LensRentals.com

Lensrentals Repair Data: January - July 2012

Posted by

What Is This?

We have a unique opportunity: We own a very large number of lenses subjected to rather harsh conditions. They get tossed around during shipping, and sometimes the user isn’t as careful with them as you would be with your own lenses. Basically, we have a laboratory set up to stress test camera equipment and we share those results with you.

Our numbers reflect heavy and hard use. Your personal lenses shouldn’t fail nearly as often; they aren’t subjected to rental conditions. But since all of our lenses are subject to roughly the same number of rentals per year, it does provide some comparison about how fragile various lenses are compared to other lenses.

It’s not completely scientific, but it’s a bit more useful than 10 posts on a forum going back and forth between “never had a problem with it” and “mine sucked.”

This list is not a comment about how good a lens is. It’s simply data about how often it breaks under harsh conditions. Some of my favorite lenses are on this list.

What's New This Year?

A lot, actually. First of all I'm doing a mid-year report. We've got twice as many items as we did last year, so half a year's data is equal to all of the 2011 data we collected.

In the past we've looked at our data as repairs per number of copies stocked over time. With better data now, we're going to present it as the number of rental weeks per failure. That should level the playing field a bit more since nothing stops working while it's sitting on a shelf. It also may be more appropriate since these items are used so heavily.

For example, if we have 10 copies of a lens, each copy has been rented for 10 weeks, and we've had one repair, that lens averages 100 rental weeks per failure.

Lens age is a bit of a variable. Our average item is less than a year old, and none are two years old. But if an item has been released in the last 8 or 9 months, all the copies are new and repairs may seem falsely low. (If it shows up when all are new, well, that's bad.) When an item is discontinued we still stock it for a year, so all of the copies are older. (This year the Canon 24-70 is the one example.)

Additionally, we now have a 3-person repair department and do about 50% of our repairs in-house. That gives us better information on what's going wrong. It's much better than the "internal parts replaced and calibrated" report that we get from some service centers. For some of the lenses we can show you what the weak point actually is.

We've also computerized tracking for all of the repairs we've sent in to various service centers. This lets us track things like cost, turnaround time, repairs requiring return trips to the service center, etc. There are major differences between brands in how they approach repairs and service. I think that's important enough to write about.

Equipment Failure Rates

What do the numbers mean?

It is an annualized repair rate of the period from January 1 through July 1, 2012. A physically damaged lens (by our observation or customer report) does not count as a failure for this list. If it's obviously been dropped, soaked, or otherwise damaged we don't consider it a failure. For example, if a filter ring is dented, a front element scratched, or a distance window cracked it is not a failure.

 

There is one less Canon 50mm f/1.0 in the world this year.

There is one less Canon 50mm f/1.0 in the world this year.

 

It is probable that some lenses included in these numbers actually were damaged, but there was no overt evidence that it was so. We do not accept the factory service center’s word that the failure was “secondary to shock damage,” because a number of brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box lenses that we’ve sent back for repair came back with “shock damage” as the problem.

We make no comment at all on lenses that we have less than 9 copies of (we don’t think that’s particularly useful, it’s too small of a number) or that have been in stock less than 3 months unless something spectacular is going on (there are a couple of those this time).

Limitations and Disclaimers

Now, for those of you who want to reach conclusions from the data, please note the following: the average rental weeks per failure for all lenses and cameras is just over 300 . Everything fails eventually, but that means most items takes a long time to do it.

To determine failure rates with actual statistical significance we'd need at least 400 copies of each lens. We don't have that many (although we're getting close on some of them) so take this data for what it is meant to be: something better than a thread telling you about 6 individuals' lenses; but not, by any means, an infallible fact. Still, it's better than anything else currently available that I know of.

Depending upon the lens in question we have 10 to 200+ copies. It's obviously more meaningful when we see 20 failures in a lens we have 200 copies, than when 2 of our 20 copies failed on another lens.

