1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

External part misaligned on new camera

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by je83, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. je83

    je83 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Apr 16, 2013
    HKG
    I need some info from people used to handling Panasonic cameras. I just purchased a GF3, new but it was the last one in stock and I'm hoping I don't have to go through the hassle of returning it. I checked it carefully for scratches on the body, dead/stuck pixels on the lcd, shutter speed, lens and everything seemed fine at the store. I had a few hours to shoot with it afterwards, 255 images up until the new batteries died. So far, no issues with IQ or sensor problems showing up.


    One thing I noticed at home that I didn't at the shop or during the few hours I had to shoot with it was a little misalignment in the external panel things. The camera body is white and there is a panel that goes across both sides and the top of the camera that is grey. There are three or four separate bits on the side, top of the camera and on top of the flash made to look like one piece. On one of the sides where the side and top panel connect, there seems to be a slight misalignment. I've checked pics of other GF3's online and they don't have the same misaligned panel.

    Being my first Panasonic in a long time and first Pana 4/3's, I'm not sure if things like this are common. I certainly didn't expect it from something Made In Japan. I'm hoping it's more of a quality control issue than a sign it's been previously mishandled and then repaired or maybe even tampered with.

    IMG_1790s_zpsd3545634.


    I tried forcing the panels into place getting them to line up but it didn't work. They seem set in place so that rules out anything I did in the short time I've had it, resulting in the misalignment.

    Other things I noticed is that the side panels seem to be the ones that are off, compared to the lines on the body, also they have these holes for the screws. On the misaligned ones, the screws don't seem totally centered. I'm thinking about loosening the screws myself to see if that would loosen the panel enough for me to move it but it may also be held in place with some kind of glue or adhesive.


    EDIT:

    Mods - I have asked the same question on an ongoing thread I currently have about the color and styling of the camera. I have put up a new one about a specific question for the same camera in an attempt to get more info. Hopefully this isn't seen as a voilation of the posting rules. If so, please go ahead and delete or merge the threads.
     
  2. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    First of all, it's non-functional trim, so this is only an aesthetic issue. Now, before doing anything else to try and get things lined up, look and see if there is any clearance between the strap lug and trim piece. If there is you may be able to loosen the screw holding the trim in place, shift it and retighten the screw. If there isn't any clearance for the trim to move, there is no way to shift its position.
     
  3. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would loosen the two screws on that side{loosen not take out} and see if it moves then. If not I would learn to live with it. Actually as minor as it is I bet it is within spec. Modern stuff just isn't built with the same pride as it was in days gone by. The technology exists for it to be almost indestructible but they purposely make things poorly so you have to replace them in a few years.
     
  4. je83

    je83 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Apr 16, 2013
    HKG
    For some weird reason I'm starting to like how it looks. The battery cover has a pretty noticeable gap as well, larger than on normal GF-3's I've seen and it catches on the side of the camera bag that I use. So with those two issues I may as well just drop by the service center and have it looked at, maybe they can tell me if this particular unit has been previously submitted for repairs, I'm pretty sure it's new, just some QC issues...
     
  5. je83

    je83 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Apr 16, 2013
    HKG
    BTW guys what do you know about the warranty for their cameras? I went to two different service centers today, the staff at the first one were dicks, the technician suggested that maybe I had dropped the camera asking twice if I had done so, and the service center guy also said that I would have to pay for any parts that were exchanged.
    As far as I know, things like gaps in the body from the manufacturing process are covered in the warranty. I pointed this out to him, especially the part about workmanship, which is stated in the documentation and the guy just sat there and said something about if the body was damaged I would have to pay for the parts, which sounded like another accusation.

    After this, I decided I would think about it a bit before submitting it for service. Later in the day I was in a part of town near another service center and decided to try again. Fortunately they seemed to listen to my explanation that I could not exchange it at the store since it was the last one and that it was a new unit, not a display model. They said they would look at it and see if they could fix it. No mention of pay for parts or anything but they didn't seem too sure about it when I asked if they could fix it.

    A pretty ****ty experience at the first store has me a little worried about the warranty situation. I can't find anything online and I left the box and stuff at a friends house. Any input would be appreciated.

    EDIT: I did ask them to check the serial in their computers and there was no data. At least that doesn't mean it has a history of having been serviced as was one of my concerns buying the last unit that it may have been returned for some reason.
     
