Engineers can see at once that something labelled the -LC52C- LA-DC52C is likely to be vitally different from an almost identical piece of plastic called the -LC52D- LA-DC52D. Shop assistants can’t. That’s why I’m expecting a new camera to take on holiday in a fortnight.
Little Canon compacts, like the Powershot A80 I brought six weeks ago, have a zoom lens that sits flush with the body when it’s off, and then protrudes with a whirr about 2cm when you switch it on. If you want to attach a polarising filter, which people who love fish and water will want to do, you have to buy a conical plastic tube that clips onto the front of the body around the lens, and has a screw-in fitting the other end, about, as I said, 2cm away. It could be a little more. It could be a little less.
On the Canon Powershot A70, it is a little less. On the Powershot A80, it is a little more. But they both have the same bayonet fitting at the end. So when I asked the man in Jessops in Cambridge if he had this device for an A80 (that will be the -DVtiddlypumpLD- LA-DC52D), he poked around in the stockroom, and came up with the fitment for the A70 (the -DVtiddlypumpLC- LA-DC52C). I bought it, screwed the filter in, and, outside, switched the camera on. The lens, whirred, protruded, and then the whirring changed pitch and the damn thing wedged itself into the filter.
So, yesterday, back to Jessops where I explained that none of the photographs taken since then were properly sharp at infinity. To their credit, they made no fuss, and arranged to repair the old thing and give me a loaner while it was being fixed. Some time today I will hear about a G3 to play with.
It’s really a lot like software, when version 3.15e is identical to v3.15g except that it causes catastrophic data loss. Oh, and, if software goes wrong and breaks something, you’ll find you have no recompense at all. Just a thought.