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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On 2:05 PM by Rachel Preston Prinz in
So about 10 years ago I started using the Panasonic Lumix camera as my primary camera. I used my old silver DMC-LZ3 (in back in the photo) so much it literally started falling apart. I think I took around 60k shots with it. It was AWESOME. But it wasn't holding up, so...

three forms of Panasonic Lumix digital camera heartbreak

I bought a new one. A DMC-ZR3 (in the middle, above). It was a GREAT little pocket camera. It took great shots, was fairly quick to take the next shot, was super easy to pack around, and made lovely pictures. But then, after about 10,000 shots, I noticed these black dots in my photos. The dots got bigger and darker with every passing day, to the point where I had to send it in to customer service to get it looked at.

Now something I will say about Panasonic's repair service, as opposed to Sony's which is a WHOLE OTHER STORY: they are communicative, prompt, and they are absolutely willing to do what needs to get done to get your in-warranty camera back to you ASAP. You'll know what's up as soon as they receive your package almost. It was kindof amazing actually, that the 3 times I sent my cameras back they were back to me in DAYS, not more than a MONTH.

photo taken today showing dark spots on white background. this is NOT a dirty lens.
(I know to, and do, clean my lens regularly) And those dots ruin real photos.


What was NOT amazing was that each time they'd send me a new camera "to speed up the return time," the next camera would do the same thing. And the next one would too. I ruined 3 trips worth of photos, at least, getting dots in my shots. Man what a bummer. Especially since I'm kindof known for my point-and-shoot architectural photography. It affects my brand. Which is sucky and humiliating.

The last time this happened, I was on a trip with my archaeologist buddy. We were working on a pretty major National Register Nomination of a historic trail that went from New Mexico to California, and the quality of the photos was KEY. I've never NOT gotten beautiful shots from my Lumix camera (outside of my own limitations of course) so when the dots showed up when we were two states away, I was devestated. And trapped. We were too far away from anywhere to get to a store to get a new camera, let alone get one in the mail to a repair place. And I needed one TODAY.



So my trusty archaeologist handed me his Lumix DMC-ZS10 GPS-enabled camera  that he bought because HE WANTED TO TAKE AS GOOD OF PHOTOS AS ME. (Its the black on in the front of the top photo here) And man oh man, did that GPS data help us out when we returned with thousands of shots on the cards! I started processing photos. A couple of months passed. I still had his camera. I had to go out and get a few news shots for the project, as one of the local sites needed some better angled shots to see specific features of the trail, and guess what? Yep, you guessed it. Spots in the quadrants on the last half of the photos. I was screwed. And of course, it was out of his warranty period.

How it manifests when it gets bad, in a real photo from the time
And now, not only do I not have my own beloved Lumix back, I ALSO owe my buddy a replacement camera because it happened on my watch and it is the mark of a real douchebag to not give something back in as good or better repair than you borrowed it in.

So thanks (only not really) Panasonic, for not admitting you had a problem with those optics, and selling us those cameras anyway. While your repair service deserves a solid B+ for their efforts (not an A because they sent us equipment knowing it would fail), you get an F for bad design, false advertising, and not standing up FOR your customers.