OK, I’m still pissed about not getting my camera fixed under warranty, and this article, while hopefully being helpful, is as much a rant as it is guidance. With that in mind, expect the article to possibly be sprinkled with colorful metaphors.
Lesson 1: Buy the extra insurance.
Those debt-free gurus are wrong about extended warranties; they can save your ass. In the case of a new Fuji X100F, the $100 warranty will cover pretty much anything you would do to that camera under normal conditions up to dropping the damn thing in the toilet. Not having the extended warranty means the $0.20 plastic dust cover that inadvertently falls off the front of your camera will set you back $447 parts and labor. If you think spending a third of the price of your camera to replace the shitty made-in-China dust cover is worth the risk of skipping the insurance, just write the check out to “Cash” and DM me for my mailing address.
Lesson 2: Keep all the pieces that break.
The reason Fujifilm USA they can’t honor the warranty is that the part that fell off during a photo walk in a grassy area on the river bluff (I’m guessing, because if I knew where it fell of for certain, I wouldn’t have to write this)… yeah, the part that fell off was not included in the box when I shipped it to them. Apparently there are lots of people that spend $1200 on point-and-shoot cameras and then rip pieces off so they can scam large corporations. Let me put this in perspective. Manufacturers aren’t your friends. If you want your camera covered under the warranty, don’t give MomCorp the upper hand. Keep all the documents, keep all the pieces*.
Lesson 3: Don’t let the camera sit.
Use it as soon as you get it. Take it out and shoot a thousand shots with it in the first week. In fact, for the first few minutes, just keep pressing the shutter release over and over and over. If it makes even the slightest noise that causes you to get butterflies and the urge to take a shit, swallow your disappointment and send it back. A digital camera is an investment regardless of the price tag. If it has a warranty, try to make it fail within the warranty period. I am not advocating abusing a camera and sending it back damaged. That’s scamming MomCorp, and that’s just not cool. They’re going to know you mashed the shutter release with a hammer and punch just to see how much it could take, and you’re going to get a bill that leaves a sour taste in your wallet for a long time. But you can certainly put it through its paces. If the manufacturer claims its water resistant, take the damn thing out in the rain or to a water park where kids are splashing around. If it says it can do 15fps, run it at 15fps burst mode until the memory card or battery dies. If it starts making funny noises, box it up and send it back. Don’t be a numbskull like me and whine that “it’s digital, and my hipster sensibilities are only suited to old expensive film cameras, boo-f*cking-hoo,” because you’re going to find yourself with a broken camera ten months later when you actually do start to really dig it. That’s a rub.
Lesson 4: Check the warranty/repairs page before you buy.
If sending your camera in for repairs requires you fill out a form that generates a PDF that you can then fax to the repair depot, you might want to dig deeper. If your warranty repair requires you to blindly send your camera in to a shop where some guy named “Bob” is the one that always answers, even when you punch all the numbers in the automated system in random order, then you should think hard about giving this company any money. And verify with reputable companies that the camera parts for your specific camera are readily available.
Lesson 5: F*ck digital, buy a film camera.
Yeah, I’m going to eat it here. I should have never bought the X100T. Not because it’s a bad camera, it’s freaking amazing. It is arguably one of the best cameras I’ve ever owned, if not the best! It’s pure joy to shoot with, and it’s packed with so many features — specifically the Fujifilm film emulations — that unless you need multiple lenses or want to shoot sports events, there is no reason to buy a DSLR ever again. But even Fuji apparently won’t sell repair departments the face plate**. But if you’re smart, you can get a much better camera for a tenth of the price, you just have to buy some accessories to develop the film. You can buy a decent Leica M3, or a Canon 7, or an old Zorki 4K, and while you won’t have an X-Trans sensor, if your camera breaks it’s not going to cost $447 for a piece of cosmetic plastic. Also, you don’t have to worry about somebody screwing you out of warranty work. So the next time I do buy a digital camera — probably not a Fuji after this debacle — it will be only after I’ve learned a few hard lessons, and only again after I’ve rented it to test it out first.
* assuming you can even find the pieces that fall off when they fall off.
** the repair shop I linked above reached out to the supplier and Fuji won’t supply them the face plate. The original Fujifilm USA place will fix it for about $447 but I suspect they’re either taking an entire lens assembly, sans sensor, and replacing it, or billing me as if they had to disassemble the entire camera to replace a part that fell out of the front of it.