EVF is dead
It's a known issue with both the A1 and the A2, and is caused by very poor design of the strain relief to the flexible circuit board which eventually cracks. If you open the EVF you'll see a small piece of blue or yellow tape on the pcb just where the damage occurs: this was clearly Minolta's pathetic attempt to prevent the problem.
There is effectively no fix for this as the only way ro repair it is to replace the pcb and to keep costs down Minolta made the EVF flexi pcb an integral part of the entire pcb which snakes it's way deep into the camera. If only they'd redesigned it as a separate replaceable section then things would have been easier. You'll notice that Minolta omitted the tilting EVF from the successor to the A2, the closely related Dimage A200.
The best you can attempt to do is to peel off the rubber eyecup (it has a tendency to tear, so be very careful) and then remove the two screws from the underside of the EVF. You'll then see part of the EVF pcb. Note that there are actually two pcbs layered together, one does have a joint in it, but sadly it's not the one which has broken. You'll see a red and a black wire connecting to a plug which attaches to a socket mounted on a side spur of the broken pcb. The blue or yellow tape I mentioned earlier will be stuck to this spur (ignore the second piece of tape right near the EVF lens). Now set the selection switch to the EVF position and turn on the camera. By carefully and gently manipulating the broken area (the break is usually microscopic, so don't expect to see the damage) you can usually achieve a position where the EVF lights up. You may need to apply more tape or some folded paper packing beneath the pcb to get the EVF to remain illuminated, and usually will need to give it umpteen attempts so be patient. When it stays illuminated, reassemble and gently fold the EVF back down. You'll often find that you have to repeat the job a few more times as the action of moving the EVF back down upsets the "repair". Once it's down, and the fix appears to be stable (i.e. it doesn't black) out or blink every time you touch the camera) then carefully glue the eyecup back on and use your preferred method to stick the EVF in it's parked position. I use thin double-sided adhesive foam jointing tape: if you live near a modelling shop or know a radio control modeller, ask for a piece of thin servo tape.
The bad news is that this repair will not last and that you'll have to either learn to love the LCD panel or resign yourself to regular re-fixes, but eventually the damage progresses until beyond repair. For the same reason, if you replace it with a used example, go for the A200 instead. It has the same lens and many of the same features as the A2, although ditches many of the useful manual switches in favour of menu-driven settings.
If you are lucky enough to actually obtain a complete and unused flexible pcb then expect three things: 1. it will cost more than the camera is worth; 2. it will cost far more than that to have it fitted; 3. it WILL fail unless you stick the EVF down permanently as Minolta never revised the design. You probably won't find the part though as Minolta pretty well exhausted the spares supply whilst making repairs under warranty.
The same fault occurs to pretty much all cameras which have articulated displays, whether EVF or LCD and is why top-spec cameras aimed at professional users omit this feature. Pro's want reliability and give their gear a hard time, so articulated gadgetry is a liability.
It's a real shame as the A2 was otherwise my near-perfect all-rounder. In my case I only encountered the problem after buying a broken A2 for spares (just for the rubber eyecup and a few minor parts) and just a few weeks after investing in the rare, expensive and vital BP-200 battery grip. I've stopped using mine altogether now as I simply cannot get to grips with composing on an LCD panel.
Sorry this isn't all good news, but hopefully you'll find my posting to
be of use and will be one of the lucky ones whose DIY fix lasts. Feel free to ask me for further advice and please don't forget to rate my answer.
Jan 29, 2010 |
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2 Digital Camera