repair for condensation in lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by miloblithe, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    So, a colleague of mine lent me a lens about a year ago to use on a trip to Puerto Rico. I used the lens on the trip and returned it. He just used the lens for the first time since then and said that there's a lot of condensation in the lens and hopes that I will pay for the repair. I wanted to get some feedback about how fair people think that may be. Some additional notes:

    -the lens is an older, currently discontinued, non-weather sealed Canon L-series lens, so it was probably purchased some time between 1993 and 2002.
    -the offer was to let me borrow the lens for free, which was obviously generous
    -when he lent me the lens, it was stored in a neoprene lens sleeve, but it had no caps on it (front or back). He hadn't used the lens in years at that point. So I bought caps for the lens before taking it on the trip.
    -I used the lens near and on a beach in a resort, but at no time did the lens get wet or anywhere near spray
    -The lens owner moved in the last year, and discovered the condensation recently after taking the lens out after arriving on a trip to Europe.
    -I wouldn't say that the lens seemed tack sharp when I used it. Obviously that may be my technique, but it probably wasn't in perfect condition after 10-15 years of use by a former professional photographer.

    Two questions:

    1) Do you think I have complete, shared, or no responsibility to pay for the repairs? He wants to send the lens to Canon upon return to the U.S.

    2) What should he do while still on vacation to minimize damage to the lens? I've seen suggestions of silica gel, drying on a radiator, and other ideas looking around on the internet. Anyone have success with any of these?
     
  2. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    Big Sky country
    #2
    I wouldn't pay. A year and a move between uses, plus the fact that it was delivered wrapped in neoprene and w/o caps. The cause for the lens condensation is more likely NOT due to your use. You bought lens caps, that was akin to a rental fee. He assumes all other responsibilities. As to the handling of the condensation-how about the ol' rice trick.
     
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #3
    I am assuming that the lens is dry already, so rice won't work. If it is still wet, it sure as hell wasn't water from the OP a year ago.

    How much is the repair? Having friends with bags of lenses that let you borrow freely is worth something. If the repair is cheap, I may pay to keep the relationship, if it is expensive, maybe split it, if it is really expensive and you really believe it wasn't you don't pay. Either way you have learned for the next time, always carefully inspect any lenses you borrow or lend going out and coming in to avoid future problems. If I find preexisting conditions when I borrow a lens, I shoot them before I use it in case there are questions later.
     
  4. HBOC macrumors 68020

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  5. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    If I borrow something, I would confirm with the owner that it's in working condition when I return it.
     
  6. 2jaded2care, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011

    2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Atlanta
    #6
    This is easy for me to say, since I'm not in your situation, but if I trusted this guy (I assume he trusted you, since he loaned you his lens), I would probably offer to pay for the repair.

    Even though he apparently doesn't use the lens much, he did discover the problem while trying to use it. He still considers the lens useful.

    I thought condensation was more likely the result of taking equipment from warm to cold environments and vice-versa without, for example, wrapping equipment in plastic or keeping cases closed when coming in from freezing weather. However, it is possible that what looks like condensation is actually a fungus inside the lens, which definitely could have been caused by using the lens on a beach. It might not have even been noticeable until much later after your use.

    I'm pretty sure that the repair would not rival the cost of a replacement lens of the same vintage. However, that might be an option to consider.

    All that said, if I were the other guy, I would also offer to split the repair cost with you, since it has been a long time since you used the lens, and it's possible that the damage was done afterward in storage somehow (like in a musty closet or non-climate controlled space). Plus, it wasn't a new lens when you got it, so I wouldn't expect you to pay the entire amount of servicing an old lens, unless it was obvious that the damage was caused exclusively by your use.

    My 2¢.
     
  7. miloblithe thread starter macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Washington, DC
    #7
    update: when he said condensation he meant a sort of yellowish film.

    It seems to me that the humidity in the Caribbean probably was part of the problem, but it also seems to me that storing the lens without caps before it got to me may have contributed and then not airing it out after I returned it (it sounds like it was in the neoprene sleeve in some kind of storage since I returned it until he got it out a day or two ago) definitely contributed as well.

    I kind of feel like what I feel is fair depends on the price of the repair, if a repair is even possible. Say, $100-200 I guess I'd just cover to do the right thing. More than that I'd kind of want to split. And I don't think it would be fair to ask me for $1000 to replace the lens (he already bought a $1000 replacement lens to use on his trip).
     
  8. El Cabong, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011

    El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2008
    #8
    It doesn't seem like it was your fault. The guy should have checked it out immediately upon return, not a year later; he has no evidence that it was at all affected by your trip. Letting it bang around for years without caps in who-knows-what kind of storage conditions certainly doesn't help his case. When you add all of that to the fact that, despite being a former pro, he seems to lack knowledge about how to keep his gear dry in the field...

    That said, I wouldn't expect the repair to run more than $100, so maybe it'd be worth it, if you're concerned about staying in the guy's good graces, although I'd never borrow anything from him ever again.

    Edit: Sounds like fungus, which means it sounds like he hasn't been storing it properly.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    If it's not a weather sealed lens, then caps wouldn't make a difference unless the film (fungus?) is on the outside of the elements where it can possibly be cleaned rather easily.

    IMO, if you borrow a lens and take it to a humid environment and don't treat it afterwards, that's not the lender's issue-- but that's just my opinion. I don't see how you get to "contributed"- if you'd dried out the lens after taking it to a tropical environment there wouldn't be an issue- if the OP hadn't lent you the lens, there wouldn't be an issue. How that adds up to only partial culpability seems odd to me.

