A New Addition

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on a couple of surprises. In this post, I will be explaining one of those surprises. As I’ve eluded to before, as far as pictures, and videos go, I’m not interested in being a perfectionist. However, I do want to be able to show what I see along the way as close as possible to the way I see it.

To that end, I’m always looking for ways to do just that. I frequently cruise ebay, looking for camera’s that are going cheap, with which I feel that I can gain some benefit regarding real representation of what I see on my hikes, and paddles. I’ve also mentioned, in a recent post, that I would not have a DSLR camera, because, number one, I could not afford one. Number two, you would need thousands of dollars worth of lenses to match what I can do with my present Canon SX40’s.

I’ve also said, in other posts, that even I don’t know what I might do, until I actually do it. To me, this trait seems to make life more interesting. Sometimes I will go out, fully intending to go to a specific place, and then, something might click in my brain, and I go off in a totally different direction. Life leads, I follow.

Anyway, more than a month ago, I was cruising ebay, looking for any cheap camera’s that I might be interested in, when I came across an auction for a Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D, with an 18mm – 55mm IS lens. Usually, I wouldn’t pay any attention to an auction like this, however, something caught my eye.

The current bid for this camera was unusually low, so I did some more investigation. It seems that the seller, which is a seller I frequently deal with, is selling this camera ‘As Is’ because the flash does not work, and possibly other faults. A bit vague but, since I watch this seller all the time, I got a gut feeling that there was not a lot wrong with this camera. In fact, I was very surprised that someone else was not jumping all over this.

I do see these Rebel’s all the time on ebay, and they usually fetch a premium price, because of a pretty good reputation. A camera like the one in this auction would usually sell for around $600. and, in a camera store, would sell anywhere from $600. to $1,000. So I was quite surprised to see this auction at less than two hundred bucks, at the moment.

Even though the seller admitted that the flash doesn’t work, and there may be other problems. I would have thought that many buyers would still be very interested. Like I said, I watch these auctions all the time, and I’ve seen defective Rebel’s(hey, sounds like a great band name’) sell for big bucks.

Why then, were the bids on this one going so slow? Since I know this seller, and I’m used to the kind of language they use, when describing defects, I felt that the amount of the current bid was way low, and it was possible that the bidders did not know this just might be a bargoon.,

Still, I knew the kinds of prices that these cameras, nearly always, bring in, so, when I threw a Hail Mary bid in on it, I never expected my bid to hold. My winning bid was just $224. CAD. a third of what this camera was worth, if it was in great condition.

Now there’s the rub. What condition was this camera in? Sure, ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer chances. But, never underestimate that ‘gut feeling’. In my case, that gut feeling said go!! and I did.

I was never really in the market for a DSLR camera, mostly because of the prices. But, if they’re going to hand me one, on a silver platter, then who am I to argue?

The main sticking point, according to the seller, was that the flash did not work on this camera. I felt that, since I very rarely use the flash anyways, this potential problem would not be a deal breaker for me, but I still felt confident that I could fix the flash. I looked this flash problem up on the internet, and found that it was a very common problem for Canon Rebel DSLR’s. Also I found, that it is a very easy fix, most of the time.

Anyway, I won the auction for this Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D, and it arrived to me a few days later. The camera came with all the original documentation, software, and accesories, in the original box. The only thing that was missing was a very important one…..the battery.

So, in all my wisdom, I decided I was going to order a battery, through ebay, on a slow boat from China, even though I could have gotten one, for less than a dollar more, from the USA. What can I say? I can be a real cheapskate at times, however, in my defense, I don’t have unlimited financial resources and, to me, every buck counts, and it all adds up.

Needless to say, that slow boat, that my battery was on, ended up being even slower than usual, and I had to send ebay after the seller to get a response from them. We agreed that a refund was in order, since the battery had still not arrived, after 40 days. The seller agreed and promised to refund me in a couple of days.

The next day, the battery arrived. :-0 Anyway, I contacted the seller, and cancelled the refund. Now I could power up that Rebel, and see exactly what I had gotten.

