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Mt Spokane Photography

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In addition, for lenses there is the problem of quality because of copy variation. I thoroughly test each lens I buy new or used, and sometimes the centering or optical quality is unacceptable. If I buy new on-line or used from MPB or WEX, I know I can send them back, and occasionally I have done.
Thats the biggest issue with buying used. Many buyers do not know how to properly test a lens for various issues. If its grossly bad, we can all spot it, but if its just mediocre, many blame it on learning to use the lens. Mirrorless bodies tend to eliminate missed focus issues but there are still plenty of others. Many lenses are knocked out of alignment during shipping due to inadequate packing.
 
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entoman

wildlife photography
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I've seen you post about this "grey" market camera/lens thing a lot....it's something I'm not familiar with...
I'm guessing it is not really available in the US?

Something about no warranty work, etc...?

Anyway, not something I know anything about obviously...do you have links to read up on what this is and if it is available in the US?

I'm guessing it is only for new(er) items...a lot of the stuff I'm looking for on eBay, KEH, etc....are older manual lenses and medium format film cameras. I do like to adapt vintage lenses onto modern mirrorless cameras too.

C
I don't know about other companies, but Panamoz definitely provide a full 3 year warranty in the US, EU and UK, as well as the usual 14/28 days no-quibble returns policy.

In my experience, they are very helpful and answer emails within a few hours, so your best bet is to click on the link on the Panamoz website and get answers direct from them.

I have no idea *who* would carry out repairs in the US, but in the UK they use official Canon-accredited repairers. Officially, because they are grey imports, Canon's own warranty would be void, but all my grey-market purchases are registered with CPS, so Canon *might* handle repairs themselves. In the UK, I think Canon farm out some of their warranty repairs to Fixation and other accredited Canon repairers, so theoretically a camera would be repaired by the same people, regardless of whether it's bought through the official distributor, or via grey market. Fortunately I've never had to test this.
 
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cayenne

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I don't know about other companies, but Panamoz definitely provide a full 3 year warranty in the US, EU and UK, as well as the usual 14/28 days no-quibble returns policy.

In my experience, they are very helpful and answer emails within a few hours, so your best bet is to click on the link on the Panamoz website and get answers direct from them.

I have no idea *who* would carry out repairs in the US, but in the UK they use official Canon-accredited repairers. Officially, because they are grey imports, Canon's own warranty would be void, but all my grey-market purchases are registered with CPS, so Canon *might* handle repairs themselves. In the UK, I think Canon farm out some of their warranty repairs to Fixation and other accredited Canon repairers, so theoretically a camera would be repaired by the same people, regardless of whether it's bought through the official distributor, or via grey market. Fortunately I've never had to test this.
This is the website, Panamoz?

Thank you in advance,

C
 
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entoman

wildlife photography
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Panamoz can be pricey
It pays to check all the grey market suppliers - there will be many lenses or bodies that are cheaper from Panamoz, and others that are cheaper elsewhere. If the price difference is small, I'd still buy from Panamoz because I've found that they are extremely reliable and offer the best warranty, but yes, check them all!

If/when the price saving is less than about £100, I would buy from Wex, Park Cameras or Jessops, but I've saved literally thousands over the last few years by getting gear from Panamoz, e.g. I got my R5 for £1000 less than the price charged by UK retailers.

Of course, in other countries there will be different tax laws which will make a difference to what you end up paying. Also the UK is a small market, so our prices are well above what you'd pay from a US dealer, where the big dealers get massive discounts for bulk buying.

Overall my advice would be to firstly research all the suppliers and find out which ones have the best reputations for customer service, then from that shortlist find out which is the cheapest (after taxes and postal charges). Also be sure to check whether the item you want is actually in stock, and check the delivery times and whether tracking info is provided.
 
