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Old May 2, 2005, 5:06 PM   #1
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David Chesler's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
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First post.

Steve's reviews were a great help, thanks!

A little over a year ago I used the reviews and eBay to buy a used DSC P30. Then that was the right price/features point for me.

I doubt this is brand-specific, but this is my only experience, and I've found Sony tech support to be absolutely useless.

Background: I learned to take pictures with a Canon FtB, full manual 35mm SLR, but I found I was mostly taking snapshots. I look forward to my next camera, with full manual or maybe shutter and aperture priority, but not yet. Soon after I got the P30 I broke the LCD, but using another brokenP30 I'd bought for the accesories I made one camera out of two. This isn't for everybody, but all it took was a #0 phillips screwdriver. Would it kill them to publish exploded diagrams?

Problem 1: InfoLithium batteries not taking a charge. Sony tech support was no help. Eventually I found a site that suggested de-passivating the LiMH battery by discharging it with a 10 Watt/10 Ohm resistor. Now it seems to take a charge.

Problem 2: Before I fixed problem 1, I opened the camera to make sure everything was clean and seated. After I got the working battery I tried the flash and I got E:91:01. The manual says "This is an error you can't fix." Sony tech support suggested I mail the camera to a service center for a fixed-price repair. The fixed price is $171 -- a lot more than I paid for the camera a while back, close to what a new better camera costs now. I don't know what caused the problem, but it wasn't the big capacitor. But I found when I opened the camera I could charge the flash, but in the process of putting it together somethng pressed somewhere on a printed circuit board, the LCD got brighter, and when I tried to charge the flash it blinked yellow for a while and displayed the E:91:01. I opened and closed the case until I got it to close without the LCD getting brighter and that time the flash charged without the E:91:01, so I put the endcaps back on and screwed it all tight. So it was not true that it was not a user-servicable problem.

Does anybody actually spend $171 to have one of these repaired? I hate the idea of treating a real camera as disposable, but that seems to be how they consider it. Built-in obsolescence and all that. It's too bad, because the main optics/CCD module seems to be well made, and it could be repaired and last a long time.

Even ifyou take lots and lots of pictures because there's no film cost, if you're buying a $100 or $250 camera every couple of years, that's quite a few cents per picture for the camera, allocated over the life of the camera. That's not right.
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