This may seem a repost. Might seem a bit of dejavu. It feels that way for me too.
You know when you pull off a band aid or jump into a cold pool? Better to do it in one shot. It hurts less. This brings me to the death of a friend: my Sony DSC-W100. It has teased me with its death for months. Dying on several occasions only to spring back into life with a cleaning or with some tender care. Sadly, this seems to really be the end.
Why do I care about a 9 year old consumer compact camera? It is a long story and one that I will get into more later. Before I go further into the cameras harrowing tale, I would like to just talk a little about this cameras merits as a camera.
First, it has a rather larger (by compact camera standards) sensor. In fact, the same 8.1 megapixel CCD sensor – or so I’ve heard – as the famed Ricoh GRD1. I don’t know about all that, or don’t really care. I do care about the fact that it doesn’t have a stupid pop up flash. I love the fact that it has a viewfinder. I love that if I turn off the screen, I can still change all the settings with one click and the screen turns on for confirmation of this and then goes off on its own. My new Ricoh GR doesn’t do any of that and honestly the Sony reacts so much more like the Ricoh film cameras that I loved it is slightly comical. Did I mention it has snap focus that goes down to .5 of a meter?
These things are all great, but lets be fair, the Sony DSC-W100 will never be looked at as a classic camera. It will never have the cult following of a Ricoh compact. Nobody will ever look for one. It is destined to be forgotten.
I can say, without a doubt, that this is the most film compact camera like digital compact camera I have used and I have used a lot of them. But again, I’m not sure how much it matters.
Because the fact of the matter is, the camera has become more than some electronic device.
Here’s what I wrote about it on my instagram today:
“I always bought a lot of cameras. I could never decide what I liked, could never decide what I wanted or needed. Sad really, I’ve wasted so much money on cameras it almost isn’t funny. It definitely isn’t funny. I at one time would carry two Leica M9s with different lenses so I wouldn’t ‘miss’ anything. 20k of kit and did it make me a better photographer? No. My photos weren’t better. It was ridiculous…
A couple of summers ago, I was starting to get out of this. Mostly because I had sold off my expensive Leica gear to pay for going back to school. That summer, I traveled back to my home province of Newfoundland. Drove halfway across Canada. I didn’t even take that many photos on the way. I didn’t really like photography much anymore even though it was supposed to be a project.
After being there for a couple of weeks, I was going somewhere with my aunt and she asked me to look for her keys under the seat of her car. Next to the keys was this old digital camera. I pulled it out. To my surprise it turned on, ha. My aunt joked that it had been there for a winter, or two. It kept me occupied for the 15 minute trip. I don’t know what I loved, I just loved how it worked. It reminded me of the old Ricoh film cameras I had once used. Simple settings, one click for everything. Viewfinder. The first photo I took of my cousin next to me (I’ll post it next- the last fish photo was from this as well) is a very important one for me. I started to take photos again. I took photos of everything for the next two weeks. I took the Artisan and Artist strap off my Leica and jimmy rigged it to work on this one. Strap surely cost more than the camera. Cameras really don’t matter. At least ‘good’ ones don’t.
During the last two years, I’ve learned more from this camera than any other. It allows me to not think, which is the way photography should be. I should take photos as I feel like it and it has taught me to try and take good ones without thinking too much. The camera died for good (I believe), and it is a sad day. I don’t talk about gear much, but I sure loved this camera. And owe it one. It got me back into loving photography.”
Yeah, I was sad. I am still sad. I almost wish it had died the first time for good and not teased me with more life. I prefer to pull off my band aides quickly.
Because while this camera will never be a classic or have any monetary value, it has something much more.
It had been something much more.
A good friend.
RIP little dude, you’ll always have a place in my pocket.
And while you may never be remembered for being a great camera, or talked about on forums like your more classic brethren.
I’ll never for get you for the memories we had.
And more importantly, for the ones you helped me capture.