Another lens broken

Yet another item has failed on me, this time my new 24-105 Canon L series lens that I bought last year from Portus Digital. I’m so frustrated with these constant problems at the moment. The 17-40 lens is the only one I have left working now that is of any general use on the streets of Venice.

Portus digital want me to send it to them, oh yeah what the hell is that going to cost ahhaa

It’s here!

I got to Broadford for about 7:30am, so I walked the dog down by the loch then came and had breakfast. Booked Jack into the vet’s for a checkup on a little lump on his gum, then went off to the post office. It was only 10am by then so I was surprised to see my camera there. I’d talked to Fraser from HDEW cameras on the phone yesterday, and he said they’d be posting 4:30pm Friday. So great postal service there 🙂

Fraser had asked if I wanted a battery, but as I had sent only the bare camera back, I wanted only the same in return. I did though ask him to check that the eye cup was attached, as for some reason Canon don’t attach them when they send the camera out.
HAHHAA! you guessed it…NO eyecup!
Never mind, I rang them and they’re sending one up. I’m staying here for a week so no loss there.

Battery charging now, testing the camera later on. I’ll keep you updated of course!

Broken 5D update to date…

I’d heard nothing from Johnstones by Friday afternoon, and I had a very bad feeling, as Thursday night UPS tried to call me but the line was bad and we didn’t get to talk. So it was with only little surprise when I rang Johnstones that I found out they’d sent my camera to Coventry on Tuesday, without a word to me.

Now, idiocy springs to mind, as does incompetent. When I dropped the camera off, I told them I’d driven up here to do that, and would pick  it up again when it was ready. The two times I phoned them asking for updates as to how things were going, I said ring me when it’s ready so I can collect. Did they? Did they fuck. Idiots. Incompetents.

The funny thing was when I told them how angry I was, the young man on the phone said “look I’ve said I’m sorry. What more do you want? Do you want someone sacked?” Cheeky little bastard. “No,” I said, “I’d never want someone to lose their job for a mistake no matter how incompetent that mistake was.” Unless of course they’re a brain surgeon….
“I want,” I said, “my camera back here so I can pick it up, so that I haven’t wasted 4 full weeks of waiting around for it, and so I don’t have to pay diesel to drive 5 hours and 300 miles to pick it up!!”

“That’s not up to me.” Mr Surly said, and I wondered in this day and age, how in fact he does keep his job when he speaks to people like that.
Anyway, I rang UPS who said I could not do anything with the parcel unless I came to their Staffordshire depot and showed them ID. I asked if Johnstones could redirect over the phone and they said yes.
So I then rang HDEWcameras and they said I was definitely getting a brand new replacement but they wanted the old camera back. I explained everything to them, and suggested Johnstones phone UPS and have them send the camera straight to HDEW, and HDEW send me my new one out, and HDEW speak to Johnstones.

So, roll on next week and see if I finally get my camera, 5 weeks after dropping the broken one off.

Broken 5D update.

Today is the end of the third week isnce I dropped my 5D Mk III off at Johnstones of Glasgow. So when I rang this morning I was hoping for good news. Sadly I got none. Apparently the camera is back from Canon, but Johnstones do not yet have all the parts they need to repair it, and it will take at least anther week. “All the parts” I asked them! There was even more wrong with it than I thought.

This is of course not Johnstones fault at all, they’re simply repairing it. Rather than rehash, I’ll simply paste here a copy of the email I sent to HDEWcameras after I’d spoken to Johnstones.


HI Fraser

RE:  our telephone conversation on Friday 20th September regarding the broken Canon 5D Mark III.

As you recall I contacted you just after receiving this camera to voice concerns that it had a 1021 shutter count even though it was brand new. Subsequently I noticed the following problems:

*Camera was underexposing in all modes by up to 2 stops.
*Original battery and other OEM batteries were drastically short in life span. One gave me only 4 shots and 20 minutes in the settings menu before being 52% drained.
* Micro adjust did not work. I tried it with 3 lenses, one of them being the 70-200 Mk II that I had just bought from you, and it would not work with any of them.
*Factory reset didn’t fully work as my Custom settings were retained.
*Shutter count of 1021 right out of the box.

I delivered this to Johnstones of Glasgow who said after 2 weeks that they had sent it to Canon, as it had so many faults, and it would be another week before it was repaired. 1 week later, I rang them again to be told that “…some of the replacement parts had been received, but we’re still waiting for some parts from Canon”. He added “It will be at least another week.”

That concerns me, both due to the length of time to repair this camera, and the long list of things that are wrong with it. Everything stated above suggests it is a camera that has already been sold, tried, and returned as faulty, and has somehow managed to be mistakenly resold as new, and you’re going to look into that to see if you can find any details.
Given the situation I’m sure now that I would prefer not to have the camera returned to me, and you’ve suggested that it would be appropriate to replace it, and you’ll check with your manager regarding this and contact me on Monday 23rd September.

I appreciate your time and understanding and the help so far and look forward to your call next week.


Gary Finnigan

Camera update

It’s 2 weeks since I dropped my camera off and I’d not heard form Johnstones, so I rang them and they said my cameras was “so” faulty, Canon themselves wanted a look at it. So it only got sent down to them 2 days ago Grrr!

Another week so I’ve come across to Helensburgh, a place I’ve never been before to explore a little 🙂

My new camera

I finally got my shiny new Canon 5D Mark III and guess what? I’m happy with it 🙂

From the day the Mark II was released and I got my hands on one, I was never impressed, despite all the reviews saying how great it was and all the pros rushing out and buying one. A lot of people seemed to focus on it’s video mode but it’s a still camera, and I felt video mode should not be centre stage.
Anyway, the IQ (Image Quality) is what counts for me, and it just wasn’t there in the Mk II.

