I love my Lumix GH4 but I hate Panasonic’s customer support. I recently discovered a very noticeable spot that appears in some images & videos. After an initial phone conversation a Panasonic support technician recommended that I send the camera in for warranty repair work. I did that and, after nearly a month, I received my camera back this week. And the problem is not fixed. Now, after two phone conversations the repair facility is ignoring me.
The spot doesn’t appear under all shooting conditions but when it does appear it’s very noticeable. Through some testing I determined that the problem is worst at very small apertures and in images with a light background. The spot appears starting at around f9 and it gets progressively darker the more I stop down.
I have two Panasonic brand lenses with different focal length ranges and the problem appears the same with both lenses. It’s clearly not a lens problem. In addition to the recorded images I can see the spot in both the LCD panel and the EVF.
Throughout the repair process Panasonic has been uncommunicative and slow to act. I didn’t receive any email to notify me that they had received my camera but I know when it was delivered from the UPS tracking. They had my camera for a week before they even looked at it. I had to call them several times for status updates, calls which could easily have been avoided by a simple email. The only time Panasonic ever initiated any communication during the warranty (non-)repair work was when they called to tell me the work was done.
After I received my unrepaired camera back I called and spoke with someone who said an engineer would call me back. The next day when I hadn’t yet received a call I called them and was told it could take four days to get a call back! When I pressed for quicker service the representative said she’d see what she could do. A day later I did get a call back from an engineer who asked me a few questions and then said someone would follow up. Three days later I’m still waiting.
Another example of Panasonic’s careless attitude was their lack of response to my request to install the new V-Log L upgrade. I included the request in a note in the box with the camera along with my credit card info but they completely ignored my request. They didn’t provide any reason for not doing it. They just didn’t do anything. Foolish, a lost revenue opportunity for them.
Now, I’m stuck with a defective camera and a lost month. I use my camera in my work and I have had to pass up paying gigs while waiting for it to be repaired. I’ve lost a month from the warranty period and the camera is not even fixed. I love my GH4 but I’m dismayed by Panasonic’s lousy support. Panasonic, will you stand by your warranty or not?
Update, October 13, 2015
I have received a call from Panasonic informing me that a shipping label has been prepared for me to return my camera for a second repair. That’s much appreciated as I paid $35 to UPS to ship the camera the first time. Panasonic also agreed to send me a hot swap replacement camera to use while mine is being repaired. Again, that’s much appreciated as I now have shoots scheduled as I’m trying to make up for lost time. Hopefully, the rest of the process will go smoothly.