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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My digital camera

I loved photography, a long time ago.  I had a lovely Minolta with a built in light meter.  I liked the process so much I built a dark room in my basement and printed my pictures.  I liked being able to manipulate the image or adjust the developing process.  I took one course in photography at the local community college and utterly disregarded the professor’s mantra:  everything you do to the picture is another opportunity to ruin you work.

When I started weaving, there was little time to fool with pictures.  Even making jury photos wasn’t realistic.  I didn’t have a professional set-up, let alone access to a New York model.  I gave away my darkroom equipment to a fellow who had an interest, and the Minolta to a young design student who needed a good camera for a college course.  I used little disposable cameras for the next ten years.
One day I noticed Beth taking pictures with a little silver camera.  It had one big button to turn it on and one button to take the picture.  Software transferred the pictures to computer.  It ran on two rechargeable batteries. It was the new millenium. It was a little Fuji and I bought one. 

I used that camera for at least ten years.  I passed it along to a grandchild who wanted a camera, and went looking for a new one.  My, how they’ve changed.  I still  didn’t know much about the actual functioning of a digital camera, so I went to a big box store and bought one a clerk recommended.  He probably would have liked it for his girlfriend.  It’s a Kodak, a name I respect.  I didn’t expect to go wrong.

Sadly, this camera and I never hit it off.  The “on” button is tiny.  The shutter is scarcely bigger.  In between are two more buttons I’ve not figured out.  There are ten more buttons on the back.  I don’t use them. All this on a camera that cost about a hundred dollars.  No manual came in the box; that was downloadable. 

The camera took only eight pictures before it quit.  “Internal memory is full.”  Six months later I found the place in the hundred page manual that told me to buy an internal card.  Back at the same store I learned, “Oh, yeah, they don’t come with the card.”  I think that was forty or fifty bucks.  But, I could take pictures.  I’d just started this blog, and it was good to have more than eight pictures to choose among.

I’d owned the camera about two years when the original battery would no longer hold a charge, so off to Radio Shack to buy a new battery, last March.  Another forty bucks.  In May that battery gave out.  I stomped back to Radio Shack.  Here, at least, I could spread my frustration around.

The nice young man pushed the thumb hinge and opened the battery case.  The problem was obvious.  The flimsy little orange hinge holding the battery broke off.  Gratuitously.  Two years old and moved one time, to replace the battery last March.  In my estimation, the epitome of faulty design and/or workmanship inside a product carrying the Kodak name.  The nice young man offered to take back the battery, but I had an idea.  I did thank him for his time and help.

The camera was full of pictures I wanted, and I thought I could download them by shoving the battery in with my finger until it made enough contact to activate the camera.  When that worked, I thought about how to keep the battery in place for the short term.  So, my camera battery has a toothpick holding it down, and a nice piece of painters’ tape securing the cover, to keep it from popping open.

Of course I wrote a letter to Kodak, telling them my two year old camera has a defective battery tab.  By return mail I have a letter from Jose S. at Kodak.  I have to read the manual to see if my camera is under warranty. (I doubt it.)  I have to send it back together with proof of purchase, and pay for the repair if the camera is out of warranty.

I’ve thought this over.  The offer is unreasonable.  We have been brainwashed into believing it is reasonable, but it is not. 

I should be able to return where I purchased it, with proof of purchase, and have any clerk be able to determine the part should not have failed and exchange the camera with a “Sorry for your trouble.”  In the world of electronics, I’ve learned, one deals with the manufacturer now, not the manufacturer’s representative, the store.

Shame on you, Kodak.  I’ve felt some sympathy for the demise of a pioneering name in the industry, but my shoddily built and serviced little camera with your name on it is a metaphor.   

17 comments:

  1. We live in a disposable society where nothing is made to last. If we expect quality, we are disappointed.
    Jane x

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  2. Very frustrating that something so new would be giving trouble.

