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04-17-2012, 09:13 AM   #1
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I love Pentax but....

I recently came back from a trip to the Southwest where a mix of less than desirable climate conditions and less-than-perfect care on my part necessitated a wealth of repair work on my camera. After apologizing profusely to this inanimate object that I care for more than most people in my life, I took it to Phototech, which is my local camera repair shop in Manhattan. When I went to pick my camera up 36 hours later, I was chatting with the shop's manager and he told me some troubling news: apparently, most big manufacturers, including Pentax, are going to soon stop providing third-party repair shops with the training and equipment necessary to do camera repairs! Needless to say, the thought of going without my Pentax for three-six weeks while I had it shipped to a warehouse in who-knows-where scared my plenty.

The manager pointed me to Phototech Camera Spa, a campaign his shop is running to let the manufacturers know this practice is unacceptable. There is a petition there, and we can pledge a tweet. I encourage everyone to check it out and sign up. Oh, and you can learn more about the shop at Phototech on Vimeo


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04-17-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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If I am not mistaken, Nikon has started to do that as well.
04-17-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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That may be true! I'm not a Nikon guy myself so I'm not sure, but it wouldn't shock me. I imagine it's better for the manufacturers? They could then charge whatever they wanted for repairs and take as long to return them to us as they wanted.
04-17-2012, 10:08 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I don't know what makes the camera companies think this is even remotely OK. An analogy would be car manufacturers demanding you stop going to your local mechanic, and instead have to ship it back to the factory for repairs.

Just because Nikon wants to screw over its customers like this doesn't mean Pentax/Ricoh should follow suit. I think they need a wakeup call on this one.

04-17-2012, 10:39 AM   #5
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I got 8 6-12 mp bodies, all run on 4 AA batts. Plenty of backup. I also have duplicates of impoirtnat lenses.

Remember an important saying...2 is 1 and 1 is none. So always have backups
04-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by slackercruster Quote
I got 8 6-12 mp bodies, all run on 4 AA batts. Plenty of backup. I also have duplicates of impoirtnat lenses.

Remember an important saying...2 is 1 and 1 is none. So always have backups

Clearly that is not a situation which is practical for everyone to replicate.
04-17-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by slackercruster Quote
I got 8 6-12 mp bodies, all run on 4 AA batts. Plenty of backup. I also have duplicates of impoirtnat lenses.

Remember an important saying...2 is 1 and 1 is none. So always have backups
Sure if you're a pro or a semi-pro. For a hobbyist, forget it. The gear has to be reliable enough not to need lots of backups for hobby stuff. Hell, that's one of the reasons why I bought into Pentax in the first place - a reasonably priced, robust and high-quality weather-sealed setup was obtainable from them. One or two bodies is usually the max for a hobbyist and should be enough too.
04-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #8
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I wonder. Might this constitute restraint of trade?

04-17-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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If I understand the Nikon situation correctly, they are not explicitly forbidding repairs. However, they are not supplying parts to repair shops. I think that this tact circumvents any restraint-of-trade issues. Seems to be a common approach to all aspects of the camera biz these days, huh?
04-17-2012, 01:16 PM   #10
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ofer4-

Thanks for offering some clarification. Your explanation makes sense. Unfortunately, it means that the problem just found a way to crouch itself in some sort of legal protection!
04-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #11
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Nowadays the cameras are disposable. It's not like a MX that will keep shooting for decades before getting CLA'd. They are in the business of making you buy a new camera every other year, it's in their best interest to not spend money with logistics for spare parts and training to 3rd parties.

They are just doing what gadgetry (e.g. Apple) does. If it breaks, send to manufacturer or sell on Ebay and buy a new one.
04-17-2012, 02:28 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
They are just doing what gadgetry (e.g. Apple) does.
That would be the one thing that would drive me away from this brand. Apple is the worst of the worst when it comes to consumer products and marketing practices. If Ricoh ever tried to emulate that with Pentax, that'd be it for me.
04-17-2012, 04:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
That would be the one thing that would drive me away from this brand. Apple is the worst of the worst when it comes to consumer products and marketing practices. If Ricoh ever tried to emulate that with Pentax, that'd be it for me.
There's nothing wrong with Apple per se. They sell stuff that works. But don't ask the corner shop to fix your broken MacBook, because they can't - either because they don't have spare parts or because it was simply desgined without replaceable parts. You can call it "evil marketing practices", but it's just economics at work.

The same happens with cameras nowadays. Design constraints and the sheer complexity of the electronics just forbids Joe the camera guy from fixing your DSLR. The manufacturer won't stockpile spare parts for a camera model that will go out of line in 6 months, neither can they design a camera packed with features and still allow everything to be easily fixable. It might happen for a high-end model since the buyer expects a longer ROI, but for consumer models, hell no.

It's about constraints, scale and price. I bet a M9 owner won't complain about sending it to Leica to get it fixed.
04-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #14
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Too tired today to give that the rebuke it deserves, but if you really believe it's anything other than simple greed, you're kidding yourself.
04-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #15
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If the manufacturers are having trouble with the quality and correctness of repairs in the field I could see them requiring all Warranty work to be send back to them, but to deny parts to the people capable of doing the work outside of warranty is so ridiculous we might as well all go back to our film cameras, at least they don't NEED parts to keep going, just a quick bit of fiddling by Eric every few decades and a few seals that can be reproduced.
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