The Christmas Camera


The gift. The big present in the fancy box. The buried bomb in the Visa statement for January. The thing you hinted about for months…or agonised over if it was a case of getting it for yourself. The greatest thing since sliced bread, if you want to ignore the fact that sliced bread came out in the 1930’s and most modern medicine and entertainment and transport and stuff has come out since…

In short, the new camera. You fly to the tree, tear the wrapping off it, open the box and…

And wait an hour as the battery charges up. Then spend another hour finding a spare memory card for the little sucker. If you don’t have one you add another 90 minutes driving to the only camera store still open on December the 25th and buying a card and driving home again. Don’t forget to wish the staff happy Hanukkah because they appreciate it. Then you put the card and battery in the new wonder and…

And you will start to wonder. You will have noticed that inside the box will be one of three things; either a 300-page paper booklet telling you all you need to know, a CD telling you all you need to know, or nothing at all telling you nothing at all. Whichever it is, you will either spend the next 4 hours reading how to initially program the thing and how to set the preferences or you will take a blind stab at it and start pushing things.

The date, location, time, and language are the easiest ones to do; just keep pushing the button that says ” Skip ” until the thing seems to be a camera. If it starts displaying the information in Hindi and you cannot even find out how to get out of the loop, take it to the local 7-Eleven and ask for help. They are used to it by now and you can pick up a tub of premium ice cream at the same time.

Right. You have a recognisable language in front of you, it says 25/12/2016 ( in Australia ) and it is about four hours after you cracked the seals on the box. You may be ready to take a picture. ” May “, but not necessarily ” Are “…You still have to choose the colour space, the film simulation, and the video rate. Remember, if you get these wrong the Air Force will chase you with laser designators and drones. One false move and all your pictures will be black. They’ll foreclose on your mortgage and take your car away…

Just kidding. They won’t take your car away. I’ve seen your car.

But in the end you do have to admit that the simplicity of digital photography certainly beats the old days when you had to hook the sprockets of a camera into those little holes at the side of the film. That was hell hard to do and you could spend just minutes getting the thing straight before winding on. Leica users had an especially hard look on their faces when it came to changing films – they had seen into the pit and came back scarred.


One Comment

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  1. Great story Dr Stein……and I thought I saw someone hiding in the bushes checking out my derelict car. 🙂

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