Too expensive for sure. I'm wondering if your camera needs to be CLAed. The ASA shutter coupling might be the culprit. Don't you have a metered 35mm camera that you could go out with and compare your handheld to?
I would have to take a look at a couple of pairs when I'm at the store. In my opinion from a practical stand point, it doesn't matter if they're channeled or not. Channeling looks better but that's really about it.
LOL! I always count on other people to break my shit. That's why none of my camera gear is lent out or handed to anyone else. Hell I've had people knock over the tripod in broad daylight. It's like WTF don't you know how to walk?