** Please note: ** PLEASE CALL the manufacturer before you send your camera to them!! Most, if not all manufacturers are NO LONGER repairing cameras for free under this recall.
Since the time of this article being posted (which was July of 2009), many camera manufactuers have started reducing availability in their CCDs they will replace.
If you are like one of an estimated 75 million owners of a digital camera, at some point in time, your camera will more than likely develop one or more problems and would be in need of digital camera repair.
Common problems include cracked LCDs, broken battery doors, jammed lenses or board level problems.
There are a set of digital camera models however, that develop their own unique problems, all stemming back to a batch of defective CCDs that Sony produced and used in these camera models.
To start with, what is a CCD? A CCD is a Charged-Coupled Device, that “enables the transportation of analog signals through successive stages and are used as a form of memory or delaying samples of analog signals”.
Now for that in English: In the digital camera world, CCDs are used by the camera to capture the image that is shown by the lens, translate it into a digital signal and send it along to the image processor to be converted and saved to the memory card.
What’s the big deal with the faulty CCD? Well Sony produced a series of CCDs for various digital cameras between the years of 2003 and 2005, for at least 20 different models. And in higher heat and humidity conditions, the CCDs would begin to fail, producing some crazy looking images or causing a black screen to show on your camera (Before you starting thinking your camera has a bad CCD, PLEASE check and make sure your “display” button is not pressed and just shutting the LCD off).
So what does this mean for the consumer?
Simple: If you own a camera that is covered under the Sony CCD recall, and your camera develops a problem as described above, you can generally send your camera to the manufacturer and get the CCD repaired for free.
The largest affected manufacturers are Canon, Konica Minolta(now part of Sony) and Sony, but luckily for consumers, these manufacturers are standing behind their products and fixing their faulty CCDs.
At one time the manufacturers were just replacing the cameras with new models, but lately it seems, they have gotten the CCDs fixed and are replacing them for you. Same camera, but you get a new, updated CCD and many more years of memories!
Here is a list of all the bad Sony CCD models that I can find right now, as I find more, I will add them to the list. Don’t throw your digital camera away if it has a bad CCD and it is covered under this recall, get it repaired! (This information was originally posted on www.imaging-resource.com) Canon Digital Cameras & Camcorders
Additional digital cameras added in the fall of 2006 to the original service advisory by Canon include the following, all of which went on sale starting from 2002 to 2004, depending on the specific model:
According to the updated advisory, available on the company's US website (as well as other regional Canon websites), the additional eleven digital camera models shown above in red may now be eligible for free service regardless of warranty status, should any malfunction be caused by the CCD sensor.
For repair instructions, visit the Canon USA support website.
To read the specific service advisory for your model, use the pulldown menus to browse for your specific model, or simply type the model number into the box provided at the bottom of the page and click the "Search" button.
The Canon support website holds no forms or other needed documents, so you can save yourself some time (if you live in the US or Puerto Rico) by just calling the Canon Customer Support line at 1-800-828-4040.
Support hours are Monday-Friday 8am to 12 midnight, and Saturday from 10am-8pm. (All times EST.)
Alternately, you can send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fujifilm Digital Cameras Model and then Serial Number Range(s)
Serial numbers can be found on the bottom of the cameras.
From the Fuji service advisor, the following applies to US customers:
IF SERVICE IS NEEDED: Package the camera carefully using ample padded material to prevent damage in transit. Include your name, address and phone number with the shipment as well as a general description of the problem. Keep a record of the camera's serial number and shipment tracking number.
Ship your camera to the Fuji Service Center noted below: Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. 1100 King George Post Rd. Edison, NJ 08837 Attn: Camera Repair Dept./CCD Advisory
Konica Minolta Digital Cameras
The Konica Minolta support website has a PDF file posted on it that in turn links to a PDF service advisory form, and a Support FAQs area. We had difficulty following the links in the main PDF file from our web browser, so have reproduced both of them above. The most relevant one is the PDF service advisory form. European Konica Minolta owners are referred to the Konica Minolta European support page. For your easy reference, here is a link to the original IR news story on the Konica Minolta advisory. Note: Sony has since taken over servicing of Konica-Minolta digital cameras. Sony's customer support website now lists the affected Konica-Minolta models along with a troubleshooting guide and repair request form.
Kyocera Digital Cameras
Additional digital cameras added since the original 2005 service advisory by Kyocera include the following:
Kyocera sold digital cameras from 1996 under the Contax, Kyocera and Yashica brandnames, but by early 2005 competitive pressures saw Kyocera withdraw all of its brandnames from the digicam market. In late 2005, Kyocera announced that four of its digital camera models could suffer from failure of the CCD image sensor, with symptoms such as images that either showed no picture at all, or showed extreme distortion and severe purple or green color casts. Affected cameras included the Kyocera Finecam S3L, Kyocera Finecam S5, Kyocera Finecam S5R and Contax TVs Digital models. Kyocera stated that in cases where the CCD was found to have failed in one of these models, it would repair the problem free of charge for a period of up to five years after production of the specific model was halted. Two years later, and Kyocera has added a further three models to the list. The Kyocera Finecam M400R, Kyocera Finecam M410R, and Kyocera Finecam SL400R - all models which were discontinued when the company exited the digicam market in March 2005 - can apparently suffer from similar problems, which tend to occur most often in humid environments. As with the earlier announcement, Kyocera is extending the warranty on these cameras to cover CCD failures through to March 2010. At this time, both announcements only seem to cover the Japanese domestic market. We've yet to see any announcement from Kyocera in other markets, and would advise customers who have experienced the problem to contact their local Kyocera office to determine whether their camera may be covered under warranty. For customers in Japan, instructions on how to seek repair of the covered digicams can be found in the Japanese-language service advisory.
