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EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems

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Chris Morphet
EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on May 12, 2010 at 4:10:01 pm

I have had a new EX3 for just over a month. On its first serious shoot, filming hand held interviews outside a club, the eyepiece fell apart on me. [Part 203 separated from part 206]. Next day I took it to my very reputable dealer here in the UK. He said that the damage was likely caused by my Portabrace bag being too tight, and this situation had occurred before where another specific EX other manufacturer dedicated bag had been causing the problem. My Portabrace is an old CTC-2 circa 1999, but I have used it for years to pack my Digibeta body with viewfinder on in overhead plane lockers. This was much tighter than with my EX3, which was no more than snug. It's a soft bag with a plastic protector inside for the viewfinder.
In a way this is both a warning to EX3 users, and a request to Sony to beef up the fragile viewfinder. It's a true weak point on this otherwise terrific value for quality camera. What has also happened to my virtually new EX3 is that a small hairline crack has appeared on the handle just underneath the zoom H+L+Off switch. The excellent repair guy then produced a quantity of handle chassis from the damaged parts rubbish bin. These all manifested the same situation as my own
so far not terminal harline crack. I wonder if other EX3 users have had problems with this, and certainly it would be wise to check your EX3 handles in the above area for any signs of cracks. This chassis sub
assembly needs to be made more resilient, and that's the view of my local workshop engineers, not just my view. They see camera damage on a regular basis. It's also hard to believe that camera bags are causing such results. I am an experienced cameraman and of necessity look after my gear carefully, and can't recall bumping or hitting either the camera or the camera inside its bag at any stage over the last month. I have now had the eyepiece repaired at my own cost, and the official line Sony Prime Support were not interested as they put it down to being damaged by the bag - my suggestion to them incidentally based on the experienced camera technician's diagnosis.
Another Sony Prime Support guy I know from the past has been more open minded and welcomes my feedback, which he will pass on to Sony engineers. Either way, I am worried about this fragility and when the camera first came out I thought the whole viewfinder was potentially
vulnerable, although never envisaged moderate pressure in a bag could affect both the eyepiece and even cause handle cracking. As a precaution I have gaffer taped up the area on the eyepiece that could be a weak point. When it's apart you can see the catch where it's small black plastic end bit broke off. It's a worryingly flimsy arrangement relying mainly on a bit of glue to seal 2 parts together.
To also be on the safe side, I am scouting out a new camera bag that will fit in the viewfinder with room to spare. This topic has been covered previously on Creative Cow, but so far the Kata CC-197 looks like it may just do. From now on it must be kid gloves with the EX3.


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on May 12, 2010 at 4:53:27 pm

One other weak point I've mentioned before about the EX-1 flip-out LCD is that the screws like to loosen up, and next thing you know you've broken an $80 bezel. The replacement screws come with thread locker applied, so somebody at Sony apparently knows about it. The camera doesn't ship with those screws treated that way.

Now I have to go check our EX3. For local stuff we transport it in a bag not meant for that camera (but it flies in a custom Storm case).

Cf


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jon pinkney
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on May 13, 2010 at 4:06:25 pm

Hi Chris,
I too have had the same problem small crack on the handle just near the switch, i have sent it back to sony as i have only had the camera for 3 weeks!!Also the handle zoom has stopped working,I still think the base needs some more support.I am using a st7 plate and a nano flash.. as the BBC needs 50meg.
The results are fine but i am not sure the camera is up to hard work.


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Chris Morphet
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on May 14, 2010 at 11:39:09 am

Jon, I hope you have a better and more sympathetic response from the official Sony Prime Support to this problem than I have so far had. Like yourself, the manufacturer should be grateful for serious
feedback from proper cameraman, in the interest of making a good camera more of a great one, which the EX3 so nearly is. What seems to happen when the handle crack you have also experienced develops, is that bending and flexing occurs when used. This in turn puts pressure on parts inside the handle,
probably small cables or circuit boards. Maybe this has happened with your handle damaging the zoom
rocker switch. On ordering a new bag, Kata CC-196, made for EX3, and which I am told is perfect,
the Sony specialist dealer did say others had returned cameras, which had problems with tight bags causing damage. You are right that the EX3 in this respect is a worry for hard work.


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jon pinkney
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on Jun 9, 2010 at 3:20:50 pm

Hi Chris,
Well it seems that i have had the same responce from sony over my small crack in the handle the are saying the camera has been mistreated i have used that camera with kid gloves... they are now saying that the handle is not covered by its prime support, just wonder if you have had any more luck....... jon pinkney


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Chris Morphet
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on Jun 18, 2010 at 2:38:15 pm

Have had no more feedback from Sony, and like yourself I am a bit wary of the eyepiece viewfinder and handle. I still believe there is a problem there, and hopefully my feedback to Sony will mean that unofficially they will at least consider strengthening any new EX3 models they make.
Am afraid we will have to take it on the chin as regards damage and small crack on the handle.
It's very hard to prove our case, but as experienced cameramen and Sony users, myself for many years,
it would have been great to have had more from Sony.


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Juan Camilo Barriga
Re: EX3 Fragile Eyepiece/Viewfinder + Cracked Handle Problems
on Jul 1, 2010 at 12:05:54 am

I need to buy a replacement part for the flip away viewfinder of the EX3... anybody has an idea as to where I could find it?

Thanks in advance


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