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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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  • sony and lack of QC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jstroebe ( 921953 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:16AM (#13762075)
    Maybe I'm the only one, but I've vowed to stop buying Sony products after the last two things I've bought from them have been total pieces of S#!t. I had a Vaio laptop that lasted a year, and a camcorder that didn't last much longer. The name Sony use to be one I related to quality but anymore I steer clear.
  • Figures (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Kickboy12 ( 913888 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:28AM (#13762140) Homepage
    Sony usually makes pretty reliable hardware, too. Although I guess they have been falling back lately. Panasonic seems to be stealing most of their thunder, especially in the TV market.
  • Re:They're complex. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:30AM (#13762149) Homepage
    About half of the photographers I know (a good number) use digital exclusively. Now that Digital SLRs are good AND cheap, the others are all planning to move that way. And it isn't just the people I know, here's an outside link. []

    While photography isn't usually a life or death industry, it is 'mission critical' to tons of photographers, magazines, ad agencies, etc. etc. So I would say that your statement is incorrect.

    I know I haven't touched a film camera in years, and neither have any of the other photographers at my place of work. In fact, we just made a big deal out of putting our last remaining film camera in a little glass case for posterity.
  • Good timing! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eSchmitty ( 670312 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:40AM (#13762218)

    My Canon Powershot A70 just started to exhibit this problem 3 days ago!

    I have found out that Canon USA and Canon Canada will both fix the camera, regardless of the warranty status.

    This is the 2nd time that I've had to send my camera back for service. The first time was soon after I bought the camera because of a different CCD problem. Despite all of these problems, I still really like the camera and think it was a good purchase. I probably wouldn't think this if they didn't fix this problem for free.

  • Just my Luck.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShaolinTiger ( 798138 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:50AM (#13762269) Homepage
    I'm in Malaysia and I own a Canon Powershot A70...

    And I had the CCD problem, it started about 6 months ago...first the backgrounds went slightly pink on bright shots, then it went a little fuzzy, then it went totally mangled and I couldn't see anything at all.

    So I paid to get it fixed, it wasn't they are saying they will pick the tab?

    I wonder if I can get a refund...
  • by cshay ( 79326 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:01AM (#13762340)
    Instead of product recalls, they went right on shipping cameras with serious flaws in their retractible lenses. The result? A class action lawsuit: lass.html []
  • by hh1000 ( 303370 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:08AM (#13762373)
    I recall when it was considered a feature that certain SLRs would still take pictures if the batteries were dead. This was considered a must have for photographers in tough conditions such as war zone. Now batteries are like crack for digital cameras, they freakin need it all the time.

  • by pjkundert ( 597719 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:06AM (#13762608) Homepage
    We have a Canon digital ELPH SD100; excellent camera, and very sturdy (survived several rough week-long back-country expeditions with no problems).

    However, lately the camera has developed strange circles in some of its images, especially in certain lighting conditions, or certain atmospheric conditions that we have not been able to really pin down. Most of the time, the images are clear.

    The circles or rings seem similar to what you might get with dust somewhere in the lens system near the focal plane; the each circle covers perhaps up to 1/10th of the image area, but many of them are smaller, and some dimmer than others. The next time we use the camera, they don't appear at all!

    Could thse perhaps be explained by condensation on the inside of the CCD's window, which only appears in certain temperature or atmospheric pressure situations?

  • Re:They're complex. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:30AM (#13762696) Homepage
    Try telling that to a bride on her wedding day. It's obvious you've never taken pictures for hire.

    How many wedding photographers turn up with a single camera body? You can't stop a wedding to wait for the photographer. The Pros I know take three - a digital SLR, a standard SLR loaded with colour film and a standard SLR with black and white print film.

  • Re:They're complex. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:34AM (#13762706)

    Any professional photographer will bring a backup camera to a shoot. A wedding, s/he should probably have multiple backup cameras.