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    In my opinion this slight misalignment is not something that would even consider making a warranty claim for, particularly seeing as how you are presumably within the retail return period. I would suggest that your options are:
    1. Learn to live with it, which it seems like you were nearly resigned to in one previous post, or
    2. Try to "fix" it yourself as others have suggested, or
    3. Return it to the store you bought it from. I'm not sure I understand how this being the last unit in stock at the time of purchase invalidates this option.
    As far as Panasonic service, I don't have any personal experience, but it does sound like the people you spoke to were less than helpful. I imagine that those guys see many occasions every day where consumers are less than truthful with them about what mishaps may have befallen their devices. Many moons ago I worked in a bike shop and the thing we heard with just about every mangled bike that came in the shop (particularly those with some sort of warranty coverage) is that the damage occurred when they were "just riding along." When you are looking at a bent fork, or taco'd wheel or damaged frame, those are pretty unlikely things to occur if you are "just riding along." That's not to excuse the behavior of the Panasonic representatives, but just to give you some insight into where they might be coming from.
     
  7. je83

    je83 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Apr 16, 2013
    HKG
    Thanks for the insight on this. I can't actually return it since it was the last unit and local stores make up their own rules about only being able to return an item for the same model/color while it's still in stock.

    I don't want to replace it anyway, it's just annoying when you are submitting a new product for manufacturing defects, even as little as the ones on mine and they treat you like a suspect. They could at least give the customer the benefit of the doubt especially since there there are no actual signs it was misused or mishandled. Also, making the customer pay for these parts is just ridiculous. I understand big companies want to cut costs but taking shortcuts, especially in the customer relations dept. and going back on their warranty terms is a bit weak.
     
  8. Borsch

    Borsch Mu-43 Regular

    51
    Mar 23, 2013
    Some of it I think is due to your customer protection laws as well- for instance, in UK you could always bring item back within a few days, and shops MUST accept it and issue a refund. Warranty service is also vastly different between different countries (what is covered, for how long, how the service centres make profit etc), even for the same brand- eg the same computer parts have lifetime warranty in USA, but a year or two in the EU; XFX has great reputaion for customer care in US, but is known to be scum of the earth in EU...

    The individual differences like nice/not so nice shopkeepers are secondary to underlying laws (both country and company's internal)- imho anyway.

    If i were you, I'd send an email to your country's Panasonic branch, and then, armed with a written response from "higher up" you could go back to the service centre or maybe they will even suggest you to send it in for repairs/exchange.
     
  9. Eutexian

    Eutexian New to Mu-43

    9
    Feb 9, 2012
    I'm far more critical than most - I consider that a 'second' - it should have been discounted. and probably would be here in Britain as its not A1 perfect - which given the price of a new premium camera is the least one should expect.
     
  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I still don't understand how the store's stock factors into your ability to RETURN the camera. Sure, it factors into whether you are able to EXCHANGE the camera, but if this bugs you, why not RETURN the camera and either wait until the retailer has another in stock, or buy one elsewhere?
     
  11. je83

    je83 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Apr 16, 2013
    HKG
    Got a call from the actual technician who's working on it, says it's normal and he can fix the misaligned side panel thing. As far as the battery cover he says there's nothing he can do about the gap. After explaining to him I had compared it to other units of the same color, and that it was definitely a larger gap than most and it flexed more than on the other units I tested, he just said it was normal and ok. He then said replacing the cover would not make a difference. Not sure about that but the main thing is there was no mention of me having to pay for any parts if I had to have anything changed, unlike that other dickhead tech at the fist service center i went to. I asked him about it again and I didn't really understand his explanation over the phone but as long as it opens and closes and is secure, it's not really a big deal.

    @eutexian - It's an older model and no longer available at most stores here. I've been waiting for the prices for these to drop and they are now significantly cheaper than other stores that still stock the model. At 280 usd, I'm not going to make too much of a fuss over minor details like on my unit as I usually do when I find something wrong with something new that I buy. I just wanted to make sure it's not a sign of any other underlying issues, which I'm pretty sure now it's not.



    @Brosch, DeeJay that's common practice in Hong Kong, even for the more reputable shops and big chains like the one I purchased this from, making up their own store policies to make things more convenient for themselves.
    I've dealt with this sort of thing many times before buying things for myself and the numerous visitors I get throughout the year, and have become familiar with the local consumer laws, particularly the Sales of Goods Ordinance (SGO) and the section about rejection of goods.
    The hassle is I often have to speak to two other sales guys and a supervisor and explain every facet of every detail of what's wrong with a product in order to get the most basic of after sales services. It's the same at all the stores, at first they usually resist but when I throw the SGO at them and their responsibilities as a retailer under consumer law, they soften up a bit. They then start acting like it's a major inconvenience to them, having conversations with each other and going to the cashier and back once or twice before actually giving a refund.
     
  12. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Wow! two service centers in your area! I would have to drive over 600 miles{almost 1000 km}. to get to the closest Panasonic service center for m4/3 cameras. So here it would be live with it or get your cash back from the retailer.
     
  13. Borsch

    Borsch Mu-43 Regular

    51
    Mar 23, 2013
    Any update? :)