Why Does Digital Camera Repair Cost More Than Just Buying A New One?

Dan writes that he was very happy with his Panasonic camera, a point-and-shoot with a nice zoom lens. He would have been happy to pay $100 to get it back in working order and avoid buying a new one. Alas, this was not to be. Since a special part needed to be ordered from Japan, Panasonic wanted $488 to repair a camera that originally cost $300. Dan is better off buying a new camera–which won’t be a Panasonic.

A few weeks ago my Panasonic Lumix FZ8 digital camera stopped working. It simply refused to power on. It had worked for me perfectly well since I bought it in July of 2007, and was still a quality piece of equipment, so I decided to send it off to the repair center, hoping to have it fixed for less than $100. This camera – along with a fast SD card, everything-proof Pelican case, and extra battery – cost me about $400 a few years ago. It was a great investment. I’m not a photography expert by any means, so this camera, basically a point-and-shoot with a great Leica zoom lens, was a perfect match for me. I’d grown into its more advanced features to the point that I was willing to pay almost half the cost of its replacement to have the exact same one back.

Anyway, I sent off my camera to Panasonic’s Illinois service center with a note along the lines of “Please don’t incur any costs until you’ve confirmed them with me!”. The service center followed this instruction appropriately. A few days after my camera was delivered I received a call from a woman explaining that there was a non-refundable $45 diagnostic fee to investigate the problem. She also explained that the average repair cost was $90, including the diagnostic fee. That was all fine with me, so I gave them the instruction to proceed. The woman said that she would call me back if the cost for the repair would exceed the $90 average.

Approximately a week later was this morning. I received a call from the same woman (kudos to Panasonic for keeping me with the same CSR) explaining that the total cost of repair would be $489, or an additional $444 over the $45 fee I’m already obligated to pay. $444 is over $150 more than I paid for this camera. If you add everything up (the repair cost, diagnostic fee, shipping) this repair was looking to cost me over $500, for a 3-year-old camera I paid less than $300 for. I understand completely that as product ages it becomes more expensive to repair, but this seems absurd. The CSR explained that the high cost for the repair was because the main PCB (printed circuit board) went bad, and the part has to be ordered from Japan.

I declined the repair cost. Panasonic will be returning the camera to me, unrepaired, and I’m out a camera and $50 in fees and shipping. I really, really liked this camera, but this single experience has taught me that it is simply too expensive for me to risk another Panasonic digital camera. Panasonic loses a customer, I lose some hard-earned money and now need to spend more on a new camera.

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  1. jhilling says:

    This is really odd, especially considering that ‘ordering it from Japan’ should have little do do with the $400+ price. Also, for a 3yr old camera they can’t possibly be custom making a PCB for him unless this model had a history of this matter defect. I would escalate it – doesn’t make any sense.

    • LetMeGetTheManager says:

      Doc Brown: No wonder this circuit failed. It says “Made in Japan”.
      Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
      Doc Brown: Unbelievable.

      • fredbiscotti says:

        I thought buying stuff made overseas was supposed to save us money, not cost us more. Why not make the part in, say, Indiana, and save the few hundred bucks?

        • satoru says:

          I’m not sure why people are so surprised at this? If the entire PCB board is shot, then replacing it is not a trivial task. A lot of that cost is the labor of actually ripping apart the camera to get to the actual board, replace it, then put it back together again without destroying it. The manufacturing of the original camera, enjoys economies of scale in terms of assembly effort. A one-off for a 3 year old camera is not cost effective by any standard.

          To say this is Panasonics fault is a bit silly. This is a common issue with all consumer electronics products today. Everything from your stove, fridge, tv, phone, cost a significant amount of money to repair, and the costs can exceed the original cost of the product.

          This is actually something we should be celebrating. It means that we have enormous purchasing power, considering that only a few decades ago repair shops were very common due to the inverse being true. The power of economies of scale mean that product prices are less and we can reap the rewards of that.

          • DurkaDurkaDurka says:

            Sorry, I call BS on the ‘cost of labor of ripping apart a camera.” I took apart a Canon SD750 one time and it didn’t take more than one hour of my time with no prior experience. It consisted of one little board attached to 3 or 4 ribbon cables and it popped right out. PCBs, especially that small, are inexpensive to make, and they have machines that solder all the parts into place rather than having it handmade. The costs are unfounded and simply reinforce the entire concept of ‘toss it if its broken.’

            • GrandizerGo says:

              Then you were not taking apart a real DSLR…
              Anyone knows that taking them apart exposes the glass and the mirrors to dirt, smudges and maladjustment. Many of the cameras have the electronics in the same compartment as the glass and mirrors… Some don’t maybe the one you took apart is different. I know my old Nikon 5000 could not be taken apart in the way you describe at all. The parts were “glued” together for rigidity and by breaking that “glue” parts could and would wiggle throwing focus off.
              Parts of the camera you remove to open it hold certain pieces in place for the sharp focus required for a great picture.
              Just because you can pull one apart and put it together means that the camera is back to a pristine condition.
              You pay for the knowledge for doing so. The camera you took apart maybe is not affected by this. The camera in the story however probably is.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      makes perfect sense. They wanna be PAID! Thats why repair industry has gone to the wayside, they make more money selling 2 cameras over the cost of 1 with 1 repair.

      I hate the throwaway society based strictly on profits.

  2. SkyRattlers says:

    Sounds like you got some excellent customer service from Panasonic so I’m not sure why you would hold them responsible for what is simply the industry standard when it comes to repairs for digital cameras?

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I was thinking the same. It’s unfortunate that the repair costs are so high, but they seemed to have pretty good service. At this point, the OP shouldn’t be screaming Panasonic’s bad name, but taking the $500 he would of spent on repair costs and investing in a newer camera, regardless of brand. Buy the product that most suites your needs, in your price range, with a decent warranty. Digital camera’s are considered “throw away” items anymore- cheap to make, cheap to buy, and usually if yours starts malfunctioning it’s much cheaper to replace it than fix it.

      Sorry, OP- I feel for your attachment to your camera. I had a Kodak I finally bid good-bye to when the lense popped out! But, I’m in love with my new Nikon DSLR. You’ll find a new camera, to love as much as this one if not more. (Speaking from someone who becomes attached to their electronics and NAMES them LOL!)