Leica and Panasonic Digital Cameras
In December 2006, we told readers about a warranty extension for Leica's DIGILUX 2 digital camera, covering problems with the CCD image sensor. Given that the Leica DIGILUX 2 is a variant of Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LC1 design, it isn't surprising to find that some LC1 digicams can suffer from the same problem. Panasonic Canada have published a notice on their customer support page indicating a limited number of 2004 model DMC-LC1 digital cameras within a specific range of serial numbers are affected. The serial number ranges are A4SYxxxxx and G4SYxxxxx. Canadian customers are asked to call Panasonic Canada's toll-free call center number at 1-800-561-5505 for assistance in arranging a free repair. A similar announcement can be found on Panasonic Japan's website (Japanese-language only), also indicating the company is offering free repair in cases where the problem has manifested itself in that country. We've yet to see any announcement from Panasonic in other markets, and would advise customers who have experienced the problem to contact their local Panasonic office to ascertain whether their camera may be covered under warranty.
Nikon Digital Cameras
Additional digital cameras added since the original service advisory by Nikon include the following:
There's a button on the Nikon USA Photography home page, labeled "Coolpix Service Advisory: 3100-5700-SQ-5400-4500-5000-3500" that displays information in a popup window. Here's a link to it in a standalone window: Coolpix Service Advisory. Here are links to other pages from the Nikon site, namely the Coolpix Advisory FAQs, and the Service Advisory Product Return Form. For more details, read Nikon Europe's service advisory if you're a European customer, or Nikon Japan's service advisory if you purchased your camera in Japan.
Olympus Digital Cameras
Olympus is distinguishing themselves by offering to repair affected cameras, even if they aren't displaying the problem yet. Their free repair policy is extended for up to four years from the original purchase date. They do ask that, if your camera is currently operating properly, you hold off on sending it in until after January 2006, due to the high volume of repair business during the holiday season. To determine if your camera is affected, call Olympus repair at 888-553-4448, Monday-Friday, 8am -10pm EST, or email to email@example.com.
Pentax Digital Cameras
Pentax USA have published a brief note on their Customer Care & Support homepage which refers customers to a separate PDF file for further information. This document pledges repair of the problem free of charge, regardless of warranty status, as long as the camera doesn't have other symptoms not described as part of the problem. This PDF document in turn refers customers to a separate PDF form which must be filled in, and includes instructions on how to return a camera for service. The return address from the form is: PENTAX Service Department 12000 Zuni Street – Suite 100B Westminster CO 80234 We couldn't find any details regarding the duration of the free repair offer, nor of serial numbers affected. We suggest you simply contact Pentax for clarification of these points.
Ricoh Digital Cameras
Ricoh US support took a little digging to track down. Ricoh Global issued the service advisory itself. Service centers for various regions US, Canada, and South American service for Ricoh cameras is handled by: C.R.I.S. Camera Services Phone: 800-22 RICOH Fax: 480-940-1329 www.criscam.com Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org> We couldn't find any details regarding the duration of the free repair offer, nor of serial numbers affected. We suggest you simply contact C.R.I.S Camera Services directly to learn how to proceed.
Sony Digital Cameras Camcorders
Additional digital cameras added in the fall of 2006 to the original service advisory by Sony include the following models:
Camcorders, DCR-DVD models
Camcorders, DCR-TRV models Camcorders
Camcorders, DCR-PC models
Camcorders, DCR-VX models
Camcorders, DCR-HC models
CLIE Handheld Computer Models Professional Camcorders (DVCAM format)
As Sony is the original sensor manufacturer for all of the other manufacturers' products listed above (and given the vast array of products that they manufacture themselves) it should come as no great surprise that Sony has by far, the greatest number of affected products.
This should not be taken as indicating any inherent deficiency in Sony products beyond the now discontinued sensors involved. According to the update, which currently seems to be available only in the Japanese language, the defect may potentially be found in an additional eight digital camera models (shown in red above), which went on sale from 2003 - 2005. The Japanese advisory states that these newly added models will be eligible for free service regardless of warranty status should any malfunction be caused by the CCD sensor, in the same way as detailed in the original service advisory.
The original service advisory was posted on the Sony Asia Pacific Support site. The Asia Pacific post lists all affected models in a concise format. On the Sony US website, the advisories are only listed on the support pages for each individual product. To see the information for your product, go to this page, enter your model number and click "Search" to find all relevant information. If your product is one of those listed above, you should see a link (probably dated 10/3/2005) under the "Product Alerts" section, titled "Important Notice about your Sony Product." Regardless, in the US, the story is the same (at least it is for all the products we checked): "From October 3, 2005 through October 2, 2007, Sony will repair, free of charge, affected products exhibiting the above-mentioned problem where it is caused by the image sensor device. Sony will also cover the cost of shipping and handling to service to correct this issue." No service forms or mailing addresses are provided on the Sony US site. Rather, owners are instructed to contact the Sony Customer Information Services Center for further assistance at 1-866-703-7669.
I hope you are able to get your camera repaired for free! Good luck, and let me know if you do! Thomas Drayton, Owner: www.darntoothysam.com