AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Camera Issues

We bought the Sony NEX-6 for this trip. It is small and lightweight but has interchangeable lenses so we can swap depending on the type of photography we want (usually landscape or close up). We have the 16-50mm and the 55-210mm lenses. The 16-50 is fantastic, it has a large range but is such a compact lens. This gives us a picture quality on par with lower end  DSLR cameras but for a fraction of the weight and size.

But a few days ago the lens stopped focusing properly, it would zoom in and out then turn the camera off. As we are a long way from home and won’t be anywhere we can call home for at least a year our options are pretty limited. We contacted Sony who gave us a possible solution, which didn’t work. They have been no more help since. That’s just great, dropped in the shit by poor quality from a company you wouldn’t expect this; especially after paying such a large price tag.

A new lens is coming out imminently (was due out in September), the 18-105mm. That is a prime, top of the range lens that would be great for this trip. But we can’t buy it yet! A 16-70mm lens is available but the reviews we have read have slated the build quality as very poor and a let down. We can’t risk buying that and finding we have a bought a bad one.

Today we headed down to the Sony center (a 10 minute walk from our hotel) to look at our options. The only decent choice we could make was to get another 16-50mm (identical to the faulty lens) and hope.

In the shop Annemarie swapped our lens with one on display and tested it. No focus issues. Then just to be sure she put our lens back on; the problem could not be reproduced. We tried and tried and the camera wouldn’t fail in the way that it has failed every 10 seconds for the past couple of days. At a loss we decided to stick with our lens and see how long we could make it last. Outside we took many pictures of Saigon by night and the camera just wouldn’t fail. Finally we got back to the hotel and reviewed the pictures and it failed. Sod’s law huh? First thing tomorrow is to go back and buy the lens.

So thanks Sony. We paid a premium for what we thought was good quality and reliable camera and it turns out not to be the case.

—- UPDATE 1 —-

Today we visited the Sony shop to buy a new kit lens. Unfortunately, although the shop had 3 NEX cameras on display with the identical kit lens to ours we were told that the store didn’t sell the kit lens on its own. They said they maybe order one, but had no idea how long it would take to arrive as they had never ordered into store before. The best they could do was ring other Sony shops in Saigon and see if they had the lens in stock – none did!

Let down by Sony again. Now we are very angry with Sony and considered buying a whole new interchangeable lens camera, but we have already invested lots of money into this camera and lenses (some are at home). So our best option, buy a compact camera and make do until Bangkok where we hopefully can get hold of the new 18-105mm lens which will be excellent.

We bought the Canon Powershot SX270 which we had considered buying in the UK as a backup lightweight camera. We used to have the SX220 and it took very good pictures so this is a reasonable temporary solution.

A temporary downgrade. NEX with the 55-200mm lens next to the Canon Powershot.

—- UPDATE 2 —-

This evening whilst wandering around the city we found a small camera shop selling a vast number of cameras and lenses. The Sony 16-50mm wasn’t there but it did get us thinking about our decision earlier to buy a compact camera. Maybe we should have looked around for a NEX kit lens in the back streets. After all the NEX is a great camera when it’s working properly.

A few minutes later we found another camera store. This did have the NEX-6 kit lens in. After 5 minutes of deliberation we decided against buying it and walked away. But now we were really doubting our decision and thinking that we should just buy the kit lens to keep the camera going. It’s a waste to have it and not use it. A few minutes later we walk past yet another camera shop. On one shelf there are four NEX-6 kit lenses identical to ours. We ask the price, a mere 3,700,000 Dong, just over £100 and about half the price of the Sony shop and back in the UK. No box, no manual, just the lens we make the decision to buy. Even if it only lasts a few months it’ll hopefully last till we get the 18-105mm. Our current lens can be sent to Sony for repair and back to the UK to be placed on eBay and hopefully make as much as we just paid for it’s replacement.

Posted from Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


  1. Avatar

    Hey! Im in Vietnam, going back to Saigon in a few days. My camera broke down here and I’m thinking about buying a Sony Nex camera. Would you recommend it? Where in Saigon did you buy it? Do you have any names of the stores or streets where you find it? I will only be there for a day before i go to the Philippines, so i have a short amount of time.. If it’s possible, answer to my email 🙂 Take care, be safe x

    Post a Reply
    • Andrew

      The NEX is an amazing camera, it takes SLR quality photos but is the size of a large point and shoot. The interchangeable lenses means that you can also customise it to take exactly the kind of photos you want, zoom lenses, portrait lenses, fish eye lenses, etc. If you do get a NEX, get it with the new 16-50mm kit lens, it’s black and only about 3cm in length. The old version of the kit lens was about 6-7cm long and is usually silver. The newer kit lens makes the camera much more compact.

      We went to the Sony shop on
      Dong Khoi, in the shopping centre on the basement floor. I think it’s called the Eden Shopping Centre. Dong Khoi is where the Saigon Post Office and Notre Dame cathedral are (they are further north than the shopping centre) so it’s likely you’ll be nearby.

      There are also many independent camera shops on Le Loi (south side of the road) and between Le Loi and the Bitexco Financial Tower.

      We bought the lens from an independent shop for a much lower price than the Sony shop. That was on either Nguyen Hue or Le Loi.

      Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *