Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED!]

CANONisOK

EOS 90D
Sep 12, 2012
161
0
Oklahoma
I would like to ask for some advice from the collective knowledge of the group to understand my options for a disagreement on a repair of a relatively new lens. Sorry for the long post - please ignore if it doesn't interest you.

I purchased the Canon 70-300L less than a year ago (about 11.5 months ago) from Japan Photo in Stavanger, Norway. Back in August, it suddenly started sending an error code to the camera and the metering was way off and autofocus was not working. When you look at the lens, you can see the aperture blades closed to a very narrow value and were not moving despite entering different values in the camera.

I let Japan Photo send it off for repair in Oslo over a month ago. I've been asking for weeks for an update and they said it was still in the queue. Then this past Friday they messaged me that they were just waiting on parts. I asked they could tell me what was wrong with the lens, but no response. They just sent me a message today. Roughly translated it states: "During rep it turns out to be damage to zoom mechanics - Impact damage! 6 pcs. guides are broken and there are sores in the zoom path. Cost estimates for replacing blender and guides with zoom barrel. It will cost $1000 to repair the lens."

This is absolutely shocking to me. Putting aside (for now) the "impact damage" comment... My main worry going in was that they were going to come back and say there was some sort of moisture damage which cratered the circuit board which is why it wouldn't focus and the aperture was stuck closed. (Hey, I live in Norway and it rains a lot here. Not that I've used it out in the actual rain.) Never in my mind would I have thought they'd say there's something wrong with the zoom function. When I gave it to the store to send off, there were no problems with the zoom action. I legitimately wondered if they just were messaging the wrong person.

So I called the middleman (Lauritzen Result) here and discussed my concerns. (BTW - I have no idea why they don't just send it to the one authorized service center - FOTOCARE - in Norway.) I shared my perspective with him: I've only owned it since last October. It's never been used or handled by anyone other than me. It's locked in a cabinet when not being used - and in fact it's one of my least-used lenses (I only use it when I travel to save weight/size - and yes, I only carry it on me - never checked in luggage). I know its entire history.

I told him if that report is correct about damage then it has to be a manufacturer's defect. He told me that this is *never* the case for a lens "which is so new", so it can only be impact damage. I philosophically disagree with this viewpoint. By that statement, he's saying that nothing ever comes from the factory with a defect or flaw. We agreed to disagree on this point. He sent me pics from the shop and said they clearly show impact damage.

Here's where I need your help, if you're willing and knowledgeable:

1) The first picture he said definitely shows impact damage. To me, it looks like something has jumped a groove and carved a hole in the guide path. I compared it to a screw becoming cross-threaded. I don't necessarily think this points to impact damage - but could be an alignment problem. Does anyone else have a clue?
2) The second picture shows some plastic bits which have chipped off and are broken. I assume these run up and down that guide path displayed before. Again, the question is: is this really the result of an impact or some other problem?

After we talked about this, I brought up two decent points (I thought).

A) If this problem existed in the zoom - shouldn't I have been able to feel this? There was no trouble zooming the lens in and out. Could they tell me if it was "stiff" to zoom in and out when they received it? (He said they wouldn't be able to say.) Regardless, if the lens arrived in this condition, it was different than the condition when it left my possession.
B) But continuing that line of thought: Would this "broken zoom" problem cause the actual problem which I sent it in for? Would this zoom mechanism problem cause the lens to send error messages to the camera body and make the aperature blades be stuck in "closed" position?

To his credit, Mr. Lauritzen said he will ask the technicians if the zoom problem could cause the aperture problem. I don't see how they are even related, but I'm not a lens technician either. In all fairness, he was very polite, but I didn't perceive that he knew much more about it than I do.

What do you all think? If anyone has any knowledge about these zoom and/or aperture mechanisms and how they might become broken - I'd appreciate your expert opinion. Even if your opinion is that you think I'm full of **it - I'd welcome your perspective. Something just doesn't add up in this situation.
 

