Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Medium Format / Film / Digital Backs – and Large Sensor Photography => Topic started by: torger on September 22, 2012, 03:16:34 AM

Title: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 22, 2012, 03:16:34 AM
I just got in from a session outside in wonderful autumn colors. Unfortunately I cannot show any picture because my Leaf Aptus 75 back starts failing when it is colder than +5 degrees celcius (40 degrees fahrenheit).

I've noted this before but thought it was bad batteries, but now I have new ones and it still fails. Problem is that where I live and shoot (northen Sweden) it is +5 or colder 7-8 months per year. So it looks like I've made a huge mistake... Silly me thought medium format would be as reliable as my DSLR, which of course have no problems even in -20 degrees Celcius. I would be satisfied if the back could do no colder than -15C, but +5C which the limit is now is totally unacceptable. I cannot think anyone would consider +5C as extreme weather either.

Ok before I get really angry I'd thought I'd verify if an Aptus 75 is supposed to be this bad in cold weather, or if my back is in need of service (it is afterall quite old, I acquired it second hand). And if it is this bad if there is some sort of workaround. I cannot have a digital back that is unusable more than half of the year. Then I must sell it to someone that lives in a warmer climate, and get a product that works here.

To describe what happens in +5C -- the back often needs two-three attempts before even booting up at all, and when booting up it locks up for 30 seconds or so and then a red text message is displayed along the lines "imaging module has a problem, please restart" and one has to remove the battery and insert it back in again to try again, but same thing happens until it gets warmer. Extremely frustrating when you have hiked to a fantastic scene and have a brief moment of fantastic light in front of your eyes, you have lined up the camera and everything is ready and then the back starts failing, and you reboot and reboot remove the battery, take a new battery out try again reboot wait reboot wait and the light disappears >:(

Is this a specific problem with my back? Or a general Aptus-series problem? Or a general problem with medium format digital backs all over? I know people use MF backs outdoor but when I think about it I haven't really seen much cold weather shots...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Isak Bergwall on September 22, 2012, 04:30:57 AM
Hi!

I also live in Sweden and is buying into medium format (p25+) and One Guy that I asked (he uses a hasselblad h4d I think) says he uses it down to -30 without problem except the display gets like "sirap" :)
He recommended putting a heatpack over the battery so it didn't unload in the cold weather..

PhaseOne has some pr youtube video where they put a P+ in the freezer until its frozen solid then boots it up without trouble.. So I don't think all MFDB are bad in cold weather :)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 22, 2012, 06:31:42 AM
Yes I think phase one P-series are probably among the better, when looking at the older ones. MFDB started out as studio products so it is hard to know what the older are supposed to be able to handle. I have heard people say good things about the Aptus 75 for outdoor use, but I'm uncertain if that included cold weather.

Another problem with my Aptus is that if it due to cold or whatever fails to write the image to the CF card, it still writes something which then causes the back to lock up when the card is in. Even if I try to reformat the CF card in the back it locks up (while reformatting). The only solution is to reformat the card on a computer (the card is readable on the computer too before reformatting so I don't really know what the back has done with it).

Since it renders the CF card unusable until I get back to a computer I need to have some spares, and if it is cold it can lock up again and render also the next card unusable etc.

I like many things about my Aptus 75, but concerning reliability I'm so far not impressed. I hope it is a servicable issue. Maybe I should get a cheap P25 and have as a backup in the bag :-)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 22, 2012, 06:56:11 AM
More details for the Leaf experts; the message I get is exactly as follows (in red text)

"The imaging module has encountered an internal problem. Please switch off the imaging module and then switch it on again. No images will be lost."

You cannot switch it off though, removing the battery is the only thing that works. This happens in cold weather, and also happens when I have a CF card in that the back wrote to when failing (after reformatting in computer it works again).

It is also quite common that the back needs a couple of attempts before it manages to boot after a CF card has been changed. If it is an unsupported CF type or an unsupported file system the back does not boot at all. Even in cases when I think it is supported it happens to not boot at all with some CF cards. The CF implementationin the back simply seems to be very unstable. The most reliable is an ancient 1 GB sandisk ultra II that I use most of the time (I don't shoot many pictures a day anyway, so 1 GB is most often enough for a day out).
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: MarkoRepse on September 22, 2012, 06:58:28 AM
This is unusual. I've shot in cold weather (ok to be fair not much) with an Aptus22, maybe around -5, -10, and no problems. I kept the spare batteries in my pocket to keep them warm because as you know, when cold they don't last long. If I were to guess, it seems your back might need service...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: yaya on September 22, 2012, 07:05:24 AM
Contact your dealer and have the back checked, there are hundreds of backs out there being used in low temperatures without issues.

Regarding the cards make sure they're formatted as MS-DOS FAT32 (on a mac or PC) and try not to use them in other cameras

Yair
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 22, 2012, 11:56:52 AM
Thanks!

I guess it's time for some service then. I shall describe the error clearly so they don't just test it in room temperature and conclude that nothing is wrong and send it back without repair :). I'll report back how it goes (if I remember). I'm not going to pay more for repair than I paid for the back, so we'll see if it becomes a paper weight or if it can be fixed for a reasonable price.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: FredBGG on September 22, 2012, 02:04:17 PM
While the OP probably has other issues...

For cold weather it's best to use external power and keep the batteries under your coat.

The Canon ch-910 works nicely at least for phase one backs.
You can also use much larger batteries with this charger when using it as a battery holder.
You can also attach two batteries at a time.

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/6989119965_ac5ec7cecf_b.jpg)

This works nicely with the Phase One P and P+ backs.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 24, 2012, 03:55:34 AM
Anyone who knows about a similar external battery solution for Aptus? I like to buy something ready-made rather than soldering something myself :-)

I've heard from at least one other user that Aptus backs even when in perfect condition start behaving erratically when batteries are low, i e locking up. While I'm sure my back has some specific problems with cold, it would be good to know what to expect from a back perfectly in order so I can test that it works as it should when I get it back from service.

My DSLR runs perfectly until batteries are out and then it just shuts down, and that is what I would expect from the Aptus too. However, if it is supposed to lock up occasionally when batteries are low I need to know so I don't send it back for yet another service for a problem that cannot be fixed...

(I can live with erratic behavior on low batteries, just put in a new battery, my problem now with my back is that it doesn't help either if its a bit chilly)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 24, 2012, 04:05:03 AM
Oh, by the way, someone who has a battery charger recommendation? I have a standard simple Samsung loader currently. I'd like to have "the best" to make sure that batteries are loaded in the best way possible... I've heard that the Hδhnel Twin V Pro should be good.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 28, 2012, 05:41:10 AM
I've talked to the local dealer which needs €4300 for the service, and can then guarantee 0 degree celcius (32F).

I was kind of expecting this, but hoped for a little bit better price and better confidence in the cold weather reliability.

I'm now thinking about trade-in options, I shall look around and see what's possible to get. I rather pay a bit more to get a newer 30-50 megapixel back, than to service my old back for that kind of money and still risk having problems.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: yaya on September 28, 2012, 06:02:29 AM
We're you advised if the sensor had to be changed or not?
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 28, 2012, 06:27:10 AM
We're you advised if the sensor had to be changed or not?

The price is 9900 SEK + VAT (25% in Sweden) for changing glass (€1173 + €293) which is supposed to include also some basic service, I'm expecting the battery for the clock and stuff like that would be changed but I don't know. My hope was that the glass changing service would be enough to fix the problems I have, because I don't think something is seriously broken.

I does work perfectly in good conditions, except for some strangeness with the CF but that could be me not doing the correct black magic when formatting (I tend to use my cards in many different cameras etc, so it could be that, I'll look more into it).

"Standard service" costs 20000 SEK + VAT (€2371 + €593) which the dealer then added that on top of the glass changing service, so in total there's €4430. The VAT (as I'm an amateur I need to pay that) makes it look a little bit more than it is, but it is still high, €3500 without VAT.

I did describe the problems in detail, just like here.

That "standard service" actually exists in their price list for various Phase One backs (they have stopped selling Leaf backs by saying "Credo is too similar to IQ" so Leaf have been removed from their site, but I guess Leaf backs are repaired in the same location as Phase backs these days). I don't know if "standard service" comes from a global price list set by Leaf/Phase One, or if it is this dealer only.

There was no indication that the sensor would need changing, and to me that would seem very odd indeed. I have had no problem with the sensor. If the sensor would need changing I would understand the cost.

My limit before thinking "this is a bit too much for this back" is about €2500.

What I could do is to make the glass changing service, which I will have to do sooner or later anyway, and hope overview and internal battery change will make the back more stable. But it is very unclear to me if they even change the internal battery (or look at the fan etc) with that service. Changing glass oneself costs about €500 so I hope that at least something is done for the extra €600.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: yaya on September 28, 2012, 08:16:04 AM
Sounds like possibly unnecessary add ons...

Since there is no dealer you can create a support case and we'll guide you how to proceed: Contact Support (http://www.phaseone.com/en/SupportMain/ContactSupport.aspx)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on September 28, 2012, 11:15:14 AM
Thanks, I really appreciate the helpfulness!
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 01, 2012, 02:56:13 AM
Hi!

I also live in Sweden and is buying into medium format (p25+) and One Guy that I asked (he uses a hasselblad h4d I think) says he uses it down to -30 without problem except the display gets like "sirap" :)
He recommended putting a heatpack over the battery so it didn't unload in the cold weather..

PhaseOne has some pr youtube video where they put a P+ in the freezer until its frozen solid then boots it up without trouble.. So I don't think all MFDB are bad in cold weather :)

The P+ series is good in cold weather. My guess is from all user reports I've read that the P+ series is the most reliable MFDB for field use that has been made so far.

Phase One have a similar video showing off the IQ-series. However, users did have problems with the IQ180, running out of power almost immediately in chilly weather. I've heard there's been a firmware update since that fixes the problem - and that's great, but it does show that those tests they do is partly only for show, they don't actually do extensive field tests in the cold to see if the camera actually can operate for an extensive period of time. No matter what people say, the overall impression I have got is that if one comes from DSLR and buys into medium format one must be prepared that reliability may not be the same.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: HarperPhotos on October 01, 2012, 03:28:52 AM
Hello,

4,300.00 Euros for a repair hell for 2,568.00 Euros you can have a Nikon D800e and never have to worry about the cold again.

Think about it.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 01, 2012, 03:44:37 AM
Hello,

4,300.00 Euros for a repair hell for 2,568.00 Euros you can have a Nikon D800e and never have to worry about the cold again.

I'll probably sit around and wait for the the new big megapixel Nikon-kill...eehhh Canon camera. Recent rumours seem quite promising... I hope to be able to stay with my Linhof system though, I really like using it. I use shift/tilt extensively, and need the 35mm focal length (47mm in my system).
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: HarperPhotos on October 01, 2012, 04:11:49 AM
Hi Torger,

I use the Nikon 24,45 and 85mm PC lenses as will as the Horseman VCC adapter with Rodenstock Rodagon lenses with great result on my D800E.

My Leaf Aptus 75 has a small bit of dust which is behind the UV filter of my back. I was told by the NZ Leaf/Phase distributor that to remove it it had to be sent to Honk Kong and would cost close to $2,500.00NZ dollars. As the dust spot in the the top right corner I now live with it.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 01, 2012, 04:27:36 AM
I don't know if it's good taste or not to post support progress in public, oh well probably not. These things should be handled in private. But I cannot resist. I'll post if it goes good too, but currently it does not.

To avoid confusion I've shortcut the dealer (which in any case lives very far from here, I have no local dealer) and communicated directly with Phase/Leaf now and they seem utterly uninterested in helping. In a way I understand them, since they are used to customers where money is a non-issue, why care about the others?

They also claim that the repair must go through the dealer, and interestingly enough the dealer have stopped selling Leaf gear. Why would I have to go through a dealer that don't even sell the stuff? Additionally they recommend I should use the back as is, or get an upgrade deal, but they should know that the back is too old, you cannot get an upgrade deal for Leaf Aptus 75, the message is that if you want to be in an upgrade program you need to upgrade quickly. I find it quite interesting that the same dealer actually said before I bought the Aptus 75 (knowing it was an Aptus 75 I was looking into) that it would be good to use as a way to upgrade to new gear later, but now when I ask about upgrading there are no such options.

