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Monday, 18 September 2017


My first DSLR was a Canon Rebel XS, bought refurbished. I'm not sure how many shots it had, due to it resetting every 10k clicks, but I would say it rolled over four or five times. Finally I kept getting some error code that no amount of Google could help me solve, so I replaced it with a refurbished Rebel SL1. I keep an eye out for one on Craigslist since I am getting into timelapse videos and would like a cheap camera I could put a bunch of shots on, but have yet to see a decent price.

Yes, I had a Nikon D40X, purchased in Aug 2007, that wouldn't focus. I think it was the phase detect not working. I replaced it with a Nikon D5100, purchased in July 2012, that I still have today.

The D5100 was new but I think the D5300 was out by then.

Re: Gremlins ... in the early days of personal computing, gremlins were often cured as Mike said by re-booting -- or replacing drivers and other pieces of software/firmware that we should have no reason to know anything about. Another fix of the time was to remove and re-seat various boards and connectors which could work just as well for modern digital cameras. Unfortunately it would likely take more than a Philips screwdriver to get at the problem connector.

And no. I've never bought a camera because the old one stopped working. I had a Canon Rebel once that survived two (!) serious drops onto concrete floors with no ill effects. In both cases, time stood still as I waited to see my baby explode into useless pieces.

I haven't had a pet with a photo-related name, but William Henry Jackson had a three-legged mule named Tripod on one of his western expeditionary trips

Yuppers. No digital camera I have ever owned has just "stopped working," and thus needed to be replaced. They just tend to accrete.

Sometimes I have bought a new digital camera because [U]I[/U] stopped working with the older model. E.g. Canon 5D replaced the Digi-Rebel because the Rebel's focusing screen was tooth-gnashingly inadequate to accurately focus legacy (or adapted Nikon) lenses manually.

Recently, I have started purchasing [U]older[/U] digital cameras because they are so cheap. I think my recent D100 purchase cost me $69 dollars. Why'd I purchase it? Because my long-ago-traded Epson RD-1 reportedly used the same chip and I was looking for that big-photo-receptor-site mojo. It has sort of worked out, although I like my RD-1 files better for what they are. Can't fully explain why...

Based on your views I also bought the 7D and I also replaced it due to oncomig glitches. I really liked that camera and a few years back I saw a second hand one for sale in a local camera store.On handling it I realised it was now woefully out of date. The viewfinder in particular seemd very small

Interestingly I received a KM7D a while ago yet so far I've only made about 100 shots on it when no other camera was around. Why? Because I really don't like it or the resulting photos that, to me, look horrible compared to Canon 20D of similar vintage.

DSLR's are built to last 100 000 clicks at minimum. The high-end bodies last 300 000 clicks.

But the adds show that most bodies are far below this level. Most bodies I checked had about 10K to 50K on the counter.

My Konica Minolta Dimage A2 (circa 2004) died after about four years hard use. The EVF just stopped working, and the plastic body was starting crack and crumble in a few places.

I have had two replacements due to failure. Funnily enough the first was a K-M 7D. It started to suffer with the 'black frame' problem, which was a known fault, but I suspect it wasn't helped by getting the camera soaking wet in a rainstorm shortly after a bad knock on a rock! It was indeed a nice camera. By then I fancied 12 megapixels so I upgraded to the new Sony A700.

The second was a Mamiya 645 Super. I wound on one day, there was a weird noise, I took the magazine off and the shutter curtains were flopping about like their housebound namesakes.

Only the once... I had a Sony P100 (very) compact camera that produced really nice shots. I was a bit annoyed with it because there appeared to be something like a faint thumb print on the sensor, though easily fixable in most shots. Then, one cold winter's day I went across to town with it, taking some shots on the way. In the public convenience it slid out of my jacket pocket onto the tiled floor, and never worked again! Replaced it with a Canon which turned out to be horrible, before getting a Fuji X10 which I still have.

A month or so ago I slipped on some wet rocks... I went one way, tripod and camera the other. I only got a graze, but the tripod was dented and won't close, the VF on my Pentax LX was pretty much destroyed, something internal has come adrift, and the Pentax-M 35-70 lens is very stiff and won't quite make infinity. :-( But I love that camera, and if possible it will get repaired. All in all, that's probably going to cost me over £400!

In 1992, when trekking in the Kangchenjunga region of Nepal - a pretty remote place - the shutter of my Pentax 67 stopped working. I had a spare 67 body being carried, along with all my other personal gear, by a porter; I waited for him to catch up and swopped over to the spare body. A couple of days later there was a subtle but noticeable change in the sound of the shutter of the new body and I knew the shutter was malfunctioning in some way but had no option but to keep using it - the only working camera.
Some weeks later when I was back in the UK and saw my film, there had been some weird kind of shutter-bounce and a strip about 5mm wide down one edge of each frame was double exposed. Many of the images were saveable, though the composition of each was not how I had intended.
I repaired the two 67 bodies and disposed of them, but stayed with Pentax 67 until I went digital in 2006.

