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No, that's not phonetic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Digital Elph S330 that I have used for about 3-4 years and have taken many thousands of great pics with. Over the past 12 months or so I have noticed the prics are becomming increasingly noisy/grainy, unsharp, and perhaps contrasty. It is hard to pin down, but whereas I used to be very impressed with the results, now I am often disappointed at the shots even taken in bright light with a steady hand.

I know my way around the camera and the settings are the same as way back when (no weird ISO dialed in, I'm not in the wrong white balance setting, the lense is clean, etc). The camera functions the same otherwise, but the pics are just starting to suck.

Do the CMOS or CCD image capture chips get tired or wear out over time? Some sort of pixel death going on like in old screens? Do they have a useable lifespan?

Not a huge deal and I could get a new one, but I'm wondering if I could just get in there to clean the CCD/CMOS chip somehow and save myself $250.
 

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Rider Found Dead
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133 Posts
Ccd/cmos

The Elph S330 has a CCD, which is just a tiny little light sensor - actually, a tiny little plate with about 2,000,000 even tinier light sensors packed onto it. CCDs don't get "tired", but they do get dirty, and when they get dirty, they exhibit what can appear to look like noise. On larger CCDs or the big CMOS sensor that some of the SLRs use, dirt on the sensor will look like dirt on film - that is, there will be noticeable bits of dust and debris that show up like random artifacts. On the tinier CCDs, and rest assured the CCD you have in there is tiny, fine dirt can obscure almost the entire surface, causing degradation in the image. Dirt on the sensor is not a problem on most of the point-and-shoot digitals, because they are basically sealed units, compared to the relatively open SLRs. But over time, and if used in dusty conditions, point-and-shoot sensors can still get dirty.

Now the bad news. They're a beatch to clean. You could send it in, but it might cost as much to repair as the camera's worth. You could try it yourself, but there's a pretty good chance that anything you do will make it worse rather than better. There is some info on the web about cleaning CCDs on SLRs, and you might take a look at that and see if you can extrapolate that to your camera. If you're going to get a new camera anyways, it might be worth trying to fix it yourself. Personally, I like to take stuff apart, so I would just take it apart to see what's inside. If I fix it, great. If I don't, I'm no worse off.
 
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