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Is this too much to expect?
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Is this too much to expect? Reply with quote

I was trying to work it out privately with Bo-Ming without much luck, so I wanted to post this here to see other people's opinion.

Back in April I have sent Contax N 85/1.4 lens for conversion. I bought it in "like new" condition and so it was when I sent it to Canada, tested on Contax N1 and everything. The lens passed all checks, accordingly to the Conurus tracking site.

Yesterday I have received it after conversion in BROKEN condition. There is some very loud rattling sound coming from inside every time you move it, but the box it came in shows no signs of abuse. I contacted Bo-Ming and the response is pretty much "we didn't do anything to it so send it back and we'll ship it to Japan for repair at your cost". Huh?

So the way I see it, I have sent a perfectly good (and quite expensive) item and 3 months/$799 later I get a paperweight back. I have no way of knowing what happened to it in these 3 months and I don't really care. All I know it was in somebody else's possession and came back broken, so that person should fix it or refund my expenses (cost of purchasing and converting). Am I really being unreasonable here? I wonder if I sent a lens to Canon or Nikon and it came back broken, would they also refuse to fix it?

I don't know how this will end, but I want to bring attention that when you send your expensive lenses for conversion and pay by check you have no protection whatsoever if things go wrong, as in my case. Although it is nowhere stated on this site, Coneos Imaging Corporation will not take responsibility for your lenses while they are in their possession.
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conurus
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What happened to your 85/1.4 was unfortunate, but why is it us who is liable but not the seller who sold the lens to you?

If someone sold you a used car and you drove it right away to a garage to have a spoiler installed. After the work was done, the automatic transmission was broken and the car no longer moved. Then it had to be the garage's fault and the spoiler installation must have broken the auto transmission, because it appeared that this happened while it was in the garage's possession?

We operate only in the rear mounts region and there was no way our work could have affected some mechanisms in between the glass elements of your 85/1.4. We were the body shop who installed spoilers and we did not touch your auto transmission.

If this case is set as a precedent in your favor, it is effectively asking us to repair every broken Contax N lens free of charge. As soon as the lens is in our possession at some point, we become "liable" for every mishap. This would not be fair or acceptable to us.

If there is any evidence that we have tampered with the internals of the lens, we are fully liable for all damages we have caused. We are not liable for anything we did not work on and did not even touch.

Some of you know that we would dress up incoming lenses like cleaning the dust behind the front element of a 24-85, replacing a weak or outright failed ultrasonic motor, replacing stripped gears, etc. for free or for so little that it is always at a loss to us. We also pay the repair bill if it was in fact us who broke a customer's lens. We did that to increase customer satisfaction and also to curb disputes before they arise, sometimes even if it is through no fault of our own. But it is unrealistic to extend that to every problem. Contax itself does not offer a lifetime warranty on the lenses it produces, but why should it be us absorbing the costs?

If you have any evidence that we are the cause of the damage of your lens, we would be very happy to foot the repair bill. Please understand we are liable only for our own wrongdoings, such as a mistake, error or negligence on our part.
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bo-Ming,

Why the seller I got this lens from would be responsible for this? The lens was in perfect shape back in April when I received it from him, and it was in perfect shape when you received it, as you tracking record shows. It is your stated rule that if something is wrong with a lens when you inspect it on arrival, you immediately send it to Contax Japan for repair, which you didn't. Whatever happened to it, happened after that inspection.

Of course I have no proof of who caused this. For God's sake, I live in South Florida and the lens was in Canada for 3 months! Perhaps you can provide me with 2 months worth of 24x7 footage as a proof that you did not do anything wrong with it? Maybe somebody dropped it, maybe something else happened, how do I know??? You just admitted that you open lenses sometimes for various reasons. Where is the proof that you did not open this one to take out some important piece for your own needs? Why the burden of proof is on me? You received working lens, I received broken lens back, that's all I need to prove. Otherwise you can do whatever the hell you want and be a sole judge whether you are responsible or not.
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conurus
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We would certainly refund the $799 conversion fee you paid us, if you do not get a working 85/1.4 in the end. If you have paid us by cheque we would refund by cheque. You asked us to do beyond that but that was an unreasonable demand.

