Sony RX10 Problems

Gordale Scar, The Yorkshire Dales. Three image stitch with the Sony RX10.
Gordale Scar, The Yorkshire Dales. Three image stitch with the Sony RX10.

I have owned my Sony RX10 for a little over three years, purchasing it as soon as they were launched. I had a couple of initial teething issues; the lettering around the front of the lens reflected onto my filters, the focus wasn’t quite right and the Stabilisation wasn’t very good. Other than that, it’s been a very useful camera and one that I enjoy using a lot.

In August last year I went to France to visit my daughter, taking the RX10 along. All appeared fine until I noticed on some of the images that they were a little soft along one edge. That’s when I checked the front of the lens and to my horror I could see traces of fungus inside. This was faint at the time and wasn’t sufficient to cause the softness, although that’s what triggered my noticing the problem.

On returning to the UK I made some enquiries with the “legendary” Sony Support (legendary for all the wrong reasons). I didn’t hold out much hope of help given my past experience and unfortunately, they didn’t disappoint. The response was “your equipment’s out of warranty so there is nothing we can do”. Despite my protest that a camera of this age which is well treated and stored with care should not have a problem, they just didn’t want to know other than saying they could me find a Sony repair centre.

Roll forward six months. I had tried to live with the fungus problem, not expecting it to get much worse; unfortunately, I was wrong and it had spread across the inside of the front element. I took the RX10 to Real Camera in Manchester who I have dealt with a number of times and asked if they could have their engineer take a look (if you are ever in the market for a used film camera or need repairs, Real Camera are highly recommended).

I have now received word back from the engineer and the problem is indeed fungus on the inside of the lens. Worse still, it’s not possible to clean the affected elements as the problem is inside a sealed unit where the elements are cemented in place. This means the replacement of that particular lens group. I have authorised the work as it’s still a cost-effective repair but it raises an important question, how did fungus get inside a sealed unit? I have only two possible answers in my head:

  1. The fungus was introduced during assembly which would bring into question the manufacturing.
  2. The unit wasn’t properly sealed, which also brings into question the manufacturing.

In showing no interest in my problem, Sony have, to my mind missed the opportunity to identify and correct an issue. Ultimately, I feel Sony are showing contempt for their future customers by not investigating a problem which (I hope) is unusual.

Whilst I love the results from my Sony gear, this attitude will cost them in the future. I already refuse to use Sony lenses with my A7R as I have never had one that’s sharp into the corner. All have been bitingly sharp in the centre but this makes the edges and corners worse.

I have only one thing to say; Sony, you need to wake up and put customer service first.

19 thoughts on “Sony RX10 Problems

  1. Sorry to hear about yr problem with RX10. I am RX10 user too for last 3 yrs. Its my main camera for photography & video. No fungus issues so far. But my camera’s OS hang up sometime. All buttons stop responding & I need to power off & on again. Not so often but happen when busy shooting. Not bothered to contact Sony Malaysia as I cant prove or make it happen at service centre.

  2. Hi, although from what you say I don’t imagine Sony will change their stance on the problem I hope you have informed Sony of the report back from the engineer. I had an issue with a Canon branded wrist strap on my 5D. Unknown to me the lug where it attached to the tripod screw via a hefty plastic plate had no reinforcement inside and after about 2 years of careful use snapped and caused me to drop the camera causing damage to body and 24-70 L series which then made horrendous noises and wouldn’t focus. I sent it to Canon and complained vociferously that this was totally their fault. They said they had never had an issue with the strap and that nothing was wrong with it or the design and manufacture. Repairs were estimated at £400 and the best they would offer was £50 off which after much protesting they increased to £100 but because I had said I would go to the photographic press then wanted me to sign a waiver that I wouldn’t! More complaining and a refusal to do this got the discount but no more and the whole saga took 12 weeks to resolve.

    1. That sounds like a terrible experience also. I doubt the Sony customer service is any worse than any other large organisation but I have never yet had a good exchange. I now buy most of my new kit through Wex (as well as some used equipment). They have always provided me with excellent support.

  3. Always wondered what those little spots were on the inner lens but after reading this I realize I have the same problem. Didn’t really affect me much until recently when it’s started to cause blooming around any light sources. Too bad Sony didn’t offer to fix the issue after seeing this post.

    1. Wow. I just thought that I had been unlucky but perhaps there is a bigger problem. I would encourage you to report this also and feel free to also point them in the direction of this blog post. I would really like them to improve their service as the cameras are great. It’s in everyone’s interest that they succeed.

