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Old Thursday 3rd November 2016, 21:15   #1
etudiant
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Canon service experience

Well, my trusty Canon 10x42L IS has an electrical failure.
After almost 10 years of reliable service, the on off switch has packed in.
It is aggravating to discover how much I use the stabilization feature. The optics are unchanged, it is still an excellent 10x42 glass, but without the IS it is not the same. Sadly there is no prospect of me fixing it.
So off to Canon USA for service.
Will report on the process and the costs involved as they come in.

First entry is $55 to Fed Ex the glass to the Canon shop in Costa Mesa, California.

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Old Tuesday 8th November 2016, 23:45   #2
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Canon Service Experience Part 2

So far, Canon is doing what they said.
Their repair service documentation promises a response within a day of getting the item to be repaired.
My 10x42L IS glass arrived at Canon's Costa Mesa repair facility on Nov 7 and I received an estimate of $517.01 for the repair on Nov 8. Apparently the IS unit needs to be replaced, so parts make up 60% of the repair cost.
Considering that Nov 8 is also election day here in the US, I'm impressed that they kept their schedule.
Canon promises the repair will be completed in 5 business days and that the progress can be followed on line. I'm not sure how much information they will actually post, but will see.
My initial impression is of a well run shop. I'm hopeful my Canon glass will return ready for another decade of service.
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Old Wednesday 9th November 2016, 00:04   #3
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Sounds like you gave them the authorization to perform the repair. I hope it goes well and works like new.

There was a post recently saying some upgrades to the system were made a few years ago so maybe it will be better than before!

Thanks for keeping us informed.
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Old Wednesday 9th November 2016, 00:31   #4
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Sounds like you gave them the authorization to perform the repair. I hope it goes well and works like new.

There was a post recently saying some upgrades to the system were made a few years ago so maybe it will be better than before!

Thanks for keeping us informed.
The gating item for launching the repair is to provide a credit card number, which I did immediately.
My backup glass is a Zeiss Classic 8x30 and when using it I really miss the Canon, both because of the IS as well as because it is a much brighter glass.
Kimmo had noted that the more recent Canon units had better coatings and also that the fieldstops had been changed to ensure the full objectives were used. Initially apparently the optics were only 10x37 because of internal obstructions.
Afaik, Canon has not even added water repellent coatings to their IS binocular line, even though their camera lenses have long had them. Someday they will, perhaps in an updated model.
The decision to repair my old glass for 40% of the cost of a new replacement is because I'm hopeful an upgraded Mk 2 is coming.
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Old Wednesday 9th November 2016, 10:21   #5
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Well thought out reasoning if you expect an updated 10x42L is coming soon.

I am not sure what I'd do if my 15 year old 18x50 failed.

I'd probably get a new one.
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Old Wednesday 16th November 2016, 20:01   #6
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Canon Service Experience Part 3

Things are moving.
Today, Nov 16, 2016, I got an email from Canon USA that my repaired binoculars were on their way to me.

Checking the provided FedEx tracking number, the glass is being sent for delivery on Nov 17, 2016, which is about as quick as possible.
Thus far, the service experience has been excellent, with quick acceptance confirmation for the item and fast turn around, despite the election turmoil.

My only quibble to date is that the system does not show the progress internally very well, the Canon web site reverted to 'Verifying the Credit Card Information' again after having moved on to note the glass was in the repair process.

I'm impressed by the speed of the repair. Canon has certainly delivered on their commitment for a 5 business day turnaround. I'm now waiting eagerly for the glass. It won't arrive in time for doing any birding on the 17th, but Friday should be good.
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Old Thursday 17th November 2016, 23:46   #7
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Returned today!

Well, as promised, my Canon 10x42 was returned today. I'm pleased, as all seems well, although I've not yet been able to take the glass out birding because it is dark.

The glass was examined and the IS lens assembly was replaced, along with the eye cups. The glass was also cleaned pretty thoroughly, which I appreciate, because the swiveling eye piece assemblies are intractable dirt magnets.