(Mike - I have another, better, true story concerning these Pentax cameras and that trip to Nepal; a heart-warming tale of human (my) carelessness and the outstanding honesty of another (poor) person. But this is not the place for it.)

I have four Ricoh GRDs. First one stopped working so I bought another. Later I bought one more to have two. Then I bought one more as a spare in case one stops working again.
I also bought a GF3 and another GF5 to get a spare battery. The second hand camera was only a bit more than a new battery.

Yep, count me in for one - fried by static in a Yosemite storm as I mentioned in a comment the other day. At a rough count that's a 12.5% failure rate. Your idea of resetting is intriguing, I'm going to have to look into that.

If it works it'll stop the 4yo and 2yo grandkids fighting over whose turn it is to take photos. You can never start them too young - I caught the bug in the darkroom at 5!

Overall I think I've been lucky with digital camera reliability. But there have been a few sad deaths or serious illnesses:
Canon 400D – drank a deadly dose of salt water
Canon 60D – shutter failure in it's youth
Sony R1 – developed too many red and blue “hot” pixels
Olympus 850 SW – gradually failed to keep out fresh and salty water
Canon IXUS 500 modified for infrared – faulty power circuit
Olympus EPM2 modified for IR– control wheel failure
Olympus OMD E-M5 – shutter failure over 1/1000 sec
Another Olympus OMD E-M5, modified for 720nm IR – shutter failure over 1/1000 sec
Despite the problems with my Olympus cameras I just love using them so much, I just replace them when I break them!

I bought a Pentax K-5 because my Pentax *ist DS2 died in 2012. All the mechanics were working, but it took nothing but black frames. Both were bought used.

That's pretty much true. I've had a couple of p&s digicams die one death or another, but only after they've already become "backup" cameras, so that they haven't needed to be replaced.

In my case he's right. Well not exactly. As I read your piece I realized I still have my first digital camera stashed away in a cabinet. I raced downstairs and sure 'nuf there it was stuffed in an old camera bag - camera memory cards, and power supply. Plugged it in and two a couple of shots and it worked perfectly (even the flash).

The camera I owned at the time, a Minolta Maxxum 700si, was not a good fit for me. I bought it because my eyesight was not the best and figured a auto focus camera would help. Let's just say it was troublesome. My wife on the other hand christened it "Chuckie" when it's borg-like computer decided not to let her take a photo from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

In 2001 mad-cow disease was rampant in England. Like any good documentary photographer I headed to London.
I decided to leave Chuckie home and get one of those newfangled digital cameras to see what the future was going to bring. The Olympus C-3040Z is a whopping 3.2mp and can operate with four double-A alkalines. I purchased it for trip to London. Talk about eye-opening. I was hooked. It wasn't until mid-2005 that I got on the DSLR carousel. I'm now in my mid-60s and am thinking about an End-of-Life camera. In the meantime I'm going to take this old Olympus out for an afternoon of fun.

I just sent a Nikon d7000 in for repair (it took a fall, and it isn't worth anything to anyone in its current condition). Might be a good time to replace it, but tossing it seems like such a waste. Waiting for estimate. Bill

I had a Fuji X-Pro-1, bought refurbished from Fuji's site. After about 14 months with the warranty expired it stopped working. The screen lit up but the shutter did not work. I looked online for clues but found none.

I replaced it with a Leica M9. The X-Pro-1 was a sort of "pretend" Rangefinder, so I got the real thing. It has been great only had about 1,000 shots on the clock. Hope its sensor does not fail though!

My Fuji X100 (original version) developed the infamous 'sticky aperture' problem, so as the Fuji national distribution and service facility is not far from where I live, I took it in for a repair estimate. The cost to repair turned out to be about what a working version of the same camera would fetch on eBay. (I find this kind of thing happens fairly often.) I deliberated over whether I liked the camera enough to have the repair done and thus get a fully operational and guaranteed camera back.

However, I had/have too many cameras and the Fuji was only bought because I liked it rather than needed it, so it was not replaced. Instead it has been retired to the cupboard of 'Things I don't need, or can't use, but can't bring myself to throw out'. One day someone will have to go through the contents of that cupboard, and will be saying to themselves "What the ... ?"

I worked with Canon 10D cameras for several years. I used them very hard and, inevitably, one died. I replaced it with a 5D Mark 2. That was in late 2008. I still have it. I still use it for assignments. My other camera is even older: a 1DS Mark 2 bought in late 2005. It is still going strong, too, after almost 12 years of hard professional use.