Finally, if I still go ahead with repair I find it a bit insulting that they claim "will require a full repair and exchange of very expensive parts inside" as if they would have to exchange the sensor. I'm an engineer goddammit, I know what's expensive and not. What costs electronic component-wise in a back is the sensor, the rest is like any camera. The high back prices comes from low volumes and high development cost, why try to maintain this mythology around using very very special super-expensive components, customers are not idiots. Repairs don't need to be this expensive. Their intention seems to be to rip me off, and it's not much I can do about it.

I'm both surprised and not surprised by how this develops. I'm a bit surprised by how worthless in terms of upgrading a back from 2006 is, MFDB manufacturers often brag about the long life of their products and good upgrade programs, but in practice it seems to be untrue. Upgrade programs are good if you want to stay with the latest all the time, but if you fall behind -- you're out. I'm a bit less surprised with the total lack of understanding of that an amateur may think that €3500+VAT is slightly expensive for a repair. I know I'm a pain-in-the-butt customer, I have bought second hand so they haven't made any money on me and then I make a lot of noise for a lowly €3500 service for a back that cost €20000+ when it was new. I guess they think I get what I deserve when buying into gear I really cannot afford owning :).

However, I know companies that look at my type of customer like this -- maybe if we provide good service he'll stay with MF gear and our brand, maybe eventually buy new equipment, maybe he becomes a professional photographer in the future etc. Buying a new back in the €10000 range is actually not out of the question for me, but just not now. I've just bought a complete system, the tech cam and lenses cost money too. Before I bought this back I actually had got that impression, that MFDB manufacturers thought about amateur customers this way, but I'm now experiencing the painful way that my impression was probably wrong.

What I've seen of MF support so far is not good. If money is a non-issue and you stay with the latest all the time I'm sure it's great, but if you're a poor amateur like me and use old gear it seems like you're out in the cold. The best support I've got is from members on this forum and getdpi, Yair not the least, and I thank you all for your support, it is really very valuable.

I have some more testing to do myself on the back though. I have not yet tested how it behaves when powered via firewire, it could be some problem with the back drawing power from batteries.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: HarperPhotos on October 01, 2012, 04:38:59 AM
Hi Torger,

I know what you mean when dealing with Leaf/Phase I all ways feel that the buggers just what to screw me over any way they can.

That Nikon D800E must be looking very temping right now.

Taken it from me the Nikon D800E raw files are as good as the Leaf Aptus 75.

Oh that last comment going to upset the MFDB purists.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 01, 2012, 05:02:13 AM
Taken it from me the Nikon D800E raw files are as good as the Leaf Aptus 75.

:)

I've done the tests myself and yes for my purpose the D800E are as good as Leaf Aptus 75, D800 is clearly a bit better on DR, the Aptus probably a little bit better on color, but from my perspective they are essentially equivalent.

My reasons for using MF is however not mainly the great pleasure of using a digital back ;), but rather to use a technical camera. My photographer's personality fits very well with the slow view camera concept, I actually thought about getting a 4x5" camera but I'm not really into the film hassle so the next best thing was getting a Techno. I've used a Canon with their new TS-E 24 lens quite much, and to be satisfied with tilt-shift lenses on a DSLR I want that flexibility, i e shift and tilt separately and no locked axis like on Nikon's PC-E. I also find it troubling that there is no 35mm TS-E, the 1.4x converter with 24 produces okay results, but well, I just prefer using a tech camera.

I just need a trusty digital back, it does not need to be the best, just fairly competitive with the DSLR equipment I could otherwise afford. The Aptus 75 fits perfectly there and is also a perfect combo with a tech cam (low color cast, no synch issues, decent focus check capability), but I'm had some bad luck with my purchase, which you can have when you buy second hand. I think the previous owner was totally honest when he sold to me, but since he shot only in studio/warm conditions he have not come across the problems I have now and did not know they existed.

I want to own and use MFD, but as seen in my latest post on the previous page the support is not making it easy for me.

It's quite simple. In the current condition the back is unsellabe (it's no worse than when I got it, but I now know about the problems and I would not fool anyone to buy it), but it costs about as much to make it sellable as I would get from a sale, and dealers won't take it as trade-in. The value of the back is thus essentially zero.

When I decided I'll try getting into this I calculated with the risk of losing money and ending up with an unusable system until I can replace or sell the working parts, so I'm not that upset. Sh*t happens. What I did not calculate with is that I would love using the tech camera so much that I have a hard time thinking that I need to go back and do landscape work with my DSLR. The love is not about image quality, it's about the compositional workflow. So I will not give up that easily I'll try to get a working system again, first see if it really isn't possibly to get this Aptus 75 to run properly, and if not look into getting another second hand back.

The support communication is still ongoing though, it may be much about miscommunication about things. Hopefully things will sort out, I'm prepared to spend quite a lot on my back, just not more than I bought it for or what another second hand unit sells for. I did actually look up service fees the best I could before buying the back in case something like this would happen. What I've got now is perfunctory communication of those numbers but adding them on top and then adding a "or more" afterwards, which have made me feel really uneasy. I'm not in for sending it away and get a surprise invoice a week later. The latest I've heard is that it is not really that way things are carried through, but they surely was good at giving that impression.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: alan_b on October 01, 2012, 05:21:10 PM
Sorry to hear this. Hopefully it will work out - keep us posted.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: HarperPhotos on October 02, 2012, 02:26:39 AM
Hi Torger,

I was talking to a rep today who has to deal with Leaf/Phase on a daily basis and I told them of your situation. He/she reply was is Leaf/Phase have set rates on repairs and don’t price on individual cases. They do this cause there thinking is if you can afford a MFDB then you can afford the repair. I.e. remove dust $2,500.00, fix circuit board $4,500.00 even though it could be a simple adjustment or just removing some screws cleaning the inside of the UV filter and screwing it back on.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 02, 2012, 08:23:54 AM
Hi Torger,

I was talking to a rep today who has to deal with Leaf/Phase on a daily basis and I told them of your situation. He/she reply was is Leaf/Phase have set rates on repairs and don’t price on individual cases. They do this cause there thinking is if you can afford a MFDB then you can afford the repair. I.e. remove dust $2,500.00, fix circuit board $4,500.00 even though it could be a simple adjustment or just removing some screws cleaning the inside of the UV filter and screwing it back on.

Yes I've heard that they have "fixed costprices at the request of dealers and customers" for repairs, i e here it's €1900+VAT for a typical repair, but it is still a bit unclear how this is actually handled in practice, because both dealers and support engineers have told me it can be adjusted both up and down. If the sensor needs replacing for example it would cost more. I don't know what would cause it to cost less though, maybe if it's a silly simple "repair" it will be less, don't know, or it is based on what temper the support engineer is that day :).

I don't know for sure, but I think this fixed price thing is a Phase One policy since several years, and Leaf now got the same when they merged. I don't know what the policy was when Leaf was independent.

Probably the fixed price is quite good when you have a high-end back for €30,000 and the likely repair if any is a big one (dropped into a stream of water type of things), but for servicing old gear which is worth say €5000 or less and get simple errors like depleted clock batteries it is not so good.

Another thing is that they have a separate fixed price for sensor glass replacement, which is ~€900, and in that package I think a simple clean should be included. So probably your problem would be fixed if buying that package instead instead of the generic repair package.

And then there's the final strange thing, you can swap mounts for I think it is €2000 (say change a H-mount to a V-mount), but what I've heard is that you actually get the whole back exchanged since the Leaf Aptus backs cannot have mount exchanged. Not 100% sure this is true though.

Anyway I don't really think this is a good model. One problem is that the major part of the cost of a high-end back is not manufacturing/parts cost, but development cost due to low sales volumes (and maybe a large margin). If we exclude the sensor the manufacturing cost of the whole back I would guess is around €2000 or less, but I think the MFDB manufacturers want to maintain a myth that the hardware indeed is extremely expensive so repairs must not make the stuff look "cheap".

I'd rather like to see that they try not to make (a lot of) money on repairs, but keep the costs down and you get to pay for parts and the work separately, just like when you repair your car. I also think they should have some known max price on repair which would be the manufacturing cost of the back plus work. I think customers are quite smart and understand that a €30,000 back does not cost €28,000 to make when you're in production, so the support organization should not need to try to give that impression.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: heinrichvoelkel on October 02, 2012, 08:43:57 AM
Usually in this forum dealers and reps are all over the please. Would be interesting to hear their take on this.

Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: degrub on October 02, 2012, 09:15:34 AM
Does the back work if kept warm and then placed on the body when outside ? Did the firewire power test work ?
It sounds like electrical contact is being lost in a connector from thermal contraction or in a chip. That's how we used to find intermittent faulty components - spray a little freon on the chip to chill it. If you are brave and have electronics skills, you could carefully disassemble and see if there are any loose or corroded connectors. It could also be a cold solder joint that only breaks at lower temperatures. No easy fix for that.

i don't know about it not having value - just explain the situation about it only working at room temperature.
Frank
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 02, 2012, 10:02:02 AM
Does the back work if kept warm and then placed on the body when outside ? Did the firewire power test work ?
It sounds like electrical contact is being lost in a connector from thermal contraction or in a chip. That's how we used to find intermittent faulty components - spray a little freon on the chip to chill it. If you are brave and have electronics skills, you could carefully disassemble and see if there are any loose or corroded connectors. It could also be a cold solder joint that only breaks at lower temperatures. No easy fix for that.

i don't know about it not having value - just explain the situation about it only working at room temperature.
Frank

Yes the back works when it's warm, except for some slight CF strangeness (usually need to try twice to boot after switching card) but that's survivable. It starts getting more and more trouble (hard to boot up) the more it gets cooled down by the surrounding air and eventually it stops being able to get any pictures (always an error message coming instead of a picture). The breakpoint temperature seems to be around +5C.

I have not yet tried it with firewire powering, I just minutes ago got all parts together, firewire cable, computer with firewire port etc. Now I need to wait for some colder weather, it is a bit warm outside for the moment.

Yes it does work for the studio photographer or someone living in warm climate, so I could probably sell it with some discount.

But the clock battery is depleted too, and that's just too irritating so I'll need to do a basic service in any case, so I will eventually send it away but may not afford to fix it in full depending on what price they want for it, something that's far from clear yet. It could be €580 + €990 + €1900 + some more, or just €1900. I've got a bunch of numbers with somewhat contradicting statements on how they are combined. The good thing I know now is that the base cost look-and-clean is €580+VAT, and then you get a price and a chance to say yes/no to extra repairs if any.

At first it sounded as if you sent it away and got it back a week later together with a surprise invoice with any random number from €1900 and up, but it is not really that bad :)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Doug Peterson on October 02, 2012, 11:16:36 AM
Usually in this forum dealers and reps are all over the please. Would be interesting to hear their take on this.

Cost of repair:

Warranty repairs for digital backs are free provided that the damage is not physical (e.g. dropping it into an ocean).

The cost of out-of-warranty repairs on digital backs that do not require opening the back are reasonable. These include repairs on external ports, some electronics/firmware issues, and some connectivity issues. These can be done on a standard work bench and only require the technician to be familiar with a limited number of potential issues and procedures.

The cost of out of warranty repairs on digital backs that require opening the back is high. It requires an industrial clean room and someone with enough training and experience to disassemble and reassemble the back and repair the back regardless of which component has failed. Partly due to the markets served (including major intuitional and corporate users that use the back 8 hours a day 300+ days a year) the repairs are executed to extremely high standards and include a 6-month warranty; re-repairs, especially compared to other photographic equipment, is very rare (based on my experience as a point of service for such equipment).  

The repair department has fixed costs (e.g. staffing, maintaining a clean room, having replacement parts for every component including ones that have since become discontinued from their original source). The irony is if they broke more often these costs could be spread more efficiently, but the repair rate is low so those costs are higher per back. I can absolutely assure you that the repair department is not "making a bunch of money" off customers.

