Nikon User Repair Experiences


Real users, real experiences.

To submit a repair experience, send an email here. And a comment: you'll note that I don't edit the text of these reader comments. My fear is that by touching them in any way other than to append a comment I'll modify context in a way that might influence how you interpret a report. For example, you might evaluate an experience that is detailed and seems technically accurate differently than one that is full of spelling errors and has many clear inaccuracies in it.

In less than a month we're closing in on 100 such reader experiences and judging from the content, these pretty much match the many emails I've been receiving for years about Nikon service. Sometimes the service was good (though not timely in the communication department), sometimes it's less than satisfactory or requires a second try.

Nikon has indicated that they hope to sell replacement DSLRs to existing customers in the coming years to continue to grow. I'll once again point out that the experience of what happens after a customer buys a product and has problems with it influences whether that updating actually ever happens. It's clear to me that Nikon's service is not going to meet any Six Sigma standard.

As of 10/10/10 the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles rated NikonUSA's West Coast service as "F" ("we strongly question the company's reliability..."). That can't be good, can it?

Note: 2008 through 2010 user repair experiences can be found here.

2011


I went to the Adirondacks to shoot the leaves and broke my LCD on my D90 in the process. I shipped it the Monday after I got back, it arrived on Thursday, they had an estimate for me on Friday, I gave them the go ahead on Sunday. I got it today in Florida. Have they upgraded their service response or am I just lucky? I always figure around 4 weeks. 11 days is fantastic. (jg)


Just thought I’d relate my last couple of experiences with Nikon Service in Melville. The first started last May (2010) when my 24-70 fell from its Nikon pouch and hit the pavement.  Repairs were reasonable ($300) and they replaced the zoom mechanism.  It didn’t feel right when it came back and was making some odd noises but I was sure it was “within tolerances”. As the summer progressed, the zoom became stiff and sticky, to the point where a smooth zoom from 50mm out to 24mm wasn’t possible without the zoom sticking and jumping.  Oddly, it only happened in landscape mode, portrait and other orientations were fine.  I sent it in again and it just came back with the zoom mechanism replaced yet again.  (Thankfully under warranty from the previous repair).
 
Next was my D300 which was sent in to check exposure and aperture lever (had an odd overexposure issue at f2.8 with all lenses). They supposedly fixed something electrical (though the problem persists) and returned it.  Within a day, I found the flash mode button to be inoperable as a result of repairs.  While they did pay shipping that time, I was without the camera for another 2 weeks.  It seems like supposed priority repairs take long than the “normal” ones!
 
Given my 2 experiences this summer, it’s starting to look like Nikon Service is having a problem getting repairs correct the first time.  I was wondering if you have heard similar things from others, or am I just one of the lucky ones? (wd)


I Just want to share my frustration here along with many people who are having similar problem. I sent to Nikon In El Segundo 3 times, and Rich Houghton who is Service Manager of Nikon sent me email stated that All is to factory standard with your lens. Please shoot it and enjoy it. All is to standard.”. I asked him that is it truth. he said yes. That mean that Nikon Standard with Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 is “does not focus to infinity correctly from 24mm to 40mm” and “ lens have grinding noise and zoom ring got tough at 35-70mm”
Anyone have the same problem with Nikon? (hp)


I sent my D200 to Nikon with what I thought was a clear explanation of the problem. Briefly, in cold weather there is some intermittent erratic behavior of the Playback and Menu buttons such that when I press the Playback button it brings up the menu instead of an image. In such a situation, pressing the Menu button does not dismiss the menu. I stated that indoors the camera works fine and no photos are ever lost when the buttons are behaving erratically. I also stated that the multi-selector and other buttons appear to work correctly even when the Playback and Menu button problem is present so the problem seemed to be localized to the buttons on the left side.

I received a quote in short order that listed as the reason for service:

SHUTTER ERRATIC BEHAVIOR
TO GWO

I had no idea what TO  GWO meant, but I called Nikon to say that since my photos are perfectly exposed there is nothing erratic about the shutter and did they actually read what I wrote? I was told an email would be sent to the repair department with my comments.

I waited a few days and called again to inquire. They emailed me an updated service quote which now listed the following as the reason for service:

CONTROL BUTTON/KNOB/LEVER RING      PLAYBACK BUTTON ERRATIC

TO GWO IN COLD WEATHER.

I still don't know what TO GWO means but since I had specifically indicated in the document sent with the camera that all other buttons beside Playback and Menu operated correctly, I called to tell them that I didn't want the camera repaired as I had no confidence that they understood the problem. I also indicated I would like to express my disappointment at the whole procedure so they connected me to a manager after having to listen to some very loud music for several minutes.

