Help me, Wisner don't send my camera.

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by byungchang, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. Hello,

    I'm Korean largeformat user.
    I ordered 16x20camera from Wisner 2002 April.
    and I paid all of charge. but Wisner don't send my camera yet.
    He broke appointment many time.
    How can I do?
    Please recommand my E-mail.

    Thank you.
  2. Good luck! Add yourself to a long list of people unhappy with Wisner delivery times. Boy am I glad I read all the problems with Wisner before I bought my LF camera. I almost plunked my money down too. But instead of waiting 1 year plus for my camera I have been out taking pics and enjoying the one I have. I don't think the APX 100 I load into it knows the difference between a Wisner and the one I'm using ha ha.
  3. Ron is making an atempt to correct what has been a not so good customer image. I know he replied to my last email questions about cut film holders within a day. Remember that the 16x20 and other ULF cameras, are only produced on a limited basis. Meaning when there are enough orders to make a run of cameras. I would try to email him again to find out the status of your order.

    George Losse
    happy wisner 8x10 and 8x20 camera owner
  4. You'll get it eventually. Your options are: 1) wait for it as patiently as possible, or 2) cancel your order and buy something else.
  5. I'd suggest that Ron unapologetically follow the precedent established by some custom gunsmiths. When a customer orders a highly specialized piece he pays in full in advance and is told the gun will be ready in 2 or 3 years, whatever the gunmaker believes is appropriate for the job. I expect makers of fine wooden stringed instruments such as guitars, violins, etc., follow the same policy - hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the waiting time for a custom violin was closer to 5 years.

    What could be more specialized than an ULF camera? Is this something you'd want the construction of rushed? Just tell folks up front the build time is 2-3 years.

    Just my two cents.
  6. Wisner should sell his company to someone who actually is a business person and go back to doing what he does best. Building cameras. It appears his company lives hand to mouth and the people who complain the most get services first, rather than following some sort of production schedule. This of course is all perception based on anecdotal information.
  7. If you look at the archives on this subject, it is lengthy for a reason. While I continue to tell folks that using an intermediary such as Quality Camera is the same cost as dealing with Ron himself and 1)full payment is not expected until delivery is made, 2) you have someone checking the quality before the camera arrives to your door and 3) Quality Camera has significantly more market power than an individual purchases in the number of units that they move people continue to go down this road. At this stage of the game you have little recourse. Either you decide to pull the order and request your money back or you keep paying the phone charges until the camera arrives. Sooner or later, someone that practices law stateside is going to be in Mr. Lees situation and he (or she) will settle this terrible customer service trend in the courts.

    As a sidebar, I went through Quality Camera for a 12x20 back for my Wisner 11x14 and it arrived in three months time from the date when I placed the order without any flaws. Not one year or two years as some have said is "reasonable". Jeff Wheeler at Quality Camera was on Ron like a cheap suit at about the 30 days from promised date while I (fortunately) did not pick up the phone once. Customer service like that is fabulous. For those of you that are reading this and contemplating a Wisner purchase, I cannot stress this point strongly enough - USE AN INTERMEDIARY IN THE TRANSACTION!

    The alternative is to get your Valium prescription renewed at your next physical. Cheers!
  8. Another point to add to this post. We as the large format community are to blame for the situation with less than satisfactory customer service from Wisner. While in Sante Fe I overheard Ron say that he picked up 10 camera orders with deposits in one day of the show.

    As long as the bucks keep rolling in, why should he concern himself with customer service. Realistically, these activities send the message to Ron that each dissatisfied consumer is being offset in short order by two or three Generation X types with big pockets and no expectations as to a delivery date. Ain't life great? Where is the downside and the subsequent accountability? Floating in the bottom of his martini glass while toasting to business success.

    In any other business it would be yesterdays news.

    Without the fear of failure, the piss poor status quo will continue to dominate this specific business venue. How long will this trend continue? It all depends upon your reference point, but even one dissatisfied customer while I run my business is tantamount to the beginning of the end.
  9. I suggest the best way to deal with the Wisner's of the world is to get a contract with them in place similar to a home builders contract. Specific dates are targetted, money is only advanced when these targets are met and specific remedies are spelled out for nonperformance.

    If Wisner started to jack me around like others we have heard of I would be on his doorstep within 48 hours. The matter would be resolved, period, one way or the other.

