Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Camera tales

20th January 2007

Anyone who has ever been on HennessyBlog will know that I enjoy walking in the countryside and that I always have a camera with me when I do. Like many digital SLR owners, I am beginning to see the tell-tale spots in my photos that are caused by a dirty sensor. And it isn’t that I am continually changing lenses either: I rarely remove the Sigma 18-50 mm DC zoom lens that I use with the camera. Rather than trusting myself with the cleaning (I have had a go already without much success), I am giving serious consideration to letting the professionals take care of my Canon EOS 10D, my only digital camera. I have already been quoted something of the order of £35 by a Canon service centre not far from me and am seriously considering taking them up on the offer.

Of course, sending it away to them means that I will have to forego the ability to include photos with posts on HennessyBlog describing my walks in the kind of timescale to which I have become accustomed; of course, this is where digital really scores. I will still have a camera with me as film remains my mainstay, even in this digital age. The camera in question is another Canon, an EOS 30 that I acquired used from Ffordes Photographic. While taking a recent peek at their website, I have just spied a used EOS 1V going for £399, a song for what remains Canon’s top of the range film SLR. Yes, I am tempted but I must stay real. In fact, I did not pay full price for my EOS 10D. That was part of the run-out stock that were selling off at next to half of the EOS 10D’s original asking price in the wake of its being superseded by the EOS 20D (itself since replaced by the EOS 30D: digital is a fast-moving world).

Sending a camera away for attention is not new to me as I also acquired a used Minolta X-700 manual focus SLR, again obtained from Ffordes, and that needed a spot of maintenance after a year in my possession. There was a problem with the shutter that cost me £75 to get Minolta to fix. Now that Minolta as a camera maker is no more, I was wondering who would attend to it in the future. That question was answered by a recent look on the web: in the UK it is JP Service Solutions, a division of Johnson’s Phototopia. Konica Minolta retain this information on their website. Konica Minolta’s failure to capitalise effectively on the digital revolution in its early days, particularly in the SLR area where they gifted their competitors a massive head start, cost them their future in the photographic business and now Sony continues the mantle, a sad end to one of camera manufacturing’s great innovators.

Returning to my digital-less dilemma, I suppose that I could get another digital for backup duty; I have to admit that a DSLR is a bulky contraption to be carrying in airline luggage. The camera that has made it onto my wish list is Ricoh’s GR Digital, a highly regarded offering that follows in the great tradition of its film forbears, the GR 1 and GR 21. Given that my first 35 mm camera was a Ricoh, and I have it still, this would be a case of returning to my roots. Of course, having it on a wish list is very different from having it on the to-do list and finances will certainly dictate if the purchase is made, though a finance deal offered by Warehouse Express does make it more accessible. Maybe some day…

Ricoh GR Digital


  • dearj says:

    I, too have lusted after the GR Digital since it was announced. How about (if you don’t mind secondhand) a Sony DSC-V1 instead? The lens is sharp, the size passably small, it controls and handles reasonably well (hate the dedicated ‘play’ mode on the shooting dial), and even if you do get one with the dreaded sensor failure, Sony have announced that they’ll fix it for free (here in the States, I didn’t even have to pay for shipping). I’ve a few samples on my flickr site, if you’re interested.

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