high repair cost for canon 20d out-of-warranty

Discussion in 'Canon' started by fateman, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. fateman

    fateman Guest

    OK, so I accidentally banged my camera, a canon 20d. To my surprise,
    three pieces fell
    out of the bottom of the finder, into the mirror box. I carefully
    removed them: 1. a rectangular piece of frosted plastic with some tabs
    on the edges, maybe a fresnel lens, but maybe not. 2. a metal
    brass-colored rectangular frame with some asymmetric tabs not really
    matching the tabs of the other piece, and 3. a black metal rectangular
    frame that looks like a retaining framework with springy pieces.

    I put the pieces in a plastic bag and tried to take photos. Yes, it
    worked but the exposure was way off. When I got home I tried to figure
    out how to replace these guys, but considering the number of
    possibilities, I decided I might damage something, and anyway it
    probably had to be recalibrated.

    I sent it to Canon repair in Irvine, California. Within about 24 hours
    they emailed a repair estimate, including shipping, of $305. Whoa! I
    called them up and it turns out that this is
    their minimum. (They claim on the estimate to be replacing the mirror
    -- which is just fine -- and don't mention the viewfinder -- which is
    the problem. But the phone person said that I should ignore the exact
    message because the charge is always the same minimum.

    This is the 2nd time the 20d visited the repair station. The first
    problem, under warranty, and right out of the box, was that the camera
    would try to pop up the flash, and fail. After 3 tries it gave up and
    shut down. They fixed it promptly, and free. Still not fun.

    I think $305 is kind of high, and the camera is perhaps unreasonably
    delicate in ways that have nothing much to do with electronics. Maybe
    someone at Canon is reading this??
    fateman, Jun 23, 2006
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  2. You should have googled a little before sending it in. With a little
    luck, you would have found a detailed document explaining exactly how
    to put those things back in place:
    Måns Rullgård, Jun 23, 2006
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  3. fateman

    Alan Browne Guest

    If you consider the time it takes to decide what to do, doing it, parts,
    returning it incl. shipping and the capital cost (equipment/parts) of
    maintaining a repair depot, it's not that much. Stings, but it's not
    that much. Cut down on the beer (or other little comfort/luxury) for a
    year and its paid for.

    Most Canon 20D owners find them reasonably robust. They are not
    hammers. If you hit it one way really hard: no damage; another way half
    as hard: kablooie. It's a bit of a lottery.

    Alan Browne, Jun 23, 2006
  4. fateman

    Pete D Guest

    Pete D, Jun 23, 2006
  5. A friend of my dropped his 20D on the concrete floor twice. The camera was
    still OK, but he has to remove concrete particles that was press into the
    camera house.
    Jørn Dahl-Stamnes, Jun 23, 2006
  6. fateman

    wilt Guest

    Consider this...in 1980 salaries were considerable lower than today's.
    It would cost $120 minimum to look at a SLR back then. According to
    the Consumer Price Index, what was $120 in 1980 is $297 in 206 dollars!
    The increase is only 3.4% per year for the past 25 years!
    wilt, Jun 24, 2006
  7. fateman

    mindesign Guest

    All the price justifications fail to impress me - these people are experts
    in their trade, with a million spares at hand. They would know exactly how
    to repair anything sent to them in a flash - $300 minimum estimate is a
    bloody rip-off and something I will now carefully consider before committing
    to a new 30D

    mindesign, Jun 24, 2006
  8. fateman

    wilt Guest

    My point is simply that YOU are not getting ripped off any worse than
    any other generation of photographers, so you can quit feeling sorry
    for yourself, because I've been there too, and so has everyone else who
    ever sent in any camera!
    wilt, Jun 24, 2006
  9. fateman

    P Guest

    The repair probably costs $5.

    Knowing *how to* costs the other $300.
    P, Jun 24, 2006
  10. All the price justifications fail to impress me - these people are experts
    What sort of argument is that? You acknowledge their expertise and
    intimate knowledge of a very complex device, then say it's a bloody rip
    off that they charge top dollar for their service?

    If you disagree with their valuation of the investment they've made in
    training their staff, precision equipment, etc., you can always do the
    fix yourself. Shouldn't take you more than a couple of years research
    and a couple of dozen camera bodies to practice on.
    Derek Fountain, Jun 24, 2006
  11. I think that people come to a "justified" or "rip-off" conclusion by
    comparing the price asked to the price of a new item, but it's not a valid
    comparison. The likes of Canon (and all other camers manufacturers) are
    primarily geared up as a manufacturing organisation, where these things are
    made in highly automated factories.

    With repairs they are now accounting for a far less automated and far more
    labour intensive environment - they have the expenses of paying the staff -
    training the staff - funding the facilities - developing and maintaining
    expensive test and repair equipment - plus when all of their expenses are
    paid they want to return a profit so that they can have a return on their

    Many will adopt a standard repair charge (call it what they like), but in
    many cases to cut down on the labour component they tend to adopt a fairly
    agressive policy of replacing the "next higher assembly". As an example of
    this Hewlett Packard used to break a particular inkjet printer down into
    only 3 components (case, printing mechanism, and power supply) - if you had
    a chipped line feed idler gear they wouldn't replace the 10c gear - they
    replace the entire printing assembly - charge you a standard repair fee -
    and out the door it goes - next please. Same with their calculators - mine
    developed a broken key, but they don't fix keys - the keys are on the PCB
    which also contains the CPU + memory + display which is all welded to the
    plastic facia - so what you got back was in essence the original rear 1/2 of
    the case, and that's all.

