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Image Sensor Problems are considered normal? I don't think so!
on April 30, 2014
3/9/16 I was told today by the west coast Nikon service center that Stuck Pixels and Hot Pixels on the image sensor are considered normal. I don’t consider this normal at all, therefore I can no longer be a Nikon customer. It’s time to shop other brands. Before the first repair, I loved this camera, great pictures, great video. But after the repair, it has never been the same. My video's have specks in them that I can't Photoshop out. Ruined.
Here’s my repair history in reverse chronological order.
2/23/16 – Repair #3 for Stuck Pixels and Hot Pixels on the IMAGE SENSOR (I previously called them “specks”). Despite leaving pictures and video examples in the camera for them, the Nikon and the West Coast service center states this is normal. (Note that these specks are on the IMAGE SENSOR, not the LCD screen).
10/19/15 – Repair #2 for “specks” in videos. I didn’t know the term for the specks at the time. On the repair order, they called it blurry photos and replaced the lens again!
6/11/15 – Repair #1 under Extended Service Contract for BLURRY PHOTO’s and LENS ERROR again. Lens was replaced.
12/10/14 8 months ownership 9200 pictures later. Today found my camera BLAZING HOT and battery depleted (was freshly charged) with the camera OFF! 2 hours earlier I took a few pictures, turned the camera off and set it down. VERY DISCONCERTING!!! I let it cool a couple hours, recharged battery, now seems to be ok. Called Nikon - they say "that's the first they heard of it".
5/2/14 Received S9700 #2 – LENS ERROR within a month. Nikon tech support convinced me to “reset” the camera as a fix. Seemed ok for a while.
4/25/14 Received S9700 #1 – Flash wouldn’t popup, return/exchange back to AMZ.
With or without the extended warranty, the camera will go to either the West or East coast repair center depending on where you live. As soon as they deem the issue normal, there is no point in having a warranty. The picture I attached shows the stuck pixels. When I shoot a video in low light, these pixels stick out like a sore thumb and are very detracting. It may not be possible to see on the Amazon photo as you really need a full size monitor to see. These specks weren't there prior to the first repair.
Oh No, 5 days left on the Amazon return window and I got a "Lens Error" message on my screen. Could I be on camera #3 in one month?
First week of ownership; I'm on camera #2. The flash on my first camera "needed help" to pop-up (Nikon Service confirmed this was not normal). Thanks Amazon for the fast replacement!
600 pictures on both cameras (300 each) and I'm very happy with its performance. My reference point for "performance" means reliable, crisp, focused picture(s) on a consistent basis (ie. not blurry) while in maximum resolution, minimal zoom, usually during a rushed "point and shoot" scenario. This is my 3rd Nikon (S8000; $200 and S3300; $100). The S9700 is an upward progression from the S8000 (I was very happy with), whereas I'll use my smartphone to take pictures before I ever drop $100 for an entry level camera (S3300) again.
PRO's (in order of my needs)
Easy viewing monitor in bright daylight (except with polarized sunglasses for horizontal/landscape pictures; vertical/portrait OK)
High Resolution (MegaPixels) at $300 price point
Fast focus to get all 9 "focus boxes" to appear for a crisp picture
Macro pictures are great as long as you don't need the flash (lens shadow)
Non-detachable lens (pro/con) - many venues I attend specify no "professional photography" ie. camera's with a detachable lens.
WiFi is convenient to download photo's to your smartphone (to email/text) as well as use as a camera remote control with zoom (instead of just the self timer)
Fast transfer of photo's out of the camera via its usb port
- That flash is going to break (again), it's a matter of "when". It's made of plastic and has more pivot points than a bi-fold door (see my pictures).
- $6 Nikon Extended Service Coverage (ESC) Nikon 2-Year Extended Service Coverage (ESC) for Nikon Coolpix Digital Cameras I consider this a must if you plan to own your camera beyond 1 year. Nikon stopped selling service parts to independent dealers. I had a great experience with Nikon service (repair of my S8000) and feel it worth the investment.
Recommendation? I would NOT recommend this to someone new to digital cameras, or new to Nikon. It's not an entry level camera. I get the feeling that most people have no idea how to get the 9 green focus boxes, or what they mean. I've learned to not hand my camera to someone else expecting a good picture.