Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: tbonanno on May 18, 2006, 01:56:26 pm

Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: tbonanno on May 18, 2006, 01:56:26 pm
Hi Group,

I just came back from a three week assignment in Mexico where I used my Arctic Butterfly on several occasions.

On about half of those occasions either the brush would come
out of the metal stem or the whole assembly would detach from the handle
and fly across the room.  Not happy about this.

Not happy about having the brush land on floors and other contaminated
surfaces and then hope that it is clean enough after spinning it to put
on the sensor of my Canon bodies including the 1DsMKII.

I decided to write Visible Dust about the problem and  see what they advised.  Then I received an announcement about the new and improved Arctic Butterfly 724.

I contacted Visible Dust to see if they would let me UPGRADE my unit, which clearly has some issues.  I was willing to pay for the upgrade/exchange of course.

They advised me that they would send me another "old" style unit, but would NOT do any type of upgrade for previous users of the old unit.  They acknowledged that the old style unit had some design issues that they have addressed with the new 724 model, but if I wanted a new unit, I had to pay full price (about $100 US with shipping).

Somehow Visible Dust's response left a sour taste in my mouth.  Seems like they could do better if they want to keep former customers.

Tony Bonanno
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: englishm on May 18, 2006, 04:47:58 pm
Tony,

I agree 100% with your assessment of the the original Arctic Butterfly:

The brush flies off when you spin it,

the cover pops off when you even look at it sideways, exposing the brush to all manner of contaminants in your bag,

the on-off button can be easily actuated in your bag... draining the battery,

and to top off, the case is a cheap plastic affair that cracks along its seams with even careful use and storage.

Personally, I think this product was either not carefully thought out, or was released before it was ready for prime time.

I am so dissapointed with this product, I really hesitate to send them more hard earned money.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Lisa Nikodym on May 18, 2006, 05:56:06 pm
I completely echo englishm's comments.  Despite very careful packing, the cover *always* (not sometimes, not mostly, but *always*) comes off during transit, and the plastic latch thing that is supposed to hold the pouch string closed stopped working on mine the first trip I took it on (something in the mechanism slipped out, and my attempts to reassemble it failed).

I was hoping for a reduced-price upgrade, too, but I'm not going to pay full price for another new one.

Lisa
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Kenneth Sky on May 18, 2006, 06:08:15 pm
I just got the new 724 model and after 2 or 3 tries had the brush & metal stem fly off. It seems you have to be very careful to insert the stem all the way into the handle but the tiny slip of instruction paper makes no mention of it. By the way the constuction and non-slip finish of the handle is very good. The plastic shield will not come off without some serious manipulation and the whole unit comes in a foam lined non-slip plastic case great for travel. Since they advise travelling with the batteries out, they should have made cut-outs for the batteries in the foam. I'll do that myself with an Exacto knife. As for customer relations, you have to realize they're in Edmonton - the land of northern oil sheiks
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Letcher on May 18, 2006, 08:59:47 pm
I just bought a New Artic Butterfly based upon their reputation and M. Reichmann's endorsement. I thought that I was dealing with a reputable company.

If their original Butterfly had ACKNOWLEDGED flaws, those SOB's should do whatever it takes to upgrade their loyal customers to a product that works properly.

Visible Dust: shame on you. Your credibility sucks.

Bill in Tulsa  
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on May 19, 2006, 08:25:57 am
The original one which I have is a bad joke. The casing is far cheaper than a pocket fan, which in essense is what it is. The brush flies off, the cover falls off if you look at it and the whole thing is so fragile that it has no place in a camera bag.

Wasn't impressed when I got it, still not impressed. For that price we should have got a decent product.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: r42ogn on May 19, 2006, 09:02:26 am
I agree, the company needs to have an upgrade policy, especially as they clearly knew the problems they had - the new one has most of the issues you have listed on this thread solved.

I was lucky and was looking just about the time they upgraded the design. It's nice and well packaged BUT it's still very pricey for what you get, spare brushes would be nice, you're sure to soil one from time to time.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: erichK on May 20, 2006, 05:40:46 pm
Quote
I agree, the company needs to have an upgrade policy, especially as they clearly knew the problems they had - the new one has most of the issues you have listed on this thread solved.

