I have some irritating behaviour on my Sony NEX5. It was unfortunately a bit water damaged, but through days of meticulous drying it seems to be behaving itself a little better. However, now it's starting in the cold to show a flickering on the screen. When the camera is warm it doesn't show the same behaviour, only when it's cold. If I warm the camera on a radiator the screen works fine.

It's not a sensor issue as I can still take photos with the screen flickering and it seems to be ok, but as I don't have a viewfinder on this camera, it's a pain.

Any ideas as to what i can do?

  • When you say "cold", do you mean San Diego cold or Minneapolis cold? – mattdm Jan 10 '14 at 16:01
  • Seeing you mention getting a quote -> from another question: Consider getting a quote from Steven Lee, Camera Hospital, Beencoolen street, Singapore - Camera hospital website here I have personally sent cameras and lenses from NZ for Steven to repair, so this option is possibly a viable one for you. He's good, honest, friendly (although sometimes little spoken) and about as cheap as you'll get. Slow freight both ways and it may be worthwhile. The shop is small (aka tiny) and contains vast numbers of cameras, some for sale and many for display. – Russell McMahon Oct 14 '14 at 8:34

There may not be anything you can do. It isn't uncommon for electronics to stop working properly in the cold, so it may not even be related to the water damage you experienced. In fact, I'd guess it probably isn't since it would be a very odd behavior for water damage that must have dried up a long time ago.

If the camera hasn't worked in similar conditions before, I'd assume it is just the way the camera behaves at low temperature and try to keep it warmer. I highly doubt there is anything else you can do to "fix" the behavior. Even sending it in for service is probably unlikely to help as they may well say that it simply isn't designed to behave in those conditions.

  • Ok - Thanks for your response. I just hoped I'd be able to use it for some night shots, but if I have to travel around with a porta-heater, then I guess that's a non-starter. – Carl Sargunar Jan 10 '14 at 14:28
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    @CarlSargunar - another common approach is to wear a big coat, keep it zipped around the camera unless you are actively taking a photo and then put it back. It should work for the time it takes to take a photo as long as you put it back right after. Your body makes quite a good camera heater on the go. – AJ Henderson Jan 10 '14 at 14:34
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    @AJHenderson The only downside to this would be fogging on the lens when you remove it from the warmth. – David M Jan 10 '14 at 15:02
  • Oh, one other important caveat, you do need to be careful about the humidity level inside your coat and make sure it is similar to the outside. If it starts getting humid (lots of sweating for example) inside your coat, then condensation inside the camera body can also become a problem if the body itself is kept out for too long. – AJ Henderson Jan 13 '14 at 14:30

A common reason for why things stop working in the cold is that the material shrinks and puts strains on solder points and/or connectors. The water might additionally have corroded parts of those connectors which makes it more susceptible to this mechanical stress.

This is a large "might be"; what exactly is at fault I cannot tell you. And if it is a broken solder spot on the LCD it might be difficult to repair at home, depending on what exactly is broken. Especially in such a highly integrated device.

  • Thanks for the notes - that seems to mirror the behaviour I'm seeing. I'm wondering whether it's worth considering replacing the LCD, as there's really nothing wrong with the camera body itself. It's a bit of a gamble though as it might not actually fix the problem – Carl Sargunar Jan 13 '14 at 10:59
  • A somewhat tough situation to be in. Looking at current prices, it's difficult to say what's more effective. A complete replacement certainly hurts, money wise, but I am not sure how expensive it would be to have someone replace just the LCD. Might be worth asking for a quote — or ideally have warranty cover it. (Unlikely because of the water damage, I suppose.) – Cornelius Jan 13 '14 at 14:11

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