June of 2003 I treated myself to a then-new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U20 digital camera. It was nothing special; clocking in at only 2MP and with no zoom, there were already dozens of cameras on the market that outperformed it, but its magic was in its tiny size.
Even today, it’s tough to find something smaller. You can get thinner, and you can get lighter, and you can get ‘em with three times the resolution and a massive optical zoom, but you’ll be hard pressed to find smaller. And it’s all about the smaller… if my camera were any bigger I wouldn’t be able to take it anywhere. I’m a guy, I have pockets: I don’t do manbags.
After two years and a good 3000 happy snaps, tragedy struck. I was camping, it was cold, and I was snuggled up inside a doona in my 3-man tent (which comfortably sleeps 2 men) after a day of barbecuing, football, and binge drinking. By the next evening, any photos I took looked like this:
The best explanation I could muster was that either:
- I slept on it and crushed something important, or
- The moisture that builds up in a cold tent occupied by two warm bodies got into it.
Either way, I put it down to the short half-life of modern gadgetry, and pondered what my next camera would be like.
On return from camping I visited a store in the Hay street mall to check the price of cameras nowadays and inquire about repairs, at which I was snootily informed that I could buy a newer, better camera than that one for a paltry $700. Comments about the relative size of these “better” cameras were met with no answer… the permed dork in a suit working at the camera store had no better suggestions and no advice for repair, so I was shit out of luck.
For the next few months I pondered different models of camera, different models of cameraphone (don’t get me started on those, even as they push the 2MP barrier their photo quality is lousy and their flashes are barely worth labeling as such)… always coming out disappointed. Until today.
No, I’m still not getting a new camera, but Sony has announced that the CCDs in my (and many other) model camera, when exposed to humidity, have a high likelihood of failure: failure that looks identical to the kind I’m experiencing. And they’re offering free repair, even out of warranty. I gotta say, Sony, you’re all class. I’ll be consulting permed-camera-store-jerk at my earliest convenience.