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08-30-2014, 06:03 PM   #1
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Lost cause

Well here goes on Pentax. The first camera I ever owned was a Pentax SLR fifty years ago. I have since bought a 645 film and a 645 digital and was considering the 645Z. I have decided to never buy Pentax ever again. The reason is, I bought a 25mm WA lens that cost me 5k Canadian. The AF went south for no apparent reason and I got it repaired under warranty.
The AF went again, but this time it got a good thump, no mystery about why it went south. I have heard that this lens seems to be a bit on the delicate side and have heard complaints about the AF problems. The word on the street is that this $5000.00 lens has an inherent design fault with the AF. I sent the lens back to Toronto from Edmonton through the dealer from whom I bought it. Now here begins the incredible tale of woe. The lens sat in Toronto for a month and a half at which time I called to find out what happened to it. I got a call back telling me it was still in Toronto and do I want it forwarded to Japan for repairs. Are you %))(*%^%$^ kidding me? I was also told it would cost $170.00 to ship it return.
I called the Pentax rep here in Alberta and to his credit he got it shipped to Japan at no cost to me as I was never told I could not get service on this lens in Canada, let alone be billed for shipping. The estimate came back after many weeks at $600.00. I instructed them to return it without repairs as I can easily use it with MF only as it is a landscape lens anyway. After more than four months I still have not received my lens. I have lost more than four months of summer shooting and Iím still waiting.
Pentax Richo is a pathetic gong show, ironically, they manufacture some of the best cameras and lenses made, but they are the most arrogant ^&(^^(*^()_((%$# I have had the misfortune to deal with, they donít even respond to emails. They have created a game changer with their 645Z, but Iím afraid their arrogance and gong show behavior will negate any advantage they should have gained over their competition. If you want the advice of a fifty year veteran user of Pentax products...DONT BUY PENTAX.


08-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #2
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Maybe I miss something here but based upon your comment "but this time it got a good thump, no mystery about why it went south" the issue you are complaining about would likely be:

1) not related to the first issue.
2) not related to "the word on the street"
3) would imply it would not be covered by warranty so that they shipped it for free (with insurance no doubt) would be quite generous.

The time frame sucks but if waiting longer then expected is your worst experience in 50 years of being a customer that I'd say they are doing pretty well.
08-30-2014, 07:03 PM   #3
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08-30-2014, 07:41 PM - 1 Like   #4
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aeros,

I'm so sorry about your mishap with your 25mm DFA. I bought 645Z a few weeks ago. Pair it with a few FA lenses (75mm, 120mm, 150mm and 80-160mm), the Z is great (so far ...).
However, reading about all these bad rapports about the system, lately I'm starting to doubt the system myself especially their Customer Service.

I hope you'll find a more suitable way out for this unfortunate event with your system ... I hope with a good amount of 645Z sales, Ricoh Pentax will provide us with better, more professional Customer Services in year to come ...

08-30-2014, 07:49 PM - 1 Like   #5
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$600 to repair or replace the AF motor on a $5000 lens doesn't sound too out of line. Probably some price gouging going on, but what can you do when it's a high-end, specialty lens? But the months and months of waiting and the lack of communication would be hard to stomach.
08-30-2014, 09:03 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
$600 to repair or replace the AF motor on a $5000 lens doesn't sound too out of line. Probably some price gouging going on, but what can you do when it's a high-end, specialty lens? But the months and months of waiting and the lack of communication would be hard to stomach.
The wait & also the repair price are just too much for me ... specially that lens is a new gen. Pentax DFA/DA. Unless I dropped it or stupid stuff like that, it should stay in great working condition for long. And also, if it's less then a year, repair/exchange should be free, IMHO.
08-30-2014, 09:08 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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Rant aside you have a single very important point: people who purchase $5,000 lenses and $8,000 cameras deserve service and support that match that price tag. You should have received a loaner, perhaps at a rental fee, and you should have been walked through the status of your repair from A to Z. It should have been expedited to Japan if needed and returned to you in weeks, not months.

Ricoh is capable of this level of service. If our copier breaks down it is fixed in 24 hours. Period. So they know how, it seems they just don't see the need. They understand a copier is mission critical to a working business. They need to understand a camera is mission critical to a working photographer.