    • Hi_Hello says:

      I agreed. Sound like Panasonic did the best they could. I still have a panasonic sound system I bought 8 years ago. I got it because it was cheaper than Sony, and it hasn’t given me any problems.

    • BBBB says:

      I’d like to see a breakdown of costs for the repair before I would let Panasonic off the hook. Many electronics companies price the proprietary repair parts such that repairs are never worth it. Replacement lasers for CD and DVD players are often more than the unit’s price. This board might be over $300 from Panasonic.

  3. georgi55 says:

    Panasonic loses customer? More like you lose on not having a great equipment, what makes you believe any other manufacture like Canon or Nikon will be different? You just had a bad luck – some camera might go bad a day after warranty expires, some will work for over 10 years. If you buy a Canon and it breaks 3 years down the road you will face same challenges.

    With that said, Panasonic could have handled this better. Offer refund of diagnostic fee or something…

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Why should they refund the diagnostic fee? It takes them time to diagnose a problem. They were up front about the fee (although they could have told him before he shipped it to them, but it wouldn’t have made a difference since he paid the fee in this case).

      • georgi55 says:

        Because average repair cost he was given was $90 which would include diagnostic fee; that’s when he decided to pay for it. He was not guaranteed, but in that case the CSR should not have mentioned any number, and just say won’t know till it’s diagnosed.

        • mmmsoap says:

          THey use the word “average” for a reason. If it was “repair cost is $90″ then a refund might be warranted. But average means that many pay above, and many pay below the $90.

          • Humward says:

            Let’s be clear, though — no one is arguing that Panasonic was *obligated* or *required* to refund that fee. What they’re saying is that doing so would have likely saved them a customer, and made them more money in the long run.

            This isn’t a question of morality — it’s not immoral for them to keep his money. Rather, it’s a question of goodwill and reputation — they failed to provide the quality of product the customer was hoping for, and as a result the customer gets the impression that Panasonic doesn’t offer quality products. The extra fee only reinforces that.

            Panasonic should want to leave the customer with the impression that they stand behind their products, that this failure is unusual, and that he can safely buy a new camera from them. Waiving the fee would send that message — it would leave him with the impression that this was a rare, unfortunate situation that Panasonic “takes seriously,” rather than the expected outcome from buying a piece-of-junk Panasonic camera (as he know thinks they are). So offering to waive it would have made business sense. They don’t have to — but they’d be wise to.

      • James says:

        They don’t have to refund the money, but applying that (or a portion of that) towards the purchase of a NEW panasonic camera would go a long way.

        It does sound like they handled it better than some others, cough, HP, cough.

        James

    • grebby says:

      Actually my Canon Powershot broke 3 years down the road (the LCD stopped working) and they sent me a newer model to replace it for free.

    • andrewe says:

      Canon has fantastic customer service which is why I always shop with them first.

      A friend dropped his 1 year old Canon S10 and shattered the LCD. He contacted Canon for repairs and they said send it in and they’d send him an estimate. Instead they repaired the out of warranty camera he dropped and sent it back to him. I’ve heard many other Canon stories like this one.

      Canon is a company I want to spend my money with.

    • TPA says:

      And this is why I continue to buy Canon cameras! I’ve had to send two Canons in for service. One was 14 months old, another was 5 years old. *NO* charges either time other than I had to pay shipping to get it to them. They paid for the repairs AND return shipping.

      This strategy on Canon’s part was money well spent! I not only bought my mother a Canon point & shoot for her birthday, I also bought myself a high-end Canon DSLR with a few nice Canon L lenses to match. I’ve also bought a few Canon point & shoots for our office. So, Canon paid for my repairs and I’ve since bought 6 Canon cameras as a result. Great marketing campaign in my book.

  4. Tongsy says:

    Labour.

    Labour costs money.

    • Anonymously says:

      Seriously. It sickens me that I have to work for over half a day to pay my mechanic for 1 hour of his time.

      • mszabo says:

        Really your paying for 1 hour of shop time + 1 hour of mechanic time. I suspect the shop time costs more than the mechanic itself.

      • Brink006 says:

        That’s 1 hour of his time, his level of skill, liability insurance, overhead, tools, and anything else I forgot.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        Turning the screw: $5
        Knowing which screw to turn: $125

      • Anonymously says:

        I understand that there are costs involved, but I still think it’s a ripoff, especially since the majority of the time I’ve taken a car to the shop/dealer they’ve managed to screw something up.

  5. HaveSomeCheese says:

    So Panasonic follows your instructions, is courteous enough to keep you with the same CSR and appropriately notifies you of the cost before any repairs are done. How did they go wrong and deserve to lose a customer? Things break down man, electronics go bad, it happens. I dont see how this is any different from any other piece of electronic equipment wherein its cheaper to buy a new one than have it repaired. Sounds like hes just pissy that his toy broke and wants to see his article on consumerist.

    • CTrees says:

      Yeah, this story actually makes me more likely to consider buying a Panasonic camera, because it sounds like their customer support is excellent.

      Dan, these sorts of repairs are expensive. The part, for a several year old camera, is likely in short supply now, and not likely to be cheap (it’s actually possible that they have to build it, as a variant from their current line), and labor for something buried that deeply in the camera is also not cheap. This is the same reason why it’s often cheaper to buy a new television, or DVD player, or cellphone, or what have you, than repair the old one. Are there a lot of reasons this feels morally wrong? Absolutely, but that’s the world we live in, now.

      • George4478 says:

        Personal experience has now shown the OP that Panasonic cameras break and are too expensive to repair. Why not buy a Nikon or Canon? They MAY have the same issues, but he KNOWS Panasonic does.

        The whole “been burned by X, gonna try Y” syndrome.

        • satoru says:

          The issue is not MAY but WILL. The problem is not with Panasonic or customer support. There isn’t any problem, it’s just the economics of how production of items work and how much it costs to repair such items once it leaves the factory.

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          Anecdote != data.

  6. KillerBee says:

    Because it was built in a Chinese factory by slave labor, but will have to be repaired by a certified, skilled and qualified technician who won’t accept payment in bags of rice.

    • KillerBee says:

      In retrospect, I should have said gum. That would have been funnier and have less potential for accusations of racism.

    • Bohemian says:

      Pretty much. Diagnostic time and individual dis-assembly and reassembly takes more time than the manufacturing process in a factory. I would ask what of that cost is labor and what is parts. If the part is the majority of the cost they are just ripping people off on repairs. Dell does this with computer replacement parts. The cost of a mother board is more than the entire PC cost new.

