Refurbished E-M5 with sticky shutter... repair or return?

ThatFireGuy

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Hi all,

First post here, so howdy from Idaho!

I recently decided to join the MFT ranks, getting a refurbished E-M5 with roughly 350 shutter actuation's from GetOlympus.com a few weeks ago. I have to say I rather liked it, until I noticed a few black frames here and there, and couldn't figure out why. I searched the web, found out that it was likely a sticky shutter, looked at my settings, ran a few tests, and sure enough, that appears to be it. Black frame first shot, every time, if I shoot a bright scene at f/2.8 and 1/4000 shutter speed after turning the camera on. Tried it on both the f2.8 60mm macro and the f2.8 12-40mm pro zoom with the same results.

Here's my question... I called the Olympus tech support line, trying to find out how to return it for repair, and I was told it would be better to send it for exchange or a refund rather than repair it. Seemed a bit odd, but the lady on the phone was pretty persistent, and even told me that there's no E-M5s in stock to exchange, so I'd be better off getting a refund. I've been a Canon shooter prior to this, so I have no idea how Olympus is to deal with with these kind of matters.

I like the camera, and if I send it in for a refund I'll probably order another one, new this time, but not through GetOlympus.

So I'm curious... based on the experience someone here might have had, should I try to pursue a repair option, despite the advice from the tech support lady, or just bite the bullet, get a refund, and spend the extra money to get a new copy?

Thanks for any advice!
 

Replytoken

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Welcome to the forum! I have purchased several refurbished bodies from Olympus, and recently sent a used body in for the same problem. Refurbished E-M5's are frequent in their store, so I cannot imagine getting you a replacement would be an issue if you have no preference between black and chrome. And, a repair would probably entail a replacement of the shutter, and this usually takes about two weeks plus shipping, unless they do not have the parts in stock.

Their store does not presently show stock for refurbished E-M5's, but stock changes daily. You can go either way, but I would recommend an extended warranty regardless of your decision. It is cheap and usually includes a free sensor cleaning.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

HarryS

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Which is better, another EM5 pulled out of the pile of returns, or an EM5 with a replacement shutter, verified and tested by a technician.I would prefer the latter camera if it were available.

By the way, does your refurb have the small crack at the bottom of the LCD bezel?.
 

Replytoken

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In theory, they should all have been tested by technicians. Olympus has a 90-day warranty, so at least you are covered. Regarding the LCD bezel, they should have replaced the screen bezel, as it was initially covered on a no-cost warranty repair for all of the impacted bodies. The deadline passed in February, but they were not quite fuly enforcing it. If you send it back for the shutter repair, then call out the crack and have them replace the bezel. Also, if you do have the camera repaired, it will be repaired by a Precision Camera technician, under contract with Olympus. The camera I sent in for the no-cost bezel replacement came back with an IBIS problem, but Olympus covered its repair, and it now seems to be working fine. You have the choice, but at least neither is a completely bad option. Post if you have any additional questions.

--Ken
 

nixapatfan

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Think about why that camera was originally sent back to Olympus, refurbs are usually returns because someone didn't like it or because it had an issue. I'd ask for another instead of playing the repair game because if the same idiot that "refurbished" this camera is repairing yours, what are the chances they will diagnose the correct issue and fix it or will they do a "5 point check" and send it back again.
 

Replytoken

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Think about why that camera was originally sent back to Olympus, refurbs are usually returns because someone didn't like it or because it had an issue. I'd ask for another instead of playing the repair game because if the same idiot that "refurbished" this camera is repairing yours, what are the chances they will diagnose the correct issue and fix it or will they do a "5 point check" and send it back again.
I believe that there are a number of additional factors that should be considered. First, the people who would be repairing the camera are not the same people who refurbish them. Precision Camera does repairs for Olympus America. I do not beleive that they refurbish them, although I could be mistaken. Second, asking for another camera will get you a camera that comes from the same refurbished stock as the first. Finally, there are a number of reasons why equipment is sold as refurbished. Some of it was returned with no problems, some with problems, some may have been demos, and some are brand new. Companies often times will put new merchandise in their refurbished lines if they want to reduce inventory without running a sale or adjusting their MSRP. In all cases, these cameras come with a 30-day return and a 90-day warranty. If you are not happy with your purchase, or it is not functioning correctly, you can exercise the appropriate option.

--Ken
 

M4/3

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My refurbed E-M5 also has the blacked out first frame problem. I did not send it back during the 90 day warranty period so I'm stuck with it. Good thing I use the E-M5 mainly for steady hand held video. And I shoot stills mainly with my E-PL1 because its jpegs are a bit sharper and brighter. Bottom line is that it appears some E-M5 refurbs get the "sunshine treatment"; i.e. a cosmetic touch up without truly thorough functionality testing. I use a Panasonic GH4 for tripod/monopod video shots - can't use it for hand held video because it's stabilization in poor in comparison to the E-M5 even when using a Panasonic Mega OIS lens.
 

fortwodriver

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Precision Camera Repair? Is that the same PCR that's based in Connecticut? If so, years ago I sent them a Contax 50mm lens to repair and it came back better than it ever was new!
 

ThatFireGuy

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Thanks for all the input everyone! I'm thinking it'll be sent in for repair, although I'm still weighing my options... B&H has some bundles that are attractive... $200 off the body and $200 off the 75mm f1.8 for a total saving of $400... that's about a wash if I do that and send the refurb back. The LCD bezel is fine, the shutter seems to be the only issue. I hadn't bought anything refurbished from Olympus before, but I've bought refurb lenses from Canon before with excellent luck, so I thought I'd give Olympus a try. Kind of regretting that at the moment.

Now that I looked into the Olympus refurb program a bit more, it seems most likely that the camera got returned because of the shutter, but it wasn't mentioned as a cause, so it got overlooked in the inspection. My best guess anyway.

Regardless of what I do I'm still loving the camera, so I'll be sticking with the E-M5 for sure. :)
 

b_rubenstein

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Seriously, if Olympus is saying it would be better to get your money back, return it and get your money back.

With so much of the camera repair work across the entire industry being done by 3rd party companies, I think I'm more inclined to buy used gear from individuals than refrubs.
 

ThatFireGuy

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Thanks for the input all... I decided to send it back for the refund, and ordered a new copy from B&H. They've been good to me so far, and I know I'd rather deal with them if I have any issues.
 

Replytoken

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While the answers to these issues are heavily dependent on budget and personal comfort levels, try to remember that if something comes up requiring service after your initial purchase period, almost all roads lead to Rome, or in this case Enfield, CT if you reside in the US. In the past three years, I have purchased three refurbished lenses, two refurbished bodies, and three used Olympus bodies. I have been fortunate to have no issues with the refurbished lenses or bodies to date. Two used E-M5's that I purchased did require some servicing, and one of them may have had acquired its problem during servicing. But, in spite of the various time issues (shipping, waiting on authorization and parts), Precision has sent me back both units, and they are now operating quite well, complete with a six month warranty on their repairs. The folks at Precision were pleasant and helpful, and that is more than I can say for some of the Olympus reps who seem contracted out and located nowhere near the offices of Olympus America. I wish service was faster, but in the end, Precision did right by their repairs, and I do not believe that my experience was as bad as some of the horror stories that I have heard about Nikon USA's repairs of late.

I am sorry that you got a refurbished lemon, and I hope that your new camera body never needs service, but if it does, it is mostly a matter on inconvenience (especially if you are on the west coast and want to ship economically, like UPS Ground where the travel time is five business days).

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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