With some trepidation, which had built up a bit over the 40 days I was waiting for that battery, I installed the, fully charged, battery into the camera. What was going to happen? Would I find that the camera had serious issues? Well, only one way to find out, right? I powered up the Rebel, and it came on, as I figured it should. Some relief ensued.

After going through a lot of the functions, I determined that, yes, everything seemed to be functioning correctly. So, I tried the flash, and found that it was not working, as the seller had admitted. No surprises, all is well so far.

Of course, the first thing I wanted to do, maybe a little ego involved here, was to fix the non-working flash. I had read on the internet, that the flash popup mechanism is prone to sticking, because of a gummed up hinge. The easy fix was to just apply a very tiny amount of WD40 to the base of the hinge.

So, this is what I did, and it seemed to work, because I did get the flash to popup. What I did was, I turned the camera on, in ‘M’, or Manual Mode. I pushed the flash button, on the left side of the camera and, at the same time, I used my fingernail to pry up the flash unit. It did come up, and so I was able to apply the WD40 to the hinge, and got it working.

However, my feeble, old mind is now questioning whether that was the real problem, or not. The information on the internet did indicate that this was a common problem with these cameras, so this fix has worked for many others, but was it the problem in my case? The answer is…..maybe, or maybe not.

After I got the flash working, I discovered another possible cause of the flash not popping up. The Hot Shoe, or external flash shoe, on my camera had some kind of protective piece of plastic inserted into it, in the same way that an external flash would be. After a bit of fiddling, I realized that, if this piece of plastic was inserted into the Hot Shoe, the on board flash would not pop up. This makes sense because the camera would, and should, disable the built in flash from popping up, if an external flash was connected to the Hot Shoe.

So now, I can’t really say if it was the WD40 that fixed flash on my camera or, if it was sliding that protective piece of plastic out of the Hot Shoe that allowed the flash to operate correctly. What a maroon, I know!

The bottom line was that everything on this camera now worked as it should. Besides that, this camera was in ‘brand new’ condition, not even as much as a fingerprint on it. Eventually, I would verify that fact by accessing the cameras shutter count, or shutter actuation’s. The count was less than 100, which is less shots than I take on one outing. My guess is, this was maybe a demonstration model, for in-store use.

I’m just going to put up a couple of pictures now, with some explanations.


Here is the Canon EOS T3i/600D.


Here I’m taking that little plastic cover, that slides into the Hot Shoe, out.


Now that I’ve removed that little plastic cover, that slides into the Hot Shoe, you can see a piece of spring steel in the channel there, with a tiny black micro switch under it. When something is slid into the Hot Shoe, that switch tells the camera to disable the on board flash from popping up. I never realized this, at first, and only discovered it by accident.

Okay, so now what? Well, of course, I was anxious to take this new camera out, and take some pictures, and videos, to see how well it works. The next day, after receiving the battery 41 days after I ordered it, I took the Rebel T3i over to Rooster Rock, since I haven’t been there this year yet, and it’s a great place to take pictures, and videos.

I’m not going to start talking about those results here, that will be a separate post, but I will say, that when I took the Rebel to Rooster Rock, I didn’t know anything about how to operate it. I hadn’t read the manual, but I felt “how difficult could it be?”. Besides, I’m not one to read manuals, I will usually try it out first, and then single out the things that I didn’t understand, and look up only those things.

When I arrived at Rooster Rock, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to take a video. Many of the functions on the Rebel are different than my other non-SLR cameras. So, I couldn’t take any videos, while at Rooster Rock, but I did take lots of pictures, although, again, I really didn’t have the camera set up properly. I just used the Auto function.

However, due to the fact that we’ve been having some incredible weather conditions of late, I was able to go out the day after that, armed with the information I needed to take videos. Also, this time, I brought along my Canon SX40, in order to do a side by side comparison of the two cameras. It was an interesting day, so stay tuned for the next post, which I should have up within the next 24 hours.


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