24-70 Repair Estimate. If You Were Me..........?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by slagerman, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. I have a Nikkor 24-70mm that was damaged by an airline inspector. When I arrived to my final destination, i opened my pelican case and saw glass in at the lens' foam compartment and i determined to be from the UV filter. There was no physical sign of damage to the body of the lens, and the front element had extremely minimal glass dust scratches on the front glass element. I shot with the lens and it seemed ok.
    Out of irritation that this happened, I submitted a claim to the airline and after their investigation, the airline determined that they were at fault and paid for the retail value of the lens with no questions asked. $2045 to be exact. Apparently they saw something on their surveillance video that made them make a decision in my favor. This was great news, as it seemed that the lens had mostly survived and I basically got paid for nothing. Not looking for ethics training here.. yes, I was overpaid, but it was their fault for not inquiring further and obviously I wasn't going to argue.
    While the claim was being investigated, I took the lens into my local Nikon-authorized service center for an inspection to make sure that everything was intact.

    So this morning I got a call with a repair estimate. It is $550. They say the front element needs to be replaced due to the scratches, the other optics need to be realigned, and something in the autofocus system needs replacing.
    I was a little shocked at this, since, like I said I had shot with the lens after the incident and things seemed ok. Autofocus worked fine, images were sharp, and the tiny scratches on the front did not seem to be rendering in the images.
    As far as I know, the place that has my lens is a highly respected service center that has been around since the 40's so I'm not really having a hard time believing them about what needs to be done. I fully realize that a pro lens like this (or any lens really) is a precision piece of equipment and anything that doesn't pass inspection will be deemed to require repair or replacement.
    I'm just trying to make a business decision and determine if the repairs are worth it, seeing as the lens seems to be mostly in sound working condition. I was planning to use the claim settlement to purchase a PC-E lens for product photography.
    Any advice here? If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
  2. If you are happy with the lens, why f*** with it?
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you think the 24-70 is working fine, why spend $550 to fix it?
    BTW, a new 24-70 costs something like $1700. I wonder why they are paying you over the replacement cost for a brand new lens?
  4. Do both. I would hate to be in the middle of a shot and have a problem with my money lense. You have some good fortune in the settement, treat yourself.
  5. @shun, because that is what I paid for it a little over a year ago with sales tax. Again, their fault for not inquiring.
    @Carl, I think you're onto something here. thanks.
  6. The honest thing to do is to replace the lens with a brand new one.
    That's what I'd do.
    Maybe fix the old one and sell it? Okay, maybe...
  7. Purchase your PC-E lens. I am surprised they did not keep the lens. Had they done so (which is usually done when a claim is paid), the decision would be that much easier. Since they didn't, it is yours to do with whatever you choose. You are not obligated so spend the money on another lens if you choose not to.
  8. Buy a used but excellent condition lens, sell yours with full disclosure, pocket the differance.
  9. Elliot writes...
    You are not obligated so spend the money on another lens if you choose not to.​
    I'm not sure this is "legally" true, can anybody verify? I'm very curious.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The real honest thing to do is to return the portion they overpay you, but I would keep the money. My reasoning is that sometimes you overpay other people and sometimes others overpay you; in the long run, it evens out. If you feel that your 24-70mm is still working fine, why sell or repair it; that does not make any sense.
  11. all good advice. it is true that things do even out over time. for example, i have had to turn down two jobs that came up abruptly while the lens has been in for service, equaling roughly the difference of the settlement, so the extra money has basically already been canceled out.
    i think the thing to do is be happy that things turned out in my favor and just pay for the repair. that way i know i will have a certified, reliable lens that i can depend on when i need it. paying ~$500 for a new PC-E lens is still a quite a deal. thanks for everyone's input.
  12. Peter, when an insurance company pays you on a claim, you have no obligation to replace what was damaged, lost or stolen, or if you do, you do not have to get the same item.
    If the OP paid $2000+ for the lens and had a receipt for that, he was reimbursed correctly. Now, if he had a fake invoice for an invalid amount, that would be a different story. Ultimately, the airline could have simply supplied him with a new lens had they wanted to. They didn't - they reimbursed him for what he paid.
