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12 August, 2006

Spotty imaging

Whilst in Berlin a few weeks ago, my camera started acting oddly.

Whenever I took a photograph including a significant amount of sky, a blurred dark patch appeared at the bottom left of the saved image. Other photos, including of equally bright subjects, were clear. I thought it might have been due to the heat (mid-30s °C ambient plus direct sunlight onto the black body of the camera – not good). However, I noticed the same effect in photos taken earlier today (20°C and overcast), and not only those including sky, so I popped into a dedicated camera shop for advice.

The shop assistant immediately diagnosed it as dust on the CCD and, to his credit, advised against having it repaired, thereby talking himself out of short-term income but increasing the likelihood that I'd spend more money with him in future. I don't believe in supporting local shops out of mere sentiment, but unlike newsagents, record shops and bookshops, I do appreciate the added value provided by independent expert retailers. Specialist camera shops do still offer a service which genuinely competes with high-street chains and internet retailers.

I also appreciated the way the shop assistant explained the cost of repairs with a real-world perspective:

"To open the camera and clean the CCD would cost you an entry-level camera. To give it a basic service whilst the case is open... ooh, an extra memory card."
Photoshop post-processing it is, then, for a while, and I'll put the money towards the proper DSLR I want anyway.

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