please tell me it's me and not the camera! (cam problem. long)

FondestBianca

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Ok, let me start by asking that everyone obstain from sony bashing or suggesting I buy another brand. Sorry, I just knew that was coming if I didn't ask.

I have a sony a100, purchased new along with a extended service plan from Best Buy. I'm no expert but, have a decent understanding of the functions and controls of my camera. It's been having an issue when shooting in manual (wouldn't know if it has the same issue in any auto modes because I don't use them) for awhile now. At first I thought it simply must be something I was doing incorrectly. Accidentally changing setting, partially covering or shadowing something, etc. But, the more I investigated the less likely it seemed that I was doing something wrong.

I will be in a controlled environment, shooting wiht no flash or artificial lighting. No clouds or obstructions to marginally change my lighting, nothing new entering the subject field (or anywhere near the camera for that matter), and I'm shooting the same subject, at the same distance and angle. Settings will be spot on, everything is looking great in the LCD (and equally when uploaded to computer) when all of a sudden the exposure is so horribly off that the subject is so dark you can't even make out facial features. It will continue to shoot this way until it is shut off and sits for a long period of time (at least a day or so). I can adjust the settings to get more accurate shots but, by then I've had to push them to such an extreme that the subject cannot move the slightest bit or I'm getting motion blur and my subject's eyes may be in focus but their nose is not. Of course thats a very frustrating scenerio. One minute everything is great then all of a sudden my camera acts as if I'm shooting in the dark.

I sent it in for repair. Best Buy couldn't figure it out so they sent it to Sony. Sony called me and said they couldn't get it to repeat the problem. Then they fixed something (what, I don't know) and sent it back to Best Buy. I picked it up and checked it out in the store. It worked fine for me there. Then I got it home and went to take some photos. It was great the first 10 minutes then all of a sudden it went to heck.

It took them 3 weeks to work on it the last time and I really don't want them to send it off for another 3 weeks only to have it come back unfixed. I think, honestly, they should just scrap it (since it's an outdated model and has been to repair twice) and store credit the money back to me so I can upgrade BUT Best Buy's policy is 4 hardware repairs before the consider junking it. I'd have to send it in 2 more times to qualify for that.

I've dropped it a couple times (shhhh, dont' tell sony) and had it for a couple years so it's bound to have problems just like any other electronic divice. I love the cam, not interested in another aside from a sony upgrade, but really dont want to have to send it in again and be left with nothing for another 3 weeks. Is there ANYTHING else I could be doing to cause this problem? Is there any way it's just me and the cam is fine? This is really, really frustrating because I shoot prodominatly in natural lighting and don't have a lot of give in my settings as it is in most cases.
 
Wow thats really weird the only thing that I can think of (and it's probably wrong) is AUTO ISO is going a bit crazy on you? Thats if you even use auto iso.
 
The first things that come to mind are stuck aperture blades or a stuck shutter. I'd lean toward the aperture because that would likely make the images darker. But I guess it could easily be a problem with the camera itself.

Does the problem occur with different lenses?
 
Wow thats really weird the only thing that I can think of (and it's probably wrong) is AUTO ISO is going a bit crazy on you? Thats if you even use auto iso.

I set the ISO myself and just in case it checked out the setting stored on the indivual photo files and the correct exposed shots and dark shots had identicle settings.
 
I set the ISO myself and just in case it checked out the setting stored on the indivual photo files and the correct exposed shots and dark shots had identicle settings.

Ah, indeed. In this case proceed onto Mike's less general solution
 
The first things that come to mind are stuck aperture blades or a stuck shutter. I'd lean toward the aperture because that would likely make the images darker. But I guess it could easily be a problem with the camera itself.

Does the problem occur with different lenses?

checked with all 3 of lenses and all the same. if it were say, stuck aperture blades as you say, is that something I could remedy or should I just send it back off for repair and ask them to make note of that?
 
I dont think it is stuck blades, though it sounds logical. If it is stuck blades then the viewfinder would be very dark. In most cam bodys the blades are all the way open ( for a bright finder ) then close just before exposure, perhaps they are closing to much or it could be low voltage to the sensor . Both can only be fixed by factory service.

Send it in and have a note on it for them to do a extended test as it takes time to fail.
 
If it happens on multiple lenses, you can rule out the aperture blades (part of the lens).

It sounds like you may have to just send it in again. Maybe call Sony service directly and talk to them about it, before hand. Explain that it takes time to recreate the problem and maybe send in some files along with the camera, so that they can see for themselves that the exposure changes despite the settings remaining the same etc.
 
hmmm, sounds like I can't really avoid sending it in again I guess. :grumpy:

I will however, throw a memory card in or include a CD with some example pics for them. Thanks for the idea!
 

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