Panasonic Repair Service Woes

Jonathan F/2

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The low Nikon score is probably due to gray-market buyers who get pissy when Nikon USA says they’re not touching the product.

From what I’ve read on various Nikon forums, so long as your item is repaired in the country you purchased it from, there’s not much of an issue to be had. Granted, you end up paying a few hundred bucks depending on the fix, but that’s better than being told to go pound sand and just buy another copy.
If you're a working pro, have NPS status and also own a significant amount of registered equipment, you get both priority service and a 20% discount for out of warranty repairs. There's actually quite a bit of incentive to shoot Nikon professionally.
 

davidzvi

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The low Nikon score is probably due to gray-market buyers who get pissy when Nikon USA says they’re not touching the product.

From what I’ve read on various Nikon forums, so long as your item is repaired in the country you purchased it from, there’s not much of an issue to be had. Granted, you end up paying a few hundred bucks depending on the fix, but that’s better than being told to go pound sand and just buy another copy.
I believe it's actually if "you" bought it in it's intended market, you can get it serviced in your market. But you have to have the documentation. I can't remember where I read it or heard it. It protects the traveling pros that need to purchase replacement gear while working around the world.
 

Mack

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I suspect some of the Nikon issue appeared when they boasted, "Only we can service the new cameras" and then they shut down independent repair shops from getting something as simple as a battery door. I went through this when one of their speedlights overheated (SB-900, and it still does!) and the battery swelled up and broke the battery door. A plastic door replacement was $75 less shipping so maybe $85 for a $2 part that most anyone could install could they get it.

Some were speculating low satisfaction was due to them shutting off parts to control the gray market imports too.

I have sent items into their shop and not a bad turn-around within 2-3 weeks where Olympus took 4-5 weeks for a lens version update along with several "Revised estimates" which negates their claim of "In shop 3-4 days" claim.

I have had Canon respond as to "My satisfaction with a repair" with a real person phone call which floored me. Another was the "End of life" and an offer to replace with newer at cost. Canon seems more proactive than many.

The lower-rated ones seem to be repairs independent of the main manufacturer; i.e. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Etc. who outsource. Even our new $3,500 Sony big-screen TV is a throw-away at the end of the warranty where they can replace it with a refurb while under warranty. No one seems to fix the things locally, and warranty seems to be Sony Service driving around once outside my 14-day return window with the selling dealer. Extended warranty extends the replacement or refurb date. Disposable society I guess even if it costs $3,500.
 

brera13

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Hello compañeros.Aqui in Spain the Olympus SAT is excellent.Repair times of a week or two as much.Revision of the total cameras, replacing in many cases the rubbers of the viewfinders, flash caps, etc. that were not sent with the camera. There have been cases of sending from the SAT, new cameras Em 5 Mark II instead of the old EM 5 sent to repair :). Excellent communication at all times. In this case Panasonic's service is almost non-existent , takes a lot, in cases of 35-100 2.8 mm the price of fix of the objective is the same as when buying it from secondhand. Also some 100-400 have been split by the saddle and there is no possibility of arrangement.In fact the Olympus SAT is well above those of more brands, at least here in Spain.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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After being caught in one of many, usual for the UK weather, rains I got home and when I was cleaning my Panasonic Leica Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f 2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS of the raindrops I noticed a few water droplets behind the front element assembly which has dried now and left small watermarks on (about) 10% of the glass element. I have lost all thrust in Panasonic Weather Sealing claims (compared to Olympus especially).
I sent it for service to the official Panasonic Repair Service in South West England and I got quoted for "repairs":
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Is it really that imposible to just wipe that element? It's right behind the front element which in most lenses should be able to take off.
For a high-end lens (technically it's 3rd most expensive of their entire catalogue, after Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 and Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f 1.7) one would expect their lenses to be at least servicable. The resale value has now plumited and don't know if it's even possible to get enough on it to exchange it for an Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 Pro used (which has proper weather sealing).
 

RichardC

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After being caught in one of many, usual for the UK weather, rains I got home and when I was cleaning my Panasonic Leica Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f 2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS of the raindrops I noticed a few water droplets behind the front element assembly which has dried now and left small watermarks on (about) 10% of the glass element. I have lost all thrust in Panasonic Weather Sealing claims (compared to Olympus especially).
I sent it for service to the official Panasonic Repair Service in South West England and I got quoted for "repairs":
View attachment 854776
Is it really that imposible to just wipe that element? It's right behind the front element which in most lenses should be able to take off.
For a high-end lens (technically it's 3rd most expensive of their entire catalogue, after Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 and Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f 1.7) one would expect their lenses to be at least servicable. The resale value has now plumited and don't know if it's even possible to get enough on it to exchange it for an Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 Pro used (which has proper weather sealing).
Have you tried anyone else?

