Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Cameras ... and other stories

A year ago, on June 24, 2010, we showed you this wonderful new Panasonic Lumix Camera that we had purchased from Costco just two days prior, on June 22, 2010.

And many of our readers oohed and aahed, and some of our readers announced that they had already purchased ones themselves, or were about to, or would like to purchase one. Damn good camera, we all agreed.

On Monday, June 13, 2011 we were on our way to Yosemite National Park to record the astounding effects of the 2010-2011 winter snowfall on the towering waterfalls, and the wonderful, still new, Panasonic Lumix Camera DIED. “System Error (Focus).” Thursday, June 16, we trotted down to Groveland to a camera shop and displayed the ailing if not already dead Panasonic Lumix Camera to the proprietor, describing the System Error (Focus) message. The proprietor clucked and said something about that being one of three fatal errors that can’t be fixed. And even if it could be fixed, to have someone even look at the camera would cost about $100.

We bought from him this sparking new claret colored Nikon Coolpix Camera, so we’d have something to use in Yosemite National Park in addition to Suzy’s Kodak.

Suzy's Kodak
The Nikon Coolpix has lots of features, but not as many as the Panasonic Lumix, most notably it has only a 3.6X optical zoon, whereas the Lumix has a 12X optical zoom. Suzy’s Kodak has a 12X optical zoom, so we’re covered, right?
In the meantime, we had company. John and Anne Corrigan are friends of long standing, although they do regularly sit down. I met John when I joined the Knights of Columbus in San Lorenzo, CA in about 1987, and the ladies joined in shortly thereafter.
John and Anne travel in this fifth wheel when they travel, but they have a beautiful home in Oakhurst, CA where they spend most of their time.

By coincidence, John (who is several years younger than I – but then, isn’t most everyone?) also went as a youngster to the nearby Boy Scout Camp Dimond O and remembered Evergreen Lodge. So we took a short drive, visited the present version of Dimond O, and had lunch at Evergreen Lodge.
During the rest of their visit we shared meals and Internet time at the camp’s lodge, and got caught up on all the folks we used to know. John also took a stab at fixing Suzy’s Big Red mobility scooter, and got it moving again. Unfortunately, his fix didn’t cure the core problem, and Big Red died again … in the middle of a Costco shopping trip! At least John made an effort, and his effort did some good for a while.

John and Suzy on the Internet.
Why were we at Costco? John reminded me that Costco has a one year return policy on electronics, including cameras. The nearest Costo is in Merced, 87 miles away, a lot of it on back highways. Guess what? Costco's return on cameras is limited to three months! But they put me in touch with Panasonic, who agreed to replace the camera, after I described the problem, and after the tech walked me through an unsuccessful reset attempt. He gave me instructions on how to set up the return and exchange on the Internet. So we came home to Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails, along roads like this.  
We arrived back at Rosie’s site in the 1000 Trails Preserve about 7:30pm, just in time for Happy Hour.

Saturday we went on line again from the Thousand Trails Lodge to work through Panasonic’s repair / return system, only to be told that the camera model we reported was not covered under their policy! How can that be, when the first representative told us that it would be replaced? The website gave us a phone number to call – from here, where we don’t have phone service! Put that project on hold, while we still aren’t visiting Yosemite!

Next, we found four – count ‘em, 1,2,3,4 – messages from PayPal, putting us on limited service, then telling us that our account may have been compromised – contact us immediately. We contacted them immediately on line, and they said they’d call us if we gave them our phone number. We did (even though we have no phone service up here) and they replied that they could not confirm a cell phone number! We have two cell phones, each with a different number, but so what? They want a land line, or we can communicate with them by mail. But of course, they can’t deal with a post office box, which our mail forwarding service address is. They have to have a physical residence, but we are a few hundred miles from our winter residence! Ah, they say, call us! WE DON’T HAVE PHONE SERVICE! WE DON’T HAVE EASY INTERNET ACCESS, AND THEY DON’T LIKE OUR INFORMATION ANYWAY!

Have you ever been to Oakdale, California? It’s a nice town, but a long way from here, about 65 miles. That’s where we had to go to find Verizon phone service plus accessible Internet service. It’s difficult to find a wifi hotspot in a small town you aren’t acquainted with, but we eventually found Starbucks, bought two Skinny Vanilla something or others, “grande” size (which, of course, is medium), and hooked up. Two phone calls satisfied everything with the two problems: PayPal simply made corrections to our account, and Panasonic said “sure, we’ll replace that camera, just send it to us.”

What was the problem with that camera model not being covered in Panasonic’s program? Well folks, while your humble author can usually compose a simple declarative sentence, it seems he cannot always correctly read model numbers!

On the way home, we actually took time to take a few pictures. Suzy has been looking for her ideal picture of an oak tree situated by itself on a golden California hillside. She has been looking for that for years, ever since we actually lived in this state. Today we had the opportunity to find three possible ideals, sailed past them, found a spot to turn around on a busy two-lane 65mph highway, sailed past them again, repeated the turnaround, and coasted onto a wide spot in the road. Here are the pictures. Whaddaya think?

This one is Suzy's favorite of the three.
Nope, no hill!

No, tree's kinda scaggy!
Tomorrow we return to Yosemite. Maybe we'll go south and get the Wawona Tunnel view, maybe we'll head east on Highway 120 -- we learned that the Tioga Pass has just opened for the summer. Probably still a lot of snow up high. Srick with us, we'll eventually get to show you Yosemite National Park, in this phase of ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. These new digital cameras can let you down with out notice. Don't you just love them? Actually, I do love them.

  2. We want Yosemite...we want Yosemite...we want Yosemite. OK, my tantrum is over. Electronics enhance our lives, but sometimes they make our lives miserable. Good job on solving the camera issues! Now on to fixing Big Red.

    It's interesting how the oak tree looks different in each picture. I like #1 for the hills, but #2 for the tree.

  3. That experience could almost make you take up painting to replace the camera. I have come to accept those cameras as throw away.

    It seems that no one really stands behind their products any more. Hope the new one holds up for a while.

  4. It is so frustrating when it feels like companies have not come into the technology age. Land lines are almost extinct at this point. And I cannot stand to be without cell service for very long. A week just about puts me into the nut farm.

    But I am glad you got the camera situation all worked out and you will get your camera replaced.

    I agree with Suzy - I like the first one of the tree. That's a really neat picture.

  5. Great tree photos! Sorry for your camera problems and especially dealing with PayPal, not one of my faves and I've avoided them for years. Nice you got to connect with friends.

  6. Thought that was good of Panasonic to replace the camera. Another blogger just got a Nikon Coolpix but can't remember who it was. I like the first solitary oak tree pic as well. Background horizon line is closer plus most of the tree is backgrounded by the yellow hillside & not the cloudless lighter color sky. Foreground of the photo has texture & detail that the other two don't. The uneven foreground actually has an S type curve in a slightly darker shaded gulley taking you to the tree. Contrast is more pronounced in the photo as well, especially in the yellow grass. Only change I would make to that great photo would be to crop out a lot of the sky which in turn would stand out that lone tree even more.

  7. I hate to hear that about you Lumix. I am probably one of those that joined the band wagon and got a lumix.

    Mine has been working fine so far (knock on wood). I have an issue with the flash. So I now rarely use the flash.

    Hope your Nikon will be able to fill the gap.

    Mac & Dianna


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