Do You Hate Your Camera?

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

One of my friends liked my Olympus E-M5 Mark I so much that he decided to purchase a Mark II that was introduced around the time we were talking. He loved that camera until…One month after it was out of warranty the EVF failed. When Olympus decided that one month was still outside the warranty period and charged him $300 to replace/repair it, he was not happy. His next camera was a Panasonic Lumix.

I purchased a Lumix GH4 shortly after it was introduced in May 2014, well that’s not completely true. Mary bought it for me as a birthday gift and I’ve been happy with it as far as handling and image quality goes until…

A year or so ago when shooting a studio photo session, the camera would make a loud beep and crash after about 100 exposures. But the photo I just made was OK. A Panasonic rep suggested that I update the firmware; I did with no improvement. He suggested switching memory cards/brands. I did with no improvement.

After looking on line I discovered I’m not the only one having these problems. But the problems seemed benign. I just turned the camera off then back on and it would keep working but once it started crashing it would do the same thing more often during a session. Today, it got worse; the GH4 shut down and I lost the photo I just made. When I turned it back on. it would only work for a few exposures before crashing. This wrecks havoc with the normal ebb-and-flow of a portrait session.

I sent a e-mail to Panasonic who responded with questions about firmware version, it was the latest; battery manufacturer, Panasonic; and lens used, Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6. After more back-and-forth e-mails a pattern emerged. Could it be the battery?

Tidbit from the Internet: “If the voltage of a lithium-ion cell drops below a certain level, it’s ruined. Lithium-ion batteries age. They only last two to three years, even if they are sitting on a shelf unused.”

My camera and its original battery are more than three years old and third-party batteries are evidently a faux pas. Last week, my friend Mark Toal offered to ship me a brand new Panasonic battery to try and it should arrive today. Here’s the plan: When my muse returns from an out-of-state trip, we’ll schedule a test shoot with a new camera battery and to hedge my bets we’ll shoot onto a brand new SanDisk SD card that Mary loaned me. Stay tuned for an update…