Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

It’s All Fun Until…

Someone has a camera go missing. Many apologies dear readers, I meant to have shown you a few photos of Keswick, the decorations, the cloth covered lamp plugs (an Easy and Elegant Life project if ever there was one), the crackling fireplaces, raw bar, the cocktail cuffs on my new shirt. Alas, for the first time ever, I mislaid my camera and it hadn’t turned up by checkout.

I wish I could report that the staff turned the place inside out to help us find it, but that wasn’t the case. Neither did the valet meet us when we drove up to the front door. A bellman eventually made his way outside to help. The exceptions to the generally lackluster, but extremely cheerful, service were the wait staff who were discreet, pleasant and efficient and the night front desk person, equally so. Had we been paying the full freight instead of a negotiated deal for the wedding party, there would have been a discussion with management to follow. Especially after the bride was sent on her own to try and locate a missing piece of luggage. Not to mention our slow draining tub. Ah well, we notice these things because Mrs. E. (who looked stunning even in a royal purple halter top dress; we danced all night) and I have been on both sides of good service — providing and receiving — at different times in our lives. Yes, I prefer the decor now, but service under the Laura Ashley brand was leaps and bounds better.

At any rate, off to Target to heft a few cameras and comparison shop Overstock.com. Any good suggestions for a new camera? I was once the owner of — not long ago — of a Canon Powershot and thought it decent enough, if a bit bulky. Mrs. E. wants a digital SLR, but that would truly ruin the line of my suit.

17 thoughts on “It’s All Fun Until…

  1. In my mind there is no question a SLR is the way to go. Canon or Nikon. The hefty up front costs will pay off in spades in the long run.

  2. You should never hesitate to speak to management about service (or lack thereof) regardless of how much you are paying. The next person who is paying full price will get poor service too!

  3. It sounds to me that you want a camera that is easy to carry around that will take better than average photos. I’m not certain how much fuss you want with manual settings – it depends on when and how you will use it. Reading between the lines, I would guess you want a camera to take to parties, trips – to document friends and family and several shots of places.

    Personally, I’ve given up on the idea of one camera to serve all needs. I like a small camera for social events – something to fit in a small purse that takes nice sharp photos even in dark light (something my IPhone simply can’t do). I also need a larger camera for work and travel – a camera that provides a large zoom range and provides good crisp photos. Most architects prefer an SLR for this type of use — keep in mind an SLR is a very pricey investment and you may not want to risk yours a party.

    If you liked the Canon Powershot, you might want to consider getting the same thing again – they are still great cameras. As and alternate, I like and recommend the Panasonic Lumix line. I have the ZR1 for parties — super compact point and shoot, it fits nicely in all of my evening bags -leica lens – decent zoom features – with autofocus because I don’t want to bother fussing during a party.

  4. Thanks Alex, yes, the primary use for the camera is for blogging, so the more automatic and shoot-and-scoot friendly a camera, the better. I’ll have to wait until after the holidays to look at SLRs.

    Princess, it is true. I really can’t stand having to climb the ladder of authority and usually just write the president or CEO a letter.

  5. Nikon Cool Pix – they are all great – go for the mid=priced one. Serious photography requires more study (and money).

    I do agree with you though – find the top management person and call or write.

  6. I know I am swimming against the tide here, but I really think the Canon and Nikon SLRds are over-priced and over-rated. After a ton of research, and taking memory cards into stores to shot pictures and compare picture quality – you really can’t see the picture quality on the wee little screen on the back of the camera – the Pentax K20 won our hearts. It is far and away less expensive than its bigger named counterparts. Aside from the cash was the picture quality. The image stabilization is built into the body of the Pentax. Image stabilization is in each lens on the Canon and Nikon and thus their lens are astronomical in price. So on the Pentax you are taking great shots just with the kit lens. With Nikon and Canon you’re not.

    Good luck and I’m sorry the service was a disappointment. Regardless of the rate paid, you should have been treated the same as any other visiting dignitary.