  13. Was it an insurance claim?
  14. stp


    Think ahead to when you might sell the lens. Could you in good conscience sell a lens for the full going rate when Nikon had determined it had been damaged? If I were in your shoes, I'd have the lens fixed. I might be inclined to keep the remainder for several reasons: time and trouble, lack of use of the lens for a period of time, possible reduced value of a lens that has been "fixed" as opposed to one that has never been damaged, and possible damages that weren't diagnosed. On the other hand, it would also be ethical to return the unused funds (not all ethical decisions rest on the other side being fully informed; ethics should rest on the "do unto others" principle). Alternatively, you could sell the lens with full disclosure, buy yourself a new lens, and then make an ethical decision about the remaining funds. "Ethics" is that which we do when no one is looking or when no one would know otherwise.
  15. Hey, since some are talking ethics here, let's talk ethics. It is common practice for a damaged good to be compensated in full. It is damaged and you are entitled to replace it. Whether you do or not is YOUR decision, not the person who damaged your goods nor do they have a stake in the financial ramifications of your decision. When you get money to repair your car because someone else hit you, you don't have to repair it, it is your decision. I don't know where any of these other ideas are coming from, it is not how it works in the real world and I am not talking about questionable ethics.
    I had a lab repay me for an entire shoot because they ruined the bulk of the film. The client had usable film, but the lab still paid me, including all creative fees, assistants, airline tickets, etc etc. The money got used to do another (new) shoot for the client with the client paying for anything not covered by those fees(any add-ons). The lab knew it and was happy to be able to make it right.
    Personally, I would fix the lens myself unless I didn't care if about it anymore. Pocket the rest and get your PC-E lens when you can afford it.
    PS: why didn't you rent a lens for those other jobs?
  16. Who is the repair specialist?

    I'd rather pay the $550 and not have the lens fail on me when I really need it to perform.

    Since you're a professional, that should be a tax-deductible expense. If you already had to turn down two jobs on account of this incident and that alone canceled out the money the airline paid you (which, as Shun said, was over the current price of the lens), then you have something coming up in April next year.

    You asked, WWYD... I'd fix the lens and save the difference towards my wished lens, but fix the important glass first.

    BTW, sorry about what happened to you with the airline and lens. It should not have occurred.
  17. Many-many years ago, I had a claim with an airline, when a stewardess dropped my small camera bag, Nikon FM2 inside. They replaced the camera ( paid the replacement value ) but, they take the damaged camera. I heard a similar story, and there they also taken the damaged item after replacing the item. Something fishy here, how com the insurance company not requested the damaged lens and paid the full replacement value?
  18. With regards to taking the lens, it has been common practice to take the damaged item, however, these companies then ended up with all this damaged goods that they just chucked anyway. I have heard several stories now where they haven't required the damaged goods in exchange for payment (of course, they verify the damage)--one less thing to hassle with. I am sure if it is questionable, but the feel the have to, they will take the property as a matter of course.
  19. Why not read the fine print on the back of the check that you need to sign to settle the claim? Most likely, it says something like "By endorsing this check, you are accepting the check's value to make settle the claim..." and some other legal mumbo jumbo.
    If they wish to offer you more than the replacement value of the lens to settle the claim, that is their prerogative. Since you have the original receipt showing that you paid $2045, they obviously find it easier to just give you that amount, no questions asked, than to nickel and dime you over the actual replacement value of the lens.
    Note that in the case of a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company most assuredly would not give you the price you originally paid for the car.
    It is also the insurance company's prerogative not to request the damaged lens. In this scenario, they've probably decided it's more headache than it's worth.
    Now the original poster reports that "the front element had extremely minimal glass dust scratches on the front glass element" yet the repair shop says the front element needs to be replaced due to the scratches. As you've discovered, tiny scratches on the front of that lens will not show up in images, so I would question the judgment of the repair shop. Cosmetically, those scratches may be bothersome, but functionally, they do not hurt any. It's really not that different from dust inside the lens. Do some searching and you'll see the question comes up periodically on photo.net
    I'd also wonder how they'd know that something in the autofocus system needs to be replaced without disassembling the lens. If the AF works, the AF works.
    If I were you, I'd keep the $2045 check and find a different shop for when you really do need equipment repaired. You could always send it to Nikon to get a free estimate there. Just ask them what it will cost to get the lens to Good Working Order.
