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Photography Question 

zoom lens lubrication

I use a Sony Cybershot Digital Zoom Camera at work to take hundreds of pictures every month. The camera is exposed to dirt, heat, dust, paint.

Lately, the zoom lens and plastic shutter cover sticks turning the camera off or on. I have had this problem with other similar cameras.

Can I spray a lubricant on the lens body to remedy this situation, or is this something beyond my ability to keep the camera in good working shape? This camera is only about 3 months old.

Thanx, Charlie in Las Vegas

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2/28/2006 9:44:36 AM

Will Turner   Cameras are not intended to be exposed to contaminants such as dirt, dust, sand, moisture, certain solvent fumes or liquids. Digital cameras are especially vulnerable to such contamination, and it is considered abuse (and the warranty usually defines this as such and excludes coverage).

These may have penetrated the camera body, causing the trouble - or, there may be no contaminants inside at all.
The zoom lens mechanisms of today's digicams are built of rather fragile composite plastics, for the most part.
The light-weight parts allow small motors and mechanisms, but durability is often affected. Both the electronic and mechanical components of digicam zooms seem to have a rather limited service lifetime. Some don't make it out of warranty coverage.

Many digicams use 'self-lubricating' composites requiring no lubrication - if there is any, usually a tiny amount of silicone grease. Spraying an unknown lubricant inside the lens at best might move the dirt around, but might also collect on lens surfaces. At worst you'll short out the camera circuit board. It certainly won't fix any broken parts.

The proper repair would be to disassemble the camera and clean the lens mechanism, then test circuits and mechanical components for proper operation. If your camera is still under warranty, and contaminants have not caused the sticking mechanisms (the manufacturer will determine this by inspection), this would be the option to take, as they would cover the cost. Outside warranty, such repairs cost good money, and most people end up simply buying another camera.

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2/28/2006 11:51:02 AM

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