Several weeks ago, while we were walking around Mystic Seaport, in the mist of shooting these pictures, I dropped my camera, a Canon 30D — a workhorse that has served ably for more than two years. Afterwards it seemed to work fine mechanically, but it could no longer read light properly. For whatever reason, it overexposed shots by two stops or more. (All the shots I took with it after that were in manual mode using guesswork about light, trial and error.)

So I took it in to a camera repair shop near Boston, and they sent it to Canon. On Friday (yesterday) I got it back. It was an almost entirely new camera. New back, new top, new electronics. I didn’t have time to test it out before hitting the road for the weekend in Vermont and New Hampshire, but I didn’t expect any problems.

I was wrong. The problem wasn’t fixed. It still reads light wrong and overexposes by two or more stops. How could they replace so much of the camera and not fix the one thing that was wrong with it? Amazing.

I suppose I should bring the camera back on Monday and repeat the process, but I really want to have it in California this next week, and on the trip that follows that one. In fact, the first day I’ll be able to pick it up is September 12.

Right now I’m hoping that Samy’s in Santa Barbara (where I bought it) will be able to send it into Canon and expedite a fast turn-around on a fix.

Meanwhile I’m wondering if I should just go ahead and get a soon-to-be-discontinued Canon 5D, which is getting down around $1000 now. It’s a great camera, much better than the 30D. And use the 30D as a second camera. But… I dunno. Probably not, mostly because I’d also have to invest in all those good lenses that will make the 5D sing. Right now I have only one really good lens for the 30D. The other two are cheapies: a Tamron 18-200 (sharp, but not fast, and with fuzziness at the long end and barrel distortion at the wide) and a Canon f1.8 you can still get for just $80 or so.  They do a good job for the money, but they’re not real good lenses.

I’m a pretty good photographer. Not great, but pretty good, on the whole. And I feel like a pretty good musician using an almost good instrument. The 5D is a good instrument. Not the best, but close enough. To get a 5D and the “glass” that would do it justice… say, three primes (fixed length lenses) and a zoom would cost several thousand dollars. That’s out of my range, at least until my get-rich boat comes in.

I’m sure it will. And for that to happen, I need to focus on other work.

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11 Responses to Shoot

  1. Rex Hammock says:

    Doc, you should go back in the fall. I was there last October. Here are some photos.

  2. Mike Warot says:

    Doc, take some panoramic photos…. you can stitch them together later… or post them on Flickr and I’ll do it for you.


  3. shel israel says:

    I hope to be in Middlebury for my 10 anniversary in October. Havden’t been there in 20 years, but I’m betting it hasn’t much changed. Doc, good to see you posting from so far away from a Boston hospital bed.

  4. PXLated says:

    I’d consider getting a Canon G9 as a backup Doc – small, full manual controls, 6x optical zoom, camera raw. Love mine and easier to carry when out/about/traveling.

  5. Welcome to Vermont, doc!
    If you get the chance, make sure to poke your head into the college’s library, which has a nice design.
    And walk down below the waterfall.

  6. Fred Crostic says:

    Gads, your story of repairs on the Canon 30D are exactly the same as ours on the D30. Samy’s did their best, but it really was Canon who messed up. They sent us a brand new (rebuilt) D30, but it would not focus properly. What promised to be two weeks in turn around ended up being five weeks.
    We purchased the 5D last year and very happy with it.
    Only one problem. We did not pay $1,000!

  7. Doc Searls says:

    Rex, we definitely plan to go. Too close and beautiful not to.

    Bryan, we plan to spend a lot more time in Vermont. Fabulous state.

    PXLated, I’ve been tempted by the G9, though the reviews have been mixed. We’ll see. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Pingback: Doc Searls Weblog · Green Mountains, blue sky

  9. Mike says:

    Doc, take some panoramic photos…. you can stitch them together later… or post them on Flickr

  10. You seem to a pretty good photographer doc… you can compile all these pics and then make a collage out of it…..

  11. Mystic Seaport is a great adventure, and sorry about the camera – that sucks, but the Canon f1.8 is actually great even though the price is low. I’ve been pleased with it thus far, so I would definitely recommend checking it out – best of luck, maybe you should find something water proof – haha, just kidding 😉

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