I can't speak to the repair policy of Mamiya Leaf in the rest of the world (the US is handled differently since there is a repair facility in the US for Mamiya Leaf) but what follows is based on the repair policy for Phase One across the world... The cause of any internally-caused issues can only be determined by opening the back, and this can only be done at the factory in the clean room. This requires shipping the back to Denmark with the required paperwork and insurance for international shipping of a high value item. Consequently the traditional formula of "estimate then repair" does not make much sense. Instead Phase One provides a set rate for all internal repairs (excepting physical damage like dropping it into water). This provides certainty to the end user so they can decide up front whether it was worth repairing; a strong advantage to the system. The necessary downside is that, by definition, some number of users will have a relatively minor repair done at the same price as a repair that turns out to be more complicated than first anticipated. However, having once had a standard dental filling turn into a full root canal ("o look, it's worse than it looked on the x-ray; I can put a temporary cap on this gaping hole in your tooth and you can shop around for root canal pricing, or we can go ahead and do it right now") I greatly appreciate the value in clear up front pricing for repairs. In cases where it's not clear if the issue is internal or can be fixed without opening the back there is a "service check" fee which accounts for any external repairs and, if the problem is determined to be internal they will contact you and you can decide if you want to proceed - in such cases you are not charged twice but rather the "service check" fee is used towards the cost of the "full repair".

Purchasing from a Dealer:

If you purchase from a dealer even pre-owned backs comes with a warranty (at least it does with us), and the ability (encouragement even) to test the back in your own workflow before deciding to buy. If you purchase from a private individual you are taking a (often but not always) lower price with a higher risk. Seems a lot like most purchases of major assets (e.g. buying a 2005 BMW from a private individual).

Moreover the entire support system of Team Phase One (Leaf/Mamiya/Phase) is designed around the dealer as the primary point of contact. If you do not work with a dealer the manufacturer will absolutely work with you on service/support/repairs but it may be awkward at times since that's not how the system is designed to function.

Torger bought a used back from a private individual. The back was defective and since private individuals are not professionals at evaluating/testing backs it was not discovered to be defective until after the purchase was complete. This is not an indictment; Torger lives in an area where he does not find the local dealer very useful to work with for various reasons. Although he had the option to buy from an out-of-area dealer like us he may not have felt comfortable doing so for whatever logistical/personal/business reason. He may also have felt comfortable rolling the dice, knowing that the rate of failure/repair on Leaf/Phase backs is very low. Sounds like he's ended up with a solid dose of bad luck and I have a lot of sympathy for him. In the future perhaps he will consider making his purchase through a respected dealer to provide him support and protect against any bad luck - I certainly hope it doesn't spoil medium format for him as (from reading his posts for a long time) it certainly seems a great fit for what he wants to do and how he wants to do it.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: gerald.d on October 02, 2012, 02:28:33 PM
Doug -

Across what temperature and humidity ranges do you test the pre-owned backs you sell?

Regards,

Gerald.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Doug Peterson on October 02, 2012, 03:06:03 PM
Across what temperature and humidity ranges do you test the pre-owned backs you sell?

While I'd say our testing in general is very rigorous I can't claim we test under other-than-studio environments.

Notably, I've not personally experienced a back which had issues but exclusively at extreme temperatures (inside their operating range) - even in this case it sounds like the back exhibits quirks at normal temperature and gets worse in cold temperatures. If we had a back which would not boot the first time when using a CF card it would not be sold to a customer without being sent in for repair before hand.

Of course nothing is impossible. A back could in theory pass rigorous testing in a studio environment with a perfect score but fail in low temperature. I've not seen this in 5 years, but I can't say it's impossible. Fortunately when we sell a back, even a pre-owned back, it is sold with a warranty. So if an issue arises similar to the one Torger describes we would have been able to address it without cost, and at minimal inconvenience. If this kind of certainty is critical to your well-being or your business plan we can also provide paid warranty extensions indefinitely (we do this most often for production shops which have a very set equipment budget and love the certainty of continuous warranty coverage even on an older product).

Moreover everyone buying anything from us (pre-owned or new) is encouraged to do a rental in which they shoot the equipment in the environment they plan on using it for. That rental is counted towards the purchase and thus is effectively free. If a customer told me he wanted to put the back in a freezer to test it (e.g. it's summer and you do a lot of shooting in the winter) I'd be glad to accomodate :-).

Can we promise you nothing will ever go wrong? Absolutely not. As the expression goes "[email protected]%^ happens". But we do make every effort to make it as unlikely as possible, and structure our policies to make it as pain free as possible if it does.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: bcooter on October 02, 2012, 06:37:35 PM
The repair department has fixed costs (e.g. staffing, maintaining a clean room, having replacement parts for every component including ones that have since become discontinued from their original source). The irony is if they broke more often these costs could be spread more efficiently, but the repair rate is low so those costs are higher per back. I can absolutely assure you that the repair department is not "making a bunch of money" off customers.

I don't agree with everything Doug says, but really do appreciate his information. 

Also Doug makes no bones about where his loyalties are placed.  That I really do appreciate.

In this case I think we could cut Phase and Leaf a little slack.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot.  How many times has a client asked you to process out a dozen files and ftp them at no or very little charge?

I know in our case we run three backups minimum, two raid 5's, keep galleries online for a long, long time, go into the dam system and locate the files, usually find a background plate to help with the blending of an image, copy them over to a station, process, then into photoshop for finish, make an approval gallery, put that online, then zip and load 2 gigs of data on the server for the client to download and whether a "client" is paying or not we have our brand to protect so we do some if not a lot of retouching, so when someone is aggravated that we don't do this for a "nominal" fee, I don't think they are getting the complete picture of what it costs to operate professionally.

So I can see Phase in the same light.  I doubt if they have twenty techs setting at stations working on cameras all day long like CPS does.  I would imagine it's a one or two camera a day thing but it costs the same to keep the room staffed, equipped and ready whether they work on one camera or 20.

As far as the cost of medium format backs and repairs if my p21+ or p30+ went down and it costs almost as much to fix them as they were worth, it probably would be worth it to me, as I know the backs, trust them, got great use out of them and continue to do so.

Now saying all this I hope I haven't set myself up when it comes time to replace the watch batteries, because if that really does costs $2,500 per battery, I would think that's excessive.  (insert one of those silly smily faces here).

IMO

BC
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 03, 2012, 04:22:02 AM
I'm not going to complain if all this falls down into some reasonable offer. If the electronics is in really poor shape and there is need to replace all the internals (except sensor) and that's done for €1900+VAT I would consider it to be a good deal. It's a lot better than getting a dust spot removed for the same price.

It's quite easy to think that this is actually a manufacturing error though. I realize that degrub's comments are quite likely, that there's some electrical contact loss due to thermal contraction, and that's the result of poor soldering work. I don't really know what type of external force that would have caused the back to break in this way. Since I'm the third owner of this back I cannot know what it has been through though, maybe it has been in a microwave oven or something :). As far as I know the previous owners were studio users though so I think it has been reasonably well cared for, and I would not be surprised if the error has been there all the time but I'm the first to notice since I'm an outdoor shooter.

I've used a lot of old electronics and while it happens that stuff dies it is quite rare and even things that are supposed to be cheap low quality easily survive those 5-6 years which is the age of this back. I would expect a $30K digital back to be designed to withstand some time, and I think they are since I see a lot of old backs being used without problems. I think I've got a lemon, or "mεndagsexemplar" ("Monday copy", the copies manufactured when the workers a tired after the weekend :) ) as we say in Sweden. It's never great to get to pay to fix a lemon, something that was not up to spec leaving the factory, but I can only speculate if this is the case or not. The repair engineers will probably see if that's the case though, but they probably won't tell me :).

Concerning dealing with dealers, there are dealers and there are dealers. Not all are the same. I've noticed that there are dealers that are quite used to contact with amateurs and are understanding. Linhof studio and Direct digital imaging in the UK for example. They have some used deals that are attractive to amateurs, and if you say you are a price-sensitive amateur and look for good price/performance you get appropriate suggestions.

Then there's another type of dealer that is very business-to-business and I find these are very hard to communicate with. Those kind of dealers think that a used 22 megapixel back for €6800 is a great amateur offer, and concerning this repair business it was not really possible to find out how much it was going to cost or how the repair was handled. Their mindset seems to be "who cares if the invoice is on €2000 or €5000?", and if you do it is like your not really welcome into the elitist club. Adding a substantial amount of extra on top of central pricing due to strange currency converting is quite common with these dealers too. If you almost exclusively deal with customers where price is not important these things happen.

Going to the US is not really an option for me here in Sweden, due to taxes and customs it becomes cumbersome and prices unattractive. European dealers is a good option though, and I've done a little business already.

("Warm" and wet around here now, I can test with external power source via firewire now, but waiting for the weather to get cold and dry again)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: FredBGG on October 03, 2012, 04:43:23 AM

If a customer told me he wanted to put the back in a freezer to test it (e.g. it's summer and you do a lot of shooting in the winter) I'd be glad to accomodate :-).


How would you proceed with this test? Before and after...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 10, 2012, 05:28:57 PM
Some news -- At last rain has been exchanged for some nicer and cooler autumn weather. At almost exactly +5C I tested my back outside, and it seems if you never power it off it can do alright at this temperature, but if you power it off let it become ambient temperature then it will not start up. It starts the fan and the led emits the orange light, but it does not start blinking and change to green as in a normal booting sequence. It just sits there, and you can't power it off either without removing the battery (or firewire cable if powered through that).

If I let it be in that state (fan running, not booting) for a number of minutes it seems to get enough warmth so if I remove the power and return it and try boot again it starts up and works. Probably this all gets worse and worse the colder it is, +5C is the temperature I have noted is the breakpoint that I start to get problems, and it is a month or two before the real cold sets in so I haven't tested it in any colder weather than this so far. The most likely scenario in a few degrees colder weather is that it will not gain enough heat to run at all.

I tried to feed the power through firewire too, no different than from battery operation.

I got a new blank CF card too, that way I got rid of some of the CF strangeness I've had, so that was probably normal. There is definitely some issue with cold though.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 24, 2012, 03:05:09 PM
Further news; via the Swedish dealer I got the report that €5000 is required for complete repair, which is kind of boring since it is more than I paid for the back. Oh well, that's not exactly true since I've already paid €720 of that amount to get the message that I need to pay €4300 more if I want it to work like new, and I can strip off further ~€1400 if I don't change the glass (which has two micro scratches on it, haven't fixed it earlier since LCC corrects it). I'm counting with VAT here since I'm a private individual, and the Swedish dealer "tax" also gets added on top (they take the chance to make a good deal of money on the currency exchange).

They reported that they need to change two circuit boards inside which they call very expensive electronics (*cough* *b*llsh*t* *cough*) and that's what costs the remaining ~€2700. I'm not exactly pleased, but I was seeing this coming. This is how they work, and I get the sense that they think themselves it is attractive pricing. They charge you exactly the same if you repair an IQ180 or a H20. For an IQ180 €5000 looks almost cheap, but for a few years old back it becomes bl**dy expensive. I'm investigating if I really got the correct report from the Swedish dealer, but it probably does not matter since you cannot go around him anyway (I've tried).

With this it is probably best to sell the back for a good price (for the buyer, not me :-) ) to a non-nordic user and get me another second hand back which has a better reliability track record... maybe a P45+ in the spring... or getting out all-together. I'm a quite patient guy though and I really like to shoot with my Techno. There is a limit to how much beating I can take though, and I really don't like the feeling of getting ripped off like a fool, a feeling which the MF industry is quite good at provoking.

We'll see how it goes. I'm in no real hurry, my Canon gear serves me quite well meantime.

Maybe I'll join Fred in the crusade against MF ;) ... I've had a couple of days of MF-from-the-worst-side. I'll let it sink in first.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: HarperPhotos on October 24, 2012, 03:53:17 PM
Hi Torger,

I really feel for you Man. These MF guys are just out of control.

I know that when the unhappy day my Leaf Aptus 75 dies that will be the end of myself using my much loved Mamiya RZ system.

For the price of a repair or replacement I could have a number of Nikon D800’s or by then the latest incarnation from Nikon.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 24, 2012, 04:37:53 PM
I'd say the longevity of MFDB is largely a myth, based on how the pricing strategy is made. You need to have a high yearly spending on the gear and keep with the latest so you stay in the zone of proportional costs. If you stay too long with your MFDB you fall outside upgrade programs, and when you want to repair you discover that repair costs more than second hand backs. If you keep your back for long your not the type of user that likes to spend several thousands of euros each year on digital backs, and then you don't fit into the MF equation. It's designed to upgrade as often as they release backs, of course.

