Sony quality control problems

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redsim74
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by redsim74 »

I'm seeing this on my A700 now too, just the rear wheel. I was thinking of trying the "cleaning fix" but I guess that's not too hopeful when parts are being swapped out. :?
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WaltKnapp
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Re: Sony quality control problems

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David Kilpatrick wrote:I think DRO+ does affect exposure and can affect noise on the A700, as it D-Lighting does on the Nikon (but they put a tiny little mention of this in the manual, Sony does not). I would say that at optimum ISO settings like ISO 160 or 320, DRO+ will not be damaging - it is automatically turned off over ISO 800 anyway. I guess it would show some noise level increase mainly at speeds like 400-800.

David
I would not say that DRO+ in my extensive use of it on the a700 affects exposure or adds noise. The exposure does look different with the shift in dynamic range, and of course the noise that was already there in the darker areas becomes more visable. But that's not really an exposure shift.

I do use DRO+ only as it's appropriate to be used, normally at ISO 200. And it's definitely a valuable tool.

Farther, those comparing the DRO of the a100 with the DRO+ of the a700, they are very different things, not really comparable. In fact I'm not sure but what DRO+ in the a5xx is the same thing or that the a7xx will be the same, I expect a improved version. Even the a900/a850 Sony said it was "improved".

Walt
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Winston
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Re: Sony quality control problems

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I have two A700 bodies. Both started to exhibit the problem on both wheels (mostly the rear). One body was worse than the other. I vaguely remembered when this whole thing started that someone reported success by vacuuming the slots that the wheels protrude from.

I attached the crevice tool to my small, but powerful, hand-held canister vac and vacuumed the slots on both bodies while rotating the wheels. It seems to have worked. I did this several months and thousands of shots ago and the bodies still work fine with not even a hint of the problem.

Two minutes of effort beats the hell out of...
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bakubo
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

Winston wrote:I have two A700 bodies. Both started to exhibit the problem on both wheels (mostly the rear). One body was worse than the other. I vaguely remembered when this whole thing started that someone reported success by vacuuming the slots that the wheels protrude from.

I attached the crevice tool to my small, but powerful, hand-held canister vac and vacuumed the slots on both bodies while rotating the wheels. It seems to have worked. I did this several months and thousands of shots ago and the bodies still work fine with not even a hint of the problem.

Two minutes of effort beats the hell out of...
The last time I had access to a vacuum cleaner, in January, I tried this. Maybe helped a tad, but didn't make a huge difference. Within a couple of days though it was the same as before. I agonize over whether I should also carry my flash while traveling or maybe also take my 50mm f1.7 and then your suggestion is I also carry a vacuum cleaner? :o :)
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Winston
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by Winston »

bakubo wrote:I agonize over whether I should also carry my flash while traveling or maybe also take my 50mm f1.7 and then your suggestion is I also carry a vacuum cleaner? :o :)
I don't carry any of those. :o :)
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bakubo
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

Winston, since I got the A700 in February 2008 my travel kit has been:

A700 body
18-250mm + UV filter
11-18mm + UV filter
2 batteries + battery charger + plug adapter (if necessary) + extension cord
62mm polarizer
lens cleaning brush + microfiber cloth
several CF cards + 1 MS card
24mm f2.8 + UV filter or 50mm f1.7 + UV filter
F36AM flash + 4 nimh AA batteries
digicam (model varies) + SD cards
4 nimh AA batteries + charger
A100 body as backup

Sometimes I leave the 24mm, 50mm, and flash behind, but usually I take either the 24mm or the 50mm and sometimes the flash. For example, in Egypt I carried all the above except for the 50mm. It is always a tough choice.

The thing is that trips like Egypt are really just the tip of the iceberg. My wife and I sold our house some years ago and now we travel, find a place we like, stay for several months, then go somewhere else -- we are sort of nomads. :) We have been homeless for years. :) We enjoy many aspects of that but, naturally, there are downsides too. It is cool, but not for everyone. It means that simple things that most people take for granted are almost impossible for us. For example, just plugging in the vacuum cleaner to use the kludge to get a few more days of use out of a camera. :) Or, just sending the camera off to Sony to get fixed. The last time I had to wait 6 months from the time the problem started (and I contacted Sony) and the time when I was finally in some position where I could send it in. Even then it meant I had to send it in and then find someone at our next location who would allow me to use their address for Sony to deliver the camera to. Rarely is that possible, but last year I was able to do it even though it was a real big hassle.

I am in Japan a lot and there is another unusual issue there. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, etc. sell their cameras in Japan and you can select in the menu which language you want. The Sony cameras in Japan though only allow Japanese. That means if my camera becomes unusable while there that although it is easy to buy Sony in Japan it is with a Japanese menu. I can read some Japanese, but believe me even someone who is even more proficient in Japanese would not prefer it over their native language since while you are shooting you don't want to spend lots of time trying to decipher things in the huge menu. Also, it means it would be very hard to sell outside of Japan.