  20. The real honest thing to do is to return the portion they overpay you, but I would keep the money. My reasoning is that sometimes you overpay other people and sometimes others overpay you; in the long run, it evens out.​
    I think this reasoning is an example of two wrongs not making a right. A better reason would be to consider any "overpayment" as being compensation for the bother of filing the claim paperwork, bringing the lens for repair, etc.
    It's not a question of the insurance company not having complete information as to the value of the lens. They pay these claims all the time and know what the true replacement cost is. There are obviously other business reasons they have for not worrying about it.
  21. I know this isn't exactly the same as your situation but here's my tale and it may help with the 'ethics' discussion.
    I recently purchased a Nikkor 24mm PC-E Lens for $1995.00. Given the cost, I insured it for replacement cost. Suffice to say, I did something stupid and ended up without the lens in my possession. After a frantic search, in desperation I called the insurance company and told them the story - not sparing my lack common sense. To my very pleasant surprise, in the one phone call the adjuster said "no problem, I see you've insured it for $1995, that amount will be deposited in your bank account tomorrow morning" (she did check the web site where I purchased it, B&H, to verify the cost; she also said she had my record and could see I was a reasonably good customer/risk). I said "wow, I thought you'd at least want to hook me up to a lie detector or something, but I'll get a new lens and send you a copy of the receipt". She said, we don't need/want the receipt, and you don't need to buy a replacement lens with the money. She said the money was mine to do with as I wished.
    Basically, from the insurance company point of view, it costs less to just get the matter settled quickly than to conduct a big investigation. Also, from the insurance perspective, the money need not be used to replace the item, if that were the case they would buy it and give you the item because there would be some residual money they would receive as middle-man. As a minimum, they'd refer you to a preferred seller (like with auto repairs where they specify the garage). Don't over analyze this, the money is yours to take a vacation with if you want.
  22. So... you got more than the lens is worth, and yet are complaining about a high repair cost when you feel the lens is performing well, AND you'll still end up $1500 ahead?
  23. John is right, the airport insurance pays for it. I believe they would rather not deal with the extra procedures of handling a defective lens and processing the refund.
    Just thinking what I would do: Buy a new one, fix the old one and sell it at eBay.
  24. thanks to everyone for your responses. again, the result was i decided to go ahead with the repair. i'll decide on the next step when I get it back and see how it feels.
    Since this sparked some discussion about insurance and damage claims, I thought i should be a little more specific. It was actually not the airline that i filed a damage claim with but the private company that the airport contracts with to handle their inspections of checked baggage. I later found out that they only handle international flight baggage. It was their tag that was in my case that said they had completed a detailed inspection of my case and the instructions on the tag instructed me to contact them if there was any damage.
    When i filed the claim, i went over and beyond what was actually necessary to file the claim. I filled out the basic info they wanted, my flight number, date, time, airport, etc. I gave a complete and honest description of the damage but i also sent photos of the actual damage, the cut padlocks, the case itself. I shot video in my hotel room of how the lens was sitting in it's compartment and the glass still in it, then i uploaded it to youtube. I sent the video link with my claim. I luckily had all the documentation that they asked for, tickets, boarding passes, bag check stub etc etc. (I normally throw this stuff away, but for some reason this flight I kept it). I also needed my original purchase receipt, which I always keep. I usually only purchase gear like this locally so to the responder questioning the claim amount, my local nikon retailer charges more than an online store like B&H or Calumet and then there is sales tax which is why the sale for a 24-70 ended up at $2000+.
    After about 2 months of waiting, I finally received a letter and check. The letter stated that all inspections are monitored with high definition video surveillance and the letter said "after reviewing our video records, we have adjudicated your case and have determined that you shall be fully reimbursed for the purchase price of the equipment described in your claim". This was the only communication I had with them after sending in the original claim.
    Of course I'll never know what actually happened, but this says to me that the damage took place during the inspection which was conducted by a human being and it was obvious on the video. I commend them for being candid, in a sort of round about way.
