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Old Jun 21, 2006, 4:57 PM   #1
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I've been following this flaky CCD situation since my A1 started giving me 1960's flashbacks, in a Purple Haze sorta way. Having been a long time Sony guy, I've experienced their (dismal)customer (dis)Service on several occasions. Has anyone gotten Sony to do an out of warranty repair on a KM product? It took a class action to get Sony to replace the bad CCD's on their own products. I just don't have the patience to sit on hold trying to get past machines and the almost machines tier 1 service advisers reading a script to me. So if anyone has had any of the K-M cameras affected by the bad CCD issue and out of the regular warranty period serviced by Sony please post your experience. Now that my 7d started shutting now for no reason and wanting the battery pulled and then put back in to reboot, I need to get the A1 working. This bad chip affects a large number of cameras, will it take a class action by the K-M owners to get Sony to honor the recall, especially as it was their chip that was at fault in the 1st place?
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Old Jun 22, 2006, 9:10 AM   #2
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I have no personal experience with this problem (yet=fingers crossed), but I've been reading of other's expriences here and there, and Sony seems to honor the recall. Precision Camera here in the states is the source for most of the repairs, so calling them before calling Sony may be the route to take if the problem does come up.
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Old Jul 3, 2006, 7:09 PM   #3
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I will start off by pre-apologizing for such a marathon post! I will make it as Readers Digest condensed as possible, yet try not leave out some important stuff (and a lil bit of MHO and tragic woeful story).....

First thing:
I LOVE MY A1!!!!! I researched about 6 months before making it my purchase. Yes, I know there are better cameras, but this one was a perfect fit for me and my abilities, wallet and interests at the time. Its actually MORE camera than I could handle but I wanted to be able to "grow" into it a bit, and not get a simple point and shoot-er, wanting something inbetween P&S and DSLR!

Heres how I found my problem and I literally cried when I first discovered the CCD kerfuffle.....
We had 350 dollar dinner/show tickets to see HEARTat the Del Mar Fair (my fav band of all time and my first time seeing them!). I knew I could probably snap off a few pics because it was fairly light out, and the A1 does a great job inthat situation, with the anti shake and all, I didn't need a flash which would be a dead giveaway that I was snappin pics (hey... people were taking them left and right w/ their cell phones!). Its totally my bad that I had not checked the cam before the event. But I am fastidious with it. Due to illness and injuries, my A1 has been cleaned more times than its been used. It had sat carefully put away in its "stored" mode (all components out, with silica packs stuffed here and there in its new fancy Tenba bag) for about 2 months.I have only very carefully and gingerly taken maybe 2000 pics and that's not really many for having had it for about 14 months.
I went to turn it on to snap off some what I thought would be GREAT pics from front
floor seats.


:shock: OMG.....all I got was a black screen with the occasional flash/flicker of white somewhat like how it looks when you flip through channels on a bad reception TV or a bad videotape!!!!!! Also, I knew it wasnt the screen as I could see the pics I had already taken clearly. It seemed to be most apparent in the S and M mode. Either it was all black with no flickering, or massively flickering with little motors and gears wildly trying to find a setting to be on. I gave up after I tried twice and heard those little motors in overdrive (The anti shake indicator was haywire along with every other setting indicator). I did however manage to get it to work PERFECTLY once or twice! I was elated thinking I had fixed the problem. Alas, it would just return when I fussed with a knob/dial/button (and the A1 has no shortage of those!).
I was sure that I would be throwing away a camera, thinking that it would be too expensive to fix. I had gotten a GREAT deal on my A1, as at the time they were around 700 and I paid 399! I thought for sure that it would just be a waste to fix. I looked online and wasn't happy with whatI was seeing so far as pricing and the time it takes and all the hullaballoo you go through for online "repair shops" and expecially going through the manufacturer directly!!! My cam is out of the warranty period of course, but even if it WAS in warranty, I honestly dont know if going through Sony would even be worth it hearing some of the horror stories about their customer "service".

