NikonUSA Camera/Lens Maintenance Choices

Hmm, NIkonUSA (and other subsidiaries are rolling this out as well, I believe) has a new set of "camera maintenance" options. This first appeared last month while I was traveling, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.

It used to be that you would send your (film SLR) in for a "CLA" every now and then (clean, lube, adjust). Over the years I've tended to send my pro bodies to NikonUSA every two years or so for a complete "service," and that's ranged in price from about US$50 to as much as US$200 (higher end cameras are more complex and require more checking). It appears that NikonUSA has now formalized this process and made more clear the things they do.

"Basic" appears to be all the cleaning things in the old CLA, coupled with updating firmware, if necessary. "Standard" and "Premium" now separate out the rest of the old CLA operations into two further categories. Most people probably really only need the "Standard" package, unless the camera's rubber grips need replacing, in which case you need the "Premium" package for sure. 

The point of a periodic maintenance is to keep the camera clean and operating correctly. "Basic" does the cleaning, while "Standard" does more to verify the operation. I'm personally hesitant to have NikonUSA recalibrate my focus and meter unless I know there's an issue there, in which case I'm usually asking for the camera to be repaired in the first place.

Which brings up a new question? How much of these things does NikonUSA do if your camera comes in for a real repair? I'm thinking that it's "Premium," but I'm going to have to check to verify that this is the case. They certainly perform "Standard" during any real repair. 

Of course, NikonUSA isn't NikonUSA without some mixed up language. Nikon Professional Services now provides at least three free "Clean & Check" sessions for gear with the new paid options. So which is this clean and check, "Standard" or "Premium"? ;~) 

Personally, I'm happy to see the new, fairly clearly described, maintenance options from NikonUSA. I've long been clamoring for more clarity and transparency, and as I've said over and over, I'm more than happy to pay for services if I know what I'm getting and can evaluate what I get for the price. 

I'd encourage those of you who have higher-end Nikon gear to get it maintained by Nikon at least every 24 months. But a word of warning: when Nikon does their checks, if they find things that need repair they generally will demand to repair it before doing the other maintenance work. That's particularly true of the "Premium" level, because doing the adjustments and calibrations you're asking for requires all the sub-systems to be working correctly. 

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