Silly Cameras IV

4/28/18. Sometimes I feel I’m closing in on the canons at least, but then sometimes I’m not at all sure. ... On the other hand, the camera biz is still going downhill, and I guess I take a guilty perverse pleasure in that — it’s not that I want all those lying incompetent retailers and web sites to be punished exactly — and really, if they were looking forward to a prosperous exciting career they presumably have already suffered much. ... Apple itself, with its iphone camera slayer, makes vast sums but not, sadly, stuff that “just works” anymore ... if it ever did. ... Ah ... it’s all gloom & despair — except for my adorable fiendishly-cute recently-antiquated cameras, even ’though some are broken....

Bare Ruined Choirs ...

5/28/18. But the groves of silly cameras are silent ... empty ... in a thousand miles of junk! The usual offerings of rusting film devices continue unabated, but no delightful sprightly digital cameras in the bargain bins. ... It seems the time of abundance has departed, persisting only at the Amazon & Ebay electronic bazaars — so far, I’ve found a single overpriced $50 Olympus silly camera with corroded AA cells. ... My statistical samples are crude no doubt, but it seems that @ 11/17 or so, all the digital camera junk was cleaned out of closets across the land and then — nada. ... But I will defy despair! ... Surely some more digital junk will show-up, someday. ... And then the Florida Oviedo Antique Mall came through @ 6/15/18, with three beautiful silly cameras which will no doubt lighten (or darken) my way — but still not an avalanche ... or even a little mud slide — a single store does not a silly cornucopia make....

Canon

I suppose I assumed it was obvious, but I will document the obvious here and note that Canon dominates the silly cameras, and today’s camera market such as it is, and the digital camera market past & probably future, world without end. ... All the enthusiast publications — that is, the paid bogus advertising of at least the other camera brands — pretend that it’s a tough competitive market, the glorious race to the swiftest, blah blah. Except of course the wholly bought and paid-for, like the British “brand” magazines which of course cannot have any unwholesome relationships with their obvious sponsors.

... Anyway, the point is all these scammy journalists, mostly on the web today, will pretend that any market is super competitive — if they didn’t, you wouldn’t read their tripe, so you wouldn’t click-through their tasty advertising, and they’d go out of bizness. Where, in the case of the digital cameras at least, they doubtless are going even as I blather....

In my silly camera endeavors, the Canons have been obviously superior at every turn, most convincingly in the case of the amazing Nikon D80, but everywhere and in all ways. Of course I patronize the lesser brands nevertheless, for the same perverse & joyous reason that I buy 10-year-old cameras at all — because it’s fun!


Others:   DSLR   Silly Cameras I & II & III      Canon S1 IS       Canon PRO90 IS      Olympus SP320      Flip?        Kodak Z981     Nikon cp4100


4/28/18. I realized I had omitted the first of the Canon S-series, so I got a 2/04 3mp Canon S1 IS 10x for a mere $50 at the amazon emporium of genteelly-battered cameras — only $340 retail in the day — and it will arrive any day now to join the teeming herds. ... But sadly, it was wasn't genteel-enough: "Primeking131" claimed it "works great but it is not in very good cosmetic condition" but it took one in-focus picture, and then subsequently all out-of-focus — so maybe it worked for Primeking, but not for me; the focus was gershtunk. ... And then I realized the in-focus picture was from my beloved G1, as the EXIF info informed me — and of course last year's date if I'd noticed — I just grabbed the CF out of a drawer and there was a picture there already by happenstance. So Primeking has no excuse. Nor me....

Manual Focus

But I learned about the S1's MF Manual Focus button which, conclusively, didn't work either. But it's on my other Canon zoomers, and does something my DSLRs won't do[13], which is focus at infinity without tears: just keep moving the indicator up to the top. Although none of them seemed to actually change the observable focus, good or bad: even in the little "magnified" center box it deliberately puts up. But maybe in darker conditions something'd show; presumably the zoomers stop down / amplify to make the EVF as "good" as possible. 

But in my too-battered S1 the fuzzy focus remained unaltered, auto or manual, and so it went home to that great silly camera corral in the sky, or at amazon, or "Primeking131". ... I will get another someday, probably cheaper — non-prime? — and presumably better; there are lots more @ amazon....

