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Author Topic: Leaf Aptus original series - unreliable or not unrealiable that's the question.  (Read 7462 times)
Gigi
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2013, 08:48:57 AM »
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Not too put a simple face on this, but in very cold weather, I get about 20 minutes from a single battery, also depending on their age. The double batteries (third party) are better in this regard.

As you know, the Leaf gets a bit funky sometimes when the battery power is low. The simple message of "not enough power" only happens sometimes - other times it can hang up, fixed by a fresh battery and a restart.

I'm sure this isn't your problem, but....   
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Geoff
torger
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2013, 09:07:55 AM »
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Stefan Steib wrote that a lot of problems may depend on battery chargers not charging optimally. You cannot operate the camera on external power?

Sometimes it can happen that voltage drops when a device draws high current.

Yes I can operate on external power, so it is an extra test I can do, but the errors don't appear at will so easily so if I'm unlucky I may test for a few hours without problem. I may do such a test anyway, I don't think it will do any difference. I have suspected batteries before, but as it works fine in room temperature, and I have tested with several batteries (also a big one) and have kept batteries warm and swapped (warm) batteries when failures occur and failures still occur after that I no longer think it is battery-related. Could be some battery power feed circuit that can handle low temp but I find that unlikely.
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torger
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2013, 09:33:55 AM »
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Not too put a simple face on this, but in very cold weather, I get about 20 minutes from a single battery, also depending on their age. The double batteries (third party) are better in this regard.

As you know, the Leaf gets a bit funky sometimes when the battery power is low. The simple message of "not enough power" only happens sometimes - other times it can hang up, fixed by a fresh battery and a restart.

I'm sure this isn't your problem, but....   

Yes I've noted the funky behavior at low battery. Before e-box exchange it was really bad, but now it is better, only sometimes it gets funky at low batteries. Yair claims that "there is no low battery behavior", ie that it should never be funky, but I've had enough reports of funkiness on low battery so I think it is normal for this back. (I get cold weather failures even with full and warm batteries too though.)

Yesterday I was out shooting in -1C to +1C, it's late winter here which means outdoor temperature is typically around 0C. I got no failures, but a funky thing happened: one picture took a very long time to write to the card, and then the back went silent, ie no beeps after shot picture. This funny thing has happened once for me in +20C indoors too. I've heard one other user talk about this bug, so I think it is "normal", although it never happened on my previous e-box.

So far my best guess of the true behavior of this product is that:

  • It's a bit buggy, funny things can happen especially on low battery, and in rare occassions funny things can happen (like dropped beep sound) with full battery.
  • It's a bit different between backs how buggy they are, some are more buggy than others.
  • It does not handle cold weather well due to low tolerance in the electronics combined with active cooling.
  • As components vary in tolerance it varies between backs how tolerant against cold weather they are, the poor ones get problems in quite mild freezing temperatures, or even within the lower part of the official 0-40C range.
  • Worst case for cold weather is using it on a technical camera as the fan then spins full speed all the time, likelihood to work well in cold temperature is best on SLR bodies when the fan is temperature-controlled

If this is true, the back I have now works as a normal Leaf Aptus back, and I should simply not expect more, I just put my bets on the wrong horse. I'm trying to get this nailed down with Leaf, so I can eventually sell this back with good conscious knowing that it's not faulty, it's just not a back suitable for cold weather or those that need absolute reliable operation (ie no funny things happening at all, regardless of battery level etc). If Leaf still continues to say that the back is reliable and handle cold weather well I want them to replace the e-box once more so I get something that works, it's either that or confess that the back really is no better than this.

Phase One web support has kind of already said that it is no better than this (the sometimes funny behavior on low battery and room temp has not yet been confirmed though), but I'd like to have it from a Leaf official since I cannot know for sure if Phase One web support isn't trash-talking Leaf products, as they think their own products are a bit better :-).
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Gel
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« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2013, 05:13:04 PM »
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As much as I love medium format digital, I have never seen such poor reliability issues.

That's with Leaf, Hasselblad and Mamiya. The Phase P25 back I had worked perfectly and that arrived from Iceland in a Jiffy bag.
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Chris Giles Photography
torger
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2013, 01:03:50 AM »
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Finally got in contact with a Leaf representative, which in opposite to Phase One web support states that it indeed should work, and provided a strong list of tech cam users which work in tough conditions, including cold using Aptus backs. Indeed seems unlikely that the back could be behaving as erratically as mine for all those without noticing. Still waiting for a reply from my dealer but as it seems the back will go back to the factory once more for an additional look. That somebody at Leaf shows interest in that the back should behave in cold weather is a great plus and feels comforting. In the end it will be the result that counts though, we'll see how it goes.
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sbernthal
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2013, 09:30:36 AM »
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Reliability and withstanding extreme temperatures are not exactly the same thing.