    I have an extremely low tolerance for those that don't live up to their promises without legitimate reason.
  10. Hold on one minute. We have been in contact with Mr. Lee and his sister in Athens GA numerous times this summer. Mr Lee requested that the camera be delivered to GA while he is there visiting. I talked to his sister as recently as this week to give them an update. They were informed that we were projecting a Saturday delivery, which as you all know is tomorrow. In the event that there are last minute QC issues, we even have arranged to make a courier delivery on Monday so that Mr. Lee has his camera before he returns to Korea.
    We have been working diligently to meet or exceed our deadlines, as many of you right here on this string know from personal experience. We have also informed our customers that if they are not interested in waiting, that perhaps they should reconsider. At any given time we have 80 to 100 cameras on order. We give every single order the attention they are deserve. If Mr. Lee wants to cancel his order, there are four customers behind him waiting for 16x20 cameras.
    In closing, I invite thoughtful and fairminded crticism from anyone. And I listen.

    Best regards,
    Ron Wisner
  11. Where's there's smoke there's fire Ron. We never hear about these kinds of problems with respect to other custom LF camera manufacturers.

    I suppose all these problems are just fiction and it's a conspiracy by one of your competitors to tarnish your reputation and put you out of business. Your explainations are always 180 degrees from what the people complaining are saying so I guess this theory could have some validity. But like they say there is always two sides to the story and somewhere in the middle is the truth.

    All I can say is you have one heck of a up hill battle when it comes to redeeming your reputation, at least on this forum.

    I wish you luck.
  12. I forwarded this link to Mr. Wisner and as you can see from the above post, he replied within the hour.

    Looks like he's going out of his way to make every effort and trying to keep every 'custom' order as perfect as possible.

    Let us know how you like your new camera Mr. Lee..
  13. Well Mr. Lee what do you have to say in response to Mr. Wisner? In all fairness you should respond.
  14. The problem isn't the length of time by itself. If Mr. Lee or anyone else had been told that the delivery date would be August, 2003, or even if he had been told the delivery date was uncertain, he would have no cause for complaint. The probelm here and with so many of the other similar messages is that full payment is made up front on the basis of a specific promised delivery date (apparently April of 2002 in this case) and then the actual delivery date is much, much later with many promised intervening dates also being missed (I'm assuming that's what Mr. Lee meant by "he broke appointment many time"). I know nothing about the large format camera business but it must be possible to give more realistic estimates of delivery dates than Mr. Wisner seems to give. If that isn't possible then no estimate should be made, the customer should just be told (as Dick Phillips told me when I asked about buying an 8x10 camera) that the delivery date can't be estimated with any certainty. Some customers will probably be lost that way but I'd bet the number would be far fewer than the customers lost as a result of so many experiences like Mr. Lee's being posted here. Personally the only way I would buy a Wisner camera would be from a dealer who has the camera in stock.
  15. I will not put words in Mr. Lee's mouth, but in fairness to Mr. Lee, the camera has taken a long time. Mr. Rose points out that where there is smoke there is fire. The fire is and will always be our time. That's just the way it is. If I make anyone unhappy, it is always about how long it takes to get a camera. We have made the mistake in the past of rushing orders and of promising orders faster then we could do them. We simply will not do that.
    I am saying this as clearly as I can. If you want a camera from us, we will make the best possible camera we can for you. We will tell you it will take months to fulfill, unless we have promised otherwise (this summer we delivered a 4x5 camera to a customers who had already booked a trip to Greece. His camera was stolen just before the trip. We delivered in one week).
    Mr. Lee will have his camera no later than Monday. Yes, I know Monday is Labor Day. Our courier will get it there for less than it would cost to ship to Korea. We knew Mr. Lee had a deadline and we planned accordingly. I would do the same for any of my customers and have. This is why at least half of our new orders come from current Wisner camera owners. Some go through dealers (which I encourage), many come to us directly.

    Best regards,
    Ron Wisner
  16. We will have to wait till Monday to see if Mr. Lee gets his camera as promised by Mr. Wisner. As it stands, it is just another promise and I bet Mr. Lee has had enough of them. It is easy for Mr. Wisner to redeem his reputation: deliver Mr. Lee's camera with NO QC problems. You have had eighteen months to work on it.

    I am sure we will hear from Mr. Lee in due course of time when Mr. Wisner fulfills his end of the contract.

    Given Mr. Wisner's reply, I think I will park my dollars with Dr. Philips or Mr. Canham.
  17. Upon reviewing the history of Mr. Lee's order I find some facts which give a clearer picture. Mr. Lee originally placed his order for a 12x20 camera on April 1st 2002. We were ready to deliver in December when he changed his order to a 16x20. We accepted his order and sold his 12x20 to the next 12x20 customer.
    I note that despite my calls to his sister last week and early this week to keep him informed (we have people on vacation througout August and it was having an effect on our schedule), he has yet to return either call. At this time I still don't know if he has recieved his messages, allthough me must have spoken to his sister if he knew the camera had yet to arrive.