I kind of knew this, so I just get what I deserve I guess :)

I'm still trying to confirm this, but the dealer said to me that they don't even fix the clock in the €700 service check. Clocks losing time in a few years old electronics is a not too uncommon, and that seems to cost €2700 to fix. If you want to stay with cheap MFDB the best way seems to be to buy second hand cheap, hope for the best, and if it fails, buy another one.

Right now that seems to be the most likely path for me. The "good" thing is that I don't need to do this repair now, since it does not matter if I do all service at once, the huge overhead cost is added trice anyway. I would guess that they don't actually have test facility to test it in cold so they don't actually know how it works after their service check, so I rather check that out myself than pay in the blind. With their usual price-not-an-object customers I would think the natural way to solve this is to read the my error description and just say "if we change the main circuit boards it will work", and then not really do any testing on the current state. If I'm lucky it may have started to work, sometimes it happens when things are taken apart, dust-blowed and put together again. I hope they do at least *something* for those €700...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: FredBGG on October 24, 2012, 10:11:13 PM
Cost of repair:
The cost of out of warranty repairs on digital backs that require opening the back is high. It requires an industrial clean room and someone with enough training and experience to disassemble and reassemble the back and repair the back regardless of which component has failed.

Why is a clean room required to open a back regardless of what part has failed if the very backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C)

It is very clear from the video that the backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room.
The backs are handled with bare hands with fingers touching the backs. Workers hair is not covered. Not industrial clean room standards.

Industrial clean room primer:

http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html (http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html)

Some clean room manufacturing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 25, 2012, 12:26:47 AM
Hi,

Installation of the IR filter is done in a clean room, as far as I understand.

It's not clear to me if it necessary to strip down the back to fix minor issues, like replacing the firewire port, to the extent that clean room reassembly is warranted.

Interestingly, MaxMax does IR conversion and OLP filter removal on DSLRs at a much lower cost. That work definitively demands clean room and they do it at quite reasonable cost.

Best regards
Erik




Why is a clean room required to open a back regardless of what part has failed if the very backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C)

It is very clear from the video that the backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room.
The backs are handled with bare hands with fingers touching the backs. Workers hair is not covered. Not industrial clean room standards.

Industrial clean room primer:

http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html (http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html)

Some clean room manufacturing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 25, 2012, 02:40:30 AM
You can't say that it's expensive because you need to do XYZ and then pick any fantasy number. It is an obvious ripoff, full stop. The idea is that you should not notice because your back was initially so high cost. At the very least it is a case of extremely poor cost management passed on directly to the customer.

Before I purchased the back I was most worried about the fan, the only moving part in the back. So I checked with the deailer into what it would cost to replace the fan. It would cost 9990 SEK, that is €1158/$1500+VAT. Hmm... I knew already then that they had issues, but I thought I could take the risk. It was said that a basic checkup was included in that price. What I failed to realize is that they add up the fantasy costs if you need to fix more than one thing, and I did not realize that I was going to be forced by Phase One to use a Swedish dealer which adds 15% on top, which is not insignificant since you get 25% VAT on top of that, i e +43%, say a German dealer doing euro prices would be VAT only (19% there). And while basic checkup was said to be included in that fan exchange price, I need to pay for the 5000 SEK+VAT checkup separately here when doing repairs for 19000 + 9990 SEK.

You should think of this when backs costing less than ~€5000 is sold, they are so uneconomical to repair that it may be better to throw them away when trouble occurs. A dealer 6 month warranty adds little safety to this, 6 months pass quickly (one may not even experience cold weather in that time...) and then you must simply hope nothing happens to it. What the dealer wants to happen is that you see it is so bl**dy expensive to repair that a trade-in to a newer more expensive back does not seem that bad in comparison, and then you are in the loop.

I shall say what would have made me satisfied. 1) Phase One would let me use any dealer in the world (or even better go directly to them), so I could skip the bad dealers that add extra on top 2) the "service checkup fee" would not be added several times when you fix everything at once, meaning that this repair would be €1900 (standard repair fee) + ~€500 (glass, without the service checkup fee) = €2600 + VAT, that with say a German dealer would be €2900 for me, still expensive but a whole lot different from €5000.

In the current offering it is a better deal for me to sell my back for as little as €1000 or even less (I think it is worth more though to anyone that don't use it in cold weather, I just have to find the right buyer) and get another second hand back. I can afford make the repair as offered by the Swedish dealer, but it is 1) a stupid deal since it is so expensive that trading is considerably better and 2) there's a limit to how much ripoff I can accept, I simply don't like to give away my money to business that work this way.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: MrSmith on October 25, 2012, 04:16:55 AM
That's a crappy situation with your back, shame there's no independent ex-employee running a repair shop.

How long does it take to train as a phase/leaf repair engineer? I was thinking of retraining as an optician as their mark-up is very high but a phase/leaf repair agent seems like a better way of fleecing people.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: bcooter on October 25, 2012, 04:28:52 AM

I don't know for sure, but I think this fixed price thing is a Phase One policy since several years, and Leaf now got the same when they merged. I don't know what the policy was when Leaf was independent.

Probably the fixed price is quite good when you have a high-end back for €30,000 and the likely repair if any is a big one (dropped into a stream of water type of things), but for servicing old gear which is worth say €5000 or less and get simple errors like depleted clock batteries it is not so good.

Another thing is that they have a separate fixed price for sensor glass replacement, which is ~€900, and in that package I think a simple clean should be included. So probably your problem would be fixed if buying that package instead instead of the generic repair package.

And then there's the final strange thing, you can swap mounts for I think it is €2000 (say change a H-mount to a V-mount), but what I've heard is that you actually get the whole back exchanged since the Leaf Aptus backs cannot have mount exchanged. Not 100% sure this is true though.

Anyway I don't really think this is a good model. One problem is that the major part of the cost of a high-end back is not manufacturing/parts cost, but development cost due to low sales volumes (and maybe a large margin). If we exclude the sensor the manufacturing cost of the whole back I would guess is around €2000 or less, but I think the MFDB manufacturers want to maintain a myth that the hardware indeed is extremely expensive so repairs must not make the stuff look "cheap".


Torger,

I more than agree with you that 5000 euro is absurd.   I do understand the need for a smaller company like phase to turn a profit, but somewhere in the dealer,to manufacturer, to dealer (and tax man) process something is definitely sideways.

This process of getting a buyer in the "loop" is what I've always thought is a very poor long term business strategy for the mfd makers.

Sure, you always look for repeat business, but honest long term repeat business comes from excellent service, quality and value.  Sounds like silly talking points, but those three assets hold true for any business that wants to continue, regardless of the competition.

It's a shame, because had your back been fixed quickly and at a reasonable costs, you, your friends and associates would probably consider Leaf/Phase without hesitation.  Now you've been moved the opposite way.

It's also a shame that it seems that the process of trade in and trade up is a way for the mfd market to control used product entering the market and essentially manage the market.

We've seen this before, when a company or market segment tries to control a segment front to back and eventually some rival company realizes there is a hole in the market, i.e. the Nikon D800 and in some ways the Pentax 645 and capitalizes on it.

If Phase/Leaf/Blad had applied discounts to returning buyers and allowed them to sell or keep their existing backs rather than trade in, I don't believe it would have harmed their market, I actually believe it would have grown all medium format involvement and sales.

Also an extended warranty offering that is longer term and at a reasonable costs goes a long way with brand loyalty.

From day one medium format has had this position of people will pay more because they don't want to lose their investment in existing lenses and bodies.  Kinda of worked, but not for the long term. 

Now they seem to have a position of financially forcing a user with a mechanical issue to move up to a bigger newer back and this type of force, real or implied also doesn't work in the long term.

I know for me, my Phase backs are cost effective and continue to perform very well, but the day it costs me $2,500 to replace the watch battery, is the day I start looking in other directions.

Sorry this happened to your Torger, but something is wrong in this process.  I can understand that you bought used, took your chances, but to replace a board on a back should not cost more than the back is worth.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 26, 2012, 01:11:58 PM
The most likely scenario now is that I will try to sell the back for €2500 which I think is a fair price for a user that will not need to use it in cold weather, especially now after it has been to a €500 service check (unclear to me if they actually do anything but dust-blowing though :) ). I will be totally open with the defects of course. I will lose about €2500 on this, but that's only €500 a month which probably is the cheapest an MFD hobbyist has gotten away with anyway ;). And I've got some nice pictures.

If anyone is interested let me know.

Note that I won't drop it to a very low price, even if selling it for say €1000 would actually be a better deal for me than doing this repair, I would then find it better to keep it as a nice heavy paper weight during winter and use it as usual indoors and during the summer months when it works nicely.

I'm still waiting for some confirmation that I've got the correct information from the Swedish dealer and that I really cannot use someone else that actually employs fair pricing. The strange adding up of service fees could still be a central Phase One thing, and if so I'm not really sure yet if the remaining repair is worth those €3300 (as it would be with a German dealer) and even if so if I want to support that kind of business.

I also still want to test the back myself after they've done the service check, the back is still at my dealer or Phase One.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: FredBGG on October 26, 2012, 02:15:36 PM
@ Doug P
Cost of repair:
The cost of out of warranty repairs on digital backs that require opening the back is high. It requires an industrial clean room and someone with enough training and experience to disassemble and reassemble the back and repair the back regardless of which component has failed.

Why is a clean room required to open a back regardless of what part has failed if the very backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C)

It is very clear from the video that the backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room.
The backs are handled with bare hands with fingers touching the backs. Workers hair is not covered. Not industrial clean room standards.

Industrial clean room primer:

http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html (http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html)

Some clean room manufacturing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Aryan Aqajani on October 26, 2012, 09:06:16 PM
@ Doug P
Why is a clean room required to open a back regardless of what part has failed if the very backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C)

It is very clear from the video that the backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room.
The backs are handled with bare hands with fingers touching the backs. Workers hair is not covered. Not industrial clean room standards.

Industrial clean room primer:

http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html (http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html)

Some clean room manufacturing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s)

Ace! 1000+
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 27, 2012, 09:43:02 AM
Yes of course they are not entirely truthful about clean rooms and expensive electronics etc, but I would not think they are any worse than other company that are very focused on business-to-business.

Their whole business is centered around the professional photographer who is dependent on his/her gear for the income. Always having working equipment at hand that deliver professional quality is much more important than overall cost efficiency and value for money, since all other costs like paying salaries will be much higher anyway. They don't need to motivate the cost of their gear and services in terms of how much these gear/services cost to develop and produce, it's all about return of investment. How much is it worth to the professional user to get failed gear up and running as soon as possible? Quite a lot. No camera, no income.

The situation here in Sweden is also a bit special, monopoly on dealership allows them to pump up the prices even more. If something is expensive to start with, making it even more expensive for no apparent reason is easy to get away with. I've seen this not only with the Phase/Leaf dealer, but also with the only Linhof dealer (which now has gone out of business), so I got my Linhof parts from dealers abroad of course.

This way to do business works well until an alternative appears. Even if professionals can afford expensive gear most don't throw away money just because they can (some do though). The emerging competition from DSLRs is therefore very interesting.

They way the business model works today I'm starting to think it is almost a bit irresponsible by dealers to sell old pre-owned gear, since these are so insanely uneconomical to repair, and failures do happen. The recommendation from any dealer should be that if you cannot afford to use the latest and greatest you should not use MF gear at all.

The entry level pre-owned digital backs is of the type use until it fails, and then throw it away (well, leave it to recycling).
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 27, 2012, 10:00:20 AM
Anders,

I just want to say that I am very sorry about your experience.

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised. I think that the backs are quite reliable, but when they have issue and you are out of warranty, you are pretty much on your own.

This story sort of reminds me of the Hasselblad zoom falling apart for Michael Reichmann in Namibia. It seems that there were at least a dozen persons affected by similar problems. Hasselblad choose to put all blame on the victims. They could say, s**t happens, we are awfully sorry, send in the gear and we fix it at no cost. That would not really helped Mr. Reichmann, but would created goodwill instead of badwill.

