Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A History of "Cheap" Plastic Devices Used to Produce the Images on this Website

2001: The Kodak DX3900 represents a way into digital photography! I'd had film cameras since age 5, but was only using disposables following the demise of my Sigma 35mm. For $300, plus the cost of a 48mb Compact Flash card, this pricy Christmas present allows me to take thousands of photos of the end of my college career and my descent into NY squalor as an "entry level publishing" employee. I start to have thoughts of getting a better, higher-resolution camera in spring of 2004. Then, when climbing up the pipe ladder to my loft space (which my roommate forced me to use after unknowingly tripping over his girlfriend while passing through his loft space), I drop it about 10 feet. It is destroyed.

April 2004: I replace the Kodak with the Sony DSC-P10 for another $300, plus $70 for a MemoryStick. I take it everywhere, including my first roadtrip, Seattle-Vancouver-NY. It also accompanies me on all my first year book traveler trips.

After a year of service, the same brown spots start appearing on any picture with the sky as background. There is dust in the lens assembly. Sony wants $180 to clean the camera. I give it to my brother.

June 2005: For just $225, the KonicaMinolta DiMAGE G600 is the best investment yet! Despite its proprietary battery, it accepts the MemoryStick, and its metal shell seems indestructible. It shoots at a sold 6 megapixels and produces awesome images of my Memphis-Missouri loop trip. At the end of December, 2005, while shooting on a filthy beach in New Haven with my brother, the camera stops turning on.

It never turns on again. When it breaks, it is two weeks outside its SHITTY 6-MONTH WARRANTY. I vow never to buy a KonicaMinolta product again, but they sell their camera division to Sony in March.

Late December 2005: The Konica breaks 36 hours before a trip to San Francisco, so there is no possibility of sending it in for service. My buddy Seth suggests I try the Micro Center in Cambridge, where I find, for $178, the 5.2mp HP M417. It takes AAs, but I have to get a Secure Digital card for it ($90 for 1GB in 12/05, now $45 in 6/06). This plastic P.O.S. has never let me down, and continues to be my primary camera. Images, especially those generated using the built-in telephoto ("optical") zoom can suffer from heavy noise, but I like this thing. It will go everywhere I fear to take my new SLR.

Right now I have 10,400 digital images on my hard drive, some of which are good. I still promise to put some on my website. I'm not sure if I'll break my camera addiction, though.


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