I want you to get an idea of the sample size we're dealing with, but I can't put an exact number of copies we because it varies over time. As an example, we had 69 copies of one lens in February but 128 copies of the same lens in June. What I'll do is use the following descriptions of the sample size: Very large - always over 150 copies in stock; Large - always over 90 copies; Moderate - always over 40 copies; Small - always between 10 and 39 copies. If we see a strong tendency in a very large sample size, it's very likely to be a real finding. In a small sample size it could very well be random variation.

We'll look a little further into those by telling you what it was that went wrong. If 4 different things go wrong in 4 different lenses out of 50 in stock, it's likely to be random. If all 4 have exactly the same problem, it's more likely there is a weakness in the lens.

The following lenses or cameras we carry were NOT evaluated because we have less than 10 copies or they were in stock less than 3 months.

  • Canon: 180 f/3.5 L; 24mm f/2.8; 24mm f/2.8 IS; 28mm f/2.8 IS; 40mm f/2.8; MPE-65 Macro
  • Nikon: 14mm f/2.8; 16-85mm VR; 17-35 f/2.8; 20mm f/2.8; 35 f/2D; 85mm f/3.5DX; 105 f/2 DC; 55-200 Dx
  • Sony: all Alpha prime lenses; NEX 18-200 OSS; 55-210;
  • Tamron: 90mm f/2.8 Di, 180 f/3.5
  • Sigma: 20 f/1.8; 70mm f/2.8 Macro; 105mm macro; 180 f/2.8 OS; 300-80mm
  • Rokinon: 8mm fisheye
  • Panasonic: All cameras except GH2, 45-175mm lens, 100-300 lens
  • Olympus m4/3: 75mm f/1.8; 14-42 II
  • All Leica, Voigtlander, Pentax, Fuji, and Schneider lenses

 

If we carry the lens and it isn’t listed above or below, then it's weeks per failure was greater than 155 weeks (97.5% of the items we carry had a time until failure of greater than 155 weeks).

Finally, the usual 'don't read this and lose your mind' call goes out: These are heavily used, frequently shipped lenses. A given lens would have a far lower repair rate owned by someone who uses it on weekends, takes good care of it, and doesn't ship it around the country.

Lenses with High Failure Rates

LensAvg. Weeks Per FailureSample SizeCommon Problems
Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS13SmallCam rails (4), focusing barrel, OS
Sigma 50-500 OS43ModerateHSM Motor (4), OS unit (3)
Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR II53LargeTripod foot bent (8); AF adjustment (5), resolution (5)
Nikon D80055LargeBattery door (6), electronics (3)
Tokina 16-28 f/2.857
SmallAF/MF clutch (3 of 3)
Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR58SmallResolution (3 of 3)
Canon 24-70 f/2.865Very LargeResolution (26); Helicoid collar (19)
Sony 70-200 f/2.8 G SSM71SmallUSM motor (3 of 3)
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II83Very LargeIS assembly (11), Optical adjustment (10); Zoom jam (10); Barrel assembly (7)
Nikon D700109ModerateBent CF pins (4); Grip peeling (4); PCB (2)
Canon 35mm f/1.4110LargeResolution (18); USM motor (3)
Nikon 105 VR f2.8 Micro118SmallVR (2), AF encoder (1), diaphragm (1)
Canon 100-400 IS L126LargeMF ring (10). IS (5), AF motor (4)
Tokina 11-16 f/.28147Largefocus jam (6); AF/MF clutch (6); loose screw (3)
Canon 5D Mk III155LargeCF pins (8), electronics (3)

A Few Observations

Several lenses on the list are ones that we have relatively few copies of: the Sony 70-200 f/2.8; Tokina 16-28 f/2.8; Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR; and Nikon 105 f/2.8 VR. Obviously, just one repair less and they would have ranked much lower or been off the list altogether.

I still believe the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 really does have a high failure rate for a couple of reasons. First, it was also on last year's list. Also, two other Sony zooms were all just one repair away from making the list this year (24-70 f/2.8 and 70-400) and did make it last year. Plus all of the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 repairs were for the same issue: USM motors.

All of the Tokina 16-28 f/2.8 lenses had the same problem (AF/MF clutch), which is also a chronic problem on the similarly designed Tokina 11-16 f/2.8. Because they're all failing for the same reason, we think it's probably a real thing.

