Anybody who knows me would tell you that I’m a big Nikon fan. I like that for years they focused on quality but it seems that is no longer the case. I can’t speak for D800 owners who have focusing issues because I don’t own one, but I can speak about my 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. It was a 6 inch drop but according to Nikon:
“Something significant occurred at least one time to result in this damage and it is not covered by our warranty. “
Really Nikon? This is what you’re reduced to? Your $1999 flagship gold ring lens is completely destroyed after a 6 inch drop? It takes $691 plus tax and shipping to repair a 6 inch drop when the lens itself doesn’t have a scratch on it?
To make matters worse, Nikon recently announced that they will no longer sell parts to independent repair shops and in effect will have an absolute monopoly on repairs. Of course this is spinned as them wanting to ensure the customers get great service and I’m sure it has nothing to do with overcharging for repairs. According to a local repair shop I spoke with, this repair is usually about $300-$400, but they don’t get the parts thanks to Nikon so they have to find other ways to find parts.
Because of Nikon’s repair monopoly, the absolute least they can do to help the customer decide whether a repair is worth it is to be honest and upfront about the repair and what are doing so the customer can make an informed decision, but Nikon refuses to even tell me what they will be doing for the $691.
Imagine that your car starts making a funny sound and you take it to the shop and the guy in the greasy shirt tells you “that will be $691 bub”. Wouldn’t your first question be “what’s wrong with it?” It makes sense- He could only be tightening a loose screw and ripping you off for the rest or he could be taking your engine apart and machining parts and deserving of the price, but the point is that, you can only make an informed decision if you have all the information.
In the mechanic example, I am free to take my car to any mechanic I want because GM, Ford, Toyota, etc. sell parts to whoever wants them. They don’t require you to take your car to the dealership to get an oil change because oil filters are only sold at the dealer. In Nikon’s case, you are stuck with them and if you want your $2000 lens to work again, you better dance when they tell you.
Nikon’s response was:
“Until the actual repair takes place we are completely unable to tell you exactly all the operations that are going to be performed to the equipment, that’s the same reason why an estimate was provided and nothing has been done before you authorized us. Have in mind that you were advised about the range for the cost or repair prior to send the lens in for service, and it was an estimate, that didn’t mean that it was going to be exactly what the person that assisted you said.”
At first glance it seems plausible but then the question is, if they don’t know what they’ll be changing, how did they came up with $691? Seems a little too exact. If they open it up and see it was a loose screw, will they lower the “estimate”? Somehow I doubt that.
Is Canon any better? Another independent repair shot I spoke told me they have higher tolerances, but then maybe he’s upset that Nikon doesn’t sell parts to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I am more than willing to pay for quality but when I have a $2000 lens, Iwant to be able to use it and not keep it in the bag all the time. If a bear attacks your camera bag and chews up the lens, you can live with that, but a 6 inch drop, indoors under air conditioning? Nikon, you were better than that. I’ve been looking forward to the D600 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens but all of that is on hold now. I can’t sell this lens like this so if I’m going to pay to repair it, I’d seriously consider selling it before anything else goes wrong with it and think about a 5D Mark II or perhaps the rumored 7D fullframe replacement and a couple of L lenses.