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msatter

EOS 90D
Oct 23, 2012
141
1
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

It is not known when the damage is caused and this can happened before you buying the lens. The plastic could be cracked and by using the lens they could crack further and slowly cause the damage to the rest of the lens.
 

nc0b

5DsR
Dec 3, 2013
253
8
74
Colorado
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

Considering a new one from B&H is $1350, I would abandon the lens. How could you ever be certain the lens will ever function "as new"? Is your original supplier an authorized reseller? Why wasn't it sent to Canon for service? Of course if they said it was mishandled warranty wouldn't cover repair. I insure all my camera equipment for loss or damage. It isn't that expensive under scheduled home owners insurance. Likewise CPS would have gotten you a report within days, not a month. The whole thing sounds fishy to me. Who can accept 30 to 60 days for a repair job?
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,618
1,577
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

The photo shows obvious impact damage, the only question is who or what caused it.

Its common to have damage in shipping, and since you did not ship it, you do not actually know how it was packed. It could also have been damaged when you bought it, you do not know who handled or dropped it before you bought it. As someone said earlier, the damage could have started with a cracked part and progressed. That's why I recommend professional repair if a lens sustains a serious drop. It may work for a month or a year and die when you need it.

I put multiple wraps of the large bubble wrap around the lens, and double box it too. I sell sensitive electronics, and have seen what shippers can do to a item.

I do not see anything you can do.
 

retroreflection

EOS 90D
May 19, 2015
124
5
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

Poor photo for this purpose (SEM is the way to go), but it does point to impact or high force damage. I say that because the low is surrounded by highs, wear takes away material in little bits. You can also see this defect disturbs the finish of the part, so you know it occurred after the finish stage in manufacturing.
The second photo shows less black plastic bits than were in the original parts. Where did this stuff go? It could have jammed the iris blades, giving you errors in exposure. Autofocus errors could just be due a jam beyond f4, or whatever the camera requires, or black plastic bits got into those works as well.
The cause of the iris jam is probably a significant fact in this mystery.
 

CANONisOK

EOS 90D
Sep 12, 2012
161
0
Oklahoma
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like consensus is that it does indicate impact damage. I've see at least one plausible theory how it might've caused the aperture problem (debris jammed in there). The question remains, would this type of damage make the barrel extension difficult to perform? If it does, then it was not damaged when sent off. If it would not be perceivable, then it's likely is always been damaged since I bought it (new).

If it still extends and contracts without noticing, then I'm tempted to tell them to fix the aperture but leave the rest as is and I'll just run it to failure. As I mentioned, it's nowhere near my favorite lens, I already paid $1600 (Norwegian price) for it the first time. Hardly seems worth another $1000 for a lens I'm not crazy about but view as a convenience piece of kit. I always bring it for the what-if scenarios when away from home, but really tend to use my wide- to normal- zooms for travel. And at home, I have much nicer zooms (70-200L ii, 100-400L ii) and primes (85L, 135L, 200L, 300L ii) which cover the same focal lengths.

Tough situation with such a new lens. And of course a month before the aperture stopped working, I purchased the actual Canon brand tripod collar for another $200. :( I think it's time to cut my losses. At ~$1000 it is a nice-to-have lens, but hardly worth a ~$3000 total investment at this point. I'd be more tempted to put that money towards a 24-105L ii (not for the exact same purposes, of course). Maybe I'll put it up on eBay or Finn.no with full disclosure of the problem and see what offers come in.
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,540
434
54
Isle of Wight
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

Hi CanonisOK.
I would imagine that the level of damage shown would have affected the feel of the zoom, which you may or may not have noticed not having a reference sample to compare.
I do not know how many zoom actions it would have taken to create the amount of wear found but I'd guess it would be more than in the shop and repair facility, indicating that it may have been damaged before you got it. Unfortunately none of us know the state of our gear when we get it, how many times the carriers may have dropped it (once for each fragile sticker?) so I think the only thing you can do is stick to your guns with I have never dropped this item and try to negotiate some reduction on the repair, at least based on how long they have had it and how long it should have taken had they used the repairer you mention in your post?
I don't hold out much hope for you getting anywhere, but persistence generally pays off. At some point you have to say enough is enough, draw a line under it and move on, only you will know when that, don't let this eat at you.

Best of luck.

With respect to using as is, the collars which we see broken run in the guide that we see worn, these are very high accuracy items as they control the position of elements that affect the light path. I would imagine the image quality would be too poor for any more than I was there shots, if it is even good enough for that.
Is this why you don't particularly like this lens, because the images were never the quality you expected?