The manager told me that the "shutter erratic behavior" diagnosis was indeed a mistake - entered incorrectly by someone who is not a technician. As for the updated quote, they need to replace a circuit board that all the listed buttons use. Okay, that makes sense, but couldn't they have taken a minute to clearly state that in the quote instead of writing some cryptic shorthand that appeared to contradict my observations about which buttons were working?

All in all a frustrating experience.
Maybe to put a final touch on the whole interaction, I received the D200 in the mail today and the body cap was missing. That was the one item that I sent along with the camera (as per your suggestion) and I specifically stated such in the document I sent with the camera. Nikon acknowledges this, because on the packing slip that came with the camera, it states:

D200 D-SLR camera body

and accessories:

        No battery received
No flash card received
No proof of purchase
Received your letter
Body cap

How hard would it have been to keep the cap with the body?

To their credit, they did ship it back to me at no cost even though I declined the repair. Also, I called about the missing cap and they said they will ship one out to me.

Well, the experience described in the two attached emails has come to an end, but not without a final inscrutable act on Nikon's part.

I came home today to find two boxes at my door. The first box contained the body cap as expected. Hooray for Nikon, although did they really need to ship such a small item in a 6" x 8" x 10" box full of packing peanuts?

Then I examined the second box, of the same size, and lo and behold it was also from Nikon. I opened it up to find a 67 mm lens cap. I have no idea why I received this. I had only sent in the D200 body for a repair estimate and complained that they did not return the body cap with the camera. (bg)


I wanted to comment and add my own experience on dealings with Nikon USA Customer Service. I have seen your page on Nikon customer service experience, and I feel compelled to write you on it. Frankly, I am so disenchanted, frustrated, and appalled at their poor service and past dealing that for the second time, I am seriously considering switching systems to a company that has a clearer path to professional service (which I will gladly pay extra for, Canon, anybody??).

The first time I asked for an NPS application it took me 7 weeks to get it. At that time I had switched to Canon for about a year, and by the time I even got the NPS application, my CPS membership and card were to me and up and running. The only reason I went back to Nikon was for the D3. Id rather have to learn a new system now where I know the company will treat me right (spent $10,000 buying gear new and used in the last three years) than having gear I know well and a company that does not differentiate between a pro and Coolpix user.

As far as service (this same issue has happened at least three time before with other lenses over the last five years), I sent in a Nikon 24-70 2.8 AF-S in for service for loose rubber on the zoom ring, as well as zooming action that was a little stiff. I use my equipment professionally, but not every day. I am a student and am getting a masters in photojournalism. All my income is derived from photography jobs during the academic semesters. So, Nikon had a potential life long user here. I've shot Nikon since I was in grade school.

Im not just some pixel peeper asking Nikon to calibrate lenses, I had a lens fail partially under warranty, and Nikon has failed to uphold their end of the deal. A $1500 lens isn't cheap for a student, but its even more costly when the premium for service is not honored by Nikon. It would be cheaper for me to sell the 24-70 with the defects disclosed on eBay, and use that to buy a new Gray Market lens from Adorama or B&H, than to pay close to the $300 charge Nikon was trying to rip me off for.

Nikon claimed the 24-70 had impact damage. When I called to ask about the lens not being under warranty, they accused me of being reckless with my equipment and dropping the lens. I asked that pictures be sent of the lens from Nikon, to ensure that there wasn't some kind of damage during shipping. I waited over two weeks with Nikon El Segundo but no response. Today is January 9th and four weeks after mailing them the lens I am getting it back (and refusing service) and probably taking it to an independent service center. The additional two weeks after waiting for pictures of the lens from Nikon were the usual delay in receiving a repair, contacting me about it, and giving an estimate.

I use, but don't abuse my gear. The lens was never dropped or mishandled. The rubber zoom ring coming lose is fairly common with the 24-70 and regardless of Nikon's issues with the alleged impact damage, should have been fixed. The lack of timeliness in Nikons response, combined with their arrogance in accusing me of damaging the lens, leaves me to ponder whether its worth it to start shooting Canon or some other system that makes it feasible for working professionals, or those who will have a lifetime of photography, to get faster service and the respect or treatment they deserve as top customers.

As you've said before, why should the guy with a D3 get the same level of service as a Coolpix 990? Don't we pay a hefty premium for the "US Model?" I feel ripped off, even robbed, when I cannot get simple warranty service on my Nikon USA items, because the techs disagree with me. Whats worse is there is no negotiating with them. I asked despite the alleged problems with the lens, if they could simply fix the rubber on the zoom ring since that was a clear warranty issue. I was told that since Nikon had classified the lens as having "Impact Damage," that the lens was not covered under warranty at all.

