NIKON TO END IT'S 3RD PARTY REPAIR PROGRAM

When I first saw the thread title, I thought, "sheesh, no need for a screaming all-caps title here!" and then I began reading the thread and realized the potential seriousness of this news. Ouch....!!!! This is not a good portent for Nikon, the various third-party companies which have supported them over the years, and of course, customers.

I only had one situation where I needed to send in a Nikon camera body or lens, not even sure now of which it was, since this was years ago.....thing came back in fine condition and resolved whatever the problem was that I'd been experiencing. It might even have been a recall initiated by Nikon, come to think of it......

I think it's safe to guess that most people buying a new camera body or new lens aren't really thinking about what happens if they need to send it in for repairs -- they're excited about the new item and expect it to work right out of the box. Even so, when the time comes that a user realizes that, yes, there is something not right with his or her new gear and that it needs professional examination and perhaps repair, they are going to possibly be interested in taking the item to a local third-party shop if one is in their area which has already for years had the Nikon imprimatur and the appropriate replacement parts, since this can often speed up the entire repair process. It can be very convenient if someone lives in an area where there is a reliable, established repair facility which can do the same level of repairs as Nikon could, with the same replacement parts and so on. No need to ship to Nikon in Melville or to the facility out on the West Coast.....

This is really sad news to hear that this use of third-party facilities is no longer going to be possible and I can only imagine the impact that this is already having on shops which had been successfully partnering with Nikon for years. Without Nikon official replacement parts, how can they help customers who have a faulty camera body or lens? This also doesn't exactly build confidence in Nikon itself and its decisions past, current and looking ahead towards the future, either, does it?
 
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This makes me rethink about getting the 500 pf.
My initial reaction to this news was, wow, do I need to rethink my camera gear. Then, I thought, what are the options. And, among those options, were any better in terms of confidence in their short-to-mid-term viability and service quality. Bottom line, IMO, is that there is no place demonstrably better to jump.

When I first saw the thread title, I thought, "sheesh, no need for a screaming all-caps title here!" and then I began reading the thread and realized the potential seriousness of this news. Ouch....!!!! This is not a good portent for Nikon, the various third-party companies which have supported them over the years, and of course, customers.

I only had one situation where I needed to send in a Nikon camera body or lens, not even sure now of which it was, since this was years ago.....thing came back in fine condition and resolved whatever the problem was that I'd been experiencing. It might even have been a recall initiated by Nikon, come to think of it......

I think it's safe to guess that most people buying a new camera body or new lens aren't really thinking about what happens if they need to send it in for repairs -- they're excited about the new item and expect it to work right out of the box. Even so, when the time comes that a user realizes that, yes, there is something not right with his or her new gear and that it needs professional examination and perhaps repair, they are going to possibly be interested in taking the item to a local third-party shop if one is in their area which has already for years had the Nikon imprimatur and the appropriate replacement parts, since this can often speed up the entire repair process. It can be very convenient if someone lives in an area where there is a reliable, established repair facility which can do the same level of repairs as Nikon could, with the same replacement parts and so on. No need to ship to Nikon in Melville or to the facility out on the West Coast.....

This is really sad news to hear that this use of third-party facilities is no longer going to be possible and I can only imagine the impact that this is already having on shops which had been successfully partnering with Nikon for years. Without Nikon official replacement parts, how can they help customers who have a faulty camera body or lens? This also doesn't exactly build confidence in Nikon itself and its decisions past, current and looking ahead towards the future, either, does it?
See above...

I think it is a stretch to start making decisions about switching vendors based on the data available right now. In my view, ALL the vendors of purpose-built (British English has an apt word: bespoke) cameras are in trouble. The entire industry is in the throes of aging demographics and shrinking market. It is unclear, to me at least, who if any will survive long term.

I won't be making any changes to my overall gear for the foreseeable future. The only way this news affects my plans is to further dissuade me from any new gear purchases (beyond accessories).
 
My initial reaction to this news was, wow, do I need to rethink my camera gear. Then, I thought, what are the options. And, among those options, were any better in terms of confidence in their short-to-mid-term viability and service quality. Bottom line, IMO, is that there is no place demonstrably better to jump.


See above...

I think it is a stretch to start making decisions about switching vendors based on the data available right now. In my view, ALL the vendors of purpose-built (British English has an apt word: bespoke) cameras are in trouble. The entire industry is in the throes of aging demographics and shrinking market. It is unclear, to me at least, who if any will survive long term.

