Sony said Friday it found a defect in some of its popular Cyber-shot compact digital cameras and offered to repair affected cameras free of charge.

The liquid crystal display screens of eight camera models might not display images correctly, images could be distorted or cameras might not take photos at all, Sony Corp (SNE). said in a statement.

Affected are eight Cyber-shot models sold between September 2003 and January 2005 in Japan and in a similar period globally, according to Sony spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa.

Sony will repair for free only cameras that show signs of the problems, Kitsukawa said. He refused to say how many cameras might be affected.

It's the second time in just over a year that Tokyo-based Sony announced defects in its digital cameras. It cited similar problems with 20 other digital camera models last October and offered free repairs.

The blows to Sony's mainstay Cyber-shot digital camera line follow a huge — and embarrassing — global recall of Sony-made laptop batteries that affected almost every major laptop maker in the world.

Sony is struggling to catch up in other areas where it has fallen behind rivals, including flat-panel TVs, portable music players and DVD recorders.

Still, Japan's electronics and entertainment giant may have a blockbuster in the new PlayStation 3, its much-awaited new video game console. The PS3 went on sale in Japan and the United States earlier this month. Its European debut has been pushed back till March because of production problems.