Question from Christopher Sawtell

Posted May. 26th, 2018 by Daniel J. Cox

Hi Daniel, Great blog! However, I was shocked that no-one seems to mention the huge drawback to buying expensive Panasonic/Leica lenses, as I just discovered from references by DP Review and Lens Rentals. Namely, that after the warranty period has expired, Panasonic will NOT repair any defect in your lenses! I was considering the new 50-200mm after buying the G9 but this puts me right off. As a Panasonic Luminary, can you provide any insight or solution to this major issue? Best, Chris S.

Hi Chris,

This issue suggesting Panasonic will not repair a lens is absolute nonsense. The confusion comes from the fact they may not repair YOUR lens and send it back to you. But they do repair THE lens to absolute factory specs. A process they call “Factory Recertified” which is better than refurbished. They take a damaged lens, put it on the bench and fix it to the same specs and tolerance as any of the absolute untouched lenses coming down the factory production line. There are two reasons they do this. 1). it allows them to send you a lens ASAP! 2). They don’t have the same facilities here in the US to do such high quality repairs, therefore the lens needs to be sent to Japan. Rather than make you wait, they exchange the lens for one that is basically brand new. I have no idea why this policy is a problem to people. It’s fast, efficient and takes care of the problem in as short of time possible and they basically get a brand new lens. Hope this helps.

One more thing. attached is an image of my photo  library where Mylio shows I’ve shot 133454 images with the Leica 100-400mm lens. It’s still going strong and I’ve had no issues whatever with this lens. I absolute love it. I’ve seen and held the new 50-200mm and cant wait to finally get one to try. Thanks for the question.

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There are 4 comments on this post…
  1. Rick PophamOn May. 28th, 2018 (5 months ago)

    Hi Dan,

    Wow. After reading your comments here I checked out the DPReview forums (something I rarely do anymore). Thanks for trying to help, but I guess no good deed goes unpunished.

    I’m not angry at all as I have no skin in this game yet: I’m just looking for clarification on Panasonic’s support system. I have no problem with the lens replacement policy under warranty — a quick turnaround is great! But it’s not so great if, after warranty, my only option is to basically buy the lens all over again.

    While it’s true that these terrific m4/3 lenses are much less expensive than their full frame counterparts, I want to point out that to someone who does not make his living using these lenses, the cost of the Pana/Leica 100-400, or the 45 f/1.2, or that 200 f/2.8 that I’m drooling over, is not insignificant. I think people want to be reassured that the manufacturer has their back, but Panasonic’s service system is unusual in that there seems to be no option for a reasonable repair.

    We’ve heard from you, an ambassador, and we’ve heard the experiences of various customers, but nothing official from Panasonic. So they really need to get in front of this and issue a clear service policy. If they decide to rework their service system to include qualified service centers that could actually diagnose and repair their products locally it would go a long way towards putting all this to rest.

    Anyway, I enjoy your blog and I’m determined to try some of the Panasonic gear in the near future. I plan to rent the G9 for a few days in the near future.

    Thanks,
    Rick

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 30th, 2018 (5 months ago)

      Rick, just to clarify, Panasonic does offer a free, three year extended warranty. Additionally, though a repair can be costly, I’ve never heard of anything over $1000.00 and it depends on the damage. Though $1000.00 is expensive it’s not the cost of a new lens. I’m not sure of all the reasons Lumix does repairs different than others, but I’m guessing it’s due to the size of their user base. To offer world class warranty work they have to have the numbers to justify having repair centers etc. One could argue that could be a downside to buying their equipment but when I compare the cost of buying into the Lumix system to Nikon or Canon the service system is quite fair. Thanks for your input.

  2. John SchwallerOn May. 26th, 2018 (5 months ago)

    Daniel, I have no problem with this process, as I have posted on DPR.. I think the problem people are having is the high and/or variable pricing of the replacements, such as $500 or$1000. Any guidance which Panasonic could provide might ease these concerns.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 26th, 2018 (5 months ago)

      Thanks for the considerate dialog John. The problem with making assumptions as to what a fix might cost is we/me have no idea what a lens of this nature entails to fix. It’s possible it’s different than other lenses. I do agree Panasonic could use some reworking of their service system but I believe they’ll sort it all out. I have my doubts anybody officially from Panasonic will jump in on DPReview, I might be wrong, but as you saw with my posts there is so much what I feel is unwarranted anger. For what? Most of the people bitching haven’t even had an issue at this point. If they don’t like it vote with the wallet and buy something else. Good luck finding anything even slightly comparable to the Leica 100-400mm. People are screaming like the cost of the 100-400mm is equivalent to a retirement account for gods sake. I can guarantee you none of them have ever even seen let alone purchased a Nikon or Canon equivalent which would be similar to a 600 F/4. Now those lenses cost serious cash. Thanks again and I appreciate your mature dialog.

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