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Old Nov 20, 2005, 9:13 AM   #1
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Following is an article I found on Consumer Reports regarding chip problems on certain cameras. I had noticed while I was browsing this forum that a number of members had inquired about problems as described in the article:

Chip problem with some digital cameras and camcorders

Seven major digital camera makers--Canon, Fuji, Konica Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh, and Sony--are quietly warning consumers about a potential problem involving the cameras' image-sensor chip. If defective, the chip, known as a charged-couple device, or CCD, could produce pictures that are distorted, have a color cast (commonly gray or purple), or are completely black.

The defect involve more than 50 models. The faulty sensor was also used in some Sony and Canon camcorders and Sony Clie personal digital assistants, or PDAs. While it's unclear how many units are affected in all, press releases use the word "limited" to describe the scope of the problem, meaning that it is believed to involve only certain production lots of the sensors. The sensor is more likely to fail if the camera is frequently exposed to hot, humid conditions, according to information posted on several of the manufacturers' Web sites.

Andy LaGuardia, senior public relations manager for Fuji USA, said his company's cameras incorporate sensors made by Fuji, Sony, and others, and that the problem isn't necessarily linked to any particular maker. And while he couldn't identify the specific timeframe when the cameras were sold, he acknowledged that the suspect FinePix models are no longer being actively marketed. He noted that digital cameras have a life cycle of about one year, and the models in question are past that by a year to a year and a half. Nevertheless, he said, those models might still be available for sale online.

Manufacturers are offering to make free repairs to cameras that have experienced a failure. LaGuardia said Fuji will swap out the defective sensor and replace it with a new one. However, it's not readily apparent whether the repair programs extend to all cameras bought in the U.S. Of the seven brands involved, four--Canon, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and Sony--have service advisories and customer-support information only on their European or Asian Web sites.

If you have a camera made by one of these companies that has experienced the problems identified here, we suggest that you contact the company using the phone number or Web address listed in your instruction manual. Be sure to note the model and serial number.

The service advisories encompass the following brands and models. We've noted the models that are currently rated by Consumer Reports (the Ratings for those models are available to subscribers). However, since the likelihood of purchasing a defective unit appears to be low, we don't think you should avoid buying these models because of the potential problem.

[*]Sony digital cameras with model numbers beginning with DSC-F, DSC-P (including the DSC-P72), DSC-U, DSC-V, MVC-CD (including the MVC-CD500), or MVC-FD.

[/*][*]Sony digital camcorder models CCD-TRV138, CCD-TRV128, DCR-DVD403, DCR-DVD92, DCR-DVD201, DCR-DVD7, DCR-DVD101, DCR-HC21, DCR-HC90, DCR-HC20, DCR-IP1, DCR-PC55, DCR-PC1000, DCR-PC109, DCR-TRV280, and model numbers beginning with DCR-VX.

[/*][*]Sony Clie PDA models PEG-NZ90/G and PEG-NZ90/H.

[/*][*]Canon digital camera models PowerShot A60, A70, A75, A300, and A310; Digital IXUS V3, II, and IIs.

[/*][*]Canon camcorder models MV600i, MV630i, MV650i, MV700i, MV730i, MV750i, MV5i, MV5i MC, MV6i MC, ZR60, ZR65 MC, ZR70 MC, ZR80, ZR85, ZR90; Elura 40 MC; Elura 50. The potential problem with these camcorders is that high heat and humidity can cause the wiring in the CCD sensors to come undone.

[/*][*]Ricoh Caplio digital camera models RR30, 300G, G3/G3 model M/G3 model S/ProG3, G4/G4 wide, 400G wide, or RX. There's a support link at www.ricoh.com/r_dc/support/inquiry.html.

[/*][*]Nikon Coolpix digital camera models 3100, 5700, and SQ. Service requests can be made through www.nikonusa.com/email_images/nikonusa/service_advisory/coolpix.html.

[/*][*]Olympus digital camera models C-5050 Zoom and C-730 Ultra Zoom. For help, go to www.olympusamerica.com, click on Product Support, then link to your camera model. You can also e-mail customersupport@olympus.com.

[/*][*]Fuji digital camera models FinePix A303 bearing serial numbers beginning with 3JA4 through 3JA, FinePix F410 with serial numbers beginning with 32A1 or 32A9, and those with serial numbers starting with 32A6 through 32A7. Also involved is FinePix model F700 with serial number sequences beginning with 33A0 or 34A1, and FinePix S2 Pro digital SLR, with serial numbers beginning with 31A127 through 31A143, 32A000 through 32A039, 33A000 through 33A007, and 34A000 through 34A004. For service, go to www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/index.jsp, click on the Support and Contact Center, and follow the links to your camera.

[/*][*]Konica Minolta digital camera models DiMAGE 7i, 7Hi, A1, Xi, Xt, X20, S414, and F300.
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 7:58 AM   #2
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What you say is correct. My Coolpix 5400 had similar problems. Although this model is not listed in Nikon's service advisory, still the service center guy told me that the image sensor board (otherwise called the CCD) will be replaced free of cost. Buyers should be extremely careful while buying. They should thoroughly check before making a purchase.
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