How Good is Nikon Service

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bgelfand, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. A few weeks ago we had a fire at the house. The fire started outside and was sucked into the vents under the eves; there was a 15 mph to 20 mph wind blowing it toward the house. Most of the direct fire damage was confined to the attic. However, the living area was filled with smoke and soot. Although my cameras were in their bags, I think a good cleaning of my F100 would be in order to remove any soot that might be in the works. My insurance company agrees and will pay for the cleaning.
    To my question, how good is Nikon Service in El Segundo, CA? Has anyone had their film cameras serviced by them lately (say the last 6 months)? If so, what was your experience? I am beginning to wonder if Nikon even remembers how to service film cameras. <grin>
    Do I need to send my lenses in for cleaning as well? I have a 35-70 f/2.8D, a 50mm f/1.4D, and two manual focus lenses. I have no AF-S lenses.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am sure Nikon will be happy to take your money to service your F100, but repair cost can easily exceed (or at least approach) its current value.
  3. Hi Shun,
    Thank you for the comment, but it does not answer my question.
    Cost is not a factor. Even if it were, I would rather get my camera back in known good condition than chance a used camera, even from a reputable used dealer like KEH. My renters insurance will pay for the cleaning. The other option is for the insurance company to buy me a new F100. Since the F100 is no longer made, that is not a viable option. I can choose which ever firm I want to service the camera. For me that leaves two choices - Nikon or International Camera Technicians in Mountain View, CA. Fred at ITC is snowed under with work; he will clean my Bronica S2A in August.
    So my question remains, so far unanswered, does Nikon El Segundo still do good work on film cameras? Have you ever sent a camera to them? When? Were you satisfied with the work?
  4. Nikon <i>Professional</i> Services (NPS) is very, very good to it's members. They hurry up your repair and it's fantastic to work with them as a professional.
    Sending something back to Nikon as a consumer, is a bit slower.
  5. New F100s are in stock from B&H right now.
  6. Let's hear it for The Other Option!
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As Peter points out, B&H has brand new F100 cameras in stock if cost is indeed not a factor at all:
    If you must have your F100 repaired, I would imagine that Nikon USA repair will do a good job as they do most of the time. However, unless you have an F6, in most situations it is not worthwhile to repair film SLRs any more. Therefore, it is unlikely that you'll hear from a lot of people who have "recent" film SLR repair experience.
    Another place that typically performs excellent Nikon repair is Authorized Photo Service:
  8. Hi Brooks,
    Sorry about your misfortune.
    Several years ago, I'd paid substantially for a direct Nikon repair. Well, the lens seemed to make as good an image as it ever did afterwards, but there was still something rolling around inside..
    Like you, it seems, I prefer repairing something which is a known quantity, especially if I've owned it for several years and know its history thoroughly. After the mentioned repair experience, I found Terry Grandfield's Southern Exposure Camera Repair in PA. I know it seems like it is on the other side of the country from you, but you could easily call or email him, and get an idea. He's done absolutely great work for me on both Nikon and Canon. An F3HP, which I'd dropped and crushed the prism was fixed like new, and I've used it for years since without a single problem. And he actually fabricated a part for a long ago Canon lens which was quite impressive to me. It's hard to say enough about this guy, imo. He's thoroughly trained, started in the military, and has many years of experience.
  9. Hi Shun,
    When I wrote "cost is not a factor" I meant reasonable differences between technicians. My policy provides for repair where feasible and replacement with a new item if repair is impossible or uneconomical. I doubt Nikon will charge the $800 B&H want for a new F100 to clean my F100. It is my understanding that a normal CLA cost under $200.
    I realize not many people repair film cameras these days. However if anyone does, I thought there was a good chance they were members, hence my post.
    Thank you for the link to APS. Their FAQ states my rational for having the F100 cleaned rather than simply replacing it with a used copy - I start with a known good camera. Have you used APS yourself?
    Hi Nic,
    I am not a professional. I assume the same technicians would work on my cameras as work on the professionals' cameras; I would have a lower priority, not a lower standard of service. Have you been satisfied with Nikon's work on your cameras?
