Panasonic "Customer Service"

Started Jun 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Fred Bauer
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Panasonic "Customer Service"
Jun 22, 2012

The issue: My Lumix 100-300mm lens auto focus failures at 200-300mm.

I called the CS number listed in the manual. After wading through the menu and being disconnected four times, I got to a representative that knew nothing about the lens or the cameras (GX1, GF3, G3) and said I must send the lens to the McAllen, TX repair center, which I did ($33/three day).

Three weeks went by without any indication that McAllen had even received it. When I called McAllen I was told someone would call me with information. No one did. On the second call a week later I was told yes, the lens was there but had no paper work so nothing had been done. I had included the B&H invoice and a detailed description of the problem. They lost the paper work and made effort the contact me. I emailed the paper work to McAllen and again received no response. A week later I emailed again and was told the lens had been returned to me, it being “within manufacturers specs”, in other words they did nothing.

The lens behaved the same. It could not auto focus on complex natural textures like small leaves, brushy areas, etc. on a tripod at the long end of the zoom range, but could on simple man-made objects. The failure is more pronounced in pinpoint mode (for birding, etc.) Manual focus captured excellent images under the same conditions.

I’m not happy. I email CS and get no reply. I call CS and ask for a supervisor and get a shipping label to return it to McAllen.

Now I start using a B+W cir-polarizer on my Lumix 45-175X and find that I get similar auto focus failures at 175mm. Ah, this could be the problem with the 100-300. I call McAllen and attempt to get this info to the tech looking at my lens. No good. No one there can put me in touch with the tech.

I write a steaming letter to Panasonic Customer Service. I get a quick phone reply and explain that this could all have been prevented if there had been someone in the loop I could talk with that knew something about cameras and lenses! I get a second call the next day from a Panasonic rep that does know cameras and lenses and we talk about the situation and determine that, yes the B+W cir-polarizers are good quality but do interfere with the Lumix auto focus under low contrast, complex texture conditions. Oh me, how simple. Three months of ridiculous tail-chasing solved in ten minutes.

This last rep I spoke with sincerely wants to get Panasonic CS working and is in the position to do so. Let’s hope he succeeds. At present they are second only to Sony in CS failure complaints.

I love the Panasonic m4/3 products. I was about to jump ship and go back to my Canon gear (which BTW has no problem with cir-pols under the same conditions probably because the lenses are faster at the same mm).

So, beware of ALL polarizers on Lumix teles on Lumix bodies and don’t let being ignored by Panasonic Customer Service stop you.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
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