In the first half of October, 2005, a number of digital camera and camcorder manufacturers issued service advisories involving a range of digital camera models (as well as some digital camcorders and PDAs that incorporate image sensors). In each case, the story was similar - CCD (image sensor) failures, particularly in conditions of high heat and humidity, led to cameras capturing images with either no picture at all, or with extreme distortion and severe purple or green color casts. An example of the latter symptom, courtesy of the Konica Minolta Europe website, can be seen further down this page. We first started hearing about this problem in late September and early October, 2005, with a significant increase in reader emails about it in the first week of October. The problem understandably caused considerable concern among our readers, with many wondering whether this was an ongoing problem that could affect current cameras.
Initial service advisories by Sony, Canon, Fujifilm and Konica Minolta were soon followed by announcements by Nikon, Ricoh, and Olympus. Affected cameras were all manufactured between 2002 and 2004, the underlying problems have apparently been found and corrected, so no cameras currently on the market are affected. (We are assured by sources that new cameras purchased today will not be affected by this problem. See the "What caused this problem" section at the bottom of this document, for a more detailed discussion of possible causes.)
We here at Imaging Resource did a little digging into the problem, and it appears that the problems trace to certain models of image sensor chips manufactured by Sony between 2002 and 2004. (Fujifilm has stated that they manufacture their own CCD chips, so it's not clear whether or not the problems with their cameras are in fact related to those of the other makers.)
The problem can take any of several forms, but all involve severe color shifts and/or severe distortions of the image. The images below show two examples (courtesy of Konica Minolta) of what the problem might look like, if your camera falls prey to it. In the early stages of the problem, the camera may still capture recognizable images, but with a washed-out appearance and a strong magenta or green tint
What products may be affected?
Quite a number of products may develop this problem, including digital cameras, camcorders, and even PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) that incorporate an image sensor. The following is a list of affected models by various manufacturers that we are presently aware of. We will update this list as new information becomes available. We recommend that you check the site regularly for this and other breaking news.
Here are lists of the affected products, grouped by manufacturer:
Digital Cameras Camcorders
PowerShot S230 Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS V3 / IXY D320
PowerShot SD100 Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS II / IXY Digital 30
PowerShot SD110 Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS IIs / IXY Digital 30a
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:
PowerShot S1 IS
PowerShot S200 DIGITAL ELPH / DIGITAL IXUS V2 / IXY DIGITAL 200a
PowerShot S330 DIGITAL ELPH / DIGITAL IXUS 330 / IXY DIGITAL 300a
PowerShot S400 DIGITAL ELPH / DIGITAL IXUS 400 / IXY DIGITAL 400
PowerShot S410 DIGITAL ELPH / DIGITAL IXUS 430 / IXY DIGITAL 450
PowerShot S500 DIGITAL ELPH / DIGITAL IXUS 500 / IXY DIGITAL 500 (including White Limited version)
Elura 40 MC
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: [email protected]