    Ron Wisner
  18. "Given Mr. Wisner's reply, I think I will park my dollars with Dr. Philips or Mr. Canham.

    -- SpongeBob SquarePants , August 29, 2003; 04:10 P.M. Eastern"


    Do they sell to cartoon characters? Would you pay in real money or clams?
  19. There really is no excuse to be taking so long to build a camera. It's not a space shuttle, for Christ's sake. I also am in the business of handmaking expensive toys (titanium bicycles, in this case), that customers demand to be within very tight tolerance and if I took half as long to produce I'd be out of business within a year.

    I would heartily encourage anyone in the market for LF cameras to investigate Walker or Canham. Both are craftsmen that turn out excellent products (much nicer than any Wisner I've used) and have customer service a lot more figured out.
  20. >hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the waiting time for a custom violin was closer to 5 years.

    Sorry Lex--my brother-in-law had a custom violin made (he is 6' 5") and it took three months. An absolutely gorgeous piece of woodwork...

  21. I think it's a good thing that people be told about quality and service issues. And, the
    point that there is two sides to every story should also be taken into account.
    That said, it seems to me that quality control and delivery issues aren't entirely
    unknown with Mr. Wisner's products, as evidenced by some of the comments posted
    thus far.
    As a marketing person, if I were in Mr. Wisner's shoes, I would have accepted the
    responsibility for the problem and ensured that the camera be delivered to Mr. Lee
    with an apology for the delay TODAY, if not yesterday!. I certainly wouldn't be trying
    to displace blame by going back into my files and dragging up details such as a
    change in format size, or communications problems with Mr. Lee and his sister.
    Accept the fact that a posting such as this should NEVER have come up in the first
    place....and what's even worse for Wisner Cameras is the fact that other folks have
    experienced the same problems in the past. This is simply bad strategy on your part,
    Mr. Wisner. Most people would say that, "You have a marketing and PR nightmare on
    your hands!"
    Furthermore, Mr. Wisner, IMHO I don't think anyone should be asking for payment up
    front (especially for periods of delay as long as would seem to be the case with regard
    to your cameras). There is something called the time value of the dollar and I'll bet
    you don't take this into account when you "cost" out the camera at the time of the
    initial sale. For refunds, I also suspect you don't refund payments with interest either.
    How fair is this? And, why is it that people are asked to do this in the first place? A
    small deposit? Sure, that's fair enough... but the whole payment? I certainly wouldn't
    do it.
    As for you purchasers.... what are you? Crazy? Just think, you've paid all that money
    down onto an item that may not be received for 6 months, a year, or maybe 3 years
    henceforth. So, what happens if the company goes bankrupt? Or, the company is sold
    but the buyer chooses not to honor the committments of the seller? What do you do
    then? Use your brain... it's NOT rocket science! Go through a reputable seller. As one
    poster said, these folks have clout behind them because they're buying in larger
    If it were me looking for a new LF camera such as a 12x20.... I don't think I'd be lining
    up behind Mr. Lee to buy a Wisner (as fine a camera as it may be.) Afterall, there are
    probably other equally well-made cameras available. Keep in mind that the market
    place will eventually determine the survivorship of a business that gives less than
    acceptable quality and service!
    Just my two-bits worth.
    Good luck Mr. Lee...I hope you get your camera!
  22. "If Mr. Lee wants to cancel his order, there are four customers behind him waiting for 16x20 cameras. In closing, I invite thoughtful and fairminded crticism from anyone. And I listen."

    What a crock! Criticism? Why did this post get to this point? And this is not the first time this subject has come up. Rule number 1 in business is to never gloat to a customer as the hand that feeds you today will be the hand that drives the nail into your coffin in the future. For a reference point, I have never heard a bad comment, a negative reference or anything but praise on any forum concerning Dick Phillips or Keith Canham because they really GET IT and put their words to action. Lip service is cheap and any problem no matter how small should be resolved way before it escalates into a complaint.

