Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old October 29th, 2013, 01:21 AM   #1
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Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

Hi everybody,

I recently accidentally knocked over a tripod that had my Canon XL H1A on it with an HD 20x lens (5.4-108 mm; lens that came with the camera) attached to it. The camera toppled about 5 feet onto a hardwood floor.

Anyway, the camera body actually seems fine, but the 20x lens and viewfinder are damaged. VCR mode on the camera works, and the camera can record. Using EF lenses with an XL adapter also works. A lens and plastic ring inside the viewfinder shook loose, but I think I can manually fix those issues by opening things up with a tiny screw driver. By flipping up the stem that has the eye cup and loose lens, I can still use the view screen, which looks and works fine.

As for the damage to the 20x lens . . .

When I turn on the camera with the 20x lens attached, the lens itself makes a humming noise, and the warning message “CHECK THE LENS” appears before changing into a red “LENS” message that repeatedly blinks. The field of view is also skewed such that the black edge of the interior of a circle is visible on the right. Important glass components seem to have been shoved toward the left because of a hard impact to the right. On the far right, I see the black edge of some non-glass lens components. The imagery through the lens is blurred, and the lens will not focus or zoom in and out. So, things are out of alignment , and there are issues with the lens’s ability to communicate with the camera. Looking at the lens from the front, I cannot see any glass that looks broken or cracked.

As for my questions . . .

Should I try to get the lens repaired by sending it into Canon or should I look for a replacement lens? Where could I find a replacement lens? How much do you think things will cost?

I tried to find a replacement lens online and had no success. However, I did notice that used XLH1As are selling for about $2,500-$3,000, which is about half of what I paid for my setup. I know the XL cameras are discontinued, so finding some replacement parts could be difficult.

Any feedback would be appreciated. The mule deer rut is starting up in my current location, and I want to shoot it as well and sharply as possible. My EF 28-300 and 100-400 lenses do a great job, but the 20x HD lens performed fantastically in the dark dusk and dawn light when deer are most active.

Thanks,
Tristan
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Old October 29th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

For a start call Canon support and ask them. The phone number is on the back cover of the manual.

In some cases with the XL series (not sure about the H1) the lens was mated to the body in terms of the internal back focus setting. In that case a lens from a different camera might not be a perfect fit. But ask the question first.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

Don,

Thanks for the prompt feedback. I called Canon, and they no longer have the lens available. Canon also no longer offers repair services for the XL H1A. I was hoping to send the lens into a repair center at Irvine. I was told by one Canon representative that Calumnet Photographic has the lens available for about $2,500. I checked and they do. For that price, I might as well just get a used XL H1A. However, does anybody know of any other repair/service centers that can do a good job repairing Canon video lenses?

Thanks,
Tristan
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Old October 29th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

That's odd. They just looked at my XL H1S not too long ago and serviced it fine.

The XL H cams are still sited under CPS and count towards their gear membership count.

I would give the Canon center in Jamesburg, NJ a call and they may be able to help you.

Good luck.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #5
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

Canon not servicing? Sounds very odd. Factory service usually should be available for on the order of 7 years after the product is discontinued. That was the case for the XL1.

In any case I see a lens on E-bay for $500 buy-it-now this AM, and camcorders starting at 1800.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

In late October, I found an XLH1 20x lens on e-bay for $299. I immediately ordered it, and it works fine.

However, I called Canon again, and after talking to a different person, I learned they do still offer repair services for XLH1 products. I then sent in my lens for an estimate. The original estimate was $376.20. I authorized repairs based on that estimate. However, by mid-November, Canon developed a new estimate of $967.15 ($359 "Out of Warranty Major Labor Charge", $549.72 parts, $42.43 sales tax, and $16.00 shipping).

The revised estimate stated: "Unit requires a new zoom lens assy."

With the development of the new estimate, Canon refunded my original payment. I then called them and told them to not proceed with repairs. My replacement lens is good enough, and I think I'd be better off getting a used XLH1A instead of spending about $1,000 to repair a lens.

Don and Michael, I appreciate your help. Thanks.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: Damaged XL H1A 20x lens (5.4-108 mm) and viewfinder; Need help

Good news :)

I get a used XL H1 in perfect condition without viewfinder (I have the b&w) for $1200 as a backup cam last May.
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