Compulsory Flash

Another interesting peculiarity of the S1 is the flash was compulsory — I couldn't lift it up with my fingers like the subsequent models require, but it popped-up for the picture when I pressed the shutter halfway — although that could be suppressed by operating the flash button appropriately, if one remembered. ... After this zoomer, Canon obviously realized that accidentally not firing the flash was far less objectionable than firing it by mistake — at a museum, or a theater, or a funeral. And the non-auto-popup flash would've been cheaper. ... But my Canon DSLR pops-up in AUTO by default and makes a huge noise doing it, which frightened the poor amateur the first time. ... Although it can be lifted manually....

6/19/18

Our next amazon marketplace vendor contestant "baxter6000" delivered a far superior S1 IS, albeit with battery dirt I cleaned-out with a dental pick + toothbrush, and a sticky compulsory flash that, when I managed to brutalize it up, still took nice pictures. ... So I oiled the mechanism — an owenlabs silly camera firstwith my tiny bottle of musical instrument lubricating oil, which has an appropriately-delicate hyperdermic-like applicator; and of course immediately qtipped off the excess so the camera will work perfectly. ... I could see the tiny plastic mechanism with a hook and the slot within which it was supposed to operate, and I oiled the slot and abused the thing a few times, and then it'd pop-up as appropriate i.e. automatically. Before this draconian remedy, I could hear the silly thing making a tiny ineffectual popping noise, as it tried to release the silly flash. ... Sic transit etc....

But it takes beautiful pictures, just like all the silly cameras....


7/2/18. A sad day and a broken silly camera — a surprisingly uncommon event here in the laboratory, although not unknown. The 4/00 3.3mp Casio QV3000, a wonderful thing in its day no doubt, is today broken Japanese junk. ... Of course they're almost all Japanese, but this is the first silly camera that insists on reverting its menus to ideographs or katakana or whatever it is @ every power cycle, even 'though I've managed to set it to English — twice now. ... And the zoom is frozen motionless. ... And it doesn't take pictures; just darkness. ... But it lights-up! It shows the pictures already on the CF card!

... I got it at the occasionally wondrous Cooper City Antiques, from whence in January four happy silly cameras came, but it was $95 which, even at the 1/3rd off proclaimed by a placard, was a bit steep, considering the extravagantly-corroded batteries I showed to a fellow wandering the store who seemed to take an interest and was apparently part of the owernship. So he suggested $20, and thus I have achieved broken antique digital camera satori. ... It isn't normal to encounter dickering opportunities, at least in our price-tag kind of stores, and for some perverse reason I'm still glad I wasted my $20, which shows I suppose what a devoted silly adept I am....

& this after spending skillful minutes dremelling off the battery rot. ... And it's true, I couldn't at first figure-out how to turn it on, pressing what I thought was the universal line-in-a-circle symbol, which turned-out to be the delayed-shutter button. ... And then at last I realized the LCD with bits of caption but mostly darkness — that was the camera's dead view. ... Sic transit gloria casio.

... And I think I remember this sad machine from the previous Cooper City visit, where no one with which to dicker presented itself, and I serenely passed on, little imagining our future entanglement, so tragic but relatively inexpensive....


7/1/18. Continuing our journey into the earliest reaches of silly cameradom, I hope my $35 1/01 3mp Canon PowerShot Pro90 IS 10x will prove, whenever it is released from the dungeons of ebay, a better rep of that fabled era than my pitiful casio. ... It has the proprietary rechargeable battery scam, but in our latter-day fallen times they're a mere $17 @ amazon for two incl. charger....

And the Pro90's got the precious raw oh be still my heart! ".CRW"s, 'jes like my beloved G2. And all-in-all, it is a thing of mystery & beauty and, of course, takes beautiful pictures. ... And kind-of looks like a flash gordon weapon. And was $1100 in the day! And its deep glassy gaze looks lovely amongst the lesser later Canons on the shelf....