We did not open your 85/1.4. To convince you of this fact, we had never ever come across a broken 85/1.4, and yours was the first one. The 85/1.4 used to have a perfect reliability record until now. The 17-35, 24-85, 28-80, 70-200, 70-300, 50/1.4, 100/2.8 all have a small percentage of defective on arrival. We did not know anything inside a 85/1.4 at all, even though by now we have gained great expertise on some of the other lenses in the Contax N line-up.

If we had dropped or mishandled your lens at some point, it would leave a dent or some visible mark on the exterior. Please advise if you find any.

On the whole, can we send it off to Contax Japan and ask them what was causing the problem? They could make an excellent neutral arbitrator, I think. Like I said, we are fully responsible for any repairs bills arising out of our mistake, error or negligence. Now, tell me, why is that not good enough?
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not ask to go beyond. If I can get my $799 back and a fully working non-converted lens in the same condition I have sent it, I am all for it.

I had a Canon 70-200 lens once which I dropped from about 2 ft on a thick carpet. There was not a single sign of that on it but the USM motor got jammed and stopped working. This is just an example to show that the absence of any signs on the outside does not guarantee there was no impact on the lens strong enough to loosen parts inside.

The reason why I don't just want to let Contax decide is because they wouldn't know either. They could probably say that something happened to the lens but how would they know who did that? That is not to mention the fact that my already long wait time will become 4 months longer. I could send it to the Nippon Photo Clinic in New York (recommended by ToCAD America on their web site) who said they can fix it, which would probably take much less time and money, but I have not received your reply about that.
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upallnight



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i've got no vested interest in this gentleman's dispute and only read through this briefly, but isn't it possible that the postal service could be to blame? isn't there what insurance comes in?

anyway, to me bo-ming seems like a stand-up guy with a long track record of excellent work and honest communications. could it be that neither your seller, nor you, nor he is to blame?

what did catch my eye was this: "I have sent a perfectly good (and quite expensive) item and 3 months/$799 later..."

my lenses have entered canada as of yesterday (hope bo-ming can get them this weekend), and i was expecting 6 months....but 3 months would really thrill me!
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conurus
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please note that Nippon Photo Clinic is listed under the manual focus section of ToCAD's recommendation. Many independent camera repair shops refuse to work on autofocus lenses. Please speak with Nippon Photo Clinic and ToCAD America first and decide if they are in fact the right people to look at a Contax N autofocus lens. If ToCAD thinks Nippon Photo Clinic is qualified to look at the N series as well, then yes, send it to them if that is what you would prefer. If they say we dropped or otherwise broke your lens we pay the bill. Otherwise you pay.

I will have to add another footnote of warning, as one of my customers sent off his 100/2.8 to a different independent repair shop to fix an autofocus issue. Not only was the lens returned unfixed but the optics were made worse with a strange dark circle around the frame. To the different independent repair shop's credit they did restore the lens to its original condition as they should. Still, I am just telling this story to make the point that ToCAD's endorsement of Nippon Photo Clinic would better not be just on "137MA, 137MD, 139Q and 159MM", but specifically on the N series as well, before I would trust them to work on your 85/1.4. Really, Contax Japan is the most experienced and has the highest chance of success fixing your lens, but if there is anyone else specifically recommended for the Contax N series by ToCAD, that will be just as good.
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conurus
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

upallnight wrote:
i've got no vested interest in this gentleman's dispute and only read through this briefly, but isn't it possible that the postal service could be to blame? isn't there what insurance comes in?

anyway, to me bo-ming seems like a stand-up guy with a long track record of excellent work and honest communications. could it be that neither your seller, nor you, nor he is to blame?

what did catch my eye was this: "I have sent a perfectly good (and quite expensive) item and 3 months/$799 later..."

my lenses have entered canada as of yesterday (hope bo-ming can get them this weekend), and i was expecting 6 months....but 3 months would really thrill me!


We target to finish your order more than 95% of the case before the posted turnaround time. The average is much quicker and the posted turnaround time is almost like the maximum.

Now when I first corresponded with pirius the first thing I asked was whether there were signs of damage on the package. His reply was that there was none and the lens was well wrapped.

