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The Rebel is back!

Ok, Canon gets a "B.' My Rebel is back, it's working fine, and they didn't charge me for what sounds like pretty extensive repairs. (See Rebel rebels, or out out dark spots . . . for what the problem was. )

So why the "B?" Here's what I mark them off for:

1. Time. I mailed it off to the repair center in New Jersey by second day air on May 25,2004. It arrived at their shipping dock on May 27. I made telephone inquiries and it was several days before it found its way off the loading dock and into the repair system. According to their letter the repair was completed June 11. I didn't receive it until June 16th and then it was a day late because they did not notify me by phone or email that it was coming. I wasn't here the day FedEx first tried to delivered it.

2. That kind of minor irritation - not telling me it was being shipped - was typical of my personal contact. They did provide an 800 phone number, but calling it was next to useless. Each time you would go through the same tedious routine, drilling your way down to some pleasant functionary who would answer your question. But they never had any meaningful answers. They could say "it on the loading dock" or "it's being examined." They obviously had no direct knowledge - or none they were willing to share. MY impression is they were simply looking at some sort of tracking system on their computer screen. Each time I talked with them they would say call back in a week. The last time I talked to them was about two days before the repair was finished - and I got the same suggestion - call back in a week.

3. The written explanation of the repair doesn't give me much useful information. Under "service details" they say:

"Replaced TPT holder ass'y & cmos sensor ass'y unit, adj & cleaned"

Uh huh. So, I think that means they replaced the sensor, but I'm not absolutely sure. And more importantly, I don't know what it means in terms of my future behavior. Was this a problem caused by a faulty part? Or did something I do - or not do - somehow cause or aggravate the situation. Was the "cleaning" referred to just routine, or had the sensor gotten dust on it and my efforts to clean it failed? That's the most critical point. If dust got on the sensor despite all my precautions - and if it could not be cleaned, despite all my efforts to do so - then I am deeply concerned that this will happen again and put the camera out of order for another three weeks.

I am going to try to get an answer from Canon on this. Right now I am operating under the assumption that the cleaning was necessary - just routine - and that the sensor (essentially, the film - was defective.

4. Cost - it's a hassle to pack something up and ship it off and it cost me about $15 to do so and I am not compensated for this.

So the bottom line is this. The camera was fixed for free - less my shipping costs - and that is good. But it meant I did not have the camera for three weeks and I found Canon's communications - both on the phone and in writing - unhelpful.

Maybe I'm an easy grader. Other people may be less patient. But for me that's a "B" performance. Things can be defective and Canon did meet it's basic responsibility. And I still love the camera - though I gotta say, I was impressed with the Canon my daughter bought her husband for Father's Day. It has a 10X optical zoom that is image stabilized and seems in many ways to be a miniature, fixed-lens version of the Rebel. Looks like a winner to me. It also costs significantly less - about the same thing I paid for my image stabilized, telephoto lens. That said, for what I do I'd rather have the flexibility, 6-megapixels, and sophistication of the Rebel - but this camera looked like a great substitute for those who aren't enthusiastic amateurs like me, but just want to have a good camera for family fun and vacations. And 10X optical zoom, image stabilized ....that's impressive.

Rebel rebels - or out out, dark spots!

I have just sent my Rebel and the following letter to the Canon factory. Needless to say I will be without a camera for the next two-to-four weeks, so it is the perfect opportunity to get my existing pictures in order - in other words I am looking for a bright side to an otherwise dark picture. ;-)


Click to enlarge - look carefully at this image and the letter below will make more sense.


Greetings:

I am sending this camera in for repairs (EOS 300D Digital Rebel - Body No. 0960300497 85200047) having been advised to do so by both your online and telephone technical support personnel.

The problem is there are spots on the images that appear to be caused by dust on the sensor. However, I have followed to the letter the recommended sensor cleaning procedures three times and have seen no change in the situation. The spots appear at the exact same location each time.

Looking back over earlier images I find that these same spots appear in the exact same location in pictures taken in mid-March - about 2,000 images ago! However, in these earlier pictures they are much less prominent - I did not notice them at the time - which makes me think this is not just dust on the sensor, but some other problem that is getting progresisvely worse.

This is not a problem with the lens. I have four different Canon lenses and the spots occur whichever lens I use. They occur at any focal length and at any state of focus. They are easiest to see on pictures taken with a plain background, such as the sky. I also have two different memory cards and they appear regardless of the card used, so I am sure the cards are not the problem.

There are several spots, but the most prominent occurs at approximately the following X-Y pixel coordinates:

300,1500
400, 1000
1220, 1280
2200, 580
2740, 200

Hope you can resolve this quickly and get me a camera that works properly - I love the Rebel and have invested heavily in lenses.

I'll post again and let you know the response from Canon. Meanwhile, I'm optimistic.

Dancing when the light dims, but the music of the spheres plays on…



Click this image to see a larger version of the picture.

Sydney, Australia, 5-May-04.
'Twas on the witching hour 05, on the witching date 05, on the witching month 05, when it happened. The sun, earth and moon were dancing with light and playing with shadow. The three came into alignment as straight as a chorus line. Slowly, earth’s shadow reached out over space to embrace the moon.

With a digital camera, we recorded the dance movements of light and shadow. (Apologies: quality is not as good as photographs from Driftwood Observatory!)

By the time the first international flight was landing in Sydney, 6am, the last sliver of moon had vanished. We looked through binoculars. A dull brown lemon was hanging over the west.

After that, unfortunately, light clouds came up and we were denied sight of the moon being released from the embrace of earth's shadow.

What a difference light makes!


The other morning I was standing on the upstairs deck when a crow landed in a nearby tree. I could not get a picture of him through the branches, but I stayed focused on him and waited for him to fly. When he did, I shot the above picture which fascinates me for the way it reveals the rich color in the crows very black feathers.

Of course it is the sunlight behind him that is doing this. Look at the other picture below, taken a few moments later. In this case the same crow had gotten out into the open and was flying at a near right angle to the sun. That is, I was off his wing tip and the sunw as to the right. Another lesson for me in the wonders of light!


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