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Thread: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

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    H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    I bought an H4D 40 and 35-90 back in May 2010 after waiting for the much delayed 60. I was advised at the time that the 40 was a superior camera to the 60 for my work as a landscape photographer. To make the drama of what has happened easier to read, I'll do a timeline.

    May 2010: Bought H4D 40 and 35-90
    Jun 2010 - July 2011: Light use only
    August 2011: Went to Iceland for Hans Strand photo workshop. The camera started locking up regularly. Additionally, I started to experience many 'no lense attached' errors. On many occasions, I would only be able to take one shot before having to detach/reattach the lense.
    September 2011 to mid 2012: Multiple returns of lenses and body to Sweden. Ultimately, my H4D was swapped along with the 35-90.
    Mid 2012 - May 2013: Light use again. I had so little faith that I used my OM D for most things.
    June 2013: With serious reservations, I took the H4D and 35-90 along with a borrowed 120 back to Iceland

    It didn't take long before the problems started again. Multiple 'no lense errors' just kept happening. Additionally, I had an hour helicopter flight over the central highlands without doors. During this flight, I had 3 or 4 lockups requiring battery off/on sequences. In addition, I got a series of 19 frames which have EXIF and GPS data but are completely black. The feedback from Hasselblad is that the temperature was 0c at the time and that the range of the back is 0 t0 45c. An interesting response given that the other 250 or so frames were fine. I'm also struggling with how I can be within a range but that is the reason I get a fault. Hans Strand was in the same helicopter for 3 hours using a 50 with no issues at all.

    Upon my return to Australia, I contacted CR Kennedy, the Australian distributor, and asked for a refund under the new Australian Consumer Protection laws. Unsurprisingly, they are stonewalling me. What really irks me is that they ignore most of what I say and leap on the helicopter flight as the cause of all issues. It really is quite puerile. My email had 'H4D 40 unfit for purpose' which they changed to 'Re: H4D 40 unfit for the extreme purpose you put this equipment through.' in their response.

    When they came to swap my gear for a loaner while mine went back to Sweden, I demonstrated the 'no lense attached' problem multiple times on the loan camera in my lounge room at around 20c. Given that it is so easy to reproduce, I'm gobsmacked that Hasselblad don't know about it. They must be very dumb or ...

    Anyway, I'm now preparing all of this for my solicitor. I'm really saddened by what has happened coupled with being very angry at being treated this way by CR Kennedy. I still think that the H4D 40 and 35-90 is an ideal combo for my work, but when it gets in the way of that work, it becomes impossible.

    Here's the final email trail:



    Dear Malcolm,

    Thank you for your prompt response. My answers to your points are below.

    I'm sorry that we have come to this position, as I have been a loyal customer for a number of years. I will now proceed with my claim under the Consumer Protection Laws.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
    Landscape Photographer in Sydney, Australia - Jeff Grant



    On 17/07/2013, at 3:22 PM, [email protected] wrote:

    Dear Jeff


    1. A full report was sent to you with your equipment after inspection by Hasselblad - also refer Damon Rulach's email of 22/1/2012 - this suggested the problem may have been due to a faulty or improperly attached GIL optional accessory (GPS device). After the initial stage of testing of all your equipment by the factory was concluded, we replaced your H4D-40 camera and zoom lens in good faith.
    Both times that I have reported the lense error fault, I have been asked to try without the GIL. Both times the same error occurs with or without the GIL

    2. After the most recent issue, we sent Hasselblad tech support a raw file, and the metadata showed temperature was 0 degrees C at the time of capture, inside a helicopter - the operating range of the camera is 0-45 degrees C
    If the temperature was 0, then I would still be within the operating range of 0-45. Interestingly, Hans Strand was in the same helicopter for three hours using an H4D 50 with no errors.

    Note lithium batteries are known to fail in very cold weather. We understand these issues have only occurred during use of your equipment in cold conditions.
    The helicopter flight was the only time that I was anywhere near 0 degrees.

