Over the years I’ve owned and used a number of digital cameras. The first one I used was the Apple QuickTake 100 camera, which looked like an odd set of binoculars. The first I owned was a Fuji FinePix, then a Sony Cybershot, and most recently a Canon SD500.
I love my Canon SD500 Digital Elph. It’s compact, has great resolution, a fair number of smart modes, and has a reasonably inexpensive underwater case available made specifically for it by Canon. I have two of the underwater cases; one for scuba diving and one for Burning Man. The one I have used on the playa will never be water-safe again, with all the dust clogging the o-rings; but it works well enough to keep my camera safe from dust.
My worst purchase for my Canon SD500 was a TEK Digital belt-style camera case purchased at Best Buy. I had no idea the headaches I was buying for my $19.99. I suppose this was intended as a feature, but the belt loop is held on with a snap; and it frequently unsnapped while on my belt. Not wanting to lose my camera, I had to fix the issue by epoxying that snap to be permanently closed. Later on, that snap would bite me again; when the pressure point of that hard metal snap, even behind a layer of nylon weave, cracked my screen while in my backpack. Learn from my mistakes, don’t buy any tight fitting camera cases that have hard points that could put pressure on the LCD.
Even if my camera had been under warranty, it was obviously a case of owner abuse; with a distinctive spider web fracture. Canon offered a flat rate repair for the SD500 for $127.00, and I considered that a steal compared to buying a new camera and two new underwater housings. So, I registered for the RMA and shipped off my camera. I received an email when my camera arrived, and two days later I received a second email stating that the camera had been repaired and shipped. The turnaround time was fantastic, but was not nearly as surprising as the repair charge: $ 0.00. I received my camera back a few days later, with a note that an out of warranty repair had been completed free of charge.
It’s a year and a half later, and my wife are thinking about buying a higher-end digital SLR. I can tell you with 95% certainty it will be a Canon. There is a lot of customer loyalty that can be earned by going the extra mile for your customers, and Canon did a pretty good job of earning mine.