    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the reply. I am thankful that my Significant Other and I got out of the house uninjured; we were home when the fire started.
    Thank you for the link to Southern Exposure Camera Repair. If I read your post correctly, you are not completely satisfied with the Nikon service, but you lens works properly and has for some time after the repair.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Brooks, I have been using Nikon cameras since 1977 and all of my Nikon equipment rarely needs repair. Therefore, I only have limited experience with repair. So far I am happy with Nikon USA repair every time (out of approximagtely 7 times in the last 20 years), and I used Authorized Photo Service once based on recommendations from this forum. I could not use Nikon USA because it was a gray-market lens. If you do a search here, you'll see a lot of recommendation for their service.
  11. I would send it to Nikon to be fixed up. Also has a good reputation for repairs and Advance Camera in Portland Oregon has worked on one of my film camera's and did an excellent and speedy service. For reference you can go to and look at the prices of used F100's to get an idea of replacement cost if the insurance company was interested. Used F100's do not seem cheap to me. You are the only one that can see if your lenses are in need of cleaning because of the fire. Good luck and yes Nikon remembers how to work on film camera's.
  12. I have only sent one lens to Nikon for repair, but they were excellent. I would imagine they would do a great job at cleaning your camera. After all they did make it, I would imagine they are pretty good at working on them. It's like a car, you can take it to other places to have it worked on, but the manufacturer's service department is usually one of the better ones. Since that brand is all they work on they usually know it backwards and forwards.
    You might find out the cost to repair, they may consider just replacing it. Or at the very least if the price difference isn't much they may just give you the money and you can apply it towards a new one.
  13. Thank you all; I appreciate the feedback.
    Shun, like you I have been using Nikon equipment for years - since 1970. It rarely needs repair. I hope I can go for another long time after this cleaning.
    I hope to retrieve the cameras from my friend's home, where we took them after the fire, and send the F100 off to Nikon this week. I am not sure the lenses need cleaning. If there is no soot on the outside, I may leave them alone. I may ask Fred, at ITC, to take a quick look at them and give me an opinion.
  14. I have my D70s in for repair at Nikon in NY and is being covered under the Nikon extended warranty. It has been on hold waiting for parts for nearly 3 weeks. I'll post the results when I get it back.
  15. There are so few reports of problems with Nikon 35mm SLRs I had to dig back into the wayback machine to find one: Nikon F3 repair (2005). Robert Lai reported satisfactory service of his F3 in the early 2000s. Other than that, the only repair anecdotes I can recall regarding the F100 was due to the rewind fork.
  16. When I owned an F100 years ago, a knowledgeable SoCal shooter recommended Dean's Camera Repair in Torrance as an alternative to Nikon El Segundo. I have no personal experience with them, but thought it couldn't hurt to share the name, just in case it offers a lead worth pursuing.
    Good luck.
  17. Hey Brooks,
    Good to hear that everyone was okay; sounds like a very scary experience. I just hope that the cause has been completely addressed.
    I'm fairly surprised to hear so many that seem to have had good experiences with Nikon doing their repairs. I seem to remember other posts over the years where the preponderance of feedback seemed to be the opposite. I can only speak for myself, of course, and the Nikon equipment itself has been ultra reliable. The only repairs I've needed were with just a few accidents over the course of more than a dozen years, plus cases of maintenance that had been totally neglected on some cameras that had been given to me, and one repaired on behalf of a friend.
    Although the lens I'd had Nikon repair seemed to perform optically as it always did (dropped while carrying it mounted on a tripod while scrambling up a muddy creek bed in late winter, and slipped), I was disappointed with the sound of something rattling around inside after receiving it back. This noise was not present before the fall. It's been several years, but I remember having trouble communicating with the right person at the facility, and the experience stayed with me. It was a fairly expensive repair, too.
    On the other hand, with Terry Grandfield, I am dealing with one individual, he can be reached easily, and he is definitely experienced and well trained. His work area is incredible in its organization and neatness. I'd much rather deal with a craftsman/professional like Terry with everything riding on reputation than an employee of a corporation that now seems to have as its business model, like so many others, the task of enticing its customers to buy its seemingly never ending cycles of ever "improved" products.