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entoman

wildlife photography
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Many lenses are knocked out of alignment during shipping due to inadequate packing.
It can be educational to spend time in a major warehouse and to work with courier systems, as I did a few years ago. Even in the most safety-conscious companies it's commonplace to see valuable and fragile packages drop from heights of 10m onto concrete floors, when pallets are being loaded/unloaded by fork-lifts. I've seen the floors of book warehouses littered with damaged books. I've seen boxed cameras dropped from great heights, and then continue on their journey to the retailer. Makes me wonder how the practice of splitting kits and selling in "white boxes" originated...

Every camera and lens has to undergo a quite hazardous journey before the customer receives it. It may be perfect when it leaves the factory in Japan, but then it has to be transported by truck and warehoused by the exporter, loaded/unloaded to ships or aircraft (often several times), warehoused again at the port of entry, transported by truck to the distributor, warehoused again, and finally transported by truck to the retailer.

During all of the above processes, the only protection the item has is the cardboard box provided by the manufacturer. It may seem reassuring if an on-line retailer sends you a camera/lens carefully packaged with bubble-wrap within a strong cardboard box, but this additional packaging is largely irrelevant, because any damage will probably already have occurred earlier in the transportation process.
 
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Michael Clark

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I don't recall Lens Rental saying that, and they'd know if anyone did.

I remember many years ago Uncle Roger saying in a blog article exactly what the rate of that occurring was, so it does happen. Since that time they've upgraded the containers they use to ship products. One would assume a cost-benefit analysis indicated the extra expense of the shipping containers was beneficial.
 
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Michael Clark

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I don't recall Lens Rental saying that, and they'd know if anyone did.

From an interview with Roger's son back in 2012:

FS: Now here’s the question I know everyone is dying to know the answer to: Do you have any horror stories about lenses coming back in two pieces, bodies soaking wet, that type of thing?

Oh, we could probably go on for days about that. I think one of my favorites is the time UPS actually backed over one of our boxes with an 18-wheeler, and then thought it was a good idea to just go ahead and deliver it to the customer. We ended up having to buy new 7Ds. The box was completely pulverized, and the contents were more or less reduced to a fine dust.

Later on in the same article:

FS: How often are you replacing lenses that are, for all intents and purposes, fully functional?

We sell everything after two years of service, so it is quite frequent. Shipping lenses takes a pretty big toll on them, and we've found that to be a good stopping point for them. The type of shock and vibration they experience in shipping is where most of the issues with our lenses happen.
 
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SwissFrank

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From an interview with Roger's son back in 2012:

FS: Now here’s the question I know everyone is dying to know the answer to: Do you have any horror stories about lenses coming back in two pieces, bodies soaking wet, that type of thing?

Oh, we could probably go on for days about that. I think one of my favorites is the time UPS actually backed over one of our boxes with an 18-wheeler, and then thought it was a good idea to just go ahead and deliver it to the customer. We ended up having to buy new 7Ds. The box was completely pulverized, and the contents were more or less reduced to a fine dust.

Later on in the same article:

FS: How often are you replacing lenses that are, for all intents and purposes, fully functional?

We sell everything after two years of service, so it is quite frequent. Shipping lenses takes a pretty big toll on them, and we've found that to be a good stopping point for them. The type of shock and vibration they experience in shipping is where most of the issues with our lenses happen.
OK, fair enough. Of course they can go on for days about that, but that's how many incidents out of how many shippings? Do they ship out 500 lenses a day or something? And of those how many are destroyed?

And if they dump them after 2 years, such a lens has been shipped how many times? Maybe twice a month, and returned, so 100 shippings before they thing it's a good time to sell it on? And even at the point they're selling it on, are they claiming the lens is no good any more (woe to their buyers?!!?) Or are they saying that after so many shippings the lens STILL can be considered in quite good condition, but simply after many more such shippings they'd no longer be able to sell it in good faith?

