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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 3rd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #1
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I carefully checked with Sony Service that I would be able to get my camera repaired in a window of time that I had available. I was told that the time would be between 10-12 days. I sent my camera in but no person has even looked at it and I am running out of time. I have a very small company and have to have this unit back in use. Unfortunately I have just run out of time and now I have a real problem as I will have to find an alternative repair center. I am very disappointed. I have called daily but nobody seems to care.
I am going to ask them to just send it back.

Is this common with Sony repair?. The camera is an EX1. Focus has gone out 4 times.

Mervin
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 07:38 AM   #2
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Just posted to a blog a few days ago.
I, Cringely Blog Archive It’s a Sony - Cringely on technology

And my own experience for what it's worth.
I got my EX1 December 2007. In Feb 2008 I sent it in for the zoom stutter issue at low speeds. Sony finally determined they couldn't fix it and sent me a replacement camera. That took about 3 weeks. Since then others finding the problem have been told it's not an issue (normal function).

When the 1.11 firmware came out I drove my camera to the NJ service center. I asked them to call when it was done so I could pick it up in person. They shipped it back (never called me to pick it up). I found that several functions where not working. I drove the camera back to NJ and SHOWED them the functions weren't working. They reinstalled the firmware while I waited. I check the functions on site and confirmed this time the firmware was properly installed and drove back home with the camera.

I truly apologize if the above offends Sony but my experience is that their service is both slow and unreliable for a lower level professional camera. I don't blame the service techs at all. There's some seriously bad policy decision going on at the managerial level. They need more service techs to provide faster turnaround and each tech should be give more time to QC their work.

BTW one reason I choose the dealer I did (NOT a DVInfo sponsor) is that they offer a FREE loaner if the camera takes more than 48 hours to repair.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 08:22 AM   #3
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Hmm... In EU, we have to pay a premium price for the "Professional" Sony stuff - but this also covers the 2-year "Sliver Support" ( a door-to-door warranty service). My personal experience with Sony PrimeSupport (who carry the Silver Support) has been positive, so I have purchased a one year extension for this service.

Maybe it's worthwhile to pay the EU prices, after all?

PS. Of course in an ideal world, you would have both the lower price, AND a first-class service support...
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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Piotr, What is turnaround time and the likelihood to go back for "redo?" The issue isn't just cost, it's being without camera for weeks while Sony keeps telling you the parts are backordered. It's finding out that often the camera has to go back for weeks because the repair wasn't done properly the first time. Note that in the "Bob" post he often offered to PAY for expedited repair.

Personally I think it's a SERIOUS service problem when they continually tell customers that parts are backordered. Service centers should be FULLY STOCKED with parts for all common repairs. Either Sony is lying (but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt) or they simply aren't manufacturing replacement parts as a way to cut costs.

There was much touting that EX was coming from PRO division rather than CONSUMER. I would think "pro" would mean fully stocked replacement parts and fast turnaround. For a working professional the cost of downtime is far more expensive than the cost of a repair. If one is a "pro" one can certainly make the cost of a four digit repair cost in days to a a week or so. One should NOT be without camera for two or three weeks for common issues.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 09:09 AM   #5
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You are absolutely right in all your points, Craig.

FWIW, the Silver Support here in EU is supposed to guarantee a replacement camera (no worse specs than the one in service), should the repair take longer than 7 days (if I remember the number correctly).

I never had to claim a loaner, as at both occasions my EX1 was in (plus once with my previous V1E), the turn-around closed within 10 days (including transport both ways).
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 09:17 AM   #6
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What I find disheartening is that I KNOW Sony must be aware of the complaints both directly to them and on the various forums and blogs and they seem unresponsive (at least in the USA).

It seems that at least Sony EU has a plan and executes it to ensure people are not without cameras even if it's a service one pays extra for.