I was lucky and was looking just about the time they upgraded the design. It's nice and well packaged BUT it's still very pricey for what you get, spare brushes would be nice, you're sure to soil one from time to time.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66012\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So I guesss Olympus (and now Panasonic) should keep their automatic dust-cleaner, after all.  This does make me feel beter about the slower focussing, lower MP count, etc. that I have to put up with on my E-1.  At least there's never a speck of dust to interrupt its lovely blues!
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Mark D Segal on May 20, 2006, 06:22:36 pm
I can endorse the 724 - it's a robust product. Mine fell on the floor. Nothing broke, the brush cover did not come off the base, but the brush did fly out of the base when I turned it on. That motor is really quite powerful, so if the brush is jarred it can obviously loosen just enough to spin-off. I re-inserted it firmly, tested it several times over and it stayed put. The new product is good. But I think in principle when a company admits the new item fixes admitted flaws in a previous version, it would be good corporate PR to put SOMETHING on the table for previous owners. And by the way, that lack of commercial savvy isn't confined to Edmonton - it is live and well in Toronto (and umpteen other places) too................
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: jlmwyo on May 21, 2006, 03:59:52 am
Or you could just wet clean your sensor  

I get a chuckle out of their statement that they make their brushes in a clean room. Are you going to be using it IN a clean room?  
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: matt4626 on May 22, 2006, 12:20:13 pm
The original really is junk but all of us Lemmings seem to like it.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Slough on May 22, 2006, 02:53:05 pm
It is not usual for a company to give a free upgrade when they produce a new version of a product, except perhaps in the case of software. Otherwise they would lose money. Some of the complaints here seem to be dissatisfaction with the original version which is another issue. Unless it is not of merchantable quality, which seems not to be the case, I don't think you have a case. Certainly the new Arctic Butterfly looks like a clever gadget.

Personally I am turned off by the prices charged by Visible Dust, and the hard sell. But that's just a subjective opinion from someone who has never used their kit.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Mark D Segal on May 22, 2006, 03:30:32 pm
I bought one despite the price, because it performs a useful service in a unique and practical way. I find it hard to evaluate the price, except to say it's about at the limit of what I would spend for such a gadget no matter how clever, but I doubt that is how they approach the pricing. One needs to think of everything involved: product design, materials, prototype testing, manufacture (custom moulds etc.), inventory, marketing, overheads and taxes to be spread over what volume of sales?.........it becomes a question of what they must charge to at least break-even on some volume of estimated sales. I don't pretend to know that equation, so at the end of the day the price is the price - one either thinks it is worthwhile or not.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: LeifG on May 23, 2006, 02:51:30 am
I suspect the pricing is based on a simple argument that someone who owns an expensive camera and makes their living from it will consider ~CN$100 a small price to pay for a clean sensor and not having to waste time spotting images. Photographic accessories are usually expensive, perhaps because the cost of optics and bodies gets us used to paying a lot. I recently bought a Nikon remote cord which is a very simple plastic device but it cost a small fortune given what it is.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Mark D Segal on May 23, 2006, 06:55:50 am
I don't think this is correct in principle. Firstly, products these days tend to be light on materials but embody technology that costs more to develop and market than the visible materials would suggest. Secondly, unlike Nikon, Visible Dust is a small company taking an undiversified business risk entering into a venture producing a very narrow product range. Pricing is an important part of that risk. If they over-shoot the market (and I think they may be at the edge) they will fail and they must know that. I think it's more likely they've done their arithmetic on what they need to charge and they're on pins and needles waiting to see if the finances will come together. As for Nikon charging a fortune for a remote cord - yes, I've had that sticker-shock too. But again, how many such cords do they sell, and what overheads get packed into the pricing? Have you ever bought spare parts for a Toyota, or many other cars for that matter? I'm not trying to defend some of this pricing, but I think there is more to it than meets the eye, because pricing takes place in an environment where long-term survival in a market means enlarging market share and maintaining good PR, neither of which are helped by developing a reputation for gouging customers unnecessarily. (I guess that means I'll tolerate being gouged if it's necessary?   )
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on May 23, 2006, 07:10:37 am
But I have no doubt that however simple, the nikon cable release is well made, of sturdy materials, something that you would be happy to take into the field.

Lets face it, the original butterfly featured the simplest motor ever invented, encased in plastic far more cheap and fragile than a typical $2 pocket fan whose motor it shares, my toothbrush travel holder is far tougher than it (they had the cheek to say in their emails that it was designed to look fragile so as not to upset airport officials!), the brush 'neck' is super thin and flimsy metal (what would be wrong with plastic? personally I don't like sticking anything metal into my mirror box!) and the brush..... it was overpriced when first brought out and now there are many cheaper competitors all using the same very basic technology.

They screwed up. I wouldn't put that thing in my trousers pocket because if I sat down I might be picking bits of plastic out of pocket minutes later. It's just simply not a professional tool that a pro would trust though the price is very much so. I wrap it in a sock to put in my case, I would never put it in my backpack and for something that is supposed to clean something as fragile and expensive as a camera sensor - how did you feel last time the damn brush flew off mid spin onto the dusty floor?