Leaf backs are rated 0-40c, but measuring temperature is a complicated thing.
How did you measure the +1c?
If the back is in negative temperatures for a while, it can take it some time to recover from that.
Your measurement of +1c can be measured by another instrument as -1c.
You should understand that when you are standing right next to the edge of the range, problem could happen.
Not working at +5c is a real problem. Not working at +1c could result from many things, and not necessarily a problem.

For low temperatures, the good solution can be to keep an external battery connected by a cable and held inside your coat.
It would make sense that the fan is causing these problems (your irritation about what they told you in advance on that issue, is quite justified IMO).
You can block the fan or stop it manually. I think that would be safer than a heat pack. Wrapping a wool headband around the back could solve the issue.

Phase/Leaf can sometimes be quite arrogant, refuse to apologize for very obvious mistakes, and stick by it no matter what, as if for principle.
Still, my buddies who use Hasselblad have much worse complaints - i.e. repeated breakdowns of equipment in completely normal conditions, and ridiculous inability to fix problems. I've only had one problem with a Leaf back - and old beat down rental, and it was fixed within one day.

Then I had loose mounting teeth on a back just on the day warranty expired, and they fixed it for free anyway.
I've had problems around +40c, but I accept that if I am next to the range limits, then these types of problems can occur.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2013, 09:47:47 AM »
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Hi,

The problem is that the part of the world where Anders Torger lives has below zero temperatures 5 months of the year.

Now, photographic equipment seems to be specified between 0C and +40C. Nevertheless, it is an expectation that photographic equipment should work reliably at subzero temperatures, else we would not have images from outdoors sports in Winter Olympics. In addition, Phase One demonstrated that their stuff works at -79C in a well published video.

So, specifications say that you do use the stuff below zero C at your own peril, but expectation is that yo can use them in non extreme winter conditions.

I could also add that I was shooting SLRs and DSLRs for 43 years, without any failing because of weather. No, I am not a very abrasive kind of fellow, but still, my shooting gear has seen both skyfalls and temperatures below -20C.

Best regards
Erik


Reliability and withstanding extreme temperatures are not exactly the same thing.

Leaf backs are rated 0-40c, but measuring temperature is a complicated thing.
How did you measure the +1c?
If the back is in negative temperatures for a while, it can take it some time to recover from that.
Your measurement of +1c can be measured by another instrument as -1c.
You should understand that when you are standing right next to the edge of the range, problem could happen.
Not working at +5c is a real problem. Not working at +1c could result from many things, and not necessarily a problem.

For low temperatures, the good solution can be to keep an external battery connected by a cable and held inside your coat.
It would make sense that the fan is causing these problems (your irritation about what they told you in advance on that issue, is quite justified IMO).
You can block the fan or stop it manually. I think that would be safer than a heat pack. Wrapping a wool headband around the back could solve the issue.

Phase/Leaf can sometimes be quite arrogant, refuse to apologize for very obvious mistakes, and stick by it no matter what, as if for principle.
Still, my buddies who use Hasselblad have much worse complaints - i.e. repeated breakdowns of equipment in completely normal conditions, and ridiculous inability to fix problems. I've only had one problem with a Leaf back - and old beat down rental, and it was fixed within one day.

Then I had loose mounting teeth on a back just on the day warranty expired, and they fixed it for free anyway.
I've had problems around +40c, but I accept that if I am next to the range limits, then these types of problems can occur.
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sbernthal
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2013, 11:32:49 AM »
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Well, I live in central Israel where the temperatures are 0-40c almost all the time, and Leaf plant is 10km away, so it's easier for me Smiley

It's quite true that you expect a camera to work in extreme weather, even if it is not guaranteed.
I've never had any temperature problems with the many Canon 1D/1Ds units I had, in any conditions whatsoever.
I was quite surprised when my first Leaf it stopped working one day, and then realized that I was in 45c heat.

But it's easy to understand that Leaf is not as rugged as Canon 1D.
For rugged and extreme you want Phase One, although Leaf deny this vehemently whenever asked.

They were afraid to admit this in the past as they didn't want to lose the field users segment.
But now with the Credo out, I think they can openly admit that an Aptus in extreme weather is a risky bet.





Hi,

The problem is that the part of the world where Anders Torger lives has below zero temperatures 5 months of the year.

Now, photographic equipment seems to be specified between 0C and +40C. Nevertheless, it is an expectation that photographic equipment should work reliably at subzero temperatures, else we would not have images from outdoors sports in Winter Olympics. In addition, Phase One demonstrated that their stuff works at -79C in a well published video.