But folks, there is a GREAT alternative!!! Call around to "mom and pop" camera/camera repair shops!!
I found a few camera shops here in the San Diego area in the phone book.
There were some retail/repair shops that do nothing more than send the cam into Sony for you, tacking on a price to do so. I was a little shocked to find out Sony took over KM. My cam just says "Minolta" and I was told I likely got the last stock of the pre-KM merger cams from Minolta. If I was to go through Sony it would take weeks to even find out how much it would be *beyond* the initial estimate/diagnosis price (which was expensive)! UGH... not sounding good!

Then I found several shops that specialize in repair of cameras (including of course pro and film cams). I was SO happy to hear that they would likely be able to diagnose it on the spot, and could nearly tell me over the phone, that it was the CCD! At first I was terrified thinking oh man that's like the heart/brain of the camera!! EEK! expensive! But I was wrong! In *my experience* (yours may be different depending on the availability of shops like this, but if you look you CAN find online ones like this too) they said the cost would be about 45 for the *factory* parts (basically just the CCD) and 90 for labor!!! WOOHOO!!!!! And the BEST part is.. is that ***they*** fix it in their shop, warranty the work for 90 days, and the part would carry a 1 year warranty as they are authorized repairmen and the warranty from sony is good so long as you go through an authorized repair shop/person! The only down side is that a part going to come from the factory, and they have to get it from Sony. That would take a while. They said 3 weeks, but that it could be as quick as a week. I was very happy with the cost of the repair and warranty to say the least!!!! Be sure to ask the shop if the repairs and parts are warrantied by them and/or the factory (Sony for instance will warranty a replacement CCD for a year).

As an added bonus, they also go through the entire camera and do a thorough check up of all components. They do not fix anything w/o an ok from me first, of course, just like when you take your car to a shop. Your camera will also be thoroughly cleaned, and if a part needs to be lubed/oiled they do that too. Basically you get your camera back in as close to pristine condition as it can be. If you have a film cam that has been serviced, you are probably fairly familiar with this really cool feature! Your camera should be loaded with the latest version of the sensors software too, since you are getting the "latest" sensor that the company is releasing put into your camera. I specifically asked the shop if this was part of the service or if I would have to update the software myself. I don't, but it would be wise to ask if your repair shop also does this when a part is replaced that might require the software to be updated.

One other thing I wanted to add to those on this forum that are also A1 owners. I will very soon be in the market for a dSLR and the A1 will be my "backup". I asked them to be honest with me and tell me which cameras they see the most for repairs, and how often they see the A1. If someone would like to know which DSLR camera she and the other repair shops said was in a LOT for repairs, send me a private message, as I dont want to start any kind of kerfuffle about which cam is better yadda yadda..... Rather I just wanted pass along what I found out about which cams to avoid for my own DSLR purchase in the near future. The opinions were VERY consistant between the repair shop I used and 2 others, so far as what to avoid. They were also in total agreement that they rarely see "pre-Konica" Minoltas (KM's being nearly as good if not equally) for any kind of repair, sensor replacement being the most common in any cam. Do take into consideration there also aren't as many Minolta A1 out as, say, Canons Rebels (just a name pulled out of the air) and the other "big name brands", so of course the number would be smaller for the A1.The gal at my shop said that she "couldn't even remember the last time seeing and A1, that she had seen 1 or 2 KM A2/A200's.

I was so grim and pessimistic and thought that my A1 was toast and that my extreme research was all for naught. She was reassuring and said "A Minolta A1 was definitely worth fixing", the various repair folks were in agreement that even if it was to happen again, as they are a good strong camera and CCD's just wear out, on ANY cam no matter what the brand. Now that Sony has taken over, my CCD may even go kaput again, but it would STILL be worth fixing as the Minolta A1 isa true gem and also the KM's A1's are worth fixing if the Sony CCD's should happen to give out down the road. I personally think that 75-135 to get my camera back into tip top shape, practically making it brand new again, is well worth it and would do it again if need be.