That butterfly lost me as a customer.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Mark D Segal on May 23, 2006, 08:15:53 am
Ben I hear you. Yes, they may well have screwed-up on the first model, but remember, the materials they used are probably a small fraction of the cost of putting the product on the market. Quite accidently I discovered that fortunately the new model is ROBUST. As well, in case we needed to be reminded, they tell us in the instructions NOT to turn on the motor while cleaning the sensor.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: r42ogn on May 23, 2006, 08:42:31 am
Quote
It is not usual for a company to give a free upgrade when they produce a new version of a product, except perhaps in the case of software. Otherwise they would lose money. Some of the complaints here seem to be dissatisfaction with the original version which is another issue. Unless it is not of merchantable quality, which seems not to be the case, I don't think you have a case. Certainly the new Arctic Butterfly looks like a clever gadget.

Personally I am turned off by the prices charged by Visible Dust, and the hard sell. But that's just a subjective opinion from someone who has never used their kit.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66284\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Noone suggested a FREE upgrade, just a better deal if you'd suffered from the first product, say 10% reduction if you can show proof of purchase, or wiave shipping anything.  This won't kill them but it would show they'd thought about it...
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Slough on May 23, 2006, 12:53:43 pm
Quote
Noone suggested a FREE upgrade, just a better deal if you'd suffered from the first product, say 10% reduction if you can show proof of purchase, or wiave shipping anything.  This won't kill them but it would show they'd thought about it...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66344\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

FYI I recall seeing someone selling the AB at 45. I think it was SpeedGraphic.

Incidentally according to their web site other brushes damage sensors. I would have thought that statement was actionable since it knocks competitors.

Leif
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: jlmwyo on May 23, 2006, 02:25:49 pm
I could never get past the psuedo scientific mumbo jumbo on their website, and the outrageous prices as well.

If you need a brush, just get one from Copperhill.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Fred Ragland on May 24, 2006, 06:17:25 pm
I obtained the original butterfly in late February and have had the same bad experiences as the others of you todate...and received the same refusals of a reduced price upgrade.  If you read down through the list of unhappy owners you wonder how so many of us could have gone wrong.  

Truth is, we didn't have much choice.  The technology allows us to go where canned air can't go and although the butterfly comes apart doing it, it does a pretty good job of cleaning our sensors.  If we had known it would come apart we might have waited for the quality to improve.  But there were all those glowing reports from beta tester web site owners who where as spell bound by the effectiveness of the gadget as the rest of us - without having enough experience with it to warn us of the problems we'd have to put up with.  

If we had known earlier of the problems and that a replacement was coming, many of us would have waited.  But we weren't told.  Marketing 101 calls this Mushroom Management.  We can't afford to do it with our customers nor can the butterfly people or their beta testers.  Alternatives will inevitably surface.  At that point, building customer loyalty will become very important to them.  

Too late.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: tbonanno on May 24, 2006, 11:47:18 pm
Good perspective Fred.  Personally, I'm finished with them.

Quote
I obtained the original butterfly in late February and have had the same bad experiences as the others of you todate...and received the same refusals of a reduced price upgrade.  If you read down through the list of unhappy owners you wonder how so many of us could have gone wrong. 

Truth is, we didn't have much choice.  The technology allows us to go where canned air can't go and although the butterfly comes apart doing it, it does a pretty good job of cleaning our sensors.  If we had known it would come apart we might have waited for the quality to improve.  But there were all those glowing reports from beta tester web site owners who where as spell bound by the effectiveness of the gadget as the rest of us - without having enough experience with it to warn us of the problems we'd have to put up with. 

If we had known earlier of the problems and that a replacement was coming, many of us would have waited.  But we weren't told.  Marketing 101 calls this Mushroom Management.  We can't afford to do it with our customers nor can the butterfly people or their beta testers.  Alternatives will inevitably surface.  At that point, building customer loyalty will become very important to them. 

Too late.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66493\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: DigitalTasmania on June 18, 2007, 08:33:33 am
Quote
On about half of those occasions either the brush would come
out of the metal stem or the whole assembly would detach from the handle
and fly across the room.  Not happy about this.

I have a 5D that has seen a fair bit of use - and as I don't have a spare body - lenses are often changed.

After well over a year the "visible dust" issue has really gotten out of hand and I had to do something.

Living in a magic but unpopulated place like Tasmania, choice is very limited.  There is no local service centre for Canon and the local camera "specialists" are very happy to clean your sensor but won't garuntee their work -  - If they break your camera you pay for it ? (But they are happy to charge you for their "service")

Canon service requires shipping and many weeks without the body.