7/4/18. I show the box of the beautiful $32 2/10 12mp Nikon Coolpix S4000 'cause it was so new and retail-looking, the seller carefully packing everything in just the right way, including manual, CDs, camera charger and, wrapped in a holy protective plastic bag, the wrong proprietary USB camera charger cord! ... Some poor innocent geezer not so very different from me — except without my encyclopędic knowledge of scammy technical minutię, like the USB cords, each a snowflake so diferent and incompatible, the better to confound their innocent victims customers after they'd lose the stupid thing and have to pay through the nose for another. ... Oh the glittering brilliance of the golden age.

... And the guy's cord wasn't even the wrong proprietary cable; it was a standard µUSB, beloved of amazon kindle....

So I blew $20 @ amazon on more batteries, an actual battery charger, and the right USB cord. ... But the s4000's got a touch screen — a laboratory first! — well, excluding the home organ. ... But apparently the glorious s4000 was only $200 new! And it's got no viewfinder, like most coolpix. The low price is why I bought them once or twice, the latest in the s4000 era but not of course with scammy rechargeable proprietary battery junk. Even in those distant days, I'd check that first....

But it was all for naught! It's broken; powers-up, "lens error", turns-off. Impact adjustment didn't help. The thing looks in good shape, so it was probably in someone's drawer for months/years and then one day it stopped working. Or maybe when it was brand-new. Or who knows. ... But I was starving for silly cameras, and foolishly went too far. I mean it's a stupid camera anyway — although the touch screen worked great — it's a Nikon; it's proprietary rechargeable, and no viewfinder. I mean, the beautiful Pro90's rechargeable, but I got it from an Ebay guy what supposedly takes returns. ... And my Nikon D80 was from Amazon! ... Not a silly junk store. ... Enticing as they are, I should be more caution in the tattered aisles o' junk. ... It's not even worth saving the charger/batteries, although of course I will — the whole point of the scam is its uniquity....

Obiter Dictum: the Failure

Ok I screwed-up. The magical search for silly cameras has hit a stretch of rough road, and who knows if I'll ever find the highway again. Two previously-amusing vendors, Cooper City and Oviedo, sold me broken junk which, to be sure, were entirely my fault — I mean, they are junk stores, and the Cooper City qv3000 was obviously broken, and I only paid $20. The s4000 was just a classic good-$-after-bad geezer delusion. 

... And so be it! ... If I must stumble, I will stumble in search of the good and the right and the silly. ... And the Pro90 is still warm & fuzzy....


7/7/18. My final Oviedo 1/06 7.1mp Olympus SP-320 camera has a sticker on it saying "TESTED". ... Of course it doesn't say how that worked out. ... It uses an Olympus-special "xD picture card" but I'm covered, hoarding scammy proprietary camera cards in abundance — well, I had two 2GB cards. ... And it uses AA batteries! 

And it works! At last ol' Oviedo came through ... at a bargain $6. ... And it takes beautiful pictures, as do all the silly cameras, except the totally broken (qv3000), and the occasional derelict like the non-focusing s1

... And it's an educational contrast with my broken-CRV3-battery Olympus SP310 — well, actually, I guess the sp320 theoretically also could use a CRV3 — so it says on the battery compartment — but so far average NiMH AAs have lasted through 5 or ten power cycles! ,,, & it just produced a green "full battery" icon....

And the SP320's got raw, 'jes like the 310. And a viewfinder! ... It's probably the working version of the 310....


7/9/18. The 2011 Flip video cameras! ... As I cavort with my beloved silly cameras, somehow I got inveigled in the beloved flip video gadgets of yore, and realized with a shock why they were still so attractive: no touch screen! Just a small number of working buttons. ... Of course everyone's phone has a far superior video camera, but it also has a touch screen, which means anyone trying to take video, or a picture, or make a phone call, or do anything, inevitably sets off at least one or two wonderful ancillary/totally-unrelated features the manufacturer — of course not out of desperation to make a pitiful bit of scratch in the dwindling last days of the cellphone boom, but just out of loving care for the consumer — has installed on the phone so they are so easy to activate. ... So the flip'll never ask to notify you, or use your location; or be your friend. ... It just records video + audio. ... It's odd how strange that feels — a gadget that doesn't pester you, that's simple to use. ... Press a button, take a video. How can that be in this day & age? ... And of course, it isn't; it stopped around 2011, when we abandoned it for the glorious cell phones. ... But now, today, they're here, for me, resurrected for harmless audio/video note-taking-without-tears activities....