The Nikon 105 VR, though, seems to be more of a random event. It's never been a problem lens and the repairs were for different things.

I think the other trend that's very obvious is that large, f/2.8 zoom lenses are likely to have issues. Sony, Canon, and Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lenses all made the list. The Canon 100-400 is there, too, while the Nikon 80-400 and Canon 28-300 barely missed (and usually make the list). The Sigma 50-500 OS and 120-300 OS are on it, too, with the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS barely missing (in a small sample size of 20 copies).

Each seems to have its own issues. The Canon 70-200 IS II has problems with the nylon reverse gears in the zoom ring and its IS unit. The 100-400 with its outer focusing barrel and notorious smooth-tighten ring. The Sigmas have HSM motor problems, OS issues, and barrel/cam issues. The plate for Nikon's tripod foot is too thin and bends frequently, and the AF system is a bit finicky. The takeaway message is these are among the most complex lenses made today and the complexity shows in higher repair rates.

If you noticed, Sigma released a new version of the 120-300 f/2.8 OS just over a year after the original version. The optical diagram is exactly the same but I suspect we'll see some more robust internal components in the new version. They've also announced new quality control measures at their manufacturing plant. Given the improvements Sigma has made in their repair service, I suspect they're serious about improving quality.

Confirmation is Always Good

I'm always happier when I can find a logical explanation for the numbers. The Tokina lenses are a good example. They seem to have trouble with the AF-MF clutch system (if you haven't shot with one, instead of an electrical switch or full-time manual focus, you move the focus ring forward or backward to engage manual focus). If we pull the rubber off of the focus ring, it becomes apparent the clutch is really two barrels held together by tape.

 

Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 with focusing rubber removed.

 

The lower (mount side) barrel pulls drops down once the tape is removed, showing the mechanical clutch. The teeth on the upper side engage the small collared screws in the internal focusing ring to manually focus when the clutch is pulled back to manually focus, disengage when it's pushed forward.

 

Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, focus barrel separated

 

A lot of grit and dirt gets in there (probably from inside the lens) and sticks because there is lubricant on the teeth. The brass collars and screws break. So it makes sense that a heavily used lens, like a rental lens, might develop problems from wear-and-tear around the clutch.

I've written a couple of entire posts on why the original Canon 24-70 f/2.8 tends to have problems, and as I mentioned earlier, our fleet has gotten older since we haven't been able to buy new copies since Spring.

With the Nikon 70-200 VRII, the tripod foot bends so often that the 8 we listed are probably lower than reality. Back when Nikon sold parts we kept spares and any tech would replace it, all you have to do is remove 4 screws and put the new plate in. Now, unfortunately, it takes a trip back to Nikon.

Similarly the Canon 70-200 fails for a couple of different reasons, but jammed zoom rings are common and caused by a tooth breaking on the nylon 'reversing' gear under the zoom ring. this is a good system - it was used in the Non IS and IS Mk I lenses - but it seems to have some problems with the Mk II. Whether that's a bad batch of gears or that there's more resistance in turning the new lens I have no clue. Either way I expect it will be fixed soon.

Three nylon reverse gears support the Canon 70-200 IS II zoom ring.

 A Word About Cameras

This go around, the Nikon D700 is the only camera to really make the list. That was simply because of peeling grip problems, similar to what the Canon 60D had last year. But almost every camera body from every manufacturer barely missed -- all had repair rates of right around 10%.

More notable, to me at least, is that we've already had almost 10% of our Canon 5D III and Nikon D800s repaired, despite having them in stock only a few months. I said we usually don't put things on the list that we've had less than 6 months, but this is so noticeable it deserves mention. Once again, early adopters seem to be doing some beta testing.

I should mention, these aren't 'small number flukes'; we have a lot of these cameras. I should also mention that I'm not including 'left side AF issues' in the D800s required repair -- we don't have hard numbers on that yet. These were all for other things. Mostly a battery door that seems to break off if you look at it hard. I suspect either weak plastic or too thin of a pin on the door design are the likely culprits. That wouldn't have been a big deal if you could buy replacement doors, but with Nikon's new policy you have to send the camera in for factory service.