I won't be making any changes to my overall gear for the foreseeable future. The only way this news affects my plans is to further dissuade me from any new gear purchases (beyond accessories).
Well, in my case I had already -- just over two weeks ago -- made a big switch in my gear so this situation with Nikon no longer affects me anyway, but still, for a lot of people it's serious news..... Can't help but wonder, did I dodge a bullet? Who knows? I'd only had one situation where I needed to send my Nikon to Melville anyway, so repairs were never a big issue for me anyway. As for my new gear, the issue of a potential need for repairs was not on my mind at all at the time of decision-making and then purchase, and I suppose that if it comes up I'll deal with it at that time.
 
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About eight years ago Chrysler agreed to replacing my convertible top under warranty because it was prematurely wearing through. When I took it to the dealer I had purchased the car from, the mechanic said he saw no way to prevent the same problem form recurring. I know absolutely nothing about cars more than that they generally have four wheels, a few doors and a steering wheel. Even so, it took me less than a minute to Google the service bulletin Chrysler had issued explaining how to modify the installation of the top to prevent it from wearing through. I provided the mechanic a link to the bulletin. When I explained to the service manager that I shouldn't have to do her employee's job, she couldn't have cared less.

I'm now driving the next car I bought -- another Chrysler. All the car manufacturers and franchised dealerships are about the same, so there was no reason to switch to a different manufacturer hoping to get better service. I wouldn't take the reputation for service and repairs into account when purchasing a camera system for the same reason.
 
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My initial reaction to this news was, wow, do I need to rethink my camera gear. Then, I thought, what are the options. And, among those options, were any better in terms of confidence in their short-to-mid-term viability and service quality. Bottom line, IMO, is that there is no place demonstrably better to jump.

...
I partly agree. The repair capability of all the large camera makers are under tight corporate control. However only Nikon and Canon* have a long history of pro repair activity.

Modern camera bodies are like cars, you replace them every now and then, so repair is usually just an interim solution on the way to replacement, and not as important as it once was. And new camera sales is what drives profitability. Lenses are different though. You keep them for their useable lifetime, so repairing a lens makes sense. Nikon is challenged here by the plethora of decent 3rd party lenses. 3rd party lenses can sometimes be fixed by independents, or they are sufficiently inexpensive as to be easily replaceable. Many of them are as good as Nikon's own lenses.

So Nikon's gamble seems to be hinged on new camera sales. Mixed blessings for us: Nikon will continue new camera development, while increasing prices and doing less lens innovation as 'quality branded' independents gain more of the market.

Unless they are just wringing the last bits of profit out of a dry market. In that case, we're ... not so well off.

* So do Olympus and Leica, but they are not large camera makers.
 
Lenses are different though. You keep them for their useable lifetime, so repairing a lens makes sense.
In my first fifteen years of doing photography only on vacations and in my last 20 years of doing photography throughout the year, I've needed to repair a lens only once. I've never had to repair a lens during my last 20 years. Perhaps I've been just plain lucky.
 
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A lot of comments here refer to Nikon. To be clear, this appears to be Nikon USA. There is no indication that I've seen that would suggest this is a Nikon corporate decision though that certainly is a possibility. The greatest effect I can foresee is repairs of gear that is "no longer supported". US law requires that parts be available for repairs for 7 years past the date the product is officially discontinued. If you go to Nikon USA's repair website, you may find your gear that you wish to have repaired is "no longer supported" but a call to APS (or other independant/authorized repair) will get you a send it in, we can fix it. I've heard that when Nikon USA no longer supports a product, some of the independants will buy their surplus parts inventory and thus, for a while, be able to repair items that Nikon USA won't.
Bottom line is that this may result in more cost to us and steep drop in the value of unsupported used gear as there will now be no viable way to get it repaired. You can always try out of country repair facilities but this adds both time and expense.
 
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My initial thought about this topic was that, we have Grey cameras and lenses and now we will have Grey Parts. Good business opportunity for an Asian based camera company to buy large amounts of parts from Nikon China (or some place else) and ship them here. They could be an exclusive supplier to the USA. Just because Nikon USA does not want these sales is no reason to believe that Nikon some place else will not take advantage. Time will tell.
 
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In my first fifteen years of doing photography only on vacations and in my last 20 years of doing photography throughout the year, I've needed to repair a lens only once. I've never had to repair a lens during my last 20 years. Perhaps I've been just plain lucky.
I agree, I don't think I have ever gotten a lens fixed, and only one that broke (but glue and wire hold my old 35/2 AFD together.) If the one lens you got repaired was unrepairable by Nikon due to age, market status or cost, would you have replaced it with a new Nikon lens? That's the game Nikon (USA, but I'm sure it's with corporate blessing) is playing: nudging consumers to think 'replace' rather than 'repair' when their camera breaks.
 
