How Good is Nikon Service? Part III - the Saga Continues

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bgelfand, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. In July, I posed the question, "How Good is Nikon Service?", just before I sent my F100 to Nikon for a clean and inspection following a house fire.
    After a few administrative problems, I received the camera with the focus screen loose; I returned it to Nikon. They installed the focus screen correctly, inspected the camera for damage, and returned it – this time with two big gray splotches on the screen. I detailed the problems here: . Once again the camera went back to Nikon.
    Two weeks ago, Nikon returned the camera. Everything looked good – no loose focusing screen, no splotches in the viewfinder. The Repair Invoice showed that the focusing screen and the SI Display Plate had been replaced, the Mirror Box had been cleaned, and a General Check and Clean was performed. I installed the neck strap, DK6, batteries, and mounted my 50mm f/1.4D lens. As a quick check I took some light meter readings of a beige wall in the shade with the F100, my Canon PowerShot Pro1, and my Gossen light meter. All the readings agreed with one another. Things were looking good.
    When Nikon services a camera, the Custom Setting are reset to factory default. This presented no problem; I have Camera Companion - a program capable of downloading and saving both shooting data and Custom Settings - and an MC-33 cable. I hooked the F100 to the MC-33 and uploaded my Custom Settings. This not only restored my settings but also tested F100 to computer communications.
    For a test, I decided to use a roll of slide film. I loaded a roll of Provia and took a walk taking a few pictures with the 50mm lens. Function seemed normal.
    The next day, I decided to try a few flash pictures. I found I could not mount my SB-28 flash unit. Close examination of the hot shoe showed the left side was bent down. This time I called El Segundo direct and asked to speak with a manager. He was not in, but returned my call the next morning. He was at a loss to explain the problems I encountered. The camera was thoroughly inspected, including TTL flash function, during the first service; the damage to the hot shoe must have occurred during that or subsequent services or shipping. The packages did not appear damaged, and the packing was more than adequate. When I shipped the camera back the second, and third, time, I used the same box and packing materials that Nikon used to ship it to me.
    The camera is now back at Nikon El Segundo – for the fourth time. The fire did over $100,000 structural damage to the house, which we rent. The first week of August the landlord signed a contract to repair the house; repairs are scheduled for completion by 15 October. I sent the F100 to Nikon on 13 July. My Significant Other and I have a wager – which repair will be completed first, the house or my camera.
  2. Sorry about your house. That's a real shame!
    I've never had a problem with Nikon service. Pentax service was equally stellar or even moreso. Sounds as though you've had your share of bad luck, but any one person's experience does not tell the whole story.
    I hope that your issues are resolved quickly.
  3. Seems you're having an extreme run of bad luck. Hope it turns around soon.
    I can imagine emotions running high when things like this happen, and respect the calm way you're able to report on this.
    Hope all issues will be resolved in the end, both with your house AND the F100. Did your negatives (and maybe digital files as well) survive?
    Good luck!
  4. I have a hard time believing Nikon keeps sending you back your camera and it doesn't work or has all these issues. You send it in and it comes back with a new issue? 4 times? No way
  5. Hi Joris and Dan,
    Yes, all my negatives survived. Thanks to quick actions by the fire department, the fire was confined to the attic. I do not think we lost much, if any, property. I will have a better idea when the restoration company finishes cleaning everything and returns it to the house.
    I can afford to take a calm attitude toward this problems with Nikon. I am not a pro; photography is my hobby. Until we move back to the house, my darkroom equipment is in storage with the restoration company, along with everything else. The restoration company sent my Coolscan film scanner to Nikon Melville, NY for cleaning and test. It will be interesting to see how Melville does with the Coolscan V. Even if I had my F100, all I could take is color negatives and have them printed 4x6 at the local mini lab. I am use to printing my own black and white negatives in my darkroom and processing my scanned color negatives in Photoshop.
    Both the Nikon manager and I are at a loss to explain these problems. Nikon is not having any labor problems or disputes. He told me almost all the technicians are long time employees. He told me their policy is if any camera is damaged while being repaired, the technician simply reports it and fixes it. There is no disciplinary action taken for the occasional accident. As for me, I carry "All Hazards" insurance on my cameras and have carried it for the last 30 years. If I had damaged the camera all I would have said is "Oops!" and reported it to the insurance company. They would have said, "If it is economically repairable, have it repaired and send us the bill. If it is not economically repairable, buy a new one and send us the bill." I have made claim under the insurance only twice in the past 30 years - for this fire and once due to corrosion in the light meter on my FTn. In both cases, the insurance paid without a question and the rates have not increased.
    The only explanation I have is - I am cursed! I have not stolen the ruby/diamond/emerald eye from any fat little idols nor have I raided any tombs lately. So why the curse? <BIG GRIN>
    One lesson I did learn is the importance of having renter's insurance and sufficient insurance. I do have it, and it has made the experience bearable. One call to my insurance company after the fire took care of everything. They had both the restoration company and a laundry that specialized in disasters at the house the next business day. Everything in the house smelled like a campfire. The laundry company removed all our clothing, bedding, linens, and towels that day. They asked what we needed immediately and had those items laundered/cleaned and delivered to the hotel that we were in within two days. When we moved to an apartment, they delivered some of the linens. They will store the rest of our clothing and other items until we move back to the house. It took the restoration company several days to pack and remove all the rest of our property from the house. They cleaned items I designated as high priority within a week and delivered them to the apartment we rented. They will move them back to the house when we move back. They are storing the rest of our possessions until we can move back to the house. These services are expensive and all covered by the insurance.
    A second lesson is have a complete home inventory - that means not just the high dollar value property but all the clothing, furniture, tools, dishes, flatware, pots, pans, books, CD's, DVD's (both by title), etc. It is amazing how much clothing, books, and kitchenware cost to replace. Keep a copy off site. It does you no good to point to lumps of charcoal and say, "That big lump is my computer with home inventory on it. Those little lumps are my backups." I keep my off site copy on a thumb drive in my safe deposit box. I take a backup quarterly; I find that the total inventory does not change much month to month. True, things wear out, but they are usually replaced by like items.
  6. Hi Dan,
    Unfortunately that is exactly what happened. I do think the first two returns were related. I suspect the focusing screen was damaged when it came loose causing the first return. How Nikon missed that, I do not know. I have no idea how the hot shoe was damaged.
  7. "The only explanation I have is - I am cursed! I have not stolen the ruby/diamond/emerald eye from any fat little idols nor have I raided any tombs lately. So why the curse? <BIG GRIN>"
    This is a good question. You seem to have a dark cloud over your head. I hope the weather changes soon for you!
    I have never had, nor heard of, such bad expereince with Nikon service before. My experience with them is 100% good.
  8. I have had wonderful luck with Nikon Service. I just spoke to them the other day about a lens issue and they recommended a way to save some money on the repair.
    I am sorry you are having such bad luck. My guess is that your call to the manager will do the trick.
  9. When I was an NPS member I sent gear to Nikon without any problems. But in recent years I have preferred Authorized Photo Service ( They used to be Nikon's midwest repair facility; they are now independent but they still do Nikon warranty repairs.
    One of the prime benefits of using APS is that it is easy to call and obtain a ballpark figure for a specific problem. You can't hold them to an estimate provided over the phone but it makes it easier to ascertain what might need to be done and how much it will cost.
    APS service and turnaround time has been excellent for me.

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