    • satoru says:

      You obviously don’t know anything about manufacturing plants in China if you think they get paid in rice.

      Only the mangers get paid in rice :P

  7. ktetch says:

    Since the PCB is bad, have you thought about trying to get hold of a used one? That way you still have a camera you like, and if anything else goes wrong, you can make a working one from the parts of both.

    • Karen says:

      This is a very good idea.

    • satoru says:

      A good idea in theory, but for cameras there’s not a huge market for used boards and such like in other areas like iPod parts. Panasonic also isn’t a huge player in the digi camera market compared to say Canon or Olympus so it’s even more marginalized.

      Also for a camera, almost no person wants to replace the board anyways. Getting dust on the sensor would destroy the quality of your photos, so it’s not for the faint of heart in general. Also in the high end camera range, the body is not what you’re worried about. The LENS is where you’re killing yourself about quality and such. The body is almost incidental.

      • Mom says:

        Mathhing used camera with working board. Not used board. A competent camera repair shop should be take the two broken cameras and put them together into one working camera.

  8. backinpgh says:

    If you really want to keep it, maybe buy a used one or broken one on Ebay with this part still functioning, then have it installed.

  9. edman007 says:

    Because modern electronics are built for low production cost with a complete disregard for repair cost, glue and plastic clips are used everywhere, and screws used can’t handle repeated removal, all of this reduces the parts cost and assembly cost at the expense of increased disassembly cost and an inability to take anything out (they also reduce modularity becaused reducing the interfaces means less connectors to connect at assembly time). On top of that the reduce the number of replacable parts, on a point and shoot the CCD is going to be glued/soldered to the board and the lens placed on it in a clean room. Then the display clips on as one piece, and the case goes over that.

    The final product is something where you only have a handful of lines making a few things, assembly, and final assembly is a 30 second glue and clip, disassembly takes 15 minutes to not break anything, you have to clean the glue, and unless you are replacing the display which is still pretty modular, you will end up just replacing all the electronics in one go with is 80% the cost of the camera and you are doing that with a slower process using a more skilled worker (for a camera like the Lumix FZ8 the parts list is going to be the case, buttons [a few dollars], and then the lens [expensive], display, and the electronics [almost as much as the entire camera], and it is all special order except maybe the display)

    • vastrightwing says:

      And this is exactly why I only buy throw away Canon point & shoots. I never get the warranty. I pay about $200 for a new camera, it works for a couple of years and when it breaks, I replace it. Lately, I’ve gotten almost 3 years out of my Canon PowerShot so I feel really lucky. It’s been dropped and used a lot. So the day it dies, I’ll be replacing it with the same type of camera and hope it lasts as long as this one.

    • mikeP says:

      I agree. Check out http://www.storyofstuff.com/ for a good primer on how our economy relies heavily on cranking out tons of cheap disposable stuff.

    • Mclick says:

      I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. You lost me at “Because.”

  10. dork says:

    If they ran out of circuit boards from their production run and have to make new boards for repair work, then this pricing makes sense: a board that cost less than $100 to make at high volumes could easily cost more than $300 to make at low volume. Add in labor costs and shipping and you can get to $450 easy.

    (This is not making a custom board: this is simply making new boards with the same design as before, but only ordering a small handful instead of the tens of thousands at a time they likely ordered while they were actively manufacturing it.)

    Panasonic is basically telling you that their cost structure makes it less expensive for them to sell you a new camera than to repair your old one. It sucks, but I don’t think your experience with any other consumer electronics manufacturer will be any different. That’s simply how the business is structured these days.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Then that’s simply too bad for Panasonic. What the OP is essentially complaining about is how the business is structured. We all do that and we all make decision on who we patronize based on that.

      • Kitamura says:

        True, but the OP is going to find out very quickly he’s going to have the exact same problem with basically every other manufacturing company out there. If the product is several years old and isn’t made anymore, chances are repairs will be expensive unless what broke is still used in new items and has the same design as the broken item.

        I don’t really fault the OP for deciding to switch, I mean, if you “feel” you’ve been burned by a company, why not switch? The only thing here is that you’re going from a company that appears to at least offer some reasonable level of customer service to one of an unknown calibre (could be better, could be worse, depends who they go with).

        I used to work retail, and it was basically, if your camera was out of warranty and WASN’T one of the expensive DSLRs, repair costs would likely be through the roof.

      • satoru says:

        But all businesses are structured like this. This is because of economies of scale that they can purchase a camera for $300 in the first place.

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          Economies of scale do not make it impossible or impractical for the manufacturer to keep components stockpiled for repairs. And don’t tell me the cost is prohibitive. Companies make decisions about how much to manufacture based on expected demand all the time.

          • kingmanic says:

            Actually it does.

            The economies of scale favor cheap manufacturing methods like glue over screws; clips over screws; solder over connectors; a single board with all components over modular designs. So labor costs for dis-assembly and repair will be asymmetrically greater than assembly and replacement parts will contain a lot more expensive pieces.

            Warehouse space costs money. You can only stockpile so many parts. The longer before failure the less likely they are to be keeping them on hand.

            Back in the day when it would have been worth it to fix the camera the repair costs would likely be similar (for a major repair) but the initial price would have been 1900 so a 488 bill would seem reasonable. Look up Laptops for a similar example. The cost of a guy who knows what their doing is probably costs $25-$50; the cost of a average laptop is $500. If you fry the motherboard the cost of a repair is 1h-2h of labor plus ~$200 for a new board if they still make it. If they don’t make it anymore your screwed.

  11. LightningUsagi says:

    “Dan writes that he was very happy with his Panasonic camera, a point-and-shoot with a $100 to get it back in working order and avoid buying a new one.”

    Am I the only one who couldn’t understand the first line of the article? It looks like a couple of sentences were merged, but I went into the story thinking he had a $100 repair guarantee on it…

    • fatediesel says:

      That first sentence is one of the worst sentences I’ve ever read on this site, and that’s saying something.

  12. tgrwillki says:

    The primary reason is that most consumer electronics stores sell cameras as loss leaders and hope that you’ll buy a bunch of high-margin accessories to make up the difference.

  13. sirwired says:

    This is pretty standard and not Panasonic’s fault. The part that needed replacement was manufactured while the camera was in production (BTW, it was discontinued around the time the OP bought it), and cost whatever it cost then. The fact that a new camera is less money is irrelevant; the cost of manufacturing that PCB is a “sunk cost”.

