Geograph Blog ::

When cameras behave badly

By David Howard

My 6 year old Olympus compact digital has known limits, and if I keep within them (shots at night, moving objects etc) I get perfectly good results. But about two years ago it (OK, I had dropped it a while before) it froze during a little film I was making and had to format the card. Ever since it's done the same about twice a year, but each fault was different, and my father offered the obvious solution to carry a spare card which I now do. It's previously lost (initially) all my takings from a day, but a friendly neighbour recovered the lot for me, and some can be corrupted with either a small line of junk at the bottom which just gets cut off, or totally unreadable mosaic which is beyond recovery.

Yesterday I drove over 30 miles each way, and at one end had a picture error message for a second when I was checking a road sign photo (I do now as have had a few out of focus or wiped out by the sun), but it returned to normal and I just carried on. Now I know (once I got home and plugged it in) once I get the blue screen (they chose a familiar warning sign) I should swap cards immediately. But not then, and as I was on the laptop not at home I only had about an hour of battery time left (I had a spare for a short time but the original died and didn't really need another) the neighbour had just left to go away that evening and didn't have a recovery program on the laptop as the one I'd used the once only had 15 days. Long story short I'd never in my life paid for a program by memory in 12 years online, and the only thing which would do so was to recover lost photos as they cannot have a price on them if too hard to get again. I spent hours testing free and paid ones, and finally got one to recover the lot (one other had found 54/over 1200) and simply bit the bullet and paid at least two limbs and an an internal organ as it had passed every test.

Then of course there was nothing I could do as the camera had no power, and my card reader was 15 miles away, so rather than worry I drove back, collected all my kit, and carried on. As it would take all night to charge it and then recover them (24 hours or so apparently for the whole set, but got most in an hour before the battery died, as they seemed to do it randomly with a small bias to the newest ones) I plugged the card reader in planning to leave it on overnight and all the photos simply popped up as usual, with 11 being unreadable (the program recovered them and they were mosaics, which some boffins do claim to be able to unscramble, but would probably need to sell a kidney for that). The bottom line is I only lost about 11 photos, all the closest to home on the way back, and so far appear to have others in the same squares, so for the second time have managed to recover nearly a whole trip but am now the proud owner of an extremely expensive insurance policy. If I keep the camera it will fail again as it's clearly damaged in some way, and each time is different, but rather than spend the same as I did before (the prices have come way down so it would be like a Jaguar for the price of a Mini nowadays) just to get a better zoom and the rare night shot and freeze shots from a car window I will currently rely on what works and trust if the worst does happen yet again (although it only wrecked photos after the event, everything taken before was perfect when read on the card) I have something able to fix it. I won't keep a card in if I get a blue screen again either, so although I may never have needed this program (I have a pretty good free one on the PC but couldn't remember the name till I'd bought the new one, ZAR if anyone wants it) it's there now and if the worst comes to the worst I won't be caught defenceless. I'm only concerned about the photos, and maybe I can follow IBM and offer a recovery service at a fraction of the price. I know some people would rather do that although the programs are generally automatic and you only need to select a drive and it does the rest on its own it scares many off and would rather someone else do it for them. I've been plumbing in TV systems and fixing program conflicts etc for friends since VCRs were on the market, and if it's not something beyond the obvious am always happy to get in it up to my elbows as I like the challenge and never have the concern when sorting out someone else's issues. My mother paid an engineer for her new digital setup the other day although I should have tried, but she wanted a comeback if it went wrong and she's used it already. Probably because she got someone else to do it...

Loading map...
Marker only shows grid square

Tue, 3 Apr 2012 at 03:50
Grid Square
geotagged! TQ5246
Chosen Photo

blog comments powered by Disqus
You are not logged in login | register