With 5D Mk IIIs, CF pins are bending at an amazing rate. With the latter, I suspect the combination of a CF slot and and SD slot (rather than 2 CF slots) allows CF cards to wiggle a bit more during insertion, so the card slots might not line up with the pins properly. I don't know that there will be an easy fix for this, but be gentle putting those CF cards in your 5D III.

The CF pins inside the camera are long and fragile. If the card isn't lined up exactly they'll be bent or broken.

Factory Service Center, Uhm, Service

I care about this a more than most of you, probably. I send things in for repair every single day while many of you have never sent anything in for repair. But someday you will, trust me on that.

Depending upon which brand you buy, your repair experience, should you ever need it, could be great or awful. I'm personally convinced certain manufacturers are going to some lengths to make repairs a positive customer service experience, other companies are certain that internet fanboy noise will drown out the individual complaints about their horrible service.

First, let me emphasize this is USA only data; things are very different in different countries (particularly for Nikon). Second, other than a corporate account with Canon (in exchange for a large annual fee, we get to pay our bill once a month and get a 30% discount on repair prices) we send everything in just like you. When figuring repair prices for comparison purposes I've removed the discount and used Canon's list prices, so all of the prices and turnaround times are the same as they would be for you. Actually, if you have NPS or CPS you get a bit faster service and lower cost than we do.

The table below shows the average (mean) turnaround time in days and average cost of repairs for each factory service center. Days are the # of days it was at the repair center; shipping does not count. Average cost is a rather blunt tool, but since most service centers use a three or four step, flat-rate repair fee schedule, it has some meaning.

 

BrandDaysCost
Canon6$305
Nikon26$376
Sigma11$186
Sony31$285
Zeiss29$286
Olympus9$281
Tamron3xx
Voigtlander> 60 xx
Rokinon> 60 xx

 

We have no cost figures for Voigtlander or Rokinon because we haven't managed to get anything back from repair; nor from Tamron because they did not charge us for the few repairs we sent.

For the Nikon fanboys who tell me regularly 'it's just because they're overwhelmed with the D800 problem.' That's true, but the number above is the average for the whole year. Repair turnaround was slow last year (18 days or so), got slower before the D800 was even released (25 days), and has crept up steadily since then. It's been well over 30 days mean turnaround time for the last couple of months. So the number shown in the table is better than current reality.

Also I should point out that current Nikon repair costs are higher than the table suggests. First, I dropped an $1,800 D800 sensor replacement and $1,300 D3x sensor replacement because they were such outliers. I also used prices from the entire year -- Nikon raised prices significantly in early April, just after they announced they weren't selling parts to third-party repair centers anymore (color me paranoid if you like). In the last 3 months Nikon repair prices were significantly higher than the table shows.

Just for curiosity, I compared same-item repair costs for Nikon and Canon 24-70s. All Canon 24-70 repairs were either $268 or $370 (non-discounted price) during the entire 6-month period. All Nikon repairs were $539 or $602 from April 1 onwards; they were $310 before April (although there were only two during that period). I don't have room to list all the replaced items, but they were similar: barrels, collars, helicoid rings.

Nikon, I love the cameras. I love the prices on the cameras. But Nikon USA's repair and service sucks and is getting worse. And yes, Fanboy, I know they fixed your item for free in 5 days. We had one come back in 5 days, too (although not this year). I also know they have a great 5-year warranty. But how much does that help when you drop it?

Would I change brands or something over it? Of course not. That's silly. Nikon makes excellent, reliable equipment and most people need a repair maybe once every couple of years. But I certainly am advising newcomers in a different direction, and I'd be a bit hesitant about picking up used Nikon equipment.

Finally, let me give a good word for a couple of the third-party manufacturers. Five years ago I thought Sigma's factory service was awful and we used only independent service centers for Sigma equipment. Since then they have made clear improvements, with an easy-to-use website and polite, knowledgeable customer service on the phone. We started using them again this year and their turnaround time and prices were excellent.

While we don't use them often, Tamron even goes a step better: they guarantee they'll have an item fixed 3 days after they receive it (I've confirmed this with Pat Simonetti, Director of Tamron Customer Service). If they can't fix it in a timely fashion, they supply a refurbished or new replacement. I should also mention that when we've reported a problem to Tamron or Zeiss, both make inquiries about it, getting all the information they can and passing it on to manufacturing. It's a pleasant change from "there is no problem, we never have problems."