    Paul
     
  10. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2003
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    Atlanta
    #10
    Uhh, no, the most he should expect would be you covering the repair cost of his old lens (or paying him the equivalent amount, since he's already bought a replacement lens and is unlikely to actually have the original lens repaired, unless he intends to sell it).

    Anything more, and he should have talked with you beforehand to get your OK. And I can't see anyone agreeing to buy the guy any new lens that was worth more than the repair cost of the old lens. ("I loaned you my Pacer and you dinged the fender. So I had to buy a new Prius for transpo, you owe me that amount"?)

    Hope the guy is reasonable with you.
     
  11. miloblithe thread starter macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #11
    What you're saying makes sense. I didn't know about treating the lens afterwards, and I guess he didn't either since he neither asked me to nor did it himself. On the other hand, I have had no issues with my other lens that I took along with me on the trip and used about half the time. Isn't it possible that part of the difference may be how I stored my lens before and after the trip, compared to how he stored the lens before and after I borrowed it?
     
  12. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Atlanta
    #12
    As far as I am concerned, if the guy says this lens was stored in the same manner as his other lenses, and this is the only one with this problem, then I would offer to pay him the repair amount, since it was probably my usage that caused the problem. If it were improper storage (humid, musty house), then other lenses would probably be affected.

    Sorry, I need to quit trying to make this my problem.:eek:
     
  13. miloblithe thread starter macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #13
    No no! I'm asking for advice. Thank you!

    What you're saying makes sense.
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    Most people who don't live in humid climates rarely have to deal with it- so they don't know. It is possible that the resultant storage was an issue- but again, the prime issue is the usage in a humid climate- that's why I'd pick up the tab and like most of life's little fun lessons, I'd learn from it- both in terms of borrowing and care of equipment. Of course it's *possible* that the issue is completely his- but the onus IMO is on you here, and I think you should just step up. If you ever find yourself shooting in India with really expensive glass, the lesson will be relatively cheap!

    There's an argument to be made for his culpability, but IMO the prime chance beats that, and it's perfectly reasonable to discuss that with him- in fact I'd encourage it- simply because that would get you over any possible issues you might in hindsight regret. Even if he doesn't budge, if you take full responsibility after a discussion, then you've done all the right things.

    Paul
     
  15. thatisme macrumors 6502

    thatisme

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    #15
    Yellow film suggests fungus, and that just doesn't happen over night. Usually it is due to years of storing / using of the lens without desiccant in the bag to absorb moisture. Granted, the lens may be showing signs of fungus after you return it, however, I hardly believe that YOU caused it.

    My suggestion would be to pay for half of a cleaning (not repair) through canon. Repairs on old lenses can be quite pricey, and you may not actually be paying for the notated issue. You also mentioned that the lens wasn't tack sharp... so whats stopping the lender from submitting the lens and tacking on focus calibration, motor replacement, etc to the work order?

    Again, I believe the trip would have contributed to the problem, but I would hardly say you caused the problem.
     
  16. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #16
    simple for me.

    If you value the friendship more than the cost of repairs, then pay it.
     
  17. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #17
    Judge Judy: "You got the lens back and didn't see any damage to it, and then found a year later that there was fungus or something in it?"

    Lender: "Yes, your honor".

    Judge Judy: "What exactly is the problem? How much does it cost to fix? What is the lens worth? Do you have a witness or an estimate?"

    Lender: "Umm..."

    Judge Judy: "Ummm is not an answer. Look at me, not over there."

    Borrower: "Your honor, I found a lens like this on ebay for $100..."

    Judge Judy (looking at a copy of the ad): "Fine. You split the costs. You pay $50 to the plaintiff, but pay it all if you want to remain friends. Don't borrow anything from this guy again. Do you hear me? (screeching).
     
  18. gameface macrumors 6502

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    Sep 11, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #18
    Three lessons come from this.

    #1 - When borrowing something, always visually inspect with the person the condition you are receiving it in. Upon return, go over the item again together.

    #2 - Think if this is the type of friend who would be cool about anything happening and what their reaction would be if something did in fact go wrong, BEFORE you borrow anything from them. Would they ask you for prorated money, a replacement fee for a new one, repairs, etc? How they would react should be an indicator whether you should even bother burrowing something from them.

    #3 - Always rent glass. It is cheap, you won't lose a friend and you won't have any unforeseen cost. Insurance waiver costs $10. If you can afford a trip to PR, you can afford a couple week rental of almost any glass.

    My $.03
     
  19. miloblithe, Apr 8, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011

    miloblithe thread starter macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #19
    If you can find a 28-70 f/2.8 L on ebay for $100, please let me know. I'd buy 10.
     
  20. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    SLC
    #20
    Yikes, it is the 20/70 2,8. Canon doesn't even service them anymore. Midstate Camera has been highly praised over at FredMiranda over the years. People have had to get their Magic Drain Pipe serviced (80-200 2.8L), and since Canon doesn't service them anymore, many people send it there.

    I have a suggestion and it might work. Place the lens (or have your buddy do it if he has it) in direct sunlight for the day, and see if the "tinting" goes away or not. Just saw one of these sell for $560 on ebay in stellar shape! Auction ended with one bid. $#%#& it. Ended yesterday
     
  21. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #21
    Judge Judy (yelling, slamming gavel): "Are you an expert witness?"

    You: "Uh, well, I er, uh..."

    Judge Judy: "You don't get it, do you?"
     

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