If they want to sell Q's and low end DSLRs to hipsters fine, service can be lousy and they can get away with it. But if they want to stick their toe into the pro photographer market then the service needs to be pro level as well. This more than anything else (including FF) needs fixed before they can really attract high end photographers. 645z might be the best thing since they invented cameras but if too many horror stories like this start up no working photographer is going to be interested.

That said, the OP should have paid the $600 to get the lens fixed. That is not out of line, much.

---------- Post added 08-30-14 at 09:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aeros Quote
but this time it got a good thump, no mystery about why it went south.
QuoteOriginally posted by harumo Quote
The wait & also the repair price are just too much for me ... specially that lens is a new gen. Pentax DFA/DA. Unless I dropped it or stupid stuff like that, it should stay in great working condition for long. And also, if it's less then a year, repair/exchange should be free, IMHO.
The OP did note that it received a "good thump".
08-30-2014, 09:32 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
If they want to sell Q's and low end DSLRs to hipsters fine, service can be lousy and they can get away with it.
That has been my concern for some time but with the release of the 645z I thought naught. It seems, however, that they could be grasping for something outside their reach.

08-30-2014, 09:58 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
however, that they could be grasping for something outside their reach.
Nope, firmly within their reach. If our Ricoh copier so much as hiccups it is fixed next day. They absolutely know how to do good service. They just need to apply that to the camera division or assign 645 service to the copier division.
08-30-2014, 11:01 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Having just received my 645Z I was surprised to see a letter inside that said for 2 years Pentax would clean the camera and the sensor free of charge. Also if I have a 645D or K they would be cleaned FOC for the next 2 years; all you have to do is ship the camera to their service centre.

So a nice service extra, over and above what the likes of Nikon/Canon do.

Even better, the service centre is about 30 minutes down the road :-)

Doesn't help the OP, but thought I would mention it as it is a step in the right direction for better service and support.
08-31-2014, 01:03 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I had a problem with the 25 f/4 (DA) where it became loose. I had bought mine from Ffordes in the UK, and they initially sent it to a third party repairer in the UK who managed to make it worse. The wobble had gone, but it wouldn't focus at all. In the end even though I wasn't the original purchaser of the lens, having bought it second hand, Pentax replaced it with a brand new lens. On a mother occasion, I had accidental damage to my camera due to a faulty camera harness - the camera came off (don't buy sun sniper) and landed on a hard floor. That took over 2 months and £700 for a repair, but then that was an impact damage - even so Pentax sent it free to Japan (I bought it in Japan also) and shipped it back to me FOC.

The "I will never buy from you again" rant gives a company no incentive to help you. Why would they if they take your word for it. The truth is that most people who rant in this way don't mean what they say and will therefore 'cut their nose to spite their face' to coin a phrase.

You are responsible for any impact damage, and this includes shipping. Yes it can take some time, and that aspect could be improved. I don't see how any fair minded person could expect a free loaner in the case of an impact damaged lens.
08-31-2014, 08:23 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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Sorry to hear this, Aeros. You know some of what I have gone through with my Pentax service history. I firmly believe Ricoh needs to offer a seriously uprated "pro" level of service and support for the 645 system, and I've been pretty vocal about that in various forums... but more importantly through my local dealer (a highly respected professional shop that has carried Pentax forever) as well as face-to-face with the Pentax rep.

IMO, a $600 repair bill for impact damage on a $5000 lens is not out of line. I know from experience that Canon, Nikon, Sigma and others are charging repair fees like this on 35mm lenses that are much lower priced and sold in much higher volumes. You may choose to pay it or not, that's up to you. I don't consider the cost to be gouging but recognize that each person will place their own value on such things.

More troublesome is the lack of responsiveness, communication and timeliness in the servicing. That, to me, is what's unacceptable about your experience. My 10-week shutter replacement trips to Japan with no loaner program, etc., are already at the outside of what I'm looking for in a camera system of this level. Your 4+ month wait for zero results blows way past that. Totally not acceptable!

