Nikon Does (Actually Doesn’t) Do it Again

(news & commentary) Updated

No sooner did I post my review of the 300mm f/4E where I chided Nikon on their not-a-service-advisory stance on that lens’s firmware issue when it shipped, they’ve done it again. The recently shipped 200-500mm f/5.6 may disable autofocus when a certain conjunction of steps occurs. Gee, didn’t you buy that lens to autofocus?

The steps are that you rotate the zoom ring while partially holding the shutter release or hold the AF-On button down. Seems like someone should have found that one in testing, as that would be a pretty normal thing to do as you’re shooting sports or wildlife.

To fix the problem, Nikon needs to update the lens’ firmware. And there’s where we get back into the same problem as with the 300mm f/4E: users can’t update the firmware themselves. The lens has to go back to Nikon to get the firmware updated. At least this time Nikon has opted to pay the shipping costs, though this isn’t obvious until you perform the verification steps necessary.

NikonUSA is still tone-dead when it comes to customers, though, and apparently rushing products out of production without serious user testing. It’s no coincidence that the other article I’m publishing with this push to the site is about Nikon’s declining brand value. The company is making mistakes in virtually every new product and then expecting customers to pay something to fix them, even if it’s only shipping costs. That’s part of the reason why Nikon’s brand value is declining. 

At this point in time, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say this: buying any Nikon product that’s just come out is now a high risk proposition. The smart money now says “don’t buy on first shipment and wait until some time has passed before buying anything new from Nikon.”

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Nikon’s foot has so many holes in it now that one would be forgiven for mistaking it for swiss cheese. 

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