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  3. I'm actually surprised you heard back from Kodak at all. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in January of this year. They were not ready for the digital era and were trying to get back into it with some cheap copycat cameras. I've had good experiences with both Cannon and Nikon. Those big box stores don't pay to have knowledgeable clerks anymore (sad really). You need to research online today.
    Did you get the pictures off the camera?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the tooth pick fix is working while I look into a new camera.

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  4. it's not just your camera. if you want a warranty on anything for longer than the time it takes you to get the item home, you have to buy it. it's extra.

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    1. I really hate this, too. I always turn down the warranty, saying "It better not break."

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  5. I bet it was made in China or another asian country with poor quality control :-).

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  6. Returning a product is made to be so much work on purpose so that the customer will not return the defective product. That is why I got my new big girl camera at Costco where is can be returned within 90 days if I do not like it. I love it though. I had a Kodak Easy Share point and shoot camera for several years that I never had an issue with. I have tons of issues with cell phones and internet devices to make up the difference.

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  7. I am happy to make unhappy noises quite loudly when necessary - and your camera sounds a case in point.
    On the flip side I also write thank you letters. Last year I wrote to our local ambulance service (long story) thanking them for assistance and support over and above my expectations. They wrote back thanking me for thanking them... I didn't continue.

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  8. you can take the memory card out and use a usb card reader to download the photos, a card reader is much cheaper than a new camera! Cameras have changed at an amazing rate and you should look again at getting one x

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  9. You know the funny thing is, Kodak always had quality film and photofinishing but never had wonderful cameras... ever. I used to be a reporter/photographer for 25 years and knew a lot about cameras and Kodaks were always rubbish. I've had a fairly inexpensive Sony for the last five years and it has been an awesome camera. But I hear Sony now outsources their work and their stuff isn't anywhere near as good as it used to be. If I was in the market for a camera right now I would probably buy a Nikon. Canon or Minolta is good, too, but I had a Nikon digital camera for work and that thing was indestructible.
    Bonus points for you for your ingenuity!

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  10. They don't make them like theby used to anymore. In this throw-away world, technology changes so fast that people don't even wait for things to wear out, they just want the newest and fastest gadgets out on the market. I think manufacturers don't make things to last as people don't keep things long.

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  11. I have two digital cameras, a Canon which uses two AA batteries and a Sony which uses a flat square rechargable battery. I bought a spare battery for the Sony at a cost of $70, which I think is worth it as I have a spare battery always with me when out taking photos. Each newly charged battery takes around 400 photos. A battery recharger was included in the box the camera came in.
    Both cameras came with an SD card of 512mb, this takes about 8 photos. This was clearly stated in the manual which came with both cameras, so on purchase of each camera, I also bought SD cards with much more memory. I have 2GB, 4GB and 8GB SD cards.
    My Canon is probably 6 years old now and the Sony is 4. Both cameras still work extremely well, with no parts ever having broken.

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  12. P.S. Both of my cameras came with a twelve month warranty. With both of them I had an option to purchase the extended warranty, but I was confident the brands I chose were good, I knew the cameras would be fine, so I didn't bother with the extended warranties.

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  13. I have been disappointed by lousy cameras so often that I shy away from taking pictures. My previous camera broke and my daughter bought me a new one but we don't get along at all. When I load the photos onto the computer, I can't download them because they get huge. It's so frustrating, I just give up.

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  14. I used to have Pentax back in the day which lasted more than 25 years, now I have Sony digital which has, knock on wood, lasted almost ten, but today planned obsolescence is the way of most things, so the big corps can make money and then with all the foreign parts even if they (Kodak) don't plan on it, it happens.

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  15. Sorry to hear this. I have a Kodak digital, but I bought it two years ago and since I haven't bought any other cameras (no money or need to), I take photos occasionally when I go out and about. I find it very user friendly and it has a memory card. I attach a part of the camera to my computer to upload any photos I take and share them this way. I was surprised at how easy it was, since I am not very into new technology, being as old fashioned as I am. LOL!

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