I've generally had such bad experiences with "Extended Warranties" that I don't buy them. There are some exceptions if I believe the product to be fragile.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 10:57 AM   #7
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My experience with Sony in Canada, here at the Vancouver Service Center, has been first rate. While you wait service on firmware upgrades and forthright communication from the people when working on my camera.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 11:48 AM   #8
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I had to send my camera into Sony at the LA repair depot. My camera was dropped and the view finder mount was broke and the wiring harness was damaged. I am a long way from LA so ground ups was three days. I figured that I would need one month for the turn around and in the end I was not too far off. I cleared my schedule for August and sent the camera in. Sony responded to every email and provided all the information I needed. The diagnosis took four days to process through, and the repairs took three days. As it turned out I was without my camera for about four weeks. I planed for it and it all worked out. My baby is home with me now and it is as good as new, and everything is working as well as it did before it was dropped. The only mistake I made was in not saving my setup file and all my settings were lost. Not a big deal but had I planned better I would have saved them.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 11:50 AM   #9
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Andrew I also live in the Vancouver area. I think having access to service locally should be an important part of deciding what company to go with when buying a camera. I'm getting ready to upgrade from DV to HD and this is part of my decision as to what camera to get. With my current JVC camera I've had to ship it off to Toronto for service. I'm now looking at upgrading to either the Canon XF300 or the Sony EX1R. I had a demo of the Canon and was told that their nearest service centre is Toronto. I like the fact that I would be able to get local service for the Sony.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 12:34 PM   #10
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Here in the UK I'm lucky to be only 20 miles or so from Sony Pencoed repair centre. Have always had good service under Silver Warranty from the technicians although no-one is ever very willing to say what work has been carried out on a fault. The camera comes back without any comments although in my case a "hair in the gate" purple mark was solved by putting in a complete new optical block!

The call centre tends to have an air that exudes a feeling that you are unique in commenting on stuttering zoom or paint wearing off and that they are non issues - "of course it will stutter below 8" - or whatever is the official number. Having said that I think that is a Sony corporate decision as when my Vaio laptop was in trouble I was treated with the same dismissive attitude.

Overall though the cameras give such fantastic pictures that it has been worth putting up with sloppy design and construction. Interesting that there are no comments about bad build quality on the new Canon XF305 camera.

I look forward to getting an EX3 soon for a particular project, hopefully careless production standards are now a thing of the past. They have had a few years to get it right.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 12:43 PM   #11
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Interesting feedback about Sony support's attitude. I would be interested in hearing from anyone about how you were treated in LA.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 01:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Rawlings View Post
The call centre tends to have an air that exudes a feeling that you are unique in commenting on stuttering zoom or paint wearing off and that they are non issues - "of course it will stutter below 8" - or whatever is the official number. Having said that I think that is a Sony corporate decision as when my Vaio laptop was in trouble I was treated with the same dismissive attitude.
Even though I live in Poland, I'm also using the UK-based PrimeSupport services. Perhaps it's because I'm a foreigner to them, they always act very fast, politely and with - shall I say - a lot of courtesy. It's enough for me to write them an email (quoting my EX1 serial number and the Prime Support Contract number), and I'm getting a call-back on the same day. Yes, their attitude towards common complaints is a bit lame sometimes, but I think this is just Sony's policy (after all, they've chosen to never acknowledge officially what has long been known as bugs or limitations of this otherwise marvellous camera series). If - after the phone conversation - I decide to send my unit in, they rush a courier with a special box to collect the camera on the next day. After repair, it's returned in the same box - also at Prime Support's cost. At my request, I'm getting email with the detailed summary of what has been checked/repaired/replaced (including part numbers).

So, I really cannot complain.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 02:13 PM   #13
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" I'm getting email with the detailed summary of what has been checked/repaired/replaced (including part numbers)."

That is a great improvement in the service as without this it was easy to wonder whether they had addressed all the issues in respect to a return.

Interesting that Canon are setting up a "professional" support system. They must feel that Silver Support is a
good model to follow. For me the Sony support is a deal maker.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 02:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Rawlings View Post
I look forward to getting an EX3 soon for a particular project, hopefully careless production standards are now a thing of the past. They have had a few years to get it right.
Interesting thing I found out recently when I extended the Sony Silver Support on my 2 year old EX3 for another year was that it's a lot more expensive to do this for an EX1 than an EX3 (which was 150 + VAT area, for the record). I'm theorising that this is because the EX3 is more reliable but I have no evidence of that. Certainly it lacks the silly membrane buttons and has a more robust viewfinder support by design.

I've only ever used Sony Silver Support once myself (a few years ago and not for this EX3) and, at least here in the UK, the experience I had was very good. Likewise with a camera mate of mine who got his PD150's LCD screen fixed with ease.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 03:17 PM   #15
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That is what has convinced me that I should get an EX3. If the insurance is heaper they must be having less returns. It would seem that many EX3 comments are based around the Fujinon lens being iffy. That at least is just a swop out, plus the hassle I suppose.
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