Tuesday 4 December 2012

The Death of a Camera

All of our photography has been done with three cameras.
Most photos are taken with an iPhone 4S.
Sometimes we use the iPad for photos.
For the past six years, a Powershot A640 has been the workhorse.
But no more.

Early in the Fall, the Powershot lens failed to retract when it was turned off.
The screen showed a lens error and the internet searches for easy fixes turned up little.
During the rain today, I thought I would see if it was repairable.

Now I'm pretty darn good at fixing things.
I have no problem patting myself on the back for intrepid tenacity when it comes to making things work when they won't.
There haven't been many things that I couldn't fix.
Electronics, however, continue to plague my good record.
Unless it has a blown fuse or a broken wire, electronics end up in the scrap bin.
I save the parts for future repairs, but so far, the steep slope of electronics has kept me trodding along fruitlessly.

The lens issue with this camera seemed like an easy mechanical fix.
The lens would not go back in.
I figured it was just a skipped gear tooth or a stop gone too far.
Perhaps I was right, but the gear assembly is buried so far into the camera that the scene grew bleaker at each turn of a tiny screw.
To make matters worse, the 'crappy tire' screwdriver set is junk and the tips wore off after only a few screws.
The internet was fairly clear on the issue;
either blow the sand out and it should work,
or toss it.
The camera is out-dated.
But it is better to fix than to replace.
The camera still took good photos until it's final moments.

I miss my old Minolta srt200.
It never did break.
Film shooting was expensive and became obsolete once the digital cameras improved.
The Minolta was a cast off that I scavenged as junk.
With only a 28-70 Zoom lens, I took photos for many years and adventures.
The Powershot saw our kids grow up, but I never formed the same kind of bond to it as I did with the brick-heavy SLR that helped me learn photography and captured the spirit of my youth.
The kids play with the old Minolta now.
Even with the punishing abuse of children, the camera has only suffered the loss of the aperture preview button, and would likely still work fine with a fresh roll of film.

The Powershot is done.
It doesn't need parts, but the gear assembly needs to be cleared of grit and properly reassembled.
After several hours of painstaking sweatshop re-creation, it still may not work properly.
So it is heading to the scrap bin.
There still may be a future incarnation for the camera parts as a costume, or a science project, or as components in some crazy project.
I think it would still turn on if the batteries were installed,
like some twisted wreckage of a robot facing it's imminent demise.

There's serious talk of a camera upgrade around here.
Perhaps even a 'his' and 'hers' solution.
But I'm content with something small and simple.
I stopped hiding behind the lens years ago.
Just a little something for the pocket to capture and share when the moment is right.


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