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Unveiling mysteries of lens repair...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by kgill, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007
    So I called Nital (the official importer of Nikon products in Italy) today and asked to speak to the technician who looked at my lens. He was very very nice and explained to me a million and one things about the lens and why he gave the estimate he gave. In very few words, he said that Nikon sends them the internal block of 8 elements already mounted, calibrated, and put together in one piece, so they substitute en masse (actually I think it might be more than 8 pieces, because the only other pieces they get separately are front and back elements). They do not have the option of buying the 5 different groups which are available in the U.S. market. This might also include the motor in there with it...

    He said that his understanding is that there are official Nikon repair facilities in the U.S. that are able to do very precise repairs because they have access to the parts and the equipment, and the personnel with expertise. He said a center like this exists in Nuremberg Germany (note to European colleagues!), but no such luck here.They have nothing to do with corporate Nikon, but are only importers, and therefore they have these technical limitations.

    He was very nice. He also said that in order to do estimates, they have to make the lenses work mechanically, so many times if someone refuses the repair and requests the lens be returned, they get it back and are pleasantly surprised and accept the lens in minimal working order. He gave me his name and told me to try my lens out when I get it back and see if I can put up with the slight out of focus area on one side of the image at the wide end (which is where the distortion is), and call him and let him know.

    Nice guy. I almost excuse them for giving me a $1800 estimate (discounted by $700)...

  2. It's always good to hear the other side of these stories. Good for you, helping to dispel some of the myth around lens repair.
  3. It seems it would make more sense for Nikon to offer you a new lens at dealer cost (including them keeping the broken lens) than have a repair of that magnitude. The dist can then send the lens to Nikon USA for precision repairs (lower cost) and sell it refurbished. Any repair that approaches the cost of the lens new is just pointless and should be re-evaluated by Nikon as a poor service strategy.
  4. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007
    Yes, in a perfect world that would be the case. The problem is that I purchased the lens in the USA, so at USA price, but am in Italy where the repair estimate was done. The lens new in Italy costs $2800. So I think they did their part here by offering the $700 discount on the repair that would have totaled $2500+, bringing it down to $1800. (+ because sales tax is 20% here, so adding the discount back would have added another $120, so about $2620 repair). Obviously the insurance looked at what I paid== $1599.99 (Allen's Camera! I don't work for him, but I swear by him!), and at the repair estimate==$1800, and opted for the lesser figure.

    Had I purchased the lens in Italy, insurance would have opted for the repair, and at that point, then I could have negotiated your scenario with Nital (Nikon importer Italy). If this had happened in the U.S., insurance would have opted for the repair, and I could have negotiated with Nikon. Indeed, I asked an authorized repair facility in the U.S. about the costs of the repairs itemized on the Italian estimate, and he said the exact same thing that you said-- in these cases, Nikon often offers a new lens.

    I have the feeling, though, after talking with the tech, that some of the stuff he put on the estimate was cosmetic (filter ring had the crack but wasn't dented-- i.e. filters still fit on it perfectly), and the rest of it was just the problem that they don't have a great choice of itemized parts, they kinda have to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Parts that are available in the U.S. individually just don't exist for them here, hence raising the prices of their service. Of the total 1500 euro estimate, only 200 euro of it was labor. 998 euro was the SWM and the entire internal lens group. For the record, in the U.S.,the SWM costs only $86 and some change... and all the internal elements (sold in 5 groups) together cost about $400, more or less (I have the numbers downstairs).

  5. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    He was only nice because he was talking to you KG... :smile:
  6. kgill


    Jul 25, 2007
    Hahaha. I don't know! But I felt bad for wanting to rough him up though. He was really a nice guy. Where have you been keeping yourself Donzo?
  7. I haven't followed your problem, what lens is this?
  8. It was a 24-70 that decide to prove the existence of gravity!
  9. :tongue:
    ...and the results of instant deceleration. :wink:
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