Fading LCD Displays on Film Bodies.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by SilverGlow, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    I just had a conversation with a man who sales used camera gear. He told me that cameras made in the last 5-20+ years that have LCD displays will have faded LCD's in another 5-20 years of life. In other words, indicators on those displays like P, Av, Tv, M, etc will be faded away forever.

    Anyone hear anything like this before? I currently have two EOS-3 film bodies, and the LCD on one of them does show about 1/3 the contrast as the other.

    Before this conversation, I was worried that the battery the EOS-3 uses might no longer be in production in the years to come. Now I worry that the LCD display will be faded to a murky blank. What good is battery power, if the LCD lights up and shows nothing?
     
  2. mudman

    mudman Member

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    Its an old worry that so far hasn't come to fruition. Nikon used to warn about it in their manuals. I say use your camera until it stops working.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    It is a common issue. Just about all LCD have this problem. It is just a matter of time. It is fairly easy to fix - once you have access to the point where the glass of the LCD makes contact with the electronic circuit board. Polutants in the atmosphere cause corrosion at this interface and eventually, the segments of the digits go dark and then the whole display goes dark.

    Live in the here and now. Don't worry. Be happy.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I have seen some LCD displays who are malfunctioning within 5 years or so. With some it could be a problem of electrical joints, but at least one disintegrated. The displays of my Canon T90, more than twenty years old, are absolutely fine.
     
  5. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ...and film cameras are so cheap who cares..........come to think of it, if all film cameras die of old age, there is always digital.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    You have a point: any camera is literally useless without display feedback and once the display dies... [ ?! ]. And yes, this fading of internal and external LCD displays has been a problem with some EOS bodies. I have heard of it on the first-release EOS 3 body, but the EOS 10 and EOS 1 and later EOS 50/50E bodies also suffered from it. My veteran EOS 5 has this irritating fading display problem whenever it is cold, wet and literally quite miserable weather-wise. It flared up very badly in the torrentially cold and wet wilds of South West Tasmania in May of 1999. Taken in for repairs, the problem was traced to internal corrosion in the display driver circuit from years of exposure that shorts with high humidity, and thus the displays fade from normal contrast to nothing. As bad weather passes, like a child with a fever, so do, does the malaise and the displays return to normal. Canon believed it would be uneconomical to repair it but I persisted, and repairs have now been made 3 times over the camera's 15 year service life.

    A link was established during repairs to adverse battery consumption so my 2CR5 battery doesn't last too long in conditions that favour the problem developing, so the camera is not used as much now (only when sunny and dry!!).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2008
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Though it will be a bit of a hassle at times, as long as the viewfinder info remains, you will at least be able to use the cameras.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    .

    You're new here, aren't you? :tongue:
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    While there are many still going, LCD bleeding and failure does seem to be a common problem with T90s at this age. I was shopping around for one for a while and ultimately decided to stick with my trusty "New" F-1 mainly on account of this issue.
     
  10. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    FWIW, the LCDs on my 1992-vintage EOS Elan and early-'90s Nikon N90 are still fine.
     
  11. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Thanks for your very helpful explanation. Before reading your post, I was all in a quandry, nearly at the point of suicide....
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    This is the most common failure in LCD displays - segments or digits go out. There is a thing called a 'Zebra Strip' - a bit of elastomer with conductive bits running through it that connects between the LCD and the board. The LCD and PCB are held in a metal clip that squeezes then together with the zebra strip between the two. The contact between the zebra strip elastomer and the LCD and PCB gets crummy with age. It is possible to take apart the LCD holder, gently clean the PCB with a pencil eraser and the LCD and zebra strip with a soft toothbrush and some Windex. Putting things back together can be tricky though - you have to make sure the zebra strip is straight and centered - a bit of a PITA.

    The second failure in displays is bleeding - black clouds appear around the digit segments. The display is made from little compartments of liquid crystal 'goo' and if the sealing between the compartments fails they will bleed into the surrounding area and sometimes two segments will join by bleeding into each other. There is to DIY fix for this problem, you have to get new LCD 'glass'.

    Pixel failure in LCD computer screens is sometimes called 'backlight bleeding', but this failure has nothing to do with the failure modes seen in film camera displays.
     
