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    Hi guys, wasnt quite sure what category to post this, so sorry if its better suited somewhere else.

    Im looking for some help or advice with an issue im having with Van Diemen, who have been rehousing my Lomo Anamorphics. Ive been pretty tight lipped about the problems ive been having as I dont like to be a ‘keyboard warrior’ or trash people online but we seemed to have reached a bit of a stale mate, and im not happy with what they are saying. I was wondering if anyone else has had any experiences and what my best way forward is.

    Without going into to much detail as to all my frustrations including the amount of time it took for the lenses to be completed…. even after I was told face to face that my lenses were nearly complete, if I could just make an additional good will gesture payment to help cashflow, which I did, it was still another 4 months before the work was completed.

    In February, one of the lenses was completed, the 40mm. The problem was that the lens was totally unusable, when focusing, there was a huge image shift. basically the helical threads had worn over tie in the original components, meaning there was quite a bit of play. I asked what the solution to this would be, as although they use some of the original components in the rehouse, the lens was totally unusable. The answer I got was “We will try and get you some donor parts from another clients lens but it will be at least 90 days before we commence that work so wont know until then if he will even donate the parts”

    This wasn’t really an option for me, wait 90 days for the possibility to then be told that the parts are not available as the customer wants to keep his original parts. But understood the situation. What I decided to do was have the parts that had worn remade myself. My dad is an engineer and could redraw the parts I needed. I had the lens taken apart by another independent lens technician friend, then had all the helical parts redrawn and remachined.

    What we noticed when we took the lens apart was a few things. Firstly, they have used a really cheap 3D printed parts for the internal mechanism that changes the iris (photo attached) This seemed like a bit of a cost saving exercise from them and not great considering the money I was paying. The big problem with this is that there is lots of play in the Iris. Some of the stops are off by about 3/10s of a stop on either side of the lens. Also there is a lot of play in the iris before before the blades move due to the locking screw being loose inside the 3D printed part. When I asked them about this, they told me that they use 3D printed parts now, to reduce acoustic damage that could be caused from using aluminium parts, and the play in the iris was due to backlash in the spherical lens. The latter, I know is untrue as I ave had the spherical lenses looked at and the play is due to the loose fitting 3D printed part. I can only assume the acoustic argument is also a cop out, but I could be wrong here.

    We went back and forth with the iris problems, the 100mm was the worst and they would just add thicker grease to mask the problem, but the play remained.. At one point there was so much, that the iris was so stiff, even a preston motor couldn’t turn it. Instead of replacing the iris ring with new markings, they have added dots on back of the ring (photographed). This means that all my witness marks are still off and only I know what the dots correlate to, which is no good for people renting the lenses.

    The last problem, which is my far the biggest problem I have is that the PL mount is only being held on by 4x M2 screws that have been re drilled into the aluminium. There are the original 8 holes drilled in the mount, that are not being used but a further 4 have been drilled next to them to accommodate the PL mount they have used. I questioned this with them, purely from the fact that it seems like a hell of a lot of weight to be held on my 4x M2 screws into aluminium and also that all the 35mm conversions pictured on their website have 8 screws holding the mount on.

    We went back and forth on this matter, the problem I have is that the 35mm is a heavy lump, and 2 independent engineers have told me that its less than ideal for the weight of the lens. Especially if I was doing a top shot of a crane looking directly down and something did fail, I would most likely kill someone if it failed and fell on their head.

    The answer I have received from Van Diemen is that “they cannot guaranteed that the lens mount wont fail, they always recommend using a lens support at all times. If it does fail they do not affair any compensation or warranty. They have used this system for the last 20 years and never had a problem”. This simply is not true tho, as the 35mm pictured on their site has 8 screws holding the mount on, and there are 8 holes pre drilled in my lens body that are not being used. It seems like they have just used a mount from a smaller spherical lens and adapted my lens to be able to use this mount.

    For me this isn’t good enough, I have spent a large amount of money with them, and to be told that the cannot guaranty the lens mount will hold the weight of the lens is a bit of a blow. If I bought a car, I would expect to have assurances that the wheels wont fall off. In regards to the lens support system they now recommend using at all times, the front of my lens still rotates and to my knowledge there isn’t a lens support system that works, I ask them to provide me with links to a lens support system I could purchase, which has not been provided but the answer I got was “We can design / machine you one at your cost.”

    So what Im being told is that they cannot or will not guarantee that the lens mount wont fail, I should use a lens support at all times but this lens support dosnt yet exist but I can pay them more money to design and make me one.

    We have now reached a stale mate and seem to be going round in circles so was wondering if anyone had any advice as to what my nexts steps should be… If any. Or is im over thinking the lens mount and the screws they have used will be fine? I can live with the stops being slightly out if I really had to. but the fear that the lens support might fail and I wouldn’t be covered is a bit of a shock considering the amount for the conversion. Not to mention the 40mm provided did not work and I have had to re machine myself.

    Any help appreciated.

    Link to photo
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member William Long's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Sweden & France
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  3. #3  
    Wow. Im going to proceed with a small claims court order. What a nightmare!
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2007
    Fresno, CA
    That sucks, Ben! I'm really sorry to hear that. Thanks for the thorough warning.
    Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Justin McAleece
    Sigma Pro Primes and Video Production
    Justin at BLAREMedia dot net
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  5. #5  
    Hi Ben

    Let me know how you go. I’m in the process of trying to get my money and lenses back from Christopher. So far no luck
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Satsuki Murashige's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Unfortunately, this was my experience with Christopher as well when I had my Iscorama re-housed by Van Diemen several years ago. Sorry to hear about your experience, and hope you can get restitution for your L&D. The only advice I can offer to those thinking of using them is to take your business elsewhere where you will be treated right.
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