Best regards
Erik


Yes of course they are not entirely truthful about clean rooms and expensive electronics etc, but I would not think they are any worse than other company that are very focused on business-to-business.

Their whole business is centered around the professional photographer who is dependent on his/her gear for the income. Always having working equipment at hand that deliver professional quality is much more important than overall cost efficiency and value for money, since all other costs like paying salaries will be much higher anyway. They don't need to motivate the cost of their gear and services in terms of how much these gear/services cost to develop and produce, it's all about return of investment. How much is it worth to the professional user to get failed gear up and running as soon as possible? Quite a lot. No camera, no income.

The situation here in Sweden is also a bit special, monopoly on dealership allows them to pump up the prices even more. If something is expensive to start with, making it even more expensive for no apparent reason is easy to get away with. I've seen this not only with the Phase/Leaf dealer, but also with the only Linhof dealer (which now has gone out of business), so I got my Linhof parts from dealers abroad of course.

This way to do business works well until an alternative appears. Even if professionals can afford expensive gear most don't throw away money just because they can (some do though). The emerging competition from DSLRs is therefore very interesting.

They way the business model works today I'm starting to think it is almost a bit irresponsible by dealers to sell old pre-owned gear, since these are so insanely uneconomical to repair, and failures do happen. The recommendation from any dealer should be that if you cannot afford to use the latest and greatest you should not use MF gear at all.

The entry level pre-owned digital backs is of the type use until it fails, and then throw it away (well, leave it to recycling).
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 27, 2012, 03:00:10 PM
Thank you for your support :)

Reliability is very hard to say anything about. The major parts of the backs are used in studio only, and the high cost of the gear makes the users extra cautious, and many of the professional shooters have backup equipment with them all the time. If there is any camera gear that could have worse reliability than others and few would notice/care it is MFDB.

In my specific case I do get support, I'm free to repair the back. My problem is that it is unreasonably expensive, and dealt with in a way that shows that they do not really care about cost efficiency for the customer. Let's make good money on currency exchange, who cares anyway. Let's stack service fees over and over again, who cares...

All it would have taken to make me happy is to 1) let me use any dealer I want so I don't need to get the one with the worst pricing in the whole world, 2) not stack service fees 3) show some bl**dy interest and understanding of amateur users.

I can understand that it is the way it is, as said their model is business-to-business, hobbyists like me is probably just an annoyance. What's a bit puzzling is that even dealers sell second-hand gear and not only high-end pre-owned €15,000 type of gear, but also old low end backs in the €2000 - €6000 range and thus expect price-sensitive users to get into the game, despite that the whole loop is designed for big spending.

Anders,

I just want to say that I am very sorry about your experience.

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised. I think that the backs are quite reliable, but when they have issue and you are out of warranty, you are pretty much on your own.

This story sort of reminds me of the Hasselblad zoom falling apart for Michael Reichmann in Namibia. It seems that there were at least a dozen persons affected by similar problems. Hasselblad choose to put all blame on the victims. They could say, s**t happens, we are awfully sorry, send in the gear and we fix it at no cost. That would not really helped Mr. Reichmann, but would created goodwill instead of badwill.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 27, 2012, 03:54:47 PM
Hi,

Just to offer some perspective. I had two repairs in 42 years. I had bayonet replaced on a Minolta 80-200/2.8 APO after 20 years of use, cost me about 1500 SEK (including VAT), something like 170€ . The other was a lens repair on a Dimage A2 that was on warranty.

Best regards
Erik

Thank you for your support :)

Reliability is very hard to say anything about. The major parts of the backs are used in studio only, and the high cost of the gear makes the users extra cautious, and many of the professional shooters have backup equipment with them all the time. If there is any camera gear that could have worse reliability than others and few would notice/care it is MFDB.

In my specific case I do get support, I'm free to repair the back. My problem is that it is unreasonably expensive, and dealt with in a way that shows that they do not really care about cost efficiency for the customer. Let's make good money on currency exchange, who cares anyway. Let's stack service fees over and over again, who cares...

All it would have taken to make me happy is to 1) let me use any dealer I want so I don't need to get the one with the worst pricing in the whole world, 2) not stack service fees 3) show some bl**dy interest and understanding of amateur users.

I can understand that it is the way it is, as said their model is business-to-business, hobbyists like me is probably just an annoyance. What's a bit puzzling is that even dealers sell second-hand gear and not only high-end pre-owned €15,000 type of gear, but also old low end backs in the €2000 - €6000 range and thus expect price-sensitive users to get into the game, despite that the whole loop is designed for big spending.

Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Anders_HK on October 27, 2012, 04:19:21 PM
I can sympathize with your problems, however are you not going way over the board in what you are posting... ?

If there is any camera gear that could have worse reliability than others and few would notice/care it is MFDB.

Above is nonsense. My prior Leaf back drop hard on hardwood fall once and rolled and bounced like a ball. It made my heart stop. I picked it up and it worked as good as day one. Amazing. My first travel with Leaf back was to dusty India it has been in heat and humidity and stellar performance and durability. Make a search and other will state similar. That said I do care for my gear, as tools.

hobbyists like me is probably just an annoyance.

Contrary at least in Asia a large if not a major part of owners of digital backs are amateurs. In Sweden ???

Being Swedish who live overseas I can well sympathize with your problems, because I know Sweden. Sweden is a small country and any digital back dealer/agent is bound to be small, and as result will know less. Likely also of how to fix and what price to charge (perhaps above all they do not want loose any money on one customer). Not to mention salaries of labour are very high and they work f... slow. Take a guess, out of 9 million people, how many in Sweden own digital backs, or even Leaf backs???  Add to that the very high Swedish tax. In short I would not service my back in Sweden and rather fly out to Hong Kong to get my agent there deal with it. Of course... I live overseas so that is perhaps a tad different story, but...

What I very clearly would resort to is to be in contact with Leaf directly to get help to resolve the problem, rather than write in these forums to magnify it. That would perhaps give me better support... ?

Step one I buy my backs from a reputable agent/dealer and as such they do come with service agreement. Not only that, at least with my agent in Hong Kong, they even help me out when my back is out of warranty. That was smart business move from them... because that is why I upgraded, because I know they WILL be there for me.

Perhaps contact Leaf further directly? Obvious they will charge you as you already understand, since you purchased used without any warranty. Yet perhaps they can help you out on what is best way? I doubt they will do it as charity, since after all same as any company they are running a business. Question is what business you bring to them? After this back, you will sell it off private and buy another lowest price from private party ? Works same way with cars... does it not?? If you want best service of a car, you buy from authorized dealer, service it there during its life and buy another from there. Right?

What is different??

B.t.w. did you think a Nikon is tougher? http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/drop-test.htm

Best regards,
Anders
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 27, 2012, 05:20:56 PM
Hi,

Ken got his D200 repaired for 285$US, I guess Anders (Torger) would regard this as a decent cost.

I have been using Minolta and Sony for about 40 years. I did not use to drop them but I had them soaking wet and used them at -20 , Fahrenheit. I don't stand heat well myself, so I can say nothing about high temperatures.

I would say it's hard to draw conclusions about reliability from own experience. Some of us are lucky and some are not.

My experience is anyway two devices sent for repair, total cost 1500 SEK in forty years. That is of course not the whole truth. I have had at least a dozen cameras. No camera I bought new ever has failed me. The 1500 SEK repair was for replacing the bayonet on a 80-200/2.8 APO lens. Then lens was working fine, but tripod mount was loose. THe other repair was on a Konica-Minolta A2, macro switch was not working. That was repaired on warranty.


The only camera I had issues with was a Minolta XD7. It was bought used and developed a lot of problems, some of which I fixed myself.

I also have a Pentax 67 with 5 lenses I had for something like 15 years, no problems at all.

Best regards
Erik




I can sympathize with your problems, however are you not going way over the board in what you are posting... ?

Above is nonsense. My prior Leaf back drop hard on hardwood fall once and rolled and bounced like a ball. It made my heart stop. I picked it up and it worked as good as day one. Amazing. My first travel with Leaf back was to dusty India it has been in heat and humidity and stellar performance and durability. Make a search and other will state similar. That said I do care for my gear, as tools.

Contrary at least in Asia a large if not a major part of owners of digital backs are amateurs. In Sweden ???

Being Swedish who live overseas I can well sympathize with your problems, because I know Sweden. Sweden is a small country and any digital back dealer/agent is bound to be small, and as result will know less. Likely also of how to fix and what price to charge (perhaps above all they do not want loose any money on one customer). Not to mention salaries of labour are very high and they work f... slow. Take a guess, out of 9 million people, how many in Sweden own digital backs, or even Leaf backs???  Add to that the very high Swedish tax. In short I would not service my back in Sweden and rather fly out to Hong Kong to get my agent there deal with it. Of course... I live overseas so that is perhaps a tad different story, but...

What I very clearly would resort to is to be in contact with Leaf directly to get help to resolve the problem, rather than write in these forums to magnify it. That would perhaps give me better support... ?

Step one I buy my backs from a reputable agent/dealer and as such they do come with service agreement. Not only that, at least with my agent in Hong Kong, they even help me out when my back is out of warranty. That was smart business move from them... because that is why I upgraded, because I know they WILL be there for me.

Perhaps contact Leaf further directly? Obvious they will charge you as you already understand, since you purchased used without any warranty. Yet perhaps they can help you out on what is best way? I doubt they will do it as charity, since after all same as any company they are running a business. Question is what business you bring to them? After this back, you will sell it off private and buy another lowest price from private party ? Works same way with cars... does it not?? If you want best service of a car, you buy from authorized dealer, service it there during its life and buy another from there. Right?

What is different??

B.t.w. did you think a Nikon is tougher? http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/drop-test.htm

Best regards,
Anders
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Anders_HK on October 27, 2012, 05:44:03 PM
Hi,

Ken got his D200 repaired for 285$US, I guess Anders (Torger) would regard this as a decent cost.

I have been using Minolta and Sony for about 40 years. I did not use to drop them but I had them soaking wet and used them at -20 , Fahrenheit. I don't stand heat well myself, so I can say nothing about high temperatures.

I would say it's hard to draw conclusions about reliability from own experience. Some of us are lucky and some are not.

My experience is anyway two devices sent for repair, total cost 1500 SEK in forty years. That is of course not the whole truth. I have had at least a dozen cameras. No camera I bought new ever has failed me. The 1500 SEK repair was for replacing the bayonet on a 80-200/2.8 APO lens. Then lens was working fine, but tripod mount was loose. THe other repair was on a Konica-Minolta A2, macro switch was not working. That was repaired on warranty.


The only camera I had issues with was a Minolta XD7. It was bought used and developed a lot of problems, some of which I fixed myself.

I also have a Pentax 67 with 5 lenses I had for something like 15 years, no problems at all.

Best regards
Erik

And ???????????

285 usd is near price of a mint D200 on Ebay..., and... in Sweden how much to repair???

Point of D200 was actually compared to my Leaf that bounced several times when dropping from ~1.5m onto hard wood floor, but did not break nor damage (apart from battery). Casing of Leaf backs are made of air craft grade aluminum (a.k.a. strong). ;)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 27, 2012, 05:50:39 PM
Leaf = Phase One. I've contacted Phase One directly, they redirect me to the Swedish dealer. I've specifically asked if it is possible to bypass the dealer, it is not. They are very protective concerning their dealers, and it is understandable since their model is to sell through dealers. A bit disappointing though that they do not make sure the dealers maintain central pricing. Prices I get reported by other users and even employees are much lower than the prices I get from "my" dealer.

I have no problem with paying Swedish VAT, it is 25% which is high, but not extremely much higher than other European countries, in Germany it is 19% for example. However, it becomes a problem when the seller has significantly higher prices to start with since it becomes percent on top of percent, which in this case leads to +44% rather than +25...

There are stories about gear failing and about gear surviving tough conditions. If you have varying quality out of the factory, for example in soldering, some can be robust, others can fail, and you'll find stories about both things. We cannot really know. That's all I say. My back has failed, and it can be due to poor manufacturing, but it could also be misuse by previous owner. But really it does not matter, when warranty is out customer pays anyway. Maybe you think it is unfair to even suggest that it could be a manufacturing quality problem when I cannot be sure that it is. Well, maybe it is, but I don't think I'm obliged to be a fanboy just because I use the gear. Smaller hand-built things like these seems to be are actually higher risk of having varying quality than large scale mass-produced products, so I don't think it is a strange thought to get.

