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08-26-2014, 07:02 AM   #1
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645z broken after 2 weeks

The joy of early adoption...

Spoken to Pentax tech support today and it seems I'm going to have to return my 645z. The rear wheel is not functioning at all. It stopped a few days ago and started again but now it's completely non functioning. Anyone else experienced this? I've tried every button combination to get it going plus resetting the camera but so far nothing.

Hugely disappointed with Pentax support. They've asked me to post the camera at my own expense and convenience back to them? No mention of replacement cameras. That is terribly poor customer service, especially considering the cost of the camera. They could take a leaf out of Fuji's book who arrange couriers and replacement cameras very quickly. I guess that is the price one pays for buying into a Pentax MF over a phase one or hassy.

Not a happy customer.

08-26-2014, 07:13 AM   #2
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Oh No !!!! Tell us that it's not so. I too, would not be a happy customer at all. Pentax has a knack for going out of their way - grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory, just about every opportunity that they can find.

08-26-2014, 07:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth Iwan Jones Quote
I guess that is the price one pays for buying into a Pentax MF over a phase one or hassy.
I understand the frustration, and I don't mean to excuse the apparently poor customer support from Pentax. From a purely economic standpoint however, considering the price difference between the Hasselblad and the Pentax, I suspect that after paying shipping you're still a dollar or two ahead.
08-26-2014, 07:17 AM   #4
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OP, where are you located, how did you initiate the service work, and which company did you speak to (or did you speak with Ricoh directly?)

08-26-2014, 07:19 AM   #5
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At two weeks, your first resource for replacement should be the place where you purchased the camera. A reputable shop or online merchant will provide an immediate replacement at no additional expense to you.


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08-26-2014, 07:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
I understand the frustration, and I don't mean to excuse the apparently poor customer support from Pentax. From a purely economic standpoint however, considering the price difference between the Hasselblad and the Pentax, I suspect that after paying shipping you're still a dollar or two ahead.
That's not the point at all and I can't believe you thought that remark was worth saying out loud.
08-26-2014, 07:31 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bossa Quote
That's not the point at all and I can't believe you thought that remark was worth saying out loud.
I don't understand your comment, being that the OP is who brought up the Hassy and Phase One alternatives. Why would Parallax not be allowed to comment on what the OP stated?

Having said that, I agree that the dealer should have sought a replacement. Most reputable dealers, including online ones, will accept defective items for an exchange or refund within 30 days. The question is, did the OP go to the dealer or directly to Pentax?
08-26-2014, 08:02 AM   #8
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Just think though, if it had been a Nikon 645z, they would have vehemently denied that there was a problem with the dial, and then released a new model just to spite you :P

In all seriousness, at $8500, they ought to stand by their workmanship enough to cover the shipping. Maybe you need to bring it to the attention of someone higher up than the clerk at the service center.

08-26-2014, 08:03 AM - 1 Like   #9
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When the 645D came out, there was a spate of control wheel failures in the first shipments, and I believe most of these cameras were exchanged. At least the ones I know about.

My first Pentax 645Z was dead on arrival -- phase detect autofocus through the lens was completely non-functional, on all lenses. I took it back to my dealer and they replaced it over the counter with their last remaining stock camera, no questions asked. I've owned the 645D for nearly 4 years, and had two shutters fail on the same body, a couple of years apart; once under warranty, once out of warranty. In both cases I took the camera to my dealer, and they made arrangements for the camera to go back to Japan for repair. I was without the camera for 10 weeks for the first warranty repair, and the 2nd time I've been without it for 7 weeks and counting. But in both cases Pentax (or possibly the dealer) took care of the packaging, shipping costs, etc.

So I agree with the previous post -- talk first with your dealer and see about getting an exchange. Pentax / Ricoh is a massive company, and as with all massive companies each of us is just one of millions of faceless customers. But to the dealer -- even a big player like B&H -- presumably our relationship is valued more. If your dealer is unwilling or unable to do exchange (maybe they have no stock), then I would request at a minimum the coverage of shipping by the dealer and/or Pentax.

Yes, Phase and Hasselblad are astronomically more expensive and a big part of that cost goes into the support program. But we all know that Pentax support needs to be stepped up and there's simply no excuse for nickle and diming a customer for things like shipping costs on the warranty repair of a 2-week old $8500 USD top-of-line camera.

I have spoken to my local Pentax rep and clearly stated that the best thing I believe Pentax can do to attract and retain the kind of photographers they want with the digital 645 system is not any lenses, tethering software, or other widgets. My #1 priority and I believe the same for many others is a professional level of support with options for replacement gear, loaners, expedited shipping, etc. I encourage everyone else to send the same message loud & clear through your local dealers and reps. Any manufactured item can fail, even high-end ones; it's what a company does to support the customer that will set the system at the professional level that Ricoh clearly wants.

