Nikon Mumbai Experience

I love Nikon and all their products but I wish their service were moreprofessional, unambiguous and professional.

The folks at Nikon Mumbai Andheri East service facility are very kind, warm and forthcoming in their approach, but I wish there were more technical unambiguity.

Allow me to give examples: I had purchased a Nikon 80-400 lens (not the new G series) from B&H, used, with a rating of 9. I always felt the lens was a little soft. I am a professional cinematographer and have studied cinematography for over 4 years with some of the best gear in the world. I know what 'soft' is. The Nikon guys told me this was the limitation of the lens design and all lenses of this series would give a similar result. I sold that lens to buy the new 80-400G. The guy I sold it to, said my lens was 'soft' and The same repair facility fixed it. Why two different diagnosis for the same lens? When I told them it was soft, why didn't they listen? How many people are turned away like this?

Recently, due to entirely my fault, I dropped my D800 with the 17-35 f2.8 lens. The protective UV was shattered and the lens thread mount was bent. I took lens and camera to The same facility. They fixed the thread mount (they didn't change it), and returned my lens. I asked the to check if the impact had damaged lens alignment, check for focus issues etc and they said it was all ok. They asked me to use the lens and give them a feedback. Isn't it their responsibility to check the condition of a lens which has had a nasty fall? Anyway, I came back to my office and shot star charts and realized the lens was out of focus at the wide end. Took it back to the service facility and on my insistence they took the lens and told me they have to get a lot of new parts. Why would they want me to waste two days? Why can't they check themselves when I am willing to pay for it? I wonder how many people who don't know how to test lenses are using faulty but entirely repairable products from Nikon, isn't that a loss of revenue for Nikon service? Do they care?

They didn't keep my camera body for checking, even though I had asked. Shouldn't they check the body as well, which had a nasty fall with a heavy lens attached? They asked me to use the camera and report if I found anything off. You don't need to be a pro service repair facility to give ghat feedback.they should have checked the camera and given me an unambiguous statement on the condition of the camera. If it's bad, it's bad. If it's good, great!

They had promised I would get my 17-35 back in 10 days. After 10 days when I called they ask for another 10 days. What if I made a living from this lens?

In my film school days we had a lens collimation bench to check lenses without having to roll film through it. Shouldn't the Nikon pro service centre have such tools to quickly check lenses and lens mounts? Shouldn’t they resolve all doubts of customers? (ps)

Thom’s comment: I’m going to partially side with you, partially with Nikon on this one. Often times the biggest issue that comes up in repairs is lack of clear communication. It’s not Nikon’s responsibility to check cameras for you. It’s their responsibility to fix cameras. Thus, if you drop something and think that might have caused a problem, you really have to be clear about your expectations submitting it to Nikon service. If you want them to check it, you’d better be prepared to pay for that. In other words, you need to submit the product with at least a Clean and Service request, a service that Nikon charges for. Many of us pros send in our main bodies and lenses once every year or two with such a request just to catch any lurking issues. The problem is that, to do a full check requires that Nikon tie up one of their diagnostic stations and significant technician time. That’s why you should expect to pay for such requests. But you should also expect that they do a complete and thorough job when you do. 

In terms of the lens, I’m surprised they returned it without putting it on the test station to check it. Impact damage should always trigger a full test and repair cycle. That’s NikonUSA’s policy, actually, and you can’t avoid it (and can't avoid paying for it, either). I would have not accepted the lens back from impact repair without it going through a test cycle. However, in a country where the average wage is modest, I suspect that Nikon India may be trying to not automatically trigger charges to customers. Lens repairs can easily add up to a large portion of the cost of the lens, and in many cases it is probably wiser to just purchase a used lens to replace a badly broken one. 

Finally, any drop of camera and lens where either gets damaged should result in both being submitted for repair. Again, expect to pay for that. Especially with sensor densities and lens complexities these days, it does not take much movement to cause real issues. We’re talking about nanometer differences being meaningful, and you can’t see changes that small.

© Thom Hogan 2015 / All Rights Reserved  @bythom #bythom