Sony responds to digital camera complaint about dust spots
Thursday, 28 May 2009 16:41

The customer complained to Sony about mysterious round shadows on photographs taken with a Sony DSC-W17 digital camera. The original complaint was made towards the end of the warranty period by returning it to the retailer. Shortly after the camera was returned by the retailer similar dark blobs appeared on images, the camera was returned to the retailer for a second time, with the following letter.

Dear Sirs,
Your order [order number removed] - Sony DSC-W17 Black, Serial No [serial No removed]

I returned my camera to you in [date removed] because there were a number of dust spots showing on my images. You kindly sent it back to the manufacturers who returned it. In your letter of [date removed] you informed me of the work done.
A few days after receiving the camera I left the UK for an extended stay in [country], and from there have moved to [country] as you will see by the revised address. Almost as soon as I started to use the camera I noticed that there were more dust spots on my images, more than previously. These are more prominent than the original spots and spoil any image where there is a light colour in the top-left of the image.
I contacted you about this by email and enclose a copy of the emails relating to it. This is the first opportunity that I have had to collect together all the relevant material and send it to you.
I really so appreciate your sending the camera back to Sony and their attention to it. It is however my assertion that there is a ‘hidden defect' in this camera and that it should be replaced by the manufacturers. I have a number of Sony cameras, a DSC-S85, and HC40 camcorder, the W17 in question and a DSC-S80. All of these performed extremely well, and have been no trouble with the exception of the W17 which developed the dust spots. Originally I did not know what these were and it was only after protracted research on the internet that I realized that the spots were indeed caused by dust on the CCD. As soon as possible I returned the camera although this was many months after the problem had become apparent.
I suggest that there is a hidden defect that allows dust to penetrate the sealed parts of the camera because the spots re-appeared in such profusion after the camera had been serviced. If there were no such defect then I would expect the camera to produce clear images without dust. This is a ‘compact' type camera on which the lens is fixed.
I would like you to return the camera to Sony on my behalf, together with the enclosure showing the dust and a copy of this letter.
As I have moved to [country] temporarily I know that the return carriage may be more than it would be in [country], I am very happy to cover the cost of return postage.

Yours faithfully,

In due course Sony responded

Sony complaint response

Dear [name removed]

Sony Product: DSCW17

Thank you for your letter received on [date removed]

Having passed your camera to our technical and quality engineers I can confirm that your camera now works fine.

The feedback the engineer has given me was that there were not any dust spots inside the camera but grease spots on the outside of the lens as you would not have been able to see through the dust spots on the photos.

I have tested your camera in different conditions especially the way that you suggested in your letter to try and replicate the symptoms that you have been experiencing. On viewing the photos back I can confirm that there were no marks on any of the photos.

The only suggestion that I can give to help stop this happening is to purchase a good quality lens cleaning cloth and if you are already not doing so keep the camera In a case when not in use.

I hope that this information helps and if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

[name removed]

For and on behalf of Sony United Kingdom Limited

This is an ongoing problem. The camera is no better, in fact it's worse than ever. The lens has been cleaned aggressively with a household window cleaner. This has made no difference to the photographs, they still show the problem. Here are samples, cropped to 400 x 400 pixels out of the original 3072 x 2304 pixel images so they are seen at 100% size.

digital camera image dust spots


Comment: If anyone has any comments then please send them via Listen to and we'll pass them on to the owner of the camera. There are millions of digital cameras in use, many of them made by Sony, it seems strange that few people have had this problem.

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