You've been a Pentax shooter for a long time, far longer than me, but either way I agree with you that the system is fantastic. I would encourage you not to bail out of anger, but stick with the rest of us in trying to influence Ricoh to bring this system to a truly professional level of service and support. Ricoh is fully capable of doing so, and where else are you likely to get a digital system with this level of bang-for-buck? The trouble is like any large company, Ricoh's focus is diverted in many directions. The camera operation is a tiny fly-speck of revenue, plus no doubt there's constant nagging about the bottom line since the economy still pretty much sucks. So the issue for us is that change probably must come from "squeaky wheel" attention and some much-needed market success. We need to be the squeaky wheel, but not in a scorched-earth way. If Ricoh thinks there's no upside to increasing their level of support, because everyone is just going to burn them to the ground on the first bad experience, it may not create the outcome we actually want. And that is for the camera system to get the level of support it deserves and succeed in the market.
08-31-2014, 09:37 AM   #13
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The repair charges can be argued plus or minus. The lack of better support is another matter. Of course for this level of gear there ought to be better support. But I think it is pertinent---speaking from the U.S.---that Pentax USA got gutted before Ricoh ever got hold of it, and presumably that includes support.

Furthermore, and I think this is very pertinent to all of us, it's not like we didn't know Pentax support was shaky and pro support non-existent when we made our purchases. I for one won't be thinking it's fair to blame them for lack of support if my gear goes bad. I should blame myself. If what I needed was massive support, Pentax would not have been the way to go. I decided the risk/reward ratio was beneficial for me, but as always YMMV. Indeed, for certain types of pros I think the risk/reward ratio might indeed be negative.

I have a feeling this will get sorted by Ricoh eventually. If they're smart, they should charge for a special service we could buy into. If it's the right price, I'll buy.

Last edited by texandrews; 08-31-2014 at 03:30 PM. Reason: misspelling
08-31-2014, 09:37 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Nope, firmly within their reach. If our Ricoh copier so much as hiccups it is fixed next day. They absolutely know how to do good service. They just need to apply that to the camera division or assign 645 service to the copier division.
We do Ricoh MFPs at work and they are all leased. The lease cost includes a specific response time to fix any issues with the MFP.
There are Ricoh techs located in Vancouver and they have a full parts & replacement printer inventory.

This is a bit different than a camera that you purchase, that comes only with a warranty.
If Ricoh leased Pentax 645Zs and the lease included a service level agreement, then that might speed repairs up if a lens or camera fail.

Phil
08-31-2014, 09:59 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
We do Ricoh MFPs at work and they are all leased. The lease cost includes a specific response time to fix any issues with the MFP. There are Ricoh techs located in Vancouver and they have a full parts & replacement printer inventory. This is a bit different than a camera that you purchase, that comes only with a warranty. If Ricoh leased Pentax 645Zs and the lease included a service level agreement, then that might speed repairs up if a lens or camera fail.
Ours is a 'lease' arrangement as well. But if you read the 'lease' agreement, you will find you actually purchased the copier and agree to pay monthly a monthly service charge that includes all consumables. Our lease stipulates that the copier is ours at the end of the lease term and gives provision for us to either keep it or sell it back to Ricoh at a nominal amount. We actually pay two invoices, one to Ricoh Financial Services for the lease, and one to Ricoh for the service and consumables. Might be different in Canada of course. And does not invalidate anything you say, there is an on going relationship.

But you do not have to lease it, you can purchase outright if you want with or without the service agreement. I do not know if the service would be different for non-service agreement customers, maybe it would. But they still have the techs and parts locally so even if you do not get 24 hour service you can still get rapid service.

My point is that on lenses / cameras at that price point warranty service (or any service for that matter) needs to be local and rapid and they are not capable at this point of doing that, at least in the US. And that is the biggest stumbling block I see against a working photographer buying into the 645z system. Granted many will never need service, but without either rapid service or a loaner program many will hesitate.


Ricoh can do this kind of service, they do it now for copiers. I am sure a camera lens requires equipment for service that a copier does not and maybe is more complex, but they do know what good customer service is, they are just not providing it. Maybe they should offer a "professional services" agreement with a monthly / annual fee to guarantee service and or loaner equipment. Someone who depended on near 100% up time would buy that, casual photographers might not to save the money.
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