Sony seems to have a unique talent in carefully choosing various things they can do to alienate their customers. It is hard to believe for me that any company could be so good at this unless they were really trying to drive customers away. Do they have a death wish? :)
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by alphaomega »

I never thought I would join this thread but I purchased a nearly new A350 last year. Sometimes it will flick through all images even in 12-15 degrees Celsius and it might not display the taken picture or lock with picture displayed and only switching off and then on will get the camera back operating. The pictures are fine when downloading so it is really a nuisance more than anything else. Then I have a new A700. I used it first time taking a sequence of pictures in A mode. The exposure was totally chaotic switching from 1/100 to 1/3200 and in between with a series of either grossly under or over exposed pictures. Sony's advice was to re-set and try again. Then I purchased a new A550 and the Eye Start function does not function so it is on its way back to the supplier. I should also mention my old CZ 16-80 that exhibits the creep and the "wobble" at about 65mm. The images are sharp though. I hope I can keep clear of the wheel problem as I have enough to contend with.
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

alphaomega wrote:I never thought I would join this thread but I purchased a nearly new A350 last year. Sometimes it will flick through all images even in 12-15 degrees Celsius and it might not display the taken picture or lock with picture displayed and only switching off and then on will get the camera back operating. The pictures are fine when downloading so it is really a nuisance more than anything else. Then I have a new A700. I used it first time taking a sequence of pictures in A mode. The exposure was totally chaotic switching from 1/100 to 1/3200 and in between with a series of either grossly under or over exposed pictures. Sony's advice was to re-set and try again. Then I purchased a new A550 and the Eye Start function does not function so it is on its way back to the supplier. I should also mention my old CZ 16-80 that exhibits the creep and the "wobble" at about 65mm. The images are sharp though. I hope I can keep clear of the wheel problem as I have enough to contend with.
I am sorry to hear about all of your Sony QC problems. Three bodies and a CZ lens and problems with all of them. :( I think that Sony finds QC to not be all that interesting when new gadgets, doo-dads, and gizmos are so much more fun and get the attention. Quality is something customers find out about, but reviewers usually don't since after they have spent a few days or weeks testing a product they are done with it and move on. In many years of software development I sometimes saw that attitude. Some companies have quality as a priority and some don't. Sad.
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by David Kilpatrick »

One reason I buy Sony kit and keep it - rather than trying to borrow it - is to be aware of this. Sadly, I never seem to get big problems; I have my dodgy 16-80mm original lenses but the final one has worked fine ever since, and the only body I have ever had the wheel jump problem with was an A100, cured by using a squirt of switch cleaner.

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bakubo
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

David Kilpatrick wrote:One reason I buy Sony kit and keep it - rather than trying to borrow it - is to be aware of this. Sadly, I never seem to get big problems; I have my dodgy 16-80mm original lenses but the final one has worked fine ever since, and the only body I have ever had the wheel jump problem with was an A100, cured by using a squirt of switch cleaner.
Yes, that is one of the reasons I like your reviews and follow-up posts since you are a long time user of Minolta/KM/Sony. I sure envy you that you have had no problems! In the first post in this long thread I list all the cameras I have had over the last 40+ years. Sadly for me out of that long list of cameras it is only the Sony and KM cameras that have had problems. All the others were completely problem free. I mean not even once gave me a problem. Nice record, huh? Not a single one of those cameras had a problem and not a single one of them had to be sent in to be fixed. My Sony/KM cameras have had to be sent in 6 times to be fixed. The 7D was replaced on one of those times and then later they finally just refunded my money since the second one also had problems that they couldn't fix. My A700 still has problems even after Sony tried to fix it.
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UrsaMajor
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by UrsaMajor »

bakubo wrote:
David Kilpatrick wrote: One reason I buy Sony kit and keep it - rather than trying to borrow it - is to be aware of this. Sadly, I never seem to get big problems
My Sony/KM cameras have had to be sent in 6 times to be fixed. The 7D was replaced on one of those times and then later they finally just refunded my money since the second one also had problems that they couldn't fix. My A700 still has problems even after Sony tried to fix it.
I wonder if the issue with your cameras may be the environment to which they are exposed in your hands. I know that you have spent a lot of time on the beach in Hawaii. The humidity tends to be high in Hawaii even away from the beach, and your time on the beach will add salt air to the environment to which the camera is exposed.

If the circuit boards in the KM/Sony cameras have not had adequate conformal coating applied, operating in a humid environment can cause problems, and when exposed to salt air the potential for problems can become much, much worse. In my experience, many electronics companies do not do a proper job of selecting the conformal coatings. For example, there are coatings that will work very well on a rigid circuit board, but will develop essentially invisible hairline cracks when used on flexible circuit boards that are bent to fit into some space such as a camera body.

Also, many conformal coatings will work well if applied at the end of the manufacturing process, but will lose much of their effectivity if subsequent work is performed on the circuit board - especially repair work done by hand. Circuit boards with conformal coating issues may work well in the dry environment of an electronics shop, only to subsequently fail in the more humid environment of the real world.

