Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finding a Replacement Camera

Welcome to Bogota, Colombia!

Colombia is our first stop in the South American leg of our journey, and despite being scammed by the taxi driver upon our arrival, it has turned out to be a pretty nice place.

One of our first missions in Bogota was to find a replacement camera for dear old Oly. Having done a bit of research online way back when Oly was starting to give me some trouble, I had decided on a few criteria. My new camera should:

1) Have at least 10x optical zoom. Because it has been immensely frustrating not to be able to take pictures of animals and naked women on Haulover Beach.

2) Be a small point-and-shoot (PNS). Because safety is paramount while we are traveling in this part of the world, and we have read stories of tourists who get robbed of their DSLRS.

3) Use lithium-ion batteries, because buying and lugging around AA batteries are a pain.

4) Ideally be weather-proof, because we will be trekking up mountains, going to waterfalls, etc.

5) Takes good videos, because DSLRs don't. No point duplicating abilities for our cameras, right?

So off we set into Bogota's city centre, swooping into every camera shop we could find. Unfortunately, most shops carry only cameras with puny 3-4x zoom, with the cheapest we could find at USD 400. Erks. Looks like I would be going without a camera for the rest of the trip!

Then I remembered reading something about a place called Unilago in Bogota. It's supposed to be like the Sim Lim Square of Colombia. So we took down addresses and directions and went off in search for this place.

Unilago is like Sim Lim Square in the sense that you see a huge number of shops offering computer parts and services. But while Sim Lim Square has moved with the times and has a better offering now with different levels of the mall catering to different needs, Unilago remains drearily uniform in its offering.

We were quite surprised that there was only one camera shop in the entire 2-storey complex, and that one shop sells only Canon PNS cameras. Even if we had wanted a DSLR, no one was selling it!

Thankfully, we found a friendly sales assistant by the name of Andres.

Andres speaks and understands only Spanish. Though the wife and I are multilingual Singaporeans (we speak English, Mandarin and swear words of all dialects), conversational Spanish was above our capabilities.

Andres was patient enough to figure out what we wanted, and finally offered a Canon SX200 IS.

Quick tech specs for those interested:
12.1 megapixels
12x Optical zoom
28mm wide angle
Shoots movies in HD 720p

After we purchased the camera at a seemingly measly USD 300, Andres asked us to write his name for him in Chinese.

The wife and I stared at each other blankly for awhile, then decided to call him:

Unfortunately, we forgot how to write , so this is what we gave him instead.

Oh man, our Chinese suck.

Then his colleague came over.

"Can do one for me? My name is Nancy."

Oh sh*t.


P.S This blog entry was made possible by my best friend in my ex-office, whose favorite letters are still F, O and S.


iluzdaf said...

The Nikon D90 has a movie mode!

Dannie said...

Oh alright. I should have been more specific.

Yi Lin's DSLR doesn't take video. Better? :p

Tracy Su said...

Hehehe, that name bit is really cute.

Anonymous said...

Hey you two...your blog is funny. Glad you bought the SX 200. Canon 4500D has HD Movie capabilities (Nikon 5000D - not)

Lint said...

OMG HAHAHAHHAHAHA the chinese part is funny!!!!!!

Dannie said...

Haha... okay. I'm sorry I said DSLRs have no movie-taking capabilities, okay? :p

And yeah, we thought the name thing was really funny too. We had actually left Unilago, then decided to walk back to snap those 2 shots. :)

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