As pirius noted, the lens did pass our incoming lens test. In fact, we test the autofocus of every lens we work on at least 4 times: twice before conversion and twice after, and pirius' lens passed all 4 tests or else we would not have shipped. That is an interesting and important data point, but an unexplainable mystery. I doubt if wrapping the lens in bubbles would break it, Zeiss lenses are not that fragile!!!

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Last edited by conurus on Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I saw the thread about that independent repair shop (K..) on FM forum. I called Nippon Clinic already and asked if they fix Contax N lenses. The answer was "we can, but bring it in to tell for sure". I guess I'll need to calm down and think what my best option might be. I wholeheartedly believe that Coneos Imaging Corporation must stand behind its [very expensive] service and accept full responsibility for lenses while having them in its possession, but it looks like this is not going to be the case here. Buyer beware - this could happen to you as well.

upallnight - there are no visible signs on damage anywhere on the box and in any case, this specific lens was insured only for $600 CAD which is much less than its real value. And yes, conversion took less time than I expected (but will take much longer now with all repair trips). I hope you'll get yours back well and sound Smile
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upallnight



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

conurus wrote:

We target to finish your order more than 95% of the case before the posted turnaround time. The average is much quicker and the posted turnaround time is almost like the maximum.


i'm excited by this as it means i could be shooting with these lenses at the start of the fall. Smile Smile Smile
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conurus
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a brake shop who will take "full responsibility" for e.g. a dead battery while the car is in their possession? If you find an auto mechanic who is willing to take "full responsibility" like that, let us know. I mean yes if the brake shop left your headlights on and killed the battery then yes they are liable because it was their negligence, but I don't know of any auto mechanic who would accept every kind of responsibility no questions asked and even through no fault of their own.
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upallnight



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pirius wrote:


upallnight - there are no visible signs on damage anywhere on the box and in any case, this specific lens was insured only for $600 CAD which is much less than its real value. And yes, conversion took less time than I expected (but will take much longer now with all repair trips). I hope you'll get yours back well and sound Smile


first of all, i'm sorry your lens is not working as it should. that sucks, regardless of the reason.

i have heard of -- rarely -- items being damaged without obvious signs of damage on the packaging. for instance, a significant fall where the box landed squarely on one side might not show damage but could have jolted the lens inside the box just the same.

anyway, why was it only insured for C$600?

USPS global priority has a $675 limits (not sure what the limit is from Canada to the US).

Express service costs more but can be insured for the full value.
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="upallnight"]
pirius wrote:


anyway, why was it only insured for C$600?

USPS global priority has a $675 limits (not sure what the limit is from Canada to the US).

Express service costs more but can be insured for the full value.


There were 3 lenses in the box, insured together for a total maximum of $1000 CAD. 2 of them are fine, this one is broken. I agree though, I am not an expert in logistics and with all packaging tape that was wrapped around the box it could take pretty hard beating, e.g. drop from a height without showing obvious signs. Maybe it is better to submit an insurance claim and let them do their due diligence.
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upallnight



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="pirius"]
pirius wrote:




There were 3 lenses in the box, insured together for a total maximum of $1000 CAD. 2 of them are fine, this one is broken. I agree though, I am not an expert in logistics and with all packaging tape that was wrapped around the box it could take pretty hard beating, e.g. drop from a height without showing obvious signs. Maybe it is better to submit an insurance claim and let them do their due diligence.


i think it wouldn't hurt to make your claim.

so, on a more positive note....YOU JUST GOT TWO CONVERTED LENSES BACK IN 3 MONTHS!!!!!! Smile

got any feedback? what lenses did you convert (aside from the 85/1.4)? any sample photos?

i know it must stink to have the 85/1.4 down for more time, but you've got something to be happy about. how about contributing something for those of us whose contax lenses are now out of their hands? Smile
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pirius



Joined: 13 Feb 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've contacted Bo-Ming about submitting a claim since I cannot do it myself.

I got 24-85 and 50/1.4 converted. There are plenty of great pictures on FM forum: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/850075

24-85 is awesome and I had it already so I knew what to expect. 50/1.4 is also great, I like the look a lot, but in my initial tests autofocus is inconsistent on 5D Mark II, especially indoors. Plus it front focuses quite a bit, but I've fixed that with AF microadjustment feature in the camera.
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