People here like Mt Spokane are talking like half the lenses shipped will be damaged and you have to be really wary and clever. In contrast, the source you're citing is talking about problems "for days" albeit out of a history of millions upon millions of rentals.
Finally I have to wonder how they can tell damage is from shipping and not usage? There's surely a large number of renters who simply aren't going to be that gentle with a lens, correct? and unless it literally has scratches and gouges, how will LR tell the source of damage? How accurate do they think they are in telling the difference? And how accurate are they ACTUALLY? And the same questions go for @Mount Spokane Photography. He says: "Many lenses are knocked out of alignment during shipping due to inadequate packing" but how does he know unless he 1) tested the lens before shipping and 2) tested the lens after shipping? Is it because they buy a used lens and the seller says, "uhhhh... the lens was OK when I shipped it!!!" so damage in shipping is the only possible explanation??? :-D Maybe there's a great explanation I'd be happy to learn.

I think your story might have had a real seed of truth but in lenses that were maybe only shipped in the supply chain then 3-4 times by FedEx/DHL, I think actual problems from the shipping would be pretty rare.

And
 
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SwissFrank

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Many lenses are knocked out of alignment during shipping due to inadequate packing.
How do you know such damage is from shipping? If you're renting out lenses, or buying them used, how do you know the lens wasn't damaged by the person shipping it to you? If you're buying it new, how do you know it's not just dodgy QA? How reliable do you think you are at telling the difference? And how reliable are you actually?
 
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Michael Clark

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OK, fair enough. Of course they can go on for days about that, but that's how many incidents out of how many shippings? Do they ship out 500 lenses a day or something? And of those how many are destroyed?

And if they dump them after 2 years, such a lens has been shipped how many times? Maybe twice a month, and returned, so 100 shippings before they thing it's a good time to sell it on? And even at the point they're selling it on, are they claiming the lens is no good any more (woe to their buyers?!!?) Or are they saying that after so many shippings the lens STILL can be considered in quite good condition, but simply after many more such shippings they'd no longer be able to sell it in good faith?

People here like Mt Spokane are talking like half the lenses shipped will be damaged and you have to be really wary and clever. In contrast, the source you're citing is talking about problems "for days" albeit out of a history of millions upon millions of rentals.
Finally I have to wonder how they can tell damage is from shipping and not usage? There's surely a large number of renters who simply aren't going to be that gentle with a lens, correct? and unless it literally has scratches and gouges, how will LR tell the source of damage? How accurate do they think they are in telling the difference? And how accurate are they ACTUALLY? And the same questions go for @Mount Spokane Photography. He says: "Many lenses are knocked out of alignment during shipping due to inadequate packing" but how does he know unless he 1) tested the lens before shipping and 2) tested the lens after shipping? Is it because they buy a used lens and the seller says, "uhhhh... the lens was OK when I shipped it!!!" so damage in shipping is the only possible explanation??? :-D Maybe there's a great explanation I'd be happy to learn.

I think your story might have had a real seed of truth but in lenses that were maybe only shipped in the supply chain then 3-4 times by FedEx/DHL, I think actual problems from the shipping would be pretty rare.

And

"Destroyed"? The vast majority of issues they see that are caused by shipping are lens alignment issues that they adjust in-house when possible/practical. They have a comprehensive program that tests each lens when it is returned and then rechecks each lens just before it is shipped the next time. If a lens flunks the check, it usually goes to their in-house repair department for adjustment.

Around a decade ago Roger said the two year rental life cycle of most lenses averaged around 40 total rentals, but that was before the supply chain crunch forced them to keep some lenses for longer than two years. They now keep things until replacements are available. It was also before the vast majority of their business was based on renters who are doing video, rather than stills. As a result, a lot more of their total revenue is generated by not only video centric cameras and lenses, but also by things such as lights, jibs, sliders, other types of rigging, modifiers, greens screens, etc. This shift in their core business probably affects the average length of each rental one way or the other. If the average rental lasts longer, one would expect the total number of rentals per year to be less than if the average rental is not as long.

