I hope this is an appropriate forum to post this question. Please excuse me if it isn't.
Recently we rented a canon lens for a film shoot from Abel Cine Tech. There were no problems on the shoot and the lens worked fine, looked good, and was properly handled / cared for. After returning the lens they claim that we damaged it and sent us this photo.
Before we had a chance to inspect the lens in person, they had the front element replaced and are now charging us $2000.00
My question is, doesn't it look like dust on the lens? What kind of damage is it? It doesn't look like a scratch. What would cause this?
Has anyone had a similar experience?
Any and all feedback and information greatly appreciated.
Hmmm, that's hard to say, it's simply impossible to tell from the photo. It could be dust, it could be a nick in the element.
It is surprising though that Able would just go ahead and replace the element and then bill you for it, rather than speak with you about it first.
Does insurance not come into play here? I've never ever rented any kind of high-end cine gear without the vendor's insistence that we have the proper insurance in place on the rented gear. It's been a long time since I've had any dealings with ACT, but could almost swear they do as well.
I will say though that if it was a higher-end lens (something along the likes of a Cook S4 or similar) that replacing the entire front element could have been a much bigger hit than $2K.
I'd have a heart-to-heart chat with them, and see what's up. Then I'd ask for the old element for inspection (seems like they'd have to give it to you, since they are basically making you buy it). Then I'd send it to an independent lens guru for an opinion (Paul Duclos of Duclos Lenses in L.A. comes to mind, he'd be glad to give it a free once-over).
Good luck... it's a tough situation.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Thats very good advice thank you, I will ask them for the lens element. We did have insurance and they were named as additional insured. I have spoken to the insurance and they say we can go ahead an open a claim to begin an investigation, however the deductible is $2000.00 so what we will get is not money but documentation, so that should ACT claim the same lens or something similar in the future it can start being noticed.
As for a heart-to-heart with them, they don't want to return calls and have sent this to collection. They claim they did notify us by forwarding me some emails i never saw. My producer and DP said upon check out / check in, there were no issues, then by phone were told there may be a problem with the lens, but didn't hear back again for a month, and the next contact was simply a bill for replacing the element. We feel we are being harassed into paying for equipment that may have already been damaged. We don't even know if it is the same lens that was on our shoot.
It should be simple enough to figure out if it was the same lens as on your shoot, just look at serial number on rental check out.
If the lens "had already been damaged" then it was incumbent on your crew to point it out on check out and get another lens, or at least to make note of it, just as you do on a rental car check out with scratches
or body damage.
From what you've revealed, it seems like it was probably damaged after the shoot and on its way to return. These tasks are often delegated to "production assistants" or drivers who know neither the value of the gear or how to properly handle it and would be unlikely to report a problem they had with load shift in a van, especially if the lens was mounted on the camera in a soft case and the lens cap had fallen off.
Abel is a reputable rental house, and although it possible for them to make mistakes too, checking gear on return is one of the most serious tasks a rental company teaches its technicians, and that is most certainly when most damage is revealed.
Finally the issue of insurance deductible; productions should always expect the worst and if possible build in the deductible amount into the budget. If there's not any loss nor damage then it's extra profit!
All these remarks are based on my experience as a cameraperson who also rents out equipment, including the same lens as was damaged here and it is an item that in particular is considered a "jewel" by anyone who owns it, requiring extra special care and consideration.
We did a check out and check in and never saw any of this. How do you know what lens it is, to consider it a jewel? I don't believe there was any such issue such as a shifting during return, or a soft case, or lens cap come off. Did you look at the picture? What kind of damage does it look like? I am still trying to figure out if it is not just dust? We have not been able to inspect the lens as they had it replaced with out our inspection and an okay. They never once said if you don't come take a look at this we are simply going to go ahead and replace it and the cost will be .... They just did it. Maybe we know a repair technician and can have it done at our expense?
So it doesn't show up in any of your footage?
I thought you said Cine Style, my mistake. But technically the rental company usually has a clause in the rental contract stipulating that the rental continues until the item is repaired and restored, thus their incentive to get it done quickly, especially because they got no reply from the emails. Essentially they were trying to minimize your damages.
I'm not defending their actions per se, and clearly there is some information missing. It is hard to see from your photography what exactly the damage is, and you really must see the replaced part to determine the actual extent and maybe the cause. With this information you might have the evidence to reverse their claim.
That photo is from the rental house. They expected us to accept that as proof of damage.
Surely they have to show you the (damaged) element .. that would seem basic,if not a legal stipulation.. at least good manners.
I would think they must have it,to back up their own position if nothing else. and any insurance company would demand to see it before they pay up.Rather than this photo which doesnt show the damage even !!!
Does sound a bit strange? couldnt they phone you after emails didnt work?
Wonder that they are willing to lose your business for only $2,000?
I would say you need the old element.. and why was it not seen by their guys on return.. maybe they dropped it.. its their word against yours..