Steven Brokaw Photography

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Nikon - Technical Service Advisory - Seriously?

As a photographer (primarily in studio), my camera is my tool of trade.  Sure I have lots of other equipment, but without my camera everything else is dead weight.  My main camera is a full frame Nikon D600.  Most Nikon D600 owners know it has been plagued with an oil / dust spot issue.

In my genre of photography dust spots must be kept to a minimum.  Therefore, I tend to keep my camera sensors clean.  However, I have experienced significant dust issues with my D600 since it was purchased even after cleaning.  I know, I know, DSLR's are subject to dust spots.  However, for all the Nikon DSLR's previously owned I never experienced dust like I have with the D600. Basically, I just put up with it and silently complained to myself.

So today I received from Nikon via email a Technical Service Advisory For Users Of The Digital SLR Camera.  Cool, finally they acknowledged the issue and are going to replace my camera with a D610 or send me a new D600.  Just dreaming, but a guy has to dream.  Anyway, I read the advisory, and honestly I'm disappointed.

First, they kind of acknowledged the "tiny" dust issue, but not really.  Hey, come on big boy dust spots occur with all DSLR, and only in certain situations...OK, got it.  However, not to the extent I have seen with my D600 so what are you going to do about it?

Nikon's solution, they will FREE OF CHARGE allow you to return the camera and they will fix it.  Just pack it up and send it in.  OK, well thanks, but what do I use while you have my camera?  Sure I can use my older camera or borrow one, but I really don't want to go any length of time without my full frame body.  The advisory says nothing about how long the turnaround time is, what happens if you camera is lost, what happens if the dust problem reoccurs, etc.  So you know what, I won't be sending it back and I'll just suck it up.  Oh, of course along the way I'll let my photography friends know that they should avoid the D600 (which by the way has since been replaced by the D610 in a much shorter turn around cycle...hmmmm, curious).

Bottomline, Nikon, you had a chance to dazzle your customer base with amazing service, but you didn't.  A missed opportunity in a time when there are much more camera options out there.  Subtle hint warning.

So, Steve as a business guy, what would you have done differently?  Why thanks for asking...here's what I would have done:

  • Admit the problem immediately.  Come on, I KNEW it was a camera design problem.  Suck it up and admit it.  I would have given you props for being honest with me,
  • Give me a credit for or send me a sensor cleaning kit for free with instructions on how to correctly clean the sensor.  A good cleaning kit including swabs cost a bit of $$$ so you would have gotten props,
  • Have your authorized dealers act as a cleaning location, with a set hour and turnaround time that you can schedule to go in and get your camera cleaned by a professional.  The key is to be able to bring it in, get it cleaned and then take it home the same visit.  I'm a busy guy and making multiple trips to the camera store is a pain,
  • Or, send cleaned, certified D600 to your authorized dealers.  Let people come in and swap out our cameras for D600's that have the dust issue fixed.  No questions, just bring it in, so that it works and get a replacement.  
  • Or, better yet, same as above except swap it out for a D610

I understand that all of the above costs $ and yen, but it would also help Nikon save face and keep their customer base happy and loyal.  Remember that subtle hint above.

OK, quasi-rant over, move along, move along...nothing to see here.  

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