    I've met other satisfied customers of his over the years, too, and never anything negative. He's not even an old guy, so hopefully he'll be there for us for a long time.
    Had a wonderful day here shooting modern Kodak films with my F3HP! Hope you're able to do the same soon with your F100! Jeff
  18. Hi Jeff,
    The fire started outside the house, between my neighbor's home and ours. We keep nothing back there and neither does my neighbor. I have no idea what started the fire. When I first saw the fire (we were in the house working on our computers, when my Significant Other heard a "crackling sound" from outside), the wooden fence that separates the properties was ablaze; the flames were being fanned by a 15 to 20 mph wind blowing toward our home. While my Significant Other called 911, I tried to slow the fire with the garden hose. With the wind, it was useless. There was no way I was going between a blazing fence and a burning house. We moved the cars out of the attached garage and were ordered to move across the street by the police.
    The fire department responded promptly and knocked the fire down. We had six fire trucks, three police cars and the fire rescue truck in the street in front of our house. The fire itself was confined to the attic. In fact the smoke alarms in the house did not start to sound until after the first fire truck arrived. Most of the damage in the living quarters was smoke, soot, and some water damage.
    It will take at least three months repair the structure, but that is the landlord's problem; we are renters not owners. At present, we are back to apartment living.
  19. "I'm fairly surprised to hear so many that seem to have had good experiences with Nikon doing their repairs. I seem to remember other posts over the years where the preponderance of feedback seemed to be the opposite."​
    A truism of customer satisfaction surveys is that satisfied customers tend to be silent. Dissatisfied customers appear to dominate online searches because they're more aggressive in posting their anecdotes. My observation after a decade on and more than 20 years online is that dissatisfied people are inclined to post the same complaint to many websites, forums, blogs and anywhere possible, while satisfied customers may be content to post only a single anecdote recounting their positive experience.
    My personal experience with Nikon USA service has been very satisfactory, but is limited to only a couple of phone calls and a single warranty service of my D2H in 2006. Not much to go on. My problems with Nikon film cameras have been very minor and occurred to used cameras before I received them. The ISO dial on my F3 spins freely, so I figured out another way to keep track of the ISO. And the plastic film door latch on my N6006 broke, a common problem with that model. That's it. Overall the Nikons have been more reliable than any other brand of 35mm SLR I've owned (Miranda, Canon, Minolta, Olympus). Not much opportunity to gather any personal opinion of Nikon USA service.
  20. Thank you for the feedback, Lex. I did a search before I posted and, like you, did not find many complaints - nothing recent. I cannot get too upset that Nikon builds reliable cameras. Perhaps Nikon should start their own "Maytag Repairman" advertisements on TV. <grin>
  21. Hey Brooks, Wow, that must have been an experience! A lot of upheaval too, but of course, wonderful that it wasn't worse. Makes me even less inclined to complain about all of the rain we've experienced here in the East. I hope that you have good luck with everything going forward!
    Hi Lex, Yes, what you mention about dissatisfied customers being more vocal rings true, and seems to make sense to me. Fwiw, I don't think I've ever mentioned my single (and not terrible, just seemed lackluster and expensive) experience with Nikon Repair before. Just seem to remember a flurry of complaints from others online a few years ago, and remember thinking at the time that they sounded a bit like whiners. Like you, I've had almost the same great results as to the durability of my Nikon equipment. I did opt to have my N6006's "achilles heel" repaired, though;) (and don't you still love that camera!? I sure do!). But my main reason for mentioning SECR is that I feel so lucky to have found a facility like that, and it seems quite rare in this day and age, and especially if it might help all parties I try to mention it.
  22. Brooks
    You might want to have Nikon look at your lenses while they have your F100
    Soot and smoke could cause damage to them that you might not notice until it is to late.
  23. I don't fit Lex's "observation" - Nikon Canada's service has been great the couple times I've dealt with them and I always try to post showing my satisfaction where ever I can. :)
    I sent my 18-135mm DX lens in for repair (focus motor and C&A) on June 7th and Nikon had it back to me July 5th. I was quite happy as I was expecting 6 to 8 weeks.
