Model railway magazine nerds will know that the camera de jour for toy train snappers is the Canon G12. A high end compact, it produces excellent quality 10mp photos plenty big enough for a double page spread, yet is small enough to slot into odd corners of a layout so you can get more interesting angles.
Sadly, my G12 suffered a not uncommon problem last weekend. The lens extended all the way out and then jammed. No idea why it did this but once out, switching on the camera resulted in an error message on the screen and some painful gear noises from inside. Repeatedly trying the power just made these get more and more painful - eventually a high pitched whine (scream) was emitted.
The Interweb came up with a few suggestions. Initially some paper is slipped between the tubes to try and remove any grit. Then you look at the lens, try to work out where it's not central in the hole and push/wobble it back to re-locate some invisible pins.
I tried all this and there was a clicking noise (good according to the instructions) and the lens came off in my hand.
This makes me sad. I've used the camera a lot for nearly 3 years and it's given excellent service. My old workmate is now dead and only worth keeping for spare parts.
To make matters worse, although I have a spare G12, despite being a long obsolete camera, prices on the second hand market are going up rather than down. What's that all about? I know the model that replaced it wasn't a good, but it's not a classic car. Why won't people stop buying these things so I can bag one cheap? As it is, I'm going to have to shell out something near £200 for a second hand camera. How can that be right?