Slide/Clutch/AL Issues and Next Steps to Take
The PD team is converging on Cologne for Photokina, our industry's largest event. The excitement and enthusiasm we all have leading up to this event is much heightened by the fulfilling of this campaign during the course of the last week.
But....as some 50 of you have already alerted us to...there is a problem with some of the products we've been sending out. And so our focus and excitement for Photokina is unfortunately diverted, as figuring out the proper steps for getting ahead of this issue is now our main priority.
Before I get into the specifics, please know this: if you're one of the ones with the issue, we will never leave you high and dry. That's simply not how we operate. We are doing, and will continue doing everything we can to fix this problem for everybody. We consider it a requisite condition for the existence of our company, and the continued good will of our backers and customers.
For a certain number of customers (50 and counting), the metal spring in the nylon Anchor Link housing (the connector at the end of all Peak Design straps) has been backing out of position, and subsequently popping out of place and disconnecting from the Anchor. Typically, this is happening during the engagement or disengagement of an Anchor. However, as of last night, we have discovered that it can happen during the use of the strap if the spring is "falsely" in place when the Anchor is disengaged. In these cases, camera drop is a very serious risk, which is what makes this such a serious issue.
We are in the business of carrying your cameras, not dropping them. I suspect we will not be in business if we cannot entirely contain and eliminate that risk, which is why it is our top priority.
HOW MANY FOLKS ARE AFFECTED?
We're not sure, and we need your help to know. To date, we've heard about the issue from 1% of the people who have received our gear. That number will likely climb though, as we make people aware of the potential issue and give them a chance to see for themselves.
Note that Leash and Cuff do not have this issue because they have slightly different (yet completely compatible) versions of the affected part. And our Capture clips and other accessories don't contain this part at all, so it's not an issue for those products either.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
The story of the design of our springs is a long one. With the launch of Slide, Clutch and Anchor Links we made some small tweaks to the design on our Anchor Link housing (which was originally developed when we launched Leash and Cuff in 2012). The tweaks make the clips operate more smoothly and securely. After extensive testing of the tweaked design we OK'd a pre-production run of 1000 individual Anchor Link housings. 400 of those housings went on pre-production Slides, 200 on pre-production Clutches and 400 on pre--production Anchor Links. We sent those production units into the wild and the feedback was great. So, we released a PO for a full production run of Anchor Link housings.
Fast forward to last week. Over 3000 people received Slides and Clutches, and 800 Anchor Links went out into the wild. Within a few days we had a couple pieces of odd feedback coming in about springs popping out of Anchor Link housings. We did a little in-house testing, determined the problem was a small fluke, and emailed those folks back with an easy fix. A couple more days passed, and we got a dozen more of the same complaints. At this point we realized that this issue was less fluke-y than we initially thought. Hence, we're updating you all to make sure you're aware of it, and we're going to work closely with you from here on out to fix things.
IS MY STUFF SAFE TO USE?
It is, but until we can give you further information, you need to take precautions when using it. We realize that's not a particularly confidence inspiring statement. But our reputation as a brand lies in keeping your cameras safe and secure, so we'd be doing you and ourselves a disservice if we took the soft approach of telling you to proceed with zero caution whatsoever.
We're going to be cutting a video of what this check really is, but know that it is essentially making certain that the hook on the spring is engaged in its recess when you are attaching your Anchor Links. If it is not, you may replace it, but you will of course again need to perform the test. To our knowledge and understanding of the issue, it is not spatially possible for the spring to pop out of once an Anchor is engaged. It can only pop out if it is falsely engaged.
Photos and video of these checks and descriptions of the problem are forthcoming. Literally all PD members are on flights right now, and getting this message out, even without the benefit of visual aids, was too important to wait another 12 hours.
OUR NEXT STEPS:
Here's what we'll be doing in the next few days to move things along:
1. We'll send out a survey to everybody who's received Slide, Clutch or Anchor Links so far. We kindly ask you to fill this survey out as soon as you receive it.
2. We're pausing our fulfillment of orders containing Slide, Clutch or Anchor Links until we know more. Yes, we know this hurts. But the alternative is neither ethical nor practical.
3. We're going to update you in a few days when we know more about how big this issue really is, and what our ultimate fix will be for it.
A HISTORY OF TEAMWORK
Every time we've ever released a product, it's not been without its issues. I would like to think it's possible for a flawless release, and one day I hope we can achieve it. But until then, I want to extend our sincere gratitude to this community....not only for being the group that believes in us enough to take a chance on our products, but also for being the group that guides our decision making through these often challenging issues. Peak Design is very fortunate to have a following of users that is very technically adept, and very interested in helping us succeed as a company. It's a special relationship, and we continue to cherish it.
Thank you in advance.
Peter and the Peak Design team