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Old March 20th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #1
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Expensive corrosion case study

I had read horror stories about Sony EX internal corrosion problems leading to expensive repairs before buying my EX3. I dismissed those being related to storage problems - combination of airtight containers, hot humid air, no desiccant. Not applicable to me, I thought.

After two filming trips to tropics, my EX3 did not power on. PrimeSupport responded: "In your camera we can see corroded connection that need replacement, it could be caused by liquid as raid, sea water, snow etc."

Another condensation problem? But I had been in the habit of storing the unit with silica gel when not in use. There was more to come: "The liquid has certainly flown from the top down on the left side of the unit. We can't say how it happened."

This is interesting because the unit had never got a spill of any kind on it. It had only been used inland in tropics far away from sea or snow, and no Raid had been sprayed in the room.

There is only one explanation I can think of. The "liquid" has been sweat occasionally dripping down my hand, when carrying the camera by the handle. I film wildlife and often carry the unit with me ready to use when expecting to find animals around.

So I got 3650 euro repair bill. This was after using my silver-supported EX3 for only eight weeks in tropics. Except of those eight weeks, the unit had been stored away in the uncomfortably dry air of my flat in Helsinki, Finland. I have used four other camcorders much longer times in tropics and they still work. Three out of four are tape based.

If you don't wish to pay your EX3 twice, don't carry it around by the handle. Or, use antiperspirant...
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

Very helpful information thank you. I'm shortly heading off, to the tropics and with an EX3. I think a cover is about to be ordered.

Nick
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

I call that a design flaw.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

I have to say that upon reflection, I would not be paying 3000+ for such a repair, in the warranty period. Under UK (and probably EU) law it is not too hard to make a case of 'Unfit for purpose' for such issues.

A couple of years ago 'esteemed' camera manufacturer Hasselblad were charging people 1500 to replace front elements that fell out of a particular zoom lens. As you would expect, each user was told that the service dept had never seen the issue before. After the issue to to light on forums, money stopped changing hands and the issue was resolved, so nothing new under the sun?
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

Yep there's been a few of these corrosion reports on the boards. AFAIK each person has paid for his fix without comment from Sony.

Hopefully the sons of Sony have retooled their EX manufacture and are now using non corrosive materials.

Jyrki .. what serial number is your EX3 .. it might help others.

Cheers.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 08:45 PM   #6
 
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

More unethical corporate greed and cover ups from the big guys.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Wilcox-Brown View Post
Under UK (and probably EU) law it is not too hard to make a case of 'Unfit for purpose' for such issues.
You have to remember though that the sale of goods act is consumer law and designed to primarily protect "customers" buying from retailers, where the "customer" is defined as people who are buying for purposes not related to their trade, business or profession. Professional products, purchases from professional equipment suppliers and dealers are often beyond the scope of consumer law and the sellers and buyers rights can be very different.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

My experience with the Ex-1, Ex-3 and Ex-1R has been just the opposite. We put over 200 hours on our original Ex-1 in very dusty, humid, damp and hot conditions without a problem. We were shooting dirt racing video (Page 1) at tracks all over Mississippi. Many times it was in the wee hours of the morning before we were finished and the dew covered all our equipment. Our second Ex camera was the Ex-3 and it was the main camera for a 20 week TV program in the same conditions. Since then we have purchased the Ex-1R and all of these cameras have served us in the most severe conditions with out even one hitch.

However, when we were using cameras with tape transport mechanisms, that was a different story. We could only get about 3 months out of a tape camera without sending it in for cleaning at about $500 a pop.

One thing in our favor was the support we got and continue to receive from our dealer. Out relationship with Armatos of New York has been outstanding in every respect. Your dealer should go to bat for you to resolve your problem.

Sorry for your problems

Ronnie Martin
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Old March 28th, 2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

Hi Ron, it'd be interesting to see if your EX cam serial numbers are anywhere near the serial number of JyrKis EX-3 .. but he might be out skiing at present :)

Cheers.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 02:20 AM   #10
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

Nick,
Good luck with your project. You are correct about the law. Justice is not always done however. I am working on my case.

Allan,
I wish I was skiing :-)
I believe EU serial numbers differ from yours. I bought my EX3 November 2010 from reputable UK dealer. I doubt that Sony has changed anything since then.

Ronnie, Alister
You report heavy usage in damp conditions without problems. Either tolerance in shielding has let me down, or we use our cameras differently. How much do you carry your cameras by the handle? Ever an hour or more in one go? EX cameras are pretty heavy like that, you would remember...
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Old March 28th, 2012, 02:42 AM   #11
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Re: Expensive corrosion case study

I've taken EX's up to the arctic, into hurricanes, monsoon storms, out at sea and very humid environments for over 4 years. I have not had a problem. I would never allow water/liquid/moisture to knowingly drip/fall/run on to any electronic equipment. It only takes one drop to cause a short or start corrosion. The EX cameras have a aluminium alloy body, as do many other cameras. Salt will eat this very quickly if left untreated. If I am in a wet or damp environment I use a camera cover, this has been the case with every camera I have owned in the 20+ years I've worked in TV. In that time I have never lost a camera to moisture or water related problems. In the days of tape, problems with the head drums dewing were not unusual when going from cold to warm.

There are I believe, in excess of 20,000 EX cameras in use around the world. Cases of corrosion, while obviously un-welcome are still quite rare, perhaps a dozen cases have come to light on the forums I've seen and some of these have been cameras that were caught out in the rain or had water splashed on them. In many humid parts of the world EX cameras are being used day in, day out for news, yet we are not hearing of stories of hundreds of cameras suffering from corrosion failures due to being carried around by sweaty camera operators.


The most destructive environment is probably a cold country where the camera gets taken from outside to inside. You will get condensation inside the camera, this could take many hours or even days to dry out. Go in and out several times in a day and you could end up with water pooling inside the camera. That's why when I go up to Northern Norway in the winter the camera stays outside. This isn't a camera "fault" or design flaw, but it is made worse by the compact size of the EX cameras where there is little to no space inside the camera.

Your corrosion problem may have started on a previous shoot or many shoots ago. Perhaps some water got inside causing corrosion. Then more gets in on the last shoot and tips the balance and the camera stops working.
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