Nikon D600’s fire sale: How early buyers got screwed @nikonusa

It’s really amazing how far and how fast the price for the Nikon D600 dropped. I am now seeing that the regular price for the body alone is $1899. That is a $200 drop in about 2 months. The kit with a $599 lens was selling for about $1999 so if one were to sell the lens off, the body alone would be about $1600! And now, here come the refurbished cameras which I’ll explain in a bit.

I don’t even remember seeing any price drop for the four-year-old D700 until its successor the D800 was announced. If anything, I think there was even a price hike with the D700. One could argue that the reason for that is there are just many more new cameras is now and it’s just competition between the dealers, but the way that Nikon has been dictating the price to the dealers lately, that is unlikely. It wasn’t like the old days where the online retailers could just charge what they wanted to because if they go down too low, there would be hell to pay if they planned on being an authorized dealer for long. In my opinion, the sudden price drops are because Nikon botched the release from the start and now it has to move inventory.

The saddest part of course is that this is a brilliant camera.  This was supposed tobe the full frame camera that everybody was waiting for. The enthusiasm was so high that for almost a year before its release, there was buzz around the Internet about it – Nikon Rumors was full of predictions about its offerings along with flickr message boards. The sensor I would argue is better than any other sensor that Nikon has produced when you consider the happy medium between megapixels and high iso performance. So how did Nikon get here to the point where they’re selling it off?

  1. Even before the release, once the price of $2100 was confirmed, the general consensus was that for the consumer quality body and features, this camera was overpriced. A lot of people were hoping for a price of about $1600 since basically this was a Nikon D7000 with a full frame sensor. Judging by how previous Nikon mid-level to pro cameras didn’t drop in price for a long time, many including myself took the plunge. I of course at least got a free bag and memory card and a few other goodies and later a small price break from BH Photo since I was without my camera for almost a month but for many they paid absolutely full price.$2100, for many is considered a pro camera price and therefore with that price, there are certain expectations that people have with features, quality, and price stability. Which brings up the next point
  2. For the price point, the camera has several shortcomings starting with the infamous dust on the sensor issue. That issue is real although many people found workarounds. There is also the issue with the video being crippled and not allowing changing of the aperture while shooting or in video mode in general which makes no sense but there are rumors of a firmware upgrade at least to fix that. These aren’t completely deal breakers of course; however, the way that Nikon failed to address these issues were unacceptable to people at this price point which brings up the next point.
  3. Nikon completely dropped the ball on customer service with the D600.  I absolutely loved the D 600 when I first got it and took it out for the first shoot. ISO 6400!?? Yes please!  And then came the dust.   I was getting spots left and right ( mostly left) and around that time, the camera forums online were blowing up with reports of many other people having the same issue so I sent Nikon an e-mail to see how it could be fixed. Two days later with no response, I called them up and spoke with somebody who denied there was any problem.  I already posted about this, but Nikon refused to even send a shipping label so they could have a look at it. I wasn’t going to spend another $50 on shipping after spending $2100 so the camera went back. It turns out, I wasn’t alone.

My next camera also had the dust issue, but I was able to clean it out myself. The damage to Nikon’s reputation and in particular the D600 is already done however.  The people who were waiting on the sidelines to see whether to buy this camera took one look at us early adopters and wanted no part of it. Even on this blog, which is normally read by a few friends, I was getting thousands of Google search requests with the keywords “Nikon D600 dust issue” so I can only imagine how real review sites must’ve done and how many people who had been waiting for this camera decided not to buy it.

Nikon could have indeed created the perfect camera but they completely botched it up. If the price was lowered from the beginning, people may have overlooked the issues that it had but consumers during a recovering recession are not going to be forgiving when they spent $2100 plus lenses to get spots on their picture. When the company who made that camera and charged him that price does absolutely nothing to acknowledge the issue and offer a solution, it is just throwing fuel on the fire and they will lose customers.

