Saturday, August 27, 2011

Canon is awesome

I want to let you all know about some pleasantly surprising, then, rather amazing, customer service I received, from the consumer and business technology company Canon. Back in October 10, 2003, I purchased a Canon Powershot S400 digital camera with $300 my parents had given me for my birthday. I really liked the camera, and got to use it a lot, but then last year, I started noticing some problems. The problem I was having was, whenever I tried to take a picture, I saw something like this (thanks, Deepak Prakash, for the photo):

The image on the LCD monitor on the camera, and in subsequent photographs I took, was smeared, blurred, washed-out, and tinted pinkish-red. Other times, I noted a warped, noisy, false-color image, then the LCD monitor would go dark on me.

I was ready to toss the camera and buy a new one, but in a last bid attempt to save money and salvage what I had, on Friday, August 20, 2010, I called Canon, and from a conversation I had with Canon representative Mike, in Chesapeake, Virginia, he told me the following (and I paraphrase):
This particular camera has a service notice, for an issue with an image sensor, a CCD, charge-coupled device. That sensor can fail. What I need to do is send the camera to Canon, and they will repair it for free. I need to give Mike my information, and get a case created for me. Before I send the camera in, remove the battery, memory card, and strap from the device. Wrap camera in bubble wrap, and put in a cardboard box. Mike will send 2 emails to you, the first has instructions on what to do and where to send it to, along with an evaluation form that I print out and put inside the box, and the 2nd email will come from UPS, with a free shipping label, prepaid and insured. Once the camera is received, it will take 2 to 3 days for the Canon technicians to check in the camera and evaluate it; they will send me an email with a repair order and status, and then 5 to 7 days to repair and return to you. Return shipping is via Fedex, and I will need to sign for it. The advisory for this service notice went out in 2007, but you weren't registered, so you didn't receive the notice
Lo and behold, on Thursday, September 9, 2010, I received a repaired Canon S400 camera, which has been working for me just fine since then. I thought it was worth mentioning that, other than the inconvenience of my not having the camera during the time it was in transit, being repaired, and shipped back to me, the whole repair process cost me nothing, and even the shipping was completely paid for by Canon. I've come to find that the problem I encountered was common to many digital cameras from many brands that contained a particular Sony-made part:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/badccds.html

I've also come to find out that Canon is slowly phasing out the cameras they will repair, according to a timeline. So if you have a Canon Powershot S400, it looks like you may be out of luck:

http://camerarepair.blogspot.com/2007/11/canon-digital-cameras-showing-black.html

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