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If the one lens you got repaired was unrepairable by Nikon due to age, market status or cost, would you have replaced it with a new Nikon lens?
It was a consumer-quality Tamron lens (I think that's the right brand) with a Minolta mount for my X-700 film camera. At the time, I had no Nikon equipment.

A really sad story goes with that repair. A one-man repair shop in Durango, Colorado had loaned me a camera in 1991 for two days while he repaired my camera that had gotten sand in it. He even opened his store, which was otherwise closed on a Sunday, just to meet me, as I was on vacation. A couple years later when my lens needed repair, I sent it to him mostly as a thank you for giving me such superb service. I told him to repair it at his convenience because I wouldn't need it for several months. As time went by, I never heard from him, so I called. His widow answered the phone and explained that he had caught a bad cold, which led to pneumonia, which led to his death despite that he was only middle-aged. She was in the process of shuttering the business, so I told her to keep the lens as long as she wanted until she had time to sort everything out. I eventually got the lens back and a local repair shop fixed it.
 
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I live in Houston where there is no 3rd party authorized Nikon repair and the best technician in town will not buy parts for Nikon's off Ebay, so sending things off is my only option. I have a non USA 24-120VR which needs repair, so I better get it fixed soon by an independent.

The killer is I took my D850 out in the rain and the next morning it was dead. The weather sealing must have failed. I'm sending it to Nikon in LA and hate to think what this will cost, or even if they will repair it. I'm mad as hell because this happened on a trip and it should have not happened at all.

Doubtless, turnaround times will get a lot worse. If Nikon does not continue to supply parts to the former authorized repair shops, they will most likely file a lawsuit.
 
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I own a lot of older gear that is no longer under warranty...and some grey market lenses as well. I also drive to APS to drop off my gear and sometimes just wait there until my repair is done (also avoiding any S&H and insurance costs on heavy and expensive gear). If the third party repair services are no longer an option, Nikon will soon no longer be an option for me.

Glenn
I'm in the same situation. My last trip to APS was to have a current model body serviced and an older lens repaired. They were able to do both, but I only had them proceed with the body. Their pricing for fixing older lenses is getting to be unreasonably expensive. I think this is primarily because of their markup on parts, for which they are being overcharged by Nikon. It's possible that third party repair outfits may actually be better off if they are forced to look elsewhere for parts.
 
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What are the possibilities for legal merit?
There is always some way to file a lawsuit, Doc. Their main economic harm is investment in training and tools would be made worthless without a supply of parts. This is very different from what Nikon did in 2012 limiting the supply of parts to those who had made this investment. I don't know what the contracts say or any ther facts not reported. Nikon has been mum about whether they would supply parts for existing products to the repair shops covered by this announcement. Most opine that certainly there would be no support for future products.

This puts Nikon USA in the league with Apple and John Deere. It will likely fuel the right to repair movement. All it takes is for one state to outlaw this and effectively the parts become available again.

Right now my concern is getting my dead D850 working again. Fortunately, I kept my D800, but my trip was non photographic.
 
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That's the game Nikon (USA, but I'm sure it's with corporate blessing) is playing: nudging consumers to think 'replace' rather than 'repair' when their camera breaks.
This has been their philosophy for cameras and lenses for a very long time, even with their product line.

There is a particularly egregious example of doing this with the introduction of the first 70-200mm G lens in 2003. It came out sporting VR without being optically superior to their last 80-200mm f/2.8. There were two versions of the two-ring 80-200 were in production:
  1. AF 80-200/2.8 D ED
  2. AF-S 80-200/2.8 D IF-ED
#2 was optically equivalent to (or better than!) their first 70-200 VR lens.

This excerpt from Roland's Nikon Pages shows that the optically superior #2 was discontinued simultaneously to the introduction of the VR, while the lower-performing #1 continued to be built and supported.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Bringing this back to the original topic, when one of my copies of the no-longer-supported-by-Nikon #2 needed TLC, third party repair shops continued to do so. I also figured out how to do a simple (but commonly needed) repair, which required no parts, myself.

Perhaps Nikon is encouraging us not to rely on Melville/Los Angeles.
 
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I brought my UK photo gear to the USA. They will see that as Grey market. That is a huge problem for me now if something needs a repair. Contemplating my options.
 
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I brought my UK photo gear to the USA. They will see that as Grey market. That is a huge problem for me now if something needs a repair. Contemplating my options.
That is really unfortunate. If I'm not mistaken, UK retail pricing of Nikon gear is artificially propped up in the same way as it is in the USA. You've therefore paid the required premium to receive full service no matter where you travel or relocate IMO.
 
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I have a mix of new and used. The used equipment will be seen as grey. That means I'm out of luck in repairing that equipment if the 3rd party shops cannot get parts. Nikon will reject that equipment.
 

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