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VAN DIEMEN will NOT return my Lomo anamorphic lens


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I feel your pain and then some.  With caveats.

In 2014 I sent a set of Leica Summilux-R's.  In 2015 I sent an FD to complete the set.  About 1 month ago, the final lens in my set was delivered.  The rehousing work is stunning, beautiful and the set is without peer.  However, it took almost 6 years.  In the process of rehousing this set, I learned the harsh reality of rehousing - no matter who you choose to do the work, it's CUSTOM and slow and about the fastest jobs are 2+ years.  TLS/P&S/Van Diemen - nobody will tell you but it's all 2+ years, and there will be delays and lack of information and you will be bumped down the list when a friend/bigger dp/bigger name needs work before you.  That's how this works.  I hate it, but it's the reality.  We can be upset about our investments, nickle-and-dime, yell on the phone - but when someone with a bottomless wallet and household name comes in and says, "hey can you do me a favor and work on my set of lenses - I need them ASAP" - what do you think happens?  Our place in line stays the same and they get added to the top.  Happens at all the custom shops.

Rehousing is a hobby.  Vintage lenses are a hobby.  That's the ONLY mentality you can have because it's how things are.  I learned that in year 2.  I was planning on using my leicas for a project and the deadline came and went and I used other lenses.  We can complain about all the business and money lost but until the glass was finished and in hand, I'd be foolish to pretend to count on them for professional use.

Christopher was always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad.  He's a man in his 70's who seems to want to walk away from the business when it's in good hands.  And along the way he lost his engineer and other techs.  And a pandemic hit.  And it's increasingly difficult to find people who can actually do this work - which is why we have such few and expensive choices for this type of lens work.  If I found a local shop that could do the work they do I would have used that shop.  

I understand that my "place of zen" is only possible because I now have all my lenses in my hands, completed.  And I was ANGRY at times for the lack of information, the lies about progress, the endless timeframe, the same story over and over for YEARS.  But honestly, screaming and suing isn't going to get the end result we want - excellent work on our lenses at reasonable prices.  I had to keep reminding myself of that - escalating wouldn't help anything.  Was I willing to torpedo my project to feel like a boss and scream and make them rush to finish?  Everyone in the world is into vintage lenses, rehousings, update work - and there are really only 3 places to go.  All of them take years.  Van Diemen may be the smallest and slowest.  Until more people work their way up the engineering chain and start getting into esoteric lens work, this is how things are.  

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/25/2021 at 11:04 AM, Jaron Berman said:

I feel your pain and then some.  With caveats.

In 2014 I sent a set of Leica Summilux-R's.  In 2015 I sent an FD to complete the set.  About 1 month ago, the final lens in my set was delivered.  The rehousing work is stunning, beautiful and the set is without peer.  However, it took almost 6 years.  In the process of rehousing this set, I learned the harsh reality of rehousing - no matter who you choose to do the work, it's CUSTOM and slow and about the fastest jobs are 2+ years.  TLS/P&S/Van Diemen - nobody will tell you but it's all 2+ years, and there will be delays and lack of information and you will be bumped down the list when a friend/bigger dp/bigger name needs work before you.  That's how this works.  I hate it, but it's the reality.  We can be upset about our investments, nickle-and-dime, yell on the phone - but when someone with a bottomless wallet and household name comes in and says, "hey can you do me a favor and work on my set of lenses - I need them ASAP" - what do you think happens?  Our place in line stays the same and they get added to the top.  Happens at all the custom shops.

Rehousing is a hobby.  Vintage lenses are a hobby.  That's the ONLY mentality you can have because it's how things are.  I learned that in year 2.  I was planning on using my leicas for a project and the deadline came and went and I used other lenses.  We can complain about all the business and money lost but until the glass was finished and in hand, I'd be foolish to pretend to count on them for professional use.

Christopher was always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad.  He's a man in his 70's who seems to want to walk away from the business when it's in good hands.  And along the way he lost his engineer and other techs.  And a pandemic hit.  And it's increasingly difficult to find people who can actually do this work - which is why we have such few and expensive choices for this type of lens work.  If I found a local shop that could do the work they do I would have used that shop.  

I understand that my "place of zen" is only possible because I now have all my lenses in my hands, completed.  And I was ANGRY at times for the lack of information, the lies about progress, the endless timeframe, the same story over and over for YEARS.  But honestly, screaming and suing isn't going to get the end result we want - excellent work on our lenses at reasonable prices.  I had to keep reminding myself of that - escalating wouldn't help anything.  Was I willing to torpedo my project to feel like a boss and scream and make them rush to finish?  Everyone in the world is into vintage lenses, rehousings, update work - and there are really only 3 places to go.  All of them take years.  Van Diemen may be the smallest and slowest.  Until more people work their way up the engineering chain and start getting into esoteric lens work, this is how things are.  

 

 

Thank you for the response.  I can understand that a process can take long, but I do NOT agree with being lied to.  Had Christopher been upfront (honest), I would have the option to accept or decline.  But that was not the case.  I'm now 2 months shy of a 3 years wait and devastating loss of revenues.  

Just like your experience,  Christopher was indeed "always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad."  But that does feel to me like the characteristics of a CONMAN.   

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Update: It took a while but I have made the webpage and intro youtube video about my awful experience with Van Diemen.  

It will be followed by more videos.  

https://vandiemenlenseshorribleservice.com/

While I am at a major loss, I hope this webpage and videos will help others make an informed decision before they ship off their lenses to Van Diemen lenses.  

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