I just wanted to close the loop on my 4 month episode to get my 5D Mark II repaired to what it was meant to be. I will say the total time was not due to Canon dragging their feet. Anyways - warning - long post but I think Canon deserves this.
Back in early July, I purchased a new 5D Mk II. After about 2 days with the camera, I noticed I had hot pixels showing up in video mode under all exposure conditions. I called Canon and had a nice talk with one of the reps who set me up a work order number for repair. Under my dime, I sent the camera in and it was repaired and back in my hands in under a week. Yay Canon.
About 2 weeks into owning the camera, and after the first repair, I was doing some post processing and noticed some weird artifacts. Here is a link to my first reach out to POTN for assistance:
Dark lines (Vertical Banding) issue
Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed that I had yet another problem. This time I just filled out the forms online (did not call a tech), and packed the camera up with a letter describing the problem and some examples of the issue. Again under my dime. About a week later the camera came back (all from Irvine, CA by the way). When I reviewed the letter, Canon stated that the camera was tested and within specs. WTH? O..K.. maybe it was me. Boo Canon.
At this time I had two major jobs come up. I went with it and over the next 3 months did my work. Throughout that time, the issue popped up in quite a few photos. During this heavy use period, I also noted the issue in video mode. After about 2 minutes of recording, the video would do a slight color shift (muted) and the lines would appear. This ruined quite a few shots unfortunately. After much blood sweat and tears in Adobe AE for the video and Aperture trying to fix the bad shots, I just got pretty frustrated.
Once the 3 month job was done, I had a pretty good idea of when the issue would come up and under what conditions. I also found a crappy workaround which involved powering off the camera and letting the sensor "cool".
I cannot stress the importance of fully exploring your issue, especially if it is as obscure as mine was, before handing the camera over for repairs.
Just 5 days ago, I called Canon and talked with a nice tech - April. She asked me how I was doing and I told her, "I am going to give you fair warning and say that I am very, very frustrated with my camera and with Canon at this moment. But I am not calling to take it out on you as I know you have no idea why." And I laughed to ease it all down. So after about 10 minutes discussing every aspect of what I found, what I attempted and all the things I covered - tech level 1 stuff (remove the battery, switch compact flash cards, etc), she gave me a work order number and a courtesy shipping label (YAY CANON). $35 dollars a pop to send a camera in can add up. She also stated that she typed up everything we talked about for the techs to review etc.
During our conversation we came to the conclusion the repair technician probably did not see my problem during the last repair time because the techs try to minimize shutter counts during testing and minimize video recording. As it was related to a potential use over time issue, this seemed quite plausible. I told her I would make sure to leave a note to cycle the shutter as many times as required and take a minimum of a 5 minute video to make sure they found and corrected the problem.
I received an email today that my camera was on its way - shipped yesterday and arriving today. Wow - overnighted. Nice. Yay Canon. Yay April the customer service technician.
They found the issue and from the letter:
Your product has been examined and it was found that the Imaging Sensor Assembly did not operate properly - noise appeared in the image. The Imaging Sensor Assembly was replaced and product functions were confirmed. Other electrical adjustments, inspections, and cleaning were carried out.
So after home tests and attempting to recreate the issue - the camera is repaired and in good working order.
I wrote this up so people can see there are good experiences with customer support in Canon and not all is bad.
Things I learned:
-Don't accept subpar if it's wrong.
-Be kind and courteous even if you're frustrated - it goes a long way.
-Smile while on the phone - believe it or not your voice will project it through the lines.
-Don't be quick to blame the techs - in their effort to minimize wear and tear on your product they may miss the problem.
-Include a letter or note further explaining the problem - especially if its an obscure one.
Oh and if you pack with packing peanuts - write a warning on the package. I packed the bottom half of the box with peanuts and wrote a warning to the technician to not open on this side or you could have a mess in your workshop.