    3. The camera and lens is not designed for aerial work, that is why Hasselblad have an aerial version, which has securing screws between lens, body and digital back. It is possible that helicopter vibration caused a communication error between your back/body/lens.
    I was in a very new helicopter with little vibration, handholding the H4D so my body would have absorbed most of the vibration.

    4. We understand you had an opportunity to fully test the camera prior to purchase.

    Agreed, but not really relevant, the fault was not immediately obvious, as I have said

    5. We have loaned you equipment at no charge during all times your equipment has had to be serviced in Sweden.
    Agreed, and I am grateful for that

    6. We will ensure your equipment is sent to Sweden, to be fully tested and returned as soon as possible.
    I understand that is happening. I have also been in contact with Ove Bengtson who has promised to look into the issue.
    This is the full extent of the assistance I can offer you.



    Kind regards,

    Malcolm Kennedy
    Managing Director






    From: Jeff Grant <[email protected]>
    To: Malcolm Kennedy <[email protected]>
    Cc: Damon Rulach <[email protected]>, Shaun Medvedovsky <[email protected]>
    Date: 17/07/2013 11:04 AM
    Subject: H4D 40 unfit for purpose



    Dear Mr Kennedy,

    I am writing to you concerning a Hasselblad H4D 40 and 35-90 lense which I purchased from CR Kennedy on invoice 288794 on May 25, 2010. This equipment received light use until August, 2011when I took it to Iceland for a week's photography. During that week, I had hundreds of 'no lense' errors and many other lense errors and freezes. At times, the camera was unusable. I would take one image, the error would appear, I would remove and reattach the lense, take one image and start the sequence again.

    Upon returning to Australia, the body and all my lenses had a number of trips back to Sweden. I was never given any reason for the failures and the body and 35-90 lense were both replaced in 2012. Again, I only made light use of the camera until early June when I returned to Iceland for two weeks of photography. The light use was largely because I had little faith in the reliability of the camera. I took the camera to Iceland because I wanted the best possible image quality. I reasoned that lightning would not strike twice.

    That reasoning was soon proven to be incorrect. The 'no lense' errors were back with a vengeance. Additionally, during a helicopter flight I had a number of freezes and a sequence of 19 black frames. I can assure you that removing batteries to unfreeze a camera in a helicopter with no doors attached is a daunting task.

    This experience has left me with no faith in the reliability of the H4D with any heavy lense attached. It is worth noting that I previously had an H3D which never showed this fault. I have now had it with both of my H4Ds and got the same error on a loan camera which Shaun gave me yesterday.

    I have requested a refund of the full purchase price of the camera as I believe that it is unfit for purpose. The combination of an H4D and any heavy lense will produce the error. I have had the error on the 35-90, 120, 150 and 210 lenses.

    I have written to Damon Rulach requesting the refund but this has been refused which, I believe, is in direct contradiction of Australian Consumer Law. I have gone along with returning my camera to Sweden, yet again, in the vain hope that someone may recognise the fault and be able to correct it. I really want my equipment to work. I have used Hasselblad equipment for years. The fact that I have put up with this drama for so long should give some idea of my commitment to the product.

    I do not want to go through the formal complaint process and would much prefer to keep lawyers out of this. I hope that you will agree with this approach and approve the refund within the next few days.


    Best wishes,

    Jeff
    Landscape Photographer in Sydney, Australia - Jeff Grant
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Hi Jeff,

    I do believe Hasselblad will take care of you, from my experiences they have been excellent, and perhaps a Hasselblad employee will jump on the issues right away and take care of you. Again, I am so sorry you have had to deal with this for so long, it seems as though you've been very patient.

    Kind regards,
    Derek
    Last edited by jecxz; 18th July 2013 at 14:04.

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Thanks Derek, I'm as confused as you. I expect Hasselblad to resolve issues not leave me hanging. Ove Bengtson, the H product manager, is aware of my problem and has promised to look at it when he returns from his vacation in early August.

    I have posted on Nick-T's forum too. It's very quiet over these days.

    When Hasselblad exchanged my first H4D it was done without any real explanation of what was wrong. From memory, they never saw the 'no lense' error. It's not hard to do. You just put any heavy lense on and jiggle it around a bit, or mount it on a tripod and wander around, and it will happen. I have told the local folks this and demonstrated it a number of times.

