FWIW, I dropped off my D3S and 85G at Nikon HQ repair window last week for a focusing issue. I get it back today, but the shipping label says that it’s from Island Camera Repair, which is a general camera repair shop a couple miles south. Looks like they’re out sourcing repairs. (cz)
Thom’s reply: yes, NikonUSA has been doing this for awhile now. And for Nikon 1 cameras that’s the new normal. This brings up some additional issues. It’s unclear what the third party repair shops are getting from Nikon in terms of database connection or instructions, but it seems very clear to me that something’s getting lost in the translation (literally in some cases, as some repairs from California are going to Mexico now). Photos you send to demonstrate a problem, and conversations you’ve had with technical support with NikonUSA do not seem to be reaching the folk doing the actual repairs.
I now strongly urge that when you fill out the online repair form, when you see the “Please provide any additional notes…” box that you create a section there that says “Steps necessary to invoke problem” and list the specific steps necessary to demonstrate the problem with the camera. The more specific you are here, the better. Even then, I’m not sure the actual repair person sees this information, however, if the product comes back not repaired you can escalate this by pointing to your original steps and point out that the same steps still produce the problem, thus Nikon must not have actually tried those steps when they had the product.