Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My Canon SD1000 has a weekend at Bernie's

My Canon SD1000 has served me well. I got it after my beloved Kodak DX6440 had an unfortunate meeting with some pavement. The Kodak still works, its just not the same, and the battery compartment door is not to be trusted.

So it sort-of was after the SD1000 had its own "accident." I was on vacation last June at the pool and went to the concession stand. The camera happened to be in my hand. Needing both hands to carry the tray of food and drink, I put the camera in the cargo pocket of my swimming trunks and quite forgot about it.

We ate and then were about to leave the pool area when I decided that it was very hot and I might step into the pool for a second to cool off. I went in and out just that fast. As soon as I stepped out, you might as well have queued the dolly zoom. Like a flash of lightning I remembered the camera in my pocket.

The silly thing is, as this was a beach vacation, I had the underwater housing for the camera with me. Just not at the pool. It was up in the room. High and dry.

Enter the bucket of rice. I removed the battery and memory card and put them in with the rice and the camera for a few days of our stay. Luckily by this time the SD1000 was a backup camera to my DSLR. More luckily, I later found that all the photos on the memory card were intact.

After a few days, the SD1000 could be coaxed to life. But like the Kodak before it was not the same and not to be relied upon. Sometimes the lens would get stuck out. The exposures often came out all wrong. A few months later while snapping a photo of a jeep made up in the livery of those from Jurassic Park, the screen stopped working. It would still take photos but I would have to use the viewfinder as if it were 1998 all over again.

And from there it seemed to spiral downward until the SD1000 just sat there. Only taking photos in macro mode.

Until I remembered CHDK. This is a firmware that boots off of a memory card and lets you do all sorts of neat things with Canon cameras. Since some of the hardware seemed to work some of the time it seemed to me perhaps this new firmware could work.

Huzzah! It took a while (and a few terminal commands) to figure out how to make my memory cards bootable but it seems fully functional now. For a backup camera. I still don't entirely trust it. And the caveat is that I have to use one of the two memory cards on which I have installed the firmware. Hence the Weekend at Bernie's analogy. Actually I think it is a Weekend at Bernie's II analogy.

For all the trouble and the low price of a new point and shoot camera, why bother? That underwater housing. The very thing that could have prevented all this in the first place. It cost a pretty penny and was made only for my camera model. I should hate for that to go to waste.

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