Camera Issues

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Camera Issues

Postby Sunkix4 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:09 pm

So every other year I get the exact same Christmas gift, even the same brand.

Its a digital Panasonic camera. I love this particular camera, its easy to use and takes awesome pictures. The reason I get that exact same gift every other year is because at the previous burn it dies.

I've tried everything, keeping it in a zip lock baggie, using compressed air to clean it, not touching it in a white out, etc, etc....

By about friday each year the lens gets too much dust in it and it gets stuck.

My plan this year was to buy a cheap camera (which of course probably will work perfectly the entire week), however I need a fool proof plan to make my camera last all week.

Severe anxiety will start to set in when I think I might not be able to take pictures of the man burning.

Yes I know that I could take this as an opportunity not to take any pictures, live life through my eyes and not a lens, but I just can't do that. LOL

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby SnowBlind » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:43 pm

I've had compact digital cameras hold up OK, as did many other people. Makes me wonder if that model is more sensitive to dust in the lens mechanism? So try another brand maybe. Or try to wipe that mechanism down every once in a while (you know, the outside of the part that comes out when turn it on).
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Canoe » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:54 pm

Look at the point & shoot cameras that are rated for water use.
Up to ten feet under is plenty.
Means they have seals that will keep dust out too.
The models out in the last year have some pretty impressive photo results, and in quite varying conditions.

Alternately, if a more appropriate camera isn't in the budget (sigh), get the camera shop to show you how to safely blow it off with air. Don't know if canned air (clean air) or a rubber squeeze bulb (which may blast air/dust combo into mechanisms) is best for P&S. I did Africa, including the Namib, Etosha and the Kalahari using a rubber air bulb frequently, but that was with a Nikon FM2 (mechanical) and a F4 (which is pretty well sealed), so that success may not apply to current mechanisms.

Also, frequently wipe down the outside with a micro-fibre cloth, and then place the camera in zip-lock style plastic bag between photos. Edit: I'd started out using the plastic bag last year, but reverted to just wiping and wrapping the camera in the micro-fibre cloth and sticking it in my pocket.

I had a Sony P&S last year, and it got dust, but apart from the auto-lens cover need the occasional coaxing to open, it worked fine. :D
Until last week when there's suddenly a huge piece of dust inside on the sensor where I can't get at it. :(
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Sunkix4 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:08 pm

I never thought it could be that brand, maybe it's particularly sensitive to dust.

And thanks for the tip on cameras meant for water use!! I will definitely check it out.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Savannah » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:39 pm

I think certain brands are just more closely knit than others. I never had an issue with an ordinary Pentax camera + average care across 3 Burns, but a Canon got dust in it on its 3rd time out--even with far better care than I used to take w/ the Pentax.

So this time I opted for a Canon waterproof, which is allegedly dustproof as well. (We'll just see about that.) I was tempted to go back to Pentax*, but the Canon reviews were very consistent, greater in number, and I liked the features, so Canon gets one more chance.

*Another ePlayan (perhaps Phil?) liked the sporty Pentax waterproof model, which had decent reviews.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby trilobyte » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:14 am

It doesn't sound like all that great of a camera to me. Other makes/models seem to have no trouble surviving the playa, with only the most basic of care and use of common sense. Great pictures and easy to use are indeed important, but it sounds like the model you've been using again and again is a lot more fragile than non-ruggedized cameras from other companies. Hopefully the cycle doesn't repeat this year, and your camera survives (and you can get something else for christmas!), if not you may want to consider checking out a few other brands.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby BBadger » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:57 am

What is your camera model?

My Canon S90 held up even during dust storms, which I'm actually kind of surprised at because I was stupid and turned it on during the storm.

Some cameras suck in a lot of air when their lenses extend. If your camera is extending its lens, it's sucking in air from somewhere. I haven't found out exactly where it enters on my S90; I suspect the microphone hole. On yours, it might be from the edge around the lens extension, which can get jammed.

Some things you can try:

- See if there is a filter adapter tube you can connect to your camera, something that looks like this. That way the entire lens apparatus has its own sealed environment (provided you put a filter on front). For your filter, put a screw-on UV filter for clear shots. You can also experiment with other filters for fun (polarized lens, neutral density, IR, etc.). This adds to the bulk of the camera.

- Buy a waterproof case. If it's waterproof, it's dustproof. Sometimes it costs as much or more than the camera itself. Some are cheap, but may not float your boat as much as a dedicated one. Again, adds to the bulk of the camera.

- A new camera. It seems that the model you're using has a pattern of failure. Maybe something else would be better--and even playa-proof like the Pentax W90.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby AntiM » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:31 am

My Panasonic Luminex died during the burn, although I'd taken it to the playa for several years running, and kept it in plastic. My Nikon Coolpix did even worse.