Not only was playing phone tag with Nikon a waste of my time, it was frustrating dealing with them at every turn, when I could get ahold of somebody. I sincerely hope Nikon gets their customer service act together, or else they will go the way of American car companies, down the tubes resting on their laurels. Nikon makes great stuff, but so does Canon, Sony, Pentax, etc. The problems with getting gear serviced make it almost appealing to go through the effort of switching an entire system. I don have time to hound Nikon or deal with these issues, and nobody else really does either. Were all busy trying to make images, not deal with Nikon on fixing gear. Nikon has certainly taken a lot of fun out of photography for me, because I never know what to expect from their support when using their gear. It distracts me from making images both mentally and with time. (sp)


I read your Nikon warranties article and would like to make a note about USA lens serial numbers begining with US. In Feb of this year I purchased a USA version 17-35/2.8 from a reputable Nikon supplier in NY. When I received it, the receipt stated USA version, the lens serial number started with US**** but the box and warranty papers seemed to be grey market version i.e. International 1 yr warranty card, no extended 4 yr warranty and the box did not exhibit the 5yr warranty logo. All box, paperwork and lens numbers matched.

I contacted Nikon with this information and after some research they informed me that this lens was a grey market lens (with a US**** serial number). This is in contradiction to the normally accepted method of USA lens identification.

The supplier accepted the return no questions and replaced it with another USA version lens with the correct paperwork and US**** serial. (se) [Thom: That's a new one to me. This would imply that Nikon is selling some excess lenses outside the US that have US serial numbers (e.g., that NikonUSA moved inventory overseas or that Nikon corporate had extra inventory that they never shipped to the US). This just all goes to show how crazy and silly Nikon's policy is. They can't even manage to keep everything working the way they tell users it works.]


In January, 2010, I sent a ten year old AF Nikkor 85mm f1.8 lens to Nikon in Melville, Long Island, NY to fix a frozen focus ring.  Nikon repaired the lens and in February, shipped it back to me via UPS.  Except that the box UPS handed to me was EMPTY.  Someone had slashed the top and removed the contents.  I took a picture of the box clearly showing a gaping hole you could put your hand in, then refused to accept the box and UPS sent it back to Nikon.  After some time Nikon sent me a refurbished f1.8D with a 90 day warranty, and no charge for any repair.  Kudos to Nikon for looking out for their customers.  
Incidentally, the box had no markings that would suggest it came from Nikon, so it could have contained anything.  The thief, probably an insider, knew that anything coming from Melville would likely be from Nikon and thus contain something easy to fence on eBay. (lc)


I mailed a lens 12-27-10 to Nikon repair at El Segundo Ca. They started the new year well, they received my 17-55mm lens stuck in the 20mm position 12-29-10.  I received estimate of repair (e-mail) 1-4-11 I approved repair same day, I received the repair lens 1-10 -11 op's checked good.  Is this an anomaly? I followed all the instructions on their website and received communication from them and could successfully track the status of lens online.  Overall an example of what customer service is all about (IMHO!) (al)


I sent my 24-70 to Melville, arrived there the day before the quake in Japan.  This was the lens that fell from the Nikon pouch last year and hit the airport tarmac requiring mount and zoom mechanism replacement. Last fall I had to send it in again as the zoom mechanism they put in was grinding and jerky.  This time, the AF was starting to squeak when focusing from closest focus distance toward infinity.  Initial contact indicated a re-repair and no additional costs to me.  After 1 day, status changed to “replace product” and I was sent a refurbed unit.  The original lens still has over 2.5 years on its 5 year warranty.  Not sure if it means anything out of the ordinary, such as they are low/out of parts and sending refurbs as replacements until they can get parts?  Or, it just happened to go that way.  A few years back, my first 70-200 VR was in for repairs at least once/year and when they did finally replace it after 4 previous attempts, it was with a new unit. [wd]


In June 2010 I noticed that the LCD monitor of my D90 wasn't working. I took it to a Cord Camera shop in Indianapolis in August 2010 (My biggest concern was to send the camera by mail, I wasn't sure how to pack it properly, and how any company would manage the transportation and delivery....) 5 weeks later, they sent me an estimate of 400$ for the repair and told me to wait for another 4 weeks. 3 months later, in december, they weren't able to tell me in what part of the process my camera was, why this was taking so long, and never answered any of my at least 5 emails. I decided to get my camera back without the repair and they sent it back to me 2 weeks later. They told me they had to pick the camera back from Nikon.....After this experience I've been using the camera without the monitor for 2 months, I was scared of sending it somewhere again.

Two weeks ago, I decided to take the challenge and sent my camera to Nikon Melville through UPS. I took the camera to the UPS Shop on Friday February 11th, Nikon received it on Tuesday 15th, I approved the estimate (200$) the same day and the status changed to Shop the day after. Today, February 23rd, I got my camera delivered at my front door at 9:38 am in perfect condition. Total time from my door to Nikon and back: 11 days, including two weekends and return shipping ! I am truly impressed! Nikon just earned a lifelong customer. [md]


Sent the lens in for repair (a 35-70 2.8D) - it took them over 2 1/2 months to send it back. They never properly repaired the lens - the full extent of the terrible repair job became clear in detailed study and tests using focus charts - at 35mm the lens is "sort of okay", but the macro lock is broken still. At 70mm the lens is terribly soft to the point of being unusable.

