Thumbs down Canon and Philips

Time to dish some shame – although maybe it should be LV Martin & Son and not Philips on the receiving end in one case…

Two Christmas presents to ourselves have brought about this rant, not because they don’t work (now, anyway) but because they weren’t up to scratch at purchase time.

First up, our Philips 160GB HDD DVD player and recorder (model # DVDR3455H/75). The unit we grabbed was the last display model at LV Martin & Son in Paraparaumu and as a result we scored a nice little discount in the post-Christmas sale madness. Out of the box it worked fine for the most part, but we quickly discovered it (a) didn’t have a manual, and (b) the right arrow button jumped two DVD menu items at a time. Both problems were solved – by finding and downloading a PDF manual and updating the firmware – although I can’t help thinking that this would be outside the skill set of many non-geeks out there. The reason I reckon Philips or LV Martin need to be shamed is that the firmware update was released on 15 May 2007 – yes a full year and a half ago! In my opinion, there is no excuse for selling a unit with an annoying functional flaw that should/could have been remedied long ago.

Secondly, we also purchased a new Canon Digital Camera (an IXUS 80IS) in the Christmas sales – this time from Noel Leeming. Again, we got a nice little discount and I honestly can’t fault the camera and its functions (I love Canon gear). However, shipping a pitifully small 32MB SD card with an 8 megapixel camera is just plain ridiculous – and is actually bordering on being “not fit for purpose” under the Consumer Guarantees Act. Afterall, that size memory card can’t even hold a 20 second video and is only good for ~15 photos! Given how cheap flash-based memory cards are these days there is no excuse for digital camera manufacturers to not bundle a 1GB, 2GB or even 4GB card in the box. This is akin to buying a car and then having to pay to upgrade the fuel tank to a capacity that is actually usable! Would you buy a car with a one litre fuel tank?!

As a useful tip (so you actually get something out of reading this post!), if you want to buy extra memory cards or camera batteries, DO NOT purchase them from the big electronic retailers (eg Noel Leeming etc). You WILL get ripped off – eg the cheapest listed 2GB SD card at Noel Leeming is $39.99 whereas Ascent have one listed at $16.09! Instead check out to find the best prices in the country, or visit my favourite local retailer for memory cards and for digital camera batteries.

So yeah, thumbs down to Philips and/or LV Martin & Son along with Canon. Our Christmas presents from you guys needed “fixing” when they shouldn’t have.

10,000+ Photos

I recently clocked up 10,000 photos and videos on my little Canon IXUS 400 compact digital camera – quite a milestone with a single camera now over 4 years old!

No, I didn’t count ’em all, instead the camera uses a sequential numbering system, starting 100_0001, 100_0002, 100_1003… with the hundredth photo numbered 101_0100 and the thousandth photo 110_1000. I’m now up to 202_0248 and the astute among you will have already figured that should be 10,248 presses of the shutter button.

Here’s the camera that has served me so well,

…and continues to do so! While it doesn’t sport the higher resolutions of newer models, the picture quality at 2272×1704 is absolutely superb and plenty good enough for the printing I want. The movie mode also gets a good workout, with it recording 320×240 AVI videos at 15fps with sound. Storage is onto a Compact Flash card, of which I have a couple, and it takes a proprietary Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery.

Speaking of batteries, I always recommend getting two if you’re buying a digital camera and mine have lasted very well – from June 2003 until August 2007 when I decided they weren’t holding charge as well as they should. The original batteries got me to around 9500 photos/videos, with replacements purchased via who I would happily purchase from again.

Given that the camera is still going strong, I don’t anticipate having to replace it anytime soon. When I finally do, I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with Canon given the sterling run I’ve had with this one. If anyone is interested, here’s the specs as listed at (Digital Photography Review – a most excellent website by the way).

Finally, a topical plug for my photo gallery at and shared videos at YouTube. There you’ll find most of the pics and vids I want to share, but in the future I expect to make more use of Picasa for photos.

Thank you Canon. My camera rocks!