The glass was returned in a roughly 1 ft cube box, a good thing, as the box had been treated roughly in transit and was partially crushed. Canon seems to have expected this, the glass had several inches of padding on all sides, so no obvious harm has been done. It is a porro though, so I'll check collimation in daylight tomorrow.
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Old Friday 18th November 2016, 14:11   #8
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I hope that all is well.
Regards.
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Old Friday 18th November 2016, 15:18   #9
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Canon Service Experience Part 4

Canon did good!
Collimation remains spot on while the IS is again purring. So all is well again.

As part of the service, Canon replaced the eye cups as well.
They also cleaned the glass, which I appreciate. The swiveling eye pieces leave a pretty inaccessible space on the body where stuff gradually builds up. That has now been removed.

Overall, an excellent performance.
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Old Monday 21st November 2016, 18:29   #10
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Etudiant ..... Thanks for taking the time post about your experience with Canon Service. Hopefully I will not have to use it anytime soon but it good to know they did a good job.

Have you noticed any improvements after the repair compared to how things were before the failure? There have been reports of improvements over time so I was curious if you noticed anything. One of the items you mentioned that was being repaired was the I S unit. I think that is an area that may have been upgraded.

Did they provide detailed listing of everything that was done?
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Old Monday 21st November 2016, 22:08   #11
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Etudiant ..... Thanks for taking the time post about your experience with Canon Service. Hopefully I will not have to use it anytime soon but it good to know they did a good job.

Have you noticed any improvements after the repair compared to how things were before the failure? There have been reports of improvements over time so I was curious if you noticed anything. One of the items you mentioned that was being repaired was the I S unit. I think that is an area that may have been upgraded.

Did they provide detailed listing of everything that was done?
The listing was not very detailed unfortunately.
The IS lens assembly was replaced, as well as the eye cups. The latter were not billed separately.
The initial acknowledgement of the product receipt included the estimated cost, which was also the final total. I don't think any work had been done at that point. so there is probably a set fee for IS binoculars. My guess is that if there is a more problematic situation, the fee could rise, as there was a second time that I got a 'verifying credit card' message after the glass had been there for four days.
The glass was cleaned, which was a nice surprise. My Canon had accumulated a lot of grime in various difficult to access areas, that was fixed.
There was no obvious change in optical performance.
The IS unit seems much as before, it snaps on and releases once the glass is lowered. Just before the failure it had been slow to engage and to release, but it always worked when engaged.
The stabilization element has always seemed seamless to me, whereas others have remarked on a swimming sensation in the view. I've not had that and was again pleased with the IS. The limited DoF of the 10x42 allows one to gradually peel through a shrub to focus selectively on the birds sharing that shelter, while the IS makes it easy to ignore the leaves and branches in the way.
Collimation was spot on, as mentioned before. That is fortunately easily checked and I thought it essential, as the shipping box had gotten distorted in transit. Canon did pack the glass into a large enough box to allow 3+ inches of padding on all sides, so no harm was done afaict.
I did make a change in the diopter adjustment, but suspect that was simply because I was fine tuning the glass against my new glasses, not because Canon changed some of the internal optics.
I did not check the size of the exit pupils before, but they now appear to be around 4.2mm, so presumably any internal obstructions were brought up to date. I could not tell any difference in the field however.
Overall, the Canon 10x42 remains the best birding glass I know of. It is too big, too heavy and far from beautiful, but it performs spectacularly. Why it has not found more acceptance among birders is puzzling to me. Perhaps because of that, none of the other producers have stepped up to offer a competitive alternative. That is our loss.
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Old Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 22:04   #12
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Overall, the Canon 10x42 remains the best birding glass I know of. It is too big, too heavy and far from beautiful, but it performs spectacularly. Why it has not found more acceptance among birders is puzzling to me. Perhaps because of that, none of the other producers have stepped up to offer a competitive alternative. That is our loss.
Thanks a lot for your report. It seems like Canon did a very good job indeed. A major repair after 10 years, that's not too bad at all given the complexity of these binoculars, and the 10x42 is worth it, unlike the cheaper models. I don't think you'd have Canon repair the IS at your own expense on one of the cheaper models, like the 10x30.

