says:

    What a proud Grandma! Lovely pics too! (Yep, all grandmas are proud, goes with the territory … and now …whatever did grandmas do when they had to take the little ones to the photographer’s shop, and wait a week to collect the pictures?!) Have more fun with your camera, Francis!

    • Sometimes I really get to over thinking the whole digital camera and photos thing – the multitude of images can be a problem just as the scarcity of photos in the past was an issue. But taking photos of the little ones is so much fun and so filled with instant gratification – I won’t be stopping anytime soon.

  7. The photos suggest your new camera was a good choice. I love cameras that can slip into my handbag, yet have a good enough lens and zoom to give me good quality photos of a resolution that allows them to be used in a large format.

    • Ease of carrying in my pocket was one of my main considerations and this model is even thinner and lighter than my last camera – all good things. It really seems to be the whole package – with all of the above. Fingers crossed I don’t drop it too many times or abuse it too much in other ways. (i.e. steam pots). 🙂

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