So after much rumination and frustration I broke down and bought an Arctic Butterfly 724 from a local dealer.  Cost in Australia for me was AUD$189.00

I wasn't entirely comfortable with spending that much money on such an item but I went home happy that I'd at least arrived at a solution - dollars be damned (and or burned).

Setup the workspace.  Double checked the 5D manual and read the VisibleDust website (which is not the easiest portal to navigate, IMO) and their "slip of paper".  Opened the cap and fired up the little motor AND . . . the pointy end of the whole business - the "ultra clean" brush head - flew across the room!!!!      (BTW - I only found this thread AFTER the debacle.)

The 724 is going back for a refund tomorrow.  A huge waste of time - very unimpressed.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: digitaldog on June 18, 2007, 09:31:34 am
Quote
I could never get past the psuedo scientific mumbo jumbo on their website, and the outrageous prices as well.

If you need a brush, just get one from Copperhill.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=66381\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think its a good product but I agree, the web site is a mess, they have WAY too many products and the prices are out of sight.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: DigitalTasmania on June 18, 2007, 11:55:08 pm
Quote
I think its a good product but I agree, the web site is a mess, they have WAY too many products and the prices are out of sight.

Dear Ddog,

I appreciate your comments here.  However, it seems from experience that after many years VD is still making products - like the AUD$189 724 I returned this morning - that when used as directed don't work?
 
I'm not sure how one could deal with a motorized brush that randomly flings the "sacred" cleaning head across the room and onto the floor just as you are about to try to clean your camera?  For remote and "travel" cleaning are you meant to somehow source isopropyl and a place to clean the brush (only to have it possibly flung onto the ground again)?

This is a very expensive device that IMO, given it's price and highly sensitive task, must work reliably?

I'm frustrated as I see few options (at least from the point of view of what SEEMS available from my small corner of the world).  An I'm mystified that MR and others appear to continue to recommend the Arctic Butterfly - are "we" just getting the very few brushes that are defective?

Comments on reliable and cost-effective alternatives or alternate views on the AB would be appreciated.

Wondering if the "5D Mk2" will have "anti-dust" system - also wonder if it will work?
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Ed Dubois on June 24, 2007, 02:31:07 pm
I'm still using the original spinner that took the wooden handled brushes they started with. The quality of that unit is exceptionally.... POOR! It's held together with tape because the battery cover falls off all the time and the button the start the motor has also fallen out repeatedly so I now keep a paper clip handy. At least the plastic holder for the brush hasn't ever expelled the brush and it does work to clean the sensor quickly and easily.

Based on Michael's recommendation I bought their Sensor Loupe which arrived yesterday. While I was nervous about the possible quality issues, it looks to be well made, comes complete with everything (soft bag inside a zipper case, small carabiner on the case to attach to loops wherever, microfibre dust cloth, batteries and even a small strap to carry it around your neck if that's your pleasure). All in all this seems a very satisfactory product.

Based on the quality of the latter I think they may have heard their customer's complaints about the Butterfly even if they didn't say anything - perhaps a staff and or manufacturer change was implemented too.

As for their prices - I guess since I pay for Canon pro bodies and L lenses I'm a little less sensitive to pricing than I used to be
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: kaelaria on June 24, 2007, 04:09:03 pm
I guess I got very lucky - my original version is still working as new with no issues....used a dozen times over the last 2 years, lives in my backpack.
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: mmurph on July 07, 2007, 03:51:09 pm
I washed mine using the solution they provide. Still dirty on the sides.

It also leaves "fuzz" behind on the sensor. I had to go back and use Sensor Swabs to clean the crap left behind by the brush twice before I figured out where it was coming from.  

I have been meaning to get a replacement, at least to see if it won't leave the fuzz. Haven't found the receipt yet though.

Are they OK about exchanges? For how long?

Thanks!

Michael
Title: New Arctic Butterfly - NO upgrade policy
Post by: Phuong on July 26, 2007, 04:59:48 pm
Quote
I washed mine using the solution they provide. Still dirty on the sides.

It also leaves "fuzz" behind on the sensor. I had to go back and use Sensor Swabs to clean the crap left behind by the brush twice before I figured out where it was coming from.   

I have been meaning to get a replacement, at least to see if it won't leave the fuzz. Haven't found the receipt yet though.

Are they OK about exchanges? For how long?

Thanks!

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=127018\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

i just checked VD website and found they got a new product, the SD800, which seems to be a (improved?) 724 equiped with various types of brush heads, including mirror and focusing screen brush. i don't have any direct experience with the 724 as i dont have it (still using the original paint-brush-like) but from the video demo, the SD800 looks like it has a dedicated holder that keeps the brush from loosening. at least i dont see it flying away in the video.
oh and that loup looks pretty useful