Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Digital Camera Saga

For the second time in four years we have experienced problems with our Canon POWERSHOT S1 IS digital camera. Most recently, the image displayed in the view finder was completely black preventing any attempts at capturing a picture. This was a huge disappointment, since I first noticed the problem during a family outing where I very much wanted to take pictures.

Afterwards, I inquired with the camera store where we had purchased the Canon about the possibility of repair. I was told it would cost $140 for Canon to even look at the camera. Since this was the second time we had experienced problems with this camera, we decided to forego the repair and put the $140 towards a new camera.

We decided on the Nikon Coolpix P80. Unfortunately, you can no longer buy just a camera. The $350 purchase quickly turned into $450 with the addition of accessories. None of our Canon accessories: batteries, memory card or camera bag were compatible with our new Nikon.

After relaying my Canon digital camera saga to a co-worker who happens to be a photography buff, I decided to talk directly with the manufacturer about my camera. My co-worker’s experience with Canon has been that they always stand behind their products. Sure enough, Canon had recently issued a service advisory addressing my camera's problem. They volunteered to fix the camera for free. They emailed me a pre-paid UPS label and within a couple of days my Canon was back in our possession working like new.

This saga has worked out well in the long run; we now have a new camera we love plus a backup that works like new. That is, if we don’t think about the $450 were hadn’t planned on spending.

Lessons learned:
-Always contact the manufacturer directly if you are not satisfied with the distributor’s response to a service query. The camera store’s interest was in making a new sale not repairing our old camera.

-With technology constantly improving; items such as digital cameras, printers, mp-3 players and cell phones quickly can become obsolete. When replacing these items be prepared to spend money not only on the replacement item, but also on its accessories.

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