Tokina is absent from the table because we stopped sending anything in to them years ago. If we can't fix it ourselves, we use an independent service center. They may be much better now, but I have no information either way.

 

Roger Cicala

Lensrentals.com

September, 2012

 

80 Responses to “Lensrentals Repair Data: January - July 2012”

Derek said:

Hi Roger,

Thanks for publishing these, they're always interesting reading. Are you planning on publishing the best performers too? In some ways that's just as useful.

J. DeYoung said:

I own a lot of Nikon Gear, and it has been my unfortunate experience that service from Nikon USA sucks! You can't even buy simple repair parts anymore. Does a broken battery door really need to go into the factory for replacement? Seriously!?
Couple that with Nikon's standard 1 month turn around time, even for simple things and I shudder to think what will happen the next time I need something fixed.

Nikon USA Service = Fail!

Fred said:

Does the 70-200f4L IS have the same problem as the 2.8II?

CarVac said:

The 50/1.0 is incredibly sad.....

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Fred,

No zoom lock-up issues with the f/4 version, occasional IS issues, but every lens with IS has that.

Roger

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Derek,
That's an excellent idea and I should do that. I'll get some numbers together this week and do an addendum. I can tell you off-hand the following:

Zeiss Primes are among the most reliable. Very occasional centering issue is all. Makes sense: no electric motor, no IS unit.
Among the Canon zooms, the 24-105 L is one we just think of as bulletproof. Never fails. The Canon 17-55 IS used to have lots of IS failures but obviously got fixed a couple of years ago. Another lens that rarely fails.
The Nikon 14-24, when it first came out had barrel issues, but it's certainly fixed. Another lens with no troubles. None of the Nikon primes have problems either.
The Sigma 'short zooms' are trouble-free in general, as are their primes other than focus issues.

Anyway, thank you for the idea and I'll get some better numbers together over the weekend.

Roger

James Bong said:

Yeah, I almost cried when I saw the 50mm f/1.0. :-(

Jim Thomson said:

Roger,
Is there ever any problem with SD cards/card slots?

I noticed that bent pins for CF cards happens on both Nikon and Canon.
I also see lots of fanboys saying that pro camera's should have two CF card slots. Personally I use both (on different cameras) and don't see much advantage to either format. Although I guess you can get bigger and faster CF cards.

George said:

The Nikon service issues make me feel a bit nervous, I switched from Canon to Nikon for the D800. My D800 is on the way back to me, I sent it in for the left focus issue (was wayyyyy off, unbearable!) It's on its way back after about a week and a half--ended up being in the shop for about 5 days total, I'd say. This is with El Segundo. I'm hoping it's fixed--I think the time was reasonable. Nikon seems to like to claim "shock damage" on everyone, from what people say on the forums.

The one time I had to send a lens (15-85) to Canon, they had it back within a week, it was amazing.

I agree that Tamron has good service. Girlfriend sent in a 70-300 that was dropped and wouldn't zoom all the way anymore. They got to it right away, charge $160 (real reasonable, I felt), and answered the phone within 5 minutes.

Maybe with all the publicity, Nikon will be shamed into improving.

Pieter said:

Interesting that you say the Canon 24-105 is bulletproof - mine's currently in for repairs for a broken aperture assembly! It seems to be an uncommon (but not unknown) issue with some older 24-105's - since your stock is regularly replaced I guess you might not have seen that. And also, one lens doesn't make for conclusive results.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Jim,

Once in a great while we'll see the little lever-latch in the SD slot break or get stuck, but it's rare. We fix pins in CF slots, well not every day, but certainly several times a week.

5DIIIs are more frequent, clearly, but I've had to do it on every camera with CF slots.

