Don't take perfect operation for granted. Test every used camera that you buy. Make sure it works before the short term warranty runs out....

You guys already know this but... when you buy a used camera, even from the most reputable source, you need to take some time to reset the menus to the settings you like to use, try out all the controls, and also shoot a bunch of test shots to make sure the camera is focusing correctly and exposing images the way it's supposed to. Otherwise you are unwisely tempting fate. The photo gods love to punish hubris by sabotaging you when you least expect it and when the cost to you is greatest. Don't even let me start the story about the freshly overhauled Leica M3 I brought along as my only camera on a trip with my wife to Paris in 1986. First day out, in marvelous light, in the perfect setting, and a loose screw in the guts of the camera brought the entire day to a halt. But, enough digression. Just a reminder that all cameras were assembled by humans and all humans are fallible. Check yours before you bet the farm.

A new-to-me Fujifilm X-Pro2 made its way to me yesterday and I pulled it from the box, charged the battery and installed a shiny, clean SD memory card. Then I reset the menus, clicked all the settings I wanted (including new settings for the function buttons) and made sure the camera basically worked. 

After my swim this morning I spent hours pretending to be financially/investingly savvy and researching various investment strategies, but as soon as I became terminally bored with learning about icky stuff like compound interest I picked up the new camera and headed out the door. My rationale for taking a break from grown up stuff was the desperate need to test out the new camera to make sure it didn't need to be returned. I hate sending stuff back. 

I finally got over to my favorite, shady parking spot at Zach Theatre around 3 p.m. at which time the temperature was hovering around 105 (f) and when the humidity was factored in, the "feels like" temperature was supposed to be something like 110.  I took precautions to combat the oppressive heat; I brought along a cotton bandana which I used to cover my black camera when it was not in use. 

I've decided to get more use out of the Fujicron lenses so my test run today was done with the 35mm f2.0; it was too hot to carry and use an assortment of lenses so I left everything else at home. 

When it gets this hot it's a good idea not to stop for more that a few seconds on black asphalt. The surface heats up so much that sometimes, if one is not careful, the heat melts the soles of people's shoes and then the shoe ends up sticking to the pavement. If one waits too long the melted sole and the asphalt bond and trap the unwary pedestrian in place where they are soon overcome by the heat and sometimes perish. We lose a few Californians this was each Summer. It happens too often when they stop to chat and reminisce how much better everything was back in Malibu.....or something like that.

I followed all the general procedures for a safe adventure in a sea of elevated infrared and pulsating UV energy. I wore the wide brimmed hat, sunscreened the skin that wasn't covered by clothing, and made sure to drink a few pints of water before I left the house. Someday I will become wealthy with my newest idea: sunscreen for cameras! 

I had a modest and easily attainable destination in mind; I was heading to the new library where I looked forward to swilling down a cup of their coffee and maybe even indulging in one of their cafe's wonderful toffee, almond, pecan, chocolate chip and sea salt cookies. I was almost to the library when I ran into my son, Ben, who was also walking around downtown this afternoon. He was heading off on some errand so I only delayed him long enough to pry an agreement out of him to come over on Thursday evening for dinner. Thursday being our traditional night for sharing pizzas. 

The library cafe was quiet, cool and nearly empty of people. The cookie was easily one of the top three cookies I've eaten in all 63 years of my young life. The coffee was fine too. I savored the view and the quiet for a while before finally completing another walking and photographing loop through downtown. After that I headed back over the pedestrian bridge toward my car. Halfway across the bridge I ran into Ben again, he had changed into running gear and was on the last quarter of his 5 mile run around the lake. He looked none the worse for wear. There is something about being a skinny, daily runner that seems to make Ben and his friends immune to the heat. Although, from a parenting point of view I do wish he'd run in the morning when it's cooler. 

I used the camera in the OVF mode for the most part. Everything seems to be working fine and, as you can probably tell by the included photographs, the focus seems to be right on the money. Now that the camera has passed my initial test and my heat torture test I'll put a small piece of white tape on the bottom and give the camera a number. I'll also change the file name identifier so I'll know which camera is which. 

Be sure to test used cameras that come your way. It could save you some grief down the road. 

Yay! The boy is coming for dinner! 

A view from the pedestrian bridge looking east to downtown. 


Eric Rose said...

So true. I bought an EX condition Panasonic GH5 from KEH a while back and when I was testing it the audio input was dead. Great if I only wanted to do silent movies! They of course took it back and sent me for all I can see a brand new GH5. What I found out was their grading only covers cosmetics not function. So you might be buying what you think is a pristine Wunder-Kamara only to find out it looks pretty but is kaput.

I had the same thing happen with a Nikon D700 I bought from them years ago. Again they immediately sent me a camera to replace it which was next to new.

The lesson learned is always ask them to put it through the QC department before they ship. KEH and Photrio (web forum) are about the only places I buy cameras these days. I very rarely buy new and the used stuff in Calgary is crazily priced.

This week has been pleasantly cool up here in The Camera Store land.


Scott said...

"When it gets this hot it's a good idea not to stop for more that a few seconds on black asphalt."

Yes, and of course no one should ever let their dog walk on dark pavement in the sun on a hot day. They can get second-degree burns on their paws in no time. Too many people wearing shoes don't think about this, which leads to disaster. If you cannot hold your hand on the pavement for ten seconds then a dog cannot walk on it.

Andrew Johnston said...

Not just used cameras. My first Canon 7D arrived just before a trip and had a major fault. The vendor then took weeks to replace it. You not only have to test the camera, but you also need time to return and replace it!

Fred said...

Many years ago my now ex-wife attended a business conference in Las Vegas in August and was booked into a hotel down the street from the conference location. Being from upstate New York and never having been in the desert before she decided to walk to the convention location and cut across a blacktop parking lot. When her wedge heel shoes started sinking into the blacktop and her feet started cooking she turned around and hotfooted (yes, intentional, I am a weak person) it back to her hotel where she filled her bathtub with cold water and perhaps got something out of the mini-bar, returning to the conference later that day in a cab.