Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Started Nov 7, 2017 | Discussions
Adgadg Regular Member • Posts: 129
Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?
1

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

Panasonic Leica 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH
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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 15,521
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Unacceptable response if it was the official Panasonic repair center for your country. Do you have a regional or higher corporate entity to contact? The lens is still actively manufactured so it's not as though parts aren't available.

I frankly would not buy such an expensive lens knowing there were limits to repairing it.

good luck!

Rick

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jalywol
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,671
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

Panasonic sends its lenses back to Japan to be refurbed.  They don't repair them (at least in the US) at their repair facility, so I assume that's the same elsewhere in the world.

When I had a problem with my old 100-300mm, I spoke to a Panasonic engineer in the US, and he told me this was the way they do it.  They take the old lens in and give you a replacement that has been refurbed in Japan at their facility there, and you pay a fixed price for the replacement refurb.

-J

OP Adgadg Regular Member • Posts: 129
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Skeeterbytes wrote:

Unacceptable response if it was the official Panasonic repair center for your country. Do you have a regional or higher corporate entity to contact? The lens is still actively manufactured so it's not as though parts aren't available.

I frankly would not buy such an expensive lens knowing there were limits to repairing it.

good luck!

Rick

Yes it's the official repair center in the Netherlands.

The repair initially went through the store where I bought it, after getting the quote I did contact the repair center directly, that's when I heard there were no parts available. They basically told me to claim my insurance.

Soon after I bought the lens the lens hood fastening mechanism didn't work properly anymore, so I usually just let it stay on. The element that's been deformed was holding the lens hood, so I think the hood was the main cause for the damage, transferring the hit to the lens. I tried to explain this to the repair center but they insist it's falling damage. Guess I'm also partly to blame for not taking action immediately when the hood broke, but that still doesn't make the repair price less ridiculous.

I might take this as an oppertunity to try the 300mm f4, I don't really want a new 100-400.

Brian Wadie
Brian Wadie Veteran Member • Posts: 9,593
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

jalywol wrote:

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

Panasonic sends its lenses back to Japan to be refurbed. They don't repair them (at least in the US) at their repair facility, so I assume that's the same elsewhere in the world.

When I had a problem with my old 100-300mm, I spoke to a Panasonic engineer in the US, and he told me this was the way they do it. They take the old lens in and give you a replacement that has been refurbed in Japan at their facility there, and you pay a fixed price for the replacement refurb.

-J

I had the same in the UK with my 100-400 when the zoom got too stiff.

They replaced it under warranty and I was told that this was because it was not possible to repair it in the UK

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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 15,521
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Sorry to hear they're not more responsive. On the topic of the 300 Pro, do try one if you get the chance. It's a very good lens and has a couple advantages over the zoom.

Cheers,

Rick

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s.seng Regular Member • Posts: 201
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Recently I dropped my G80 and PL 12-60 2.8 from the top of fridge and damaged the lens. It was picked up by my insurance company, sent it to Panasonic approved repairer and they repaired and sent them back to me within two weeks!

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drj3 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,706
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

s.seng wrote:

Recently I dropped my G80 and PL 12-60 2.8 from the top of fridge and damaged the lens. It was picked up by my insurance company, sent it to Panasonic approved repairer and they repaired and sent them back to me within two weeks!

Did you check the serial number to see if it is the same lens or did they send you a replacement?

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drj3

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Maria_H Regular Member • Posts: 204
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?
1

Some years ago the OIS switch on one of my Panasonic lenses broke - not an electronic fault but just cracked plastic. The official UK Panasonic service centre told me they couldn't fix it - i.e. they couldn't repair lenses. If it was caused by a manufacturing fault, they would have replaced the lens but otherwise, I'd need a new lens!  I did some research and found an independent repairer (http://www.acecamerarepair.co.uk/) who was able to obtain the parts and did a speedy and reasonably priced repair.  I'd recommend them to anyone in the UK, needing out of warranty repairs.  Not much help to anyone outside the UK - but a bad state of affairs if expensive lenses can't be fixed!

Maria
https://www.flickr.com/photos/31693460@N06/

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peppermonkey Veteran Member • Posts: 4,900
Know of a North American equivalent?

Maria_H wrote:

Some years ago the OIS switch on one of my Panasonic lenses broke - not an electronic fault but just cracked plastic. The official UK Panasonic service centre told me they couldn't fix it - i.e. they couldn't repair lenses. If it was caused by a manufacturing fault, they would have replaced the lens but otherwise, I'd need a new lens! I did some research and found an independent repairer (http://www.acecamerarepair.co.uk/) who was able to obtain the parts and did a speedy and reasonably priced repair. I'd recommend them to anyone in the UK, needing out of warranty repairs. Not much help to anyone outside the UK - but a bad state of affairs if expensive lenses can't be fixed!

Maria
https://www.flickr.com/photos/31693460@N06/

I have a somewhat similar problem with the Panasonic Leica 12-60mm F/2.8 that Panasonic Canada said they can't fix.  Would dearly love to find an independent shop that can fix the lens in North America....