    So when it started again, I wasn't really interested in doing the same endless shuffle and so asked for my money back. I would much prefer to stay with Hasselblad but all I get is stonewalled. No sign of any creative solution, prime lense swaps, or even that the problem is known. What I do get is most of what I say ignored, and then an outrageous statement that it was the helicopter's fault despite only being in it for one hour in 14 days.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    C. R. Kennedy are the absolute worst, in Australia and New Zealand. Sorry to hear of your troubles.

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Thanks. I'm starting to find that out the hard way.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Jeff sorry to hear about your troubles and the bullshit run around you are geting from the Distributor - Kennedy's are the pits mate.

    The problem you encountered is not uncommon - I had it but not as bad as your experience with my H3D11 series camera - the issue can be specific to one lens ( in my case it was with 28mm)
    The people you dealt with at Kennedy's are the #1 reason I stopped using Hasselblad H system.....each one of these MFD systems has issues...and is the reason a lot of folks end up with an Alpa system or equivalent for landscape work.

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Jeff,

    I understand the frustration...I was chastised by many members here for my critique of the digital Hasselblad's when I first joined this forum, but my experience was similar. Now, it seems likely that these are QC issues because of the commonality of many H users. Although, I dealt directly with Hasselblad on the U.S. (west coast), they sent me several different cameras to exchange, and they all had the same similar QC issues. My loyalty to Hasselblad waned, but I kept trying because of my experience with their film cameras. My west coast dealer always referred me to Hasselblad directly (west coast U.S.) and never got involved. One of the loaners was a H3D/50, I never had those issues with that camera or any H1/H2 for that matter. Shooting from a helicopter is unique, and the last thing you want to think about as you cinch your shoulder harness is whether you camera is going to function! Hasselblad really needs to restore it's reputation as a professional camera system again. It's frustrating enough to have a camera not work, but at the cost of a basic H4D, it better work!

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Hi Jeff,

    I had similar bad experience, I bought a H3DII-31 (18K) NEW. At 250 exposire and 3 months (past warranty) the logic board failed and cost me $1600.00. At 1200 exposure something else failed and cost me $3600.00. Two years back while at Wales(UK). The mirror release system failed and cost me $450.00 (parts only).
    At this point I contacted customer support (personally). They admitted my camera was a lemon and offered me $1800.00 as a trade in credit towards the purchase of a NEW H5D. I said enough is enough. Sold most of my Hassy and switched to Leica S2.

    R---

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    You just put any heavy lense on and jiggle it around a bit, or mount it on a tripod and wander around, and it will happen. I have told the local folks this and demonstrated it a number of times.
    Jeff,

    This was a repeated issue with my H3D-39 and then H3DII-39 with one lens particularly, the 50-110, also the HTS. Especially in the sun in warm weather. It required reattaching the lens, and over time I just decided to live with it. That and FW800 connection issues were present on most shoots.

    Then I started using an S2 as a foul weather backup body, and I realized I was experiencing no more issues (using the same H lenses). Not with lens connections, not with tethering, nothing. Every shoot was trouble free. So despite the format change (I tend to crop most shots a bit anyway), I moved on.

    Good luck and I hope you find an easy solution,

    Richard

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Thanks folks, your comments are confirming my worst fears, both about the camera, and the distributor as well. My solicitor is back from his vacation on Monday. It looks like it's time to test how good the Australian Consumer Protection laws are.

    Here's a small extract that seems relevant:

    Repairs, refunds, replacements
    You have the right to a repair, refund or replacement if goods or services bought in Australia (on or after 1 January 2011) do not meet one or more consumer guarantees. Guarantees apply to both major and minor problems. The type of remedy (eg. a repair or a replacement or a refund) and who must provide it, will depend on the problem and which consumer guarantee was not met.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Hi Jeff,

    Didn't you buy it before 1 Jan 2011? That could be a spanner in the works...

    Ben

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    Re: H4D 40 and 35-90 - an ongoing saga

    Hi Ben,

    That's true but I did start off with a replacement and full warranty in mid-2012.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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