H.Lehmann in Stoke on Trent used to do all of the chargeable repairs for all 100 odd Jessops branches. They are still going and are an official Olympus service centre. Obviously, they don't just do Olympus - historically, they could repair just about anything. 01782 413611
 

Stanga

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There is also Clearer Images, who are up North and have a very good track record. Charged me less than £100 to clean a lens.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Have you tried anyone else?

H.Lehmann in Stoke on Trent used to do all of the chargeable repairs for all 100 odd Jessops branches. They are still going and are an official Olympus service centre. Obviously, they don't just do Olympus - historically, they could repair just about anything. 01782 413611
There is also Clearer Images, who are up North and have a very good track record. Charged me less than £100 to clean a lens.
Thank you so much, I will email them and ask if they could do that. My worries are mostly that mold might grow on it in the years to come, being inside the assembly doesn't seem to affect image quality (though I never shot past f 11).
I would expect around 150 to 300 £ for a repair service since the lens needs to be disassembled to be cleaned. Hence why there are not a lot of "brave souls" to have that done (for whatever reason).
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Have you tried anyone else?

H.Lehmann in Stoke on Trent used to do all of the chargeable repairs for all 100 odd Jessops branches. They are still going and are an official Olympus service centre. Obviously, they don't just do Olympus - historically, they could repair just about anything. 01782 413611
I tried them Richard and they told me they don't handle Panasonic lenses, they were the ones who directed me to DKAVS LTD

There is also Clearer Images, who are up North and have a very good track record. Charged me less than £100 to clean a lens.
Got an email quote from them for 170£ ... going to send the lens on Monday and hopefully be done with this.
 

Mike Wingate

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That is better news. I hope they can give the element a clean and service the lens. Please report back with your results. Repairers in the U.K. are scarce.
 

archaeopteryx

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Is it really that impossible to just wipe that element?
The thinking around mu-43 ever since Panasonic's replace only thing came up with the Panasonic-Leica 100-400 has been that what Panasonic does is send returned lenses to Japan for refurb and then cycle those back as replacement offerings for someone else's return. At the time Panasonic was getting a lot of heat over the 100-400 they claimed it was because recalibration after reassembling lenses could only be done using equipment in Japan but that they'd look into providing the service from other continents. While it's unclear if this was somehow a Leica requirement specific to the Panasonic-Leica lenses, to my knowledge Panasonic never followed through with changes and a similar replace only policy seems to apply to at least some of their non-Leica lenses like the 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8.

As a longtime reader of Roger Cicala's lens teardowns (and also as someone who's dabbled with disassembly and reassembly of a couple of older cameras and simple 6/4 manual lenses) I'm skeptical of Panasonic's claims here. While it's purely speculation on my part, it would not surprise me if Panasonic's replace only policy actually results from a calculation it costs less to do business this way than to provide repair. That said, if a lens isn't particularly designed with servicing in mind accessing the front group can sometimes require disassembling pretty much the entire lens from the back. Given the quote you got I'd would guess that's probably not the case for the 50-200, though.

Personally, regardless of the details, my policy in response is not to buy any Panasonic kit which I can't afford to replace. Other mu-43 members have taken a stronger stance and stopped buying Panasonic all together, looking to Olympus instead. So you're not alone there. As mentioned earlier on this page of the thread, Nikon's been moving in a Panasonic-like direction. I've also read of people getting repair quotes from Fuji where it made more sense to buy a used lens and seen similar stories about Sony and Zeiss quotes. So, while Panasonic might be bad about repair, it's unclear to me they're noticeably worse than much of their competition in a functional sense.

Also not sure if there's been any trustworthy indication about what JIP might do about Olympus repairs.
 
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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The thinking around mu-43 ever since Panasonic's replace only thing came up with the Panasonic-Leica 100-400 has been that what Panasonic does is send returned lenses to Japan for refurb and then cycle those back as replacement offerings for someone else's return. At the time Panasonic was getting a lot of heat over the 100-400 they claimed it was because recalibration after reassembling lenses could only be done using equipment in Japan but that they'd look into providing the service from other continents. While it's unclear if this was somehow a Leica requirement specific to the Panasonic-Leica lenses, to my knowledge Panasonic never followed through with changes and a similar replace only policy seems to apply to at least some of their non-Leica lenses like the 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8.

