I Think I’m Dumb

After several years of use, our trusty Fuji FinePix 2400Zoom is finally starting to call it quits. The clamshell-style lens cover no longer latches closed, and it’s difficult to open it far enough so that the camera knows it’s open. Besides that, it still takes decent pictures… but it’s really kind of a pain to deal with.

So, I took it upon myself to research and purchase a new digital P/S (point-and-shoot). After the general annoyances from the Fuji over the years, I had an idea of features I wanted. The new camera had to be an ultra-compact. Fits in any pocket. Unobtrusive. It also had to have a *fast* start-up time and minimal shutter lag. Too many photo ops were lost while waiting for the Fuji to power up. The new camera only needed to be more than two or three megapixels, so discontinued models were fine. Keeping it on the cheap, preferably around $200. It needed to take SD Memory Cards, which my new Nikon D50 uses (as no cameras seem to use the SmartMedia cards the Fuji used). And finally, it had to have positive reviews from “real” photographers who use the camera as their own P/S.

I finally narrowed the playing field down to two contenders: the Canon PowerShot SD300 Digital Elph, and the Minolta DiMage X50. After checking eBay, I decided to go with the DiMage X50, since it is regularly at least $50 cheaper than the Elph.

Next step: do some bargain hunting. I figured out early on that my best bet would actually be to go with eBay, since both of the cameras I was looking at were discontinued models. I found some for parts, and some with cracked screens, but I finally found a DiMage that I thought looked good. I bid $115 plus shipping, and won.

I told Aaron about it that weekend, and showed him the completed auction.

And saw the fine print.

My camera had a cracked LCD. D’oh! I couldn’t believe I’d missed it! I could only wait until the camera arrived and hope that it wasn’t as bad as it could be.

Today, my wait was over.

I opened the carefully-packed box as Aaron watched, lifted out the retail camera box from within, and opened that box to see what awaited me. The camera looked great from the front: amazingly small, stylish. From the back? A small black mark spidering from the lower left corner of the LCD.

I thought I’d gotten all worked up over nothing. Surely the LCD would still work!

Not quite.

If I tilt the camera just so, I can see enough of the menu to know that I’m changing, say, the resolution or the white balance. There are several features that are impossible to find, due to the nearly inoperable screen.

There are two particularly good things about this, though. First: the camera does work. I can test it out, quality-wise, and I have every intention of posting it back on eBay and trying to get some of my money back. Which brings me to the second high point: there was a 256MB memory card in the camera when I received it. This card was *not* listed in the auction.

So, as long as I resell the camera (sans 256MB card) for around $90, I’ll actually come out even. In truth, though, I’m assuming I’m going to take a loss for this one. Karma is going to bite me in the ass for being stupid and not reading the auction thoroughly before bidding. And I’m OK with that.

Next time, though, I’m bidding on a refurbished camera with a 90 day warranty…

Update: Both the cameras I was considering have video capture capability. Fun! I took a test video to see if it would work… and, lo and behold, it does. Fun stuff.

7 thoughts on I Think I’m Dumb

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  1. I have the Canon Elph you were referencing and have been very happy with the camera (I got it about a year and a half ago). I was also looking for a small P/S camera that would take good quality pictures yet fit in my pocket. I have a Canon Rebel for my ‘good’ camera but rarely use it now as the Elph is easier to use and offers great flexibility. The new 5.0 mega pixel Elph is also amazing (and $400).

  2. No you’re not dumb. I think my dad takes the cake. He bought a $30,000 car and didn’t notice that the paint was flawed. Now he’s going to undertake legal proceedings to make up for the fact that he’s an idiot and the dealership has failed to remedy to situation. So, it could be worse, MUCH worse. At least you’ll break even, eh?

  3. rilly? is there any warranty info with the camera? how old is it? i tried calling the support center in jersey to see how much it would cost for them to repair it:

    Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A, Inc.
    Camera Division
    Primary Service Facility
    725 Darlington Avenue
    Mahwah, NJ 07430
    Phone: 201-574-4000

    but they didnt open till 9 and then the battery on my phone died 😛

  4. no warranty, as far as i could tell. marked “unsaleable” by wherever the seller got it from.

    maybe after my 9:30 meeting i’ll give them a quick call and see how much that would cost. if it’s actually less than $125 or so, maybe i’ll go for it.