Digital camera: repair, upgrade, replace, fix it myself?
February 2, 2009 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Please help me decide whether I should have my digital camera (Casio Exilim EX-Z750) a) professionally repaired, b) upgraded at a discount, c) replaced with a completely different one or d) repaired by myself.

My Casio camera recently broke. The LCD readout was completely jumbled, though it took pictures just fine. The display would adjust as I moved the camera but in no way was it readable, preventing me from using any of the screen-based menus. I sent it back to the manufacturer secretly hoping they would fix it either cheap or free (Ha!), as there was no obvious trauma that caused the problem. It seems I have the following options:

a) Repair it. Cost is $79 + tax and shipping

b) Upgrade to one of the following refurbished Casio models with a 1-year warranty:
1. EX-S10BE for $129 + tax and shipping
2. EX-S880BK for $119 + tax and shipping
3. EX-Z200BK for $139 + tax and shipping
4. EX-Z80BE for $99 + tax and shipping
5. EX-Z9BK for $99 + tax and shipping

Looking online, it seems I can probably match these prices new, so this isn't looking like too hot of an option. Am I missing something?

c) Just go ahead and get a new one. For that I figure I'll research the links in this previous askme thread, though if anyone has any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm most interested in a digital camera that handles low light situations well, as that's where I'm usually thwarted. I do tend to play with some of the more manual controls so I'm looking for something above the simplest point-and-shoot. This camera cost me about $400 in 2005 and I would want to feel like I upgraded if I got a new camera.

d) Have them ship it back to me and repair it myself. Any idea what would cause a jumbled LED display?

Currently, I'm leaning toward asking them to just send me back the camera and opening it up myself, blowing the dust out and hoping for the best. I avoided doing this before sending it to them in fear that I might make the problem worse. If that doesn't work, just up and buy a new camera. Thoughts?
posted by funkiwan to Shopping (7 answers total)
The odds are very small that you are going to be able to fix the display yourself. I'm fond of buying refurbished goods. Those prices seem reasonable IF you really like your Casio camera.
posted by 14580 at 9:18 AM on February 2, 2009

I'd go for one of the $99.00 refurbished alternatives since a 1 year warranty is included. You'll essentially end up with a new, fully warranted camera for about $20.00 more than getting your repaired.

Plus, the turnaround time on the repair could be a considerable period of time.
posted by imjustsaying at 9:44 AM on February 2, 2009

Best answer: Completed auctions on eBay indicate you can easily find a replacement in the $40-60 range (somewhat less if you are a little lucky). So, paying them to repair it is completely pointless.

Any idea what would cause a jumbled LED display?

Did you look for hard reset or firmware reflashing instructions online before sending it in? It could be a software or scrambled memory issue. If it is hardware, I think odds are that you can't simply swap out the LCD and have a working unit (someone else might have more knowledge about your particular symptom).

Trying to fix it properly will be somewhat difficult even if you can find a part to swap (hard to open, easy to damage the case, lots of little parts to damage or lose). A great project to screw around with, but not something you can count on to be 'good as new' when you are finished.
posted by Chuckles at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2009

Odd coincidence: Today's woot is a Casio Exilim, $110.
posted by chairface at 11:22 AM on February 2, 2009

I should add.. Tested not working units are being sold for $15-30 and sometimes more, so paying for the return shipping might be worthwhile just so you can sell it..

Did you ever trying using the A/V out to test it on a TV? That would help identify what's wrong..
posted by Chuckles at 11:39 AM on February 2, 2009

Response by poster: Did you look for hard reset or firmware reflashing instructions online before sending it in?

I did and performed the firmware upgrade blind. It required downloading the file, transferring it to the camera, and then navigating the software menu to confirm install. Unfortunately, I couldn't see the menu but the instructions were so detailed that I felt pretty confident that I did it right, especially when the on/off indicator light began flashing. I waited for quite a few minutes, since it wasn't clear how long it should take and followed the rest of the instructions. I saw no change after turning it off and then on again.

Did you ever trying using the A/V out to test it on a TV?

I didn't but will try that when they send it back.
posted by funkiwan at 11:38 PM on February 3, 2009

Response by poster: So the camera came back, worked for about 30 seconds, and then the display became jumbled again. A week later, a friend stopped by and I went to show her the problem: works perfectly. Since then the problem hasn't recurred. Nothing is revealed.
posted by funkiwan at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2009

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