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Author Topic: Leaf Aptus original series - unreliable or not unrealiable that's the question.  (Read 7754 times)
MrSmith
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« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2013, 06:24:38 AM »
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that sucks. Angry
i guess if you were a doe-eyed fan willing to ride the trade-in cash-cow upgrade path it would be all smiles and handshakes from the dealer/manufacturer.
maybe the best thing to do is cut your losses and sell the back with the caveat that it has issues at low temps but is passed fit by Leaf. there are probably potential customers who wouldn't take the back out of a studio or who live in hot countries
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torger
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« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2013, 06:43:04 AM »
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Yep, I'll have two certificates from Leaf claiming it is error-free Smiley

It's summer here now though so there's a few trouble-free months and I'll enjoy the back during that time.

I have two basic alternatives, 1) come up with a homebrew temperature isolation collar so the back works reliably enough in chilly/cold conditions and live with it, 2) sell it to a user that does not need cold weather performance.

I'd like to sell it as I'm getting tired of this sh*t, but I need to be a bit smart too, selling when I have the opportunity to get a new back. Upgrading to the latest new stuff is outside my budget.

I'll be a pain in the butt for Leaf for some while first though, I don't give up that easily. If they can't fix the problem a refund of the largely meaningless repair would make me satisfied. That together with selling it would give me quite good reach to get something else from a hopefully more reliable brand. It's a bit sad though, because I've learnt to like the Aptus user interface. If it just could be reliable in my working conditions...

Just some honesty would make me happier. The biggest source of frustration is that Leaf officially stubbornly claims that their Aptus is reliable in cold temperatures, but when you get problems they won't help you out, just causing you to spend a lot of time and money.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 06:46:26 AM by torger » Logged
AreBee
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« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2013, 03:26:35 PM »
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Torger,

Quote from: torger
If there was a way to turn off the fan I could simply put tape over the vents and it would probably work a lot better.

What about the following:

If the only measure you take is to block the vents then it is likely that the problem will recur because despite the measure, the back will be at ambient temperature. Ideally you want the back electronics as warm as possible, since reliability is known to exist at elevated temperatures.

It may be awkward, but if you were to carry the back on your person as you do your batteries, then the back will be warm. Of course it will rapidly cool when exposed to the environment. However, if the vents are covered then the fan will circulate only the internal air volume, which will be relatively warm at the time the back is switched on.

With the vents blocked the back normally will begin to heat up. However, given the low ambient temperature, a temperature gradient will exist through the back and will help to dissipate heat from it. It may be that the temperature gradient is large enough for the net effect to be a gradual reduction in temperature of the back internal volume, or it may be that the temperature gradient is not large enough and the back gradually heats up to the point whereby (hopefully!) it shuts down to prevent internal damage from overheating, albeit the latter intuitively strikes me as being unlikely.

The point is that even if the back still fails from reaching too low or high a temperature, the act of taping the vents may help to extend the time the back is operable.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 03:29:54 PM by AreBee » Logged

torger
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« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2013, 02:16:14 AM »
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Thanks for the tip, may be doing something of that if this does not sort out in the end.

I've been communicating with my dealer, Phase One web support, and Leaf directly more or less in parallel which makes stuff a little bit confusing. P1 web support has been most negative, then the dealer, while Leaf has actually been helpful. Problem is that you can't really deal with them directly but most go through the other channels and then you get other more negative messages. So when you feel good about getting re-assuring messages from Leaf and send your back away you then get back negative messages from the dealer. Arrgggh!

Since my outburst of frustration yesterday I've got more feedback from Leaf directly and 1) they actually did do a freezer test which unfortunately did not provoke the error (which is not that surprising, in the best cases I've shot ~70 frames in a row in -15C without error, but when out in the field for 1-4 hours I get some sort of failure about 6-7 out of 10 times which of course makes it impossible to work with, imagine hiking for a few hours to get to the spot you want to make the shot, and then the back refuses to work!), and 2) they're prepared to look into it some more and suggested an arrangement for a loaner back meanwhile (depends on time it will take if it will be necessary for me). That's more my kind of service!

Leaf still continues to show that they want to take responsibility for their gear and claims, which certainly is the right thing to do and they should have credit for that. If they manage to deliver in the end I'll be happy, and my upgrade path can then continue to be Aptus (I've been looking at Hasselblad CFV-50 or Aptus-II 10 for a possible next back, to be able to go with an Aptus-II this must sort out though, or else I won't dare to go for an Aptus back again).
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AreBee
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« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2013, 06:27:41 AM »
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Torger,

Quote from: torger
Since my outburst of frustration yesterday I've got more feedback from Leaf directly and...2) they're prepared to look into it some more and suggested an arrangement for a loaner back meanwhile...

If Leaf has the back for a reasonable length of time and tests it several times at sub zero temperature then the liklihood of an error occurring while the back is in their posession should be high, which of course is exactly what you want. I wish you all the best.
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Lacunapratum
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« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2013, 08:14:50 PM »
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Just had my eMotion 75LV returned after repair from Sinar.  Everything in perfect shape.  Wonderful company.  Rarely any problems and if there are, their service has been exemplary.  Highly recommended. 

Backs at low temperature.  About a year ago I complained about my Hy6 malfunctioning at low temperature.  I was wrong.  Not the camera but the batteries were at fault.  These can be quite tricky.  So far two of my Hy6 batteries do not work anymore, one dating back to the time of introduction of the camera and another recent one. 