I now have a Fuji XP (there are variations) which is supposedly waterproof, shockproof, freezepreoof and dustproof. We shall see! It has no lens to retract, so it looks like it may well hold up. About $150 or less.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1265086875.html
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Sunkix4 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:09 pm

Awesome tips everyone!! I'm definitely going to invest in a waterproof/ dust proof camera!
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby akmojo » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:57 pm

I have used the Panasonic Lumix TS1 and now the TS2.. they are water and shock proof....
I always have mine ready at hand, no having to unzip, unbuckle, open, etc anything
I don't understand why more people don't use them although they are a bit pricey, there are several other makes of point and shoot waterproof cameras that are less expensive ..
the pics are great and it shoots 720P video and one is able to zoom while shooting vid, it also goes to 28mm wide which, for me, is far more important than a big zoom.. the majority of pics one takes with these types of cameras are group and scenic shots, if you want HQ zoom pics then a DSLR is the only way to go...
I would recommend an extra battery and a large memory card..
I use a 32GB Sandisk Extreme SDHC that is a class 10 card.. the fastest card they make.. VERY expensive but it records as fast as you shoot and never has to stop to let the internal memory buffer in the camera clear..
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby BBadger » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:08 am

If you have a busted Canon, you can trade up for a refurb via Canon's customer loyalty program. Yeah, it'll suck that it happens, but at least you can get something for your broken camera.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby trilobyte » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:54 am

The only camera that ever failed on me as a direct result of the playa was admittedly my own damned fault. In 2007 I was wearing a modified flight suit, which rocked because it had all kinds of pockets. Unfortunately, my dumb ass put my camera in one of the pockets and didn't think about it at all when a short while later I needed to start crawling around under our van/art car to wire up some additional lighting. Poor thing did its best to function even with the smashed LCD, but was retired from active duty as soon as I could afford a replacement. Hmm, now that I think about it, I never actually could afford that replacement, I've just been using a hand-me-down from my girlfriend's, a little Canon point and shoot that takes great pictures.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby geospyder » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:18 am

I also use a Panasonic Lumix. It died in 2009 on Saturday after the burn - lens wouldn't close. Had it cleaned. My wife made me a lined dust resistant man bag - looks like a shoulder bag with a large weighted flap. The camera stays in there in a zipped container. No problems last year. Bag is large enough that I keep my goggles, dust masks, bottle of water and all the other essentials in it. Easier to get things out of than a back pack. While riding I can sling it over my shoulder or put it in the bike basket. Big thing is DO NOT put the camera in your pocket. Way too much dust. Think that is what killed mine in 2009.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby mazatta » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:45 am

Silly question, but for everyone storing it in a bag, are you taking it out to use it? I just tried shooting with mine inside a baggie and it definitely acts as a filter and would screw up some shots, but if you are concerned about getting perfect shots, why use a P&S?
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby essjay » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:31 pm

mazatta wrote:Silly question, but for everyone storing it in a bag, are you taking it out to use it? I just tried shooting with mine inside a baggie and it definitely acts as a filter and would screw up some shots, but if you are concerned about getting perfect shots, why use a P&S?


Yes - you take it out to take photos, then put back in the bag asap.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby portaplaya » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:36 pm

And then there is always this advice, mostly for DSLR cameras, but still of interest to P&S camera users, I hope: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=40776
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Raymaker » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:39 am

portaplaya wrote:And then there is always this advice, mostly for DSLR cameras, but still of interest to P&S camera users, I hope: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=40776


"Second, I try to bring lenses that that do not extend when they zoom. That just brings dust into the lens body."

Your average camera these days zooms out the lense out when you turn them on. A tip for this, turn your camera on & off when it is inside the plastic bag.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby marc17hardware » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:35 am

I just looked around and bought a camera that didn't have a retracting lens. It was a $40 Vivitar piece of crap, but took decent snap shots in the day and has worked great. Every camera with a retracting lens has ended up having issues. That being said, I've never had issues with my Canon DSLR out on the playa even after taking it out into dust storms, but I don't change lenses on it very often.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby dragonpilot » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:27 pm

I've been using an Olympus Stylus 850 SW for 3 years...waterproof, shock proof yada yada. It has survived saltwater sea kayaking expeditions (even holding the camera underwater), backpacking trips, glacier climbs, and the playa. Awesome little camera.
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby Sunkix4 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:13 am

Just bought the FUJI XP 10!! Hope it doesnt let me down!!

THANKS!!
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby trilobyte » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:16 am

Sounds fancy, good luck and enjoy the great pics!
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby lauretta » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:54 pm

I last year I took my DSLR and covered it with blue painter's tape. I did an detailed, awesome job of positioning the tape so that I could still change the focus, and I lightly taped over all buttons and re-wrote their functions on the tape. I never changed the lens (zoom!). I had no problems with it!
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Re: Camera Issues

Postby portaplaya » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:14 pm

lauretta wrote:I last year I took my DSLR and covered it with blue painter's tape. I did an detailed, awesome job of positioning the tape so that I could still change the focus, and I lightly taped over all buttons and re-wrote their functions on the tape. I never changed the lens (zoom!). I had no problems with it!


Sure, that's one way to go. But I just stick with the advice in my posting on DSLRs (see link above). I spend more than a week on the dust and take over 5,000 photos each year, so the blue tape would never last for me.
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