It's a huge difference if you are an amateur prepared to spend €30,000 on your gear, than if you are an amateur spending €5000 on second hand stuff. When I said hobbyists are an annoyance I meant those that you cannot make a lot of money from. If you stay in the loop and buy the latest and greatest then you behave like a professional user and will be treated like one. This is business-to-business -- service is of key importance, price is not. One can even have yearly support agreements with replacement backs and stuff, great service. But it is all bound to a cost which you either need to be a wealthy amateur that like to spend, or a professional that makes money from using the gear.

The problem here is that ~€4500 gear is so uneconomical to repair that it is not really meaningful to do so, and seemingly uneconomical from all the wrong reasons.

If you're in for gear up to €5000 I'd actually still recommend friends to not use a dealer but try to get a good second hand deal. A dealer will give you 6 months warranty tops and in VAT-heavy countries like in Europe they cannot match private market prices and they don't bother to try even, and after those 6 months you are still in for the impossible repair pricing. You must simply hope that you are lucky, and calculate with the risk that you are not. Always check them out first though, you never know, and I sure did. €6400 for a P25+ did not seem like a great deal...

In the US the case buying from a dealer looks much better, more competition between dealers and smaller difference from private market prices. The advantage of starting off with even a short warranty period is that if it works in 6 months in your conditions it is quite likely that it will continue to work for quite some time.

While I look upon my tech cam and lenses as an "investment", meaning gear I can use for a long time and is worth repairing if something goes wrong, digital backs are more like buying a huge bulk of film rolls. Unfortunately my roll was rather short ;D
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 28, 2012, 12:59:01 AM
Hi Anders,

I find your comment slightly ignorant. For most people 285$ is an affordable repair, but 5000€ is for most people serious money. Of course, what is affordable is much a question of where you live and what you do.

285$ is 1900 SEK something like 5% of the repair cost of the Leaf. That camera had some obvious physical damage, Nikon replaced the LCD and the top cover. In addition I'm pretty sure they check bayonet alignment, readjusted AF and so on. I don't think there is any reason for cost of camera and cost of repair being related. You think that a Phase one IQ180 is ten times more expensive to repair than a P25?

The back has essentially no moving parts. Next time you drop it you may drop on one of the rocks or it hits ground with the LCD side or even worse the sensor side. You know that could happen. That is of course the advantage of shooting with your back on an SLR, you don't need to remove the back from the camera for focusing.

I once dropped a 20/2.8 lens on a stone floor from about one and half meter, it survived with a crack in the lens shade. I guess the lens shade took most of the impact.

This video demonstrates that sometimes s**t happens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFnQVnMY3Co

This reminds me, Michael Reichmann was shooting in Africa with Hasselblad and a sole zoom lens. The zoom lens fell apart, leaving him with no MFD. Everything was working fine, except the only lens he had had a loose front group. Something like fifteen other owners had similar issues with their lenses, but Hasselblad essentially denied responsibility.

The video above illustrates the solution. Have two. Although I never really had equipment failing on me hard, I generally carry two cameras. A lightwight body adds some extra weight. But allows you to shoot even if that fatal accident happened.

Of course, this doesn't help if you take a salt water bath with all your equipment, I once did but was fortunate enough to avoid damage, due to my LowePro bag being almost water proof.

Best regards
Erik




And ???????????

285 usd is near price of a mint D200 on Ebay..., and... in Sweden how much to repair???

Point of D200 was actually compared to my Leaf that bounced several times when dropping from ~1.5m onto hard wood floor, but did not break nor damage (apart from battery). Casing of Leaf backs are made of air craft grade aluminum (a.k.a. strong). ;)
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Anders_HK on October 28, 2012, 03:34:29 AM
Leaf = Phase One. I've contacted Phase One directly, they redirect me to the Swedish dealer.

Torger, Leaf is not Phase One. Leaf is owned by Phase One but a separate company. I have no idea how set ups are in Scandinavia, but I can imagine Phase One Denmark to not have much interest in a used Leaf back having problem in Sweden. Mamiya-Leaf do not have a partner listed in Sweden on their website... My suggestion is for you to make sure to be in contact with Leaf directly.

I find your comment slightly ignorant. For most people 285$ is an affordable repair, but 5000€ is for most people serious money. Of course, what is affordable is much a question of where you live and what you do.

Not meant ignorant, mere attempt straight to point. Both repairs are about same of used purchase cost. If you buy a used BMW you cannot expect the repair cost of a Volvo, right? 285 usd was the repair for D200 in USA, in Sweden higher??

Yes, different damages can happen, and also to digital back. Though having followed forums over many years it is very very rare for digital back. My point is that MFDBs are not built to lesser standards than a Nikon, rather certain the complete opposite. No moving parts? Think sensor adjustment arguably more precise. Nikon is made in high volume in a factory, while digital backs are not. That effect the cost and cost of components, also error checking prior leaving factory.


The advantage of starting off with even a short warranty period is that if it works in 6 months in your conditions it is quite likely that it will continue to work for quite some time.

Exactly. Plus a good dealer is likely to look after you also when warranty is out.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 28, 2012, 04:00:19 AM
Torger, Leaf is not Phase One. Leaf is owned by Phase One but a separate company. I have no idea how set ups are in Scandinavia, but I can imagine Phase One Denmark to not have much interest in a used Leaf back having problem in Sweden. Mamiya-Leaf do not have a partner listed in Sweden on their website... My suggestion is for you to make sure to be in contact with Leaf directly.

Thanks.

The dealer in Sweden has indeed stopped selling Leaf because they think it is too similar to Phase One, so it is true that their Leaf interest does not seem great, but they still manage supports, and you can still buy Leaf if you ask them to get hold of one. After a while I actually got an upgrade deal too, which was not possible from an other dealer I asked, for €9600 I can upgrade to a 33 megapixel Aptus-II. This was possible despite a defective back, so that's good. However, that's too high a cost for my hobby, and going from an Aptus 75 to an Aptus-II 7 which has the same sensor and very similar GUI is not really feeling like a €9600 upgrade for an amateur user like me.

Anyway, I'll make another attempt. All I need is confirmation from a credible Leaf person that this is what the cost should be and that there is no way around it so I can decide if I should dump it or keep it. I haven't managed to get hold of one yet though, maybe during next week. But so far I have always got directed to this dealer and/or Phase One support. It does not seem like Leaf has its own support organisation. Maybe Leaf had other policies when they were not owned by Phase One, I don't know, but nowadays the pricing I get is straight from Phase One's price lists, with some extra on top :)

There is no idea to go directly to Phase One again since when I did last time they seemed a bit upset that I had rounded the dealer. I didn't say I had but it was of course quite easy for them to identify that guy from northen Sweden with an Aptus 75 not working in cold weather... it feels a bit strange though that they have a support web if you are not supposed to talk to them directly.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 28, 2012, 04:50:42 AM
Hi,

I don't necessarily think a BMW is more expensive to repair than a Volvo. Labour costs are the same. Here in Sweden you can buy used Volvo parts, but that is not you would expect a Volvo shop would put in your car. Of the cars I had the Citroλn was most expensive to repair.
Mostly, I had Toyotas, maintenance service costs for Toyota are high, I guess higher than for BMW, but they are reliable and seldom break down. Don't know about BMW, tough, I never had one. One of the reasons I would not have one is they are quite popular amongst the criminal. The other and main reason is that I want something that works, each day, all the time. In Sweden we have roads and speed limits, the roads have potholes. Any car you can buy can exceed the speed limit.

I don't know about repair costs in Sweden. The only repair I had was replacing bayonet and tripod mount on a Minolta 80-200/2.8 APO lens something like three years ago. That was 1500SEK including VAT. But I don't think repairs are that expensive in Sweden, at least not if you don't go trough a dealer. A lady friend of mine had aperture serviced on a lens and that was about 350SEK, but that was many years ago.

Regarding your statement on Nikon having lower tolerances than MF, i don't think you have any data supporting that. I believe that case is the other way around. Nikon has a few f/1.4 lenses and the cameras essentially need to work with those lenses. Nikons have also smaller pixels, DSLR technology is simply more demanding. There are of course issues with Nikons, too.

Have you seen this post: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=71433.msg567983#msg567983 ?!

Regarding your back, you have been lucky with nothing being broken. Duraluminium is very stiff, so dropping your back on a hard surface causes a very large internal G-load. Metal parts usually don΄t deform permanently onless they are bent. How do you know that your back is still within factory tolerance?

Let's assume that your back had a 70G internal load. That happens the be the limit on many hard disk drives (not operating)  and it is easily exceeded just by tipping a unmounted hard disk on a hard surface.

If your sensor assembly weight 200g, the sensor points would be subject to 150 N force. The shims don't flex, The mounting point may be affected.

Now if you look at an SLR, you have several critical assemblies. To begin you have the mirror, underneath the mirror there is another hinged mirror for the AF. All that needs to be aligned with sensor and focusing screen and to lesser extent the lens.

So I think that it is more probable a back survives a fall than an SLR with a MF back.

I would add that I'm not a Nikon fanboy. I don't use any equipment from Nikon. But if you can buy a 36MP digital SLR at 2800€ with an excellent choice of lenses I would regard it as an alternative hard to ignore. A way to see it, you can buy a Nikon D800 with two year warranty and a Zeiss 21/2.8 and a Zeiss 50/1.4 for the price of an MFDB repair.

Best regards
Erik


Not meant ignorant, mere attempt straight to point. Both repairs are about same of used purchase cost. If you buy a used BMW you cannot expect the repair cost of a Volvo, right? 285 usd was the repair for D200 in USA, in Sweden higher??

Yes, different damages can happen, and also to digital back. Though having followed forums over many years it is very very rare for digital back. My point is that MFDBs are not built to lesser standards than a Nikon, rather certain the complete opposite. No moving parts? Think sensor adjustment arguably more precise. Nikon is made in high volume in a factory, while digital backs are not. That effect the cost and cost of components, also error checking prior leaving factory.


Exactly. Plus a good dealer is likely to look after you also when warranty is out.

Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. - certainly putting me off
Post by: sanzari on October 28, 2012, 06:14:11 AM
Torger thanks for sharing your experience, after all that is what we are commenting on. Everyone has stories about drops and heat and humidity on all electronics and some have success and some end up in posts.

What we need to note from this 3 pages of discussion is that your eyes in the MF world need to be more open when you enter than in the 35mm world. Mine certainly were a lot more closed in the excitement of returning to MF after a 20 year absence. This discussion has really highlighted what dealers do not during the sales cycle.

1. The price of after care is beyond reasonable regardless of business or amateur type. Great short term gain, long term policy I am not so sure. Look at the car industry who would have bought a Korean car even a few years ago. Now 7 years warranty, service included that says this car just works. BMW, Merc etc 3 year warranty, it will break so insure against it. We will sell you extended warranty.
2. Phase/leaf are a B2B company. Period. They have no interest in the prosumer, currently they have no need. They have no competition. Hasselblad is turning to jewellery, Pentax is lost in the noise, Leica will play while they make money as a company and then like the R series, gone.  However the tides are turning. 3 years to bring out a DF+ and what happens a recall on all of them. So it begins.

Don't get me wrong only this weekend I starred longingly at a Phase One DF with an Aptus ii 10 back. It's perfect for what I want to do. Except the price so I was considering getting on the rung in a cheaper way like Torger.

3. Buying second hand can be derisked as describe by probably one of the most active and useful dealers in the market capture integration - I'm in the UK and would still consider buying from them. However de-risked or not, these things go wrong eventually and if you do not have a write down capability then the idea of spending £5k every couple of years to upgrade seems like an expensive hobby, which is fine but we need to look at it that way.

4.if you are amateurs consider MF like buying a car, nothing more, nothing less. All will do the job some better than others, eventually if you spent $30k or $5k you will have to do that again in about 3-5 years whilst paying a little service on the way or if you are unlucky a serious service bill during that period also.

