Camera troubles

As if all the ups and downs of this last few weeks aren’t enough, Wednesday evening my camera acted wonky. I don’t need this right now.

When I took some shots in our yard this evening, I noticed my Minolta DiMAGE A1’s green anti-shake button was flashing. This is a first for me, and I’ve had the camera 2 years. There was just the usual yellow or blue hand icon on the LCD, not the red one which would warn that the anti-shake mechanism was overheating. Further, it seems to be having trouble focusing.

Most disturbing, when I have the lens out wide, part of the outer ring of the lens barrel shows up. This also is a first for me with this camera. It’s similar to what happens if you have the lens shade attached to the barrel and zoom out wide — only I do not have the shade on the camera. It’s like one of the lenses inside the barrel has shifted somehow so it’s pointed more toward one side instead of straight ahead.

This really stinks. It’s especially bad timing because I’m due to take family portraits for a local landscaper on October 1. I bartered with her back in June to do portraits at their farm in exchange for her rebuilding our low sandstone wall. The family will probably want to be able to make large prints, but if my A1’s out of commission, I’ll be limited to our Olympus C-2100’s wee 2mp images. With that camera, 8×10″ prints are the largest that turn out well, and then only if the original images are not cropped much at all.

We’re certainly in no position to buy a new camera for me, nor can we afford a big repair bill. Tomorrow I’ll have to do some searching and find out what this could be. The manual? Well, I know I have it somewhere…I’ve just not needed to refer to it in ages. I can get the PDF from Konica-Minolta’s site, I’m sure. Too tired to look at the moment.

Update 7/15/2006: Though the camera did sometimes exhibit the view as shown in the company’s recall notice, there are obviously other issues. When I wrote the company with a detailed description, they only tell me the camera required repair and I should send it in. Of course! I’ve not done so – it’s not worth the repair cost.

Fortunately, the camera worked for me to do the portraits I mentioned in this entry. I’ve been able to coax it to keep on going. The camera issues continue, though. When I power it on, it sometimes vibrates and clicks rapidly until I give it a gentle whack on the side.

The off-kilter lens issue I can sometimes fix by fully zooming the lens out then gently tapping it on the side several times. The visible curve of lense is not always visible in the same area of the frame; sometimes it’s in the upper right, sometimes the lower right. When the green anti-shake button is blinking, the focusing is not 100% reliable, even when the camera indicates it’s locked focus on the subject. One time, I gave the entire camera a good, controlled thunk on a table top, and that fixed the issue for the day. I don’t recommend this; I’m just pretty desperate at this point!

Incidentally, I notice the noise is terrible on this camera at the upper ISO’s of 400 and 800. It’s not just noise speckles, but lines across my images. I should post examples sometime. I don’t know if this has to do with the issues I’ve described. I will occasionally use ISO 200, but even that results in more noise than I like, so I stick to ISO 100.

I just keep whacking it and hoping it will keep going until we can afford a new camera. My hope was to get a DSLR next time (I like the Olympus Evolt E-330 because it has a live preview, something new to DSLR’s), but at this point I may need to get another prosumer model with a long zoom and anti-shake/image stabilization just to tide us over.

As ever, reader input is appreciated!

3 thoughts on “Camera troubles

  1. Sorry to here about the camera. If you have to use the Oly for the pro job, take a look at this tutorial for upsizing in Photoshop. It’s worked well for me.

    Supersize Tutorial

  2. Update: The issues continue with the camera. I’ve been lucky (blessed!) so far with my camera-whacking technique allowing me to continue using the thing. Each time it does it, I think “Well, this is it. It’s toast”, but somehow it just keeps going. All Minolta did was tell me to mail it to a repair center. Maybe I’ll see if there is an authorized repair center near us and see if I can just bring it in for an estimate. 😛

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