So what’s the damage to Nikon? Well, for one thing they are stuck with a bunch of dusty cameras that they had to clean up and can only sell as refurbished. I saw a major retailer have them for $1680 now!  There will be many of them I am sure.  Now I’m not a big city fancy MBA( no wait, I am), but even I can see that offering a shipping label that costs $50 (although it’s probably much cheaper for Nikon giving the volume that they have) for a camera that a consumer paid $2100 for, would be much cheaper then the customer returning that camera and the company selling it for 500 cheaper as a refurbished.

The domino effect was the massive price drops on the new cameras for the customers that they probably would have had at the original price if they did the other things right.  of course, those customers are happy campers because they got some great deals but that was done on the back of the loyal customers who trusted Nikon and bought the camera early.  They will not make that mistake again.

More importantly, the long-term effect will be not to trust Nikon in the future. Even a remedial marketing class in a community college will tell you that it’s easier keep current customers happy than to get new customers. All of this is of course my opinion, allegedly.

Picture of the day.  Birds running away from the winter storm the day before it came.

Birds....and they look a little angry


6 thoughts on “Nikon D600’s fire sale: How early buyers got screwed @nikonusa

  1. The dust issue has been blown out of proportion by canon fanboys who, after seeing how bad the 6D’s specs are, are attempting to tarnish a stellar Nikon camera. Every camera gets dust or oil at some point. Think about it. If your camera has to have something wrong with it what problem would you pick? Easily removed dust/oil? Every serious photographer has a sensor cleaning kit and learns to use it. The D600 was meant for serious photographers.

    1. I think you’re missing the point about the dust issue. I’ve been a Nikon user for years and this has nothing to do with 6D’s specs. The point is that when one spends $2100 on a new camera which is what this camera cost last year, it’s not a good feeling to get 30 dust specs show up on sky pictures the first time you take the camera out for a shoot.

      If it does show up, you don’t want to contact Nikon and be told there is nothing wrong with it and you have to spend another $50 UPSing back to them so they can have a look especially given that others have had to send theirs in more than one time.

      To this day, Nikon has never admitted anything. I just got my camera back from them last week after having to clean it again. From what I hear, newer batches are better, but believe me the dust issue was real.

      -not a Canon fanboy.

  2. The point is… the sensor will eventually get dust from using and most especially when exchanging lenses. The word there is eventually. That eventually does not mean next week with a prime lens attached without ever changing that same lens. When we have a new camera you check for sensors and its clean and after 300 shots of the same lens attached without ever changing it we encounter dusts/oil all of a sudden, then we have a serious issue! And for the price of the camera to have that kind of issue is NOT ACCEPTABLE! So for those people who have not owned a D600 and who thinks “knows” the issues of the D600 generally don’t have a clue what they are talking about. The dust/oil issue of the D600 is not generated by the user but by the camera itself. This is more of an internal problem design rather than external

  3. I’m with Arie and Raxel. Calling it dust shows that people responding on here (or anywhere else) clearly have no idea what they are talking about. 1) It is not dust, It is oil. It requires wet cleaning…and frequently at that. It destroys the picture. Considering some are getting it after a few hundred pictures, it is feasible that during 1 wedding shoot, you could ruin a large proportion of your photos. It HAS been acknowledged by Nikon, but swept under the rug. Also, downplaying it by saying all cameras get dust shows your ignorance on this issue. I am a D600 owner (and partial lover). Do your research; look at the photos. I can say from personal experience that there is exorbitant amount of oil, in a short amount of a time, that requires wet cleaning only. It is unlike ANY other issue by any other Nikon DSLR ever. I have had owned/used other Nikon DSLRs. I had a D90 for 4 1/2 years and shot over 8,000 photos and never needed wet cleaning…never really needed cleaning at all. In 2 months, my D600 became unusable. Keep in mind…it is only on higher aperture settings. Sports shooters won’t recognize it. It’s more of a landscape thing.

  4. Nikon could have fixed the issue of the oil spots in newer D600’s and recalled early cameras and fixed the issue in them. Case would be closed, but Nikon didn’t and their reputation isn’t what it was before the D600.

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