How Not to Buy a Camera!

March 10, 2010 | By Rakhitha | Filed in: Me, Myself & I, Sri Lanka.

I like photography. Not that I am good at it or know much about it, but I just like taking pictures. I always had a camera with me since I was a kid. Not a fancy one, just a regular auto-focus thing. This post is about how I purchased the camera that I am using now. It’s an old story. I dedicate this post to my H3, for surviving almost a year (still alive) with probably the worst camera user alive.

This happened in 2008 April. To be specific, it was the poya-day, just after new year holidays. By the end of new year holidays I was sick of staying home. So I decided to go to work even though it was a holiday. But once I got to office, it turned to be a bad idea. There was no power to workstations, and no one was around to fix it. Then I decided to go on window shopping only to find out that most of the shops are still closed after new year.

Bambalapitiya was pretty dead. Everything closed. I went to Liberty Plaza and found just one shop open. Rest of the building was pretty dark. I was totally depressed at this point, because my entire day was a total waste. This was a small corner joint that sell mobile phones/accessories, cameras, headphones, and just about any small electronic gadget. I went inside and checked out some cameras. I didn’t know much about digital cameras at that time. When shop keeper asked what I am looking for, I said that I am looking for a camera at Rs 30,000/= price range. I just wanted to hold one of those and see how it feels. But to make me more depressed, he said that most expensive thing they have is Rs 22000/=. :S. If you are not familiar with currency ‘Rs’, it’s the currency being used in Sri Lanka. Roughly 1 USD = Rs 100/=.

I continued checking out their stuff, all the stuff was 3-4X zoom range with very weak flashes. I was doing this for about 30 mins, just to kill time. Then the guy at the shop approached me and said, “Ok we have a  camera with 10x zoom, and flash works up to 14 meters. It’s brand new, still in original package. Price is Rs 32k. But I can’t show it to you, unless you buy it”. I did not go there to buy a camera, and I did not have more than Rs 500/= with me. But I was too depressed, I had to do something to make myself feel good. So I asked the guy, “Do you accept credit cards?”.

After I promised to buy it, guy at the shop made a phone call to someone. 10 mins later, another guy showed up at the shop with a box in his hand. As promised, it was a camera, 10x zoom, 14m flash, still inside original package and never used. That’s how I met my Sony H3. Inside the package there was the camera, data cable, strap, lens hood, a rechargeable battery and a charger. Then the transaction was done. No receipts. No warranty. I had to spend another Rs 4000/= to buy a memory card. I had no idea if  H3 is good or not. But I took it home and looked up some reviews, and it turned out to be a good product for the price.

There was one more problem. Package did not include a camera pouch. I had to buy it separately. Next weekend, I went to MC and found a shop that sell camera pouches. They had three sizes, but they all cost the same. Rs 2500/=. Guy at the shop convinced me to buy the largest one. His logic was, big or small they all cost the same. Why get something small when you can get something big for the same price?. So I bought the biggest thing they had. Camera and all its accessories fit inside it perfectly. But before long I realized, big is not always better. It was too big to travel with me. I had to go back to same shop, and buy another small one for another Rs 2500/= :S. They did not have a return policy. Big one is still stuck with me.

Well, there was another problem. Camera used Sony proprietary batteries. You have to charge it for 4 hours to run the camera for 2 hours. I had to buy another battery. It cost about Rs 7000/= in local market. This time I managed to buy one from ebay for 0.01 USD + 6.99 USD shipping. I have no idea how seller got those, but finally I did something smart :).

But I have to admit. I have nothing to complain. It’s a good camera. It accompanied me on every trip I went, and every event I participated. I took so many pictures with it. Most of them were not that good (Not the cameras fault). But there were few worth sharing on facebook.

Let me tell you why I wanted to write this post. When taking pictures with H3, it numbers image files using a number sequence. It starts with 00001, and goes up to 09999. Then, it resets back to 00001. It did that on March 1st 2010, when I was at marriage registration ceremony of a friend. That means, I HAVE TAKEN 10000 SNAPS WITH MY H3 :D. I would love to post 10000th photo, but I took it at a private event. This is a new record. Non of my earlier cameras lasted that long. I would love to buy a bigger camera with more features. Probably a DSLR. But I am not ready to let go of this one. Not yet. I hope it will last for another 10000 shots.

Hope you enjoyed,


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13 comments on “How Not to Buy a Camera!

  1. SiriBiris says:

    Nice Post. I did the opposite of what you have done; buying a DSLR first, which turn out to be a mistake. It is a Canon XTi. With the latest firmware hack from CHDK, it has all the features of the world. There is one big problem: with all it’s gear and extra lenses, the damn-thing is too heavy and bulky for just snap shots. So, I ended-up buying a pocket size Lumix TZ5.

    • Rakhitha says:

      Thanks for the comment. I guess we all do it one way the other.

      • SiriBiris says:

        Yeah, sure we do. What I wanted to say is, don’t worry for not having a DSLR. Seems, you have make use of your camera to the fullest. I’m not sure about your camera’s specs, but seems like a decent camera with some manual controls. Definitely doing a better job than my white-elephant which now sits in the closet.

  2. ???? says:

    Good post .. I also find out wt would be the best Digi Cam …..
    Last week my friend purchased Cannon A1100 with Rs 18.5K .
    consist with…
    12.1-megapixel / 4x Optical Zoom

    It is satisfy the requirement which I find out. But still I do not buy it … 🙂

    • Rakhitha says:

      Interesting. I personally like cameras with 10x+ zoom. It comes handy sometimes.

      Just a small advice, when you see a camera with good specs for a very affordable price, make sure to check out reviews. Sometimes manufacturers cut costs by reducing the processing power. That makes it very slow. It’s very difficult to do point and shoot, or rapid bursts with such cameras.

  3. sajini says:

    hehe nice story. 🙂 I din’t know this story before.
    yes U hv a great camera and & it will last for a long time. May be U will get the dream camera U always wanted from someone. 🙂

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