I had never had it cleaned or serviced either. I was not aware of this, but many cameras companies *require* that you have it serviced (cleaned) regularly- maybe every 6 months- by a certified/authorized dealer/repairer of that brand in order to maintain the warranty. Be sure to look and/or ask about that stipulation.
For instance I know my friends Nikon sold from Ritz requires that for their D70's (I don't know if its Nikon or Ritz that requires it so I will add Ritz as a caveat, but Im betting its likely BOTH).

All in all the CCD is indeed one, if not THE, most important part of the cam, but its apparently an "easy" to diagnose, repair and get you back in the field happy snappin away!

One last thing before I end this verbose post (sorry!)- You may want to ask if you could please have the parts that are removed from your camera.I don't like to be a pessimist or jaded type aranoid:, but I think about repairs of anything the same way... that I am always going to have to be on my toes and diligent in order NOT to get ripped off (just like a car). When I get something replaced on my car, I want the old part at the VERY least, shown to me. I would prefer to get the part myself and dispose of it accordingly (some really bad places might try to reuse it!). Its too easy for them to say its a bad doohickus, when really its just a bad solder joint, resolder it, never replace the doohickus, but charge you for a doohickus, and you are none the wiser because they have nothing to show you at the end of the day! So GET THE PARTS. Heck.. it never hurts anyway to knowmore about the guts of your camera right? Besides, I've heard CCD's make interesting keychains.
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Old Jul 3, 2006, 7:40 PM   #4
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That all sounds great...

Except, that most "Mom and Pop" repair shops don't have the expertise and equipment to properly calibrate a camera's Autofocus System after replacing a CCD -- even if they have easy access to the parts, not to mention that you've got the added complexity of anti-shake involved with the Ax series models.

Properly Calibrating an Aufofocus System requires specialized equipment and software designed by a camera's manufacturer. Sure, maybe they can get one close if you're lucky. Personally, I wouldn't chance it.

I've seen a couple of stories already where users got their CCD replaced for free by Precision. I can remember one user stating that they initially wanted to charge them because the camera was out of warranty. But, when they reminded them of the CCD recall, they ended up getting their camera fixed for free.

Yes, Precision has been running way behind on service. But, a lot of KM owners probably waited until the transition to Sony before sending their cameras in. I can imagine they had a pretty good backlog because of that (not to mention that they're trying to "get up to speed" since they only recently started repairing them (after the KM/Sony merger).

So, if I had an Ax series camera, I'd send it to Precision and wait for them to get to it, versus a "Mom and Pop" shot that may not get it right.

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Old Jul 6, 2006, 2:10 PM   #5
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teeandgee wrote:
Quote:
One last thing before I end this verbose post (sorry!)- You may want to ask if you could please have the parts that are removed from your camera.I don't like to be a pessimist or jaded type aranoid:, but I think about repairs of anything the same way... that I am always going to have to be on my toes and diligent in order NOT to get ripped off (just like a car). When I get something replaced on my car, I want the old part at the VERY least, shown to me. I would prefer to get the part myself and dispose of it accordingly (some really bad places might try to reuse it!). Its too easy for them to say its a bad doohickus, when really its just a bad solder joint, resolder it, never replace the doohickus, but charge you for a doohickus, and you are none the wiser because they have nothing to show you at the end of the day! So GET THE PARTS. Heck.. it never hurts anyway to knowmore about the guts of your camera right? Besides, I've heard CCD's make interesting keychains.
Asking to see your parts in nothing new but you don't always know who's parts they are showing you. Are you sure they are yours... how do you know?
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 10:30 AM   #6
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Hi, that was a long post by teeandgee, but he never actually stated whether his camera was fixed or how much it actually cost. My A1 was fixed free. It was not as quick as I wish, but overall satisfactory service.

My Minolta A1 had a bad CCD, so I called Minolta support (May 2006). The support numbers are still separate despite the whole Sony thing. The guy was nice, but said that my problem did not sound like the bad CCD. I simply told him, the problem is exactly like on the support site, so let's let the technician decide.