    In addition, the innards of a camera are so compact and crammed that swapping it out is not like swapping out a motherboard in a PC (or even a laptop), most of the camera will have to be disassembled, then re-assembled and tested. This is hours of labor.

    The reason the original estimate was so cheap is because most camera repairs are to things like motors and buttons, which are generally much easier to get to (and replace) than the main PCB.

    Panasonic makes excellent superzooms, and while three years is a little on the low side for a lifespan, it isn’t too bad. The repair costs are not out of line, considering the particular part that failed.

  14. seth.gl says:

    I am guessing that if this was a car and not a camera Dan would have no problem understanding why it costs more to repair an old one than buy a new one.

    • Bill610 says:

      Um, I think I know what you’re getting at, but maybe you meant “used” car–new cars are kinda pricey. I’ve never heard of a car repair for a mechanical or electronic issue costing upwards of $10,000, which would be rock-bottom for an actual new car. Only way to get that high a repair cost would be a collision, and he says his camera “stopped working” not that it got run over by a bus.

      • phobos512 says:

        Well, then you’ve never worked around luxury cars or exotics. A basic Mercedes or BMW can cost $250 just to get an oil change at a dealership (please note that I did say dealership – there’s nothing more to it than an oil change at your local Ford dealer but it says Mercedes on the door). More significant repairs / maintenance cost more money.

        And I’ve got one for you that’s equivalent – fry your ECU or crack your block and go see what the bill would be. Cha ching!

  15. startertan says:

    While no expert I have been in the Engineering and Production field for many years. Chances are good that 3 years ago (like everyone has been saying) the PCB was in high volume production, fast forward to now and more than likely they’ve stopped producing them for better designs/technology or the parts they used for the PCB are no longer being made. They probably did a life buy on the obsolete parts (gotta love the Obsolescence Department) and have a few sitting around but at a high cost.

    Is it disappointing that it takes more to repair an old one than it is buy a fancy new one? Sure. But that’s how tech is these days. It’s cheaper to buy new than it is to fix old. I’d agree with most that it’s not Panasonic’s fault and it seems counter intuitive for you to not buy a new product from a company that you’ve had good experiences with their product.

    • satoru says:

      It’s more likely 3 years down that the PCB itself is not in production and they’ve just got a few boards stored for repair purposes. Though the reality is for a low end camera like this, they probably don’t have too many since the cost of repair is so high compared to the cost of the camera. Even if it was $150 for repair, you’d really have to think about whether that’s worth it, compared to buying a new camera for $300. If the camera was $1000 then $150 starts to at least be semi-reasonable in terms of a repair cost ratio.

      Sort of the odd thing is that I have lots of digital cameras and none of them have ever broke.

      Sony DSC-P150 works fine except for dust which I removed. This tiny 3MP thing takes better pictures than some of the 12MP crap cameras of today! This camera rocks!

      Canon Powershot S30 works fine too. The autofocus is kinda ‘slow’ to lock (5 seconds) which is the only annoying thing. Otherwise great picture quality.

      Canon Powershot SD750 works fine but for some reason the battery runs out a bit too fast for my liking for a point and shoot.

      Canon Powershot SD950 works fine.

  16. BannedInBrittan says:

    This isn’t the mfgs fault at all so I don’t really understand the OP raging.
    A lot of our electronics are uneconomical to repair; LCDs/motherboards on cheap notebooks, LCDs/boards oncheap cameras, Printers, LCDs on TVs. You’d often spend more money to repair them than what a new one costs. This is due to supply and demand of the part and also labor costs. Suck it up and buy a new camera if it’s going to be uneconomical to fix your old one.

  17. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    It might not help in this instance, but for anybody with camera issues (including non-digital), it’s always worth it to check out Precision Camera Repair (precisioncamera.com). They made my Sony P&S better than new for a reasonable fee.

  18. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Had this happen to me with my Consumer Reports recommended LG washing machine, just days out of warranty. One day it just stopped working. Repairman took $90 from me for the house call just to tell me it would cost $450 to replace the main board, with no guarantees that this would fix the problem, or that the new board wouldn’t go bad in a couple more years.

    Ended up buying a new washing machine (Kenmore, also a Consumer Reports Best Buy) for $900. I hated to see a two year old major appliance being loaded onto a truck for the junkyard, but I couldn’t see spending that kind of cash keeping the thing running.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Of course, if it turns out that major appliances are now two-years-and-out disposable, I surely won’t be spending that kind of money one them in the future. It’ll be the cheapest Chinese-made crap in my house from now on.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        It’s always BEEN the cheapest crap in my household… and what do you know. Washers and Dryers, Fridges, Dishwashers- 10+ years old. Some even 15 years old. Why fill a landfill with the old tried-and-true products because they aren’t front loading, or pretty colors?

        With new technology, comes great responsibility LOL. I’d rather throw stuff in, run it, cool it, and not worry or cry that my $500 washer that’s only 2 years old broke. I’m too cheap for that.

        • yurei avalon says:

          We have a refrigerator at my grandparents’ house that is like, 30 years old. Still going strong. They really don’t make ‘em like they used to :)

    • drluba says:

      What I don’t understand is the need for electronics in something as basic as a washing machine. My old mechanical ones (inexpensive Kenmores bought in 1983) lasted more than 15 years, and then I replaced them with new mechanical ones. I don’t know if you can even find machines like these any more.

      • parv says:

        How do you find about amount of mechanical-ness & electronic-ness in a washer? Got links/pictures of washer similar to yours?

  19. APriusAndAGrill says:

    The part cost maybe $50 retail. But you are paying for $400 in labor. Techs charge 100-150 an hour and point and shoot cameras are the hardest to repair.

  20. Gulliver says:

    I am sorry, but when your story has inconsistencies, I tend to think other parts are made up as well.
    “This camera – along with a fast SD card, everything-proof Pelican case, and extra battery – cost me about $400 a few years ago” then you go on to say “$444 is over $150 more than I paid for this camera.” How much did you pay for the camera? You can’t include ancillary products in the cost of the item. If the camera was under $300, it seems you are trying to pay 1/3 of the cost to fix something that could be had for brand new. Sometimes products fail. If you wanted a 5 year warranty, I am sure you could have purchased one.
    How is anything Panasonic did bad?