The auto focus chatters, the macro lock is broken, and the image is unacceptably soft especially at 70 mm. And not only did they do a terrible job of repair, it took them over 2 1/2 months to send it back.

It's a worthless repair service in all respects. [as]


I sent a note a few weeks ago about this to see if you seen this before.  You said yes….camera went to shop in NY. I got the camera back today 249.44 with shipping.
 
Rpl SQ Base Plate
Replace Rubber Grip
Rpl CF cardholder Rubber
Rply Shutter Mechanism
ADJ Auto Focus Operation
CKD Communication
CLN CCD
General Check & Clean
 
Took camera out of box and attached the 10 pin remote – MC-20. Still swivels….they did not fix the issue at all. But, does that mean I have a new Shutter Mechanism. When I called the guy on the phone, Omar, says it was an autofocus problem. So, read him the description straight off their PDF file and asked him where I said the problem was autofocus?
He had no clue. By the way..I marked the 10 pin remote connection cover with a piece of Green Neon Duct Tape.
Kind of hard to miss that…tape is still there! 3 or 4 weeks without a camera by the time it gets done [jh]


It's a bit too early to say how this experience is going to turn out, but easy to see the direction it's heading.

An otherwise comical chain of events led to a light splash of turkey noodle soup on my D700 and 200/f2. Very light. But I didn't want it todry into a smelly, sticky mess so I grabbed a nearby dixie cup with about a half-inch of water in it and poured it gently over the spill, then dried it up with napkins. Perhaps not the best course of action, but this is a weather sealed unit and we're talking about less water under less pressure than one would encounter in a minute of running for shelter when surprised by a light rainfall.

An hour later, the camera was dead. Water damage never occurred to me. Thinking it must be the battery, I opened the compartment to swap in a new one and found...water. Out comes the battery and into an airtight container full of dessicant goes the D700. The lens is fine (other than an unrelated issue I'll get to in a minute). Nikon wants me to ship them both the lens and camera so they can figure out how the water got inside. Cool. My 200mm makes a weird noise when I use VR (which is rare), so this is as good a time as any to have it looked at under warranty. I also sat through the first of many lectures about the difference between "weather sealed" and "waterproof." I know they're not the same thing, but it's funny how Nikon never, ever wants to tell you what "weather sealed" is good for, other than it's NOT the same as waterproof.

I sent the gear in on a Friday and on Tuesday received a service estimate for the D700: $340 Reason for service? LIQUID DAMAGE TO GWO. Accurate, I suppose, but now very helpful. I called and asked what they found. How did the water get inside? Answer: you poured it on the camera. Seriously. Another lecture about the D700 not being waterproof; a suggestion that I may want to purchase an underwater housing. The guy ended up saying he was looking at the same sketchy info I was, but he could pass notes along to the service tech and ask for comment. We spoke for another 10 minutes about how I count on this gear to earn a living, I need to know I can rely on it, and what my expectations of weather sealing are. I'm a former Olympus E-1 shooter, so I'm a bit spoiled in that regard, but still: I'm not looking for a waterproof camera. But please, someone, anyone: tell me how an ounce or two of water poured gently over the TOP of a weather sealed "professional" camera find its way inside the sealed battery compartment on the BOTTOM of the camera? And why doesn't anyone but me think it's a big deal? In addition to the "not waterproof" lecture, I also enjoyed an explanation of how the power of water shouldn't be underestimated. In case I didn't get the point, he used colorful examples like "water can break concrete" and "did you see that tsunami in Japan?" Wow.

I heard back from them Thursday night. My 11-minute phone call was summarized as, "Dane called in because he wanted further information on the estimate."

Not surprisingly, the response didn't address any of my questions. They just said, "The D700 nor any of our cameras are advertised as weather proof. For weather proof protection we advise on purchasing a third party body weather proof armor." I used the online service area to update my case with the actual questions and concerns I had previously shared on the phone, and am patiently awaiting response.

Friday morning I got the service estimate for the 200mm. I told them I hadn't had any trouble as a result of the water spill but would like them to look at the VR mechanism as mentioned above. On the repair estimate they give the reason for service as, "LIQUID DAMAGE NO SIGNS OF WATER DAMAGE CLEAN & CHECK WILL NOT POWER ON." Do these guys even read or listen to anything, or are they just in their own little world? The lens won't power on? Really? Maybe because I haven't yet found the power switch? Again, I went online to update the case with my actual questions and concerns.

At this rate, this could all take awhile. So far, it's been an unpleasant experience that doesn't inspire any confidence whatsoever in Nikon. [dr]

 

 

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