  7. If you take your art seriously you NEED a Hasselblad HD2-39. Or spend the money to have a gigapixel unit custom built. Seriously though, all but two of the ten or so photos adorning our walls are by our overpriced digital SLR toy, but the other 99,000 pictures in our collections which were taken spontaneously, of un-staged experiences, have all been taken by relatively inexpensive, but crucially portable, Sony products. From my own positive experiences with five Sony cameras I would recommend them to anyone. The life and picture quality of our Nikon and Kodak pocket units were such that they might appropriately be considered in the category of “disposable” cameras. What is right for your use? When I taught basic rifle courses we would always ask which caliber was “best”, allow a ten minute heated debate, and then announce the correct answer to be the caliber that you practice with, use with confidence, and know the limits of. I suspect the same holds true of cameras. I know that I personally am far less likely to actually tote a camera in a case, whereas a “cybershot” fits in the map pocket with nary a bulge and is forgotten about until it is needed, when it serves its call with ample sufficiency, if not supreme artfulness. Meets my needs, and in my case elegance trumps trick features.

    As to helpful staff, I regret your ill fortune; one of my greatest pet peeves is when an establishment charges a great deal and treats you as a “customer” at best. There seem to be so few people who take pride in doing their job well if that job is in a “service industry.” On a bright note, the Mrs. and I spent the weekend at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham NC this weekend, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys competence, decorum and forethought to a Jeeves-like degree. The staff are, quite frankly, phenomenal, and the accommodations ain’t too shabby neither. Phantom of the Opera at the Durham Performing Arts Center was also excellent, and in a 3-piece suit I was not (!) the most “dressed” man in the audience. A few tuxes, with suits de rigueur. Sure, some jeans on teens, but with sportcoats, and nary a polo-shirt to be seen. Warms the cockles.

    Capt. Victoryforthegoodguys

  8. The Sony Cybershot is the ONLY way to go. Very slim, very sleek, takes INCREDIBLE photographs with phenomenal light (everyone who has been in my photos thanks me!) and a super large screen that makes it easy for the photographer to use. This has survived cocktail parties in the city and treks through the desert alike- an asbolute wonder of a camera- i will never go back to Canon again!

    I don’t know how i fell upon your blog but i sincerely enjoy it! Keep up the good work 🙂

  9. I have a Lumix for quick snapshots and a Nikon dSLR for more serious pictures, and am very happy with both.

    You may consider a new point-and-shoot from Samsung that offers two video LCD screens — one in the front and one in the back. This makes it easier to take self or timed portraits because you can actually see what is in the frame, even if the subject is facing the camera. Given that you often take pictures of yourself for this blog, this feature seems ideal for your purposes. The downside is that it is pricey, retailing for more than $300, I think.

    Here’s some background:


  10. I’ll second what Ari says. I’ve played with the Lumix several times and like it a lot. The quality of the optics is stellar and gives you nearly the quality of the SLR without the weight and bulk of extra lenses.

  11. Sorry to hear about the disappointing experience at Keswick Hall.

    My vote for a new camera is the Canon S90. It’s expensive for a point-and-shoot and the image quality won’t quite match a DSLR, but it’s a fantastic all rounder. Great in low light too.

  12. Indeed a taxing question. I had no idea, and indeed no intention of buying a DSLR, but as I was in Tokyo, and my partner persuaded me that I oughta, I bought a Canon EOS Kiss x2, (confusingly called EOS 450D anywhere else but Japan). It certainly produces fantastic photos, but I’m only just beginning to learn, (and that was hampered by the instructions being in Japanese, and my ability to read them totally inadequate). I agree though it’s not something I would heave around to a social event – one upcoming wedding for example – it would look too outre, and I might be mistaken for the press, so the pocket ones are ideal for that, (and the DSLR for more serious photography). Unsure of the models that have been suggested, but I’m sure they’re as good as the commentators suggest. As there is so much choice it’s very confusing, so one has to wing it a little.

  13. We recently purchased a small Canon to grab on our way out the door. In fact, it sits on the mantle, easily accessible on our way out. My husband loves his Nikon digital and numerous Nikon film cameras, various lenses, etc. The pictures and slides from all of them cannot be beat. But one must have a second, small grab-and-go camera for everyday stuff.

    No excuses for poor service. It would be to their benefit if you spoke frankly to them about it. Management would want to know.

  14. Chris- I just purchased a Canon S 90 a couple weeks ago. I love it. Only problem I have is that it will not let you shoot Raw on Auto. But I have a Nikon D70 for that. The S90 is a bulky in the pocket but it’s a perfect coat pocket camera. I was also able to start shooting with it right away. Very user friendly. But your three choices all look to be good ones. The bugger with DSLR’s are the cost of lenses. A macro for the Nikon is $650.

  15. A new camera? You’ll just lose it. Besides…it’s high time you had your own photographer to follow you about. . . Cecil Beaton still alive?

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