I sent the camera to Precision Repair as required. They are the place where the factory repairs go.

You can also send the repair directly to Precision, but you must insist that the repair is free due to the CCD problem. I attach printouts of the recall notice from the Minolta site and highlight the words "free repair". Original receipt is not needed for the CCD repair. I repeat, YOU MUST INSIST that they evaluate the camera under the CCD repair program or they will want to charge around $150 for the repair. The guy who sold me the A1 sent it to the same exact place, but refused the estimate. I asked Precision about this, they explained that the customer must ask about this service. I told her it seemed mean-spirited.

Well, the process was about three weeks total, but the A1 works beautifully. I only paid for shipping to the repair center.

As for "mom and pop" places: the parts are not always in stock because Sony needs them for their own mess. You'll pay for the repair and mom and pop just sent in for the free repair. If you don't live in a big city, finding a mom and pop is not easy. You get the same free cleaning and extended warranty from the factory.

As previously stated, the factory has the knowledge and equipment to fix it right. My repair ticket lists many things such as auto focus test, recalibration and alignment, software test and recalibration, return all functions to factory specs, electronic/mechanical corrections and adjustments etc.

Finally, I also sent my 7Hi for repair. Apparently they are not fixing that one, but are sending a refurbished unit. I'm guessing an A200. I'll update here when I know more.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 6:39 PM   #7
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Unhappy wouldn't begin to start to express how I feel. My beloved Dimage 7i has now died with the plagued CCD fault. I hadn't used it for over a month & it's been without batteries carefully stowed away. Was hoping to use it at the RIAT next weekend.

What do I do now?

Can it be repaired?

What's the case with Sony operating the new camera business?

Help. After having many other Sony products die on me, hadn't appreciated the CCD as sony, who've now bought the KM business.

Help once more..!...!
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 8:08 PM   #8
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Here is Sony's support page.

The last poster in this thread (malakaka) says they may be offering a refurbished camera instead of reparing the 7hi. So, I don't know how they'll handle it.

http://esupport.sony.com/perl/news-i...mp;region_id=1


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Old Jul 10, 2006, 12:37 PM   #9
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I finally got a reply from Sony!


Thank you for your recent inquiry. The Sony repair technician will examine the camera to see if it is in fact the known CCD issue. If so, it will be repaired under warranty. If not, then a repair estimate will be sent to you. My suggestion is you register the repair here:

https://webmail.source1htmt.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://eservice.sony.com/webrma/web/index.do


Please specify that you think it is the known CCD issue and send the camera to the following address. This may be different than what the website repair form has for a "send to" location:

Sony Laredo CSC

10227 Crossroads Loop Suite G

Laredo, TX 78045


I'll fill you in as time passes on this. Now how do you get back to a white font?
Mike
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 7:36 AM   #10
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My update and clarification. Yes, they fixed my A1 and I could have sent it directly to Precision, but it is a good idea to call Minolta first. The guy tried to make me think it was not the CCD, but at least your camera will be entered into their system.

I sent the 7Hi directly to Precision, where it sat for three weeks. Then they sent it to Sony. Apparently the spare parts are no longer available. Yes, three weeks seems a long time to figure that out, and perhaps a call to Minolta would have avoided that hassle. Perhaps.

The woman at Precision mentioned that Sony would be sending me a new unit. I assumed she meant a refurbished unit.

As of today, the Sony repair site says my camera is in the exchange program and that I should expect my exchange camera in 5 days.

I'll update when I receive the exchange unit. Unknown whether new or refurbished. Unknown whether 7Hi, A2, or A200. Personally, an A200 is fine, but I know a few issues with that camera you pros may not like. I always prefer a metal body, which the A200 is not, if I remember. I think the TIFF option is unavailable in the A200, again I may be wrong. The A200 lacks the flash sync, which I would not use, but nice to have. If it's important to you, you could probably press the issue with Sony, but I have not.
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