    Anyone that complains on this subject in a public forum such as this after agreeing to pay the full price for a camera up front given the track record of Wisner should have their heads examined. While we feel sorry for your situation, there are alternatives that do not carry all of this baggage and still hold the film plane and the lens in the correct position for you to make a spectacular photograph.
  23. Just as a matter of curiosity to this ULF Luddite -- is there anyone else who makes 16x20 cameras? Or does Wisner have the only show in town?
  24. Lotus Camera of Austria makes fine cameras up to 20x24, It appears that they do not make a 16x20, but by George they have several sizes in the size arena that look equally as rewarding. Great reputation and quality.
  25. FWIW

    I ordered a Shen Hao 8 x 10 on July 10th, (2003!)paid 60 $ US down, then picked it up on Aug 9th,(2003) the day they said it would be ready, working great. Custom made for me with my name on the plate on the front.

    Granted an 8x10 is a bit simpler but still.....What do they know?
  26. pvp


    Now Ron tells us that Mr. Lee first ordered a 12x20, then changed his order at the moment that camera was ready, in effect starting the process all over again. And blaming the delay on Ron. Time and again we've seen manufacturers and retailers crucified online, based on unsubstantiated claims, is Ron next? It seems that someone is blowing smoke here, but whom?
  27. Yup, this is started to sound like the typical habit of piling on. Unsportsmanlike conduct in football but seemingly fair game here. Dunno why should even try to become an arbiter of consumer affairs unless it's going to be done fairly, equitably and thoroughly.
  28. Regarding the custom musical instrument comparison, yes there are some makers who can supply an instrument in less than a year, but someone of very strong reputation will have a much longer waiting list than that. Luthier Greg Smallman's list exceeds 15 years, last I checked, and the guitars are in the $10-20,000 range. For less known makers 3-5 years is not unusual.

    The difference is that most will accept a deposit to get on the waiting list rather than payment-in-full, and they usually have a generous policy about returning deposits, since they know that they can easily sell the instrument to another customer.
  29. When all reason fails, blame it on the consumer, of course.

    This is not a sport. This is a business. Customers like Mr. Lee do not part with serious money (priced a 16x20 lately?) on a product, sight unseen, based on faith alone, just so that they can have a go at Mr. Wisner in forums like these. What any customer wants when he parts with his hard-earned dollars (or clams in my case. Thank the great Poseidon that Dr. Phillips loves baked clams. Make mine bearded ones.) is to get his product on time as promised by the vendor. Is it unreasonable to expect this? Is that too much to ask? Nobody parts with his hard-earned money to get into a sport of slagging the manufacturer online. There is too much money and pain involved.

    What is glossed over by the apologists is this: Mr. Wisner made Mr. Lee many promises to deliver his camera and broke every single one of them. I accept on face value Mr. Wisner's claim that Mr. Lee changed his order in December 2002 after his payment in April 2002 (nine months). (Is this substantiation?) If so, Mr. Wisner allowed it. Is Mr. Wisner doing Mr. Lee a favor? The cynic in me sez that the 16x20 costs more than the 12x20 thus making Mr. Wisner more money. Okay, bad cynic. It is called giving the customer what he wants.

    This is the rub: what delivery schedule did Mr. Wisner promise Mr. Lee now when he allowed the change in order to a 16x20? It has been another nine months since December 2002.

    There is more to this than meets the eye. Let's hear more from Mr. Lee before we decide that Mr. Wisner is being crucified.

    A someone who straddles both sides of the fence, both as a consumer and a service provider, all I can say is this: as a service provider, I make a promise, I make good on my promise. Do not take advantage of the customer's good faith. I have only one chance to make an indelible bad impression that is bad for business. As a consumer, all I want is to get what I had paid for as promised by the vendor on time.

    Slagging is not a sport. Stop muddying the waters. Those who feel that Mr. Wisner is right should pony up with their own money and then be put on the carousel that Mr. Lee is riding now. It is not your money and thus not your pain.

    Put things right, Mr. Wisner. Deliver Mr. Lee's camera and put it all behind you. Stop casting aspersions on Mr. Lee. It will only make things worse from a business perspective.
  30. Ever figured out that English is not Mr. Lee's language of choice? He has a problem writing it, much less speaking it. Is it any wonder he did not return your calls? Can you speak Korean, Mr. Wisner? That will help very much.
  31. Gentlemen,
    I have given you the facts as I know them. I still have not heard from Mr. Lee. It doesn't matter. He will get the best possible camera from us, as he deserves, and he will receive it before he returns to Korea. And I was not trying to "shift blame" to Mr. Lee for changing is order. I was just giving the facts. We will deliver his camera as promised, and move on to the next cameras. I do not gloat about having more work than we know what to do with. I am simply trying to point out that we deliver the best camera that we can for the best price possible. This has resulted in our making more field cameras than any other company in the business. This has turned, in some cases, into long waiting lists for certain sizes, especially the large ones. Since about a year and a half ago, the interest in cameras larger than 8x10 has tripled, at least at this company. Naturally, it has taken us some time to adjust to this market demand. It has also resulted in several new designs of much lighter weight. I do the best possible job I can for my customers which is why we have been able to innovate and produce these new designs. I am fallible and I admit it. But with all due respect, I am very busy, and while you guys continue to churn away here, I have cameras to make.
  32. One final note. After speaking to Mr. Lee's sister yet again this morning (still havn't heard from the man himself), she informs me that Mr. Lee attempted to email us (several?) and got no response. On AOL it is very easy to search all such emails, and the last one on record from him is July 23rd. I can only assume that if he send emails recently that they were caught up in the worm this week and last. I know from other customers that many emails were screened or blocked by providers. I can certainly understand why Mr. Lee would be concerned if we didn't answer, allthough it doesn't explain why he didn't pick up the phone knowing I had called his sister numerous times. His English is quite good and I have talked to him before.

