03 October 2013

What's Up With My Composer?

After using my Lensbaby Composer Pro for a couple of months I noticed a pretty annoying behavior which got worse every day. Instead of shifting the sweet spot smoothly, there was a lot of resistance and the whole thing felt terribly wobbly. On certain spots of the movement it felt like the front part would fall out of the composer as if the locking ring were loose. I tried to tighten the locking ring, but that didn't help. Unfastening the locking ring lead to a totally unpredictable motion of the lens. Weird. And I was really desperate because I had bought the Composer Pro as a sturdy replacement of my Composer …

What Does The Problem Look Like?

To give you an impression of how things felt with my little used Composer Pro I created a short video taken with my iPhone 5 and compressed to fit Blogger's needs -
I hope you can get the idea. You can easily hear the odd knocking sound and the wobbly part is well seen - especially if your composer suffers from the same problem you'll easily recognize it.

Fear Not, Lensbaby Is Your Friend

I learned that Lensbaby has a 'Customer Happiness Center' (CHC) and I directed my issues at Kirsten Hunter who returned my email within 23 minutes
Thank you for your purchase.  Sorry you are having trouble with it.  I think the best solution is for us to send you a new one right away and when you received it you can mail that one back to us.  Our Portland Oregon headquarters is the only place for warranty and repairs unfortunately.  Please send us your mount choice and your shipping address and I will take care of it right away.  Thanks for your patience.  Have a great day.

Kirsten Hunter
Director of Customer Happiness 

Yikes. Did you ever see such a fast response from a vendor? Kirsten didn't even wait for any deeper explanations, but sent me a new Composer Pro requiring me to send back the broken one once I got the replacement. Huh? Trusting their customers? What if I sold the broken thing to South America? Awesome treatment …

Things went as announced. I got the replacement about ten days later (overseas shipment!) and I returned mine the other day. Everything jolly again, and for sure Lensbaby created a fanboy. Me. 

But I don't Want To Wait For A Replacement

Sure enough you don't, I didn't either. I prefer my gear to work properly and if something goes South, it'll harm my workflow. Because of this I researched the whole issue and sure enough even the replacement Composer Pro started to behave strange again after a couple of weeks. WTF?

The solution was an irritatingly simple one: keep your Composer Clean

By bending the thing in dusty environments, debris gets into the ball and causes that odd behavior. Simply brushing the stuff away resolves the problem … Bending the composer in every direction while brushing with a small painter's brush made it work like new in less than a minute. Ever since I just brush the composer when I return from a shoot and there weren't any such issues any more, even when I used the gear in rough surroundings. 

Norbert Fürst
I really hope this will help you to avoid any issues with your Composer, and I also hope to help Lensbaby to save on replacement cost. Their Customer Happiness Center is still an impressive demonstration how companies can make clients buy with confidence.