The surplus lenses they sell at end of rental life cycle must meet the same standards as a copy of that same lens must meet to be sent out on a rental. The standards for each lens model are determined by statistical analysis of a sample of at least ten copies of each particular lens model. This makes a lot of sense since it would be ridiculous to hold a $300-400 lens to the same standards as a $4000-5000 Zeiss Otus or a $15,000 cine lens. Any obvious poorly performing flyers are not included in the initial ten+ lens sample.

Back in 2008 it was about 1 in 400 that arrived at a customer with an actual issue. (Could one assume another 1 in 400 got banged up on the return trip?)

"Now don’t get me wrong, there are bad copies of lenses out there, as best we can tell ranging from 3% to 7% of lenses. And we know, despite our checkout procedures, that 1 of 400 lenses or so will be damaged in shipping and arrive not functioning."

Even more often, the customer complained that a lens wasn't right because the camera hasn't been properly calibrated to account for variations in manufacturing tolerances with the lens. Since then, lensrentals has invested a lot in well-padded high grade shipping cases. Hopefully the shipping damage rate is much lower now. But most of us don't receive lenses from an online dealer packed in such protective cases. We receive them packed the same way the lens manufacturers pack the lenses they ship to lensrentals.

Elsewhere, Roger has said that around 2% (1 in 50) of all new lenses they purchase arrive with the need to be returned to the manufacturer for repair or optical adjustment. Again, the need for optical adjustment is determined by a lens falling well out of the expected range of deviation at which most other lenses in the same model line are tested.
 
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SwissFrank

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Elsewhere, Roger has said that around 2% (1 in 50) of all new lenses they purchase arrive with the need to be returned to the manufacturer for repair or optical adjustment. Again, the need for optical adjustment is determined by a lens falling well out of the expected range of deviation at which most other lenses in the same model line are tested.
This is definitely a solid data point. It includes not only mfr QA but also mfr's internal shipping from QA to boxing to warehouse to international distribution to distributor to retailer to customer.

So it's surprising to see some people crow about how important this is to keep an eye on, it its only 2%. I've only owned about 50 lenses so there's more than 1 in 3 chance I've never had this problem.

Also it doesn't state what their reject criteria are, and that cuts both ways. An alignment issue that's easy to detect by even an amateur... by definition will be detected by an amateur, no? Meanwhile an alignment issue that even a pro user can't detect in normal usage... almost doesn't matter, no?

Also the people who are bragging about how most people don't know how to even spot this (which implies that they have this secret knowledge) is doubly irritating: if you know something so important, why not share it with the group? Why crow that you know something super-important that no-one else does? I'm mad at that attitude more than anything.
Since the keepers of the arcane knowledge won't share what they know maybe I just need to make a resolution test target. I already have both a test target in mind that would allow for trivial software analysis.
 
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neuroanatomist

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This is definitely a solid data point. It includes not only mfr QA but also mfr's internal shipping from QA to boxing to warehouse to international distribution to distributor to retailer to customer.

So it's surprising to see some people crow about how important this is to keep an eye on, it its only 2%. I've only owned about 50 lenses so there's more than 1 in 3 chance I've never had this problem.

Also it doesn't state what their reject criteria are, and that cuts both ways. An alignment issue that's easy to detect by even an amateur... by definition will be detected by an amateur, no? Meanwhile an alignment issue that even a pro user can't detect in normal usage... almost doesn't matter, no?

Also the people who are bragging about how most people don't know how to even spot this (which implies that they have this secret knowledge) is doubly irritating: if you know something so important, why not share it with the group? Why crow that you know something super-important that no-one else does? I'm mad at that attitude more than anything.
Since the keepers of the arcane knowledge won't share what they know maybe I just need to make a resolution test target. I already have both a test target in mind that would allow for trivial software analysis.
Roger shared.

 
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