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Sony Hardware

Digital Camera Failures 316

An anonymous reader writes "In the past week, four major camera makers have quietly published service advisories admitting their digital cameras are dying. In each case, the flaw appears to involve Sony CCD sensors using epoxy packaging that eventually lets in moisture. Sony's own cameras are among those affected, and the company also has dozens of affected camcorder models. Sony is believed to be picking up the tab for the repairs for the other camera makers as well, regardless of warranty status. (If true, a laudable approach.) Given the large numbers of cameras that are potentially involved, this can't be good news for Sony, who apparently already is expecting losses, and who has also recently announced major layoffs."
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Digital Camera Failures

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  • Dammit!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:12AM (#13762055) Homepage Journal
    It may be a "laudable approach" for Sony to pick up the tabs for the camera makers, but what about the consumers? I have one of the Canon models mentioned. I'd like to get it fixed/certified NOW so I don't unexpectedly find it exhibiting these defective behaviors when I'm trying to tape something important like my son's first steps or his first Christmas.

    The Canon announcement is only for Asia and it only offers to fix the camera if and when it starts showing symptoms of the problems. As far as I'm concerned, that's bogus. They should offer a general recall and repair/replacement of all models affected so people don't lose the once-in-a-lifetime events they bought these cameras to capture.

    - Greg

  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:13AM (#13762060)
    At least they're usually not used for mission-critical applications.

    Try telling that to a bride on her wedding day. It's obvious you've never taken pictures for hire.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:33AM (#13762168)
    Every Sony product since a walkman in the early 90's has broken completely within 2 years, I don't know if it just me or Sony have laid off their entire testing and quality management dept. but it really is crap, VAIO notebooks just one example, horrible failure rate, Playstation? i don't know of many that dont have problems.
  • Re:Dammit!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:35AM (#13762187)
    That's why Real Photographers(tm) carry two cameras. (Or three... or four...)
  • by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:21AM (#13762442)
    A $250 digital camera, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of a $50 35mm film camera (technically the $50 film camera has a higher resolution, but that's another discussion). These low end digitals replace the snapshot cameras of yore, but shouldn't be confused with actual professional quality cameras. If you know that you're going to be shooting a "once in a lifetime" event like a wedding, first birthday, or something along those lines, you should either be shooting it in higher quality (and more reliable) film, or invest in a higher end digital.

    If you lose that once in a lifetime shot because you trusted it to a cheap snapshot camera, that's as much your fault as the vendors.
  • Re:Dammit!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:21AM (#13762444)
    "...They should offer a general recall and repair/replacement of all models affected so people don't lose the once-in-a- lifetime events they bought these cameras to capture."

    Is it that big a deal to you? Then why don't you buy a second camera?

    Is that too expensive? Gee, do you suppose that not offering perfection made the single digital camera affordable in the first place?

    Face it: you are not willing to pay for what you want. You bought a camera with a warranty that is being honored. You bought no guarantee of perfection.
  • by timelessroguestar ( 920772 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:20AM (#13762656)
    the first generation (i.e. the actual film) may have higher resolution, but 2nd generation (aka the print) will not. That's one reason why [film] slides were as popular as they were. Converting from a 1st generation image to 2nd is quite costly (certainly not perfect).
  • Not just Sony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @08:46AM (#13763846)
    You may be right bashing Sony here, but it's not just them. I've noticed that many consumer electronics products over the last years have come to boast more features, better functionality/price ratio, but also lower quality. Products just aren't built to last anymore.

    Just this week, I ditched my computer keyboard because it was giving weird responses to some keypresses. Thoroughly cleaned it out, checked the inside, contacts etc., conclusion: problem was with the (single) controller IC, one of the very few electronic components. Killed by a static discharge? Who knows. I can't remember ever having needed to replace a keyboard, it was always a matter of cleaning or replacing with a nicer looking model.

    Now this keyboard was 3 or 4 years old, only used by me, and damnit, it's the fscking electronics that die instead of contacts or pieces breaking off. I'm now using an older one that's probably seen 3 or more owners, twice as old (and doesn't look as nice), but it still works. I've had similar experiences with other equipment.

    The root cause? I suspect it's simply first-to-market and pricing pressures that forces manufacturers to strip down Quality Control to the lowest level the market will bear. Manufacturing processes may be optimised to make single components very cheap, and very likely to outlast the warranty period, but that's about it. When something is 3+ years old, you're expected to look for a replacement.

    Like it or not, that's the way things are. But what pisses me off mostly, is that there's little you can do to seek out quality. Brand names say nothing about their latest products. Extensive customer reviews give hints about features and support, but say nothing about how durable a product is built. And price bears little relation with quality either.

    As for these 'low-end' digital camera's: own a Canon Powershot A70 myself (and happy with it sofar). It may be considered low-end in the digital camera market, but it cost me somewhere around $400 when I bought it. Nothing low-end about that, I consider that a lot of money for a photo-making device. Am I wrong to expect a product in return that keeps working for more than just 2 or 3 years?
  • by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at.> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @10:08AM (#13764428) Homepage
    How elitist of you.

    Would you say the same thing today about $600 computers as being toys and unfit for serious use?

    There are places, even in a professional's repertoire, where a point&shoot make sense; where expensive cameras are too bulky, complicated, and intimidating to use. Things like a Yashica T4/T5 or a Olympus Stylus, for example.

    Digital cameras in the $250 range can fill a similar role, with additional benefits and additional drawbacks. They don't take pictures as fast as film cameras, but they have greater capacity (I can take hundreds of pictures on a charge without swapping film or batteries).
  • by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @10:53AM (#13764853)
    Sony now produces everything sold in NA in Mexico, so you arent getting the japanes precision.

    AFAIK, the only electronics manufacturer still producing in japan is Panasonic (Matsushita), and i have had very good luck with the panasonic gear that i've bought.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern