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Too many problems?
Old 08-25-2015   #1
giellaleafapmu
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Too many problems?

I follow several forums and, of course, have many friends who are photographers. Recently, I was noticing that I hear increasingly more and more problems associated to products which are supposed to be "!professional grade". I don't want to make a long list but many comes to mind. Nikon shutter oil problem (D7100, D600), Nikon glare problem (D750), Nikon IS problem (300mm f4.0), Nikon heating problem (SB900), Leica sensor problem (M8 and M9, although not the same one), Leica not having spare LCD screens, Leica card problem (recently reported in this forum), Olympus AF motor breaking down (50-200mm), Olympus OS problem (OM 5, I believe), Sony translucent screen problems (A77 and A99)... I didn't mention Canon or Fuji because I know nothing of them and I don't want this to become a post against or in favour of certain maker but isn't it a bit too long a list considering they are all professional or semi-professional articles? Is the whole industry getting so bad?

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Old 08-25-2015   #2
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Most likely Sales has a bigger vote than R&D...
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Old 08-25-2015   #3
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Film cameras had similar kinds of problems. We tend to forget that since film camera introductions have slowed to a dribble since the middle 1990s and most of what survives as interesting and useable cameras are the more robust ones now. Also, the data about these problems in the pre-internet age was not always immediately broadcast by every and any unhappy enthusiast; those that were affected went to the manufacturer who took care of them and quietly rolled an update into the production line if the problem showed up often enough.

My impression, from the fifty some years I've been doing photography, is that little has actually changed other than the amount of noise and outrage expressed because of the access to fast, pervasive communications by the users. This is what the engineering of complex, high precision equipment in large quantities has always been like.

G
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Old 08-25-2015   #4
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Theses sort of problems have always existed, but now we have Internet forums and web sites that bring attention to these problems.
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Old 08-25-2015   #5
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We may have more variety of problems due to the coupling between a computer and a camera.

But, we also get the ability for manufacturers to release firmware that upgrades or enhance the ability of the camera without us having to send the camera anywhere.

I think it's a fair trade.
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Old 08-25-2015   #6
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I think the easy availability of a public form certainly is a factor.
Lets say 200 people buy a certain camera, a DSLR for instance.
Ten people, 5% detect a problem with that camera. Odds are the forums will be alive with that chatter. But do the other 190 persons post to tell they are having no problems? Perhaps not. So the impression is that there are many problems with that particular model.

Of course it does seem that companies often take a position of 'deny, deny, deny, if there is a series problem. Then, when the hew and cry become a roar then they reluctantly admit that there is a design error or some other series problem.
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Old 08-25-2015   #7
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Cameras, yes, they have issues. Still far behind from what I hear from Android phone users.
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Old 08-25-2015   #8
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A camera is a complex set of unrelated systems (in the sense that expertise in one doesn't imply expertise in all) being bought to market in a time of rapid technological advance. Stuff is going to be wrong often. That's just reality. It's a fundamental fact of product testing that the larger the test group the more problems you will see and between even the largest test group and the market there's a gap that will reveal flaws.
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Old 08-25-2015   #9
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I'm interested to hear about the problems professional grade film cameras had upon their release to the market "back in the day". I'm not familiar with any problems systemic to a particular model unlike some of the problems listed by the OP plaguing certain makes and models.
I'm aware of complains about functionality and form factor of certain cameras upon their release but those are subjective particular to the individual photographer and not a component or manufacturing failure.
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Old 08-25-2015   #10
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The more complex a camera, the more problems, it's a law of probability. Only pinhole cameras have no problems. Personally I do not shoot digital, but if I did, I'd be buying cameras new and selling them as soon as the warranty expires.
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Old 08-25-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Only pinhole cameras have no problems.
Pinch the taking hole with a nail and bokeh gets really ugly
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Old 08-25-2015   #12
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Perhaps our expectations are just much higher than they used to be.

I remember when a car with 70,000 miles on it was pretty much toast. Materials were such that revolving parts were trashed, and rusted out metal bodies were a fact of life. Now, I have a 13 year old Jeep with over 200,000 miles on it that is still going strong, and has had nothing but normal maintenance. Still looks great, too.

Cameras broke back in the day, too. My Nikon F's were built like trucks; but, 50 or 60 thousand exposures and the shutters were worn out. I've seen Canon 1D MkIV's with over a million exposures on them, and they were still going. Even consumer level digital cameras are good for at least 100,000 exposures these days. Modern photographers, though, are likely to have replaced the camera with another one long before they hit 100,000 frames.

And, as has been noted, modern cameras are incredibly complex, and dependent on software, which basically means there are going to be firmware updates. Unless, of course, you are Sony, who produces so many new cameras so fast that they simply update the camera, rarely the firmware.
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Old 08-26-2015   #13
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Hi,

And you can add a lot of film cameras to the list that are/were electronic and, of course, the older mechanical ones that are suffering from old age or problems with minor electrics. Then there's the owners who believe they can repair them and the sellers who haven't noticed the problems and the makers who can't be bothered to stock spare parts. And there's all those lovely cameras that you can't get film for and so on and so forth...

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Old 08-26-2015   #14
Andrea Taurisano
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I see what the OP brings up as a part of a much worse trend: there's barely any photography left in photography forums. The little of it that's still there, is diluted among millions of threads focusing on specs, gear performances, technical problems, etc..
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Old 08-26-2015   #15
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I am not inclined to make excuses for the problems. The manual film Leicas are fairly dependable, as are those from other manufacturers. As for digital, I waited until most of the votes were in, and got a Leica D-Lux 4 (rebadged Panasonic) and later a Leica X2, both of which have been thoroughly dependable and a joy to use. The 'latest and greatest' digital cameras seem to have been put on the market in a rush to beat the competition, and it shows in their deplorable QC (and this, to my sorrow, includes Leica). I intend to wait a bit until things settle down, and then either upgrade if it seems reasonable, or else just stick with what I've got.
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Old 08-26-2015   #16
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The more they overthink the plumbing the more likely you will be standing in a pool of sewage when you flush the toilet.

Or, if you are a Star Trek fan (I am certainly not):
"Scotty: The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."
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Old 08-26-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
The more they overthink the plumbing the more likely you will be standing in a pool of sewage when you flush the toilet.....
It certainly seems so. Whenever dependability is an issue, stick to the tried and true.
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Old 08-26-2015   #18
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Who needs to talk about art when my camera has 100 "Art" filters built right in! Tap the back twice and I'm an artist!! Tap it again and my art is on exhibition on all my social network feeds. 1,000 Likes before I finish my expresso.
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Old 08-26-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
It's much easier to talk about the technical side. It's a real shame there isn't more discussion about art, there are a number of very talented and, I think, serious photographers posting here on RFF.
That's a good point. The camera is a means to an end, and that is visual art, which is the reason I took up photography in the first place. The camera is merely a tool, and it can never be as dependable as paint and brushes. However, anyone interested in photography as an art needs to have a medium on which they can depend. Thus reliability of camera equipment is a valid issue.
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Old 08-26-2015   #20
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Rangefinders will always be relatively fragile cameras because the rangefinder mechanism itself depends on precision. A hard knock and a rangefinder can get out of adjustment in ways that aren't always apparent to the user until the photos come back when it's a film camera. In that sense, digital has helped, because by chimping you can tell immediately if something is wrong.
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Old 08-26-2015   #21
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In an episode where the Three Stooges were plumbers:

Arriving at a home, Curly starts pulling, tearing apart, grunting and groaning and yanking on a pipe by the fuse box, he says, "no wonder why they have plumbing problems! There's nothin' but wires in this pipe!"

Same for cameras. Some have problems no matter what brand.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
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Old 08-26-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
It's much easier to talk about the technical side. It's a real shame there isn't more discussion about art, there are a number of very talented and, I think, serious photographers posting here on RFF.
I think what people need to realize is that many who post at RFF don't care about Art and photography's relation to it. I do, but I don't expect everyone else to. Photography is used in so many different ways these days.
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Old 08-26-2015   #23
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Camera manufacturers are under extreme financial pressure. The mobile phone camera killed their cash cow. Product managers are required to cut costs. Products are rushed to market. Sometimes third-party suppliers create the problem because they have to cut corners to get their contract(s).

Many brands quickly acknowledge and fix these problems. Some brands stall and stonewall at first... and then fix the issues.

The same thing happens with automobiles (except government safety laws apply) and many other consumer products. Apple just announced a replacement program because of a camera problem for some iPhone 6 (large screen) units.
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Old 08-26-2015   #24
giellaleafapmu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I think what people need to realize is that many who post at RFF don't care about Art and photography's relation to it. I do, but I don't expect everyone else to. Photography is used in so many different ways these days.
Well, actually my OP was not really heading that direction...at least not consciously but I agree that it would be nice to see more post related, at least, to technique, if not really to art. If I understand correctly, here there are a variety of people ranging from collector to artist and passing through professional product photographer, photojournalists, nature photographers and who knows what else... I myself have no idea whether any of my pictures could be recognized as "art" and definitively don't feel prepared to talk about art, still I'd rather talk about taking pictures than about defective shutters. In any case, dependable equipment is important for everyone, no matter whether you are taking a holidays picture, recording a political meeting or making art: when the shutter jams or the film get teared apart or the memory card loose all the pictures it is a sad day. When you think you have spent a couple of thousand dollars in your equipment it is even sadder.