  21. Scurvythepirate says:

    If the OP is handy, couldn’t he order a used on off eBay for around $100 and swap the PCB? Or take it to a shop that could do the swap.

    Could be just me because I refuse to let things die and won’t pull the plug on any electronic that I could fix with some elbow grease.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I would definitely think twice about opening a camera in any place short of a ISO 3 clean room, personally.

      • Mom says:

        He’s already got a broken camera. He can’t make it worse. Anyway, he can get a camera repair shop to do the transplant. They open electronic cameras all the time. If they couldn’t do it reliably, they wouldn’t still be in business.

      • Razor512 says:

        For that camera, the lens and image sensor are attached together so you can take it apart with out getting dust inside of the lens area.

        The OP just needs to be good with using a screwdriver and removing and attaching small ribbon cables.

        Most cameras by these companies are modular in their design because the companies will recycle parts for many cameras. I don’t have much experience with panasonic camera but I have worked on nikon and canon cameras. The most reused part on their point and shoot cameras, are the lens, ccd, and LCD, some of their cameras today are using the same parts from cameras from 5-7 years ago, and yet if you contact them for a out of warranty repair for a lens error, they will charge you much more money for a older camera than a newer one even if both models use the same exact lens.

        Also, the PCB in a camera is also often reused, generally for up to 2 years in some cases, so you may find 10 or 15 models all using the same PCB. Repairs are a high profit field. If repair cost were really justified, when you send a $500 laptop in for repair (in warranty) the company would just give you a new one instead of actually repairing it. (many companies will charge you more than what a laptop is worth for a out of warranty repair even if the item as only been out of warranty for a few weeks and the product is still being sold in stores.

    • ridbx says:

      eBay has a bunch of operational FZ8’s, they tend to go for around about $100 used. If the OP loves this model so much, just go get another one and reuse the accessories from his first camera.

  22. backbroken says:

    Classic example of burying the lead…the lead story here should be “Why do we accept that modern electronics only have a lifespan of 2-4 years?”

    I have handheld electronic games from the early 80’s that I used to beat senseless yet they still work. I realize a camera is much more complex than electronic football…but haven’t we made any advances in quality control and durability?

    • mattarse says:

      Yeah except the advances have been to lower the margin of what is acceptable. 30 years ago it was “Lets put the best capacitor in that we can” now it’s “This capacitor will last for 99% of the people for 6 years, but this one that is 20%cheaper will last for 80% of the people for 3 years – let’s go with the cheaper one and hope we’ve done the math right for the cost of warranty replacements and still come out profitable.”

    • Snoofin says:

      We could easily fix that problem and have reliable electronics. The problem is all the cheapasses out there that dont want to pay for them. This camera would probably have cost $1000 if it was made with excellent and durable components, but people want to pay $300 instead, so it breaks in 3 years and cost too much to fix

      • Powerlurker says:

        It’s not just that. The pace of advancement in technology is so fast that it doesn’t make sense to invest in that kind of longevity because by the time the item does break, there’s a good chance that you’ll be wanting a new one anyway. If it costs a nontrivial amount of money to make make your devices reliable enough to last an extra couple years when everyone is going to upgrade before then, why waste the money? They’ll have replaced the item before it ever broke in the first place.

  23. Jason Litka says:

    I had a similar experience with Panasonic recently. I sent in an LX3 which had cosmetic damage (small dent on hand grip, 2mmx3mm about 1mm deep, small scuff on top near shutter button, 1mmx2mm) but still functioned perfectly. Here’s the timeline (in business days):

    - Day 1: I call, get RMA number, and ship the camera. Was told by phone rep that they would contact me within 72 hours of receipt and that the total expected turnaround was two weeks, not including shipping. I included a letter in the box stating that I wanted the cosmetic damage fixed, and that there was nothing else wrong with the unit.
    – Day 3: Camera arrives @ depot.
    – Day 11: Panasonic tech calls @ 5:30 AM, leaves a message, telling me about $45 diagnostic fee that the original rep did not mention. Called back and no answer, tried again later and left a message.
    – Day 12: Called again to try and pay $45 fee but no answer, left another message. Called original number (where I got the RMA number) and received a “extremely busy” message and was forced into voicemail.
    – Day 13: Rep calls me back, takes CC payment for $45, tells me that they’ll contact me within 72 hours with a firm list on the repair costs. Says average costs are $90.
    – Day 21: I call Panasonic again since I haven’t heard from anyone. Am forced to leave a message.
    – Day 23: Rep calls me back, says the total cost to repair the cosmetic damage is $247 (not counting the original $45 I paid). Told them to go ahead and do it (though I honestly don’t know why, should have just had them send it back since it worked fine). Was told that it would ship back to me within a week.
    – Day 33: Called Panasonic again, asked for status, both on camera, and on receipts for $45 and $247 that they had supposedly mailed. Was told they’d have to look into it and would call me back tomorrow.
    – Day 35: Rep called me, told me they would be starting the work today and that it should ship out within a week.
    – Day 43: Called Panasonic, was told camera would be shipping today (wonder if it would have if I hadn’t called).
    – Day 53: Received box with camera, tracking shows that it wasn’t shipped until Day 50, not on 43 as they told me it would. Invoices were included in the box. Camera was only half repaired. They replaced the hand grip with the dent but not the top bit of plastic.

    What I was told would take 2 weeks + transit ended up taking 2.5 months and cost me 3x of the “average repair cost”. I was half tempted to file a complaint to try and press out exactly what sort of service I would have received for $90 since a simple replacement of the external case cost 3x as much, but just didn’t see it as a good use of my time.

    For the people leaving comments stating that this sort of thing is industry standard, I can tell you it isn’t. The issues I’ve had with Canon products (specifically DSLRs, but they do it with some compacts as well) have always been resolved quickly, and when the repair costs are a significant part of the camera value, the Canon Loyalty program steps in and lets you get a newer camera at a heavily discounted rate.

    • mmmsoap says:

      (A) Seems that you’re more concerned with the timeline, which is fair, but wasn’t the OP’s original complaint. Yeah, sucks to get stuck in the black-hole of repair land, and yet, this is unrelated to the cost.

      (B) You have a poor understanding of the word “average.” There are several different mathematical ways to calculate an “average” but all of them include the understanding that there are values above and below the number. It stinks the charge was higher, but it’s no way misleading for that to be so.

