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Lens Repairs - which repair facility to choose?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by kgill, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007

    Because I am evaluating where to send a lens for repair not covered by warranty, I spent a significant amount of time on the phone with Nikon Repair in USA the other day to follow up on some questions I had, based on what I've read here at the forum.

    I learned from NikonUSA that when you send a lens in, an estimate is prepared based on what you declare is wrong with the lens. If nothing is specified, they give a worst case scenario (???). The authorization for repair is requested, and if approved, a pending charge for that amount is placed on your credit card. If the amount, once they open it up, exceeds the amount you were asked to approve, they come back to you and ask you if you authorize the higher amount. If not, the lens is sent back to you. If so, you pay the higher amount. You are only able to accept the estimate as a whole, you are not allowed to say "Well, I don't care about the filter ring, don't repair it."

    I realize that this doesn't really square with what others have experienced here...

    But I am trying to ascertain whether it would just be best for me to send the lens to a Nikon authorized repair facility, or send it to Nikon repair in NY or CA. Is there a difference in price for the repairs? With an authorized repair place, could the cost exceed Nikon's cost for the same work?

    I guess one of my concerns is getting an estimate with a long list of repairs, some of which may be cosmetic that I don't care about, and having to accept all of them--, and the uncertainty around the original estimate. At least with a repair shop, they open it up to see what's wrong with it before they give an estimate...

    Any insight? Has anyone here extensively used a repair service in the U.S. which they can strongly recommend for quality + cost? Or generally is it best just to send it to Nikon, whether it's under warranty or not?
  2. I've used KEH, and they did a fantastic job. You might give them a try.
  3. VFib-911


    Oct 22, 2007
    NW Ohio
    I would try KEH first....

    Or at least someone else with a good rep other than Nikon...

    I just received my 80-200 2.8 and 35-70 2.8 back from Melville. Surprisingly, the exorbitant repair estimates were spot-on for the amounts they charged me... Now I don't know if they cracked the cases and took a peek at the actual repairs needed or if the estimated repairs were based on their interpretations of my stated complaints. Either way, they received all of their estimates out of me whether or not they were necessary.

    I hate to sound bitter, as I did approve the estimates, but I have to say a small part of me was expecting the repairs to be less... and significantly so. Whether or not the repairs were needed, I will never know, but I can say without a doubt I will lose my shirt if I ever decide to sell either lens.. which I do not plan on doing unless I have no roof over my head!!!

    Great lenses and I plan on getting a lot out of them, but yeah, I'm a little bitter. Lesson learned for sure.

    Good luck.
  4. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007
    Hi Bill,

    One of your posts about your experience is part of the reason I held out on sending the lenses in to Nikon. If I remember correctly, they said that if the estimate comes out to be higher they ask for your authorization for the higher charge. They also said that they they let you what the necessary repairs are, but you can only accept or reject the repairs as a whole. They consider their job to be to bring it back to perfect original condition, which means cosmetically as well as functionally, so they wont' send something back with say, a cracked filter ring (in my case) even if the crack poses no problems whatsoever for filter use.

    However, after hearing people's experiences here, I am a bit skeptical about the answers Nikon gave me, but I talked to two separate people in separate departments who gave me the same answers... so I don't know what to think!!! Should I risk it... or not?

    That is the question...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. Nikon do look at your equipment before they estimate, although they don't necessarily strip it down. I've unfortunately had a fair amount of experience with them recently, as has one of my friends with a lot of kit, and the experiences have been good. I have been surprised at how little most of the repairs have been, although I can't call any of them truly inexpensive.

    You always have the option of declining things that are, say, cosmetic. (In fact, Nikon doesn't do cosmetic repairs unless you specifically ask for them.)

    I've also used KEH, and they've been, as usual, very easy to work with. I can't say that I think they're more or less expensive as I haven't ever had similar repairs done at KEH or Nikon.

    As an aside, I'm curious as to why you're sending your gear to Nikon USA since you appear to be in Europe.
  6. Chris_B


    Mar 12, 2006
    Arlington, VA
    Is there a difference between sending it to Nikon and an authorized repair facility? There is an authorized repair facility near my house and at least that would be quicker and save on shippinig.
  7. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007
    Hi Brian,

    Both of the Nikon people I spoke with said that they do not open the gear up to give an estimate, it is based on what the consumer declares is wrong with the lens. They only open it up once you have authorized a repair estimate. If in that case it comes out higher, they come back to you, at which you point you can refuse the higher estimate.

    I also asked them specifically about the possibility of declining specific repairs included on the estimate and they both said that that is not possible. I gave the example of the cracked filter ring, and they both said that if repair notices the filter ring, they will replace it.

    So again, I'm not really sure what to say or think about the information that I read here in the forum compared with what these two separate Nikon people told me when i called (one in Service & Repair and one in DSLR Tech Support).

    I am sending the lens to Nikon USA because while I do live in Europe, i am American and I take care of all of my lens business in the USA...In this particular case, I was advised to have my lens repaired in the USA by the Nikon authorized repair facility here because the centers in NY and CALIF are better equipped and therefore cheaper than having the repair done where I live.

    Chris_B-- that's my precise question! I know that sometimes the authorized repair places don't have all the parts and sometimes have to send lenses to Nikon anyway, but I'm trying to find out if it's a lens specific repair (like a SWM or a broken element), and not just a general cleaning or fixing a loose ring, if it's cheaper to go elsewhere for labor prices, or to just bite the bullet and send to Nikon.
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