  24. Hi Michael,
    Thank you for the suggestion.
    I intend to have the lenses checked also.
  25. I just got my F3HP back from Nikon USA in Southern California after sending it to them 10 days ago for repairs to the shutter, which was "clipping" at speeds of 1/500 and higher. I was starting to get portions of the negative black. I contacted them several days after they received the camera and discussed the problem with the technician. He told me it would function as new when they were through with the cleaning and adjustment. On the repair order that came back with the camera they listed: adjust exposure, replace sponge, adjust mirror operation, adjust shutter speeds, and check flash operation, film rewind, film winding and a general check and clean. As far as I can tell from a short roll of film it does work as it should....I couldn't be happier with the whole experience and the cost was well under $200 including shipping.
    Several months ago I sent my 20mm AFD to APS for overhaul as the blades were oiled up and drawing error codes on my D200. Their service, like Nikon USA was very reasonable, quick, efficient and professional.
  26. Thank you, Robert; I shall ship the camera to Nikon in the next few days.
    I stopped by International Camera Technicians, today after I pick the cameras up from my friends' home. Fred, the owner, is up to his eyeballs in work right now. He took a quick look at my lenses and told me they were fine. I am a firm believer in the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The lenses stay with me. Fred will clean my Bronica S2A in August when the shop quiets down some.
    Of course I will not be doing much until we can move back to the house and I can set the darkroom up again. At this point it looks like it will take over three months to repair the house. My Coolscan V is at the restoration service for outside cleaning; they will ship it to Nikon in Melville for a full clean and service. Until I get it back, I will have to be satisfied with Costco 4x6 prints and my EVF digital.
    I would like to thank everyone for their helpful comments; it is appreciated.
  27. Nikon Service in NY is great! I finally got my D70s back. It went in the shop because the depth of field preview was not working, exposures were inconsistant and it would not recognize any memory card. The camera was 2 months out of extended warranty but they still honored it. They had to replace something to do with the aperture and must have fixed the card reader. They also cleaned and checked the camera. Anyway, the camera seems better than when new. The white balance seems better, exposures look great and DOF preview now works again.
    Way to go Nikon!
  28. My experience with Nikon service in NY (Melville) is negative and I wouldn’t recommend anybody to use it.

    Just a little bit more than a month ago I sent my AF-S NIKKOR 28-70 IF-ED to them for the repair to be done on jammed zoom ring. I called the service center before and inquired how long would it take to repair the lens. They promised work to be done in two to two and a half of weeks after lens is received by them. I had to fly to Russia for at least a year and wanted lens to be repaired before my departure. In two weeks after they received a lens I discovered that the work isn’t moving and expressed my concern to them. I had to call several times before Nikon service started to see that there could be an issue with the work to be done on time. Amazingly call center has very bad communication with the workshop itself. A call center representative usually put me on at least 10 min hold to figure out where the lens is and why workshop is not in a hurry with the repair. They created a request number and promised that work will be done and the lens will be shipped to me before the date of my departure and they kept the promise but at the expense of quality. When I got the lens back (just a couple of hours before my departure) I noticed a scratch on the surface of rear lens. The scratch was done with a sharp tool and I’m pretty sure it was done during the repair work because the rear lens is not easy to access. I’m always attentive about dust and any markings on the surface of both front and back lens and 100% sure that I hadn’t this scratch before I sent the lens to the workshop.

    But this is not the end of my story. Of course I can send lens back and Nikon service will try to resolve the problem but in my situation it appeared to be that I’m responsible for the shipping costs. I called Nikon service at least three times and asked them to be reasonable and reimburse the shipping costs, they didn’t agree with me. Again, each time they put me on long holds. Some of the calls took me almost an hour because of this. I paid for the service and Nikon damaged my property. How in the world could it be then that I’m going to pay for this?? Could it be called a decent business then to sell product with such a lousy service? It’s a pity that photography is only a hobby of mine otherwise I would litigate with Nikon service immediately and forced them to reimburse my expenditures. I hope that nobody of you will have such a bad experience and the best way to this is to avoid Nikon service in Melville or maybe even Nikon products.

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