Help me find a digital camera that I can drop!!
January 20, 2007 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a digital camera repair shop in Dallas that doesn't charge up front. I also have a question about finding a DURABLE camera for a clumsy girl. More inside.

In the past three months I have successfully killed about $500 worth of digital cameras. Both cases were caused by dropping them. My first casualty, a Canon Powershot, I took to Wolf Camera and they said it would be $187 to even LOOK at it. So I decided that I should just bite the bullet and buy a new one. Two weeks ago I bought a Sony and dropped it last night and broke it.

In both cases they were only dropped once. The Canon on a garage floor and the Sony on a wood coffee table. Nothing broke off of either camera, it appears to be more internal damage. In both cases the lense that usually retracts once the camera is turned off is permanently stuck out.

SO I have two questions:

1) Can anyone recommend a good repair shop in Dallas that will diagnose my problem and THEN tell me how much it would be to fix it as opposed to charging some absurd fee up front?

2) And aside from purchasing one of those fisher-price cameras meant for five year olds, what options are out there for someone who is apparently very hard on cameras? Looking for absolute durability here...

Thanks in advance!!
posted by nataliecay to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're not likely to find a camera shop that that'll give an 'estimate to repair' b/c getting to that point is work ($).

As for the slightly more durable camera, a friend just bought an Olympus that can stand most drops. You might want to try searching for 'rugged camera'.
posted by jdfan at 12:13 PM on January 20, 2007

The Olympus Stylus 720sw claims to be "shockproof"/able to survive a 5-foot drop. Also, the zoom lens assembly is completely enclosed in the body (doesn't extend out/retract in). If you can find one at a Costco, they're often touted as having a no-questions-asked return policy. This probably varies by who you deal with at the returns counter, but they should at least try to make a repair happen under warranty.
posted by disarray at 12:19 PM on January 20, 2007

I've dropped a few cameras myself. After a $500 lesson, I started using the wrist strap. Most of the smaller cameras have a little loop for a wrist strap [even if they don't come with a wrist strap... you can finds straps anywhere]. I use that and got in the habit of always keeping the camera around the wrist. Even if I think the camera would be safe.
posted by birdherder at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2007

The waterproof Optio WP is VERY durable.
posted by jedrek at 12:39 PM on January 20, 2007

A wrist strap used every time you hold the camera will allow you to use any camera you want and not break it. Even more secure is a neck strap. Just force yourself to use it and you'll be fine.
posted by nelvana at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2007

i've got a little casio exilim digital and have dropped it a couple of times, and it still seems to work fine. neither time was on concrete or anything, but they were both pretty good bumps, so i think i was just lucky.

i can't use a wrist strap because i turn my camera a lot from vertical to horizontal and it always seems to get in the way and drive me crazy.

i did take off the wrist strap and put a split ring from a key chain in its place; i have one of those clip-on neck straps for keys/badges that i attach to that as a safety strap, and i usually put that around my neck and the camera into a pocket or its chintzy little clip-on case attached to my shirt or jacket. (yeah, i look like a total dork, but i use my camera a lot at work and don't want to drop it again because i know i won't always be lucky!) i wouldn't rely on hanging the camera freely from this strap, i just use it for a little extra security.

hope some of this helps you hold onto the next one a while longer! good luck.
posted by doplgangr at 1:33 PM on January 20, 2007

Archinal Camera Repair gives you free estimates and is/are good people. 203 W. Main Street, Richardson, Texas 75081 (972) 644-7555
posted by chalupa at 2:42 PM on January 20, 2007

Just as a warning/FYI ... Ritz Camera (and Wolf Camera, effectively the same thing under a different name) have a repair policy that is designed to discourage people from repairing equipment, in order to drive sales. Although it may be that the repair would have been more expensive than the replacement cost anyway, you were not going to get any other answer, going to them.

I used to work there, and I'm a big proponent of repairing broken equipment rather than replacing it (just philosophically), and the way they set up their repair system drove me nuts. The repair cost for each camera is just pulled out of a giant book, regardless of what's wrong with it, and although I don't know where they get the values from, they're never less than a significant portion of the replacement cost.

So when you brought your camera in, the clerk just went to The Book, looked up your camera model, told you what the cost would be, and then sold you a new camera while you were still recovering from sticker-shock. (And I'll bet you a dollar he tried to sell you a damage protection plan on the new camera -- if he didn't, he wasn't very good.) It's pretty much SOP.

Stay away from chain stores if you need repair work done. They have no interest in actually fixing your equipment; they're going to push new gear, and its associated addons (new camera = new bag, memory card, damage protection, etc.) every time. Best Buy and other big-box stores aren't any better; they just combine the same tactics with more impersonal treatment.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:27 PM on January 20, 2007

For real durability you want a film camera, you can find bargain 1970s era cameras on ebay - something simple like the original Olympus trip
posted by Lanark at 6:38 AM on January 21, 2007

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