It is in the Mark III though, sharpness and contrast being back on par with the Mark I, but greater tonal and dynamic range. It is what the Mark II should have been.
I think what large companies like Canon do is they make a product which they know will sell, but without devoting time and resources to it’s development. That way they get massive revenues for little outlay. It’s just revenue building. Then the next time they release the camera as it should have been, and we’re all pleased again and once more Canon are great for making a brilliant camera.

In fact they have this thing called Product Differentiation. This means the 6D has wireless and GPS built in, but no other camera has. The 7D has ultra fast shooting speed compared to other cameras. The 5D has better focussing etc etc etc. They say it’s because different people want different things so they make the different products. However, every person who owns a 5D Mark III would like GPS and wireless mode, but it’s not offered except as a very expensive add on.

They will never make the ‘ultimate’ camera, it’s just endless politics and revenue building.

Anyway, apart from it not being that good at low light focussing, I like the images it produces and that’s really what counts for me. I just wish it didn’t cost almost £2,000 to get great images.

Anddddddddddd the 5D Mark III it is!

After some lengthy deliberation, I have decided to buy the Canon 5D mark III.

It’s not my first choice, that would be the excellent Sony SLT-A99, which kicks the Canon into touch easily. The problem there is I have to get rid of all my Canon lenses and accessories and replace them with Sony. I’d lose a lot of money and have to spend a lot more too to get what I’ve got now. If I ever win the lotto it will be Sony all the way, failing that, I’ll have to make do with the Canon, although even as second best, it’s supposed to be a great camera. Time will tell.

I’m still looking for a deal. They are about £2,300 most places. I’ve found one for £1,939, but I’d like to find it a bit cheaper still if I can so wish me luck. If I can’t find one cheaper by the end of June I may have to pay the £1,939, as I’m going to Cornwall for summer so I’d like to have a camera by then.
As ever, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

It’s all been going on!

I’ve been exploring the excellent Herrington Country Park with my kids lately. It was a working colliery with one of the biggest spoil heaps in Europe. Now it’s a country park with lakes, gardens, meadow, forests, outdoor sculptures and wildlife abounding. Swans are on the nest as we speak.
It’s  great place to walk, cycle, jog, or simply picnic.

Anyway, I was selling off unneeded photographic stuff and making reasonable money. (Up your arse ebay…I did it all on Facebook and used for a fixed fee of £2.99, unlike you greedy robbing bastards!)
Such reasonable money that I got carried away and sold my Canon 5D Mark II lol As most of you know though I’ve had 5 of these cameras now and they’re  a pile of crap so I’m looking at the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III. Decisions decisions!

I’ll post when I work out what I’m going to buy.

R.I.P. my Canon 24-105 L series zoom, Welcome…brand new Canon 24-105 1:4L IS USM zoom!

This is it. The Canon 24-105 mm 1:4, L series lens with IS and USM. IS is image stabilization, which I tend not to use, and USM is the ultra fast, ultra quiet ring motor that drives the auto focus.

Probably the best all round daily lens ever made.  It goes wide to 24 mm, zooms out to 105 mm, and has a macro mode where you can focus right down to 9 inches at 105 mm. It’s weatherproof, which is just as well as it got soaked a few months ago on Snowdon. It’s also robust, and has been dropped many times, twice onto concrete from about 4 feet and once onto wood from about 6 feet.

I originally got it as a kit lens with my 5D about 5 years ago? Since then I’ve taken about 19,000 images on it on the 5D and the 5D Mk II. It’s been a dependable workhorse and the most used of my lenses.

I was walking Jack by the river in Dumfries and it was gloaming and the riverside looked lovely in the light, so I went to take some photos and I could feel the lens juddering like mad as I half pressed the shutter. I tried to take a photo but it locked up and an error message came on the screen saying I needed to clean the contacts. I did that, but each time I tried to take a photo it was the same. I turned auto-focus on, then off again, then turned IS on and off again. I changed shutter speeds and aperture, wiped the contacts of the lens and camera, and also spun the focus barrel in case there was a jam.
All sadly to no avail. I got 2 shots in half an hour, there was obviously something wrong.

Canon 24-105 1:4 L IS USM zoom
Canon 24-105 1:4 L IS USM zoom

When I got back to the van I googled the error and apparently it’s very common, it’s sheer wear and tear and madly, only a couple of hundred pounds to repair. You might think that’s a lot but for these lenses it’s cheap. I was quoted £450 just for a service last year.
Anyway after googling some prices, I found the average new was about £860, the average second hand was about £550. Yet I found a brand new one for only £589 after a lot of searching! I googled the company offering them so cheaply and they seemed ok so I rang them and they said that because they don’t come in a shiny colourful retail box they can charge much less. So I ordered one and within 2 days it arrived in Dumfries Post Office. Oh joy!


And there it is!   ^^ Beautiful isn’t it 🙂

So the plan is, sell the old one broken for about £200 or have it repaired and sell it for £400. (Already got a buyer if it’s fixed) Then I’ve got £200 off the price of it so a brand new lens for only £389. Cracking or what?

Who are these magical people who sold me the lens? Well they’re HDEW Cameras and they’re down in Surrey. They were great on the phone, very knowledgeable and helpful, and for less than a tenner my lens was with me in 2 days. They even pointed out on the phone that they aren’t allowed to send an item anyway other than the billing address if paying by debit card, so instead, as I’m in Scotland touring, they gave me their bank details to do a direct bank transfer.
Great service and great price, I’ll definitely be using them again in the future.