  13. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    The mean time to failure of LCDs is about 7 years so it is no surprise we are seeing this problem: Canon used to recommend replacing the LCD every 5 years in then manual for one of their SLRs. Standard electronic circuits generally have a mean time to failure of 20years so there are going to be a number of cameras with good electronics but no way to interact if there is no viewfinder display of information.
     
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  15. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    <sigh> It's true that the pain of a broken heart, with infuriating problems like dud displays coming up in the worst possible times, can be relished to its own cathartic end. Or you can just do a dance to 'Hot Chip' and get over it. :smile:
     
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  16. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    My 1968 Leicaflex SL shows no sign of it either...
    ;-)
     
  17. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    The lenses and the person behind the camera is more important than the camera body....and all the gifted guys using film ATM am sure can get the same results with digital cameras.

    I'm a film guy btw and have two recent Canon T70s and a T90..... if the liquid display lasts say for another 2 years it's cost me 50p/week for their use and if all liquid displays end on all film cameras would just go back to my S3, AV1, FTB, MTL3, EM, Olympus OM10 and Om20...plus using my Bronica etrs and RB67........once they packup and I cant find replacements and film is hard to come by, wouldn't mind using digital equipment....afterall it's all about taking pictures.
     
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  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Most educational. Then I'm doing pretty well with my 1Ns that are evidentaly more than 10-13 years old, in excellent condition with no display retardation in or out. :smile: I have seen nastily cracked but still functional external displays on heavily used 1 and 1N bodies. That's scary but as working tools the lensmen aren't that concerned: "...so long as the shutter fires, she'll be right!".
     
  19. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Indeed, but am not new to using film as I've been using it since about 1952.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The only camera I have with a LCD display is a Canon T 90 the LCD is as good as new, but if it fades I'll buy another body, there so cheap at the moment It's not worth worrying about.
     
  21. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Interstingly, my Minolta Maxxum 9000 has no LCD "bleed" or deterioration of any kind. I'm told that's quite unusual for this model.
     
  22. jun

    jun Member

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    There are number of cause for the LCD to get bad such as internal electrical contact problem, but what most people don’t understand is that if the CONTRAST of the LCD is getting down, the most likely cause is the “Liquid Crystal” substance itself were attacked by water (i.e. moisture).
    This problem was intensively studied and tested when the LCD was first marketed for such application for digital watches, and some early digital watch maker engineer actually tested there watches by wearing there “watch under test” even during taking a hot bath!!!
    Also if attacked by water (i.e. moisture) the power consumption of the LCD display itself will gradually increase, causing serious problem for a application such as watches which needs to be low power consumption for longer cell life.

    My uncle was actually a researcher at a lab for LCD in the early days for the LCD and doing study for the LCD.

    IF THE LCD WERE SEALED LIKE A SEAL FOR A VACCUM TUBE, at least the loss of contrast (i.e. fade) will not occur.
    The problem is that, it is never practical to do this (cost, size), thus this problem occur.

    The so-called 7 years life span of LCD is coming from this.

    This is the reason I am totally not interested in a film camera (must have a life span of at least 25+ years, not those one that goes old within 3 years) that have LCD on it.
     
  23. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    They don't make those anymore, yea? And the used one you might buy may well also have the dreaded faded LCD....
     
  24. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I will take up painting and drawing before I take up using video capture and inkjets.


    Regarding LCDs, I have a 1978 digital watch that is still perfectly legible.
     
  25. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I've had a few LCDs fail (none on cameras though). Thankfully the LCDs on SLRs seem to be of good quality in general and tend to be fairly long-lived.

    Contrast fades over time. I have a couple of older SLRs with LCDs and you can tell that the contrast is not as high as it probably once was (certainly not when compared to my newer cameras). The contrast is still more than sufficient, though.

    Nikon's manuals warn of fading contrast. They state that after a few years, you may need to replace the LCD. I think the LCDs have turned out to have better lifespans than most people anticipated, thankfully.

    My oldest camera LCD is from 1988, and I have an LCD calculator from about 1982, and both are still perfectly usable. (The calculator is painfully slow when doing complex calculations, but I'm sure it was when new too. :smile: )
     
  26. semeuse

    semeuse Member

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    the display on my 20+ year old Minolta Maxxum 9000 is fine except for a small darkening in one corner that first appeared about, let's see...about 20 years ago
    then again, the display on my Leica IIIc is perfect :D