    I'm not sure what Canon's policy is, but they could well adipt a policy of
    replacing entire front ends from stock units - it's easier for them - you
    get a better result - and it costs a known amount.

    I'd be VERY surprised if any of the major manufacturers were any different.
    Mick Anderson, Jun 24, 2006
  12. fateman

    Alan Browne Guest

    You're ignoring the costs of maintaining a shop and the value of the
    expertise. Those spare parts at hand have a carrying cost as well.
    Alan Browne, Jun 24, 2006
  13. fateman

    Sheldon Guest

    Well, back in the good old days, they did a lot more than just replace the
    parts. They would lubricate and calibrate the entire camera as well. Many
    pros would just wait until the camera broke before sending it in for
    "preventative" lubrication, as the price was the same. It's possible they
    spent a lot more time on your camera than you thought, and they do this with
    every camera aside from the repair. Even though it's digital, it still has
    a lot of moving parts in there.

    Compare this to sending in a defective Rolex, Omega, or other fine watch for
    repair or just maintenance. You get a complete overhaul, including a
    handful of new parts for the price of about 100 Timex watches -- that all
    keep better time than your Rolex.

    The problem is, we don't know exactly what they do to the camera. I doubt
    they just put the old parts back and send it on its way.
    Sheldon, Jun 25, 2006
  14. fateman

    Thomas Guest

    I agree that there are a lot of situations where this makes sense.
    Especially if something way inside the mechanism is broken, the
    disassembly alone could take ages. So swapping the whole unit can be
    necessary. Unfortunately, for the consumer it is usually cheaper to
    just get a new device, so from a repair perspective the whole device is
    just 1 component. I learnend this when I repairs the aperture mechanism
    of a Minolta 7000, which took me 4 hours (granted, a skilled
    professional would probably do it within 2 hours...).

    But there are easier cases, when the broken part is accessible and easy
    to replace. The part will be just 10 cents to produce; plus stocking it
    may cost 5 bucks. Add five minutes labour, and the bottom line should
    still be very affordable. However, with a standard repair charge even a
    simple repair as this woud be charged hundreds of bucks, and so the
    customer will probably decide against it. What is economical in that?
    Especially since I would not buy from the same brand again.

    Thomas, Jun 25, 2006

  15. But that's not why they can charge so much. The reason is a combination
    of a) having a monopoly (since nobody else knows how to do it and can
    access spare parts) and b) our willingness to pay. It has almost
    nothing to do with skill (except inasmuch as they need something to
    sell, to wit, the skill).

    A good example is this: someone with a phd in theoretical physics (say)
    has quite specialised expertise in pretty complicated methods and
    ideas, which takes time to develop and is anyway inaccessible to most
    people since it requires specific abilities. Yet, the average salary
    for practicing it is literally ridiculous compared to that person's
    skills (compared, for example, to what the same person would get in a
    bank as a quant). Thus, it is not the difficulty in acquiring the
    skills, nor the mere possession of them, that gives them value, but a
    combination of demand and willingness of people to pay for them.

    Completely obvious, actually. Don't know why I wrote two paragraphs on
    achilleaslazarides, Jun 25, 2006
  16. fateman

    C J Southern Guest

    If they stock the part - often it's already pre-assembled as part of
    something bigger.
    The other danger is that if, for example, it's "just a mirror", what's to
    say that there aren't other "walking wounded" parts that were damaged by the
    same drop - last thing you want is to have a new mirror fitted and then a
    week later something else breaks.

    The other issue is that by doing it in major assemblies they know what their
    costs are, and how long things take - plus they definately want to make a
    profit on the exercise.
    C J Southern, Jun 26, 2006
  17. You think its so easy You repair it. Anybody who actually repairs
    cameras instead of just telling you to buy a new one will charge pretty
    near the same amount.
    Brion K. Lienhart, Jun 26, 2006
  18. fateman

    Pete D Guest

    Sometimes knowhow is over changed like this, doesn't make it right, just
    makes it ripoff.
    Pete D, Jun 26, 2006
  19. fateman

    Pete D Guest

    We call that colusion don't we? Doesn't make it fair or right.
    Pete D, Jun 26, 2006
  20. fateman

    J. Clarke Guest

    No, we call it "understanding the problem".
    The fact that you don't like it doesn't make it unfair or wrong either.

    Camera repair is not performed by high school dropouts making minimum wage
    you know--good techs cost, tools cost, the building costs, the land that it
    sits on costs, lights cost, heat costs, taxes cost, paperwork costs if it
    takes three hours from open the box to close the box then there's your 300

    As for "knowing how to repair anything sent to them in a flash", it's easy
    to criticize when you don't have to do the work. Diagnosis is often the
    most expensive part of the job.

    Tell me, have you ever worked a job where you were expected to repair
    complicated things that were brought in broken? If not then perhaps you
    should cut those who are in that business some slack. If you have been in
    that business and know of a more fair pricing scheme then please be kind
    enough to present it.
    J. Clarke, Jun 26, 2006
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