      • Jason Litka says:

        Actually, I have a very good understanding of average, so the condescending tone is unnecessary.

        That is why I included in the comment the statement that I considered complaining to see if they could identify any service that could be performed for $90, completely ignoring the fact that in order for the average to be $90, there would also need to be ones under that level to balance out mine.

        It’s my position, and I believe the position of the OP, that they’re lying about the real average in order to get people to send in cameras, pay the $45, and then feel pressured to pay the entire amount of the repair or forfeit the money they already paid and the time they invested.

        Panasonic is shady and my experiences with Canon have been the complete opposite.

  24. newage44 says:

    Here is why I buy a Canon: Went for a dunk in the bahamas with my 199. camera in my swim trunks..DuH! Sent it to Canon for repair as I thought it was only in for a few secs and the SD card was still good. Unfortunately , they said it was fried and not worth repairing. BUT..as a frequent buyer (I have 3 Canons in my family registered) they offered my a choice of 3 other refurbished Canons at reduced prices to choose from. I wrote them down, checked the internet pricing all over the web, selected one that was a better upgrade that I liked, called back and got a great Canon that I love!
    Better get a Canon , friends..

    • vastrightwing says:

      I buy only Canons because they are inexpensive and take great pictures. Mine seem to last about 2 – 3 years before they break. I then replace them with a similar model for under $200. I find this very acceptable. I don’t care why the camera breaks or even how much it might cost to fix. It’s much quicker for me to buy a new one and I know the cost. There is no waiting and no guess work. Only if the camera were to break under the original mfgr’s warranty, would I bother to send it in for repair.

    • Costner says:

      True.

      I had a Canon Powershot 5MP that had to be at least 4 years old and it started flickering on the display screen. Then all the pictures had a purple line across the top of each image which I had to manuall crop out (time consuming). Eventually the LCD screen was so scrambled I couldn’t even use the camera, so I sent it in to Canon.

      They replaced the sensor, and because they had a higher than average rate of defective sensors on this particular model, they did it for free. I was at least three years out of warranty, but the only cost to me was shipping it to them.

      Is it any wonder my next P&S was a Canon (10mp this time although I still have the 5mp one and do occasionally use it) and my DSLR is also a Canon T2i. I’ll stick with them as long as they continue to treat me right.

    • Humward says:

      For every story like this, there’s a counter-story (sadly).

      Was in Budapest, seeing the sites. Beautiful skies because of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime storm coming up over the Danube. $1200 Canon camera, with thousands of dollars in lenses — but no backup body with me. (Travelling light.) The camera was about one year and three minutes old…just barely out of warranty. And, of course, the LCD fails — fatal error, camera won’t work at all, nothing but a camera phone to shoot the rest of the trip.

      And then cost $400 to repair…

      I was about ready to sell all my lenses and switch to Nikon — I was right pissed. And it has affected my buying habits — I’d ordinarily buy a new camera every year or so, but I haven’t in a couple of years because I just don’t have the confidence in Canon that I used to. (It’s hard to drop a grand on something that you think is going to break on you.) So I’m still shooting with that old camera — which has now developed another intermittent error that I’m not paying to fix.

      It happens — and obviously Canon has no control over whether the camera breaks at a good time or a terrible time. But it did make me far less likely to buy new Canon stuff.

    • Silverhawk says:

      My wife wrote into Canon when our SD100 (yeah, that was a while back) broke. It was a year (maybe two?) out of warranty, but they told her to send it in anyway. They said they’d take care of it even though it was out of warranty. She had no expectations, and was totally prepared to pay for repair costs. Imagine our surprise when they sent back a refurbished SD600!

      That’s customer service, and we’ll be buying more Canons.

  25. mmmsoap says:

    To be honest, this story makes me impressed with Panasonic’s customer service (or at least their service center’s CS), and makes me more likely to think of them for future purchases. While disappointing, the high cost of a repair for a 3-year old camera is not the manufacturer’s fault, but how they manage it is….and seems like they managed pretty well.

  26. dbeahn says:

    Sometimes your car needs new brake pads for $99, sometimes it needs new pads, rotors, calipers and cylinders for $2300. Different repairs cost more or less depending on the time and parts. This is why when it will cost more to repair a car than to replace it, an insurance company will say that the car was “totaled”.

    Your camera was totaled. It happens. I’m sorry if your mom and dad never explained to you that not everything in life is “fair” or “makes sense”. Welcome to planet earth.

  27. RickinStHelen says:

    I used a Nikon D40 for work. A great digital SLr that I used in harsh environments. One day, the harsh environment won, and I fell in the olympic National Forest. Given a choice of saving me or the D40, I saved me. The camera lens was ruined, as was the pop up flash. After checking around, the cost of the repair to the body and replacement of the lens was higher than the replacement of the camera. This is typical, and not at all out of line. Sometimes you just have to replace the product. It is easier to manufacture something new than to repair an existing item. This hold true to cars also. Have a big accident, and you will find it cheaper to replace the car than to repair it. It doesn’t meant the car can’t be repaired, just that it is cheaper to repair it. It isn’t a reflection on the manufacturer, just is the way manufacturing works versus repairs.

  28. zeiman says:

    3 years for a point and shoot camera is actually a pretty nice life if you use it frequently (as it seems you do). I have had point and shoots from Sony, Canon, and Nikon (all around the $300 range) and most lasted about 2-2.5 years. Never tried to get any of them fixed since the screens went on all of them (ok, the Canon one got smooshed in a carry-on). None the less, 3 years for $300 is not too bad.

  29. dosdelon says:

    I had a similar issue with my Canon camera, which was about 3 years old when it finally went bust. Repairing it would have cost more than purchasing a new one. The really weird thing though was that they offered to sell me one of several newer models instead, supposedly at a discount price. Though when I checked the camera stores I usually use I found even newer ones at similar or better prices.

  30. KhaiJB says:

    and the biggest issue here is not the customer service.

    it’s our “dump and shop rather than repair” lifestyle. we now dump things that could be repaired because “it would cost to much to repair”… told to us by those who want us to buy their latest model instead.

    ok I get they need to sell the latest model etc. but c’mon…. it’s a waste.

    • satoru says:

      This cost disparity is due to economies of scale that we now enjoy due to the global economy. If you want the repair costs to be less than the original product, there’s only one way to do that. Make the original product more expensive.

      • KhaiJB says:

        also design it to be repaired.

