28 October 2007

Quality Of A Korean Product "Exposed"

Previously I blogged about the "Korean invasion" of Singapore.

Almost 2 years ago, I bought a brand new Samsung Digimax L50 camera from a fellow Renault Car Club forum member. He had just won it in a company dinner lucky draw. At that time, the camera's recommended retail price (RRP) was S$499. (However, as is usually the case, most camera shops charge some 20 percent less than the RRP. One shop in Sim Lim Square was selling the camera for S$415.) In comparison, a similar made-in-Japan camera was selling at about S$600 then.

Most of the photos in this blog were taken with the Samsung camera. The quality of the images taken by the camera was passable, though not terribly impressive. (Ahem, of course a good photographer can make photos taken with an average camera look better.)

Then about one year ago, the camera suddenly broke down. All photos taken with it looked grossly over... well, exposed, like this:

As the camera was still under warranty, I brought it in to the Service Centre and they repaired it without any charge. They told me that the lens barrel was replaced and it would have cost me more than $100 if the camera was not under warranty!

After the repair, the camera worked fine... until last Friday, that is. Perhaps, I would find it easier to accept if another defect had surfaced, especially since the camera was heavily used for almost 2 years now. But dammit, it was the same old problem!!!

I decided not to repair the camera this time as the warranty period had expired. It was just not worth spending so much money for repairs, especially when my experience was that the defect could very likely recur not long after. I intended to shop for another camera.

Last Saturday, I was browsing at Best superstore in Century Square when I saw the 7-mp Lumix FX12 selling at S$369. In contrast, the lower-end 6-mp FX10 was selling at S$409. What an anomaly! I thought that the price tags were inadvertently switched. Honest as I am, I confirmed with the salesman that it was not a mistake in pricing. He clarified that there was no mistake - the FX12 was on offer. It was a very good buy as he would include the following freebies with the deal:

1. Extra original battery (worth S$75);

2. 2GB Sandisk SD card (worth S$37); and

3. 1GB Toshiba SD card (worth S$19)

With the above giveaways, it was like charging me only about S$238 for the camera alone! My resistance simply crumbled. "Okay I will take one", I said without much hesitation.

So this is my new camera:

And here are the some photos taken with it:


Lam Chun See said...

I think when it comes to quality and reliability, I still prefer Japanese products.

My whole family have been using a Nikon Coolpix 3100 for the past few years. I can tell you our usage is extremely high. My son and teacher wife take lots of photos for their science and gardening projects. When I go for my 5S projects I take also lots of photos. so far no problme except the battery compartment cover broke once.

Victor said...

Yes, Chun See. I learnt my lesson the hard way. But the trouble nowadays is that many Japanese brands, especially their lower-end products/models, are now made in Asian countries, notably China, Thailand and even Malaysia. Even Nikon Coolpix cameras are also made in China now. (I believe yours is a dated model which was still made in Japan at that time. Sigh, isn't it ironic that we can only get nostalgic about good old Japanese quality?)

Not that I have a thing against the quality and workmanship of products made in the typical Asian countries but I am sure many people have bad experiences to tell about them too.

Laokokok said...

Another Lumix owner haha. You will love the ease of use be it in Camera or Video mode.

Always ask my son to turn to video mode when we are in the car. Evidence is very important when something happen.

Same when we cross the road, I will turn on video mode and standby. Nowadays, more and more reckless driving.

pinto said...

Nice shots, Victor! It's the photographer that counts. Of course, at minimum, the camera must work.

I'm a Canon person for compact cameras and a Nikon for DSLRs.

Hmmm... Chun See, are you still getting used to your big camera?

Lam Chun See said...

About my big camera .. a sigh story to share here if Victor doesn't mind.

My daughter won a story writing competition and I attended the ceremony with my Canon EOS400 looking so pro. and ready to snap a shot of her receiving her prize for Minister Balakrishnan. Next to me was a father of my daughter's friend. He was obviously an Indian National. "Is your camera a DLSR?", he asked. But his accent was quite strong so it took me while to understand him. His was a Canon Power Shot. When I finally understood him, I said yes, but I won't be surprised if your photos turn out much better than mine. My prediction turned out to be correct!

pinto said...

Whoops... I guess that reinforces what I said about the photographer being important.

Perhaps we should have a photography tutorial session/meetup one day.

etel said...

I agree with Pinto, that a photographer is more impt than anything else - But at least with a decent camera lah. haha.

GD the pics are nice! I particularly love one of them... at the temple or church? LOL with the 2 gates. AND OMG Its a cat! LOL Looks like the one at clementi... hmmm

And sorry GD, I was still aslp when I received your msg today afternoon... OOPS =x we will have a chance to meet up! don't worry about it!

I told VL about the offer he say its cheap, but I've never held a panasonic cam before, so he don't know how much I will like it. So I ASSUME he's gonna buy me a Canon S5!


If there is any photography session, count me in!!!

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, so you went to Changi Prison Museum/Chapel eh?

Victor said...

LKK - May I suggest that you install a permanent videocam recording system in your car. That way, you can catch car vandals too. Your son should be enjoying the car ride instead of taking boring videos of traffic for dad. :)

Victor said...

Pinto - Thanks for the compliments. But besides reinforcement, I'm afraid that there might be a bit of contradiction when you proclaimed yourself a Canon person. Didn't I see you taking photographs of plants at Chun See's place using a Lumix LX1?

If there's a photography tutorial session/meetup, I can suggest a place that's popular with newly-wed couples taking their outdoor photos. Watch out for my next post, hehe.

Victor said...

Chun See - So you also have a Canon EOS 400D. That's the same camera which Etel's BF aka VL bought! And it happened to be the model that I recommended him to buy.

Yes, I dropped by the Changi Chapel Museum last Sunday at about 11.30 am for a quick tour and also to try out the new digicam.

Victor said...

Etel - Woah, still sleeping at noon? 你真好命.Haha.

Don't get angry hor. Chris said that the chicken rice was disappointing. (Wait for his feedback via Facebook.)

I also find it not as good as Boon Tong Kee or 5-star Kampong Chicken in East Coast Road. Even 津津 in Purvis St tastes better.

tigerfish said...

Looks like I need to get a new camera. My current one is dated- big bulky Canon POwershot.

Victor said...

Tigerfish - Buy new camera? But the food photos on your blog are impressive. They are always so crisp and clear.

pinto said...

I'm afraid that there might be a bit of contradiction when you proclaimed yourself a Canon person. Didn't I see you taking photographs of plants at Chun See's place using a Lumix LX1?

That's precisely why I proclaim myself as a Canon person. I've checked out the competition, and I prefer Canon. My previous digicam was a Canon. And my next one will be a Canon too. ;)

If there's a photography tutorial session/meetup, I can suggest a place that's popular with newly-wed couples taking their outdoor photos. Watch out for my next post, hehe.

Hmmm, you've got me curious. Will you do your signature hand pose for us? =P

fr said...

I think if the company has in place a strict quality control system in that country, its products should be ok.

The Casio camera I bought a few months ago was also made in China.

Victor said...

Pinto - I agree that Canon cameras give very good image quality. But their good cameras are quite expensive.

Victor said...

Fr - I think it also depends on luck sometimes. But I wouldn't attribute it to bad luck if the same defect occurs twice within a year.

fr said...

My preference is Sony or Panasonic, but I bought the Casio instead.