My workshops trips in October and November had something in common. On both trips, I saw one of my cameras give out an error message before dying. Both times, I had to send the camera to a registered service centre for repair. Both experiences have a lesson attached.
My 5D3 was being used in rainy weather and I was shooting long exposures because I had dark filter on. There was no real reason for the ND filter other than the waterproofing a circular filter lent to the lens. I was doing fine and my camera was operational until I got an error message Err99. I tried the first obvious action which was to remove and replace the lens. The camera came back to life, but my customer’s Canon 60D started failing in the wet conditions. Forgetting about my error message, I lent my camera and lens to the customers so that he could continue. He managed just one photo before the Err99 appeared again along with a sensor overheating message. This time the lens detach/attach trick didn’t work, so I turned the camera off. I wouldn’t turn on again.
I contacted my camera buddy, back in the UK and he had me trying all types of reset buttons. There is a hole that requires a pin or cocktail stick shoved into it. Nothing was giving my 5D3 any sign of life. We even replaced the clock battery, but the camera was still not coming to life. The only option left was to find a registered Canon Repair Centre to send it to. I sent it to London. Just a few days after receiving my Camera, the repair centre explained that they had to replace a circuit board along with several parts of the weather seal. The cost was 500 quid and soon, the camera was back in my hands and working again.
Lesson one – When a weather-proofed camera is out of warranty, treat it as not weather-proof!
My Olympus PEN was my back up when my Canon died, but on the following trip, my mirror-less, micro 4/3rds Olympus died. Again, I was using it in light rain, but I was protecting it because it is not a weather-sealed camera. The camera was working fine and I was taking pictures until an error message appeared. The camera switched itself off. From then on, the camera would turn on, but then turn itself off straight away – no longer operational.
I send the Olympus to a registered repair centre. I had no communication from the centre other than my camera had been returned. I went to collect it and found a note saying that they had oiled the shutter. The repair was covered by the warranty.
Lesson two – a mirror-less camera still has shutter actuations and can suffer with too much time-lapse.
Luckily I did record the time-lapse that broke my Olympus. This video was shot at my home in Hampshire, UK. I was experimenting with bonfires and testing the time-lapse function of the Olympus PEN.