(mind you, If I cant, that Ace Camera repair shop might still be an option...)

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DarbinCo Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: Know of a North American equivalent?

They won’t fix major damage either! LOL

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4213620

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s.seng Regular Member • Posts: 201
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

Yes it's the same lens. All seem to work well and I don't. See any difference in image quality before and after.

Seng

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glassoholic
glassoholic Senior Member • Posts: 3,757
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

This is just not good enough. A worry for sure for an expensive lens.

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Wasabi Bob Contributing Member • Posts: 565
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?

So this scenario is not that uncommon. I have a friend who is an auto insurance adjuster. In the past 3 months, he’s had to total 3 Tesla auto’s, that cost over $100K each, for what would be considered minor frame damage to any other auto. Tesla said that any frame damage cannot be reliably repaired and so the parts are not available. Given the speed and torque of that auto, repair may not always be an option.

The 100-400 is an extremely complex mechanical design that relies on geometric accuracy. If you damage the body in any manner that could distort the geometric accuracy, It’s not an unreasonable conclusion that you’d no longer be able to achieve the edge to edge performance.

Androole Senior Member • Posts: 1,182
That is likely more than "minor damage"
1

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

I think that part of the issue is that any impact that is hard enough to deform the metal filter ring on a sturdy lens housing like the 100-400 is a really hard knock. Outwardly, you might only see the damage to the filter, but what you're not seeing is how that shock was transmitted to all the internal elements.

The PL100-400mm is a very complex lens. It has 20 elements in 13 groups. Those need to be in perfect alignment to produce the results that you expect.

As Roger Cicala says in his latest blog :

"Optical tolerance is done during the design of the lens and the assembly line, not by running a test at the end of manufacturing. Micro 4/3 lenses, as a rule, don’t have any compensating adjustable elements, so what you get at the end of the assembly line is what you get unless something is broken inside."

Disassembling a 20 element lens, putting it on an optical bench and calibrating it with a housing that may or may not be dimensionally distorted does not seem like a trivial affair. In the context of a repair facility rather than an initial assembly facility, it is not surprising that it could be more expensive than the replacement cost of a new lens. By any standard, that process is many hours of work, and these are skilled technicians that have high hourly rates.

That's not to say that all of this isn't terribly disappointing. I would be frustrated too. The PL100-400 is a very expensive lens. But I don't think the actual situation is that surprising when you look at what's involved.

Maybe Olympus does things differently, but I don't know.

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RCicala
RCicala Contributing Member • Posts: 588
Re: Panasonic 100-400: Minor damage can't be fixed?
2

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

I think the issue is one of parts - if the factory repair center doesn't stock parts and independent dealer is unlikely to. There are a number of manufacturers that do the 'replace repairs with refurb, send the broken lens back to the mother ship for refurb'. That policy itself isn't bad, and it makes a lot of sense if you don't sell thousands of a given lens to a given country. Training technicians and stocking parts is a big undertaking. And it's far better than Leica's "everything will go to Germany for repair, and you'll have it back in 6 months or so".

But it can be done well (Zeiss and Rokinon are good examples, at least in the U. S. -- they keep a stock of replacement lenses and you have a new one in a few days) or badly.

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OP Adgadg Regular Member • Posts: 129
Re: That is likely more than "minor damage"
1

Androole wrote:

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

I think that part of the issue is that any impact that is hard enough to deform the metal filter ring on a sturdy lens housing like the 100-400 is a really hard knock. Outwardly, you might only see the damage to the filter, but what you're not seeing is how that shock was transmitted to all the internal elements.

The PL100-400mm is a very complex lens. It has 20 elements in 13 groups. Those need to be in perfect alignment to produce the results that you expect.

As Roger Cicala says in his latest blog :

"Optical tolerance is done during the design of the lens and the assembly line, not by running a test at the end of manufacturing. Micro 4/3 lenses, as a rule, don’t have any compensating adjustable elements, so what you get at the end of the assembly line is what you get unless something is broken inside."

Disassembling a 20 element lens, putting it on an optical bench and calibrating it with a housing that may or may not be dimensionally distorted does not seem like a trivial affair. In the context of a repair facility rather than an initial assembly facility, it is not surprising that it could be more expensive than the replacement cost of a new lens. By any standard, that process is many hours of work, and these are skilled technicians that have high hourly rates.

That's not to say that all of this isn't terribly disappointing. I would be frustrated too. The PL100-400 is a very expensive lens. But I don't think the actual situation is that surprising when you look at what's involved.

Maybe Olympus does things differently, but I don't know.

Here's a picture of the damage, note the dirtyness is from adhesive tape used to try to keep out the dust.

The repair center told me there were no parts available, they didn't say the repair was too hard. They just quoted a new lens + additional costs.

I used the lens afterwards and it appeared to be still in good working order, the last images on my flickr were shot using the 'defect' lens. There could be some damage inside, I don't know. But I did not notice any difference.