But, just this very day, I ordered a new camera. Many years ago, before Sony and Panasonic cameras were really a thing, I said my next camera would be from an electronics company rather than a camera company, despite having photographed with Canon cameras for over 20 years. I even named Sony as the likely manufacturer of my camera-to-be. Today it came true. (Granted, you could call Canon an electronics company too, but you get what I meant: rather than from the Canon-Nikon-Minolta-Olympus-Etc stable, my future camera would come from Sony or Panasonic.)

It sounded peculiar saying it at the time. Now, not so much.

Have been pleased with my purchase of a few Nikon dslr's over the last 17 years or so. None have died and my D2H (4Mp) is still alive and well. Not used much now, it is a heavy load to carry and spends most of its life on a shelf. Its solid as a brick and only a scarcity of batteries will eventually cause its demise.

Have had a few P&S cameras die along the way, clearly not made for the long haul. Amazing to me my very first digital a 1.3 Mp Fuji still functions as new. Presently using a Canon "bridge" camera as a knock around camera.

Since ~2000, I've owned maybe 10 digital cameras (excluding smartphones) that I used regularly or still use -- an Epson P&S, Minolta DiMAGE Xt, KM DiMAGE Z3, KM DiMAGE A2, KM Maxxum 5D, Sony A700, Sony A55, NEX-3, NEX-6 and Sony A77ii.

I still have all of the Sonys, but the A55 is about to give up the ghost (electronics hiccups). Moving on from my A55 due to failure would be a first ... I'm hesitant to replace with another A-mount body because who knows where A-mount is going? I'm definitely more of an E-mount shooter nowadays, but my legacy A-mount lenses and SLR-style ergonomics keeps me here. I would love to see a full-frame A88 at about $1000. A used A99 would be nice, but I need WiFi.

All of my digital cameras still work. My wife had to replace her Kodak DC-290 (circa '99) after it fell from the hat-shelf to the floor of a tour bus. The camera still took pictures, but the settings LCD was destroyed so there was no way to see how the camera was configured.

That was in 2007, so that camera had lived a full life. On the up-side, I inherited all of her CF cards to use with my Canon DSLR.

Depends on your definition of "stopped working". I dropped my Olympus OM-D EM-5 off a fourth floor balcony. Then I had to replace it, because it "stopped working". (There were many things wrong, including a shattered lens.)

None of mine failed, thus far.
But the fear of the current camera failing....

Back in around 1986 I had an Olympus OM-4T. While in Singapore on a weekend from my assignment in Kuala Lumpur, a known electronics issue came up -- a ridiculously quick discharge of batteries. In Singapore it was easy to find a camera shop and i bought a bunch of batteries -- all exhausted the same day. Got rid of it and replaced with an OM-4Ti that was fine for years.

I will say that I owned a succession of Olympus OM cameras -- 1n, 2n, 2s/p, and finally the 4T and 4Ti. Only the 4T gave me any problem.

Not exactly, last January we had a blizzard, so I did the logical thing and grabbed my Canon 5D II and headed down to the waterfront. As I was jockeying my position to get the framing I wanted my feet came out from under me and down on my back and shoulder. I instinctively held the camera in front of my body so it was unhurt. The shoulder not so much, too bad I can't buy a used replacement on amazon, cheap.

I'll have to let you know when my Pentax SL (like a Spotmatic without the meter) has to be replaced. No idea how many exposures have been made, plus the extra ones when the camera hasn't been exercised for a while. It's around 48 years old, doesn't need batteries and doesn't have any problems that can't be fixed with a simple "tuneup".

My Nikon D200 looks like it will last forever. Software (sort of) fixes many problems, like noise in lower light. Can't fix one problem: it gets heavier every year. Maybe time for a D500?

[D200 is 920 g with batts, D500 with batts is 860 g. That's not much weight savings Walter! --Mike]

Years ago I bought a used Nikon F2 because the new Nikon F3 I had just bought was too unreliable to trust on assignments. The early F3's were known to have issues that were addressed with subsequent models.

But, no...I've never had to replace any digital camera due to unreliability or failure. I've never had a digital camera stop working.

I try to avoid accumulating bodies, so I sell them if not in use. But I have had a lens die - Nikkor 80-200/3.5-5.6. I used it as part of a light 2 lens kit for family holidays & general walk-around. Yes, it was plastic fantastic, but it did the job. One day it stopped zooming. The local repair shop advised it needed new zoom rails (plastic), which cost more than it was worth. I offered it on ebay for not much more than postage costs, as being for parts. I explained the situation, and surprisingly it sold.

I had a K-M 7D as well, purchased in the fall of 2005. Loved that camera - it was a film version of my Maxxum 7. Still love the control layout. I got the shutter fixed after the extended warranty, and used it until the fall of 2011, when I got a Sony A65. I wanted the better low light performance, finding reliable batteries had become a hassle, and I actually wanted to ditch CF cards.

