My beloved Canon S1is went wonky some months ago. I was ready to shoot photos of a contractor-friend's latest project when I noticed the viewfinder was black. Annoyed, I press the Display button several times, but both viewfinder and LCD remained black -- except for a purple smear. The sensor was toast.
(Some Canon models are covered by an unlimited warranty, because Sony did a poor job making some of sensors for Canon. The S1 is not covered by this, unfortunately. Nor is it covered by a credit card extended warranty, for I bought it reconditioned off eBay through PayPal.)
What to replace it with?
Increasingly, I had been using the Samsung NV3, a pocket-size camera with internal zoom lens (nothing pokes out) and excellent video. The drawbacks: hard to see the LCD in bright sunlight, and a mode dial that turned too easily so I never was sure which mode the camera was in when I turned it on.
I had been eyeing the SX10 from Canon. It has a 20x zoom lens, the swivel LCD that Canon pioneered, and would make use of the big collection of rechargable AA batteries I've collected over the years for my G1 and two S1s.
(Over time, however, I have come to prefer proprietary batteries that charge right inside the camera through the USB cable. Externally charged AAs are a bit of a pain.)
But price was a problem. Over Christmas, Staples had the SX10 camera for $398, but the S1 was still working at that time. (Here in Canada, the SX10 list price is $449.) Recently, FutureShop sold it for $415, but had none in stock locally. ("300 have been ordered for the warehouse," the salesman told me.) Plus, I was greedy: I wanted the price to be under $400.
Canon Raises Prices
Then, a couple of stores raised their prices. Even Wal-mart jumped the price from $426 to $455. The Source (Circuit City in Canada) jumped the price from $440 to $480. While I was in Portland this week, I visited a camera store, where the salesman warned me that Canon was raising prices -- as Nikon already had done. Upon my return, BestBuy Canada had already raised their price from $450 to $480. It mattered not that they offered a 10% discount on all cameras today -- that discount brought the price down to $432, still too high.
I checked eBay for reconditioned units, but the camera is too new for that.
I decided against a digital SLR for two reasons: this class of camera is w-a-y too big and heavy for me, and their zoom lenses have pitiful range against the capability of point'n shooters.
After seeing the SX10 price increase, I bought the SX110 from FutureShop.ca today. I was torn, for it lacked the 20x zoom and swivel LCD of the SX10. But it had other benefits:
- Pocket size, important for all the travel I undertake.
- Almost as good a zoom at 10x.
- Larger LCD at 3".
- And a mere $180 reconditioned ($120 off its regular price of $300).
I'll use it for a while, and then see if Canon comes out with an SX20. I'll sell the SX110 to one of my daughters for half-price.