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.)
(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.
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.
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.