What I'm wondering about is this: You wrote you used your Canons for almost 10 years. How often du you use it in an average week? And do you use it in "difficult" terrain, where the bins do get knocked about a bit? Or at the coast, with lots of sand, dust and saltwater spray around?

As to why the Canon hasn't found wider acceptance - well, it's probably the weight and the way it looks. It's not really beautiful, like some of the other alphas, on the contrary. And it's for many people just too heavy in the field, I think.

With me - well, there's another reason, and that's that idiotic diopter adjustment range. I normally use one contact lens, but on days when there's a problem, like sometimes when it's hot and when there's a lot of dust around, I can't, and then I need a minimum of 3.5-4.0 diopters to be able to use the binoculars. The Canon only has 3.0 diopters.

If it weren't for that, I'd have got a 10x42 IS long ago, the amount of detail you get with these binoculars is so much better than with any other 8x to 10x alpha. It even beats IMO a 10x alpha mounted on a good monopod no problem.

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though the Canon shows a heck of a lot
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Old Thursday 24th November 2016, 01:07   #13
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Thanks a lot for your report. It seems like Canon did a very good job indeed. A major repair after 10 years, that's not too bad at all given the complexity of these binoculars, and the 10x42 is worth it, unlike the cheaper models. I don't think you'd have Canon repair the IS at your own expense on one of the cheaper models, like the 10x30.

What I'm wondering about is this: You wrote you used your Canons for almost 10 years. How often du you use it in an average week? And do you use it in "difficult" terrain, where the bins do get knocked about a bit? Or at the coast, with lots of sand, dust and saltwater spray around?

As to why the Canon hasn't found wider acceptance - well, it's probably the weight and the way it looks. It's not really beautiful, like some of the other alphas, on the contrary. And it's for many people just too heavy in the field, I think.

With me - well, there's another reason, and that's that idiotic diopter adjustment range. I normally use one contact lens, but on days when there's a problem, like sometimes when it's hot and when there's a lot of dust around, I can't, and then I need a minimum of 3.5-4.0 diopters to be able to use the binoculars. The Canon only has 3.0 diopters.

If it weren't for that, I'd have got a 10x42 IS long ago, the amount of detail you get with these binoculars is so much better than with any other 8x to 10x alpha. It even beats IMO a 10x alpha mounted on a good monopod no problem.

Hermann
who's slowly edging closer to buying
a Zeiss HT instead of the Canon - even
though the Canon shows a heck of a lot
more detail
Hi Hermann,

My Canon has been a pretty constant birding companion since 2007.
In NYC, my local patch is Central Park. I do a few miles stroll there almost daily, with periodic excursions to Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a salt water marsh area near the JFK airport.
Further afield is Cape May, sand and ocean front migration trap, good also for a few visits. Routine sweet water rinsing has kept any corrosion from those situations in check.
Elsewhere, there have been several trips to the Neotropics, also to much of the USA, bits of Europe and a few places in Japan. None have involved prolonged scrambling around the rocks, but wide temperature swings, moisture and salt water have been frequent.

The glass has seen extensive use, enough to get me to switch to Eneloop rechargeables from lithium throwaways, but I'm nowhere a professional birder. The glass shows its use, the eye piece segments are not rubberized, so they look pretty beat up. Mechanically though, they have been very durable, no focus issues, no glitches with the unique eye piece assemblies. The IS failure is the first breakdown this glass has had.

The diopter issue is vexing, but is surely fixable. Have you tried to see whether Canon would customize a glass for you? Skewing the diopter so it adjusts more the way you want than the other should solve the problem.

Your comments on the repair cost are well taken, I'd not spend that much for the 10x30 variant. My hope is that there will be a new version of the 10x42 offered before the repair gives out.