5. The problem MF have now is we are living more and more in a 'good enough' culture. Canon 46meg Nikon 36meg they are pretty good. And amateurs will not mind good enough. Interesting how over on the Capture One 7 post most of the testing has been from D800 owners. I know that the Pros are out there working and only amateurs are on the forum, however I would have thought that eventually the pros being pushed more and more for video and lower costs will consider good enough for the job as the norm rather than best for the job. I think this is where we will see hassleblad die first and then the market will change again.

6. 5 years to develop a new MF camera while 35 mm does 2 per year. Hmmm the D800 I used recently on my trip to Africa survived everything from -8 in the mountains to dust devils traversing through the car on the plains. It got me thinking I would love to use an MF however this post has got my thinking otherwise.

So I conclude after my few points above and little rant, thanks for posting Torger you may have saved me a lot of money and perhaps provided a little heart ache deep down knowing my MF return may still only be a romantic dream. Photography is slowly becoming a place that good enough is getting a lot better and monopolistic activity will be punished by the masses eventually.

MF has a look, and it certainly is nice, but it has a price and in a world where most things stay on 30in screen or 60 in plasmas these days I am worried that a few more exits from the market will happen this coming couple of years. 
That said most of the Leica S are sold to amateurs with money, PODAS is booked solid each year so maybe it's just the pro-Sumer like myself who is aspirational that has to reset his expectations.

Those with money and no cares about service will buy, working pros left that prefer MF will buy and the rest will contend themselves with 35mm on steroids.

Thanks for the epiphany, I still will believe I can get a phase back with 30meg pixels and my dream will stay alive, but I just don't know......as I really need the 54meg pixel wide one and so I will continue to stitch my 35mm sensor using my Pentax 67 lenses and hope that some thing might just change.

Footnote:- we all wanted Hasselblad to bring out an XPAN digital, well Fuji to build it for them. Instead we got leather and wood wrapped around a Sony NEX. I think this is the mindset of the successful these days. Ivory tower development. I hope PhaseOne management see some new markets, they are a brilliant little company and most likely to remain, but its fine to be a luxury niche product with expensive goods, but they need aspirational to enter the market for their future. Just look at Nokia and Motorola, who needs a smartphone? Look at compact camera and watch sales to the new generations.
Come on PhaseOne do something for the high despossible income aspirationals like Nikon have done for the full frame fan boys. Get your secondhand market active and cost effective, we all want MF !!!!
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. - certainly putting me off
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 28, 2012, 08:33:26 AM
Hi,

I think that Anders Torger was pretty clear that he wants an MFDB because he needs it for use on a technical camera. So he did not buy it because of the image quality but for movements. The problems he has is that the camera doesn't work below 5 degrees C, and that is a major problem if you are living in Sweden and doing outdoor photography. Shooting studio in Cairo you would never notice.

I guess that Anders assumed that if the MFDB had some issue it could be repaired at reasonable cost. What he found out was that repairs are much more expensive than he expected, and also that he needs to go trough a dealer, with the dealer having very significant markup.

I would also say that Anders is very civilized about this, he tells about the experience.

Sweden may be a bit special, I guess that Hasselblad has a very strong position here, which probably makes the market smaller for Phase.

I'm actually puzzled a bit by Phase's policy on repairs. I'm not familiar with repairing Phase One stuff, but it seems that changing IR-filter, which definitively needs clean room and sensor readjustment is much less expensive than replacing a circuit board.

Best regards
Erik


Torger thanks for sharing your experience, after all that is what we are commenting on. Everyone has stories about drops and heat and humidity on all electronics and some have success and some end up in posts.

What we need to note from this 3 pages of discussion is that your eyes in the MF world need to be more open when you enter than in the 35mm world. Mine certainly were a lot more closed in the excitement of returning to MF after a 20 year absence. This discussion has really highlighted what dealers do not during the sales cycle.

1. The price of after care is beyond reasonable regardless of business or amateur type. Great short term gain, long term policy I am not so sure. Look at the car industry who would have bought a Korean car even a few years ago. Now 7 years warranty, service included that says this car just works. BMW, Merc etc 3 year warranty, it will break so insure against it. We will sell you extended warranty.
2. Phase/leaf are a B2B company. Period. They have no interest in the prosumer, currently they have no need. They have no competition. Hasselblad is turning to jewellery, Pentax is lost in the noise, Leica will play while they make money as a company and then like the R series, gone.  However the tides are turning. 3 years to bring out a DF+ and what happens a recall on all of them. So it begins.

Don't get me wrong only this weekend I starred longingly at a Phase One DF with an Aptus ii 10 back. It's perfect for what I want to do. Except the price so I was considering getting on the rung in a cheaper way like Torger.

3. Buying second hand can be derisked as describe by probably one of the most active and useful dealers in the market capture integration - I'm in the UK and would still consider buying from them. However de-risked or not, these things go wrong eventually and if you do not have a write down capability then the idea of spending £5k every couple of years to upgrade seems like an expensive hobby, which is fine but we need to look at it that way.

4.if you are amateurs consider MF like buying a car, nothing more, nothing less. All will do the job some better than others, eventually if you spent $30k or $5k you will have to do that again in about 3-5 years whilst paying a little service on the way or if you are unlucky a serious service bill during that period also.

5. The problem MF have now is we are living more and more in a 'good enough' culture. Canon 46meg Nikon 36meg they are pretty good. And amateurs will not mind good enough. Interesting how over on the Capture One 7 post most of the testing has been from D800 owners. I know that the Pros are out there working and only amateurs are on the forum, however I would have thought that eventually the pros being pushed more and more for video and lower costs will consider good enough for the job as the norm rather than best for the job. I think this is where we will see hassleblad die first and then the market will change again.

6. 5 years to develop a new MF camera while 35 mm does 2 per year. Hmmm the D800 I used recently on my trip to Africa survived everything from -8 in the mountains to dust devils traversing through the car on the plains. It got me thinking I would love to use an MF however this post has got my thinking otherwise.

So I conclude after my few points above and little rant, thanks for posting Torger you may have saved me a lot of money and perhaps provided a little heart ache deep down knowing my MF return may still only be a romantic dream. Photography is slowly becoming a place that good enough is getting a lot better and monopolistic activity will be punished by the masses eventually.

MF has a look, and it certainly is nice, but it has a price and in a world where most things stay on 30in screen or 60 in plasmas these days I am worried that a few more exits from the market will happen this coming couple of years.  
That said most of the Leica S are sold to amateurs with money, PODAS is booked solid each year so maybe it's just the pro-Sumer like myself who is aspirational that has to reset his expectations.

Those with money and no cares about service will buy, working pros left that prefer MF will buy and the rest will contend themselves with 35mm on steroids.

Thanks for the epiphany, I still will believe I can get a phase back with 30meg pixels and my dream will stay alive, but I just don't know......as I really need the 54meg pixel wide one and so I will continue to stitch my 35mm sensor using my Pentax 67 lenses and hope that some thing might just change.

Footnote:- we all wanted Hasselblad to bring out an XPAN digital, well Fuji to build it for them. Instead we got leather and wood wrapped around a Sony NEX. I think this is the mindset of the successful these days. Ivory tower development. I hope PhaseOne management see some new markets, they are a brilliant little company and most likely to remain, but its fine to be a luxury niche product with expensive goods, but they need aspirational to enter the market for their future. Just look at Nokia and Motorola, who needs a smartphone? Look at compact camera and watch sales to the new generations.
Come on PhaseOne do something for the high despossible income aspirationals like Nikon have done for the full frame fan boys. Get your secondhand market active and cost effective, we all want MF !!!!
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 28, 2012, 11:26:41 AM
Yes that's true, I use a digital back because I like the tech cam shooting style. I really enjoy shooting with my Linhof Techno, and my only options is then a rollfilm back or a digital back. I can't really afford backs that significantly exceed say a D800 in sensor image quality, but I think an Aptus 75 is "good enough", reasonably high resolution, good DR and great color, and together with the lenses I think I have a winner also when it comes to image quality, but it's most about that I prefer to shoot this way. As long as I feel I have "competitive" image quality compared to mainstream equipment and that I can print reasonably large I'm good.

The Aptus 75 (and 22) back is also fairly unique (compared to other backs of similar age) in that 100% focus check actually works (most older backs have so bad builtin demosaicers that 100% always look fuzzy so you can't use it to check if your image got sharp). It also has reliable flash sync and low color casts. It's a perfect amateur back for a tech camera. Assuming you get a copy that works in your shooting conditions ;)

I would dare to get an Aptus 75 or other Leaf back again actually, while I think it's likely I've got a lemon I have no reason to believe that this is a systematic error. The back also feels very solid despite its fan vents and piggyback battery. There is much to like. But next time I'll certainly make a more thorough function testing before accepting the back.

As mentioned before, I did already know that repairing is bad news when I bought the back, but failed to realize (or ignored in my excitement of this gear) that "bad" can easily grow into "unreasonable".

I knew a simple operation like changing the fan would cost €1400, but then recalibration and checkup would be included in that price. Then somehow I came to believe that "service check" is performed for any type of repair, since changing glass had the same type of high overhead cost, and thus it would be less expensive if you do many repairs at once.

But now it shows that it does not matter if you do a service check (like I have done), the other repairs get the same high prices anyway! So I guess the back get the dust-blower treatment and sensor recalibrated three times then, once in the service check, once in the glass replacement and once in the circuit board replacement, because that is what you get to pay for. This clearly shows a lack of interest to make it cost-efficient for the customer. And then on top of this I got this stiff dealer thing which makes all go way over the top.

I think it is more about a lack of care of the customer wallet rather than they want to make a lot of money on repairs, the repair volume is probably so low so it doesn't make any difference for them if they overcharge like this or not. They just don't care, because pro customers that buy in the €30,000 range generally don't care either.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: sanzari on October 28, 2012, 01:14:08 PM
Torger

this is my point. You can keep charging high prices while you have a customer base that is growing. But in a shrinking pro market, in a world where competition is catching up with good enough tech, its only a matter of time before things start to spiral.

I love the idea of phaseOne, and I want them to grow al little like Fuiji has come back great products for aspirational photographers.

I hope that management are reading things and perhaps a little after care for the masses, and a little more longer term vision like they have with their software will make things with longevity.

Greed is one area, only introduces an alternative. Look at the Mainframe market, if only IBM and others had lowered the prices of support for mainframe, UNIX would be a distant idea. All about timing and seeing the market.

I have a sales and marketing background myself with business development into new areas. I can really see PhaseOne with the foundations for a great future unlike Hassleblad and Pentax, they just need to grab the up and coming like JoeyL and similar to get them hooked into the MF look.

Leica has done well because of the German culture for manufacturing and their banks. A german plant invests in equipment that will return in 10-15 years. In the UK we need a return in 3 otherwise its not worth it to get a return. Hence historically better long term success from Germany.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing I think its all good stuff to push dealers (who are interested) to push Phase in the right direction so we all have a great win win relationship longer term, rather than leaving things to chance and the hope of not owning a lemon and then feeling violated for asking for help.

Have a good rest of weekend and enjoy that tech style. Wish I had the time :-)



Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 29, 2012, 01:59:55 PM
Okay, there seems to be some light in the tunnel.

I just contacted a German dealer, and well, their pricing is different. They do use the same base prices (which I guess is set centrally by Phase One / Leaf) but they don't really add them up in the same way. It will still be expensive, but not so expensive that it is unreasonable to repair. In short, they have the pricing I expected from the research I made before I bought the back.

I mean €80+VAT fee for changing glass (glass costs €500+VAT) is a bit different from €660+VAT as the Swedish dealer wants... €80 is exactly what I'd expect a normal repair shop would charge for that type of repair.

The difference in understanding and communication is totally different too, while I was more or less forced to extract prices from the Swedish dealer and ask the exact right questions to get to know how the process worked, I did not even need to ask here, the German dealer let me know the process and immediately understood that I'm a price sensitive customer and understands what that type of customer wants to know.

The actually offered to make some testing for free to check if I really need to replace circuit boards or not. The Swedish dealer got me into making a service check for €580+VAT just to find this out, which if I had gone to this dealer first would have been totally unnecessary.