I ended up selling the camera, the grip, and a Minolta 135 f/2.8 to KEH when they were in town. I got more for the lens than I'd paid for it from KEH originally.

I still have the A65, but now, six years later, I've bought an a6500 with the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm. I wanted something smaller, and again, better low-light performance. I stepped up on lens quality as well. With the IBIS, I'm planning on picking up a couple of the Sigma primes(probably the 30mm and 60mm). Switching off the A mount was a big deal for me, but I can always buy the adapter. I still use my A65 for the Minolta 70-210 f/4 zoom when I know I'm going to need it.

The main reason I bought my D700 was because it felt like full frame executed well(the spread of the autofocus points in particular) and because of the 14-24mm. It took me AWHILE (April 2010) to save up to get the D700 and even then it was because I decided to get the refurbished 14-24mm.
I wrote a list of all the things I wanted at the time - D700, spare EN-EL3e, refurbished 14-24mm and included the price after sales tax, just to make sure nothing was off when I bought them all.

I decided to do this on the latter half of a Physical Therapy session where we'd walk&jog along the FDR - I did this specifically because the only vendor that sold the refurbished 14-24mm was Adorama, not too far.

So after we passed by the Manhattan Bridge and turned around, I broke off from the group&headed towards Adorama. Once I got there, I spoke to a salesman:
"How can I help you?"
"I'd like to get the Nikon D700 and*pant* a spare*pant* battery....*pant*"
"Sure, would you like anything else?"
"Yes, I'd like*pant*
Still out of breath from the therapy session, then looking at the list I wrote, I just gave him the list I wrote(which included the sales-taxed price)
He looked at it, then his eyes widened, and he said "holy s#!t"

I've had some fun memories shooting with my D700, but the buying it from Adorama experience is still my favorite one.

I got my first camera in 1968 as a kid. Since that time I have owned many film and digital cameras, but only 2 had serious problems that caused me to move on before I wanted to: KM 7D and Sony A700. Actually, I had 2 KM 7D bodies. The first had problems out of the box so after 2 trips to KM service they replaced it with a new one. That one also had serious problems and went in to be fixed 5 times! The last time was to Sony service (since Sony had bought the KM camera business). Sony sent it back still unfixed so I contacted a rather senior Sony manager (someone gave me her email address) and she took care of things ASAP. I sent the camera in and they refunded me the full purchase price. Gave me a good feeling about Sony. :-)

I bought a Sony A700 and within 3 months it developed problems. Sent it in to be fixed. Came back unfixed. I still have it since it was unsellable (I am an honest seller so would not try to hide the problem).

I bought a used Ricoh GR after my trusty old pocket-able GRD1 started playing up (power cycling itself uncontrollably). A few months after receiving the GR I tested the it again and the fault had mysteriously gone away. Perhaps the gremlins moved on... Anyway, my older son now uses the GRD as a "compact disposable" (compared with his Leica M6) when he's out rock climbing. The GRD1 is nearly 10 years old and still running fine on the original battery. I'm hoping the GR is designed to last even longer - it's "good enough" for me technically to be a favourite for years to come.

Yes just once. One of my teaching cameras, a Sony Nex 5n failed after being dropped twice by the same student. Once in the morning session and again in the afternoon session. He was very upset and sorry but I assured him it was old and due for replacement anyway.
After the second descent it failed to release the shutter. Following class I fiddled with it and it started to work again, but my joy was temporary. A couple weeks later in class the shutter locked up for good.
I bought another second hand Nex 5t to replace it as I have an extensive collection of Nex stuff, including the removeable EVF.

I had (still have in a cupboard) a Canon AE-1 that had to be replaced around its 25th birthday due to its mirror damping foam turning into corrosive goo and damaging the focusing screen, to be succeeded by a Canon T-90.

I had (still have in a cupboard) a Canon G7 that had a power supply unit failure and wasn't worth fixing.

I had/have an Olympus XA that couldn't be trusted to open its aperture correctly and earned banishment to the infamous Cupboard.

My Panasonic GF1 was my go-to camera for a few years. After the warranty expired, the shutter stuck. I bought used GF1 on Ebay and chucked the "broken" camera into a drawer. A few years later on a forum I found a procedure to reset the camera that fixed my original GF1.

If a camera can be fixed by an obscure reset sequence, was it really broken?

Short version: 2 of my last three main camera upgrades were due to previous unit failing--a 5d that I took out in the snow and rain one two many times led to a mk2; then my m9 became unreliable enough that I moved to an m240. Currently I would like nothing so much as to move to an m10, but the 240 is chugging along, and I am having a hard time justifying the expense even though it has had a lot of wear in the past 3 years.

Actually, upgrade cycles kind of get in the way of rationalizing the next purchase: by the time I am ready to buy an m10, I will agonize over whether it makes sense to hang in there until the m11... can I justify that big a purchase, say, a year and a half after the model launched?

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