I posted in my comments on this post that my Sony DSC-P51 camera’s CCD went offline. This has apparently happened to a lot of cameras. While taking mine apart to check it out its insides, I found this great reference to what a lot of people have done to fix or try to fix the problem. I tightened all the accessible connections and re-seated the small lithium battery. After doing that, the camera is now working again!

The relief is that there’s no solid-state component failure. The downside is that this could easily happen again and I might not be able to fix it…

My camera is 3 years old and certainly out of warranty. However, if Sony is indeed not addressing this problem via free or reduced-rate service, I think it sends the message that their cameras should be expected to break after a few years, even if cared for. I’m a Minidisc fan, but after problems with this camera, my Sony receiver, an old Discman, and an old VCR, I’m finally starting to see a trend. At this point, my next digital camera won’t be a Sony.