The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 13 November 2009

Camera Troubles

At the beginning of September, at a critical moment whilst standing atop a model of a section of Hadrian’s Wall at Vindolanda, our camera’s auto-focus ceased to focus. For a couple more days it was a bit hit or miss as to whether it would play along, or whether it would whir away before coming up with a nasty blue error screen. Then it died completely.

That was disappointing indeed. I can’t say that I thought much of the picture quality that it produced, but we had only had it for 20 months and I was a long way from ready to fork out for a new one.

As much as I wasn’t impressed by the Olympus mju700 it has four benefits: 1) at 104g it’s very light (the main basis upon which I originally bought it); 2) it’s weatherproof; 3) I already own spare batteries for it; and 4) I already have the right memory cards for it. Buying a new camera would likely result in something heavier, not weatherproof, and it seemed highly unlikely that the chosen model would require the same battery or memory card.

The happy solution seemed to be to take the ‘spare camera’, which we inherited, out of the drawer and use that instead. Much chunkier and less user friendly it may have been, but it took decent snaps.

Alas, on its first outing, on Dartmoor, we came to the conclusion that the battery indicator is dicky. Sometimes it’s happy that the brand-new lithium batteries are good. Sometimes it’s convinced that they’re dead and switches off. Sometimes it takes one photo in the belief that the batteries are good, then switches itself off. Switch it back on and it may be fine again for a few more shots or it may randomly decide that it’s powerless. Add that fault to the bulk (it won’t fit in my hipbelt pocket) and it didn’t take long for me to become resigned to getting a new camera.

As much as it rankled to settle for poor picture quality again, if I could have picked up another Olympus mju700 at a reasonable price then I would have, because for my level of snap-shots the plus-points outweigh the major drawback. But I couldn’t pick one up at a price that justified that decision, so it was back to the drawing board.

The new camera arrived last Monday (Canon Ixus 95IS). My initial test shots that afternoon, around the River Crane and the outside of Twickenham Stadium, in failing light, were highly uninspiring. So when I popped out for a walk this morning I took an abnormally large number of photos.

See next post…


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