        I actually have no issues with buying something for a bit more money if it’s going to last – either by design or that it can be repaired. infact I’d prefer it over rebuying everything every few years as they fail.

        • Powerlurker says:

          Unfortunately, for point and shoot digital cameras, other design considerations (like cramming all the components into the smallest possible space) tend to take priority over this.

      • stevenpdx says:

        The camera components are built on highly automated ,robotic assembly lines. They can’t be repaired that way, so it costs more.

  31. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Cheaper to build merchandise in an assembly line than fix them individually. Factor in rising labor costs, an d the other issues he described, and it’s not too surprising.

    I’d be a bit ticked at the diagnostic fee though. That’s wasted money.

  32. veritybrown says:

    The math in this article does not add up:
    “Panasonic wanted $488 to repair a camera that originally cost $300″
    “cost me about $400 a few years ago”
    “the total cost of repair would be $489″
    “$444 is over $150 more than I paid for this camera”
    “this repair was looking to cost me over $500, for a 3-year-old camera I paid less than $300 for”
    “I’m out a camera and $50 in fees and shipping”

    Was the cost of repair $488 or $489? Did the camera cost less than $249, or $300, or less than $300, or $400? If shipping cost was $5 ($50 total – $45 fee), then how does repair ($489) + shipping ($10 total for there and back) come to over $500?

    It seems to me that neither Laura nor Dan has a very good grasp of basic arithmetic.

  33. cornstalker says:

    This has been the case with every camera I’ve ever owned. I have two Canon PowerShot cameras that are pretty much worthless now because somehow a speck of dust got on the sensor inside the camera. This created a black speck on every single picture (and frame of video) I take with the camera. The cost of repair will a couple hundred dollars, because the camera store I bought it from said it had to be shipped to Asia (can’t remember which country, specifically) to be taken completely apart, cleaned, and put back together. Every time this happened, it was cheaper just to buy a new camera.

    I told the clerk in disgust that I didn’t know the cameras they sold were essentially “disposable.” He was not happy with me.

    • satoru says:

      If you’re brave you can rip apart your camera and attempt to blow off the dust off the sensor. I did that with my old Sony 3MP camera, and though it was nerve wracking, I got it all off and my pics look a gazillion times better.

      Since the cameras are shot anyways, ripping them open to try and fix the issue isn’t much of a loss. You can probably find some walkthroughs online on how to open it up and get to the sensor. You have to be VERY careful since getting to the sensor can be hard depending on how the camera was designed. Usually putting it back together is the hard part.

    • Powerlurker says:

      I highly doubt that your local camera shop has the necessary clean room to perform that particular repair.

  34. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Go on eBay and buy one for parts. There are dozens of cameras on there selling just for the replacement parts.

    Then bring it to a local camera repair shop, and you’ll be good.

  35. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    So, according to the comments, not only is it completely normal and acceptable for it to be more expensive to repair a camera than it is to buy a new one but the OP should have already known this was an industry standard.

    Can someone explain how the OP was supposed to know that?

    • Mr_D says:

      He wasn’t. We’re just explaining that this is a consequence of the world we live in today.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I’m not sure why you would hold them responsible for what is simply the industry standard…

        More like you lose on not having a great equipment, what makes you believe any other manufacture like Canon or Nikon will be different?

        I dont see how this is any different from any other piece of electronic equipment wherein its cheaper to buy a new one than have it repaired. Sounds like hes just pissy that his toy broke and wants to see his article on consumerist.

        I’m sorry if your mom and dad never explained to you that not everything in life is “fair” or “makes sense”.

        Several commentors think that he was supposed to already know.

  36. El_Fez says:

    Just one more reason why film cameras are superior to digital. My 10 year old canon works as good as the day I bought it and would only cost me a hundred bucks tops to repair.

  37. thekev says:

    This story is almost identical to a situation I had with a Panasonic camera I bought. The LCD display on the back of the camera went out, making it virtually unusable. The camera cost me $300, and having the new screen replaced would have cost $275. I won’t be buying a Panasonic camera again!

    • Powerlurker says:

      It’s not like you’d have any better results in the same situation with a Canon, Nikon, or Olympus camera.

  38. RonDiaz says:

    People don’t understand this stuff is made cheap as hell and that’s why it’s cheap as hell.

  39. nocturnal99 says:

    This happened to me with a Canon as well

  40. peebozi says:

    Free market working at peak efficiency!!!

    hooray for corporations, without which we would still be trying to make fire and using rocks for hammers!

  41. OSAM says:

    90% of camera repairs are as expensive or more expensive than the cost of a camera. I should know: I work photo retail and deal with people that have this issue all the time. If anything, panasonic’s Concierge service is the greatest I’ve seen.

    Hell, try buying replacements for all the other stuff that comes in the box. Cables? $30-40 each. Charger? $80 or so. Battery? $70. That’s most than most cameras are new.

    This guy needs to sack up and accept the fact that he’s an idiot.

  42. Winteridge2 says:

    Wait: if manufacturers actually repair your camera and send it back to you, where do all the “refurbished” cameras come from? It would be even weirder if the rep said: we can repair your camera for $488, but we can sell you nice refurbished camera (same one?) for $199. We are a disposable society…toss it and buy a new one-another brand.

  43. VermilionSparrow says:

    Given that a brand new inkjet printer costs less than 2 replacement ink cartridges (and comes with ink, to boot), I am totally not surprised.

    Now if I could find a camera repair shop that would touch my 1986 FED5’s broken focus indicator with a 10 foot pole…

    • Powerlurker says:

      That’s why you buy a monochrome laser printer and get your photos printed at CVS or Snapfish or some other place.

  44. karan1003 says:

    Not at all surprising when you consider how much pricier the labor is for repairing it (in the U.S.) as compared to the country it was assembled in.

  45. Razor512 says:

    major ripoff the main PCB is the cheapest part of the camera, the lens + ccd unit is the most expensive part of the camera

    Also, the camera brand new right now cost around $180, still a ripoff compared to cheaper cameras now that have better image quality. Many companies like huge profit margins for repairs. For example if you have a laptop that is out of warranty and the LCD screen needs to be replaced, they will charge you almost $400 to replace the screen for a $700 laptop, while the same replacement screens are around $40 on ebay.

    The OP should sell his camera on ebay as (for parts or repair) then list the problem as it will no longer turn on.

    after that, buy a new camera, if you check product reviews, you can get a $120 canon powershot and get much better image quality than camera.

