Damage

How good is excellent customer service?

Having used FLM LB-60 leveling base for couple of years now it got broken during our move to a new house. I sent it back after official warranty period in hope that they could fix it.

Yesterday I got home from last filming trip to Canada and there it was, package from FLM waiting for me. I opened it knowing that there would be my leveling base, hopefully fixed, but instead there was two. Old broken one and brand new one including letter “With regards back”.

In my email correspondence I offered to pay for repair costs, shipping and whatever inconvenience this might cause to them but there was no mention about anything like that in package I received. This is what I call excellent customer service! Thank you FLM

FLM_repaired_teemulahtinen

Tripod problems

I need small and sturdy tripod for shooting video in the backcountry. Traditional video tripods are way too big to attach to your backpack while snowboarding. Maybe three years ago I found really small and lightweight Gitzo 1158, attached FLM leveling base and Manfrotto 701 video head to it. Whole thing weighs around 2,5kg and is less than 70cm long, just the perfect size for my needs. Gitzos built quality is amazing, probably the best you can get but after few years of heavy use even the best ones give up. Last year one of the legs started sliding off after first extension tube cracked inside. I tried to get spare parts from Gitzo but the model was outdated and the parts were nowhere to be found.I got used to it after awhile and tend to leave it little shorter than other legs and it works just fine. Then little later another leg started to wobble and loosen up from its joint. I repaired it with obvious choice, the gaffers tape and it worked fine for over 6 months. When I got home from the last trip I removed the tape that was left and this loose leg dropped off from its socket. I got lucky when this happened at home and not up in the mountains! I had to get some epoxy to glue it back in and glued another leg that was loose as well. Now it seems to be fine and I´m hoping it will last for another 3 years. 

Traveling with photo gear

Traveling with photography- and video gear is pain in the ass most of the times. Not only its heavy but it can get broken, maybe not by you but by someone else. You have to be prepared for everything and that is why there is usually too much stuff to carry around. Everything that you can fit goes in your backbag and inside the cabin if you are traveling by air, and don´t mind the weight limits, the size matters more! When you show your baggage contents to airport officials they usually let you take it with you even if it is too heavy. It gets too risky and pricey for them to get your expensive gear down at baggage compartment. Everything else must go down, and that is something you can´t control yourself. Better to get some Pelican-case or similar if you´re really worried, but I think it gets too heavy and complicated to lug around multiple cases and snowboard bags. You think you packed everything safe and sound but still your gear gets smashed. Lets face it, those airline workers won´t handle your luggage the way you do it yourself.

This was the result after flights from Helsinki via Copenhagen to Bergen in Norway. Thank you SAS! With this protector filter they smashed my 1TB external hard-drive. Both items packed inside tough Dakine bag, wrapped around with couple of shirts, fleeces and beanies. I made the complaint of damaged gear during flight but never got response. After couple of months I called back and the process was started but it has been six months and nothing, not even excuses.

Here is another pic of my trusty old 80-200 Nikkor which was fine after I changed the smashed filter. Another good reason for wearing one at all times!

Breaking things

Last year I was out filming and photographing most of my time. During the process a lot of gear breaks up, gets battered during transport or just has poor design. It happens so often that there has to be more to it than just bad luck.

Equipment that I use are supposed to be made for frequent use and they should last the normal wear and tear, without me looking after them with excess care. I admit that I am not the most caring people when it comes to my equipment, but still it happens so often that I can do nothing but wonder the quality of products nowadays.

I wanted to start a new category to my blog because of this and here is the first entry:

It is a flash shoe adapter. Cheap stuff but still designed poorly. Manfrotto should be selling these in 6 packs or something because they are just not made to last, crappiest stuff I have to carry in my bag. Shown in the photo broken in two different ways, one on the left is still holding flash but it is spinning freely and can be pulled out from its socket with your hand. One on the right will not hold a flash in it, you can see the cracks on the top.

Title of this post is stolen from an album of  90`s pop punk band, guess what!

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