  4. Just found out I have the same problem, just got the camera in January 2017. I was used in a normal environment, didn’t visit any tropical forest, and I discovered mildew inside the lens. Now the camera is gone to Sony buy I am afraid that Sony won’t be helpful. As I search this topic online it seems that mildew or fungus inside the Sony RX10 is not a rare occurrence. I have read many post reporting the same problem and I bought this camera because it was supposed to be weatherproofed. Very disappointed!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear you have the same problem. When I discovered my issue I did a search but couldn’t come up with others. The camera definitely isn’t properly weatherproofed. I recall when it was launched there was a lot of talk and initial material about it being shower proof. This then quickly disappeared.

      All that said, since I had mine repaired, the results are exceptional. Previously there were focus problems to the point where I thought it was me. It was almost as if I struggled to shoot a sharp image. The repaired camera is brilliant and I can immediately see the difference in the image quality. Depending on your response from Sony, I would consider finding an independent camera engineer who will do repairs. I’m delighted with mine.

  5. How was the repair done? By cleaning to affected parts or replacing some of the glass? And how much did it cost? I have a similar problem with my RX10 which is four yearsold now. Seems some of the early batches had this issue. Some ppl say it is not fungus but a lamination issue between the glass layers.

    1. I think the repair cost me around £250 but it may have been a little less. It was definitely more than £150 and less than £300. It certainly wasn’t a lamination issue as you could see the fungus quite clearly if you zoomed in and you could also notice it spreading as I didn’t have the repair done immediately. The repair involved replacing the front unit of the lens as it’s sealed. This was why the repair was so expensive as it needed a genuine Sony part. Personally, I’m pleased I had the repair done as the new lens is much better than the old one in terms of sharpness and image quality. On the old camera, about a third of the frame would often be blurred on one side and the effect would come and go. I had quite a few disputes over this with Sony and they refused to recognise there was a problem. I hope you get it sorted out.

      1. Thank you for your detailed reply. That is very helpful. If I may ask one more question, in the link below a RX10 user shows a photo of his lens with many white dots inside. That’s how mine looks except on mine it covers a smaller area. Is that how your fungus looked like?

        By the way, I live in Taiwan where it is rather humid. I keep all equipment in a dry box. My Olympus DSLR lenses are ten years old and I never had a speck of mold. I have a similar sharpness problem with my RX10 where the left third of the image goes soft when I extend beyond 100mm. Showed it to Sony with sample images, alas to no avail, sigh.

      2. Some areas of the lens were a little like the illustration but the glass had also become milky on one side and you could see “arms” extending from some of the spores. The camera shop who did the repair didn’t believe me about the fungus until the saw it. Your problem with the sharpness on one side sounds a little like mine except it was there at all focal lengths to some degree. I also had a lot of problems with the IS not seeming to work. After I had the camera repaired it’s good across the frame although it softens in the corners and around the edges. This is a common characteristic of Sony lenses from my experience. The exception was the R1 (which is very similar to the RX10). The lens on the R1 was a genuine Zeiss lens from Germany and was spectacularly good (I wish I had never sold mine).

        A good tip with lenses is to periodically expose them to air and light. The fungus doesn’t like that very much.

      3. Ah yes, the R1, a legend. I’m thinking to have a professional camera repair shop in town take a look at my RX10 and see what they say. Good tip to take your lenses out regularly, thanks.

  6. My RX10 III had lens fungus and it was difficult to diagnose until it became obvious under intense light and the optics were significantly negatively impacted. Indeed, upon seeing material inside the lens one year earlier the the same shop did not recognize the fungal growth under moderate light. Changes were so gradual. This year, the same local camera shop diagnosed the problem and chatted about how this usually only happened to older lenses; mine was just 4 years. They sent it in for repair, to Sony I believe, and for $115 plus shipping the fungus was removed and camera and lens were cleaned and received a thorough check. It now works perfectly.

    1. It’s a shame that such a great camera suffers from this problem. I suspect Sony has learned from this and improved the design. I agree with your camera shop, this is very unusual for such a new camera. I still have my RX10 and it performs very well, especially now that I have started to use DxO Photolab to convert the RAW files. The detail and clarity of the images are exceptional with Photolab.

  7. I have the RX10 M4 for just over 2 yrs and it is now under repair. My problem was lens based in that the zoom would only go to 300mm, then it stopped altogether and started to error message, switch off then on again, which did nothing. All my photography has been in Malaysia, and the repair bill is a third of purchase price. I must admit it is a fantastic camera used for wildlife photography, especially butterflies and Dragonflies. Lets see when it comes back.

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