Out, Damned Spot!

I like taking pictures — so much so that my lovely wife gently kids me by making a snapshot button motion and the sound of a shutter closing whenever she knows I’ve seen something I think is photo-worthy. For the last few years, I’ve used a Canon PowerShot SX260HS to give me my photo fix.

IMG_4586It’s been a great, dependable camera, with only one problem.  A few months ago I noticed a small dust spot on the interior of the lens.  Over time, the spot grew and became more noticeable in my photos.  I tried cleaning the outer lens, blowing air into the lens area, and even jarring the camera to try to dislodge the spot.  Nothing worked, so I asked Kish to take the camera to a shop for cleaning.  That night she reported that the shopkeeper said that cleaning the camera would requires shipping it somewhere for at least two months and would cost more than the camera’s original purchase price.  Why not buy a new camera, she said.

Ah ha! I thought.  That’s obviously the camera manufacturers’ planned obsolescence gambit.  They know there is dust in the world, and they design a camera that doesn’t keep out the dust and a lens that can’t be cleaned.  Then they sit back, satisfied, knowing that a noticeable interior dust spot will form on the lens and eventually the camera owner will yield to the inevitable.

Initially, I resisted this latest evidence of our “disposable” world.  We don’t live in the Sahara.  I take reasonably good care of the camera, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last for more than a few years.  I continued to fiddle with the camera, hoping for improvement.  I specifically framed my photos so that the dust spot smudge would be in a darkened area and therefore less noticeable.  But the spot continued to grow even more distinctive, ruining many an otherwise fine photo — until, like Lady Macbeth, I could abide the spot no more.

So now I’ve got a new Canon PowerShot camera that we picked up through our rewards points program.  I guess I’m going to have to keep it in a hermetically sealed container — and maybe even read the instruction manual, too.

My New Camera

Nothing says “summer” and impending travel quite like buying a new camera.

My old digital camera was a Sony Cyber-shot.  It was a good camera, about three years old, but it developed a smudge spot on the interior of the lens that I could not fix.  Rather than paying somebody about as much as I spent on the camera in the first place to try to remedy the problem, I stopped using the Cyber-shot and for the last few months have been relying on my iPhone instead.  The iPhone camera is fine, and handy in a pinch, but it doesn’t have much zoom capability and some of the other features you want in a good digital camera.

We’ll be on the road a bit over the summer, including my first-ever trip to the Pacific Northwest and a visit to Maine, and I want to have a good camera to record our adventures.  Today I bought one.  After some advance research and careful consideration, I settled on the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS.  It fell into my price range (about $300, with memory card), is supposed to be sturdy and reliable, and has the increased zoom focus and other features I want.  Much as I like taking pictures — and I do, so much so that Kish enjoys kidding me about it — I really don’t have the photographic ability, or the bank account, to justify spending more than a few hundred dollars on a digital camera.

I owned Canons in the film camera days of yore, and I was always happy with them. With my new gadget, I feel a bit like a kid with a new toy.