Cheers, Graham.
 

CANONisOK

EOS 90D
Sep 12, 2012
161
0
Oklahoma
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute

Valvebounce said:
With respect to using as is, the collars which we see broken run in the guide that we see worn, these are very high accuracy items as they control the position of elements that affect the light path. I would imagine the image quality would be too poor for any more than I was there shots, if it is even good enough for that.
Is this why you don't particularly like this lens, because the images were never the quality you expected?
Perhaps. Hard to say. I feel like it has more to do with the relatively narrow aperature at relatively short focal lengths. It never bothered me on the original 100-400mm or the current 100-400mm. But this lens never seemed to "pop" for me - images seem pretty "flat". Not a very scientific assessment, but just my experience. My guess would be, it's just the lens design I'm not crazy about.
 

CANONisOK

EOS 90D
Sep 12, 2012
161
0
Oklahoma
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED]

STUNNING PLOT TWIST!

I just got a message back from the middleman. He forwarded a note from FOTOCARE (the only authorized Canon repair house in Norway, BTW) which profusely apologized. The technician said they had two identical 70-300mm L lenses with similar serial numbers and they confused mine with the other lens in for repair.

They didn't say what the actual root cause is, but they are repairing under warranty and sending me the lens back!

That's about as good a resolution as I could have hoped for. (And I asked them to make sure they send the correct one back!) :)
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,540
434
54
Isle of Wight
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED]

Hi CanonisOK.
Wow, fabulous outcome, didn't you say the first thing that you wondered was if they phoned the right person! ;D

Cheers, Graham.

CANONisOK said:
STUNNING PLOT TWIST!

I just got a message back from the middleman. He forwarded a note from FOTOCARE (the only authorized Canon repair house in Norway, BTW) which profusely apologized. The technician said they had two identical 70-300mm L lenses with similar serial numbers and they confused mine with the other lens in for repair.

They didn't say what the actual root cause is, but they are repairing under warranty and sending me the lens back!

That's about as good a resolution as I could have hoped for. (And I asked them to make sure they send the correct one back!) :)
 

d

EOS RP
Mar 8, 2015
417
0
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED]

CANONisOK said:
STUNNING PLOT TWIST!

I just got a message back from the middleman. He forwarded a note from FOTOCARE (the only authorized Canon repair house in Norway, BTW) which profusely apologized. The technician said they had two identical 70-300mm L lenses with similar serial numbers and they confused mine with the other lens in for repair.

They didn't say what the actual root cause is, but they are repairing under warranty and sending me the lens back!

That's about as good a resolution as I could have hoped for. (And I asked them to make sure they send the correct one back!) :)

That's some great news - I'm glad it's worked out for you!
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED]

CANONisOK said:
STUNNING PLOT TWIST!

I just got a message back from the middleman. He forwarded a note from FOTOCARE (the only authorized Canon repair house in Norway, BTW) which profusely apologized. The technician said they had two identical 70-300mm L lenses with similar serial numbers and they confused mine with the other lens in for repair.

They didn't say what the actual root cause is, but they are repairing under warranty and sending me the lens back!

That's about as good a resolution as I could have hoped for. (And I asked them to make sure they send the correct one back!) :)
Everyone screws up from time to time..... It's what they do afterwards that shows their true nature.... "I am sorry for our mistake, we will fix your lens for free" is as good of an answer as one could reasonably hope for. Glad things worked out for you in the end.....
 

CANONisOK

EOS 90D
Sep 12, 2012
161
0
Oklahoma
Re: Advice for lens repair dispute [RESOLVED]

Don Haines said:
Everyone screws up from time to time..... It's what they do afterwards that shows their true nature.... "I am sorry for our mistake, we will fix your lens for free" is as good of an answer as one could reasonably hope for. Glad things worked out for you in the end.....
Agreed, Don. And I really couldn't see the individual technician would have a lot to gain from pulling one over on me. But I was really afraid of the "phantom damage" scenario that I couldn't explain. The retailer promised it would be heavily padded for transport, but of course I put it in their hands and had no control over what happened after that point.
 
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