« Photoshop Disaster, Automotive Division | Main | Coming Up on TOP »

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The plural of anecdote is not data, but my Canon G9 bit the dust at month 13 -- for no discernible reason whatsoever -- and Canon's customer service following this failure was so transcendently awful that I will never recommend or purchase another Canon product again.

To download the article, I had to click the link Mike provided to go to the "Lens News" main page, then scroll down and click through to the bokeh article itself, then find the "Full Article" download link in the right hand column (or in the last sentence of the abstract).

In the right hand column, there is also a separate link for the images.

A few thoughts on the statistics:

If I understand Square Trade's disclaimer, whether a camera is a point-and-shoot or DSLR was an assumption based solely on price, but I don't know if that has significant impact on the results.

I'm sure build quality and quality control are factors that generally track price point, but obviously so is the care one takes with a $1,000 investment vs a $150 pocket gadget that most people assume has a short useful life anyway and quickly become hand-me-downs.

This part is sheer speculation, but I wonder if Square Trade protection is more likely to be purchased by those more likely to abuse or risk their equipment, or those buying in a grayer market with substandard customer support, and whether we can expect those cameras to have more problems.

Funny how an article on product failure makes it's way on to top when I've just won a battle regarding the failure of a Sony PS3 that is 26 months old and 16 months out of warranty

I don't know what the law is for other parts of the world but here in the UK there's the 1979 sale of goods act that offers consumers some redress when faced with a product that's failed after the warranty has ended. You can make a claim against the retailer within six years of the date of purchase. Don't just walk away or pay for your own repair, find out what your rights are, find out what your products life span is expected to be and if it fails to meet up to that standard push the retailer for a repair or a replacement.

You may have to prove that your item was not up to standard which is what I had to do when my out of warranty, Sony ps3 died. Sony didn't want to know even though it's been widely reported as a known fault. The sale of goods act saved my bacon. I got a new one from the retailer after my warranty with Sony had ended. So for those in the UK who's camera/ps3/tv/hoover dies long before its time, make some noise and know your rights.


Link to Bokeh article is,


one of the best projects in terms of cameras and crowd sourcing would be the Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database by Oleg Kikin.
look up your camera or add it to the database. i really like the "still alive" option.

blah blah bokeh blah blah...

Can we get back to CARS, now?

In the bokeh document, on page six, he's holding a 50mm lens, serial number 10000011.

Must be nice to work at Zeiss. "Berndt, this is Dietmar. You still using number eleven as a paperweight? Great, I'll be up in a minute".

I'll read this as a reward for finishing my taxes. Thanks!

Interesting. My Sony DSC-V#, vintage 204, which I puchased in 2005 is still going strong. Mt Samsung clone DSLR (GX-1s?) from late 2007, is still working.

Now, I feel lucky...

I wonder if there is any sociological or demographic element to the figures - eg. people who buy Nikon and Canon see them as pro brands and are either assuming their camera is more rugged or just are the type of people who are more physically demanding of their equipment? and are more Panasonics owned by women who treat their cameras gently compared with men who choose the macho brands? Just a thought.

for the second pdf, you probably mean


the instructions point to the general newsletter which referes back to the website.

This is my current obsession and there is a lot of good stuff there, but where did this headline come from?
"Nine rounded iris blades guarantee images with a harmonic bokeh"

Also there seems to be something lost in translation that makes my head hurt, for instance here:
"Which resolution can be least achieved within the depth of field range? If this is expressed in terms of MTF measurement the question is translated into: ”At what spatial frequency does the contrast transfer (MTF) drop below a certain threshold (e.g. 10 %)?”

I wish there had been some discussion of the location of the aperture within the light path's effect on bokeh, especially in a lens with spherical aberration, and the nature of bokeh in an apochromatic lens.

The link given is incorrect, at least it doesn't work for me. The following link gets directly to the bokeh article: http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/CLN_35_Bokeh_EN/$File/CLN35_Bokeh_en.pdf

That link to the full article on bokeh should be--


The link posted is just the short _Camera Lens News_.

