Most helpful critical review
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Two cameras failed, don't buy as a bundle, nothing but trouble. Nice camera when it works.
on February 19, 2015
I've had nothing but trouble with this bundle..
First off I'll mention the good. The camera does have a lot of features and takes great pictures. I'm new to higher end cameras, and this one seemed like a good choice for getting a lot of setting and quality, while still keeping the small form factor. But then again, it's only a good camera when it works...
The bundled gear is pretty good. The charger, extra batteries, and memory card seem to work well enough. The memory card is SDHC, not SDXC, so you can't use it to take the highest quality video with this camera, so I had to buy another card. I planned to use the bundled one as extra, regardless. The case is awful and I bought a different one, and the tripod is a standard $3 tripod. Nothing special there. The screen protectors are handy, but get scratched up and you can see it in the sunlight. I ended up buying another brand of this as well.
Now on to the troubles..
I bought this around the holidays, which is good, because that meant I had more time to return it. I saw that this bundle was about the same price as the camera itself, so it seemed like a no-brainer. After about 2 days of playing with the camera, being very careful with my new purchase, I noticed an issue. When I turned the camera on, the lens cap shutter wouldn't open all the way. If I gave the side of the camera a little tap, or if I moved it by hand, it'd spring back to being completely open. It would close ok when I turned it off, but just wouldn't open. We had a trip coming up that I wanted to use it on, so I figured we'll try it out there. After another week of using it, this problem would intermittently go away (as in it would work fine), but the problem was still there. It was annoying to have to make sure it was open when I used it, and there were a number of times I had forgotten and can see part of the tops and bottoms of my pictures cut off with diagonal black bars from the shutter not opening all the way. By the time I got back from the trip, I was pretty fed up with it.
I contacted Amazon and Beach Camera about exchanging it, but since it was in a bundle, I needed to send everything back rather than just get a replacement. Luckily nothing had gone missing and I still had the box it came in, so I packed everything up and sent it back. I still liked the camera, so I ordered another one - the same bundle - to give it another try. After looking online and not seeing much about this issue, I thought it was an isolated case.
I got the new bundle, same as before. Everything was pretty much exactly the same, though the replacement batteries were a different knock-off brand. No big deal. I turned it on and was thrilled to see the lens cap shutter open all the way!
I continued to use this camera, trying to be super careful with it. It always went right back into the case and was careful with where I put it. Everything seemed to be going great.
Then, about 3 weeks after receiving it, I turn it on and get an error message "Unable to read memory card. Reinsert memory card." I hadn't done anything to it since I had used it last, hadn't opened the battery/card door or jostled it or anything. I tried reinserting the card and restarting it a few times and got the same thing. I took the battery out for a while, which seemed to help it, but 20 minutes later it was giving me the same error, and this time nothing I did would help it. I tried different cards, I tried formatting the cards, nothing worked (luckily all my data was ok, as the cards were just fine). By this time I was out of the time range to return it to Amazon, so I called Sony. After going through the whole process of cleaning the contacts, resetting the camera, etc. They ended up coming to the conclusion that there's something wrong with the camera, so now I need to go through the process of sending it to sent (on my dime) to go through the warrantee process to get it fixed. This is where I stand now.
I don't know if these problems are from the camera or from the batch that Beach Camera is sending out, but one way or another, this camera is 2 for 2 in failures, which is pretty unacceptable in my mind when it comes to something this expensive.
In the end, if this camera will work, I'll be happy with it. There are a lot of nice features and the picture quality is great. Am I glad I bought it in this bundle? Absolutely not. The only thing that was really usable in the bundle are the extra batteries and charger, but since they're off brand, who knows how well they'll last. I believe that if I bought this out of a bundle, this whole return process would have gone a whole lot smoother, and I may have even gotten a better camera from the batch.
So in the end, my suggestion to you, is yes, this is a nice camera (when it works). Buy it out of a bundle in case something happens to it. For something this expensive, I suggest buying a different case for it (Sony LCSCSJ Soft Carrying Case works really well), buy a larger SDXC memory card (the 64GB PNY Elite I bought with it seems to be very fast and works well), and get a better screen protector for it (the LARMOR is a really nice one, quite easy to re-adjust if you get any bubbles and it's hard to tell it's even there). All of my accessories were purchased on Amazon. You'll probably want another battery as the life isn't great on it (though I haven't run it out before I could get back to charge it), though an extra charger isn't necessary unless you really use it a lot.
I plan to revise this post if any other problems arise. If Sony handles the repairs well, I'll also come back and give them some credit for it. But if more than a month passes and I don't edit this, that means my opinion hasn't changed.
Well, this nightmare has continued.. I sent this camera in for repair under the standard Sony warrantee. First of all, the amount of wrong information given to me was actually impressive. Over the span of 5 days and as many phone calls, they made some pretty glaring mistakes. First, they told me the wrong case number, so when I called back, they needed to look me up by my address. Second, the person on the phone told me to send in just the camera, while the print out I was sent told me to include everything it came with. I was also given a link to a form to fill out, but the website was broken (tried it on 3 computers), and when I called in again to ask about it, they said to ignore it because it was 'down for updates.' I've had better luck dealing with Comcast, and that's really saying something.
I had to pay to send it in, which was another $9 I didn't want to spend. I sent it with tracking, and saw it arrived a few days after I sent it. I knew there was a 7-10 day lead time for the repairs, so I waited patiently. After 9 days, I decided to call Sony again. After looking things up, it turns out there had been 2 failed delivery attempts for them returning the camera. I was a little annoyed because I didn't get any notification (whether by phone or email), saying that the camera had arrived, had begun service, had ended being serviced, that it was being sent back, or any tracking information. In the end I had to drive to a FedEx and pick it up myself.
Yes it seems to be working now, but I first bought this camera at the end of December and now it's the middle of March. I find this completely unacceptable for a company of this size and for a purchase this expensive. After calling to complain, and telling them I won't be buying Sony products again, their remedy was to send me a gift card for the Sony online store (I'm still waiting to get the gift card in my email, no surprise there). Rather than products, I'll be using the voucher for an extended warrantee, since I don't trust this camera lasting me to June.
Still no voucher in sight from Sony. After calling back, again, they said it'll be up to 6 weeks before I get it, and I might not be able to use the voucher on an extended warantee.
All in all, this has been one of, if not the, worst buying experience I've had on anything for as long as I can remember. This will not be forgotten, and I hope others proceed with caution.