Roger

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Peter,

I think the 'newer copy' thing does make some difference. A few years ago 17-55 f/2.8 Canon lenses were always on the list for IS problems, then they just stopped. 24-105s have never been high repair rate lenses, even at first, but the last 2 years we just never see them come through repair - and we have well over 100 of them.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

George,

Glad to hear about your turnaround time. Maybe they are addressing it. I've also been told they had parts backlogs on D800s that have finally gotten covered.

n/a said:

it's established already - nikon usa service is ... (hope ones there in europa are in better state). a business suggestion (to make them behave) - ask yours suppliers (or start doing it yourself) to import gray market spare parts, at least the ones for mechanical wear and tear

David said:

Greats stuff as always, Roger. Your blog is the often the sole ray of data in what are otherwise terribly opaque areas of photography. Thanks for that.

One issue I'm paranoid about is centering quality. I've become more and more reluctant to deal with used lenses for this reason. It would be interesting to see graphs similar to the one you did for the 24-70 to learn just how much performance variance there is for a given model, but I imagine the workload for that test was substantial.

Brian Tao said:

"First, let me emphasize this is USA only data; things are very different in different countries (particularly for Nikon)."

Wow, no kidding. I'm an NPS member in Canada, and they provide 3-day turnaround on repairs (subject to parts availability), and a 20% discount on your repair bill. Those policies were instituted earlier this year. In the 3.5 years I've been shooting Nikon before then, I've had to send in my two D700s in at least twice each because of the hot shoe problem. It required parts each time, but it never took longer than a week to complete, even during the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in Japan. My SB-900 was also fixed in just a few days (blown tube). I've had a couple of lenses go in because of loose rubber rings. Both were fixed on the spot. So far, I have not had to pay for any repairs, thanks to the 2- and 5-year warranty length in Canada.

I'm always astonished when I read about people's experiences with Nikon USA. I can understand regional differences, but why does Nikon Canada seem so much better on the service depot side of things? I would have thought the US operation would benefit from economies of scale.

Andrew said:

Roger, perhaps you could comment on my recent experience with a repair on a Canon 24-105mm L lens.

The IS mechanism had become unreliable, sometimes it worked, but lots of times it just "fluttered" around. I took it to a reputable repair shop in Seattle, and they did a good job of repairing the lens. But it cost more than they estimated, because Canon would not supply them with the IS assembly for the repair, stating it was "discontinued". The shop had to acquire the IS assembly from a firm on the East Coast that stocks hard-to-get parts (hence the extra cost). By the way, they showed me the paperwork from Canon stating the IS assembly is discontinued, so I have no reason to doubt their veracity.

This event left me scratching my head, as the 24-105mm is a current, and very popular, lens. Do you have any opinion about what is going here?

Kuan said:

Roger, may I ask what does you mean by Sigma 120-300 OS's cam rails problem?

Ron said:

That's really interesting about the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II zoom's collar. I borrowed one from Canon for a few days and the only thing I didn't like about it (other than the size) is that the zoom action had way too much resistance compared to my f/4 IS version and now sold f/2.8 IS I lens. I did a day-long shoot with it and by the end of the day my 'zoom' fingers were quite sore. I thought it might have been a one-off anomaly because it was a loaner/demo lens, but maybe not...

I agree some companies need to learn a few things about customer service. One example I think is interesting is Leica AG. They typically have a 2-3 week turnaround, but if you live in the EU, you can request either express (2 day) or fast (5 day) service for either 170 or 80 Euro, respectively. I think this is a good alternative to a CPS/NPS type membership as it allows one to decide on a case by case basis how quickly one needs the equipment back.

Some of the smaller market share brands are releasing interesting 'pro caliber' products and really need to consider that 'pro' users value fast repair service. It's one of the things that makes me nervous about possibly investing in systems from traditional electronics brands such as Sony and Panasonic.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Kuan,

The rails slide in grooves within the helicoid when the various elements move during focusing and zooming. If they break, bend, or get jammed things don't move properly.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Andrew,

That sounds very, very weird to me. We can order 24-105 IS units from Canon parts with no problem. I wonder if possibly they've changed IS units in the distant past. Did you have an older copy? I do remember way back in the day having IS trouble with them, but not for years.

Christian said:

Hi Roger,

Thank you for this article.
Is there going to be some sort of permanent link to your repair database or will we have to sarch your blog ebery time?
And can we have a look into the complete database, not just the top-15? did not find it...