    And @Scott Frindel Cole - Not sure if you misread my original post or just read what you wanted, but I was never complaining about the price, in fact based on the work that is being done i think it is fairly reasonable. I have never been absent minded about how lucky I am that this turned out in my favor. I was saying that i was "shocked" because I didn't even realize that there was damage to the lens. I wasn't "shocked" at the price of the repair. I guess I should have kept it short and been more specific as to what I was actually asking rather opening up the opportunity unnecessary discussion. What i was trying to get at was people's opinions as to whether or not i should go for the repair for $550 or just continue with the lens as-is since it was working well. i.e. is it worth paying 1/3 of the purchase price to repair a lens that appears to be working ok. Thanks for those who helped. This is my first optics repair situation. Guess i'll be more specific next time.
  25. Keith, does your lens have a 5-year Nikon warranty? If so, you must know that you can get it fixed for free, right? Anyhow, good luck!
  26. Mary,
    I do have the 5 year. That did cross my mind but i dismissed it because of the nature of the damage. The service shop said that it wouldn't cover it. Would that apply to my situation?
  27. It doesn't matter what the damage is. I think it always costs $550 to repair lenses in this class. I just got exactly the same estimate to repair the 14-24 that I dropped!
    And no, my 14-24 isn't working right now.
  28. The Nikon warranty covers equipment failure - stuff like an autofocus motor that wears, glue that comes apart, or any other part of the lens that fails prematurely.
    The Nikon 5 year warranty does not cover damage due to accident or excessive abuse. So you certainly wouldn't get the new front element that you don't need.
    However, if the autofocus system needs to be replaced, that is something that Nikon would probably cover. It doesn't sound like your lenses got bashed anymore than what might happen in any photojournalist's camera bag and they are built to take a certain amount of abuse.
    Nikon tends to be generous with warranty claims so it's worth sending it to them for the repair. You'll need to include a copy of your purchase receipt and they just might do it for free.
  29. There's a picture of a 17-35 ring motor about half way down in the posting here - http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00W7UI - it's a rugged piece so if it needs to be replaced it would be hard to attribute the problem to whatever abuse it received from the baggage handler.
    Tell Nikon the local shop says the AF system needs to be replaced and see what they say about it.
  30. I'd send it to Nikon and get them to fix it. That sounds pretty high, but I've never had to replace an element before. You know Nikon will do it right, so why not use them?
    Anyway, given the luck you had here, I'd pay the $550. You're not losing much and then you'll know the lens is in top shape. Otherwise, if you're like me, you'll go around wondering if your images are compromised.
    Still, personally I'd send it to Nikon.
  31. In regards to being legally obligated to buy the same lens with the insurance - even with your own you are not and in this case, it isn't even your own insurance. I stupidly lost a D80 once and it was made clear by my personal insurance that I didn't have to buy the same thing (in fact, sometimes you can't). For instance, if you lost an originally bought new D80 that had full "replacement" coverage, you would get original retail which logically you would spend on a D90 now.
    Or just pocket it. The point is you've had a loss against your assets to which they had liability. What it was isn't technically important.
    Cars are kind of another thing, because they repair instead of replacing them.
  32. What is the manufacturer's suggested retail price?
    The airline person who came up with that amount got it from somewhere. They may have gone up to some photo site and saw "List price $2450" and based their payout on that.
    In other words, I wouldn't feel any guilt about the payout you received - none.
    Considering that nickle and diming and mistreatment of travelers is standard business practice among the airlines, I'm just amazed they even owned up to it.
  33. "The honest thing to do is to replace the lens with a brand new one." This is just plain crazy.
    Unless your subsequent shooting with the 'damaged' lens consisted of a thorough test for all known parameters, you should have the lens fully checked/repaired if necessary.
    Then, if you really depend on this particular lens for most/all of your work, you should buy a second copy of the lens. Then, you won't lose any jobs because your 'only lens' is out of commission.
  34. At least get the repair done so the second hand value of your lens doesn't drop, and you still have loads of cash left over. At some stage in the far and distant future, (in a galaxy far far away...) you may want to sell it.
  35. If the repair is done by Nikon, it's possible, perhaps likely, that the rest of your 5 year warranty will be in force.
    I'm not sure if the rest of your extended warranty will apply if you have it serviced elsewhere. I hope the same warranty terms will apply for authorized repair stations as I just had my 14-24/2.8 repaired by APS before I considered this issue.
    I just asked Nikon about this and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Share This Page