There is a Chinese seller offering these batteries and chargers on ebay.  They appear too thick for the backs, but they work perfect with the Hy6 itself.  Never had any problems with these.  Highly recommended. 
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IanB
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« Reply #46 on: June 06, 2013, 08:36:08 AM »
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I think there is one other issue which may be highly relevant here which is not being discussed in this thread. Intermittent and unspecific faults in electrical and electronic equipment used in certain conditions is often a result of temporary or partial interference with electrical connections. This is more often than not a function of moisture - usually from condensation - rather than temperature directly. Note that Leaf's specifications quoted above are for a particular temperature range, and then it says "(non-condensing)". These are absolutely key words.

Condensation results from a change in temperature - not of any particular temperature per se. This may well also explain variations in reliability between certain individual backs, depending on how much corrosion in electrical connections has built up during use. This corrosion in modern electronic equipment need not be visible to the naked eye to be significant - the low voltages and currents used can be highly susceptible to very small interferences at a microscopic scale. This is why a fresh battery can often cure a problem - it can push current through a small resistance which might stop a partially discharged battery. However, if the equipment is being subjected to repeated significant environmental changes there may well be cumulative effects.

Very cold equipment brought suddenly into a warm interior will be subjected to a severe moisture shock as a direct result of the temperature change. It is therefore important to protect your equipment from condensation when moving it between environments. The most important principle is to allow it to warm carefully when you bring it indoors, or into a warm vehicle. Warm it up thoroughly in a closed (and preferably near airtight) case or plastic bag or similar before subjecting it to the higher atmospheric moisture levels in a warm internal environment. The case these backs are normally supplied with (plus a decent-sized sachet of silica-gel) is not just "nice to have" - it's important.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #47 on: June 06, 2013, 10:17:05 AM »
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I think there is one other issue which may be highly relevant here which is not being discussed in this thread. Intermittent and unspecific faults in electrical and electronic equipment used in certain conditions is often a result of temporary or partial interference with electrical connections. This is more often than not a function of moisture - usually from condensation - rather than temperature directly. Note that Leaf's specifications quoted above are for a particular temperature range, and then it says "(non-condensing)". These are absolutely key words.

Condensation results from a change in temperature - not of any particular temperature per se. This may well also explain variations in reliability between certain individual backs, depending on how much corrosion in electrical connections has built up during use. This corrosion in modern electronic equipment need not be visible to the naked eye to be significant - the low voltages and currents used can be highly susceptible to very small interferences at a microscopic scale. This is why a fresh battery can often cure a problem - it can push current through a small resistance which might stop a partially discharged battery. However, if the equipment is being subjected to repeated significant environmental changes there may well be cumulative effects.

Very cold equipment brought suddenly into a warm interior will be subjected to a severe moisture shock as a direct result of the temperature change. It is therefore important to protect your equipment from condensation when moving it between environments. The most important principle is to allow it to warm carefully when you bring it indoors, or into a warm vehicle. Warm it up thoroughly in a closed (and preferably near airtight) case or plastic bag or similar before subjecting it to the higher atmospheric moisture levels in a warm internal environment. The case these backs are normally supplied with (plus a decent-sized sachet of silica-gel) is not just "nice to have" - it's important.


Excellent points Ian. That could explain the difficulty with re-creating an electrical issue that occurs under cold temperatures. The environment is a bit like a computer system in that respect - more variations than we can imagine (or reasonably reproduce).


Steve Hendrix
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Steve Hendrix
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torger
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« Reply #48 on: June 07, 2013, 02:30:34 AM »
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I've used separate warm batteries, newly bought original ones, swapped batteries when errors occurred etc, errors occur when battery meter shows full battery. Quite sure it's not the battery.

I'm very familiar with condensation issues, I've used cameras and electronics in cold conditions quite extensively. I keep the gear in the closed bag to cool down and warm up slowly to avoid condensation. In the climate I live in condensation is rather easy to avoid, the air is generally rather dry both summer and winter.

I've used one other back (an ancient Hasselblad CF22, also open vent and fan) with the exact same tech camera with the exact same procedures in the same type of conditions many times without any problems. And of course I use my DSLR (a 5Dmk2, ie consumer level sealing) in the same way, without problems.

So I'm quite sure there's some specific issue with this back. Fortunately Leaf centrally has listened to my elaborate description of the problem and decided to take yet another look at this. It's not supposed to be this dodgy under these conditions. I don't yet know what the result of that will be. I hope they will be able to reproduce the problem. I experience problems about 6-7 out of 10 times out in chilly/cold weather, so there are 3-4 out of 10 that is trouble-free. This means that the problem is not super-easy to reproduce at will, but if you work with the back over a few days you get failures. I'm not a studio photographer that can pick a backup off the shelf, as I go to fairly remote areas by foot I need a back that I can rely on.

My guess is that there's one or more components in the back that has a rather small tolerance range, and due to sample variation some units work well and others are be a bit unstable, ie my back is not necessarily faulty but happens to have tolerance on the wrong side (this is also what P1 web support suggested). Not great if that is the case, but I would guess less than 10% of medium format shooters use their gear in "tough" conditions so few would notice, and as long as Leaf helps out us few winter outdoor photographers to get a unit that is stable outside studio conditions I'm good.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 02:44:14 AM by torger » Logged
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