Nikon Coolpix camera

Cool Pix 990

I use the Nikon Coolpix 990 for all my restoration photography and documentation. I have it on the work bench and used it to take sequence photos of disassembly. I take high resolution pictures and when a question arrises about which similar piece goes where, I can zoom into the pieces in question and determine which goes where. I can even count teeth on gears and colors on wires! It is a great tool!

Notice the camera does not have a strap. I reached for the camera to take a picture and the strap caught on the bench vise, jerking the camera out of my hands and dropping it on one of the few places on my concrete floor without carpet. OUCH! I was devestated.

The camera would not power up and so I sent it to the Nikon Service department. I got a nice note from the telling me the repair cost was $205. I decided to buy the new Coolpix 4500 and asked them to send the camera back. I thought I might give it to the kids to tear apart and perhaps learn something in the process.

Before giving them the camera, I took another look at it. I removed the covering and looked at the electronics. While the on button was cracked, it still showed correct functioning with a continuity tester. I got fresh batteries and was putting them in the camera to test it when I noticed one of the batteries was sitting a bit low in the slot. On further examination I found the metal finger that contacts the end of the battery was bent and the battery was not held correctly. A quick tweak with the pliers and the camera was working again.

How come Nikon did not see this? I guess the estimating process is to confirm it does not work and charge $250!

Now I have a back up camera for the next time I drop it....

CoolPix 4500

I bought the CoolPix 4500 because I thought my 990 was dead (see above). Since I fixed the 990, I have not used the 4500 since I prefer the 990. I do use the 4500 when I go on trips because it has a better optical zoom.

However the first time I attached my zoom lens and configured the camera to use the lens, the camera would no longer focus. It clicked and clacked but would not focus.

Because of my bad experience with Nikon service, I disassembled the 4500 and confirmed the problem was in the mechanism that focuses the lens and moves the focus of the view finder to match. It has traveled too far and was unable to get back into the spiral.

I was unimpressed with the construction of the camera and the design. There was no extra travel available to prevent the failure again, the camera wiring was held in place with tape, and plastic shielding was used to prevent electrical contact with high voltage terminals (ask me how I know!)

I am considering buying a single lens reflex camera, professional grade. After having all these problems with the Nikon camera and the poor repair service, I am considering getting a Canon instead!