Two Month Nikon UK Repair Experience

I purchased my D600 in October 2012. Although I became aware of the possible problem with shutter debris in the camera, I did not appear to have a noticeable issue until mid February 2014 (at shutter count about 3050).

I was about to go on a trip abroad on which I would only take my DX and CX gear (D7100 and V2), so decided to do nothing until I came back. While I was away, the Nikon Service Advisory was published, so I contacted Nikon UK by phone, and was told to use their web based repair request system. This worked well; the camera was dispatched on 14th April at Nikon’s expense and received back on 29th April with a new shutter, an excellent performance considering there were the two Easter Public Holidays in  between. The camera was immaculately clean externally but there were now two streaks of dust or grease in the viewfinder optics. A phone call to Nikon, who were very apologetic and helpful, and the camera was on its way back to them that same day.

Nikon received the camera on 1st May. All went quiet and a check on Nikon’s web site on 21st May showed the job “awaiting parts”. I phoned to find out what was going on. I was told that dust had probably been blown into the viewfinder optics during the shutter replacement. As this is difficult to clean, a new prism box unit and focussing screen were being fitted, but the prism assembly was out of stock at both Nikon UK and Nikon Europe and on order from Japan. I was offered the loan of a D610, but as I was about to go away again with DX and CX gear, I saw no point in a loan as this late stage. Sure enough, the camera was ready and dispatched to me while I was away (on 10th June), but I got the courier to hold the parcel and deliver on my return late on 18th June.

I checked the camera on the 19th June and .... there was a chunk of dirt in the viewfinder optics just north of the central focussing point. Another call to Nikon. The person I dealt with just didn’t get how bad this looked for Nikon – I’d now been without the camera for over two months – and were not helpful. I was told to send it back using the repair request system (unlike the previous occasion where Nikon were proactive). The camera was dispatched back to Nikon on 23rd June. It arrive back today (3rd July), having had another prism box and focussing screen replacement.

The camera now appears to be OK.

To summarise: I’ve been without the camera for 12 weeks. Although this has cost me nothing in cash, I’ve spent many hours on this. I’ve had to dispatch and receive the camera 3 times. Nikon’s staff have varied from excellent and helpful to plain awful. The camera was sent back twice with an obvious fault and nobody seemed prepared to own the problem in the end. The cost of all this to Nikon must be significant. A truly awful experience.

There is another consequence. Before I phoned Nikon on 21st of May, I’d been without the camera for 5 weeks and hadn’t used it since the debris on the sensor became obvious in mid February – over 3 months. FX has only ever represented about 10% of my exposures. In the time the D600 has been away, I’ve taken about 10,000 DX and 3,000 CX exposures, yet the D600 had only been used for 3,000 shots in the 16 months I’d owned it. I realised that I probably didn’t need FX. Another 7 weeks on without the camera, I’m certain that’s the case. So my D600 is up for sale; much as I like it, I don’t need it, and that includes two zooms I’d never use on DX bodies. This might seem an obvious conclusion from the amount of use that the D600 has had, but I doubt I’d have though clearly about it if Nikon had got he repair right first time. DX is now more than good enough for me as an enthusiast, and CX is an excellent lightweight back up. For instance, the V2 with the Nikon 1 6.7-13 is plenty good enough for the wide angle work I do. (dp)

[Thom’s comment: your last paragraph illustrates the problem that Nikon has made for themselves with poor customer service: they’re not making sales of new gear. It isn’t just folk who’ve gone through a long ordeal like you that are deciding this, it’s everyone that’s read about the complaints about Nikon service. It’s been my hope for over a decade that by documenting Nikon’s customer service problems that they’d actually realize that they should do something about it. Unfortunately, they appear systemic, and Nikon hasn’t seen fit to change anything, apparently. As camera sales in general decline, this is going to hurt Nikon long term.]

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