Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse - Manteo, NC

Nikon Woes, and Looking Elsewhere

I need a bump in spirits so I figured a few summer shots, posted on the eve of winter, might do the trick while I rant. I find myself at a crossroads regarding my gear, more a victim of circumstance and bad timing, but nevertheless I’m considering switching systems. These shots are from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and they represent the bulk of my landscape work this year. Not the most inspiring observation but I won’t take all the blame. I’m not happy with Nikon at the moment, I’m not alone, and I think it’s time more of us speak up otherwise they might not hear us complaining.

jennette's Pier, North Carolina

The Problem

My camera bodies have had numerous service recalls over the past two years. Keep in mind that a service trip to Nikon takes about a month. During each trip to Nikon the auto-focus system calibration would get thrown off alignment as a result of servicing. Upon receiving my camera I would notice the new problem, setup another service ticket, have to explain why I was requesting a pre-paid shipping label, and simply hope that everything works this time around. The result of this roulette game being that my camera bodies spent a large part of the year with Nikon, and are still not to what I consider optimal performance.

Speaking to a real Nikon technician is an impossible dream. I’ve tried, I’ve written letters and included them in the packages, requested callbacks, and begged numerous times to speak to a technician. They simply refuse to speak to customers. The best you can do is a call-center manager, and the most I’ve achieved there is being told to repeat basic stonewalling tests over-and-over until I get tired and stop calling.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse - Manteo, NC

The Diagnosis

Service recalls are an acceptable possibility, manufacturing tolerances can only be so tight. Otherwise costs will climb to where the product is not accessible for most people. However when a recall is initiated, I feel that a sense of laser focus should be found across all departments: the idea that our process has fallen short and we need to step up our standards to right a wrong. Furthermore, when you realize that all four of your latest bodies (d600, d750, d800, d810) have had at least one recall within the first year, not to mention numerous lens recalls, it’s time address the internal issue. It’s time to bend over backwards to keep your current customers, not make it harder for them to seek reliable service.

Bodie Island Lighthouse Keepers Building

We’ve arrived at an inflection point for professional cameras: full-frame mirrorless. The advantage of a system built around technology, instead of SLR mechanics, is becoming apparent to the market. So far Nikon and Canon are silent and it won’t be long till companies like Sony catch up in the very last front which is battery life. At a time when you’re no longer leading the professional industry, you should at the very least prioritize your current base, and Nikon has not done that. Their service and quality control track record clearly shows that their focus is elsewhere.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

I hope this article comes across as a concerned member rather than a disgruntled employee. I’ll admit I’m a bit of both at the moment. The last thing I want to do is to leave what I know. Still, I remember a time when I was confident and excited about my kit. I’m more willing to see if the grass is greener than ever before.