    Ron Wisner
  33. "Stop muddying the waters." -- SpongeBob SquarePants , August 30, 2003; 08:08 A.M. Eastern

    Eh, I wouldn't worry too much about what an anonymous poster hiding behind a cartoon character's moniker says anyway. Internet anonymity generally encourages recklessness and ill-considered statements.

    Altho' the "Stop muddying the waters" bit was probably the most sensible thing you've said.
  34. Well Mr. Lee did you get your camera??
  35. Again, as a courtesy to the group, please close this post. WHen exactly did you finally receive your camera and was everything satisfactory?
  36. The courier has the shipment, which will arrive late tonight. Mr. Lee has been fully informed.

    Ron Wisner
  37. Please update this forum on the status of your order, Mr. Lee.
  38. Our UPS SonicAir system has confirmed that your package has been delivered.

    UPS SonicAir Number: xxxxxx47

    Package Status:
    09/01/2003 Origin Pickup
    09/01/2003 Airport Dropoff
    09/01/2003 Flight In Transit
    09/01/2003 Flight Complete
    09/01/2003 Airport Pickup
    09/02/2003 Delivered to Door

    Signed for by: xxx xxxxx
  39. r s

    r s

    Geez, give Mr Wisner a break will you.
    Cartoon characters acting up. Geez. Bit of bad taste in this thread.
  40. Gentlemen, we all (or most of us) work in large format. It is a contemplative, slow, methodical format. We all pride ourselves in delivering (or attempting to) high-quality craftsmanship. And I'm sure that, even though I'm a newcomer to LF, we all don't like being rushed.

    I would expect more appreciation for quality craftsmanship and the amount of time it takes to achieve it among us. If you don't understand, try to go out and get a great 8x10 shot in 3 minutes and one negative. Including setup time.

    If you still don't see the difference, just go out and get a Cambo. I have one. It's great. I couldn't afford a Wisner, knew it, and got something that will work until I can afford such a fine camera. If you can't tell why the Wisner takes longer to get than the modular metal monorail, you're better off with the Cambo.

    Come on people, Ron is a talented craftsman just like all of us are or wish to be. All good work takes time, it's something you can't rush. And if you try to, it's because you can't appreciate it. Think back to all those times someone told you "just sake the damn picture". Well, stop screaming "just ship the damn camera."
  41. Jason almost everything you say is true enough. But you have missed the point of the entire thread so I won't belabour it.
  42. Sorry to late reply.
    I received my order last week by virtue of Everyone.
    My English is poor, So I can't understand all of this.
    But I can feel Everyone's care.
    At this time I can't say about satisfaction. Bacause I don't use my 16x20 camera yet. Someday I will say about my 16x20 camera in this forum. In closing Thank you very much all of you.
  43. Call me the exception, or perhaps the silent majority (?), but I have been very pleased with all of my interactions with the Wisner co. When I ordered my 8x10 Technical Field Camera whilst living in Japan, it was promptly delivered. I was new to LF, in a foreign country where I did not speak the language, and was trying to teach myself how to use it - Ron fielded many of my phone calls early in my learning process to help me out; giving advice on everything from lens recommendations to camera movements. I subsequently attended several of Ron's workshops, and found them very informative. They are not for everyone, because Ron is not going to spoonfeed you "the answer" in terms of how to create an image - however, he will challenge your creative process, and he will teach you how to get everything out of the camera - highly recommended.
  44. Pawel,

    That's great to hear. There are so many posts on problems with the Wisner Company that it's very hard to know how big a problem it really is and how many people have had a bad experience. I imagine it's not near as big as you'd think considering most people don't post with stories of "everything went fine".

    Good luck and have fun, Ed

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