Nuno said:

How I wish you guys would operate in Europe! :) Great job!

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Christian,

I'm going to put out another list of the most bullet proof items. A list of 900 different repair rates for all the stuff we carry just isn't practical.

Roger

Leon said:

“All Nikon repairs were $539 or $602 from April 1 onwards”
This was a Fool’s Day business decision :- )))

…. but seriously, the same can be said about Nikon Canada-Missassauga. It sucks. This is a corporate culture. I’m not an NPS member.

I heard that Sony repairs are also very expensive.

How is Olympus M5 and lenses doing and what about their service quality?

Thanks for a great article and valuable information.

Peter said:

Hi Roger,
Interesting info, thanks for sharing.
I ditto Pieter's 24-105L experience, it seems to be a not uncommon occurrence (N.B. all still working ok at f/4), apparently a flexible cable develops a crack and gives a faulty contact, solved by Canon replacing the whole aperture assembly, 296€ repair in France. My lens purchased in 2008.

Alan B said:

I have a 5D mk 3... once while working quickly, I accidentally crammed an SD card into the empty CF slot, and since it went in diagonally it was long enough to touch the pins. I fished it out and fortunately nothing was damaged. But that might be the origin of at least some of the 5D3 bent pins. I certainly never did that with the 30D or 5D mk 1.

Michael M said:

Thanks so much Roger, this is fantastic!

It is so rare that people have good data. Rarer still is someone who actually uses it to help make decisions, and uses it to make the correct decision.

I have a Black Belt in 6 Sigma process improvement. The core of the discipline, under all the complexity of the methodology, is this:

"Data driven decisions." Plus, "Systems thinking, and continous improvement."

We could solve so many problems in every field if people only knew how to collect and use data.

Instead they act on anecdotal information, a "gut feel", or their own bias, whether they recognize it or not. (Ehxibit A: Teh Internetz.) ;>)

Cheers! Great stuff!

Michael M.

Adam Schallau said:

You mention having to frequently send the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lenses back to Nikon to have the plate for the tripod foot replaced due to the part being bent. Why don't you opt for the Really Right Stuff LCF-10P replacement part? Here's the link: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=LCF-10P&type=0

Best,
Adam Schallau

Andrew said:

Roger, thanks for the response about the IS repair on my Canon 24-105mm.

According to the date code stamped on the back, my lens was made in March of 2006. Since the lens was introduced in October 2005, I suppose that mine qualifies as an "older copy". Perhaps there was a change to the IS assembly sometime since.

Ron Hartman said:

I noticed there is no mention of Panasonic. Have they been that reliable?
I once sent them a lens for repair of the OIS. For weeks, the repair tracking just showed they had received it. Finally, after almost 2 months, I got a phone call and it showed up at my door, repaired.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Ron,
we just don't have enough Panasonic repairs to comment.

Roger

Jason Greene said:

Roger - Thank you. This is excellent information and, aside from the manufacturers themselves, you are in a unique position to provide it. We also had to send our month-old 5D Mark III in for repair due to a bent CF pin. I wondered if it was a widespread problem. Now I know.

Benjy said:

Regarding the Nikon 105s, were they made in China or Japan? They switched production a few years ago and I wonder if that's related.

robert cook said:

I switched from cannot focus issues to Nikon. The canon service was so sad, with the mk4 up to spec exposure errors, 7d hot shoe made to small that a strobe can not fit,, (but must be my fault of course),and the just toooooo many visits to irvine, that I just was forced to switch. Nikon's do focus VERY well and the exposure is on the money. But Nikon service sucks hard too. Just a shame. My only real complain with Nikon is in the Body design. The front of the camera near the mount area, allowing for the sliding old lens Ai tab, is a place where water and sand and dust can KILL your camera. The camera's are sealed like a submarine with just one screen door design. My D 700 has Died twice from this feature. For the first time ever,, I am taking a good look at SONY !! I really am bummed every time I search out info on the D800E I find another Night Mare on elm street horror story, on some ones wonderful new camera , and the problems he had when he spent 3 Grand on something that should just work new out of the box. Thank you Roger ,, for the great Info .. Why is Nikon's service so poor ?? WHY??? ??? ???