In general, I remain astonished that this superior performer goes begging even though available for half the price or less of the conventional alphas. But that is what makes markets...
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Old Thursday 24th November 2016, 01:34   #14
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Hello Étudiant,

I had the good fortune to spot a juvenile red headed woodpecker, today. It was maybe four metres up a tree, above the footpath. I was having trouble leaning back and using an ordinary 10x32. I am sure that the IS would not prevent neck pain, but is an IS system capapble of handling a close to vertical position? Such a position may be the worst shake inducing use of a binocular.

Happy bird watching,
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Old Thursday 24th November 2016, 01:57   #15
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Hello Étudiant,

I had the good fortune to spot a juvenile red headed woodpecker, today. It was maybe four metres up a tree, above the footpath. I was having trouble leaning back and using an ordinary 10x32. I am sure that the IS would not prevent neck pain, but is an IS system capapble of handling a close to vertical position? Such a position may be the worst shake inducing use of a binocular.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
Hi Arthur,

Absolutely the Canon IS does handle near vertical viewing very well.
Indeed, one of the best applications of IS is when scanning for warblers up in the tree tops. With IS, the branches and twigs appear to stay still, which makes it much easier to single out and focus on the moving bird.
Only glitch is the two plus pound weight of the glass while looking straight up...
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Old Thursday 24th November 2016, 02:03   #16
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...
Only glitch is the two plus pound weight of the glass while looking straight up...
Hello Êtudiant,

If it is not one thing, it is something else: a steady view with a heavy, fatigue inducing instrument.


Happy bird watching,
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Old Thursday 24th November 2016, 19:00   #17
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Hello Êtudiant,

If it is not one thing, it is something else: a steady view with a heavy, fatigue inducing instrument.


Happy bird watching,
Arthur
Hi Arthur,

As the fox said in the Little Prince: 'Rien n'est parfait.'
Not sure he was talking binoculars, but he could have been...
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 00:40   #18
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etudiant ...... Is the Canon still having issues? I noticed your comment from yesterday in the Bargains thread saying your Canon is currently under repair.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 01:38   #19
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etudiant ...... Is the Canon still having issues? I noticed your comment from yesterday in the Bargains thread saying your Canon is currently under repair.
Sadly yes, it is back at the Canon service center in California.
The IS was not staying on properly after the initial repair, so I returned them for another pass. Unfortunately the problem is apparently intermittent, so much harder to fix.
The work is being done by Canon at no extra cost, so it is just the inconvenience of not having them available for winter birding and seal watching at Montauk.

One does wonder whether service for electronics may in fact be becoming impracticable, as the devices appear to be built to such a tight spec that they can't be reliably handled outside of the factory. In these cases, the 'replace, don't repair' strategy espoused by some of the new entrants may in fact be more economical for the producer.
I certainly pondered whether to skip the repair and just buy a replacement. If a serious trade-in discount on the replacement had been offered, it would have been an easy choice.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 14:52   #20
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A third Canon 8x25 IS I tried, Nov 2016, has oscillations, and is not as good as the 2014 sample which had tiny amplitude corrections.
At least the cheaper Canon IS seem to vary, and I think when buying one should try at least two, and buy the demonstration one if better, even at full price.

My 10x42L basically didn't work when new, until I passed electricity through it for more than an hour when it was horizontal. Initially the view just drifted up.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 16:12   #21
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A
My 10x42L basically didn't work when new, until I passed electricity through it for more than an hour when it was horizontal. Initially the view just drifted up.
That was a smart idea! I did try something similar, but the IS kicked off even when the on button was held down, so my problem is not the same.

Separately, Amazon shopping eliminates the possibility of comparing several specimen to pick the best one.
The options are 'Like what you get or send it back.'
Guess we will all follow the path blazed by Dennis.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 17:10   #22
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Hi,
It could be simply that a switch is somewhat corroded or not connecting properly. It could be anything.

