Always Take A Spare Battery!

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The Importance of Having a Back-Up

My business is all about once-in-a-lifetimes. The Bucket List Company is all about getting the big stuff ticked off, we do trips from the Great Wall of China to Kilimanjaro and Everest.

I lead quite a few of the trips, so I’ve clocked up 10 trips up Kilimanjaro in the last few years. I’m a bit of a once in a lifetime expert these days, rarely putting a foot wrong.

Or so I thought.

Let me tell you a story of what happened to me last week, leading our annual Machu Picchu trip.

Machu Picchu from an iPhone perspective
Machu Picchu taken on iPhone, not Canon 80d

Before the trip I decided it was time for a new camera; I’d used my trusty SLR and separate video camera for the last few years and it was time for a change.

Now I’m the sort of guy who does his research – I wasn’t just going to go online and buy any old camera. I read articles, watched vlogs and spent weeks deciding which was going to be the best camera for me.

I have always been a huge fan of Casey Neistat (check him out) and it was one of his vlogs where I was introduced to the Canon 80d. After some additional research my mind was made up, my only decision now to make was which lenses would I buy and take with me?

The weekend before I was due to fly I took a trip down to Jessops in Exeter. It’s an hour’s drive for me, but I needed some advice on the lenses and I like to buy from knowledgeable experts in a recognised store.

I bought the camera and the lenses, took a deep breath and handed over the credit card!

I was so excited to get home and try it all out, I took some video and photos of my children and everything worked like a dream.

Carefully I packed up the Canon 80d and 96gb of memory cards and headed to Heathrow.

I didn’t put the camera down for my first few days in Peru, carrying it everywhere I went taking photos & video of everything I saw.

On day 4 of the trip we went to Sacsayhuaman (everyone pronounces it Sexy Women!), which overlooks Cusco. These are the old Inca remains which were destroyed by the Spanish, they are amazing to see.

Anyway, whilst I was taking some photos of the local Alpaca’s my new camera made a horrible noise and shut off. When I turned it back on it said;

“Error 20”, take the battery out and restart the camera – I did this

“Error 20” on the screen again.

The camera wouldn’t allow me to do anything, it was technically ******, I was gutted.  The following day we were leaving for the Machu Picchu trek.

I did try to call Jessops but there was nothing they could do. I was just told bring it back on my return for an exchange and they were going to contact Canon on my behalf.

Luckily I did have my GoPro, Chilli Tech and iPhone with me, so not all was lost. However, I wasn’t going to be able to capture the images and video that I wanted to.

The trip was amazing, the whole group reached Machu Picchu and they loved every minute of it. We trekked the Lares trek, this was the first time I’d walked this particular Trek and I highly recommend it.

On my return to the UK, I went through the pictures on my iPhone and they were not bad photos. Deep down I know I could of got better if I had a working DSLR. Even writing this I still feel a bit gutted. We were the first ones up to Machu Picchu, there was no one in sight when we arrived.

Machu Pichu trek views on iPhone
Machu Picchu taken on iPhone, not Canon 80d

I wanted to vlog the whole journey so I could show potential Bucket Listers what each day would look like. Anyway, not to be this time, I must wait for another 12 months for that opportunity.

Which brings me to my point about taking a spare.

Should you take one?

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity of another “once in a lifetime” trip to Machu Picchu next year.

Will you?

If your camera fails on day 4 of your trip, how will you feel?

Deep down I wished I had picked up one of my other cameras and taken as a backup. Having your phone is a great back up, but I felt a little limited. The GoPro is great for action videos, and shooting time-lapse but there is no way I could make a Vlog with it.

I have 3 other cameras sat on my desk and I decided not to take any of them. Well this won’t be the case next time – I will certainly have another camera in my bag on big trips.

Back to the Canon 80d saga – Did I tell you how much I have spent?

The day after I returned from Peru, I drove back to Exeter (remember the hour long drive?) to visit Jessops. They hadn’t contacted Canon on my behalf and they didn’t even have a new camera to replace my broken one. I am now waiting for a replacement to arrive.

They told me there was nothing they could do and I needed to contact Canon directly regarding the complaint of the camera breaking.

I contacted Canon on Twitter (I have found this to be the quickest way to get a response to an issue!) to be told I needed to ring them.

This morning I rang Canon UK Support to explain my disappointment in their products. I was told there was nothing Canon could do and the support agent hung up on me.

Wow! I wasn’t expecting that.

Of course, I called back and this time I spoke to a helpful support agent who has now escalated my complaint to Canon. It will be interesting to hear their response on this matter.

I certainly expect something that cost nearly £1400 to last longer than 4 days.

What spares are you going to pack on your next trip?

31/5/17 – Additonal note – I have spoken to Canon this moring, they apologised for the camera breaking and their customer service agent hanging up on me. They have sent me a lens cloth and a pen in the post. They are also extending the warranty on my camera by a further 6 months. Does this mean they dont have faith in the 80d? Worried now!

1/5/17 – My replacement camera from Jessops arrived today – in a battered box. They could have put a note in the box –  nope, nothing. Customer service is obvioulsy dead!

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