The camera exorcism


A weird thing has happened. I don’t know if it is a miracle or a sad indictment of modern times. I think I have repaired my camera through spirit healing. Or an exorcism.

Let me tell you the spooky tale.

I have one of these things, known in the trade as a Sony RX100.


It is mostly a wonderful little gadget. It’s small enough to fit into your pocket but has all the knobs and switches that an amateur photographer could want. It’s a perfect travel camera.

But then something weird started happening. Every time I went to use the camera, I found that it’s battery was flat. That was annoying. The whole point of a compact camera is that it should be sitting there waiting to be used. It’s no good if the battery can’t hold a charge.

Things started to get weirder. Sometimes I would come back to the camera and it would be turned on. I was certain I had switched it off. Or maybe I hadn’t and I was getting confused? It was all very discombobulating.

Then I caught it in the act. I turned the camera off and put it down on the table. As if by magic, it turned itself back on again in my hands.

My camera was possessed.

Scratching my head, I did what we all do these days when something breaks. I turned to the internet and did a search for the problem. It turns out that the RX100 turning itself on mysteriously is a “thing”. It happens to other people too …

Sony don’t mention this in their FAQs about the camera although they must have dealt with hundreds of cameras with this fault. I’m guessing that they don’t want disgruntled users asking for repairs or their money back.

That led to the next question. How could I fix it? There were several suggestions on the internet. Some people had tried taking their cameras to Sony to be fixed, with distinctly underwhelming results. Sony had charged them for looking at the camera and had not always been able to find a fault.

Then I spotted something interesting. Several people had fixed their Sony RX100s by taking them apart and … doing stuff to them.

Okay, I know that “doing stuff” isn’t a technical term, but then I am not a camera engineer. One guy had pushed in a loose wire. Another had blown dust away. That sort of “doing stuff”.

I decided to give it a go. The camera was a few years old and out of warranty. I didn’t fancy paying for Sony to inspect it as this could cost more than the camera was worth. I figured I had nothing to lose.

So I bought the smallest screwdrivers I could find and went for it. I dived into to open-camera surgery by way of some of the tiniest screws known to humanity.

The end result looked a little like this…


Um. Yes. Ah.

I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what’s going on inside all that lot. It all looks very … um … technical.

I looked around for a loose wire, but couldn’t see anything. Maybe some dust to blow away? Um, no. It was at this point that I decided I was doing more harm than good. I was a long long way outside my comfort zone.

That little green devil on my shoulder was singing “you don’t know what you’re doing”. And he was right.

It was time to admit defeat. I counted all the tiny screws and fiddled them back in again. Half an hour of sweating, fiddling and the occasional little cuss word and the camera was back in one piece again.

I had mixed emotions at this point. I hadn’t been able to fix anything, but nor was I left with any spare bits. All it had cost me was a new set of teensy-weensy screwdrivers, and what self-respecting bloke doesn’t enjoy buying more screwdrivers?

It was around about this time that the miracle happened. The fault had somehow been fixed. My camera was no longer turning itself on at its own behest. It’s now a couple of months since my miracle cure and the camera is still working perfectly.

I have no idea how or why it happened. I certainly hadn’t fixed anything. All I had done was to open the camera up and then put it all back together again. It was a mechanical version of control-alt-delete or the usual trick of fixing a PC by switching it off and switching it back on again.

The rational part of me thinks that there must be some mechanism or other which switches the camera on in certain circumstances – maybe to protect itself when it detects that it is falling. Perhaps that mechanism had got jammed or jiggled or something and I had unwittingly freed it.

Or maybe … just maybe … there was a malign spirit caught inside the camera and I had let it out with my ham-fisted screw-drivering.


6 thoughts on “The camera exorcism

  1. This story is similar to the one about the automatic toaster my father bought for 25 cents at a yard sale back in the 1960s. It didn’t work, but to my engineer father, it was worth a try to fix it, for that miniscule investment. He opened it up on the kitchen table and looked at the wires and connections and so forth. Couldn’t find anything wrong, so he put it back together. Plugged it in, dropped two pieces of bread in, and voila! Down went the bread, rising just as automatically as toast a couple minutes later. The problem was probably a hardened crumb stuck in the works somewhere, loosed upon my father’s inspection.

    It worked just fine for about twenty years, when the automatic up-down feature failed. I took it and used it myself, using the manual up-down lever, for another twenty years before the elements burned out. I think we got our 25 cents’ worth.

    Another time, I’ll tell you about my father’s less successful efforts to repair the ‘grandmother’ clock (chiming table model as opposed to the floor-model chiming ‘grandfather’ clock).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect IT engineers solve most of their problems by turning the computer off then turning it back on again – just like your father’s toaster.If only all problems in life could be resolved in the same way…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s