  46. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The problem here is similar to the problem with repairing laptops (vs. repairing a desktop PC). And as a PC builder, every time someone wants me to set them up with a laptop as their primary computer, I have a little talk with them first…

    …when something goes wrong in an industry-standard desktop PC (the vast majority of them these days…although to be sure, never buy one from a major OEM), there are a seemingly infinite number of suitable replacement parts for anything that might have expired…and they are all available are reasonable prices. When something goes wrong in a laptop (or a netbook, or whatever), there is exactly one source of a suitable replacement – because laptops *always* have proprietary designs (except for obvious stuff, like RAM, CPUs, and hard drives). And that one source for the replacement is going to rape you with the cost.

    For example, say you have a relatively late-model desktop PC from just about anywhere. The motherboard goes bad. There are probably thousands of options of motherboard/vendor combinations available to you to replace that bad motherboard – probably starting at about $50. Then look at it from the standpoint of having a laptop motherboard go bad…and it doesn’t matter what brand of laptop, because they all have proprietary designs. Whether it’s a Dell, HP, Apple, Asus, Acer, eMachines, or a re-labeled “white box” unit you bought from the mom & pop store (those white box units are sold to the mom & pop stores from major manufacturers like ECS – still a proprietary design), the problem is the same – there is only one source for the replacement motherboard. And it’s going to cost you probably $300. And maybe you only paid $300 for the laptop in the first place.

    Therefore, I always counsel people to *not* have a laptop/netbook/whatever as their primary computer unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    In the case of the camera, there is a similar process at play – every camera is proprietary. The parts for it are available from only one source, and because there is no open market for those parts, you pay through the nose for them. Also, I will point out, that there’s a labor cost involved too…that $489 maybe including a couple hundred dollars worth of disassembly, replacement, reassembly, and testing.

    Granted that there is no such thing as an industry-standard camera, my advice to the OP would be to stick with the Pana camera if that’s what he likes. Because the exact same thing would happen with any other brand of camera as well.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Forgot to put the conclusion in there…which is that a laptop is essentially a disposable item – if it breaks, expect to throw it away.

      Same thing with a camera, or any other sophisticated piece of proprietary electronics.

  47. maynurd says:

    I think that PAnasonic did an excellent job in following the customer’s wishes.

    Given the repair cost for this camera, age of the camera, I would have also declinedthe repairs.

    As happy as he was with this particular camera, I would say go to Ebay and search for the same camera there. I’m sure he can get the same model camera in good condition for far less than the repair cost.

  48. Rachacha says:

    I had a Sony Professional Camcorder, and the tape mechanism failed. It was a common problem with this camera, and I contacted Sony to get a price estimate. They gave me a price of $500 (as I recall) to repair and refurbish a 4 year old camcorder. I was on the fence as a new unit would cost about $1000, but this one was 4 years old and newer models provided additional functions and a higher quality. I found an independent shop in California. They were familiar with the problem I was experiencing, and gave me a verbal quote of $200 if it was found that they only needed to replace the tape carrier mechanism, but they would call me with a firm quote after they had an opportunity to diagnose the problem. I sent my camera to them and $200 later, I had a repaired camera. As the camera is out of warrantee, he should find an independent camera shop and see if they will repair it for less than Panasonic, but I have to say, on a nearly 4 year old camera, you are probably better off buying a new one.

  49. wickedpixel says:

    Used Lumix FZ8s are going for under $15 with all accessories on ebay.
    http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=m570&_nkw=Panasonic+Lumix+FZ8&_sacat=See-All-Categories

    sell the duplicate accessories, sell the broken one for parts and you’re looking at under $100 to replace it.

  50. Sandstar says:

    “Dan writes that he was very happy with his Panasonic camera, a point-and-shoot with a $100 to get it back in working order and avoid buying a new one.”

    What in the hell does that mean?

  51. tz says:

    Unfortunate but true, the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

    Consider cars. Order all the parts and see if you can build it yourself.

    When originally assembling the camera, it is all automated and takes a few minutes by robots at most and everything is precise. To fix something, you have to manually remove a dozen screws, do various disconnect, make sure nothing gets scratched…

    When in warranty, it is cheaper to send a new one. That is one reason refurbished devices are cheaper (I tend to buy cheap – surprises will normally be to the upside), but they can do a batch-refurbish.

    One other effect is the exchange rate. You hear about the dollar depreciating or appreciating.

    When you bought your camera for $300, say it would be worth 30000 yen. Well now $300 may only buy 25000 yen. So you need more dollars to buy something priced in yen (I’m not sure the exact values, this is just an illustration).

    You might want to do eBay or equivalent noting it is broken – there is probably someone with a camera with bad lens but good board that could combine the two Cameracasses into one working unit.

  52. nycdesigner says:

    I’d like to reiterate the reason to buy a Canon: if it breaks out-of-warranty, call 800-OK-CANON. They will offer you a choice of 3 refurbished models similar to your broken one for 50% off current list. This is a better price than even the Hassids in Brooklyn will sell it to you for. Canon also sends you a prepaid UPS shipper to send the broken one back to them in exchange.

    I returned three cameras this way. All of them lasted more than four years, and I still have an SD30 that won’t break for some reason ;-)

    • nycdesigner says:

      Another reason to buy a Canon is that they make the best small lenses…the weakest link in picture taking, other than yourself. Few, if any, industry experts dispute this.

  53. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    This is a problem with the Japanese way of business (I’ve dealt with them a lot). They don’t usually make spare parts since they have near zero defects from the factory. Parts like this are scavenged from whole units. Often, there are places that buy volume of consumer goods from Japan and then part them out for part sales. I’d look for these kind of outfits and fix it myself or a decent third party repair joint.

    BTW, the entire main board is not bad. They do not want to repair it to the component level. The total cost to make the board was probably between $10-20, if that, and the failed component is likely under a buck and easy to replace if you know what you are doing.

    I googled “fz8 repair” and the first place listed “doesn’t turn on” repair for $95
    https://www.teleplancamerarepair.com/quote/cart.asp?iProbID=28&mo=245
    I’m not vouching for these guys and have no idea who they are but you can get your camera fixed for the price you want. Just not from a Japanese company.

  54. wildgift says:

    Maybe the answer is to buy a used, identical camera. I see them for around $150 online.