October 17, 2005: Since early this month, seven digital camera manufacturers have issued service advisories warning of potential CCD sensor failures in certain camera models.
The problems have been mainly reported by photographers who have used their cameras in conditions of high heat and humidity, resulting in either no picture at all or pictures with extreme distortion and purple colour casts. The cause of these problems has been identified and all manufacturers have advised that they will fix them free of charge. The affected sensors have all been manufactured by Sony and the problem is due to the use of epoxy mountings, which have degraded over time as a result of accumulated moisture on the chips. Advice from Sony is that the affected cameras were manufactured between October 2002 and March 2004 – although some models that were purchased after the latter date may have been in the affected production run.
Local distributors we have contacted say instances of the problem have been negligible thus far but, with summer approaching, owners of the following camera models should be vigilant, especially if they are in tropical regions:
Canon: PowerShot A60 , PowerShot A70, PowerShot A75, PowerShot A300, PowerShot A310, Digital IXUS V3, Digital IXUS Digital IXUS.
Fujifilm: FinePix A303, FinePix F410 Zoom, FinePix F700, FinePix S2 Pro.
Konica Minolta: DiMAGE A1, DiMAGE 7i, DiMAGE 7Hi, DiMAGE Xi, DiMAGE Xt, DiMAGE X20, DiMAGE S414, DiMAGE F300. (Note: all these cameras carry the Minolta brand as they were manufactured before the Konica Minolta merger.)
Nikon: Coolpix SQ, Coolpix 3100, Coolpix 5700.
Olympus: Camedia C-5050 Zoom, Camedia C-730 Ultra Zoom.
Ricoh: Caplio RR30, Caplio 300G, Caplio G3/G3 model M/G3 model S, Caplio ProG3, Caplio G4/G4 wide, Caplio 400G wide, Caplio RX.
Sony: DSC-F717, DSC-P10,DSC-P12, DSC-P2,DSC-P31, DSC-P32, DSC-P51, DSC-P52, DSC-P7, DSC-P71, DSC-P72, DSC-P8, DSC-P92, DSC-U10, DSC-U20, DSC-U30, DSC-U60, DSC-V1, MVC-CD250, MVC-CD400, MVC-CD500, MVC-FD100, MVC-FD200.
Of the local distributors, only Konica Minolta has posted any information about this problem on its website thus far and the sample illustrations shown here have been downloaded from this website. Details of repair programs vary from company to company but Australian camera owners should contact the local distributor of their camera immediately if the above problems occur. In most cases, the repair will be handled under warranty and manufacturers will aim to provide a fast turnaround service. Problems unrelated to this issue will not be covered for cameras out of warranty.