Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

February 17, 2011

Camera Catatonia

In the early/mid 2000's, I swore up and down, to anyone who would listen, that I would never quit shooting film and go completely 100% digital.  I bought my Pentax istD in early 2006, and although I took it with me to Vancouver, BC that summer, I didn't use it at all.  I was still had my snobby film 'tude, so I only used my Pentax ZX-M and older K-1000 (as you can see, I am brand-loyal).

Flash forward to 2011, and I take my istD EVERYWHERE.  I really need a do-over trip to Vancouver, now that I'm shooting exclusively digital.

Unfortunately, after a ton of use, I started to notice debris in my photos.  It's been very distressing and I had to do some creative photography up in Victoria to minimize the spots.  I shot this picture of Mt. Rainier and some more cool lenticular clouds on January 26 and the spotting in the sky on the upper right is very bad.  

I assumed it was stuff on the lens, or inside the camera on the mirror.  I decided that I could no longer shoot with it in that condition.  So I took it to Robi's Camera in Lakewood.  This is one of the only camera shops in the area, so I have no choice but to deal with them.  I called to find out the info on having my camera cleaned and was told "In by Wednesday, out by Saturday."  So I decided to bring it in on Saturday, Feb. 5, figuring I would get it back the following Sat.  It was a looooong week without my camera.  We had some really cool sunrises with "Maxfield Parrish" skies.  I went into withdrawal without it.  I jetted back down on Saturday morning when they opened at 10, only to find out that "out by Saturday" means by close of business day.  I was more than slightly annoyed, but resigned myself to going during lunch on Monday.  I'd had a great opportunity to go to Mount St. Helens on Sunday because the weather was perfect.  That was part of my malaise:  Not having a camera on such a capital day.

Needless to say when I arrived on Monday only to be told that my camera hadn't even been worked on, nor could they find it, I. Went. Off.  I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars at that shop, between equipment, repairs and photo processing. Including the brand new zoom lens I picked up when I dropped the camera off to be cleaned!!!  And they are telling me that, not only hasn't it been cleaned, but they can't locate it either?  The salesclerk said the manager should have been in by then, but he wasn't, and so I'd need to call him later that day.  I also left my number and name for him to call me.  Did he call?  Nooooooo.  Of course not.  So I called and had to leave a message on his voice mail.  Did he call me back? Nooooooo.

I called Tuesday morning and was told he was with a customer.  I explained to whoever answered the phone what was going on and that I would hold until such time as the manager became available.  The guy put me on hold, then came back a few minutes later and said that they promised it would be ready late that afternoon, oh and by the way, the batteries were dead and had to be charged.  I was apoplectic.  I snapped, "Well they were fully charged when I brought the camera in over a week ago!"  I also said, "You know you really shouldn't tell people 'in by Wednesday out by Saturday' if you really mean that it takes 10 days."

Anywho, when I finally did get it back, I was given a photocopy of what the sensor looked like before it was cleaned.  Pretty gross, eh?  That long hair in the upper left corner showed up the day I was shooting Rainier with the clouds.  

And this is how the sensor looks after being cleaned.

This is the first photo taken with my newly cleaned camera and brand new zoom lens.
I'm so happy to have my beloved camera back!!!!!


  1. That's awesome! Take a lot more photos soon. Teehee!

  2. Wow, that was pretty crappy service despite the outcome.
    Do they do the cleaning right in the store or did they have to send it out?
    The K-1000 was an excellent camera back in it's day. Did you ever get through that roll of B&W film?

  3. Thanks Sonnia! Saturday is supposed to be nice so I'm heading down to Olympia!

    Bev - Yes, I was pretty appalled at their service. It's bad enough that they are slow as molasses when you go in there. This was unacceptable to me. As for the b&w film, nope, it's still in my camera from last spring's trip to Kalaloch! lol

  4. I had a similar situation when I was working for an attorney. My messages were ignored until I told them my name and that I was calling from the Law Office of Weinerbob Wienstein (or whatever) and that I need to speak to them regarding potential litigation. They didn't need to know that the litigation would have been my personal claim against them in small claims court. It got their attention and my phone calls were suddenly returned.

  5. JoJo, that last picture, or first picture, is a beauty!!

  6. Gorgeous pic! Reminds me that it's a full moon and why my sleeping is all screwed up!

  7. Beautiful moon.

    I have had similar problems with one of the few and only camera shops in our fair city. I WILL NEVER go back. I think they are gougers and the staff was ruder than rude! I wonder if it's something about that particular business that makes people grouchy and unprofessional..?

    Anyway, great pix. Glad you got your baby back.

  8. Kathleen11:44 PM

    Sounds like someone took the camera out for a joy shoot.

  9. I'm glad it was worth all the trauma!

  10. I agree with Kathleen. They probably wanted to test drive it. Bastards.

    Sad to say I have no camera whatsoever anymore. Even my cell phone's camera refuses to shoot :-(

    Also, I can't shoot another film because my editing gear was uninstalled by the Net prick.
    So, honey, I know what hell it is to not have shootage indefinately.