I purchased a Digital Rebel three years ago. I like it very much and it takes outstanding photographs. I have purchased three high-quality Canon-brand lenses and the top-of-the-line Canon flash. My home and office are lined with excellent photos, and I get many compliments from friends and co-workers. In fact, these photos and my glowing recommendations of this camera have encouraged five other people to buy it, and several of those folks have, like me, gone hog-wild and bought several lenses, flashes, etc.
Unfortunately, the story gets very grim from here. This camera’s reliability is non-existent. It has caused me a lot of grief and cost me a lot of wasted money and effort. After several hours of conversations with technical and customer support, I have patiently and dutifully sent this camera in for four and now five repairs. The result is that I have had the camera in my hands for ten out of the last twelve months and it has actually worked for nine out of the last twelve months. This is an unacceptable track record for a camera that cost me nearly $1000. I find it had to accept that a camera in this price range will only last for three years.
The story so far:
In April of 2006, when it was two years old, the camera’s shutter stopped working. I sent it in to the Canon repair center (Repair number LG703765), the shutter was repaired, and sent back to me. Repair costs were $200, not including the thirty or so dollars to ship it to the repair center. I lost use of the camera for two weeks.
A mere six months later, in October of 2006, the camera’s focus lock failed. I was told to send it in again, and after expressing my disbelief and annoyance that the camera was failing again so soon, the repair (Repair number LH124454) was done without charge, except for the thirty or so dollars to ship it to the repair center. I lost use of the camera for two weeks, including Halloween, during which I was unable to take advantage of any photo opportunities with my children.
It only took two months for the camera to fail again. Again, some kind of shutter problem rendered the camera unusable during my children’s first trip to Disneyland. Again after expressing my disbelief and annoyance that the camera was failing again so soon, the repair (Repair number WA864336) was done without charge, except for the thirty or so dollars to ship it to the repair center. I lost the camera for three weeks because of the Christmas holiday, during which I hardly need add, that I was unable to take any photos during the holiday. This was a major disappointment.
Less than a month later, I began to experience an intermittent shutter failure, during which the shutter would stay locked down (looking through the lens, it would be black), and then it would release after being set aside for several hours. I called the Canon technical support, and they told me that I would have to send it in again. I was reluctant to do so, because the shutter was sticking intermittently and returning to normal several hours later, which is a difficult problem to reproduce. However, after several episodes of this in late March of this year, the technical support person recommended – based on the number of incidents with the camera -- I contact Canon Customer Support.
My case with this department was handled by a man named Mike (866-886-1901 extension 2191), who listened to my saga and told me that I would need to send the camera to the repair center for “evaluation”. I explained that I feared they would not be able to find much as the shutter was sticking intermittently and returning to normal several hours later, which is a difficult problem to reproduce Mike explained that the evaluation would be complete and extensive, and that it might take longer than an average repair. It did not help that the free shipping was three-day, and the total time I was without my camera was three weeks.
I thought that “Customer Service” would include, at the very least, some follow-up about the results of the evaluation. Not so! I got home from work one day, the camera was returned, and the note inside said that the camera and lens was evaluated and nothing was wrong. Did I get a phone call from Mike? No. Did I get an e-mail from Mike? No. I waited a couple of days and heard nothing. I finally called him, left a message, but he did not return my call for over a week. By this time I was so disgusted, I didn’t bother calling back. I guess Canon’s idea of Customer Service is different than mine. At least this time, Canon ponied up the shipping costs (although I had to purchase fifteen dollars worth of packing materials).
Which brings us to today, two months later. While shooting some photos for a client, the camera failed mid-job. (Bye-bye, freelance job!) But this was a newer, different shutter problem. The shutter engages (softly) takes a black image, gives the dreaded, meaningless “Error 99”, and refuses to take another shot. This time the camera did not return to normal; it is dead in the water.
I am now at wit’s end. I just got off the phone with Mike, whose capacity for sympathy is somewhat limited. He gave the usual response – send it to the service center. I asked if there was any way to expedite the situation, and he said he could ask them to look at it “as soon as possible”. Give that it is Tuesday, and that they will be sending me another lame three-day label, I figure it will be back in my hands in what, three weeks?
• Camera down time out of the last twelve months: Almost three months.
• Events missed: Kid’s first trip to Disneyland and Legoland; Halloween, Christmas, and New Years 2006.
• Money spent on repairs/shipping: $300
• Estimated sales from my own purchases and recommendations to friends: over $5000