GLF
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Old 08-26-2015   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Film cameras had similar kinds of problems. We tend to forget that since film camera introductions have slowed to a dribble since the middle 1990s and most of what survives as interesting and useable cameras are the more robust ones now. Also, the data about these problems in the pre-internet age was not always immediately broadcast by every and any unhappy enthusiast; those that were affected went to the manufacturer who took care of them and quietly rolled an update into the production line if the problem showed up often enough.

My impression, from the fifty some years I've been doing photography, is that little has actually changed other than the amount of noise and outrage expressed because of the access to fast, pervasive communications by the users. This is what the engineering of complex, high precision equipment in large quantities has always been like.

G
I agree on the fact the Internet makes all the problems more evident to a great range of people, many of whom never experienced the problem themselves. However, I was speaking of professional grade cameras, not low grade ones. Also, comparing shutter count (I am getting this all in a post, I am no longer answering specifically to your post) is not really meaningful, in my opinion, because film cameras where designed to take 100,000 pictures in many many years (unless given to Winogrand), digital cameras are designed to make a completely different job, so if one model breaks down after a few years of normal use it is still a bad design, even if "normal use" put much more stress to the shutter than it used to do in a film camera.

GLF
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Old 08-26-2015   #26
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Hmm.. a justified question.

I think it a mixture of both more complex camera systems (with more potential issues) and an intense internet information exchange. It's always the one with problems that (understandably) cry the loudest.
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Old 08-26-2015   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
I think the easy availability of a public form certainly is a factor.
...
The above and advertising.

In the 60s, 70s and 80s, the only mass media knowledge came from trade magazines. If Nikon or Canon or even a nowhere brand that advertised had a problem product, you wouldn't find out about it too soon if at all. Maybe two or three years down the road a writer would mention a camera or lens with a problem, or a "reported" problem.
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Old 08-26-2015   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codester80 View Post
I'm interested to hear about the problems professional grade film cameras had upon their release to the market "back in the day". I'm not familiar with any problems systemic to a particular model unlike some of the problems listed by the OP plaguing certain makes and models.
I'm aware of complains about functionality and form factor of certain cameras upon their release but those are subjective particular to the individual photographer and not a component or manufacturing failure.
As example, both the Nikon F and the Leica M3 were in production for ten years plus. Both had many minor changes nearly every year of production that were a response to problems reported by customers, warranty incidents, etc. Neither are bad cameras, both had their share of production flaws and incremental development. Similar is true for most Hasselblads, Rolleiflexes, Mamiyas ... You name it. Many of these legendary cameras, even in perfect condition, have their quirks and aberrant behaviors.

It's simply the way it is.

G
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Old 08-26-2015   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Taurisano View Post
I see what the OP brings up as a part of a much worse trend: there's barely any photography left in photography forums. The little of it that's still there, is diluted among millions of threads focusing on specs, gear performances, technical problems, etc..
Most people don't seem to know how to talk about photography. They're more comfortable talking about equipment, even if they actually know even less about it... !

G
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Old 08-26-2015   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Most people don't seem to know how to talk about photography. They're more comfortable talking about equipment, even if they actually know even less about it... !

G
And photography is, itself, communicative. Any art has power because through it one can say clearly things that could be said imperfectly , if at all, another way.
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Old 08-26-2015   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giellaleafapmu View Post
I agree on the fact the Internet makes all the problems more evident to a great range of people, many of whom never experienced the problem themselves. However, I was speaking of professional grade cameras, not low grade ones. Also, comparing shutter count (I am getting this all in a post, I am no longer answering specifically to your post) is not really meaningful, in my opinion, because film cameras where designed to take 100,000 pictures in many many years (unless given to Winogrand), digital cameras are designed to make a completely different job, so if one model breaks down after a few years of normal use it is still a bad design, even if "normal use" put much more stress to the shutter than it used to do in a film camera.

GLF
Bolder... I was too.

I don't think most pro grade digital cameras are designed to do anything much different from pro grade film cameras. My Nikon F6 has an awful lot in common with a Nikon D2x, D3, etc. from a mechanical point of view, and they are all contemporary products.

G
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Old 08-27-2015   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
It's much easier to talk about the technical side. It's a real shame there isn't more discussion about art, there are a number of very talented and, I think, serious photographers posting here on RFF.
Hi,

Trouble is, there's a limit to what you can say about another photo of a car or motor bike or fluffy kitten or mountain range or...

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