If you live in British Columbia, you know London Drugs, a large store chain that started as pharmacies but long ago expanded into selling a wide variety of things, from candy and cosmetics to electronics and housewares. I often recommend LD to people asking me about buying geeky stuff like computers and cameras because, unlike other large chain stores, their staff isn't on commission and is usually knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating, without being intimidating.
For digital cameras, dedicated camera stores catering to professional and serious amateur photographers are also good, of course, particularly if you need specialized knowledge. Nevertheless, London Drugs photo departments are often just as large as well stocked as many camera shops, with staff who know just as much, so when I needed a new camera just before my trip to Hawaii last week, I went to my local LD and picked up a Nikon D50 SLR to go with my old Nikon lenses. I'm glad I did.
After taking a few hundred of the thousand or so photos I fired off in Hawaii (I've uploaded nearly 700), I noticed a strange anomaly: two circular discoloured spots that appeared in every shot, no matter which lens or settings I used, one near the top centre, one near the top left. They were subtle, and most noticeable against plain or featureless background, like the sky.
Here, take a look (I highlight the spots at the original photo page at Flickr):
Worse, the spots seemed to be getting larger over the week. Although I was able to retouch most of the photos beore I posted them, I had a warranty problem on my hands, so today I returned to London Drugs, expecting to have to fill out some forms and send my camera to Nikon for repair. Nope! The sales rep at LD did a quick A-B comparison between my D50 and their demo unit, saw the problem, checked with his manager, and swapped my D50 for another, new one. He made sure the proper serial number appeared on my receipt, gave me a new warranty card to fill out, and we were done in less than 10 minutes.
I'll be back next time I need some camera gear.