Even though the Zeiss article goes into great depth, for me, it still doesn't address the character of bokeh, ie. what we consider good or bad bokeh.

The best explanation and examples so far that I have found is at the following website:

This site also shows why many 'bad' lenses can have great bokeh!

Funny that Panasonic came best out of the statistics. A good friend of mine who worked at the service desk of a large electronics store observed the same thing a few years ago, it was the only brand he never saw coming back. It's one of the reasons my GF got a Panasonic when her Canon S60 broke down (though that was a water-related accident). The Panasonic is still going strong.

I briefly considered reading the bokeh article until I got to Oren's comment, specifically about onion rings being on p.32. I ain't gonna read no PDF that goes to or beyond p.32.


I've had a Panasonic Lumix FZ30 (that marvelous 12x superzoom with an f/2.8 initial Leica-designed lens) from May 2006 to September 2009 and used it heavily during that time. It never failed me on any occasion (and it had already been used for a few month before I acquired it second hand). The only wear-offs were the painting and some minor dust particles in the lens, but nothing serious. I'd bet that its current owner is still in a shooting frenzy with it, and will be for more years to come.

After plowing through the bokeh treatise, it seems that the bottom line is "you can't have it all". "Good" bokeh comes at the expense of contrast or sharpness or something else.

It would be interesting (though I'm not holding my breath) to hear how the Zeiss folks decide(d) where to set the parameters for different lenses.

Bokeh...Bouquet? Now I understand why the new-generation aspherics by Leica are frowned upon by old-timers: their spherical characteristics are unusual away from the plane of focus. Some would even declare their new "footprint" as nasty. Zeiss and Leica clearly have a different design strategy in this respect.

Conclusion: Your used digital camera is worth even less than you thought it was.

Is it me, or are these failure rates not very impressive? Even the best malfunction rate (above, Panasonic) shows that 1 in 53 cameras fail after two years.

The average for all cameras of 6.6% failure over 2 years isn't too clever either. I cannot say whether the failure due to accidents is more to do with the cameras or the owners, but 4.1% over two years is a bit worrying. As Square Trade said, "Accidents also tend to be more catastrophic than malfunctions"

By the way, I hadn't noticed one of your adverts before now; Buffalo Hides it tells us. Just not very well. There it is, hiding under the baby!

I skimmed the article yesterday, and it's quite good I thought. It addresses many common misconceptions about depth of field and bokeh that I feel like I'm always correcting whenever they come up in online discussions. It is very difficult for people to understand that film/sensor format really is relevant to understanding DOF.

From now on, I think I'll just reference this article.

My Minolta A1 is still going strong from 2004. Granted that was a $1,000 camera at launch. (Not that I paid near that much at the time).

Now on the other hand, my Minolta 5D had to be repaired twice (once under warranty, once out) since 2005. After that it kept working until I finally killed the screen with a drop on concrete a year and a half ago. Hopefully my A200 doesn't develop any problems... *knocks on wood*

oooh, yeah, tell me something I don't know ... Nikon is twice as good as Canon :)
By the way, my first digital camera, Sony DSC-V1 from 2003 is still going strong!
Just gave it to my 5 year old son, lucky bastard :)

A couple of thoughts on the stats, even though this is an older post:

We read these numbers in the hopes of knowing how likely our own gear is to crap out, and at first glance this data is kind of scary -- the projected malfunctions (all cameras) hits almost 10% at the three year mark. But doesn't this mean the same thing as, "Each year, you have a 3.3% chance of failure?" In other words, going in to your third year of ownership, assuming you camera works on New Years day, there's only a 3% chance it will fail that year. The DSLR 2-year malfunction rate is 4%, and if it's shaped like the other curves, that's 2% a year. Pretty good, if you ask me. I also see that the data comes from a warranty vendor.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007