Flake

In one aspect, sadly, the flips are not like the silly cameras: out of three laboratory units in original boxes, only two still worked. The tiny electronics in the third fell-over in the weary years, and would light-up, & hang-up. ... Even the dubious silly cameras — Olympus, Nikon — don't do that — well my pitiful nikon s4000, but that was certainly physical design incompetence, as are the numerous broken battery doors. The camera electronics & optics are astonishingly hardy. ... And many of my cameras, from the flips' ~2010 era, include video & even stereo sound ... and no touch screen.... 

But still, not as cute 'n' convenient as the flip, with its built-in USB connector to get the beautiful pictures out....

Vivitar DVR 410

Then, as a sort-of sub-category of flip flake, we have the Vivitar "jello video" DVR 410. It has a much-inferior poke-out USB connector but, also, a removable SD card and an automatic-selfie flip-out screen!

The unit has pitiful red sharpie fine-point scribblings writ upon it in ages past by an infuriated flip-using video ęsthete, and had been lost in the garage for eons or at least since the Great Move until I noticed it in the bright morning. But when I scribbled furiously, I was expecting the thing to work; now, I am expecting it to amuse, and support minimal note-taking, which it did admirably as I wandered about the laboratory trying to remember where things are, and the feature will probably be enhanced by the jello effect. 

... So I bought another for $22 @ amazon — which came in its original bubblepack, untouched by human hands, in all its startling pristine beauty — I probably can't bear to unpack it. ... I mean, amazon only promised "Colors May Vary". ... This is doubtless the natal packaging of my existing DVR 410, probably bought @ Walmart....


7/12/18. Stung by my silly camera failures, and wrung by flip nostalgia, I logically went and bought a 1/10 14mp Kodak EasyShare Z981 26x zoom from the amazon used camera emporium, paying an extortionate $85, apparently in competition with all those Kodak fans out there. ... The Z981 is the predecessor to my oft-reviled Z990 — well of course reviled by me; not a discouraging word elsewhere — and perhaps I felt I should get a do-over of my catastrophic failure with the Z990 whose live view I foolishly imagined would actually work! ... Now, so much wiser in silly cameras' ways, I will treat the Z981 with the proper respect and always use the EVF, and never the LCD, and it will work wonderfully with two more megapixels then the antique laboratory standard of 12....

And it is lovely ... understated-ish, for some reason lower-rent-looking than the z990 — the raised "Kodak" on the lens cap isn't silver. ... But it doesn't have a broken pixel column like my other 14mp camera, the perfidious Canon SX30 ... although the z981 is CCD rather than the sx30's modérne apparently-dubious CMOS....


7/14/18. Seeking a comfort camera, I played with my adorable Nikon Coolpix 3100 — and, inspired, found its supposedly-more-capable younger sibling the 5/04 4mp Nikon Coolpix 4100 for $5.51 @ the amazon wonder mart! ... Apparently I should spend more time online, and save the junk stores for serendipitous amazements....

But sadly, it was a comedown: there's no "LCD" button! ... To turn-off the power-sucking "live view" beloved by all in 2004 — and now, for that matter, based on the relentless puffery — I'd have to use the setup menu — i.e., many more perilous keystrokes. ... And the test pic I took is kinda dark, but that's an EZ fix. ... So right, it has the same number of buttons as the 3100, they just traded the LCD button for a center "OK" button on the four-way arrow thing. No doubt some Nikon genius's idea of why Canon was so popular. 

The Danger Button

Oh I get it! That "LCD" button on the 3100 caused grief! The poor little aficionados'd return their 3100s 'cause the stupid LCD didn't light-up! ... 'Cause they pressed the stupid button! ... So, simple fix: get rid of the button & ensure batteries run out ril' fast with the beloved live view. Most camera purchases were used at a single celebration if that, & they probably wouldn't notice ridiculous battery failure for months, while the obvious LCD "failure" ... etc....

And such is the way of the silly cameras, ups & downs, shadows and sunlight, intelligence and of course beloved stupidity. ... But they still make lovely pictures....