Problems with the image pick-up in eight models of Sony digital camera could mean the inability to take clear pictures or any photos at all, the company has said.

Sony has found the CCD (charge coupled device) in eight of its camera models sold worldwide between September 2003 and January 2005 could become faulty. The models are the DSC-F88, DSC-M1, DSC-T1, DSC-T11, DSC-T3, DSC-T33, DSC-U40 and the DSC-U50.

Problems have generally been reported by users in countries where the climate is hot, said Tomio Takizawa, a spokesman for the Tokyo company. Sony will repair the camera at no charge if it shows the problem, he said.

It's the latest in a string of quality control problems to hit the Japanese consumer electronics giant. Earlier this year problematic metallic particles inside Sony-made batteries caused several fires and led to laptop computer makers recalling or offering to replace around 9.6 million laptop batteries. Sony expects the battery problems will cost it around ¥51.2 billion.

In the wake of the battery problems Sony assigned Makoto Kogure, who was the head of its TV division, to oversee product quality and safety. It was the first time that such a high-level member of staff had taken that position at Sony.