Looking for a freebie digital camera. Sorta.
March 26, 2007 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Dublin Airport Security accidentally broke my digital camera this weekend, and I'm looking for creative and cheap options to get a replacement digital camera to use for the rest of my trip.

I was passing through security at Dublin Airport en route to Grenoble. I was pulled aside to have my backpack checked. The security screener opened my backpack. I had put all of my electronics (cell phone, mp3 player, camera, extra batteries, alarm clock) and a tin can of tea leaves in a separate smaller bag in my backpack because they can check all those things at once more easily. I thought.

She found the objectionable item (the alarm clock, whose 3 batteries look like revolver bullets apparently) and replaced the alarm clock, and in manipulating my backpack my camera was launched out of the backpack and hit the floor from about table/waist height.

She gave me the green light to pass security and told me I should check to make sure the camera was in good working order.

My camera is definitely broken. It's a Samsung Digimax 530. About 2 years old. Even with new batteries it won't power up. The screen comes on, but it doesn't display the Samsung logo like it used to, and it doesn't make the usual power-up noise either. The lens doesn't extend and my laptop does not recognize it as a USB device.

She acknowledged responsibility, and we filled out an insurance form or incident report or something at the time. She gave me some contact information for her security supervisor, and the chief of security. Her tune changed after talking with her supervisor. The formerly sure-thing reimbursement became "a matter of getting the stories straight, because you were part of this incident". Airport security doesn't let you touch your bag while they're inspecting it. Presumably this is so prestidigitatory terrorists can't manipulate weapons or whatever during the inspection.

I sent them an e-mail with my version of events. It seems clear to me that it's their fault (duh). My camera was working. Then I passed through security where they dropped it. Now it doesn't work. I realize accidents happen, but it was their accident.

I'm not sure if my memory card somehow got zapped, but I found an SD card reader from a colleague at the nuclear plant where I work and I'll try that tomorrow. So I may have even lost my weekend trip to Dublin but I remain optimistic.

Assuming I get no good (hear good means timely and favourable) response from the airport personnel, how can I salvage the trips I have coming up in the next few weeks and get a new camera?

My best idea so far, because what does it cost to send an e-mail: I e-mailed Samsung and explained my situation and explained the potential PR benefits of giving me a (temporary or otherwise) replacement. My internship in France will be recounted to at least 50 other students at my university, and if I insert the part of the story where they come through HUGE, in the clutch, etc. with a camera to salvage my vacation. I'm sure the story of excellent after-sales after-warranty service (for a camera bought 2 years ago in Canada, not France where I am now and for most of the 30-40 days) would do right by the company. And I realize it's quite a cockamamie and harebrained scheme, but I'm desperate. I'm also planning on proposing the same ridiculous exchange with other digital camera companies, maybe a brand-switch is better PR. I don't have any contacts with those companies however, and I think it's clear that my approach is enough of a stretch as it is.

  • I am not interested in buying disposable film cameras as anything except a last resort.
  • I am not looking to dig out a soldering iron and hot-wire a disposable digital camera.
  • I don't have the means to buy a camera while I'm here I can't get one sent from home (I'm only here for another month, with a few weekend trips and a full week right at the end).
  • My backup plan is buying a metric assload of post cards and scanning them and pretending they're pictures I took
Thanks in advance, and I'll try to be around to answer questions but I'm in GMT+1:00 right now and I have limited net access at work.
posted by KevCed to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (9 answers total)
Have you considered renting a camera for the trips? I've done this once when I forgot to bring my camera on a trip, and it was much cheaper than I expected.
posted by helios at 1:10 PM on March 26, 2007

Response by poster: Helios: I've never even heard of renting a camera. Do you mean fancy SLRs? Mine had manual aperture/shutter settings, but it was a pretty simple 5MP 3.0x optical zoom point and shoot.
posted by KevCed at 1:16 PM on March 26, 2007

why not just buy a new one and sell the spare, once you get it, on eBay? you'll probably lose a few dollars, but hey, sometimes life throws these things at you.

and on behalf of my countrymen, i'd like to apologise for dublin airport security. it's not our fault, getting through security there was a walk in the park before the EU tightened regulations after 9-11/iraq war/7-11/the UK started shouting TERRORIST at everything that moved
posted by ascullion at 1:17 PM on March 26, 2007

Response by poster: Ascullion: The trips I'm going on are bought and paid for, and I don't have the ~200euro to spare at the moment. I'm an intern and I'm going back to Canada at the start of May to a large tuition bill. Also, electronics here are about 25-50% more expensive than at home.

And I heartily enjoyed your country otherwise. Even security was pretty decent, other than the part where my camera stopped working.
posted by KevCed at 1:23 PM on March 26, 2007

You mentioned that you’re doing this with about 50 other students – will you be traveling with some of them? Can you arrange to share their cameras and/or grab their pictures? Offer to buy batteries, give them your memory card, and furnish them with lots of beer and wine! If you or the camera holders have a laptop or computer lab access, buy some blank CDRs and periodically copy the pictures you want.

If you/they/people reading this are very proprietary about photos I can understand that this might seem a bit creepy, but a lot of people I know are fine with sharing snapshots and would probably be very understanding of your situation. I’d just provide any disposable supplies you can (like batteries), buy rounds of drinks or what have you, and also make it clear you won’t be using their photos commercially (and if you post them on the web give the photographer credit in your caption).
posted by handful of rain at 1:56 PM on March 26, 2007

I am not interested in buying disposable film cameras as anything except a last resort.

Keep true to this. I was in the UK a few months ago and made the mistake of using disposal cameras. I had no idea how shitty their quality really is when you want/need good photographs that ought to last a lifetime.
posted by jmd82 at 1:59 PM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: I've never even heard of renting a camera...

I hadn't either. I just happened to be standing in front of a photo shop in Vancouver when I realized I had forgotten my camera. I walked in the shop asked if they rented cameras, and indeed they did (although there was no indication they did - I just had to ask). It was $17 CAD per day for a nice SLR. The next day I found a different photo shop that rented a similar SLR for $4.33 CAD per day ($13 for 3 days).

I had to leave a deposit though, in the form of an authorization on my credit card. I have no idea if photo shops in Grenoble do this, but I suppose it's worth asking.
posted by helios at 9:04 PM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: handful of rain writes "You mentioned that you’re doing this with about 50 other students – will you be traveling with some of them?"

He's not travelling with them, he's just giving an example of the publicity he would give the good deed.

I don't know any other ways of getting a camera, but if you did want to buy a new one you could do so for about €70. Check out this one, or this, both from good respectable stores.
posted by jacalata at 1:10 AM on March 27, 2007

Best answer: My parents ended up wiring me money to buy a camera for my birthday. Thanks for the input.
posted by KevCed at 5:13 PM on June 15, 2007

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