So, specifications say that you do use the stuff below zero C at your own peril, but expectation is that yo can use them in non extreme winter conditions.

I could also add that I was shooting SLRs and DSLRs for 43 years, without any failing because of weather. No, I am not a very abrasive kind of fellow, but still, my shooting gear has seen both skyfalls and temperatures below -20C.

Best regards
Erik


« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 11:39:28 AM by sbernthal » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2013, 10:59:04 PM »
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Hi,

I wouldn't exactly call temperatures below zero extreme, here in Nyköping it was below zero from early December to end of last week.

The other end, I don't experience it that often :-) I guess it is outside my environmental specs anyway.

Best regards
Erik
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torger
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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2013, 03:55:54 AM »
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I know it's true that +1 (air temperature measurement) could possibly be -1, but not too likely in this case as the temperature was quite stable that day. It's on the edge of a 0-40C rating, but a camera that has so poor tolerances that it fails right at the edge is not well-designed.

While Phase One web support openly say that Aptus and Aptus-II are risky bets, when I recently came in contact with an "old" Leaf representative and told this, he still denied it and said that Aptus is reliable in cold weather and my back is most likely faulty (they want to test themselves of course) and should be sent in for re-repair under warranty. My dealer is not exactly reacting fast though so despite this message I'm still waiting for instructions from the dealer of what to do.

Now the weather has become warmer here, so I will probably not have any more problems until September/October, so if I do send it in again it will take some time before I can verify if they've managed to fix it. I do hope professional users get faster service than I do, which they probably do. Coming as an amateur with an old Aptus 75 and not wanting to upgrade I guess is not the way to make oneself popular Smiley. I have paid good money for repair now though, so I expect to get some help...
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 04:04:28 AM by torger » Logged
sbernthal
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2013, 04:28:01 AM »
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I agree with all except this: "a camera that has so poor tolerances that it fails right at the edge is not well-designed"

These older backs were clearly designed with indoor studio users in mind.
As an indoor studio user, they are perfect for me and many others.
Therefore I don't think you can say they are poorly designed.

You can definitely say their marketing is wanting, since they keep insisting that the Aptus backs are well suited for cold weather.
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torger
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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2013, 05:16:28 AM »
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I agree with all except this: "a camera that has so poor tolerances that it fails right at the edge is not well-designed"

These older backs were clearly designed with indoor studio users in mind.
As an indoor studio user, they are perfect for me and many others.
Therefore I don't think you can say they are poorly designed.

You can definitely say their marketing is wanting, since they keep insisting that the Aptus backs are well suited for cold weather.

Sure I can agree with you, if they truly are indoor products the performance of my current back is surely acceptable (although I've had one strange issue in room temperature too), but I'm not sure that such a product that's likely to fail at ~0 would be marked as 0-40C, a more suitable rating for my backs current performance would probably be something like 10-40C (I have not tested warm temperatures).

I don't know who to believe in this case though, my Leaf representative stubbornly claims that it's a product made to support outdoor use in colder weather. So I'll wait and see what the result will be.

I'll not be too disappointed if it ends up with that it is a 10-40C back, then I'll just sell it eventually to someone that does not have the same need for outdoor performance as I have. But then I'd like to hear from an official Leaf representative that the back truly is not better than this so I know I sell a newly fully serviced fully working back and can get the appropriate price for that.

The worst case is if Leaf continues to claim that Aptus should work great in cold temperatures but fails to get my back working, which is the current state. But it ain't over until it's over.
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sbernthal
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2013, 06:15:05 AM »
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It's a gray area, as for every user who's had cold weather problems, there are three who swear they never had.

If they replaced the entire internal structure, then your back should be as good as new, and I trust their support knows what they're saying there.

Maybe your cold weather is more windy than the cold weather users who report no problems.

I still would try a simple solution of wrapping a wool band or scarf around the sides of the back, which should effectively counter the wind and fan effects.
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torger
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2013, 06:36:27 AM »
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I still would try a simple solution of wrapping a wool band or scarf around the sides of the back, which should effectively counter the wind and fan effects.

That is exactly what I will do if I still have problems next winter and decide to keep the back (which I otherwise like very much). It's not likely I'll have more cold weather issues this season though as its becoming warm. I'll probably report of any success/failure then Smiley
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sbernthal
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2013, 06:57:02 AM »
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Also the second idea - in case you are using batteries:
Batteries can fail in cold weather.
You can take one battery and one charger, hollow them out and make an extension, so that you power the back form a battery inside your coat.
Or any other battery oriented solution: http://forum.phaseone.com/En/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11943

I wouldn't part with this back so soon.
I know when the company gives you some BS, then you feel you want to "get them back", but I don't think you'll be happier with a Hasselblad.
I've had my share of difficulties with Leaf backs, but once I've gotten the hang of it, they're well worth the trouble, and certainly can't be beaten for the same price.
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torger
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2013, 10:31:07 AM »
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I don't think it's batteries, I have kept them warm, attach them in the last minute and I still can get failures. But I may look into one such solution anyway at some point.

