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Old Jan 19, 2005, 6:07 AM   #1
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Hello there..
About a year ago or so, I purchased a refurbished Toshiba PDR-M500, which has served me quite well, and was IMO a great deal for what I paid for it. I brought it with me to Japan(I'm in the middle of a year-long stay). It's seen many beautiful things and was lined up to see some more beautiful things (China!) in the near future....
Today, however, was not this camera's lucky day.
I was cleaning off the main surface of my desk and picked the camera up to move it to the top shelf which I was already finished tidying up. The strap was tangled around an A/V cord that was connected to my computer, causing me to fumble and drop the camera to the floor.
I immediately investigated to see whether the camera still works, and much to my displeasure, here's what I discovered:
The camera still powers up, the LCD and all of the computer functions, playback mode, etc. work without any problems. However, the mechanism that moves the lens barrel forward and back when the camera is powered on or shut off is now jammed, so every time I try to turn it on while the selector wheel is in a picture-taking mode, or switch to a picture taking mode, I get a lens error and a blurry image from what the camera sees, much like what happens if you try to turn the camera on while the cap is still in place.

Is there any possibility that I can get this fixed within the next two weeks (I REALLY want to have this camera when I go to Beijing and Shanghai) for a reasonable cost, or is it a lost cause?
Thanks for your time....

Steve


EDIT---
Just read the bit about how Toshiba no longer operates their digital camera division...
Guess I'm buying a new camera?
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 6:26 AM   #2
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I think it might not be possible to have it fixed in two weeks. But you could definitely ask. Have you asked the repair company yet about what the return time should be? The cost for repair could be a heap of money as well. So a decision must be made about whether to repair or just buy a new camera.
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 6:37 AM   #3
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Steve:

Even if Toshiba would repair it, they would probably charge you more than it's worth.

I just took a look on Ebay, and sawmore than one PDR-M500 at "Buy it Now" prices of $150.00 to $200.00 in the completed auctions section that did not sell (no bidders).

The last one that did sell was for $118.00. There was one before that one that sold for $200.00 (with some in between them that got no bidders).

I see one in the active auctions section with a starting bid of $150.00 (no bidders yet), and a "buy it now" price of $200.00

As a general rule, when a camera has impact damage, it's going to cost you that much to get one fixed from most manufacturers.

So, even if they would fix it (which is questionable), it would most likely cost you more than you could replace it foron the used market.

But, I don't know what pricesare like in Japan. So, you'd have to research it there to find out.





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Old Jan 19, 2005, 7:33 AM   #4
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I am sorry to hear that your camera is apparently broken.

You could probably find someone to fix it in Japan. I don't know where you are in Japan. I lived in Kobe for a year and often went to a place called Den-Den Town in Osaka to look at computers. Tokyo has a district called Akihabara. Maybe you already know about it. It is a district full of highly competitive electronics, computer, and camera shops. They have cameras that haven't come out yet in the US. Japanese seem to love cutesy small cameras, although the big monsters are on sale, too.

So, if you are anywhere near Tokyo, or if you are flying out of Narita on the way to China, I suggest you consider going with a Japanese or American friend to Akihabara. Spend a couple of hours browsing the various shops and comparing prices. I think you could get a new 3 megapixel camera, at least the equal of the Toshiba for less money than would spend on an Ebay purchase of a similar camera.

At least think about. I am living in Taiwan now, and visited Japan in November. Not Tokyo, though. Lots of cameras, but in the smaller cities, they are sometimes not so cheap.

You can probably get a decent camera in China, too, if that is interesting for you. Make sure you get an English user's guide if you can.

Anyway, good luck!
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 8:08 AM   #5
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Yeah, I live actually pretty close to Tokyo.
I might go out to Akihabara, but from what I've seen, the new prices there are the same as anywhere else in town.
I haven't actually been impressed by much that I've seen from my few trips there.
The one thing Akihabara seems to have over other shopping areas is that there is a larger selection of used items (which may be something I will look into as well, actually).
The prices of things seem to be fairly consistent with prices in the US, but a little bit higher on average.

I'll drop by some camera places when I have time this week and see how much it will cost to fix (if it can be done at all), how long it will take, etc...

If I have to get a new one, there is one camera I'm possibly interested in.. it's a panasonic lumix model, like 3 and some odd megapixels and it has even a little more zoom than the Toshiba, and it has image stabilizing which is a big plus. However it runs a little over 400 USD and I might not be able to afford that..

There's also an olympus that's 3 MP and has decent zoom, and I can get one used for around 250..

The PDRs aren't on the Japanese market as far as I know so I won't find a used one of those here, and I'm not going to mess with e-bay. That's out of the question because if there's any trouble with it I'll be away from home and can't deal with the hassle, and I'll just get screwed out of the money.
I'll ask my friend in China what prices are like there..

thanks for the suggestions!
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Old Jan 20, 2005, 4:41 AM   #6
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Case closed
I made a little side trip out to Akihabara today, checked out a Softmap shop that I had been to before and I knew would have a good selection of used stuff.
Got a used Panasonic Lumix FZ-1, which is comparable to the Toshiba but actually even a little better, for less than I paid for the Toshiba about a year ago.
I was able to decide on the spot because it was one of the models I was already familiar with... it was in my price range, had the specs I wanted, and was in really good shape.
So yeah it took a bite out of my wallet, but I was almost prepared(though it would have hurt more) to spend more than twice what this cost, to get one of the newer Lumix models.
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Old Jan 20, 2005, 6:51 AM   #7
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Great.. I'm glad to hear that you found a good solution.

You'll find some very enthusiastic owners of this model in our Panasonic Forum. One ofour forum members (alexo)prepared a FAQ for this model. You'll seelinks to it in this forum thread:

FAQ for DMC-FZ1/2


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Old Jan 20, 2005, 8:26 AM   #8
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Yup, I noticed that.. really good info!
Thanks!
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