    I was shooting a wedding a few weeks ago and the lens mount on my D2X just broke while I was shooting the bride getting ready. No warning or anything. Lens falls to the floor (lens didn't break, thank goodness, but the plastic hood just shattered- very dramatic). Bride goes "Oh shit!", convinced her wedding pictures were ruined. I just reached into my bag and pulled out my spare, swapped the CF card, and kept shooting. If that camera had failed for whatever reason, I've got a Hasselblad and film in the van.

  • by mardoen ( 557915 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:45AM (#13762736) Homepage
    I have a PowerShot A70, and after gradually introducing noise to images it finally "died" a couple of weeks ago. This actually looks rather amazing -- I've documented this in a short Flickr set at [] and I'll post some more information at [] as soon as I find some time... I even have some video clips made with the camera.

    To quote from the Flickr page: "my only digital camera has finally degraded into a first-class piece of alien surveillance equipment. instant live show, one-button entertainment, subjective electronics."
  • Broken Dimage X20 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 't is DjiM ( 801555 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:37AM (#13762911)
    3 weeks ago, I have seen a broken Minolta Dimage X20 (one of the cheaper cameras in the list) and images that were taken with it. Its owner wanted me to take a look at it to see what was wrong (of course, I did not have a clue).

    Highly exposed areas (like highlights on metallic objects) of the pictures had highly distorted colors (fluorescent green or pink). Moreover, if you would point the camera to a bright light source (for example a tube light), the cameras LCD would start displaying all kinds of weirdly distorted colors.

    I'll have this guy know that his camera can be fixed for free... Thanks to /., I'll be the hero of the day ;-)
  • by TrickiDicki ( 559754 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:54AM (#13762958)
    I had a DSC-P1. Turns out that camera line bad a problem with the charger that would eventually kill the battery. Sony replaced the battery, charger and on-board hardware to rectify the problem, no questions asked. The camera was out of warrenty. Well done Sony!
  • Sony believer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Murgalon ( 779238 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:21AM (#13763057)
    A lot of people here seem to dislike Sony products. I bought the DSC-F505V digital camera in 2000 and have taken over 3000 pictures. It still works perfectly.

    It's been exposed to very cold conditions (Colorado Springs) and very hot and humid conditions (South Africa).

    The only minor flaw I found is that the battery clip broke off after the 3rd year of use. I carry two batteries and changing batteries all the time must have worn out the clip. I'm still able to close the battery cover so the clip was not really crucial to it's operation.
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:49AM (#13763458) Homepage Journal
    Interesting, reminds me of this: d_images2/ []
  • Re:Dammit!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by malevolence ( 301869 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @08:36AM (#13763779)
    This is actually great news for me. My camera (Canon A70) started exhibiting this problem about 8 months ago. I had no idea of the cause and it happened intermittently so I worked around it. I finally took it to a local place to see about getting it repaired and they said it would have to be shipped back to Canon and there was a flat fee for all repairs (~$125 + shipping). I didn't want to spend that much on a camera that isn't worth much more than that so I figured I was pretty much stuck until I could buy a new one. I'm certainly glad I didn't spring for that repair before now.
  • Re:Dammit!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SquisherX ( 864160 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @11:59AM (#13765497)
    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.

    I cant stand when a customer thinks this way. Sony has said in North America that the problems are rare. If they sell a million cameras and a couple hundred have symptoms, then why replace the rest? For your kids first steps that may come out blurry one day? please. Airlines can save lives during a crash by having rearward facing seats. The increased weight in the fuselage for structural integrity means more money, about 22 million dollars per life saved. They wont shell out for future problems which account to actual lives, and you are bitching about a company not replacing your camera because if, in the rare occurance a problem does arise, you might miss a treasured moment? Go to walmart and buy a 10 dollar disposable camera backup and stop whining.
  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:22PM (#13767300)

    Apart from the fact that film loses quality as it ages


    Properly processed film is good for a very long time. We can print negatives from the 19th century that have suffered no degradation at all. I've printed negatives myself from the 1950s. They look as good as new. Better, even, since my enlarger is of better optical quality than was common then, and printing materials are better too.

    There are some aspects of digital that are indeed attractive (my Digital Rebel is fun, and takes decent pictures), but for real photography, not snapshots, film is awfully nice, and will be so for some time to come.


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