My nightmare Bushnell 10x35 stabilized just switches off after a very short time despite being sent back over the ocean to the U.S., repaired under warranty, shipped back. It is useless and worthless. Even when it worked it didn't.

Somewhat off topic, the Olympus OM DE M1 Mark 11 (for short) has 6.5 stops of stabilization with Olympus lenses.
That is 90 times.
How about that on a scope?

It is described as akin to witchcraft.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 17:58   #23
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Etudiant ... Sorry to hear there are still issues. Thanks for the additional information.

Does yours turn off immediately or at variable times when using it?

Mine has a couple of operating characteristics that turn it off. One is if I hold down the button for more than a 1/2 of a second when turning on the IS function, the IS turns off immediately when I remove my finger from the button. If I do not want to keep my finger on the button while viewing, I need to press it quickly for the IS to remain on with my finger off the button.

The second thing that turns it off is when the binocular is pointed downward for about 10 seconds. Maybe your sensor is out of adjustment and it turns off with less of a downward tilt. Whatever the problem, hopefully it will be an easy fix for Canon.

As this video shows, it is a complex piece of equipment. Looks like they have a micro processor controlling everything. Your Canon probably has more computer processing power than the moon lander had!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9zNtA4j3Eo
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 18:28   #24
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Hi,
It could be simply that a switch is somewhat corroded or not connecting properly. It could be anything.

My nightmare Bushnell 10x35 stabilized just switches off after a very short time despite being sent back over the ocean to the U.S., repaired under warranty, shipped back. It is useless and worthless. Even when it worked it didn't.

Somewhat off topic, the Olympus OM DE M1 Mark 11 (for short) has 6.5 stops of stabilization with Olympus lenses.
That is 90 times.
How about that on a scope?

It is described as akin to witchcraft.
My suspicion is that my Canons have a similar problem. The glass was no longer sealed, as evidenced by moisture condensing on the inside of the objective cover glass when going out into the winter cold. So now some internal corrosion is disrupting the signal flow to the control elements. I just hope Canon can put it right again.

The Olympus stabilization is indeed spectacular.
Imho it points the way forward for hand held optics. That is to use a separate sensor from the human eye, to stabilize that sensor and to have it drive a display for the eye. Some birders have already made the transition, abandoned their scope and shifted to a long lens camera to support their observations. The camera technology continues to improve much faster than
scopes do, so that shift should accelerate.
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 18:44   #25
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Etudiant ... Sorry to hear there are still issues. Thanks for the additional information.

Does yours turn off immediately or at variable times when using it?

Mine has a couple of operating characteristics that turn it off. One is if I hold down the button for more than a 1/2 of a second when turning on the IS function, the IS turns off immediately when I remove my finger from the button. If I do not want to keep my finger on the button while viewing, I need to press it quickly for the IS to remain on with my finger off the button.

The second thing that turns it off is when the binocular is pointed downward for about 10 seconds. Maybe your sensor is out of adjustment and it turns off with less of a downward tilt. Whatever the problem, hopefully it will be an easy fix for Canon.

As this video shows, it is a complex piece of equipment. Looks like they have a micro processor controlling everything. Your Canon probably has more computer processing power than the moon lander had!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9zNtA4j3Eo
The IS on my glass would not stay on, even if I held down the IS button.
However, the Canon service technician did not have the same problem.
So they are trying to diagnose an elusive problem, an intermittent failure.

The task is not eased by the temperature differences. It is steadily warm and sunny in Irvine CA, where the repair facility is located, but it is cold here in NYC, where the glass is carried. Swings in temperature accentuate problems with intermittent contacts, so they fail here rather than at the shop.

It would be wonderful if all aspects of the Canon could be under immediate computer control, because those chips are about bulletproof. Unfortunately the linkages from electronic to mechanical and back are much less robust and also very difficult to monitor. I think Canon has been working steadily to eliminate as many of them as possible, but my old 2006 vintage 10x42 is still stuffed with them. Hence my problem now.
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