I'd be happier with a back that works in cold weather without fuzz, brand doesn't matter. I can't drive 150km with the car and then hike for 3 hours, set up the camera and watch it fail.

It would be nice with a back so reliable that you wouldn't know if support was good or bad, as you wouldn't need to contact them Smiley

I've used a Hasselblad CF22 which had no cold weather issues (fan-cooled as well). However I'm aware that there's variation between copies. There are those using Aptuses in cold weather successfully. Possibly there are Hasselblad backs that fails in cold weather, although I haven't heard about it (a lot about failing H bodies though, almost just by looking at them). If it would be Hasselblad I'd look primarily into CFV-50. Leaf unfortunately does not have a good upgrade option sensor-wise after the 33 megapixel, it's then the 56 with the strange format, or more current fullframe backs but those are out of my price range.

It's not likely that I'd get another 33-39 megapixel back, then I'd rather drop down to 22 for a while until I find an attractive deal in the 50-60 range which is where I'd like to be in the long-term.
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torger
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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2013, 01:38:58 PM »
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I just looked in my mailbox to see how quickly my support issues are dealt with. From the first contact with the current dealer until I got the back repaired (or "repaired" I shall say) back to me it took three months. Before that I'd messed around with a "local" dealer in six weeks before I realized that his pricing was crazy and not really familiar with Leaf gear at all. Now I'm three weeks into dealing with the current issue. 99.9% of the time is waiting of course, 0.099% is complaining out of frustration in my threads on this forum, and 0.001% is actually progress. For the utmost inefficiency three countries are involved, Germany, Denmark and Israel, with seemingly weeks of delays in each.

I wonder if my case is unique, or if support this slow is part of the medium format experience Cheesy
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sbernthal
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« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2013, 01:58:43 PM »
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I've had a couple of problems with Leaf equipment, and each one was dealt with within 1 day.
My suggestion to you - contact Leaf directly and not through any dealer.

They have phone numbers, and they will talk to you if you call them.
They will be able and willing to facilitate a quick resolution.
They will instruct you what to do through the dealer.

Going strictly through channels and waiting for each channel to go into action after it gets an interrupt from another channel - and involving 3-4 different entities - that type of process is prone to excessive delays.
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torger
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« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2013, 08:52:52 AM »
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Finally the dealer got back to me with a decision and it's going back to them again to re-check the repair. Courier picking up the package tomorrow. The amount of money I've paid in insured postage is not insignificant :-)

I've included in the package a written very elaborate description of the errors that occurs and in what conditions, I hope that will be carried all the way to the factory in Israel. Since my last update I've had failures in +4C. I haven't really tested the range +4C to room temperature as it has not been those temperatures outside since I got the back, so maybe it will fail in +10C or even +15C too, although I find it unlikely (even the previous e-box worked well in those temperatures).

It shall be interesting to see what they do, if I get yet another e-box. As there are users that use them in cold conditions successfully and Leaf claims that it should work I guess they have to replace e-box over and over again until I get one of those units that works :-)
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torger
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« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2013, 06:02:30 AM »
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Be warned: this is my own little thread of frustration Smiley

The back has been away some time now (I messed up with the address first, so a few days lost is on me), it's coming back to me this week though, about five weeks since I sent it away for re-repair under warranty.

I've got the report that they haven't done anything to fix the problem though, so it was just in vain.

So I'm stuck.

Leaf officially claims that it works in cold weather (my can fail even within the official 0-40 range), mine does not work, but they (the Leaf factory) still claim that there is no error with it. My guess is that they do not have any testing equipment to actually test a back in chilly temperatures, so they have just ignored my very long and detailed error description and tested it in room temperature (where it works as said in my description) and that's it.

Something must happen in this issue so I can come to rest, either they fix it, or Leaf officially says that the marketing was all b*llshit, there's sample variation and if you're unlucky you get a back which actually doesn't work even in the 0-40 range and then we can't help you. However, it would be nice to get back the lost €2150+VAT for the meaningless "repair" then.

I'm not very happy with Leaf now. Angry I hope this can change though, if there's will at Leaf to fix the problem and they actually do it eventually I'll be happy.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 06:15:54 AM by torger » Logged
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