As a longtime reader of Roger Cicala's lens teardowns (and also as someone who's dabbled with disassembly and reassembly of a couple of older cameras and simple 6/4 manual lenses) I'm skeptical of Panasonic's claims here. While it's purely speculation on my part it, would not surprise me if Panasonic's replace only policy actually results from a calculation it costs less to do business this way than to provide repair. That said, if a lens isn't particularly designed with servicing in mind accessing the front group can sometimes require disassembling pretty much the entire lens from the back. Given the quote you got I'd would guess that's probably not the case for the 50-200, though.

Personally, regardless of the details, my policy in response is not to buy any Panasonic kit which I can't afford to replace. Other mu-43 members have taken a stronger stance and stopped buying Panasonic all together, looking to Olympus instead. So you're not alone there. As mentioned earlier on this page of the thread, Nikon's been moving in a Panasonic-like direction. I've also read of people getting repair quotes from Fuji where it made more sense to buy a used lens and seen similar stories about Sony and Zeiss quotes. So, while Panasonic might be bad about repair, it's unclear to me they're noticeably worse than much of their competition in a functional sense.

Also not sure if there's been any trustworthy indication about what JIP might do about Olympus repairs.
Thank you so much for mentioning this, this is enough to make me #&£" bricks on dropping four swans cut down by a straight bullet (£) for the Leicas of 200mm f 2.8, 100-400mm f 4-6.3, 50-200mm f 2.8-4, 10-25mm f 1.7, 42.5mm f 1.2, 12mm f 1.4.
Ive seen, heard and even experienced good stories and support around Olympus Repair service and it seems that, even in the UK there are a lot of repair specialist that can do repairs on Olympus which should be able to still do even if JIP (could/might/would/will? Who knows) changes the policies on the repair/service mode.
Inread a lot of Roger Cicala's blogs, extremely informative and educational (especially on field curvature which I have a high interest in). He does give a lot of high praises to Canon's engineering and designing team for their lenses. Extremely well built and made. If only it didn't cost a lawyer's salary or a dentist's pension for an L lens since only those are weather sealed.
 

archaeopteryx

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You're welcome. An economist would probably define the expected cost of ownership of a lens as something along the lines of purchase price net of any eventual sales price plus the cost of repair or replacement times its probability of being needed. The balance of evidence here on mu-43 suggests that, after controlling for differences in unit volumes, Olympus kit is more likely to need repair or replacement than Panasonic kit. Since the details vary by the specific issues of particular bodies and lenses, it's been quite difficult for me to estimate if there's a meaningful difference in averaged or maximum likelihood maintenance costs between the two brands.

Personally, I'm unlikely to own any Panasonic-Leica lenses other than the 45 Elmarit I already have since I'm either not interested in them or they're in price ranges above my willingness or ability to pay. Given the collective shift upmarket in response to falling ILC demand, this is also true of most E, L, R, X, and Z mount lenses and bodies. Some repairs seem to still sit around $/£/€ 200 but most of the things I'd be likely to send a lens in for run 300-400, if not 500-700. Whereas all of the m43 lenses I use can usually be found for 175-350 used. This makes value of repair debatable, creating a certain immunity to Panasonic's servicing decisions, but I'd have to accept more risk if I wanted to use an 8-18 instead of a 9-18.

I think this tradeoff becomes pernicious for lenses priced in the 750-1000 range. They're expensive enough it makes more sense to repair than to replace but repair costs often aren't too much below used pricing. Beyond that, it seems like repair-replace spreads tend to increase, though repair costs often still go up. To the extent service is part of total cost of ownership and cost drives purchasing decisions, this means greater competitive disadvantage for Panasonic's choice to replace the more expensive a lens is. It strikes me as implausible the company's blind to this but it's not to their advantage to be open about it and I find it difficult to construct a scenario where there'd be enough competitive pressure to motivate a change.

Cleaning a 50-200's probably also a special case in that no parts are required. From what I've read, Panasonic doesn't seem to make those available to enable third party repair.
 

Mike Wingate

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I have never factored in the repair price when making a purchase. I always purchase new items, with a warranty. Generally from a shop or store. Some lenses have been bought online with trepidation, but so far no problems. Selling...never seem to entertain this. I do have the Panasonic 12-32 and 35-100mm kit lenses, unused in the wardrobe.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I have never factored in the repair price when making a purchase. I always purchase new items, with a warranty. Generally from a shop or store. Some lenses have been bought online with trepidation, but so far no problems. Selling...never seem to entertain this. I do have the Panasonic 12-32 and 35-100mm kit lenses, unused in the wardrobe.
Are you interested in giving them a new home *wink wink* :p
 

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