Many times, the same companies do not realize the need for insuring that the coating is applied everywhere during the production process. This was not a big factor in the old days when very little of the camera involved electricity, and when what was in the camera was simple analog circuitry. but it would definitely be a concern with modern cameras that depend upon the electronics for almost every function in the camera.

With best wishes,
- Tom -
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

UrsaMajor wrote:I wonder if the issue with your cameras may be the environment to which they are exposed in your hands. I know that you have spent a lot of time on the beach in Hawaii. The humidity tends to be high in Hawaii even away from the beach, and your time on the beach will add salt air to the environment to which the camera is exposed.
Thanks for your interesting post with some ideas. I don't think humidity is the problem though. Several reasons:

1. Sure, one is never too far away from the ocean in Hawaii, but it isn't like I am getting sprayed with water in the wind. Not at all. Also, it is not humid here. Humidity is what you get in the states of the southeast U.S. East and central Texas too. All of those places have much, much more humidity than Hawaii. Not dry like Nevada and Arizona, but not humid like Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, etc. either. If it was very humid I wouldn't be here. By the way, just got back to Hawaii yesterday.

2. Sit down because I am going to say something that may shock you and some other people. Are you sitting now? Okay, here goes. I am not the only person with a camera in Hawaii!!! I know, shocking and unbelievable, but true. :) Not only that, but there are very many people who shoot near the ocean much more than I do. Also, there are people who specialize in shooting surfers and they are set up right next to the water and sometimes even in shallow water. I have several friends here who are really into photography too. They use cameras such as the Canon 40D, 50D, 450D, 5D, Nikon D300, D90, Pentax K200D. They have had no problems with their cameras. Also, neither one of my KM 7D bodies ever came to Hawaii and even if they did I am not sure how that might have caused the tilted sensor in the first one (discovered it the 2nd day I had it) or the AF problems and the infamous FFB problem in the second. :)

3. If you look at this thread and the dpreview thread I linked to and the dyxum thread I linked to you will see that lots of people have this same A700 problem. I doubt if any are in Hawaii.

4. Look back at my original post in this long thread to see the many other cameras I have owned and still own that have not had problems.

Clearly not all A700 bodies have this problem. Clearly many do though.
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bakubo
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

Oh, one more thing that I forgot to mention. I used my Canon 30D in Hawaii in 2007 and 2008. No problems.
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UrsaMajor
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by UrsaMajor »

bakubo wrote:Oh, one more thing that I forgot to mention. I used my Canon 30D in Hawaii in 2007 and 2008. No problems.
Perhaps it came across to you very differently, but I was not saying that your problems with your KM and Sony cameras were not the result of deficiencies with the cameras themselves - that you were somehow at fault for living in Hawaii. What I was attempting to say was that the problems may have occurred because of design deficiencies, not quality control problems, and that the time you spend on the beach may have brought out those weaknesses. (I did not recall at the time I wrote the above comments that your 7D problems predated your arrival in Hawaii, or that one of your issues with the 7D involved a misaligned sensor.)

If KM/Sony improperly spec'd the conformal coatings - either materials, application techniques, or position in the manufacturing workflow - and their competitors did not, it would be quite possible for the electronics in your KM/Sony cameras to be vulnerable to a humid and salty environment while cameras from other companies could shrug off the exposure to that environment. At the risk of stating the obvious, your older cameras with little or no electronics would also be relatively immune to such an environment.

In regard to effects from humidity, I was primarily thinking of the time you spend on the beach. I've seen several research papers over the years that have stated that the humidity and the salinity of the air increase exponentially as you approach the ocean, especially at certain times of the day when there is an on-shore breeze. The corrosiveness of the atmosphere 100-200 meters from the ocean is normally a tiny fraction of what it is at the water's edge. Again, if the circuit boards in a modern camera have properly chosen and applied conformal coatings, this environment should not normally be a problem. If KM/Sony have not handled this design detail properly, a higher than normal failure rate could result.

Of course, there are many other parts of any camera that could potentially fail - and probably are the parts that failed in your cameras. I was just speculating as to one possible cause for the abnormally high rate you have seen.

BTW, if by chance there is any validity to the possibility that I describe above, there is a good chance that Sony corrected the situation with the A900 - and hopefully subsequent models as well. In reading the account that Michael Reichmann posted of his group photo trip to Antarctica about 16 months ago, he said that neither of his A900s had any problems with a wet environment, but some 25 % of the Canon 5DII cameras on the trip did fail - and clearly due to water and humidity problems, according to Michael. (These were problems due to short-term moisture exposure, not long-term exposure, but could have been prevented with proper design.)

With best wishes,
- Tom -
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Re: Sony quality control problems

Unread post by bakubo »

Tom, thanks for having the patience to post again. I got your point this time. You may very well be right. The thing that still puts a big question mark in my mind though is that although I have spent a lot of time in Hawaii since getting the A700 there are many other owners who also have this problem who are not in Hawaii and, I bet, most aren't near the ocean either.

Yes, all along I have said that there is either a design problem, manufacturing problem, or QC problem. I don't know which, maybe all three, but something is wrong.
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