Mike Fergusson said:

I have to say, I've had both positive and negative experiences with repair at Nikon Canada. Most recently last week, when they said my D800 was irrepairable due to a bent body cast from a 1ft drop that didn't even bend the mount on the lens. Needless to say I'm shocked, considering they've had the camera for almost a month and had already quoted over $600 to just replace the f-mount. My old D700 had a 10 day turnaround back in feb, while my 70-200mm was in for over a month this summer. Nikon is all over the map.

Chris P said:

Hi Roger, perhaps you should send your data about the Nikon USA service situation directly to their top management in Japan. It appears that Nikon USA is quasi independent and if its actions are affecting Nikon's reputation and sales they will not be popular with a Japanese management, my experience of which is more akin to that which you have seen at Sigma.

Carl Thomas said:

Thanks for taking what must be a considerable amount of time to compile and post this information online.
I hope that you dont mind answering a couple of questions.
What do you do with your lenses once they are EOL?
Typically how long after a manufacturer stops selling a lens do they stop selling spare parts? Are some manufacturers better than others?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Carl,

I think most manufacturer's keep parts for about 5 years, but they have a finite stock and could run out sooner or later. Nikon seems to keep legacy parts much longer than anyone else.

If an item has done it's two years with us and is in good shape we sell it. Many things don't make two years, or they aren't in good enough shape to sell. Generally we 'part out' those items that aren't good enough to sell.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Benjy,

I don't have origin information on the 105s handy, but basically all of the copies we have were purchased in the last 18 months if that helps. The random nature of the failures makes me think it's just one of those blips that occur every once in a while, not a real issue. If they had all failed for the same reason I'd be more inclined to think it was a real issue.

Jerry L said:

Mind if I ask you who you use for your Tokina service? I sent them a lens a couple years back and I was unimpressed- not only did they take 1+ month to get it back to me, there was almost no communication to me whatsoever about what was going on (including if they had even charged my CC), and it took days to finally reach someone on the phone who knew anything at all. If I ever get the lens repaired again, it might be nice to have another option.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Jerry,

We're currently using CRIS.

matt said:

I'm a Nikon fanboy but not a Nikon service fanboy. My Nikon 70-200 vr2 was damaged last year and it took well over a month to get back from service. In Aug of this year I damaged it again. It has been on parts hold since 8/13/12! Around the same time I applied for NPS. I had hoped to take advantage of expedited repairs and a loaner but it has been 6-8 weeks since I got my app submitted and still nothing back on that either.

Rob said:

[[ ‘don’t read this and loose your mind‘ ]]

Just as a reminder: Loose rhymes with goose. As in "don't read this and goose your coworker" which someone might do if they lose their mind.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Thank you Rob!

Ian said:

RRS make a replacement foot for the Nikon 70-200mm lens foot - much stronger. Could be worth your looking into it, especially in cases where you are replacing the Nikon version because it failed.

William Kazak said:

Thank you so much for this information. The forum buzz is one thing but this information is different. How helpful this information can be to the users of certain systems remains to be seen. Any suggestions?

AJ said:

Dear Roger,
I really appreciate the Blogs you start. Very insightful and backed up with 'real world' data.
Thank you :-)
It might be interesting to post stats on the actual modes of failure of lenses too. e.g. IS failures, in-lens motor failures etc.
It would seem that 'added complexity' of lenses like IS, lens drives, result in higher failure rates - but this is not backed by any stats.
BTW, I have a Tokina wide zoom - same failure (after 8 days) - MF/AF focus ring.

Jepomat said:

Dear Roger,

Many thanks for providing this window into your experience. Most interesting (I have Nikon equipment and thus keep my fingers crossed - even if I live on the wrong side of the Pond i.e. in Europe). Any data or impressions you could share on Nikon's 17-35 f/2.8 ?

Again, fantastic data well presented. Congratulations !

Jim said:

I had a problem with CF cards some time back. I hadn't (yet) damaged the cameras pins but the source of the problem was the CF card reader that I was using (and perhaps also operator error - don't force it in).

Leave a Reply