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Repairing RED lenses


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#1 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:06 PM

I've been servicing and repairing RED zooms and primes for years now. If nothing needs replacing it all goes smoothly, but whenever I send an email to RED requesting parts, I always get the same response saying they don't sell parts and that the lens needs to be sent halfway around the world to a RED repair facility to be worked on by a RED technician. Needless to say, most clients don't want to spend excessive time and money sending their budget lenses across 20 time zones just to have a nylon follower replaced when it's something that can be very easily done right here. I end up manufacturing the part myself and telling anyone who cares to listen to NEVER BUY A RED LENS! Maybe it wouldn't be as much of an issue if their lenses didn't develop nasty faults so readily.

Every other lens manufacturer I deal with is happy to supply parts and information. RED seems to think their lenses are a military secret or something. Bizarre behaviour.

Anyway, I was curious about other people's experiences getting their RED lenses serviced. Does anyone actually buy lenses from RED anymore? Does anyone even use them, except as a last resort, or if they come for free?
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#2 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:30 PM

I've never used them Dom. What glass is inside?

G
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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:52 PM

The early 18-50 and 50-150 zooms were clearly re-housed stills lenses, maybe Tamron or Sigma, later zooms and primes were built from the ground up, but no idea who supplied the glass. That would be a military secret. Some lenses have "Made in UK" engraved on them, leading some people to speculate that Cooke may have been involved, but I've been reassured by Cooke themselves they had naught to do with 'em.

Don't get me wrong, for the price the primes aren't that bad, just rather bland, with sparse focus markings and prone to develop focus play. Classic "designed by computers" lenses, with nice MTF scores but nobody seems to like the actual look of them. The 18-50 zoom I wouldn't recommend at all, but even later zooms that are mechanically better have issues - for example every 18-85 I've seen gets soft right in the middle of the zoom range, and develops shocking focus play over time. Again, for the price you could probably live with such faults, but it's the lack of service support that really makes me down on them, particularly if you're far-flung like we are here in Oz.
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#4 James Martin

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:50 AM

I wonder if TLS did them. The UK has very few lens-makers, if Cooke say they didn't do them, True Lens might have. They have a reputation as good people for the re-housing of old Cookes etc...


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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:01 AM

I wonder if TLS did them. The UK has very few lens-makers, if Cooke say they didn't do them, True Lens might have. They have a reputation as good people for the re-housing of old Cookes etc...


Yes, could have been. It was the rehoused first zooms that were made in the UK, so a company like TLS makes sense. The Pro Primes and later zooms were apparently made in Japan, according to Mitch Gross on an old REDuser thread. Funny to read some of those threads now, people were claiming the RED Pro primes were better than Zeiss Ultra Primes, even giving Master Primes a run for their money! Four years later and you can pick up a RED Prime on ebay for less than a 30 year old Zeiss Super Speed!
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 10:38 AM

In my personal opinion, even at less than the price of a super speed, they are still overpriced.


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#7 James Martin

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:39 PM

I have never known ACs to complain about a lens as much as a Red Pro Prime.

 

My Standard speeds have small engravings, move in and out, are slightly soft around the edges wide open but they light up an ACs eyes after they've been working with stills lenses, or RPPs.

 

People don't seem to be able to offload the RPPs at all.


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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 04:53 AM

The early 18-50 and 50-150 zooms were clearly re-housed stills lenses, maybe Tamron or Sigma, later zooms and primes were built from the ground up, but no idea who supplied the glass. That would be a military secret. Some lenses have "Made in UK" engraved on them, leading some people to speculate that Cooke may have been involved, but I've been reassured by Cooke themselves they had naught to do with 'em.

Don't get me wrong, for the price the primes aren't that bad, just rather bland, with sparse focus markings and prone to develop focus play. Classic "designed by computers" lenses, with nice MTF scores but nobody seems to like the actual look of them. The 18-50 zoom I wouldn't recommend at all, but even later zooms that are mechanically better have issues - for example every 18-85 I've seen gets soft right in the middle of the zoom range, and develops shocking focus play over time. Again, for the price you could probably live with such faults, but it's the lack of service support that really makes me down on them, particularly if you're far-flung like we are here in Oz.

I remember seeing an old  post here  from several years ago   when the Red lenses first came out. Some bonehead Red-Head proudly posted some images on Reduser which had chromatic aberration worthy of a Holga. Then another dingbat (Jan von Krogh if I remember correctly) insisted that it was just a compression artifact. Yet no amount of encoding-reencoding could produce an effect like the one shown.

 

This place sure attracted the ratbags :rolleyes:


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:29 AM

And there was me looking with envious eyes at Samyang.

 

P


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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:38 AM

One factor might be the fact that RED have dropped their involvement with lenses and are probably holding onto any spares to continue their own servicing for the time being. I don't think RED have any kind of real commitment to lenses these days.

 

Freya


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#11 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 09:33 AM

And there was me looking with envious eyes at Samyang.
 P

  
Somewhere in the world there's a kid envious of your sneakers, it's all relative isn't it. Most of the issues we talk about here are first world problems.

One factor might be the fact that RED have dropped their involvement with lenses and are probably holding onto any spares to continue their own servicing for the time being. I don't think RED have any kind of real commitment to lenses these days.
 
Freya

As far as I know they've always had this policy. They're just nitwits I reckon.
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