Androole Senior Member • Posts: 1,182
Re: That is likely more than "minor damage"

Adgadg wrote:

Androole wrote:

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

I think that part of the issue is that any impact that is hard enough to deform the metal filter ring on a sturdy lens housing like the 100-400 is a really hard knock. Outwardly, you might only see the damage to the filter, but what you're not seeing is how that shock was transmitted to all the internal elements.

The PL100-400mm is a very complex lens. It has 20 elements in 13 groups. Those need to be in perfect alignment to produce the results that you expect.

As Roger Cicala says in his latest blog :

"Optical tolerance is done during the design of the lens and the assembly line, not by running a test at the end of manufacturing. Micro 4/3 lenses, as a rule, don’t have any compensating adjustable elements, so what you get at the end of the assembly line is what you get unless something is broken inside."

Disassembling a 20 element lens, putting it on an optical bench and calibrating it with a housing that may or may not be dimensionally distorted does not seem like a trivial affair. In the context of a repair facility rather than an initial assembly facility, it is not surprising that it could be more expensive than the replacement cost of a new lens. By any standard, that process is many hours of work, and these are skilled technicians that have high hourly rates.

That's not to say that all of this isn't terribly disappointing. I would be frustrated too. The PL100-400 is a very expensive lens. But I don't think the actual situation is that surprising when you look at what's involved.

Maybe Olympus does things differently, but I don't know.

Here's a picture of the damage, note the dirtyness is from adhesive tape used to try to keep out the dust.

The repair center told me there were no parts available, they didn't say the repair was too hard. They just quoted a new lens + additional costs.

I used the lens afterwards and it appeared to be still in good working order, the last images on my flickr were shot using the 'defect' lens. There could be some damage inside, I don't know. But I did not notice any difference.

Ah. That doesn't look deformed from your shot, so it does indeed look minor. It's really hard to see what you're describing there.

I don't know how the lens is put together. If the housing is mostly one piece, it does not surprise me that they wouldn't have any parts available.

I think a lot of people are correct in saying that they probably just prefer to replace the lens, and possibly refurbish the old one at a central facility for later resale. In most cases it's probably better for both the customer and their bottom line.

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glassoholic
glassoholic Senior Member • Posts: 3,757
Re: That is likely more than "minor damage"
2

Androole wrote:

Adgadg wrote:

Androole wrote:

Adgadg wrote:

Hi all,

A few months ago my 100-400 was damaged during holiday, I think it hit something while in my bag. The front ring of the lens housing has been deformed, though the lens itself appeared to be still in good working order. The only problem appeared to be that it was no longer dust or water proof.

I sent the lens for repair, to my surprise the repair center could not get any parts for this lens and quoted an even higher price than a replacement lens. Of course I did not agree to pay this and they will send it back soon. Luckily I did have insurance.

Is this common practice? Would like to hear your opinions.

I think that part of the issue is that any impact that is hard enough to deform the metal filter ring on a sturdy lens housing like the 100-400 is a really hard knock. Outwardly, you might only see the damage to the filter, but what you're not seeing is how that shock was transmitted to all the internal elements.

The PL100-400mm is a very complex lens. It has 20 elements in 13 groups. Those need to be in perfect alignment to produce the results that you expect.

As Roger Cicala says in his latest blog :

"Optical tolerance is done during the design of the lens and the assembly line, not by running a test at the end of manufacturing. Micro 4/3 lenses, as a rule, don’t have any compensating adjustable elements, so what you get at the end of the assembly line is what you get unless something is broken inside."

Disassembling a 20 element lens, putting it on an optical bench and calibrating it with a housing that may or may not be dimensionally distorted does not seem like a trivial affair. In the context of a repair facility rather than an initial assembly facility, it is not surprising that it could be more expensive than the replacement cost of a new lens. By any standard, that process is many hours of work, and these are skilled technicians that have high hourly rates.

That's not to say that all of this isn't terribly disappointing. I would be frustrated too. The PL100-400 is a very expensive lens. But I don't think the actual situation is that surprising when you look at what's involved.

Maybe Olympus does things differently, but I don't know.

Here's a picture of the damage, note the dirtyness is from adhesive tape used to try to keep out the dust.

The repair center told me there were no parts available, they didn't say the repair was too hard. They just quoted a new lens + additional costs.

I used the lens afterwards and it appeared to be still in good working order, the last images on my flickr were shot using the 'defect' lens. There could be some damage inside, I don't know. But I did not notice any difference.

Ah. That doesn't look deformed from your shot, so it does indeed look minor. It's really hard to see what you're describing there.

I don't know how the lens is put together. If the housing is mostly one piece, it does not surprise me that they wouldn't have any parts available.

I think a lot of people are correct in saying that they probably just prefer to replace the lens, and possibly refurbish the old one at a central facility for later resale. In most cases it's probably better for both the customer and their bottom line.

That looks like deformation to just the mini built in lens hood? Does the filter turn freely?

One would think a replacement lens hood is available but the disassembly to get there might be prohibitive.

A friends VW Passat had the airconditioner pack up a month out of warranty. They had to remove the entire engine and gearbox and front mudguards... basically the whole front end to the passenger bulkhead in order to get to the airconditioner compressor. Cost was $3500 of which nearly $3000 was labour.

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