I've not seen this to the end yet, but I think it is quite clear that the biggest problem I've had here is that I got in touch with a really really bad dealer -- and I was pointed to them very strongly by Phase One / Leaf.

With dealers like that Leaf does not need any enemies...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 29, 2012, 03:33:02 PM
Hi Anders,

Nice to hear that you see the light in the tunnel. I hope you get your Aptus repaired and will live happily for many years!

Best regards
Erik





Okay, there seems to be some light in the tunnel.

I just contacted a German dealer, and well, their pricing is different. They do use the same base prices (which I guess is set centrally by Phase One / Leaf) but they don't really add them up in the same way. It will still be expensive, but not so expensive that it is unreasonable to repair. In short, they have the pricing I expected from the research I made before I bought the back.

I mean €80+VAT fee for changing glass (glass costs €500+VAT) is a bit different from €660+VAT as the Swedish dealer wants... €80 is exactly what I'd expect a normal repair shop would charge for that type of repair.

The difference in understanding and communication is totally different too, while I was more or less forced to extract prices from the Swedish dealer and ask the exact right questions to get to know how the process worked, I did not even need to ask here, the German dealer let me know the process and immediately understood that I'm a price sensitive customer and understands what that type of customer wants to know.

The actually offered to make some testing for free to check if I really need to replace circuit boards or not. The Swedish dealer got me into making a service check for €580+VAT just to find this out, which if I had gone to this dealer first would have been totally unnecessary.

I've not seen this to the end yet, but I think it is quite clear that the biggest problem I've had here is that I got in touch with a really really bad dealer -- and I was pointed to them very strongly by Phase One / Leaf.

With dealers like that Leaf does not need any enemies...
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: sanzari on October 29, 2012, 04:13:42 PM
Anders you deserve all the luck you can for being so patient. I myself would have been on a plane to denmark by now, but I guess patience is not my virtue.

Interesting how it takes a company in Germany to do the right thing the right way !!! German products are still the best for good reason, design, making it an then supporting it.

I am sure PhaseOne have to stick with corporate policy and cannot recommend outside your country as the investment the dealers make regardless of the quality of the dealer is large enough to ensure loyalty first, service second.

Good luck and keep us in touch with what happens.

It might give us a little faith in PhaseOnes ability to find a new market segment.
Tony

Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 29, 2012, 04:38:19 PM
Hi,

In many senses Europe works as a single country now. So you are pretty free to make business with any company in any country within the EU.

Best regards
Erik


Anders you deserve all the luck you can for being so patient. I myself would have been on a plane to denmark by now, but I guess patience is not my virtue.

Interesting how it takes a company in Germany to do the right thing the right way !!! German products are still the best for good reason, design, making it an then supporting it.

I am sure PhaseOne have to stick with corporate policy and cannot recommend outside your country as the investment the dealers make regardless of the quality of the dealer is large enough to ensure loyalty first, service second.

Good luck and keep us in touch with what happens.

It might give us a little faith in PhaseOnes ability to find a new market segment.
Tony


Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on October 29, 2012, 04:55:52 PM
Thanks.

I feel a little dumb actually. Even before I got into this I've heard whispering about that there are good dealers but there are also really bad ones. This is not so strange in a market where the goods is so highly expensive to start with that "noone" would notice if you over-charge a few hundreds or even thousands of euros here and there. Obviously this is a bit sensitive subject, with dealers being active in this and other forums, but no shadow should fall upon them. Being Swedish I never really thought that a Swedish dealer would be one of the bad ones.

By now I've got a bit suspicious though, so I would not "ropa hej fφrrδn φver bδcken" ("don't shout hello until you have crossed the stream" -- try to figure that one out if you can :) ). First I need to get my Aptus back from the Swedish dealer, or if it's Phase One, so I can send it away again to Germany, so they can send it to Phase One again. It's awfully efficient all this :), but patience is the only ingredient here that's for free as I'm not shooting for a living.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 29, 2012, 05:13:42 PM
Ja Anders, jag hoppas att det ljuset i δndan av tunneln du ser, inte ett mφtande tεg...

Lycka till!

MVH
Erik

Thanks.

I feel a little dumb actually. Even before I got into this I've heard whispering about that there are good dealers but there are also really bad ones. This is not so strange in a market where the goods is so highly expensive to start with that "noone" would notice if you over-charge a few hundreds or even thousands of euros here and there. Obviously this is a bit sensitive subject, with dealers being active in this and other forums, but no shadow should fall upon them. Being Swedish I never really thought that a Swedish dealer would be one of the bad ones.

By now I've got a bit suspicious though, so I would not "ropa hej fφrrδn φver bδcken" ("don't shout hello until you have crossed the stream" -- try to figure that one out if you can :) ). First I need to get my Aptus back from the Swedish dealer, or if it's Phase One, so I can send it away again to Germany, so they can send it to Phase One again. It's awfully efficient all this :), but patience is the only ingredient here that's for free as I'm not shooting for a living.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: FredBGG on November 12, 2012, 08:56:53 PM
Why is a clean room required to open a back regardless of what part has failed if the very backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QOY5qy7SGY&feature=share&list=PLD22E66923E2F8D9C)

It is very clear from the video that the backs are not assembled in an industrial clean room.
The backs are handled with bare hands with fingers touching the backs. Workers hair is not covered. Not industrial clean room standards.

Industrial clean room primer:

http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html (http://www.liberty-ind.com/cr-primer.html)



Some clean room manufacturing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Lkv0Sc2MxP8#t=579s)

Stumbled across this still of the IR filter installation in the Phase One manufacturing facility

(http://www.luminous-landscape.com/Images32/infrared.jpg)

Hardly clean room standards with memo tacks stuck on the projector gadget :o
Not saying that the way it is being done here is not good enough, simply saying that it's not being done in a clean room as
some dealers claim.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on November 13, 2012, 02:40:04 AM
A proper dealer which I eventually got hold of only needed €80 for filter installation, not €600 like the first one. Lesson learnt: there are both good and bad dealers out there, be careful.

I'm still waiting to receive my back from the first dealer so I have not been able to carry the repair through yet via the new dealer. From the time it takes it seems they send stuff via bicycle messengers :). Hopefully I get the back today though actually so I can send it away again.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: DanLindberg on November 13, 2012, 03:35:39 AM
Anders, one heck of a story  :o I feel for your unfortunate situation and really hope it will be solved in the end in a satisfactory manner on your part.

Just to put some sort of balance to your story - I have been in the mfdb segment for some while now and my journey has been nothing but a joy in every sense. Yes, a few minor glitches that has been taken care of lightning fast by the party involved. I feel indeed very secure in my equipment and also my suppliers who are incredibly helpful and supportive, should anything happen. So hopefully when this story is over I truly hope you can enjoy the same feeling as I have and just concentrate on creating great photography with big sensors :)

Hoppas det lφser sig.... 
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on November 14, 2012, 07:52:10 AM
Talking in general terms (not my case specifically):

My analysis so far is that the issue is that some dealers don't have the capability to do simple repairs on their own. If you are a price-sensitive customer you should make sure that you use a dealer that can. Before establishing a business relation ask them which type of repairs they do on their own and how much they cost.

If the dealer can't do their own error checking or repair they will send it to the factory for every type of error even trivial ones, and then you get factory pricing. Factory pricing is high. I'm not 100% sure these are the correct factory prices, but replacing glass seems to be ~€1000 (includes glass and some "calibration"), replacing fan is also ~€1000, a service check which is required to check what type of error you have costs ~€580.

So say you'd need to replace a scratched glass, fix the fan, and there's some strange thing with the electronics you don't really know what it is you can end up with €1000 (glass) + €1000 (fan) + €580 (service check) + €1900 ("total" electronics repair) = €4480+VAT.

A dealer which can do error checking for themselves and do simple repairs would do error checking for about €90, glass replacement for €500 (glass part) + €80 (work), fan replacement (don't know, but guessing ~€50+€80 based on glass repair) and then only do the total repair (replacing boards) etc at the factory, so it would be €2700+VAT in the above example, a major difference if you're the price-sensitive type.

(I've not included shipment costs here, they are similar)

On top of that currency conversions if you're not dealing in euro can in some cases lead to quite drastic increase in price. However, we're "only" talking on the scale ~€2000 difference in the end here, which I guess most professional users would not care about, and thus it is not an important issue for the manufacturers to address.

Anyway, it may not be fair to call the dealer "bad" if they cannot do their own repairs, if they cannot do it they must turn to the factory for everything and then it costs this much, the prices are set centrally. It is certainly bad for you if you need cost efficiency, but the dealer is acting honestly.

One specific thing with my case is that I got the report that clock battery would not be fixed by service check (and thus would require the €1900 total repair), but the truth turned out to be that it is fixed. That the dealer don't really know how the hardware works can also be a bit of a problem since you might make the wrong decisions concerning the most cost efficient way to make a repair. (Also note that if replacing clock battery would be the only thing you would need to do I doubt the dealer-with-repair-shop would charge €580+VAT for that...)

So when you have old gear where silly little things can break or stop working (fan, clock battery, scratched glass, CF bay door) I'd strongly recommend to turn to a dealer which has deep knowledge of the gear hardware and can do basic repairs on their own, and only use factory services when absolutely required.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: Doug Peterson on November 14, 2012, 09:31:44 AM
It's also worth noting that some dealers place warranties on the backs when sold pre-owned; others do not. The only repair you mentioned that isn't covered under warranty is a scratched filter. That is (for better or worse) considered a user-error rather than a manufacturing defect/failure.

And when purchasing from a good dealer with a thorough equipment-inspection process and deep knowledge of the gear (and what kind of failures to look for and how) I feel there is a much higher certainty that you won't get equipment with inherent issues, and that if you do it will be resolved more directly/easily.

Still, I feel pretty awful for this saga of yours. Truth is, if I didn't have the job I had I would still want to own a medium format system, but $15k for something new would be a real stretch for me at this point in my life and so I'd be, like you, wanting to find something pre-owned at a lower price. So, though we are different people at different points in our lives I can sympathize with you pretty directly. I've seen your entire process here through the forum from developing an interest to finding your "deal" to suffering through the initial disappointment and confusion that something was wrong, to the elongated/confusing repair process. Not fun.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: ErikKaffehr on November 15, 2012, 05:29:01 PM
Hi,

Michael Reichmann has visited Phase One and the procedure for mounting the IR glass on the sensor was discussed in one of those videos.

It seems that Anders Torger has found a lot more reasonable dealer in Germany. Hope things work out well for him.

Best regards
Erik


Stumbled across this still of the IR filter installation in the Phase One manufacturing facility

(http://www.luminous-landscape.com/Images32/infrared.jpg)

Hardly clean room standards with memo tacks stuck on the projector gadget :o
Not saying that the way it is being done here is not good enough, simply saying that it's not being done in a clean room as
some dealers claim.
Title: Re: Leaf Aptus back fails in "cold" weather. Help please.
Post by: torger on November 25, 2012, 10:08:59 AM
...that dealer has gone totally dead silent though, like bankrupt-silent. I was just waiting for a confirmation that they were ready to receive the back and all was okay, but they went silent after that. It's only been 12 days though and a few resent emails to a few different addresses but still pretty frustrating. It became a bit of a mess when they heard I've been in contact with another dealer and people at Leaf. It would probably been smarter not making so much noise. They seemed less wanting to help me after that, but I have cleared everything with both the Swedish dealer and Leaf (both are okay with me getting helped by the German dealer) so it should all be okay, but I just wanted a last confirmation from them and I have not got that. So my Aptus is sitting here on a shelf packed in a box. It's been two months since I started this process, although I'm technically not in a hurry, I'm getting a bit anxious about this. If I just got to send it away and know it will be taken care of by competent personell all the way I could wait two more months without problems. But this state when it seems just sooo kafkaesquely difficult to get any help is a bit frustrating.

I'm a person that likes eye-to-eye meetings, but hates the phone, especially when there are language barriers (I don't hear too well over phone lines and things just gets worse when both parties are not speaking their native languages), so on a distance I prefer do everything via email, and expect companies I do business with to be able to communicate that way. But I guess I have to call them next week to see what happened (they could have had an email server failure or someone got ill or something), or maybe send a fax :-). I'm surprised that some still have fax numbers, but maybe it is popular in some customer category, just like I like emails.