Last edited by Royce Howland; 08-26-2014 at 09:05 AM.
08-26-2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth Iwan Jones Quote
The joy of early adoption...

Spoken to Pentax tech support today and it seems I'm going to have to return my 645z. The rear wheel is not functioning at all. It stopped a few days ago and started again but now it's completely non functioning. Anyone else experienced this? I've tried every button combination to get it going plus resetting the camera but so far nothing.

Hugely disappointed with Pentax support. They've asked me to post the camera at my own expense and convenience back to them? No mention of replacement cameras. That is terribly poor customer service, especially considering the cost of the camera. They could take a leaf out of Fuji's book who arrange couriers and replacement cameras very quickly. I guess that is the price one pays for buying into a Pentax MF over a phase one or hassy.

Not a happy customer.
Check with Trading Standards about the recent (July) changes to consumer protection legislation which expands on your right of return, in particular how long you have to 'reject' the item. In any event the retailer is responsible for returns and dealing with Pentax. If they're any good they'll arrange a loan camera.

If you bought on line you'll have an extended period to reject it as 'unmerchantable quality' - 60 days I think?

I'm sure some new (July 2014) UK consumer legislation also means return p&p is paid by the retailer.

Johnson's (Pentax support) just fix it.

Last edited by JohnX; 08-26-2014 at 08:46 AM.
08-26-2014, 09:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth Iwan Jones Quote
The joy of early adoption...

Spoken to Pentax tech support today and it seems I'm going to have to return my 645z. The rear wheel is not functioning at all. It stopped a few days ago and started again but now it's completely non functioning. Anyone else experienced this? I've tried every button combination to get it going plus resetting the camera but so far nothing.

Hugely disappointed with Pentax support. They've asked me to post the camera at my own expense and convenience back to them? No mention of replacement cameras. That is terribly poor customer service, especially considering the cost of the camera. They could take a leaf out of Fuji's book who arrange couriers and replacement cameras very quickly. I guess that is the price one pays for buying into a Pentax MF over a phase one or hassy.

Not a happy customer.
I hope this is an anomaly and not an issue with many 645z cameras.
08-26-2014, 09:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
I understand the frustration, and I don't mean to excuse the apparently poor customer support from Pentax. From a purely economic standpoint however, considering the price difference between the Hasselblad and the Pentax, I suspect that after paying shipping you're still a dollar or two ahead.
Sorry bad choice of phrasing on my part, I didn't mean the actual financial price one pays but more the relative detrimental customer experience. It's a new and comparatively small venture for Pentax and perhaps they don't have the customer support expected by the photographers that are using their MF products that Hassy and Phase One have.

For example I've had issues with a Hassy H4D before on a shoot and their tech department arranged for a new body to be couriered the same day. Hasselblad and Phase One are used to dealing with professionals on jobs using their equipment whereas it seems Pentax are not.

I'm in the middle of shooting a reasonable sized jobby and to be told to post the camera back at my own expense and convenience with no replacement/loan in my opinion is not acceptable.
08-26-2014, 09:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth Iwan Jones Quote
It's a new and comparatively small venture for Pentax
No, they've had the 645D for what, about 5 years now. So they should be used to dealing with pros by now.

I agree with you that this is not acceptable, maybe there's someone higher up in Pentax that you could talk to?

And also, I guess you did not try to deal with the dealer?
08-26-2014, 09:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth Iwan Jones Quote
camera back at my own expense and convenience with no replacement/loan in my opinion is not acceptable.
Again, where are you located, and by what service are you getting this camera replaced? For example, is it through your dealer? Or did you talk with Pentax directly, and how did you do so?
08-26-2014, 09:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
OP, where are you located, how did you initiate the service work, and which company did you speak to (or did you speak with Ricoh directly?)
My first point of contact was with Pentax because I need a replacement/loan camera urgently and thought they might be a better start point. This is the experience I'm moaning about, I was a bit taken back by how bad it was.

I own a Fuji x100 which costs less than a tenth of the 645z but as one of Fuji's 'premium' products they have an appropriate customer service for faulty 'premium' cameras. Replaced quickly whilst they sort the fault out. Canon Professional Service offer something similar. As the Pentax 645z is one of Pentax's premium products and likely to be used by professionals I was hoping they might offer something similar.

I'm now talking to the retailer who are talking to the Pentax rep so I'll keep the post updated as I progress.
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