If anyone at Nikon were to do a Google search today to see how the D610 rollout is going, this is what they'd find:
- CNET Asia—Headline: New shutter in Nikon D610 might fix oil-on-sensor issue of D600. Quote: "With this update, Nikon's implicitly addressing the former [dust and oil] problem with a completely new shutter mechanism, but flash photographers hoping for an improvement on the latter are doomed to disappointment."
- dpreview—Headline: Slight improvement? Nikon D610 First Impressions Review. Quote: "Internet theorists have already suggested that the D610 was created to leave the troubles of the D600 behind. And the appearance of a new model so soon after the D600's launch, with almost no changes other than a new shutter mechanism, seems to give that theory some credence."
- Imaging Resource—Headline: Nikon D610 Review -- Hands-on Preview. Quote: "And now the company is back one year later with a slightly upgraded model -- the Nikon D610 -- featuring a new shutter mechanism that not only promises to boost the camera's continuous shooting speed, but also should eliminate the persistent oil-on-sensor problem that marred the D600's otherwise high quality images."
- Photography Life—Headline: Nikon D610 Announcement. Quote: "After a number of complaints from major review sites, including DPReview, Nikon finally admitted the flaw and issued a service advisory. To keep the image of the D600 line good, Nikon decided to release a refresh sporting mostly identical features."
- Photo.net—Headline: Nikon Introduces the D610 DSLR. Quote: "To put it bluntly, there is little doubt that the D610 is introduced to separate itself from all the negative publicity from the oil/dust issue from the D600, and the original shutter mechanism seems to be the culprit."
- Petapixel—Headline: Nikon Officially Announces the D610, Adds Quiet Continuous Mode and Not Much Else. Quote: "From the beginning we expected that the D610 would basically be a refresh that would tackle the sensor spot issue the D600 experienced from the get go, and it seems like that is indeed its primary purpose."
- Online Photographer—Headline: New Nikon, The Oil That Wasn't There. Quote: "So is the oil-on-the-sensor problem gone? Nikon can't say. Huh? Why? Well, because it wasn't there. You see, Nikon never really acknowledged the problem in the first place. So it can't very well trumpet the news that the problem has been fixed."
- Popular Photography—Headline: New Gear. Quote: "The Nikon D600 was an excellent camera, but it stumbled a little thanks to a tendency for some of the sensors to collect grease and dust. Nikon appears to have remedied that problem and added a few very slight improvements, eventually ending up with the D610."
- Engadget—Headline: Nikon's full-frame D610 DSLR is a minor step up from the D600, we go hands on. Quote: "We spent a few minutes with the D610 body, but Nikon reps didn't permit us to power on the unit. Unfortunately that means we were unable to evaluate the new quiet continuous mode."
Sound like Nikon dodged their PR troubles caused by the D600 shutter debris and lubricant splatter to you? Did the D610 announcement actually "separate [it] from all the negative publicity [of the D600]"? Doesn't really look like it to me.
True, Photography Blog kept it pretty much on the facts. Amateur Photography so far has only printed the press release (it's night over there). Other not-so photographic types of sites such as Fox News, Consumer Reports, Yahoo, and so on, also tended to play it pretty straight with no commentary about why a slightly modified D600 suddenly appeared so quickly after the D600. Nikon had better be hoping their key customers only read those media and not the photographic media.
The bottom line is that the way Nikon handled this basically just allowed everyone to reiterate the problem that led to the new camera in the first place. In other words, Nikon's own actions have just amplified the problem and caused virtually all of the photographic press to write about D600 oil and splatter issues. Again. If the camera weren't already devalued and tough for dealers to sell, this round of press certainly didn't help, and savvy consumers are going to be a little more suspicious of the D610, too.
The sad thing is that this isn't the first time Nikon's been unable to fess up to a problem. This is now endemic with them. As Michael Johnston at Online Photographer points out, this sort of problem denial goes way back into the film days for Nikon.
Here's a thought: if you want to be the number one camera producer in the world, maybe you ought to act like the number one supporter of your customers and not hide behind cultural differences.